18/05/2012 Newsnight


18/05/2012

Is the Euro crisis the elephant in the room at the G8? What's life like in Greece? And government plans for parent classes - a bit nanny state? With Gasvin Esler.


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Transcript


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It started in Greece, it's heading for London, and it's definitely

:00:13.:00:22.

going to cost a lot of money. Predictions of contagion follow a

:00:22.:00:26.

possible Greek exit tonight, as the world's richest leaders gather at

:00:26.:00:30.

Camp David, the top of the agenda, save the eurozone. They have been

:00:30.:00:35.

sizing up the French President, as we come on air strikes he has been

:00:35.:00:39.

meeting another new friend for cordial advice. They can't keep

:00:39.:00:43.

kicking the can down the road, decisive about banks, Greece and

:00:43.:00:48.

the firewall. This is in Britain's interest too. All eyes are on

:00:48.:00:52.

Francois Hollande. But will the platform he's just been elected on

:00:52.:00:56.

make agreement even harder. In Greece, with a political crisis

:00:56.:01:00.

on top of a chronic economic crisis, what's it like to be running a

:01:00.:01:05.

Greek town when the Runcies out. Lg TRANSLATION: We hope to get support

:01:05.:01:08.

from central Government or the EU, if this doesn't happen the council

:01:08.:01:11.

will collapse, and we will have to return to our old currency the

:01:11.:01:17.

drachma, and we will be bankrupt. We will hear from Mohamed El-Erian

:01:17.:01:20.

who runs one of the world's leading investment companies, and the views

:01:20.:01:24.

from Germany, Greece and here at home. Away from the economy. What

:01:25.:01:27.

sort of advice do you get here. Would you like the Government to

:01:28.:01:31.

help you be a good parent. David Cameron thinks you might. Is this

:01:31.:01:36.

almost literally the nanny state. Kirstie Allsop debates with the

:01:36.:01:46.

Centre for Parenting Studies. Good evening, one of the reasons

:01:46.:01:50.

American Presidents like taking foreigners to Camp David, is to

:01:50.:01:53.

remove them from distractions, like playing to the media back home.

:01:53.:02:01.

Tonight the leaders of the G8 are sequestered in the presidential

:02:01.:02:04.

retreat in The Very Hungry Caterpillar mountain, surrounded by

:02:04.:02:09.

trees and discussing the world economy. There are report that is

:02:09.:02:12.

Angela Merkel called the Greece President suggesting he hold a

:02:12.:02:18.

referendum on whether Greece is in or out of the euro, in parallel

:02:18.:02:23.

with elections. This is disputed. Do we face a meltdown and more

:02:23.:02:29.

economic chaos. Is Greece going to dominate the

:02:29.:02:36.

talks? It will dominate the talks. There was a full agenda for the

:02:36.:02:41.

meeting, they are not so frequent these get togethers of leading

:02:41.:02:44.

industrial heads of state in Government. People tell me there

:02:44.:02:48.

were issues like the Arab Spring, Iran's nuclear programme. Very

:02:48.:02:51.

important for America should petrol reserves be released on to the

:02:51.:02:54.

world market, to keep the prices down for the US elections. But,

:02:54.:03:00.

they are all being asked about this Greek question, and in that sense,

:03:00.:03:06.

it is an inconvenient franc. For Mr Cameron, this is his first --

:03:06.:03:11.

factor. For Mr Cameron, that is his first chance to speak to Francois

:03:11.:03:20.

Hollande. The agenda, it is said, was meant to be about making

:03:20.:03:25.

friends. There is no conflict between austerity and growth, you

:03:25.:03:29.

need a strong deficit reduction for growth. President Hollande believes

:03:29.:03:34.

that, I believe that, I'm looking forward to meeting him. The French

:03:34.:03:39.

plan looks at doing it faster than the British plan, I'm looking

:03:39.:03:43.

forward to common agendas. Are they any closer on any agreement about

:03:43.:03:47.

what to do about Greece? In one sense, some people are saying the

:03:47.:03:52.

buzz is they don't have to be closer just yet. There will be

:03:52.:03:55.

another important European meeting next week, in which they hope to

:03:55.:03:59.

get a more coherent line about this growth versus austerity thing that

:03:59.:04:01.

the Prime Minister was talking about there. They also, of course,

:04:01.:04:06.

have to wait for the outcome of this next Greek election, before

:04:06.:04:09.

they can say definitive things. They have got a bit of breathing

:04:09.:04:13.

space. But there are interesting noises coming out. Mr Hollande, in

:04:13.:04:16.

the Oval Office, with President Obama this evening, saying you know,

:04:16.:04:21.

Greece mustn't come out of the euro, we must move towards them. Quite a

:04:22.:04:24.

positive-sounding message from him. There of course we have the sense

:04:24.:04:27.

over the last couple of days of people almost ganging up on the

:04:27.:04:31.

Germans, to say, look, ease up here, give them more time, be creative in

:04:31.:04:35.

your thinking, put some growth into the mixture. All with the aim,

:04:35.:04:38.

obviously, of stimulating growth more widely, but also helping

:04:38.:04:43.

Greece off the hook. This German line about, or line coming out of

:04:43.:04:47.

Greece, that the Germans are saying please have a referendum of in or

:04:47.:04:50.

out of Europe, in parallel with the parliamentary elections, that is

:04:50.:04:52.

very interesting, isn't it. It is right at the heart of the Greek

:04:52.:04:55.

dilemma? It is very interesting, but I have to tell you, we simply

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don't know what happened. The Greek President's statement -- spokesman,

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said this afternoon there had been a phone call with Angela Merkel,

:05:06.:05:11.

she had suggested a referendum, in or out of the euro to be added to

:05:11.:05:16.

the ballot paper. Almost instantly the Germans denied t the Greeks

:05:17.:05:21.

have reacted with outrage saying it smacks of interference with their

:05:21.:05:24.

affairs. It might be a neat political idea, but now it will be

:05:24.:05:28.

more difficult than ever to get it into that election. Mohamed El-

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Erian runs the global investment company, PIMCO, the world's largest

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bond investors. He joined me from California a few moments ago. Mr

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El-Erian, is Greece on its way out of the euro? The probability of

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Greece exiting the euro is increasing every day. The reason

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why it is increasing every day is because depositors are losing

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confidence. There is a saying that says if you see a line outside a

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bank, join it. And if your money isn't in that bank go, to another

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bank and join the line there. What we are seeing is we are seeing that

:06:01.:06:05.

the Greek depositors are worrying about the safety of their savings.

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If they continue to worry like that, and pull their money out, then

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Greece will be forced to exit. Right, so should we really worry

:06:13.:06:16.

about contagion, or is this just a little economy, and we shouldn't

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care? It is a little economy, but we should care. The reason why, is

:06:25.:06:28.

there is neither mechanism or precedent for anybody exiting the

:06:28.:06:32.

eurozone. Nobody is quite sure how it happens, and no-one is quite

:06:32.:06:38.

sure what happens there after. So there is likely to be a lot of

:06:38.:06:42.

uncertainty. People will naturally pull back from the market place.

:06:42.:06:48.

People will get cautious, and that, in itself, will translate contagion.

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The second issue is people will wonder who is next, if Greece goes.

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And people will focus particularly on Portugal. So while a Greek exit

:06:57.:07:07.

is becoming increasingly inevitable, it is also increasing --

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increasingly inevitable that it will be messy. At the summit this

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weekend, do you expect Obama, Hollande and Cameron, all to be

:07:13.:07:17.

leaning very heavily on Merkel to do more, to stop Greece from

:07:17.:07:22.

leaving? I suspect that the Americans will tell the European

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counterparts what everybody is telling their European counterparts,

:07:26.:07:29.

which is that you need to get ahead of the crisis not just catch up

:07:29.:07:34.

with it, but ahead of it. I suspect we will hear all the right things,

:07:34.:07:37.

including comments like they want Greece to remain in the eurozone.

:07:37.:07:43.

So the narrative will be supportive. The problem is the narrative is not

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sufficient it is not clear the Europeans are willing to do what is

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sufficient, especially given how messy the politics have become in

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Greece itself. Does that mean that in the case of Britain wrecks

:07:56.:08:00.

should prepare for an even longer recession, and in the case of the

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United States, you should prepare for your recovery being derailed

:08:06.:08:09.

stkph Yes, this means it will be much more difficult for any

:08:09.:08:14.

individual country to grow. When you lose your markets overseas, and

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in particular when you lose your markets in the biggest economic

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region in the world, it makes it that much tougher to grow, that

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much tough Tory generate jobs and revenue for the budget. The

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challenges that face countries like Britain and the US increases. The

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good news is neither country is near a break point. This is not

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tipping a country over a cliff, but rather making the recovery process

:08:45.:08:54.

more difficult than it is already. Greece, of course, is currently

:08:54.:08:57.

without an elected Government. New elections are scheduled for next

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month. It is thought the far left opposed to the bail out package may

:09:02.:09:06.

do well. Tim Whewell has been to the small Greek towns to find out

:09:06.:09:09.

what life is like when the money runs out.

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It is the town they boast that paid for the Parthenum, the silver

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exported from the harbour, two-and- a-half millennia ago, filled the

:09:20.:09:25.

coffers of nearby Athens. And the precious metal was mined here again

:09:25.:09:31.

in the 1880s, when French engineers built this bridge to carry the ore

:09:31.:09:36.

on to ships. But the mines are long closed. And this town, like the

:09:36.:09:46.

rest of Greece, is running out of money. The Deputy Mayor helps run a

:09:46.:09:49.

town where nearly one in three is unemployed.

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At the end of the week, when hundreds of millions of euros were

:09:53.:09:59.

withdrawn from Greek banks by nervous depositor, and Germany

:09:59.:10:02.

warned there would be no more international bail out money,

:10:02.:10:05.

unless Greece sticks to commitments to cut and cut again, he has to

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work out how to pay the council's 360 staff. TRANSLATION: It's

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dramatic, we only have money to cover two months worth of salaries.

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After two months what will happen then? We hope to get support from

:10:20.:10:24.

central Government or the EU. But if this doesn't happen, the council

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will collapse. We will have to return to our old currency, the

:10:28.:10:34.

drachma, we will be bankrupt. Shopping should have been the

:10:34.:10:38.

town's salvation, after the local textile industry followed mining

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into oblivion. Tourists, they hoped, would flock here, when the Metro

:10:42.:10:50.

line was extended from Athens. But the Metro never came. This man has

:10:50.:10:55.

seen sales in his shop decline by 30%, since the recession began to

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bite, four or five years ago. TRANSLATION: It is very difficult,

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people you have employed for many years are like a family. They are

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not just employees. These people could be out on the street, and you

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don't know what the future will hold for them. This is a town,

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built on broken dreams. Not surprising, then, that people voted

:11:20.:11:24.

overwhelmingly last week to punish the main parties. Opting instead

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for the radicals, of right and left. And all the signs are, that they

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will do the same thing again in the new elections next month.

:11:33.:11:38.

A leap into the unknown, they feel, that can't be more dangerous than

:11:38.:11:48.
:11:48.:11:51.

the hopeless reality they know. The moat tro, nobody prefers this

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place of business so they don't come here.

:11:54.:12:04.
:12:04.:12:06.

The local politician was once popular here, in this town, PASOK

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came fifth, barely ahead of the far right. This man hopes the good

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times will return to his party and his town.

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If you bring the Metro here, there will be a revival, not only for the

:12:18.:12:22.

region, but for the whole region. You are just kidding yourself, the

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truth is, the Metro will never come, because the money isn't there?

:12:27.:12:32.

believe the new Government will renegotiate the terms of the bail

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out. Not to go out, to renegotiate, so with new terms, realistic terms,

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and in the spot we are, we believe OK now we are in the bottom of the

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sea, now the only thing is to drown or go up. The young people here say

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they want the euro, but the immediate benefit of the EU to them

:12:54.:12:57.

is less its currency than its jobs market. More and more are moving

:12:57.:13:02.

abroad, or planning to. Like this young man, who trained as a captain

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in Greece's most emblematic industry, shipping, but can't find

:13:07.:13:14.

work here. We love our country, but we have to see hope in order to

:13:14.:13:22.

stay here. Here there is no hope. The clouds over this once famous

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port aren't lined with any silver now. Greece says Germany's

:13:26.:13:31.

Chancellor Merkel has suggested Greeks hold a referendum on euro

:13:31.:13:35.

membership, that is hotly denied in Berlin. In this town most refuse to

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believe that Greece has to make the choice any way. But events Maysoon

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prove them wrong. Here in the studio the nation's of

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Europe are represented from Greece, we have The Nation's magazine,

:13:47.:13:53.

Maria Margaronis, from Germany's Focus magazine, Imke Henkel, from

:13:53.:13:56.

down the road, Fraser Nelson. Whatever you make of this

:13:57.:14:01.

referendum idea, it goes to the idea heart of the dilemma for

:14:01.:14:04.

Greece. You can't have it all, you can't be in the euro and not accept

:14:04.:14:09.

the conditions for being in the euro? What people are hoping for

:14:09.:14:13.

Greece, is this impossible dilemma will shift, with the election of

:14:13.:14:17.

Hollande, the remarks made by President Obama yesterday, and the

:14:17.:14:20.

general mood shifting from austerity, and the sense that this

:14:20.:14:24.

is a crisis point. Either Greece will have to leave the euro, which

:14:24.:14:30.

will be immensely costly, it was estimated at 225 billion euros, or

:14:30.:14:35.

staying in, which will cost 65 billion euros, something will have

:14:36.:14:39.

to give. There is a real sense that if we stick to our guns something

:14:39.:14:43.

might change in Europe. And meaning in Germany, presumably?

:14:43.:14:47.

Particularly in Germany. What is Merkel's strategy, is it we must

:14:47.:14:52.

keep the euro at any cost, we are prisoners of our history, we have

:14:52.:14:55.

to be good neighbours and this has to work? I think that is very much

:14:56.:14:59.

the strategy. It really goes back to the euro being a political

:14:59.:15:04.

project. Not an economic project. It is interesting, recently someone

:15:04.:15:07.

from the Government said, we went into the euro, not to become rich,

:15:07.:15:13.

but to live in peace and to live in safety. Which is a totally

:15:13.:15:16.

different thing. That is really at the core of the problems we are

:15:16.:15:21.

seeing today. We mentioned contradictions with Maria, but

:15:21.:15:26.

there is conflict with Germany, it goes back to German history, not

:15:26.:15:29.

rewarding bad behaviour and making sure people pay their taxes, that

:15:29.:15:33.

is not going down well at home? is not, part of it is really the

:15:33.:15:37.

political failure that the Germans were pitched against the Greeks.

:15:37.:15:42.

And that we were told, we are the hard working really industrious

:15:42.:15:45.

people, and the lazy Greeks and we have to pay for them. That is not

:15:45.:15:49.

true. For example, if you look at the pension age, the average

:15:49.:15:53.

pension age for Germans and Greeks is about the same. It is not as if

:15:53.:16:01.

Greeks would go earlier. The problem for Greece is corruption

:16:01.:16:05.

and elites. Germany did profit from the euro. It is a political failure

:16:05.:16:09.

that at so point, and the politicians were clear enough

:16:09.:16:13.

saying, we get something out of it, and that's why we have to pay.

:16:13.:16:17.

Fraser, I wonder, listening to David Cameron today, there are

:16:17.:16:23.

contradictions in his position, we must have eurobonds and centralised

:16:23.:16:27.

fiscal authority, he sounds like they were ten years ago, we must

:16:27.:16:31.

have this fiscal state, but we will not be in it? He reckons he knows a

:16:31.:16:37.

solution for Europe, that you can have currency union without

:16:37.:16:44.

political union, he thinks they should merge and France and Germany

:16:44.:16:49.

cool their tax and cuts and spending. Britain is now offering

:16:49.:16:53.

diagnosis on the continent, where once it wouldn't have done. His

:16:53.:16:57.

problem, of course, David Cameron, is that pretty soon this will come

:16:57.:17:01.

to head. I suspect that Greece will leave the EU, therefore it might be

:17:01.:17:05.

up for renegotiation again. And he will have to come and work out what

:17:05.:17:09.

relationship he wants with the rest of Europe. If this does go bang,

:17:09.:17:12.

that is his opportunity to say it's time to stop giving advice to them,

:17:12.:17:16.

and start saying what Britain wants out of this. Will it be for

:17:16.:17:20.

ordinary Greek people a real humiliation to leave, or be kicked

:17:20.:17:25.

out, however you phrase it, we failed some how to live up to the

:17:25.:17:29.

expectations? I think at this point the humiliation has already been so

:17:29.:17:35.

great. The humiliation of putting one this austerity being described,

:17:35.:17:39.

movingly said, as the corrupt lazy ones who have caused the whole

:17:39.:17:45.

European crisis. I think what leaving the euro will mean is more

:17:45.:17:49.

a sense of political chaos, there is a great fear about it, it is are

:17:49.:17:53.

we going to continue to be beaten up or are we going to jump off the

:17:53.:17:58.

cliff. Which is a great choice! think for Greece too Europe was

:17:58.:18:02.

very much a political project. It was about coming out of

:18:02.:18:05.

dictatorship and becoming part of the community of nations. What we

:18:05.:18:10.

have seen now is a political polarisation in Greece, that we

:18:10.:18:13.

haven't seen since before the dictatorship. We are seeing neo-

:18:13.:18:18.

fascist MPs for the first time in parliament. This is bad for the

:18:18.:18:24.

German psyche too, presumptionably, you have Angela Merkel, this great

:18:24.:18:29.

bully -- presumptionably, you have Angela Merkel telling us what to do.

:18:29.:18:33.

If you have the Italian Government and what we prefer in France and

:18:33.:18:42.

Greece, that is extremely bad for Germany's self-image? Absolutely.

:18:42.:18:47.

It goes back to the creation of the euro as a political project. At the

:18:47.:18:52.

foundations they thought they could force the political unity through

:18:52.:18:57.

the economic unity. And now we have to pay dearly for it. The tragedy

:18:57.:19:01.

is, quite the contrary, they are not living in peace, we are not

:19:01.:19:06.

living safe, we have riots in Greece, we have the threat of

:19:06.:19:10.

possible quite extreme Government in Greece. We don't know about

:19:10.:19:16.

Spain. Spain is coming out, Spain was a dictatorship in the 1970s,

:19:16.:19:21.

Portugal was. Europe now, all of a sudden, instead of coming to this

:19:21.:19:26.

political unity, is instead on the brink of coming apart and being a

:19:26.:19:31.

danger. Is that how you see it, in the sense that it could be Spain

:19:32.:19:36.

next or Portugal next, as it was suggested, people will look for the

:19:36.:19:41.

next weakest link. Once one can go from the unbreakable union, anybody

:19:41.:19:45.

can go? Greece's economy is broadly about the size of the south-east of

:19:45.:19:50.

England. It is not a big chunk in the europuzzle, if one country can

:19:50.:19:53.

go and the drachma came back. It would be great for Greece, it would

:19:53.:19:57.

plunge in value, and be competitive again. We would go there on holiday

:19:57.:20:00.

next year. But it does set a precedent for Spain and the others,

:20:00.:20:04.

if there is one, if an exit path is beaten by Greece, with what's to

:20:04.:20:12.

stop the whole thing unravelling. Might end up basically with a

:20:12.:20:15.

harder cue, which is what the Germans would have liked. Do you

:20:15.:20:19.

accept the analysis that it is terrible for Britain, and it will

:20:19.:20:24.

prolong the recession and deepen in it? I don't, there are no good

:20:24.:20:28.

options in the eurocrisis. What is happening now is not good for

:20:28.:20:32.

Britain. You are facing a continent with internal devaluation, that is

:20:32.:20:35.

an agonising ten years of incredible austerity, that is not

:20:35.:20:39.

good for us. Our main trading partner will be on its knees, not

:20:39.:20:45.

just now, but the next ten years, there must be a quicker and better

:20:45.:20:48.

way out. It is curious that Greece, the smallest economy, holds the

:20:49.:20:53.

fate of all of us in its hands? This is a myth. We began with the

:20:53.:20:58.

myth that the eurocrisis was caused by Greek corruption and laziness,

:20:58.:21:01.

now we have the fate of the eurozone depending on the Greek

:21:01.:21:06.

elections. It doesn't. There was not a single party on May 6th that

:21:06.:21:10.

didn't demand some negotiations, some change in the austerity

:21:10.:21:15.

programme. Including PASOK, the people who brought it in. They

:21:15.:21:18.

asked for a year's extension. They knew snob would vote for them if

:21:18.:21:23.

they said it would continue as before. The fate of the euro

:21:23.:21:27.

depends on the European Commission decides, and the IMF and Angela

:21:27.:21:31.

Merkel. Angela Merkel's ears must be burning in Camp David, she must

:21:31.:21:34.

be under a lot of pressure? She's also under a lot of pressure at

:21:35.:21:39.

home. The debate is definitely in Germany is switching towards more

:21:39.:21:43.

growth. Even from her own Finance Minister. But I think there is

:21:44.:21:50.

something moving something is giving already. You are quite right,

:21:50.:21:55.

it is possible that Greece defaults and still stays in the euro and the

:21:55.:21:59.

whole project goes on. The Fiscal Compact, with all its problems, is

:21:59.:22:04.

the preparation for that to happen. It does actually prolong this

:22:05.:22:10.

mistake of putting economics in front of politics.

:22:10.:22:14.

You need lessons to drive car, why shouldn't you also need lessons to

:22:14.:22:16.

be a parent. That was the gist of David Cameron's thoughts on the

:22:16.:22:19.

Government helping pay for parenting lessons, to help solve,

:22:19.:22:22.

not just problems within families, but in society more generally.

:22:22.:22:27.

Is this almost literally the nanny state. Or a bit of original

:22:27.:22:35.

thinking. Our political editor, Allegra Stratton report.

:22:35.:22:39.

Happy families are supposed to be alike. Every unhappy family is

:22:39.:22:44.

supposed to be unhappy in its own way. But happy or at each other's

:22:44.:22:53.

throats, keeping home fires burning is no cinch. I often find, still

:22:53.:22:56.

find, I have three, and the youngest is not yet two, I still

:22:56.:23:05.

sometimes think I would love a bit more information about how to do

:23:05.:23:09.

things sometimes. This one is for fans of counter

:23:09.:23:12.

factual history, BC Dave, or before the financial crash, David Cameron,

:23:12.:23:18.

is making a comeback, this week we have had family policy, and next

:23:18.:23:24.

week we have NHS policy. The idea is to remind people of the soft

:23:24.:23:26.

soak Prime Minister David Cameron might have been before the crash

:23:26.:23:31.

and the cuts in the NHS, his adviser from earlier days, Steve

:23:31.:23:35.

Hilton, today left for California. The Government is asserting that

:23:35.:23:43.

his ideas didn't go with him. So, the Government has announced

:23:43.:23:47.

�100 parenting voucher, to be picked up from boots, an on-line

:23:47.:23:51.

information service for new parents. Advice by text message and e-mail

:23:51.:23:55.

for those with babies under the age of one month. It is also looking at

:23:55.:23:58.

bigger reforms to bring down the cost of childcare. Freeing up the

:23:58.:24:02.

red tape on who can become a childminder, to allow more to enter

:24:02.:24:06.

the market. And even the possibility it would allow parents

:24:06.:24:09.

tax breaks on childcare. You couldn't have a better example of

:24:09.:24:12.

the difficulties for Government of walking and chewing gum at the same

:24:12.:24:16.

time. They have long wanted to talk less about the deficit strictly in

:24:16.:24:21.

terms of cuts, and more about family issues, as families actually

:24:21.:24:25.

experience them. This week they scheduled a speech on the family,

:24:25.:24:30.

they jettisoned it, for what? A speech on the deficit. Nonetheless,

:24:30.:24:34.

the Prime Minister was only momentarily knocked off his stride.

:24:34.:24:38.

And this morning, before jet to go the G8, he went ahead with the

:24:38.:24:43.

fresh push for families. The plan is not just to return to the early

:24:43.:24:46.

ideas from top opposition, but early Cameron ideas. Back to the

:24:46.:24:49.

period when the leader of the party polled so much better than the rest.

:24:49.:24:54.

My wife and daughter are fast asleep, they may turn up at some

:24:54.:25:00.

stage. Someone said I'm heading for the perfect storm, children and

:25:00.:25:03.

moving house, and leadership of the Conservative Party.

:25:03.:25:08.

Perfect storm or not, it was perfect optics for his political

:25:08.:25:12.

strategists, that era was political gold. But while they may want to

:25:12.:25:15.

recreate those atmospherics, some on his own side are troubled. They

:25:15.:25:19.

believe the ideas floated today show too much money being spent,

:25:19.:25:22.

straying too deeply into our private lives. Parenting is not,

:25:22.:25:28.

they believe, something the state can teach you. There is also a

:25:28.:25:32.

subtle shift. Where as in opposition, David Cameron's

:25:32.:25:37.

emphasis on the fm family was about showing he was a modern man, but a

:25:37.:25:41.

Conservative modern man. Now they are downplaying that, it is more an

:25:41.:25:45.

economic an all sits, it is about the cost of living. If they could

:25:45.:25:50.

offer childcare tax breaks to some women in work, that could target

:25:50.:25:54.

swing voters. As Newsnight has said before, the next election will be

:25:54.:25:59.

fought on the cost of living. the cost of everything, energy

:25:59.:26:04.

bills, food, and childcare. That is the reason why childcare has moved

:26:04.:26:06.

centre stage politically, and political parties jockeying for

:26:06.:26:10.

different ways to bring down the cost to make it more flexible and

:26:10.:26:14.

useful for people. Happy political parties are so rare it is difficult

:26:14.:26:17.

to tell if they are alike. But unhappy mid-term parties are

:26:18.:26:22.

definitely unhappy in their own way. In helping families towards some

:26:22.:26:27.

peace of mind, this Government might be hoping a little joy rubs

:26:27.:26:32.

off along the way. Kirstie Allsop is an ambassador for

:26:32.:26:40.

the parenting charity, Home-Start, and we have head of the studies on

:26:40.:26:45.

parents for the University of Kent. Why does David Cameron care so much

:26:45.:26:47.

about this? Everybody cares who has children. Either you believe you

:26:47.:26:51.

can learn to be a better parent, or you think we all sink and swim and

:26:51.:26:56.

do it on ifpb stinct. He thinks you can learn to be a better parent.

:26:56.:27:00.

And the state should pay for that? I think that if we accept that xaps

:27:00.:27:05.

in the first years of your life is so -- what happens in the first

:27:05.:27:10.

years of your life, is so key to the rest of your life, then yes,

:27:10.:27:13.

the state should go involved to some extent in paying for that.

:27:13.:27:15.

you think the state should pay, because it is important for all of

:27:16.:27:19.

us and society? I fundamentally disagree with the thesis, at least

:27:20.:27:24.

Kirsty has brought out into the open that the flip side to parent

:27:24.:27:29.

training is parent blaming. The other side to all of this a very

:27:29.:27:32.

long-term argument which stretches right back to the beginning of new

:27:32.:27:35.

Labour. So it's not as if it was just yesterday that politicians

:27:35.:27:39.

have started saying that parenting is too important and too difficult

:27:39.:27:43.

to be left up to ordinary mums and dads. They have argued this for a

:27:43.:27:47.

very long time, predicated on what I perceive and believe to be an

:27:47.:27:51.

utterly dogmatic view, that what happens in the very early years of

:27:51.:27:54.

life is utterly crucial, and determines the course of, not only

:27:54.:27:58.

the lives of children, but how society generally turns out. Dose

:27:58.:28:02.

doesn't it? I don't think social problems are caused by how long

:28:02.:28:06.

women breast-feed for, how much tele they let their children watch.

:28:06.:28:09.

I don't think children's brains are being shrunken by parents at home,

:28:09.:28:14.

which on the front cover of coalition documents, there are

:28:14.:28:21.

images of shrunken brains. It is a ridiculous thesis. I'm completely

:28:21.:28:24.

with you on breast-feeding and television. That is not the issue.

:28:24.:28:28.

There are a lot of families now who are feeling pretty desperate, they

:28:28.:28:31.

are working longer hours, far more mothers working than before.

:28:31.:28:36.

Parents who are living far closer, far further from their parents than

:28:36.:28:41.

ever before. Society has changed enormously. Making childcare more

:28:41.:28:46.

affordable would be one way of doing it? We used to parent in

:28:46.:28:49.

groups. If somebody wasn't good at it, there was an aunt, a

:28:49.:28:54.

grandmother and a sibling to step in. We didn't do it in the

:28:54.:28:58.

extraordinarily lonely way we now do it. I think the loneliness is

:28:58.:29:03.

created by the fetishisation of parenting. The more you communicate

:29:03.:29:07.

to ordinary mums and dads the idea that essentially ordinary, every

:29:07.:29:11.

day thoughts of ordinary every day people are just not good enough

:29:11.:29:15.

when bringing up kids. And you need to talk to a professional. You have

:29:16.:29:20.

a created a culture where you he is strange parents from mums and dads

:29:20.:29:24.

and neighbours. You are not talking about professionals, they are

:29:24.:29:29.

volunteer mums and dads. Who has trained them. It is a myth that

:29:29.:29:33.

this is some how coming from below, it isn't? We know that you cannot,

:29:33.:29:36.

if you didn't receive good parenting yourself, it is very

:29:36.:29:41.

difficult to be a good parent. The things that you and I accept as

:29:41.:29:46.

totally normal, lots of sleep, lots of routine. You know, good

:29:46.:29:50.

understanding that no is a healthy word. Where do you learn that, did

:29:50.:29:55.

you go to parenting classes? but I would love. It is only for

:29:55.:30:01.

bad parent, not good parents like you? It is very dangerous, and I

:30:01.:30:07.

think she as right, not to talk about bad or good parenting.

:30:07.:30:14.

could have gone and paid for parenting lessons? I can't commit

:30:14.:30:19.

with my work to a night a week. I have a parenting book in my bag.

:30:19.:30:23.

I'm someone interested in being a parent. So there are bad parents

:30:23.:30:27.

aren't there? It depends how you define for it. There are better and

:30:27.:30:30.

worse parents, there always has been. One point I would like to

:30:30.:30:35.

take up. You say this isn't about breast-feeding and how much tele

:30:35.:30:39.

you watch, or for example about whether you shout at your children

:30:39.:30:46.

or you don't. All the my nugsia, all the mundane things about how

:30:46.:30:50.

ordinary mums and dads relate to their children have become

:30:50.:30:54.

politicalIsed. They are not mundane. They are, we shouldn't

:30:54.:30:59.

overcomplicate it, put it back in the box, it is not rocket science

:30:59.:31:03.

to bring up kids. People who didn't have good parenting can't do it.

:31:03.:31:08.

Who are they, who is this mass of the great unwashed useless parents

:31:08.:31:12.

who you think are out there. don't think there is the great

:31:12.:31:15.

unwashed. I'm someone who learns, every day I learn more, I look to

:31:15.:31:19.

learn. So do all of us. People are crying out for these parenting

:31:19.:31:24.

courses, people want to be. It is not very surprising, if you have

:31:24.:31:29.

had now 15 years of relentless communication that parenting is

:31:29.:31:33.

this incredibly complicated thing that you need a degree of child

:31:33.:31:38.

development before being let loose on a kid. No wonder parents have

:31:38.:31:42.

lost confidence. We need a word now on what is coming up on the review

:31:42.:31:47.

show. What have you got? I hope it will be as lively. We

:31:47.:31:51.

will be talking about a film already banned by one dictatorship,

:31:51.:31:56.

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