With Jeremy Paxman. Western governments expel Syrian diplomats; so what? Should Montenegro be allowed into the EU? Does Victoriana offer a path out of recession?
Browse content similar to 29/05/2012. Check below for episodes and series from the same categories and more!
Tonight, in a blow to several restaurants, but not much else, the
west decides to exspell some senior Syrian diplomats, as a response to
the cold-blooded murder to men, women and children, it is not what
you would call, apocalyptic, what else could they do? The United
Nations peace envoy hasn't found peace, nor does he have an
alternative to plan now roundly redundant. The six-point plan is
not being implemented as it must. We are at a tipping point. We talk
to the US State Department about what ought to happen next. Amid
street demonstrations against state corruption, why is the European
Union so anxious to admit Montenegro.
If a former Prime Minister, his best friends are Mafia bosses, I
mean, how can you say that we are not a Mafia state.
As the Government tells us to emulate the Victorians to build a
new national infrastructure, the Archbishop of Canterbury reminds us
what Dickens would have said. So you have made it, so what are
you going to do? Are you going to tread on the fingers of those who
got you there? Are you going to assume you have a God-given right
to enjoy what you have earned, because that is all that matters?
We will discuss what the Victorians did for us. And whether they are
really a role model for anyone these days.
Entire families in the Syrian town of Houla were shot dead in their
homes by members of the militia loyal to President Al-Assad. That
was the UN's verdict today, as the former secretary-general, Kofi
Annan, again pleaded for the Syrian Government to abide by the
completely unobserved ceasefire there. Impet tent western
Governments expressed -- impotent western Governments expressed what
anger they could, by throwing out Syrian ambassadors. France has made
some war-like noises too. Is there any credibility in threats of
military action? None whatsoever at the moment. President Hollande's
statement tonight that it might be possible with a UN resolution, was
a strange kind of projection. There is no prospect of a UN resolution,
people talk about Russia and China that context. Let's look at Britain,
the Foreign Secretary says diplomacy, the Annan Plan is the
only game in town. The White House explicitly ruled out forced to. All
that is left is a co-ordinated diplomatic gesture. It was co-
ordinated across Europe, a diplomatic offensive giving Syrian
officials their marching orders. From Paris to London, Berlin, Rome,
the Hague, even in Bulgaria. Similar moves from announced in
Australia, Canada and the USA too. It is all meant to increase the
isolation of the Al-Assad Government. The international
community is appalled by the violence that has continued, by the
behaviour of the regime, and by the murder of so many innocent people,
including in the terrible massacre at Houla, which was reported at the
end of last week. And to get the message across to them, that they
have to choose, time will run out. Most of the 100 or so lives taken
at Houla today, the UN confirmed today, were the result of close-
range bullet wounds by unconfirmed militia groups. This bloody
confrontation has galvanised leaders to put their weight behind,
once more, Kofi Annan, the former UN boss and peace envoy, who was in
Damascus today to underline the urgency of the situation. I shared
with President Al-Assad, my assertion that the six-point plan
is not being implemented as it must. We are at a tipping point, the
Syrian people do not want their future to be one of bloodshed and
division. Yet the killings continue and the abusers are still with us
today. What is Mr Annan's six-point plan? Effectively it is a watered-
down version of an earlier Arab League map for an orderly
The appeal for a UN monitored ceasefire was briefing observed,
but it has since collapsed, and the call for the Government to stop
using heavy weapons in population centres has been ignored. And also
the provision that there should be timely humanitarian assistance to
all areas affected by the fighting. If there is no possibility of
military action, what alternatives are there? As I was saying there,
the diplomatic package has moved further and further away are from
this Arab League plan of a few months ago, that put quite specific
details forward about how there might be a transition in Syria, the
vice-president taking over as a caretaker, elections, all that kind
of thing. It was watered down to get the Russians and Chinese on
board. The further they have gone in that direction, the less likely
it is that the Syrian opposition groups would accept this package,
and they won't. That is an important factor here, they won't
accept the Annan Plan either. In order to walk them back, the
Russians and the Chinese, towards something the Syrian opposition
would accept, there is this intensive diplomacy. William Hague
in Moscow yesterday, President Hollande, due to meet Mr Putin
later in the week. They believe that Russia is in the mood to move
back some way towards something the Syrian opposition might accept.
That is pretty much the only game in town. It is diplomatic, it is an
attempt to bring the Russians and Chinese back into a mainstream. But
it is not looking particularly likely at the moment. All the signs
on the ground seem to be of escalation. For more news of what
the international community might or can do, I spoke a short time ago
to a member of the US State Department in Washington. It was
very striking that Kofi Annan did not say that most of these killings
were the work of President Al- Assad's men, were you disappointed
by that? I think we have seen reports from the UN observers, and
the monitors on the ground, who have talked about the fact that
some of these deaths were clearly caused by heavy artillery, but also
that many of the women and children were summarily executed by these
gangs of thugs. The Shah hib bas, that Al-Assad -- shabihas that Al-
Assad employs to do his handiwork. The fact that Kofi Annan chose not
to attribute any blame, does that strike you as odd? I believe the UN
monitors on the ground that there is a clear indication that this was
carried out by Syrian forces. Again, it is just an atrocious act, and
unforgiveable, that is why we were prompted today to ask the Syrian
charges defares today here in washing don charges deaf fares to
leave. It was What was the use in that?
is a way of saying we reject your representative in Washington, and
you have crossed a line in this latest massacre. It doesn't achieve
anything, does it? We are pursuing a strategy across many fronts, we
have said we will go back to the UN Security Council, if we don't feel
Annan's plan will be successful. We are also continuing to keep up the
economic sanctions, the political pressure on Al-Assad and his regime.
The ceasefire has clearly failed, what do you want the UN Security
Council to do now? We are going to wait for Kofi Annan's deputy to
brief the Security Council tomorrow in New York, then we will continue
to or begin to consult with our partners. Secretary Clinton was
clear she would seek a chapter 7 resolution, we will continue to
consult going forward. Do you not worry that with thugs
going around, murdering children in their own homes, that this business
of trying to consult with people is all together pretty ponderous and
ineffective? Let's be clear, that it is the Al-Assad regime that is
culpable here. That is responsible for the violence. The international
community is increasingly speaking with one voice. You saw it from the
very strong Security Council statement over the weekend. Where
Russia, obvious low, and China, came on board -- obviously, and
China, came on board. We think we will bring the increasing pressure
to bear on Al-Assad. His cronies around him will increasingly look
at themselves on the wrong side of history. France has called
President Al-Assad a murderer, does the United States? Look, we have
said all along, and in fact, one of the outcomes of the last Friends of
Syria meeting, was an accountability group, we have made
very clear we will hold those responsible for perpetrating these
crimes responsible, be it Al-Assad or any of his cronies. I note you
haven't used the word "murderer", it is yet more talk of talk. But is
there any point at which you would contemplate military intervention?
We have long said that we don't believe that further militarisation
of the situation on the ground in Syria is going to do any good. What
is very clear is that we need to end the violence, Al-Assad has
shown no willingness, whatsoever, to comply with the Annan Plan. So
we are going to go back and consult with the Security Council for next
steps. Thank you for joining us.
Montenegro, how many of us could find it on a map? Yet if the
political elite in that country, and the political elite in the
European Union get their way, some time in the near future, it will
join the beacon of enlightenment, the European Union. Its tourist
board calls Montenegro the pearl of the Mediterranean. Its moral
reputation is another thing. The EU admits Montenegro is corrupt. You
might think the organisation is in if a big enough mess, not to want
to add another member with a flexible attitude for public
accounting. That would misread things most seriously.
The mountains of Montenegro fall away into the Adriatic, its marinas
and hotels rise in the other direction. The collision of ancient
towns, exclusive islands, and modern development, is pulling in
tourists and billionare investors. Now it wants to join us in the EU.
Yet, in a country of just 670 though, masses are Marching.
Furious, that instead of -- marching, furious, that instead of
benefiting from modernisation, they are paying for it.
This is the latest in a series of protests that has brought thousands
of Montenegrins out on to the streets.
They are thoughting "thieves", accusing political leaders of
looting the country they helped to build. This woman leads a growing
movement calling for a break from the past. She says the EU is
ignoring the reality of corruption. Everyone is closing their eyes to
the fact that we are living in a country where the Government and
the executive, and all parts of the power are closely linked to the
organised gangs. This is the man they blame, Milo Djukanovic, six-
times Prime Minister of Montenegro. He's filmed here helping anti-Mafia
police with their inquiries. His name topped the indictment over an
international cigarette smuggling conspiracy. The charges against him
were eventually dropped, but protestors see Milo Djukanovic, who
remains President of the Country's ruling party, as a damaging
influence. If you have a former Prime Minister
accused of the smuggling in Italy, and if his best friends are Mafia
bosses, I mean, how can you say that we are not a Mafia state.
Controversy surrounding Mr Duk stretches back a long way.
Just over 20 years ago, Milo Djukanovic became Prime Minister of
Montenegro. And ordered one of the infamous attacks of the Balkan wars.
From the high ground above Dubrovnik, his forces
indiscriminately shelled the ancient city, causing international
outrage. The seven-month siege left more
than 100 civilians dead. In the bloody wars that tore Yugoslavia
apart, Djukanovic supported the Serbs. His Government handed over
Bosnian Muslims, many of whom were murdered. Survivors were given
compensation, while Croatian neighbours received an apology for
the ruin in Dubrovnik. This is just before the siege of Dubrovnik.
Montenegrin magazine has been pursuing him ever since, arguing he
should be dealt with before the country joins Europe. I believe
this Montenegro cannot be part of the EU before we have Milo
Djukanovic charged for the financial crimes, and for the war
crimes. He made Montenegro one of the most corrupt countries in
Europe. The charges that Mr Duk and his allies have maintained -- Mr
Duk duck and his allies have maintained -- Milo Djukanovic and
his allies have relied on smuggling to earn money. At its height
cigarette smuggling kept Montenegro financially afloat. Using
speedboats, up to 70 of them, according to Italian sources. Every
night they would tear across the waters bringing illegal cigarettes
into Italy, the Mafia would distribute them throughout Europe.
The Prime Minister add mits his predecessor is controversial, but
says he has guided them towards EU membership, and refers to him by
his former title. Prime Minister Djukanovic was the leader of the
pro-independence block, he was and is still a western ally. It was him
who helped Montenegro be granted status for the EU. Mr Djukanovic
has been around in politic for 20 years, it is not easy to remain in
politics in the western Balkans and not to be treated as fairly or
unfairly and as controversial. protestors are accusing your
Government of window dressing for corruption committed under the
system of Milo Djukanovic. Do you recognise that? I think that
everybody should be duj judged by merit. I think month -- judged by
merit. I think Montenegro belongs to a rare group of countries that
go have managed to make progress on every international recoginsable
indicator. Outside the Prime Minister's office, protestors are
demanding an investigation into the privatisation programme. Which they
say has broken the back of major industries. Like alluminium. We do
not have factories any more. Our major business is smuggling. Just
across from the Monitor office, is the headquarters of Professor bank,
or First Bank, sold off by the state, it is partly owned and
controlled by the Djukanovic family. The bankers funded a lot of the
development along the coast, but there are new questions about its
operation. We have obtained documents that show, for the first
time, what was really going on inside the Djukanovic bank. This is
a report from accountants Price Waterhouse, it shows most of the
money deposited at the bank came from public fund, while two-thirds
of the money handed out in loan, went to the Djukanovics and their
asolts. The report -- associates. The
report, which was never published, shows that money went to groups
convicted of drug smuggling. And others indicted with Milo
Djukanovic by the anti-Mafia unit. This journalist said the bank had
been used as a personal cash machine. It was an ATM for the
private interests. I need to boy real estate, where do I get money?
-- buy real estate, where do I get money? I go to the bank. Nobody
noticed, Montenegro had unilaterally adopted the euro as
its currency, the economy was booming, and the coastline
transforming. The country was excitingly recast, the obvious
place to relaunch an icon of sophistication.
But the financial crisis washed up here too. And The House of Cards
collapsed. The Djukanovic Government had to bail out the
Djukanovic Bank. Then it had to be repaid confidential documents show
a series of unusual transactions. The way it went is the Government
borrowed �1 million, and the Government back to the bank, it was
�1 million. That happened 11-times. So effectively, what was happening
here? It was Ping-Pong in millions. By the end of all that, the
Government had effectively picked up the tab. That ofn't the only
oddity. The most outrageous thing we found was in 2008, the bank
failed to pay deposors in time, but they found many thousands and
millions to bank roll a concert by Madonna. The money was supposed to
come from private sponsors, instead it came mainly from public funds.
Only last week EU officials said corruption remained a serious
concern. Others have been harsher, the influential foreign affairs
magazine called Montenegro a Mafia state. Angering its Prime Minister.
That is ungrounded. How can a country that is supposed to open
accession talks next month with the EU, which is selected among the ten
most committed to transparency reforms be claimed the way it was
claimed? Whatever the ructions over Greece, the accession of the Balkan
states remains a priority for the EU. Perhaps a triumph of hope over
experience, today the commission said next month's talks will help
bring Montenegro up to European standards.
The European Commission actually has a whole arm devoted to EU
enlargement, which advises countries like Montenegro, on how
to fast-track their way into the club.
Stefano Sannino is the director- general of the European Commission
for enlargement. He joins us from Brussels. Can you tell us how the
EU would be improved by admitting a Mafia state? First of all, the
definition of Mafia state is a little bit unfair in the as soon as
when you define a whole country and condemn a whole country, it is
always some how going a little bit beyond what is the real problem,
like the one that Montenegro has concerning corruption. You accept
that corruption exists in Montenegro, don't you? We do accept,
and we have written in our report, that it remains a problem that
needs to be addressed, and continues to be addressed. We have
also written in our report that there are efforts that have been
made in the last year-and-a-half, concerning the fact that this
corruption, when it comes to the definition of a more proper legal
framework, when it comes to the development of a track record of
the fight against corruption in different phase. When it comes also
to the reaction of the civil society to the issue of corruption
in Montenegro. Is it close to doing any of those things? We believe
that a big effort has been certainly made in the definition of
a proper legal framework. Recently there has been laws that have been
passed earning the financing of political parties, or law on free
access of information. Or initiatives to avoid the conflict
of interest, there were a number of Members of Parliament who are
members of management boards of private companies, and had to
resign from their positions. From that point of view, there has been
a clear improvement. I ask you the question again, sorry to cut across
you, I ask you the question again, how is the EU improved by admitting
a country in this state? The EU has the enlargement of the EU an
element which is part of the story of the EU. It is an element that
this part of the DNA. We believe that enlarging to the western
Balkans is part of creating a narrative for the EU of
reconciliation, and of stability and security for all the countries
for the region. We believe that by improving the conditions in this
country situation, in Montenegro, also the situation in the European
Union, it can improve in terms of stability and security. Is anyone
in Brussels considering whether this policy of constant enlargement
is a sensible one? We believe that in spite of the fact it may be now
that the appetite for enlargement may be reduced, it is still one of
the most successful policies of the EU. If we think in terms it of the
enlargement to the centre of western European countries, or to
the countries that are coming out from dictatorship, like Spain,
Portugal or Greece. These are all elements that have created again
stability, security and better prosperity, even in the European
Union. Your definition of stability is very interesting, I wonder
whether in the current circumstances, it might be thought
wise to put some of this expansion on hold, while you sort out the
crisis in the euro? The euro crisis has not been determined by the
enlargement in central and eastern European countries. There are
problems that are touching countries that were, very very
beginning of the story of the union itself. I wouldn't say this is a
problem of enlargement. It is a problem of the countries of the
European Union. I do understand that determination to move ahead in
the area of enlargement, is now being used, and member states are
asking us to be much more careful in the process. In making it sure
that if and when we are admitting the member states, we are making
sure it has all the capacities to - - capacity to bear the
responsibilities and duties of a report member-state. Thank you for
joining us. To the second of our films looking
at this country through the eyes of three English authors. Shakespeare
last night, Dickens tonight. The Prime Minister keeps banging on
about how essential it is for this country to rediscover the spirit
which drove the Victorian, to build railways, waterways and sewers. He
appears to believe that such a dediscovery is the only way to stop
us falling further behind other western countries. As the man who
dropped down the chimney in Nicholas Nickleby, bring on the
lightning, a clean tumble or a corkscrew.
-- a clean tumbler, or a corkscrew. It was the best of times, it was
the worst of times. There is now an urgent need to build for the future,
with as much confidence and ambition as the Victorians once did.
It was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness.
Infrastructure isn't just about business, it is an all pevasive
force in society too. Money can do anything. What is it people want
for the future? They want reasonable things, a decent home, a
clean environment, jobs for their children. Please, Sir, can we have
some more. Every transforming generation in our history, has left
a legacy like their's. I say, we must get out, be bold, and create a
legacy of our own. God bless us, every one.
Enormous heaps of earth and clay were thrown up, wrote Dickens,
about the railway coming to Camden Town in London. He could have been
decribing the CrossRail project in the capital today.
Is this the kind of thing that Mr Cameron had in mind when he talked
about the new Victorian. This huge great piece of kit, tunnelling
under the surface of London. Well, the Victorians would certainly
recognise the enterprise and the ambition, if not the same scale of
this. Because the first underground
railways anywhere, were excavated beneath this city, years ago by the
Victorian. They followed almost -- 150 years ago by the Victorians.
They followed exactly the same route. The scale of things we are
doing today are comparable, they are bigger, larger and more
sophisticated. But there is a sense of going back to the Victorian days
to value infrastructure across the UK. It is not only great public
works that we associate with the Victorians.
In layman's terms, the adjective "dixenian" is a darker vision, it
is the other side of the coin of industrial development, it is
exploitation, poverty, hopelessness. Are we living through Dickensian
times, as most of us would understand the term? My main sense
is an anxiety that the gulf between the top and bottom of the economic
ladder has grown and is growing. That is not something we really
tackled. Are you disappointed? feel disappointed? I think I do.
I think there have been moments in the last decade and more, when
perhaps we might have been able to take a different line. So many
people have said, privately and publicly, the financial crisis
means there is no going back, we can't restore the boom economy
there was, we have to think again about what wealth is for. We have
to think again about the role of trust, and personal relationship in
business. I think, yes, yes and yes, and where are the signs of it. So a
couple of challenges we haven't risen to, with a generosity that
Dickens might have encouraged us to feel.
Dickens travelled to Preston by train, to report on the lot of the
industrial working-class. His novel, Hard Times, based on his
experiences in the North West, documents their punishing working
lives, and unenviable living conditions.
Team was king, powering Britain's factories and ships. And the
railways, of course. We are on our way. This is
fantastic. Times were hard, as Dickens observed, but at least
there was plenty of working to around. The boys and girls of the
Ribble Steam Railway, keep the Victorian dream alive here. But
what about life in the rest of Preston, in the time of David
Cameron's new Victorians. Preston is a post-industrial city.
It has levels of unemployment which actually affect the national
average, it also has underemployment. It still has many
of the problems that it had in the 19th century, about people not
being able to get enough money to meet the costs of their daily lives.
I think he would recognise those issues if he came here today. There
isn't so much of the philanthropy that there was in the 19th century
here either. There isn't the great infrastructure projects, there
aren't people leaving vast legacies to build things like the Harris
Museum. The fine classical facade of the Harris Museum, is testament
to the days when city fathers put their hands in their own deep ducts,
-- pockets to make Preston proud. If we are return to boldness, we
shouldn't forget what is happening in our own back yards. I would like
to think the Prime Minister is right about living in an age of
national ambition. Its not just about national ambition, it is
about and civic ambition, about the sense of the real pride about the
immediate environment. The great relic of Victorian life in Leeds,
Manchester and Cardiff. Where you see how people invest themselves in
belonging together in a city that they are proud of.
That we have lost, and I would like to see that coming back on to the
radar strongly. Preston's one place where they have
always talk local. Lusty-voiced, amateur singers, are tuning up for
a great anniversary. It isn't the Jubilee.
It is a celebration, which only comes around once every 20 years.
Of the early traders who got together in these parts back in the
Middle Ages, to form something known as the Preston build.
-- Preston guild. It is all about communities, and how much we all
enjoy being together. We have the Olympics and the Jubilee on the
back burner and celebrating the Guild. Why is it so good? It is
Preston girls, far more important than anything going on in the
country, the world actually. The poet Lemn Sissay, a Lancashire
lad himself, has written Anwar them to be performed at the Guild
festivities later in the year. A celebrated writer, who travelled
to Preston many years before Sissay, was also interested in the lives of
people. Communities. And how they fared in the shadow of the grand
project. -- in the events of their day.
was incredible about Dickens, is he was in the middle of the Victorian
boom. The celebration of greater ambition, and what he would do is
each day, he would walk the streets of London, for two hours. Dickens
saw the people, where as the narrative spoke about the great
nation. There was a difference between the narrative of the great
nation, and the people on the street.
But while Dickens studied the lot of the Victorian working-classes,
his ideas about how to help them ran on conventional lines.
He didn't want them to get above their station, says one historian
He's not really about systemic change. That's the great paradox at
the heart of Dickens heart, although he was a performer, and
want to go make life better for people. In terms of what he's want
to go do in the novel, it is conservative. He has found a way of
healing the lives of the main characters, and how they get healed
is through individual acts of love, kindness and charity. They are not
through wholesale intervention by the state.
As you say, there is this thread in Dickens that it is not just about
making money, it is what you do with it. Have we lost sight of that,
if not, are people putting enough back, business oblig e. Right from
the start you have Dickens characters who are ludicrously
generous, the Cheeryble brothers in Nicholas Nickleby. But Dickens is
pointing out the fact that these people have used their prosperity
for others. The next point is you have made it, will you tread on the
fingers of those who got you there, or assume a God-given right to
enjoy what you have earned, that is all that matters, or will you see
it in terms of responsibility. is something they could perhaps
learn a few miles down the road? think Dickens would have
interesting novels to write about the city in the early 21st century.
It is more general than that, a climate which is often fearful of
those above and he below on the social ladder, and therefore, fist-
clenching, anxious, not generous, and if there is one thing that
Dickens is absolutely preoccupied with, obsessed with, is how you let
go of that anxiety. That clutching your resources to yourself. You
have to grow through generosity, that is, I think, the Dickens
lesson I would want to see etched in granite across this country.
Fresh from the work horse are historian and MP, Tristram Hunt,
who wrote Building Jerusalem, the rise and fall of the great city.
An ardent Dickensian, and historian and author, Kate Williams. Are you
an ardent Victorian as well? Yes, but there are lots of kal fires.
But they are living -- qal -- The inequality, continuing now, was of
great concern. Jo it seems mistaken to link Dickens to the Victorians.
He has talked about the Victorian writer, but most of his writing was
pre -Victorian period. I would have thought one of the key things about
the Victorian era, is by the late Victorian era, Britain had passed
its appag y. Above all manufactureed and machine tools, is
that Britain had already been overtaken by the Germans and United
States. Also a public school ethic which had enormous importance and
had a disastrous impact on the future of British Industry and
economy. I think it is right. What is interesting about Hard Times,
which is one of the few moments when Dickens goes outside of London.
I don't think it is a particularly successful book, but the philosophy
he was wrestling with there, is the philosophy of utilitarianism, he
was going to call it other things. He was battling against the
amorality of the Industrial Revolution, not just pollution and
commiseration. That is a philosophy of the 1810s and 20s, and through
to the Victorian period. Dickens is dealing, Max is right. He writes
about the earlier work house, the work house is continuing. Exactly
the same system. This is the concern. The philosophy of the new
poor law, again, is a pre-Victorian deal. What about the idea of the
constant invocation of the new Victorian cage? God forbid, I can't
think of anything more disastrous. In particular, the public school
ethic, this is not a class issue, but in terms of the ethic that the
public schools are perpetrated, the obsession with the arts and classic,
the anti-scientific bias in for public schools, and will be
disastrous for Britain in the next century. That is one story in it, a
story which David Cameron doesn't understand. He wants these big
infrastructure project, HS2, CrossRail, and pour more money into
London. The whole point about the Victorian period is you had an
equality. Manchester, Glasgow and- on-Trent, were as important as
London. If you are really a modern Victorian, you begin HS2 in
Manchester. Manchester was theed modern city? It was built on the
free trade principle. You have such wealth and civic pride there, you
didn't need the loose, 18th sent free London, which Cameron seems to
have. That is what we don't have. The notion of our moral-owned
responsibility. The Victorian, wherever they could, did believe it.
When we think about the perception and coverage of the Greek crisis,
Christine Lagarde is saying they spent too much and they don't
deserve our help. That is a complete Victorian notion of the
deserving poor. That is what we are interesting to look at.
The great thing about the Victorian, for all the stuff about balancing
the books, they weren't afraid of debt. How did they build the Town
Halls and infrastructures, local authorities could go massively into
debt. That is how they could achieve so much. All the Thatcher
stuff aboutle baing the book, and what my Victorian grandmother told
me. Are we saying, the one thing that Victorians were really good at
was local Government. Local self- Government was the abiding idea
they had which they traced back to the Saxons. This what partly gave
the energy to the cities of the Victorian period, such prowess.
is changing things when sawers are sunk and drains are laid on and
water and electricity and glass. These are seen as public goods. Is
something changes when they become a matter of private enterprise and
there is some small obscure item on a balance sheet out some where.
do did they begin, we have this array of train stations, our
Fenchurch, Canon, King's Cross. Because private enterprise does it
to begin with. It is not the most efficient manner. Only in the
latter half of the 19th century do you begin to get a proper sensible
direction, and state intervention, to deliver these things. This idea
of the Victorian period being minimalist, and night watch line is
a charicature. We would only agree that only very stupid people
idealise the Victorian era. What I mean is although the Victorians had
a colossal energy, when one look f one says if Dickens were here now,
would he recognise anything he said. He would recognise people like Bob
scam diamond, and embrace these people, as living descendants of
all the ghastly Nicholas Nickleby that he wrote about. On the other
hand, the era of absolute poverty, that he wrote about. Unspeakable
poverty, in both town and country, thank God, is no longer with us.
is coming back because of the dismandling of the benefits system.
We are becoming the virsorian d dismantling of the benefits system.
We are becoming like the -- Victorians dismantling the benefits
system. We are increasingly turning into a Victorian version, as the
benefits system is dismantled, do we put everyone in a bubble.
think the idea of workfulness, duty, that non-conformist inheritance.
Kate Williams was talking a lot about, the ideas of the
philanthropy and so on? We don't have that now. I would have thought
philanthropy was always a minority activity. I would have thought we
still have a terrific, all the modern Sainsbury's, and such like.
Now we get a tax break. I'm not persuaded there are any
more or fewer than there were now. What we don't have, which is what
they had, are those middle-class, non-conformists, who readered
themselves in competition with each other, and sought to emulate each
other, to give money to the Harris Museum, the Town Hall, the park, as
part of their civic duet. We don't have the -- duties. You don't have
head offices, you have branches in Leicester, in Nottingham, you don't
have the civic elite in bed with the community. You are right about
that, it is very important. A lot of these people are driven by very
strong impulses? We have to figure out how to get back there.
notion that we have responsibility, it will turn a searching eye that
we see ourselves as disadvantaged because we don't have three
holidays a year, that is why we don't give money to the poor people
in this country. We expect the state to sort everything out.
year we commemorate the sent teenry of Octavia Hill, a strong belief
that there should be a respectable working-class, that they had duties
as well as rights. The 5% fall lanthropy meant you paid your --
philanthropy meant you paid your bills in the right time.
Increase reeing we will see only the good poor -- increasingly we
will see only the good poor get anything. We are living in harsh
world. Back to the Victorians, they lived on this massive commercial
empire of exploitation. On Thursday our series continues with a look at
what the changing times of James Bond tell us about Britain's place
in the world. We are on set with the producer, Michael G Wilson.
have informally spoken with various people who are part of the British
SAS, or SBS, it isn't as far fetched as you might think.
Tomorrow morning's front pagess now:
That's all tonight, tomorrow lots on what will happen if Greece takes
a nose dive out of the sky. The Beach Boys are visiting for a one-
off concert in Wembley. # The sun tanned bodies and wave of
sunshinele Michael foreignia girls with the
beautiful coast line # Warmed up weather, let's get
together and do it again -- # Californian girls with the
beautiful coastline Some sunshine, more showers thaned
today. A bright, sunny start for England and Wales. The cloud
increase, the showers developing, they move across from the west.
Fairly well scattered showers s most on the light side. There will
be sunshine inbetween the showers across northern England and the
Midland. When the sunshine is out it shouldn't feel too bad. Des
might showers, highest temperatures 24. Not far off today. Cooler for
the south west of England, showers easing down, later on in the
afternoon, with more sunshine. Wales as the showers moves in order
warts across the country, the south of -- in other words across the
country, the south of the country will have better weather. More
cloud in Northern Ireland than today. A bit cooler. For most of
In-depth investigation and analysis of the stories behind the day's headlines with Jeremy Paxman.
Western governments expel Syrian diplomats; so what?
Should Montenegro be allowed into the EU?
Does Victoriana offer a path out of recession?