12/06/2012 Newsnight


In-depth investigation and analysis of the stories behind the day's headlines with Jeremy Paxman.

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The United States believes the Russians are sending military


helicopters to Syria. The Secretary of State's warning came this


evening. We are concerned about the latest


information we have that there are attack helicopters on the way from


Russia to Syria. Which will escalate the conflict quite


dramatically. At least 50 people are said to have died in Syria


today. What will this intervention do to what the UN now calls a "full


scale civil war ". Brussels plans a system to link all


the banks of Europe to make the eurozone secure. Paul Mason is in


Athens. Locking Europe's banking systems


together, might save this place, but it would change Britain's


relationship with the continent forever.


Could such an institution save a currency in such deep trouble that


George Osborne today openly discussed the benefits of a Greek


exit. We will hear from Berlin, Strasbourg and from London.


The Lib Dem leader contradicts Cameron and tells his cabinet


colleague, the Culture Secretary, you're on your own in tomorrow's


vote in the House of Commons. A former Prime Minister discloses the


price Murdoch sought for his endorsement. He wished me to change


our European policies. If we couldn't change our European


policies, his papers could not and would not support the Conservative


Government. Also, a stand-off with one of Britain's most violent young


offenders in his new �20,000 cell. We go inside the wing where they


handle the most violent teenagers in British jails.


It is only a belief, a suspicion, an accusation, but it is a Sirius


one. The Russians are shipping attack helicopters to support


President Al-Assad in Syria, according to the US Secretary of


State Hillary Clinton tonight. If if she didn't look or sound like a


woman warning of world war III, if did sound like the bad old days of


the Cold War. This, on day when the UN head of peacekeeping said the


conflict was now full scale civil war.


Our diplomatic editor Mark Urban is here. How did this revelation come


about? A bit of a bolt from a blue. The Israeli President was on a


visit to Washington. He and the Secretary of State did an event,


and she was asked about the issue of Russian arms supplies. We have


confronted the Russians about stopping their continued arms


shipments to Syria. They have, from time to time, said that we


shouldn't worry, everything they are shipping is unrelated to their


actions internally. That's patently untrue. And we are concerned about


the latest information we have, that there are attack helicopters


on the way from Russia to Syria. Which will escalate the conflict


quite dramatically. Do you think it will escalate the


conflict dramatically, as she puts it? I don't think it would, no. It


is an exaggeration. Bear in mind that Syria already has something


approaching 200 Russian-made helicopters, about half of them


armed or gunship helicopters. They have been filmed. This footage,


taken by the BBC, in northern Syria, of this Mil-17-Hip, machining


gunning positions of the Syrian national army. Other pictures show


these helicopters firing rockets at the ground. This confronts the


Russian lie that these are not being used on the civilians in


military operations. The close- range nasty intercommunal violence


with militia groups and other murder gangs going around stirring


it all up is the issue. It is an escalation on the diplomatic level,


the US trying to push yau, into a more robust line. We have seen a


lot of information published about Russian ships docking in ports,


delivering Syrian arms. It is all campaign to put pressure on the


Russians, in particular. What is the Russian game in this? It is a


big geopolitical thing. As far as they are concerned they say they


have no interest in the survival of the Al-Assad regime, per se, that


is the line they have used in recent weeks. They do seem to feel


that this group of people around them, many of them Russian-trained


generals, and people who they have cult vailted for many years around


him, -- cultivated for many years around him, are national interest,


they should stay in power as a bulwark against Saudi and Sunni


forces, they would see as taking over there.


We have the director of the Middle East centre in the LSE, and our


guest from waarken to, the director of the Euraisa group's Russian team.


What do you think President Putin's reaction is likely to be to this


ultimatum, threat or menace from Hillary Clinton? He won't be very


happy. Mr Putin, who I have met a few times, is a tough customer. He


will not be shamed, he doesn't mind being named. He will just put his


next foot forward. I think we have a bit of a stand-off here now.


does it seem from a Middle East point of view, this is not new this


Russian arms supply to Syria. At this point it seems a strange thing


for the ruarks to do, doesn't it? Not at -- The Russians to do,


doesn't it? Not at all, Russia is the main supplier for Syrian arms,


helicopters, jets, tanks and what have you. As your guest has just


said, Syria has scores of armed helicopters. Syria has no shortage


of armed helicopters. Syria has utilised armed helicopters, and in


the last few days, extensively. I think Clinton's statement, and this


is the point, is designed to exert more pressure on the Russian


leadership in order to stop supporting the Al-Assad regime. In


fact, statement itself testifies to the fact that the Obama


administration, as you know, has been trying to co-opt the Russians


to get a Security Council resolution and exert more sanctions


on Syria and the threat of force. It seems to me a rift has developed


between Washington and Russia. The second point, that hasn't received


any attention, Clinton warned the Syrian leadership against massing


groups in Alapo, that is a city that faces Turkey. This tells but


the implications, the potential that the Syrian conflict could


merge into a region-wide conflict. Syria has already become a


battleground, a war for proxy for regional players and we are seeing


the Russians and the Americans clashing over Syria at this point.


Does this seem to you to be a purely diplomatic manoeuvre that is


being engaged in here? Not really. It doesn't to me. I have a


different take than your other guest. I think it is a real big


deal when a global power sends attack helicopters on the very same


day the UN use the words "civil war" for the first time. On the


same day that a report documenting unspeakable atrocities has come out.


This is direct intervention in a military conflict by Russia. Now,


yes, there is stand-off, there is a diplomatic stand-off going on here.


But I think it is more than that. I think the Russian, I think the


secretary was right in calling it escalatory. How do you think, you


don't think this could evolve into any kind of military confrontation


between the two great powers, do you? Ironically an American general


was asked today why the Americans, the American military does not


really stop the shipment of Russian arms into Syria, his answer was,


well the administration has not made a decision to basically stop


the shipments. He said the question is not whether Syria receives arms,


the question is what does Assad do with the arms. The reality is, we


do have a stand-off, between Russia and the United States, and the


Russian-American rivalry over Syria has really exacerbated the Syrian


conflict. There is no doubt that Russia's support for Syria has


emboldened the Assad regime, and allowed him to do what has been


doing for the last 14 months. Are we closer to any outside


intervention in Syria? I doesn't doubt it very much. There is no


political will, on the part of the United States or the international


community, to intervene in Syria. The consensus in Washington is


military intervention would exacerbate an already dangerous


situation, and would turn into a region-wide conflict. Where


Hezbollah, Iran and Saudi Arabia would become involved, and also the


spill over into neighbouring countries, particularly Lebanon.


are led to believe then that these are rather hollow words by the


Secretary of State? I don't think they are hollow words, I think it


is a shot across the bough to Russia to stand down. There are


ways across this, the President of Yemen where the Dayton accords and


the power-sharing agreements in the Balkan agreement, there are -- the


Balkan conflict, there are model, but the Russians have to stop


saying no to everything. Which is there policy. I think this is


running through the hole and call your bluff, and make you play a


constructive game rather than an obfuscating role. You think that Mr


Putin is person who might take that opportunity? To Play a more


constructive game. Yes. Not when he has been caught shipping attack


helicopters over to Syria. I think when they take on more wart he,


taking bad press -- more water, taking bad press throughout the


world. The Secretary of State was right to call him out today. Things


are looking worse and worse in Syria? Absolutely. I think that


Syria is nearing the end of the point of no return. It is nearing


the tipping point. Syria reminds me of Lebanon during the first phase


of the 1975-1976 war. Massacres, assassination, car bombings,


neighbours turning against neighbours, communities against


communities. In Syria the Syrian Government is losing control of


areas of Syria, and losing its monopoly on the use of force. That


is Sirius situation. There is plan to safety trembling


banks of Europe, and therefore the euro. It is said to approve a first


stage of a banking ewe union in the eurozone at a summit this summer.


The British Government said it supports the scheme, yet earlier


today the Chancellor of the Exchequer was wondering aloud if it


would take the departure of Greece for the Germans to sign up for the


scheme. Something more is need for the bail out of troubled Spanish


banks, that was supposed to restore confidence there and didn't


convince the international money markets today. Last night Paul


Mason was in Madrid, on his no so grand tour, tonight he's in Athens.


Here in Athens we are in the last few days of a very important


election campaign. Opinion polls are banned. But it feels to me,


having been here half a day, speaking to contacts and ordinary


people, it is still 50-50 whether the Conservatives win this or the


far left party, Syriza. If they win, as their leader, Alexis Tsipras


said today, a new era starts on Monday. They scrap the bail out


conditions and throw the ball back into the European Union's court.


The old era is looking dodge year, the Spanish debt costs today rose


to their highest-ever in the eurozone, nudging the point of


uncontrollability, despite the bail out. So, what we have seen is bait


of choreography from the called mass Masters of the Universe, the


people supposed to run the whole system. Finally Doug a bit less


running and floundering, with this proposal of a banking union in


Europe, in the form of a plan from Mr Barroso. The eurocrisis needs a


circuit breaker. For months the leaders have struggled to find one.


The President of the European Commission proposed a European


banking union. He wants to flip the switch, sharpish. The commission in


this debate will be for a structured and ambitious approach,


that may include what you can call a banking union. Some elements of


this banking union will be more integrated financial supervision,


and also more integrated deposit guarnantees. And I think it is


important we have this long-term vision about more Europe. Here is a


clue to the size of the problem, when the European Central Bank lent


over a trillion euros to EU banks on rather favourable terms a few


months ago, there was no shortage of takers. We don't know the exact


figures, or participant, we found out quite a bit about the health of


the sector. Banks in Austria, Netherlands, Ireland, Denmark,


Britain and Spain. Barroso's plan involves moving rapidly towards a


common supervision system, and a common bail out fund, raised


through a levy on the banks themselves. Deeper reforms, like a


common deposit guarnantee and formal commitment to tax-payers to


fund cross-border bail out, would require a treaty change. But, says


Mr Barroso, the first phase could be agreed at the European Council,


this month, and implemented as early as January 1st next year. The


plan comes as the focus of the euro crisis has switched from


Governments struggling to borrow, to banks struggling to stay solvent


as losses on property loans mount, and billions of euros fly out of


the system to safe havens. Germany has already signalled its


support for common supervision, and Newsnight understands, Angela


Merkel is now ready to sign up to the first phase of a banking union


at the European Summit. The plan comes as the focus of the


eurocrisis has switched from Governments struggling to borrow,


to banks struggling to stay solvent as losses on property loans mount


and billions of euros fly out of the system to safe havens.


TRANSLATION: We do want Europe, we do want more Europe, but I want a


Europe in which it is always made certain that joint accountability


and joint control are always in one hand. There is a near consensus


amongst political leaders in Germany, business leaders, and


indeed senior bankers, and top officials, that the answer to the


eurozone crisis is more Europe, loosely defined, more integration.


Almost nobody is saying the reverse. There are one or two people in the


Bundesbank, who are not in favour and would be happy if it broke up.


And one 0 two maverick euro-sceptic academics saying the euro is bad


for Germany, they are very isolated. Britain has signalled its support


for the plan, agreed last week at the called quad of senior ministers


and at the cabinet today. But the UK will stay out of the union. Veto


any attempt to impose it beyond the eurozone, and insist on a


strengthened single market for financial services across the 27EU


countries, protecting the City of London.


Ever since the euro crisis started here in Greece, the focus has been


on bailing out countries, now the focus is definitely on bailing out


banks. Because money is flowing out of the system here and out of other


stressed peripheral economies. But the banking union, as a solution,


poses the question, point blank, who is in, and who is out?


But the circuit breaker might come too late. On Sunday Greece votes,


the left, Syriza, stands a chance of winning, and it would cancel the


austerity programme demanded during the write-off of the country's


debts. In any case, some think there are big problems with the


whole concept of the banking union. I think it is quite easy to levy a


criticism at European politicians and commissioners and say they are


just trying to do union of any description, because that's their


agenda and actually it is putting all Europe's sovereign invalids


together, which isn't going to make the situation better for anyone. I


think that is a mistaken view on it. And taken by euro-sceptics, the key


to the euro-system survival is integration or bust, there is very


little inbetween. Meanwhile, this is a scene from the


Europe they are trying to save. Miners in the Spanish provinces,


protesting about job losses, after the Government withdrew their


supsidies. Europe can at least measure its


banking and bond risks in tenths of one per cent. The social risks of


failure are, in some parts of southern Europe, off the scale.


Paul's still in Athens. Are the Germans likely to fall for this


scheme. Mr Barroso wouldn't have made the point so strongly today,


come out, with the proposal, unless he was getting big signals, and I


understand he is, from the CDU, from Merkel's Government, that they


are going to support phase 1, the du doable bit that they can decide


at the end of the month of banking union, likewise voices in the ECB


are being put behind that. There is a theory out there, among people


close to the loop, it is a were, that the Germans are in the process


of deciding that the future of Europe will look like who will go


with them, which countries might not make it. Obviously with Mr


Osborne raising the possibility of Greece here not making it through


to the much more tightly integrated Europe that is being designed. One


has to hope that somebody is indeed designing the future of Europe.


Because day by day, as we cover this, the surface impression


remains that nobody is really designing much.


Thank you very much. Our political editor, Allegra Stratton, is here


today. There were some surprisingly frank words from George Osborne


weren't there? An American journalist once said gap is when a


politician speaks the truth. Today George Osborne suggested this idea


that he was possibly speaking off the record, but his aides are not


resigning from his comments, that it might be best for Germany if


Greece were to leave the Europe, because the German public would


have a greater sense of clarity of there being resolution within the


eurozone to deal with various countries, and Greece wasn't one of


those countries that was prepared to deal with it. Is this what is


known as being helpful? He's incredibly frustrated. Some of his


friends talk about his stories from some G20/eurozone meetings where


people are playing on their I pads rather than coming up with


pollution -- iPads rather than coming up with solutions. His


frustrations is coming through. Equally, Paul used the phrase,


"people close to the loop", many people don't think there is a loop


and people are close to the game plan. And other people saying


really Barroso could legislate with all these eurozone economies for


the beginning of January 2014, that is very quick and unlikely even


Barroso's plan is being met with raised eyebrows inside Government


right now I think there is a sense that we are hearing concrete plans,


but actually the likelihood of them being realised is still, very, very


small. One further thing, there is a growing number of people within


cabinet who think this entire chaos should be used as way in which to


back out of Europe. We might explore that later on.


Here also tonight we have Joe Johnson, the business ministers's


Parliamentary Private Secretary, an opening bowler for the House of


Commons cricket team. We have the chair of the European Parliament's


economic affairs committee in Strasbourg, and from Berlin we have


the head of the Berlin stock exchange.


Let's go to Strasbourg, do you think this is a good idea?


banking union? Yeah. There are elements of a good idea in it. One


of the things it recognises is that banking supervision has to take


account of what monetary policy is. So to have the ECB involved in


supervision of eurozone banks, and therefore taking account of


eurozone monetary policy in that supervision is a good idea. The


parallel to that is, of course, that it would mean that in the


United Kingdom then the Bank of England would be able to continue


to have some adjustment in banking supervision, in line with the


policies that we were setting. So there is some happy parallels there.


There is a lot more that we would have to do. There is concern, I


think, as to whether Germany actually would have all their banks


in it. They tend to talk about the largest banks. Let's go to Berlin


and find out does it seem a sensible idea to you there?


Obviously it is feasible with having a centralised supervision,


most likely that will happen, but please remember we have the EAB in


London, there is almost something already in place. The EAC doesn't


have the power which is -- EAB doesn't have the power needed for


centralised supervision, and the ECB might be better suited to do


that. The second part is there should be a joint debt insurance


system, here I believe we first need some kind of fiscal common


policy. And the third bit would be some kind of institution which


deals with failed banks, which currently happens on national level,


and then should happen on a European level. The British


position has been that we want the euro to succeed. So we think this


is a good idea, do we? Britain is supportive of anything that


resolves the eurocrisis, and this is potentially the big bass zook ka


that the eurocrisis -- bazooka that the eurocrisis has been waiting for


years. If it resolves the crisis, Britain won't stand in the way of


it. We won't be part of any banking union, but we won't be part of the


problem. We are in favour of the eurozone taking the medicine, but


not taking it ourselves? Osborne has made clear he's happy for


eurozone countries to go ahead with banking union, but Britain would


want safeguards to protect British tax-payers, and to make sure that


the single market continues to be the property of all 27 member-


states. And isn't arrogated to the signatories of the Fiscal Compact


or members of a banking union. you think the German people be


prepared to see perfectly decent German banks used to prop up flakey


foreign banks? Only if there is a control element in it. I believe if


the control, the budget control has been influenced by German


politicians then, then the German taxpayer is willing to risk moving


some of its tax into banks which fail in different nations.


Britain would be right to worry, wouldn't they, about some of the


implications of an agreement like this? Yes, I think we would have to


get the balance right, in the model that I'm envisaging where the


European Central Bank does the actual supervision, or the high-


level supervision of the banks. There would still be the European


banking authority, which is in London, and that would be looking


after the single market side. We still would have common rules about


our financial services industry being able to have passports into


doing business in other European countries. That's not going to stop


and we still would have the EBA as the referee for that. We would have


to make sure the voting rules were changed so that the eurozone didn't


always outvote everybody else. I think that could quite easily be


done. When it comes to market infrastructure, that is talking


about whether you are operating in euro, it has been said by the E --


ECB that they would want everything cleared by the eurozone, they don't


do that in the United States with dollars. We would demand that there


wouldn't be discrimination that have kind. That would be the single


most important thing for the City, and many other things flow from


that. Do you think that an agreement like


this would require revisions of European treaties? Foingsly, a


banking union might -- potentially, a banking union might. There are


many different variations of fiscal union and banking unions. Wouldn't


this country be committed to a referendum on membership of the


whole thing? The Government's position is pretty clear, it is set


down in legislation, if there is a transfer of powers or competences


away from the UK to Brussels, then that would automatically trigger a


referendum. But that need not necessarily apply in the case of


this sort of a thing? Ultimately it will be a political decision as to


whether closer fiscal and economic co-ordination among the eurozone


members or the Fiscal Compact members, which is a broader group


of countries, constitutes a transfer of powers from Britain.


Personally I think it is certainly, you can see the strengthening of a


group diminishes the relative standing of a country outside of


that group, in relation to that group. But it doesn't necessarily,


in legal terms, constitute a transfer of powers. It is a


political shift of power, not necessarily a legal one. But the


question of where exactly the national interest lies is a


difficult one, isn't it? Certainly, and Britain's national interest is


in resolving this eurocrisis, that is why Britain is supporting


measures po, tensionly, such as the banking union, that might do that.


The British Chancellor today, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, said


that it might require a Greek exit to make Germany take the crisis


sufficiently seriously how does that play in Germany? We call this


a Lehmans event. There is actually discussion in Germany if it might


be a healthy thing to go through an exercise like that. It is pretty


drastic, but I believe the eurozone could demonstrate they could


survive an exit of a country from the euro. That would stablise on


the one hand, on the other hand it would discipline everybody else.


I'm not sure if that is the right approach. I personally think you


should try everything to keep Greece in the euro, we should try


everything to avoid further distance between the most important


financial centre in Europe, which is London, from mainland Europe. I


think it is very important that if you have a banking union, with 25


banks, or so, that we stay as close as possible to what happens in the


UK, because we depend in mainland on London and the City. I think the


other way round as well. From your point of view, supposing there were


this banking union, which didn't involve Britain, for obvious


reasons, would that be in, would it do Britain any good or not?


wouldn't do Britain any good, it wouldn't do Europe any good.


Because the financial system is very much interwoven, and having a


two-speed Europe is bad thing, and having two different financial


systems in place, might make things even worse. I can see that there


will be a lot of arguments coming up between banks sitting in London,


and banks sitting in Europe. Thank you all very much indeed.


Now, when Jeremy Hunt, the embattled Culture Secretary, faces


the House of Commons demands tomorrow that he be investigated


for alleged breaches of the Ministerial Code, he will do so


without the aid of some of his supposed allies. The Lib Dem


leaders has told his MPs to abstain, when the man he shares a cabinet


table with faces censure tomorrow. One might say with friends like


this...He Survived Leveson, but not the Lib Dems. They had a meeting


this evenings, and Nick Clegg told them to abstain on a vote tomorrow.


It won't be critical in terms of the Government losing the vote. But


it will be embarrassing, or a sign to Jeremy Hunt that his Lib Dem


colleagues don't support him not having been referred to Sir Alex


Allan who is the Prime Minister's adviser on the Code of Conduct


issues. Is it surprising that Nick Clegg is behaving like this, or is


he leading from the back? It is not surprising, he's supposed to have


raised these issues with David Cameron many times in private, and


indeed, his MPs have made careers out of these sort of probity issues.


It is not surprising, it is very, very irritating for Tory MPs,


possibly like Joe Johnson, but more discreet than Joe Johnson, who feel


they have been ordered back. One person has come back from honeymoon


to vote in favour of the Government, and alongside Jeremy Hunt tomorrow


afternoon, and then they learn their coalition colleagues are


abstaining. It stores up this feeling that the Lib Dems are


allowed to do what their consciences says but the Tories


can't. There is elements of the Jeremy Hunt that upsets Tory


backbenchers, but it is also about coalition relationships getting


more difficult. What do you feel about it, Joe Johnson? Jeremy Hunt


has the confidence of the Prime Minister and the parliamentary


party. Tomorrow's vote should be mechanical and over quickly. What


do you think about the Lib Dems abstaining? It is something for


them to explain. Frankly Jeremy Hunt has the confidence of the


Government and the Prime Minister, and parliamentary party, and


everybody wishes him the best of luck into the olympics. You are


more discreet than the people Allegra Stratton has been talking


Earlier today it was the turn of the former Prime Minister, John


Major, to appear at Leveson, it turned into an awkward session for


Rupert Murdoch. David Grossman looked on. By his own admission,


John Major cared too much about what the press wrote about him. It


was natural, he explained, to get a bit raty, when his policies, like


"back to basics ", were, he said, willfully misrepresented. I wear by


almighty God...We Did get an and very interesting anecdote of a


dinner before the 1997 election, where, Rupert Murdoch, apparently,


sought to change the Major Government's policy on Europe.


Murdoch said that he really didn't like our European policies, this


was no surprise to me. That he didn't like our European policies,


and he wished me to change our European policies. If we couldn't


change our European policies, his papers could not and would not


support the Conservative Government. As I recall, he used the word "we",


when referring to his newspapers. He didn't make the usual nod


towards editoral independence. this point there was a collective


"aha" from those watching. Afterall Rupert Murdoch had previously told


the inquiry this. I have never asked a Prime Minister for anything.


Mr Murdoch's supporters say he was talking there about asking prime


ministers for personal or commercial favours. Changing


Government policy is another matter. Afterall, more or less every


newspaper seeks to change Government policy, more or less


every day. Although, not always in that sort of face-to-face personal


way. It is not very often someone sits in front of a Prime Minister


and says to a Prime Minister, I would like you to change your


policy. If you don't change your policy, my organisation cannot


support you. So it is unlikely to be something I


would have forgotten. John Major then went on to accuse former


advisers of Gordon Brown of lying about him to the press, on not one


but two occasions. Firstly, saying both he and Norman Lamont were


trying to prevent publication of documents relating to Black


Wednesday, and on a second occasion, that he had tried to prevent Robert


Mugabe being striped of his Knighthood. In fact, Sir John said,


he was so angry about what had happened, he wrote to the then


cabinet secretary about it. In the I regarded the behaviour that


Norman Lamont and I, in the first instance, and me in the second, had


suffered, as being absolutely dishonest and dishonourable. I


suppose we're big enough to take t but it seemed to me, from what I


heard, it was happening to lots of other people as well. In terms of


this direct briefing against people. I thought it was time that there


should be no doubt that the Prime Minister knew about it. Ed Miliband


was next up, giving evidence. He, of course, was once one of Gordon


Brown's advisers, although not one who briefed the press. He was,


though, asked about the then advisers who did? Were you aware of


off the record briefings against Tony Blair and other Government


ministers by, in particular, Ed Balls, Charley Whelan, and Damian


McBride? Let me answer that specifically, Ed Balls, no, Charley


Whelan left the Government in 1999. One of the reasons he left was


because of his style of operation. I can't point you to direct


evidence, but I would say one of the things he did, was he briefed.


Including potentially against people who were in the Government.


On Damian McBride, when I was a cabinet minister, I did raise a


specific concern that I had with Mr Brown, I believe in September 2008,


about some of Mr McBride's activities.


Mr Brown, of course, yesterday told the inquiry, that he didn't


authorise any briefings against John Major, Tony Blair or indeed


anyone else. Today, his successor as Labour leader told the inquiry


that part of the problem has been the size of Rupert Murdoch's


newspaper operation. I don't believe that one person should


continue to control 37%, or now 34% of the newspaper market. My strong


instinct is that's too much. And I would like to see, I submit, that I


would like to see the inquiry looking at the question as to


whether we should have lower limits. Tomorrow the inquiry will be


hearing from Alex Salmond and Nick Clegg, before hearing from the


Prime Minister on Thursday. What do you do with young


criminals? Bang 'em up is the usual answer from much of the population,


despite the fact that we know that most of them will just go on to


offend again. Battery farms full of bothered young people is what one


reform group -- bored young people is what one reform group calls


prison. The hardest cases can be a nightmare to manage. Now the


biggest young offenders prison in Europe is trying a new way of


dealing with these most troubled and troublesome images. In this


report they use some strong language.


Beyond two walls, hundreds of yards of razor wire, and five secure


gates. Europe's largest youth prison. Hindley, near Wigan, is


home to some of the most violent and disruptive teenagers in Britain.


And we're the first to film inside. Two lads tried to jump me, I turned


around and started fighting with them. One picked up a bottle and


tried to hit me with it, I took it off him and smashed it around one


of them and put it in the other one's neck. I walked into a shop


with a knife, I pointed the knife at him to give me all the money.


Talk me through the incident? a couple of drinks with the boys


and that, and just got into a bit of an argument, and broke one of


their noses, and the police seen it. This unit inside Hindley, the


Willow Unit, is the first of its kind, a prison within a prison, set


up to take the most difficult, violent teenagers. Almost all are


transferred here after getting involved in fights on the sprawling


main wings of Hindley. Why did you do that, did you that on purpose


you fuckin dickhead. I hit one lad and he fell on the floor and I


stamped him, and I went on to another one, I sorted two people


and went for the third one. People want to wind you up, you have to


stand your ground, or people will start bullying you. Is that quite


important to you, the whole reputation thing? If you don't have


a reputation people will take you as a Muppet, if you have a


reputation they will ease on you a bit. If I can't beat you I will


come back with a weapon. We are locking up far fewer young people.


The number held across England and Wales has fallen by a third in five


years. Fewer than 3% of those in custody are now under 18. But those


under 18s are involved in more than 20% of all assaults in prison.


The main wings in Hindley are large, 60 prisoners, watched over by six


prison officers. It is easy for one small incident


to get out of hand. Willow is the first real attempt to change that.


A separate 11-bed unit, with three- times more staff. There to respond


when things go wrong. (shouting) A routine search has


turned violent a teenager has smashed up his TV. Now he's


throwing himself against his cell door again and again and again.


Do this on the busy main wing of the prison and you disturb everyone


else. You make yourself a target, as soon as you step outside your


cell. Ryan, are you going to talk to me? Talk to me, fucking talk to


He has been quite problematic this morning, very threatening and


abusive towards staff. He doesn't like to accept any responsibility.


I'm not litsening to this any more, we are going around in circles and


getting nowhere, when you have chilled out I will come back. He


saw the TV had been taken out and kicked the TV and went as if he was


going to assault staff, so staff restrained him and returned him to


his room. How long until he gets to another TV? Smashing a TV is 28


days. We're going into the mental health unit. How do you begin to


handle teenagers who slam themselves against cell doors, and


think nothing of attacking other prisoners? Well, to start with, you


put them in a chill-out room. use it for young people to do


relaxation, to help them, to engage. Andy Rodgers is the senior clinical


psychologist here, he says the main aim is to improve safety in the


prison. Any rehabilitation is a bonus. It is not about they are


skwhrus going to be better, the reality is -- just going to be


better, the reality is they won't be. It has taken up to 17 years to


get to this point, it won't take three months for them to be better.


But we try to break some of those cycles, I guess. Is this a reward


for bad behaviour, you are behaving badly, therefore, you are put in a


nice wing, with an XBox, and the rest of it. You want to me ask me


is it a soft option? Yes? Our view, very clearly, is it is not a soft


option. Actually, developmentally, overcare, being overly nice can be


as harmful as neglect in the situation. All this costs money. �2


million to set up Willow. �200,000 a cell. Prison reform groups say


that will be far better spent taking these teenagers completely


out of jail. And putting them in a high-security children's home, with


more staff, more care, more help. This place, they say, is no long-


term answer, just a short-term fix. Give me a tour round here?


Scott has been on Willow for three months now, again because of his


behaviour in the main prison. There's my TV, I can watch that at


night.'S About to finish a sentence for holding up a shop with a knife,


and a string of burglaries. Do you think it has made a


difference to you? Pretty much, I have started to behave here. I have


only been on basics once. You get your XBox if you start behaving, I


will behave for that. I don't know, out next week, so, I don't know. It


has gone faster in here, time. are going to get leased next week?


Yeah. Next Friday. Are you looking forward to it? Not really bothered.


At the end of the day. You are not really bothered about getting


released? Not really. Are you a bit worried? A bit worried, but it is


standard, it was only 13 month, I don't know what to expect when I


get out. That is the next big step, reoffending rates in youth prisons


are notoriously high .5% of the teenagers in Hindley will end up


committing another crime within a year of their release. These young


-- These young people here will go d'oh well never to offend when they


get out? -- here will do well never to offend when they get out? It is


better if they refrain from offending earlier than they would


have done if they hadn't had some of the intervention. I guess it is


a developmental perspective that we take. It sound like the bar is, if


we can get someone to hit someone lightly less than they are at the


moment, that is almost a prosession? That is a start.


-- A progression. That is a start. It is something another Willow


inmate has been thinking about hard. Kieran has been in and out of


prison since he was 15, this last time after breaking someone's nose


in a pub brawl. He's now packing up his stuff, and getting ready to


leave in a few weeks time. Do you think being in a unit like this,


has it taught you to control your temper a little bit more? Yes,


because I haven't lost it since I have been here. I take it that's a


good thing. But it is different when I drink, yeah, but hopefully,


since I have been down here, I have had more opportunity to see the


alcohol nurse, the alcohol misuse worker, she has given me a lot of


advice. It is beneficial at the end of the day. Do you think you could


get on top of that? Yeah. Honestly, when you are out with mates back


home? I'm moving into a new area, I'm trying to have a fresh start.


What do you think your chances are of being successful? Auto-auto.


What are the odds of the Willow Unit working? The Government is


optimistic, it now wants more of these in other prisons. At the very


least they could make life safer behind bars. But even the people


working here accept the best Willow can really hope to do, is help


these teenagers commit a less serious, less violent crime, next


time round. On tomorrow's programme we will


continue to explore the issue of troubled teenagers. Tim Whewell has


been investigating how the private care home system has left


vulnerable children open to abuse. Some of tomorrow morning's front


pages now the Guardian chooses as its lead the same story we were


focusing on earlier, Hillary Clinton's accusation that is the


Russians are shipping helicopters That's all for now, for fall-out


from last night's draw with France in the Euro 2012 championships. The


England supporters' band was banned for performing by stewards in the


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