13/07/2012 Newsnight


John Terry found not guilty. Is this a case that the prosecutor could ever have won? Another massacre in Syria. Does it change anything? With Eddie Mair.

Similar Content

Browse content similar to 13/07/2012. Check below for episodes and series from the same categories and more!



Is it racist to say BEEP BEEP BEEP, it wasn't when he said it on a


football pitch last year. Auk issful trial for Jon George Terry,


not guilty, the magistrate praises his performance in the box. But


where does it leave the campaign to kick racism out of football. David


Cameron and Nick Clegg aren't calling each other names, yet, how


long can that last? We are hearing the next review of Government


spending, and those all-important cuts, may now be delayed. In Syria,


this, again? Football fans love to argue about things that happen on


the pitch, was it a foul, was it a free kick? Was it a goal? Was it a


potty mouth racist tie raid against a black man? New technology will


settle goal line disputes, but so far hopeless at settling racist


disputes, we rely on magistrates for. That


We will ask whether there was a colossal or embarrassing waste of


time or a fair trial. This report contains very strong language.


English we proudly tell ourselves, is the richest language, there are


tens of thousand of words in common usage. For all this vocabulary, and


all the forms and derivatives, The Terrors ter says ended on just


three words, black BEEP Black Swan, of the three that are an obscenity,


it was the one that wasn't that causeded the offence. John Terry


walked out without a stain on his character, but after a week of


evidence, no-one looks good. John Terry had admitted using the


expletives, he was caught on camera, during a running argument with the


QPR player, Terry maintained it was all a misunderstanding, he was


merely repeating the insult he thought Ferdinand had, wrongly,


accused him of using, earlier in the game. This is what he told FA


investigators. I think he's accusing me of calling him a black


BEEP, in the altercation we have had. And then, obviously, you know,


and even in my statement it is clear to say, I repeat what he has


said. I have been called a lot of things in my football career and


outside of football as well, being a racist is not one I'm prepared to


take at all. I'm not having anyone, let alone Anton think that at all


about me, it is a not my character at all. It was John Terry suggested,


a rhetorical device, sarkasic reputation, a sophisticateded


nuanced argument in a case where both parties admitted exchanging


insults, in game that became heat, in a manner that was anything but


sophisticate. What was most striking is whether or not a racist


remark was used in a perjorative way, they said the venacular of the


racism, and the preface of that particular exchange was normal.


This is conventional behaviour on a football pitch. I think that is


damaging in terms of the perception for football, damaging in terms of


young people want to go get involved with football, and a


worrying cultural commentary on the state of the professional game.


The level of the penalty area discourse wasn't high, Anton


Ferdinand admitteded suggesting John Terry had an affair with a


team-mate's girlfriend, Terry denied that, and called Ferdinand a


knobhead, and wafting his hands, as if he had bad breath. For both then


this was obvious want he, what wasn't acceptable, both men agreed,


was the use of the word "black". English football spent 20 years


riding itself of overt racism, the criminal law can bear down on


racial abuse in any context. One of Britain's first black judges said


they are tough cases to try. They make me feel incredibly uneasy when


I prosecute and defend. Of course, one is always conscious, that in


the dock, you have someone who not only has his reputation at stake,


there is that possibility that were he to be convict, or she, they will


have that label, or that stigma, racism, or racist, yes, of course,


the stakes are incredibly high. As to whether somebody ought to be


tried on uttering one wore, when they have a clear reputation of not


being a racist, whether they should be in the dock for that leaves me


very, very uneasy. The charge for which John Terry has now been


acquit, led to his losing the England cap -- acquit, as led to


his losing the England captaincy, and resigning. The irony is, it is


what a court has decided he hasn't done that has causeded most damage.


John may have been very many things, he may have been a thug, DUP


policous, ignorant, but the one thing he wasn't, was a racist.


There is the wider issue of footballer' conduct, Wayne Rooney


was convict of swearing into a camera. But how to improve the


game's image. A very obvious starting point would be to empower


referees in a rather more transparent way to say to players,


if you challenge my decisions, if you swear at me, I'm going to send


you off the pitch. Will that make a difference? Unquestionably, the


managers, up for winning football matches, if they are losing star


players for challenging the authority of the referee, and


moreover, swearing at them, they will make sure the players don't do


it. That could lead to a bit of a sea change in attitudes that would


stamp it out more generally. The captain leader legend is how


John Terry is style, it is two years since he pick up the Barclays


Premier League, Barclays themselves are currently in the mire, now the


game they sponsored is simply placed. As leading exponents would


put it, in the BEEP. Let's have post match analysis,


here are the former footballer and Football Association chairman,


Gareth crooks, -- Crooks, and Jim White. Did this case belong in a


court? I think it did, I think it was necessary to send out a signal


this kind of language was absolutely inappropriate in a


civilised society, and that the force of the law was there to


uphold the feelings and rights of those who were being insulted,


whoever you were, whether you were the eing Rand captain or not.


England captain or not. This was a good case to hear in court?


ended up a predictable fiasco, one of the reasons the Crown


Prosecution Service brought the case was that the Football


Association wasn't acting. I think it could have been dealt with a lot


more quickly, on Monday morning, the day after the match, if the


Football Association look at it properly, there would have been a


different standard of proof on the balance of probabilities, John


Terry has got off, because in law there is a slight doubt. He has the


benefit of a very slight doubt. In society everyone who has seen that


tape will have a view as to whether they think this implausible excuse


might just be the case or not. the FA could have act quicker, tell


me why you think it was a fiasco? Because we have had months and


months of this, in the end we can't work it out because you can't


follow on the lip-reading evidence. You have a sense, actualry, out


there, that people feel that somebody has use at that language,


and it's turned out not to be something that you prosecute. There


is good news here as well. Everyone agrees it is absolutely


unacceptable, the issue is, can you prove it. You could have proved it


on a football case on the balance of prob acts, it was never to go


proved -- probabilities, it was never going to be proved in a kuert


of law. From the -- A tourt of law. From the soundbiteing you are


hearing from players today what are you hearing? I'm hearing they are


confuse, not awfully surprise. I think they felt that John Terry's


legal team had had put together a very sophisticated case. They won


the case. I don't agree here that when somebody is charged with a


criminal offence, then that charge has to be test. That's what's


happened. The issue of whether they win or lose is irrelevant. An


alleged racist offence is very, very serious, the courts have sent


a very serious message to the public, that if they brush with any


criminal activity, they want to look at it. That is very healthy.


What should the FA do now? The FA have to continue with their


investigation. They have started it. When the police got involved, they


made it clear in no uncertain terms to the FA they had had to back off.


So the FA did. They could have act earlier, yes, to be fair to them.


But, they elect not to. The police got involved. And now the police


investigation is over, the FA have to pick up the investigation again


and find out whether or not it was worth bringing a charge against


John Terry for the language he admits he said. Jim White, isn't it


going to look terribly vindictive if the FA go after John Terry, if


in a criminal court he has been shown to be not guilty? It will


make it very difficult for them. They weren't able to pursue their


own case once the criminal charge was put to John Terry. The law had


to go through its course. It is now going to be very hard for them to


come up with something else. Any way, Terry can use the same defence,


which has been successful it time round. I think, once again, the FA


is going to come out of this looking pretty powerless and pretty


hopeless. Of course, it could be at that John Terry wouldn't be the


only party in this dispute, to be found guilty by the FA of some kind


of offence? The FA hadn't acted for a while before the Crown


Prosecution Service accepted in, and they could have done that. The


judge had was clear he had no reason to doubt Anton Ferdinand's


account. With John Terry, he's very happy to turn up for a trophy when


not playing a match, perhaps he could have said in it moment he had


had crossed the line and regrets saying something he said and take


responsibility for his own actions. He's the England football captain,


and we ask something of him, we might ask Premier League players


paid thousands a week, to have the standards that we ask 14-year-olds


and 11-year-olds on school football pitches. Have you learned anything


this week about how players behave, that can't have shocked you, any of


that? First and foremost. People have towns the process. There is a


clear misunderstanding in this debate of the process. What the


police have done, they have exercise, or the CPS have done,


they have exercised their right at looking at a criminal charge. That


is one test. They are not in charge the CPS, or the courts, of what


happens on a football field. It is a the role of the Football


Association. I'm asking about the football field. All the evidence we


heard about the abuse that is thrown at players from fans,


between players on the pitch Do you think that is edifying? Of course


not. Why is that allowed? You have to ask the Football Association.


They have referees that are in charge of games. It is quite clear


that now the public are beginning to see and hear some of the


exchanges at that take place on a football field, one has to ask,


what role is the referee playing in this part. There are sanctions to


deal with that sort of language. What we are talking about, at the


moment, is the language that was useded by a particular player. The


question for the FA -- used by a particular player, the question for


the FA is, is that acceptable for a professional footballer. Let me


take you back a few months when a liver player accepted that he said


something ina-- Liverpool player accepted something he said was


unacceptable, a racist slur, but in his country was acceptable. The FA


took sanctions against that player, it was Luis Suarez, they are now in


a difficult position over John Terry. He accepts the fact at that


he said wa he said. The question for the FA -- what he said. The


question for the FA is, is it acceptable. These players are role


models for hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions of young fans


across the country. The evidence we heard this week, all ate bues that


gets hurl about, what do you -- all the abuse that gets hurled about,


what do you think we have learned about these role models? If we were


to bandy about the words used in court, your operator of the BEEP


machine would be complaining about repetitive strain industry, and we


are well after the watershed. Football players should take a


pause about what happened in this court case, and they need to


realise if they are perfectly happy to take the money from television,


they have to realise what the consequences of being on television


are. They talk about this being the language of the factory floor. At


the use that terrible euphamism, "industrial language", but actually,


the factory floor isn't beam live, on a Saturday lunchtime, into seven


million homes. I think at that we talked interest about the referee


having to step in, I think the players have to really take pause


from this case, and realise at that what they are doing does themselves,


and their game, no good whatsoever. We saw in the report suggested at


that referees should start sending players off for foul language. Who


would be left on the pitch? To do it one weekend, there would be


people left on the pitch. Presumably they would want to earn


their money. I go back to being a 12-year-old going to football


matches 25 years a as fans we have change absolutely the culture of


our game on the terraces with the racism that was there. If I take my


children they won't hear the racism that was interest R we weren't


expecting to come back from the dress room to the pitch. If the


behaviour we expect from the fans paying money to see it, you might


expect a bit better for the people being paid �100,000 to play the


game. When the Government finally


unveiled its plans for social care in England, on Wednesday, a number


of key components were missing, such as how would it all be paid


for? When we asked for the answers, we were told, just wait for the


Spending Review. Our political editor is hearing


that wait for the Spending Review might be longer than we expect. It


is a very important moment for Government, any Government, it is


where obviously spending is decide. In the current climate, it is, more


importantly, where cuts are resided. Wa are you hearing about the


delays? It was only suppose to be between the 2013/14 window, now it


is clear from all sorts of sources across Whitehall and political


parties, at that everybody expects it to be towards the end of 2014,


as late as possible before a general election, partly because of


something illustrateded tomorrow, when the Lib Dem leader meets --


illustrated tomorrow, when the Lib Dem leader meets with his people


tomorrow, and they haul him over the coals for these welfare cuts,


and all sorts of other cuts that have been announceded if that


Spending Review. It really throws into relief, that -- announced that


Spending Review, it really throws into relief those tens of billions


of cuts at that will be incredibly difficult for Tories who want many


more cuts. We Nick Boles on the programme on Monday talking about


cuts to tax credits and housing benefit, much more than we have at


the moment. You have Lib Dems saying tomorrow to their reader at


that you can't sign up to the Comprehensive Spending Review, you


have to do a separate one, and you probably can't do the ones, you


should be reat thising the ones you have if train at the moment. Both


parties -- Treating the ones you have in train at the moment. Both


parties have to put out the dividing lines pre-election?


dividing lines have been set out for a few months now. There is a


definite sense of how they have to make it clearer to each party, if


you are the Tories, tooth and claw, if you are Labour you haven't lost


touch with your base. That difference has been going on for a


while, but becoming more fraught and tense, in a period that was


supposed to be jolly and feel good, the Olympics, the summer has turned


fra,. There is no -- Fractious. There is


no dispute, there has been military axiveity in the Syrian village --


activity in the Syrian village of Tremseh. The Government says they


have killed no civilian, but terrorists, activists said 200


people are dead. If it is true, that will be the site of the


bloodiest single event in the crisis.


Scores of corpes are laid out in one village. The world is reminded


of Syria's bloody stalemate, a war in which dozens day, day in, day


out, across the country. In Tremseh, according to the opposition, the


massacre began with shelling by Government tanks, helicopters and


artillery, and continued when militia men moved in to kill


villagers at random. One, at least, appears to have been a child. Many


of the victims were young men. Some may have been rebel fighters. But


what exactly happened at Tremseh, and how many died, can't be


confirmed, until the UN mission is able to visit.


We stand ready to go in and seek verification of facts. If and when


there is a credible ceasefire. Whatever the UN establishes, it


seems that, as in other killings, like at Houla in May, Sunni Muslim


villagers were pith at least partly against militias, called Shabiha


from the President's minority. The sectarian divide widened, when the


Syrian official, the ambassador to Baghdad, publicly defect. He urged


the army to turn their guns on the criminals of the regime. Last week


an even more important figure fled to Paris.


His father, seen here in uniform, once defence minister, of the


regime's most poufrt Sunni backer. He has gone abroad, and his son has


been sidelined. He's an important part of that Regime, but at the


point where it turned criminal, it is fairly clear that he has


refuseded to join the criminal practices. Some would say if he was


already highly mistrust, if he was already effectively under house


arrest, this doesn't really make much difference? Yes, it does. We


are speaking of the credibility of this regime, we are speaking of the


trust of people in the ability of this regime to prevail. It is not


clear whether he are join the opposition, but it is likely that


French intelligence, busy debriefing him it week, helped him


escape. I have no doubt in my mind, at that the western powers are


waging a war by other means against the Al-Assad regime. An economic


war, a psychological war, and of course, a war of words, against the


Al-Assad regime. And my take on it, my understanding, is at that the


western powers, particularly Britain, France and the United


States, have been very much proactive if trying to motivate and


encourage single members of the Al- Assad regime to defect.


defections reflect the widening of the war. The family is from the


town repeatedly attacked by Syrian regime.


Around the capital, Damascus, the army is now shelling areas it once


controlled. Now, the United States, whose


deputy Secretary of State was in Beirut today, wants more sanctions


against Syria. But Russia still hopes for internal political


progress. Russia has certainly moderate its


support for President Assad, it is willing now to talk about a


possible transition to a Government of National Unity. An option that


the UN envoy, nan fan nan,s are wants to explore -- Kofi Annan,


also wants to explore further. As the civil war intensifies, and the


social and sectarian base of the regime grows ever-narrower, there


are to credible figures who could act as a bridge, or any real


willingness for compromise on either side. We will not talk to


the regime as it is, the Al-Assad family needs to be item one on a


Princess Anne for transition. A dialogue with members of the regime


appointed by Al-Assad is abs routely a waste of time. --


absolutely a waste of time. Both sides view the conflict as


existential, this is a fight to the bitter end. Make to doubt about it.


International diplomacy is sag nant, the Security Council is -- stagnant,


the Security Council is paralyse. Tragically yesterday's massacre is


unlikely to be the last. The Syrian activist is in contact


with pane people inside the country. In washing -- many people inside


the country, and other other guest. What are your contacts telling us?


The fact that the Syrian regime has done this indiscriminate shelling


of it Rhyl village, it has gn cor - - of this village. It has been


coroborate, there are dead civilian, particularly women and children. It


is a the only way we can tell they are civilians, because of the age


and the gender of the victim. have at the told but the chronology


of events? At about 4.30am, local time, I got a text message from


some contacts I have in a town not far from where the attack happened


last night. They said that there was a lot of military activities.


Of course, there is some armed elements from the Free Syrian Army,


but we did fot expect the Syrian army to have -- we did not effect


the Syrian army to be interest, there is bigger France of them in


other areas. This is fall if anything a pattern of methodology.


The Syrian regular army is employing now to induce sectarian


tension amongst those villages where you find Alawite and other


Christian sects living side of by- side with Sunni villages.


people try to flee? Yes, it is where some were killed. They were


killed if farms surrounding the village. This is when those


civilians tried to get out from the only exit available to them.


Because, we know from our information later in the day, that


interests about 20 tanks inside it village. We are assuming those


tanks were actually surrounding that village. They went after them


when they tried to flee? They were intercept by what they say were


civilian, or people wearing civilian clothes, but armed. At the


said they were, according to tem, they were from neighbouring


villages, and they belong -- to them, but they were from


neighbouring villages and they belong to the Alawite sects.


can't verify that and you have an agenda here? You are talking to


emotionally charged people, these are individuals who have just fled


what they considered a massacre. I'm telling you the story as I'm


actually getting it from tem. But, unless the regime -- them, but


unless the regime allows the international team to go there and


investigate on ground, we have no way of establishing facts, and


those responsible for committing those atrocities. Which has been


the tricky thing if the past. It should be said that Hillary Clinton,


your Secretary of State, seems pretty clear about what has


happened. She says credible reports state that this unconshenable act


carried out, the regime deliberately murdered nfpbt


civilians. What will she do about it? I don't think she as going to


do all that much, unfortunately. I would actually give more greedance


to the statements made by the UN Special Envoy, Kofi Annan. While


not as sharply of word as Secretary Clinton, essentially said the same


thing. In terms of actions, there is little appetite among the great


powers, the European or the United States for a military intervention.


I think what Secretary Clinton and the other western powers are


groping for, is an intensification of sanctions on Syria, that would


put further pressure on regime and then, working with the Russians, to


move to some kind of a negotiation. But I must say, that I'm very


pessimistic about the prospects here, at least over the next


several weeks. What is the likelihood the Russians will be


more on board than they have been? I think that we have seen a bit of


change in tone by the Russians, but I don't believe that the essence of


the Russian position has changed. I think the Russians are still, in


effect, providing the kind of support to the regime that


strengthens the will of the Alawite minority here, to keep its thrust


on, to weaken the opposition elements. Even though if the past


month, it strategy is clearly failing.


Are we seeing rampent sectarianism at work here? If you look at what


the regime has if terms of options. The only realistic one that it has


is to actually induce sectarian tension. They have to way to


control the country now. There is so many restive areas, at that they


do not simply have the man power to actually be everywhere at the same


time. Prus they have a big problem recruiting -- plus they have a big


problem recruiting people to the army and security forces. Many


thousands of young men were supposed to join the army, only 45


from Darfur have joined it year. They have a problem recruiting


people, it is a why they are wanting people living in villages


from other sects, to pay them money and hire them as hired guns, this


is bringing tensions in the villages. Now a quick look at the


front pages of tomorrow morning's Before we let you go and have a


weekend. Just take a moment to consider, that if you hadn't died


44 years ago, tomorrow would have been Woody Guthrey would have been


live and well. There are only two surviving recordings of him singing.


Here he is in 196. # Setting down on his mammy's


# Up a hammer in his little right hand


# That's enough for me # That will be the death of me