16/07/2012 Newsnight


16/07/2012

In-depth investigation and analysis of the stories behind the day's headlines with Kirsty Wark. As Olympic competitors arrive, Newsnight examines the latest security concerns.


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Security, what security? As athletes from all over the world

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arrive in the UK, police and troops have to cover for missing security

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guards, as G4S fails to deliver its multimillion pound security

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contract. I will be asking the Culture Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, if

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this is in danger of sending this into an Olympic shambles and who is

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to blame. Now is not the time for a witch-hunt, we want G4S to deliver

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on what they say they can deliver on. A former Security Minister and

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the chair of the Public Accounts Committee will be telling us who

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should be for the high jump. A summer of religionship

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counselling lies ahead for the coalition, but will the angry Lib

:00:56.:01:00.

Dem Lords tear them away. Newsnight investigates research

:01:00.:01:07.

that simply seems to say that a yes about cancer.

:01:07.:01:17.
:01:17.:01:20.

We will speak to our guests. Good evening, it is going to be a

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great winter Olympics, one athlete was reported to have said upon

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arriving at Heathrow this morning. But the great British summer

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problems. Despite another appearance in the Commons by the

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Home Secretary, we still don't know how many security staff the private

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contractor, G4S will be able to provide. And today, there were more

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Tories that sounded like plot lines from the supposedly fictional

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sitcom 2012. Buses containing athletes getting lost, and police

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being called in to cover for security guards that just didn't

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show up. The writers of 2012 the parody of

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the Olympics, couldn't have written the script for this very real

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security nightmare any better. Last week's episode saw them discussing

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catastropheisation. I know you are taking us through that feedback

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later. Ironically Lord Coe, who is Mr

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Olympics, plays himself in the BBC comedy. His quotes on this actual

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crisis were not unlike the show. London's mayor, who many feel is

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beyond parody, was dismissing some of the negativity surrounding the

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build-up to the games. When people in this city see the torch relay,

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any remaining Olympo-sceptisp. We will want the souffle to collapse

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when this goes home in September. Filling the shortfall left by G4S,

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which the Defence Secretary described it as a deb backle.

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Nobody will remain longer on operations in Afghanistan because

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of the deb backle on the G4S issue. G4S had been advising Theresa May

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up to last week that they would have more than enough staff.

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repeatedly assured us they would overshoot their targets. Shift of

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blame towards G4S seemed to clash with the Culture Secretary, Jeremy

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Hunt, whose department runs the Olympics, he was playing it down

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yesterday. This isn't a moment to get into the blame game, G4S have

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put their hands up. Contractors on a project of this size will

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This was another shambles in the makes. How on earth could a

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minister delivering Olympic security be the only person who

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didn't know. On top of the army being drafted in, today it was

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revealed that the police had to step in, and Olympic locations all

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over Britain, where G4S security staff had failed to turn up. So,

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for example, in Northumbria, an expected 58 staff, only 10 put on

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their jackets, the picture the same across the country.

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Even the athletes themselves didn't have a great start to their

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Olympiad. The American sprinter, Kerron Clement, tweeted after a

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four-hour odyssey from Heathrow to Stratford, that athletes were tired,

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hungry and needed a pee, could they get to the Olympic village. Tonight

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the spotlight turned on the Olympic organisers themselves, LOCOG. We

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have spoken to a senior insider at LOCOG, working for years at the top

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level, he described the management as amateurish and unable to deal

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with contractor, and they couldn't spot where contractors were cutting

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corners. Crucially, the source said it was the wrong strategy to use

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only one provider for all Olympic security needs. Other parts of the

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Olympics use multiple providers, they haven't had as many problems.

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Having had seven years to prepare for the event, the last thing

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either this or the previous Government would want now would be

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galvanised troublemakers, yet that might be the prospect. It could

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involve anybody who wanted to cause a bit of a problem if they thought

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the system wasn't working properly you are talking about 20,000 people

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all across the country, mainly in London, providing a visible sign of

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security. If somebody believes that security operation is being

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compromised, of course they might try something. It looks like a

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shamble and sounds like a shambles and feels like a shambles, it is

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definitely shambles. The big problem here is about monitoring,

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it is attention, there is always the tension between the private

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sector who want to make their contracts as economically tight as

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possible. This is the official 2012 version,

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Corinthian Mark III. Even though all events have scares before the

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starting pistol is fired, few have the capacity to embarrass the

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government in such a global way. If the games are a success, we will

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have forgotten G4S's role in September, if there is a security

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lapse, the Government will have politically shot itself in the

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proverbial foot. A little earlier I went to the

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Department for Culture, Media and Sport, to interview Jeremy Hunt.

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G4S said they would come up with 10,000 security personnel,

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originally, now they are saying 6,500. Is there any guarantee they

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will turn up? We have been following it very closely, and we

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have had contingency plans in place, we have been in constant touch with

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G4S management. We hope they will play a very important role, but we

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have had some problems. guarantees? We can guarantee the

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Olympics will be safe and secure, and we will have plans in place to

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make sure whatever happens, if this company isn't able to deliver

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everything they promised, we will make sure we have plans in place to

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make sure the public are safe, that is our job.

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They have made very big promises and haven't delivered right now,

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today, Manchester, 17 out of 56 workers, Tyneside 10 out of 58. You

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can understand for security for athlete, how concerned people are.

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Nine police forces have had to pitch up. If they can't do this in

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other areas, presumably then the police will have to step?

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compleed ly -- I completely understand and I am concerned, and

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that is why we took the measures we did to bring in 3,500 troops, and

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the police are helping out. That was a step in at the last minute

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today, it wasn't planned that the police would turn up, the police

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had to step in, there was not enough security for athletes?

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is absolutely not the case. What we had was very clear contingency

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plans, we had a contract with the biggest private security provider

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in the world. We had constant assurances from them that they

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would deliver. But we also thought, what happens if they don't? And

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even several months ago, we were always thinking, what happens if by

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any reason, even at the last minute, there is a hitch. So you were

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considering it, even though Theresa May said it would be constantly

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reassured by G4S that they would easily, and be able to overprovide,

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so they were deceiving you? I think what was happening is the

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management didn't know how difficult it was on the ground. The

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management I don't think were deceiving us, they thought they

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were going to meet the targets. they are incompetent, it is one or

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the other? We will obviously have a very thorough postmortem. With 11

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days to go to the opening ceremony, we want to make sure we pull

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together. That is quite scary isn't it, when you have this level of

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problems for a company of this size, with a multimillion pound contract,

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it is very bad? It would only be scary if we hadn't been doing our

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job as ministers and made sure we had good contingency plans.

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course, you had already planned for some military personnel, and now

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another 3,500. Presumably you will put in as many troops as necessary,

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if you find that G4S lifts the phone tomorrow and says we can't

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provide the 6,500 we have said we can provide? Of course if they

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can't deliver, we have contingency plans. When you have someone like

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Boris Johnson, and his deputy, talking before the beginning of

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this year, that there were problems, and issues ahead, were these just

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being ignored? They weren't being ignored, what we had was a very

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solid plan, so we weren't actually going to be dependant on this

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company, and we hope not to have to activate those plans, but in the

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eventuality that something went wrong, as it did, we moved very

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quickly. We have talked to senior security sources inside LOCOG, one

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side the job was too big to be given to one company, that was a

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mistake, wasn't it? We will look at those issues, and I don't want to

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prejudge what conclusions we may. The only thing I would say is G4S

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is the biggest security company in the world, it is ten-times bigger

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than the competitor down. Big isn't always better? Self-evidently as

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they haven't delivered on this very important krlt. This same LOCOG

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insider said that the management couldn't spot contractors cutting

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corners? I will look very closely at what happened, I don't think

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this is about cutting corners, I don't want to prejudge, we will

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look into it very thoroughly. It is more about what seemed to happen is

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G4S trained a lot of people, then a lot of people were accredited, but,

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it seems like those people weren't kept in touch with. So then when

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they needed to report for duty and commit to coming at particular

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times, they then said that they weren't available to do that.

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is incompetence? Clearly it wasn't run as successfully as it could

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have been, that is why we are in this position. That is why we have

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very robust contingency plans in place. Your defence minister said

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today this was a complete debacle, is it, is it a normal debacle, what

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is it? Clearly an important contract has not been delivered on,

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that is why we have put in place the contingency plans we worked out.

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We can have this debate, can I make this point. Do you apologise to any

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athlete who feels their security has been compromised? We would be

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failing in our job as ministers if a contract had gone wrong and we

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didn't have a back-up plan that worked. Woe do have a back-up plan,

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that is what we have put in place. -- we do have a back-up plan and we

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have put that in place, we will monitor it, and if anything else

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goes wrong we will bring in further back-up plans. In the future do you

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think that G4S will not be allowed, for a while, to bid for public

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contracts? I think now, with 11 days to go to the opening ceremony,

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with G4S as an organisation that is already providing 3,500 security

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guards, I don't think anything has been said so far that questions the

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professionalism of the people they are currently providing. But the

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shed loads of public money, huge amounts of public money? If can I

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finish. I don't think now is the time for going on a big witch-hunt.

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What we actually want is for G4S to deliver on what they say they can

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deliver. Then we will look at it. They have put their hands up, they

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have said they got it wrong, they said they will finance all the

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additional costs of bringing in additional troops, it won't cost

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the taxpayer any extra money. Now I think what we want to do is pull

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together, on both the private sector providers, the volunteers,

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the armed services and the police. And do what I know we will, which

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is to provide a safe and secure olympics, which is the number one

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priority. We need to remind people that this is one contract thatover

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all this is a contract that is extremely successful. That overall

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this has been a contract that is extremely successful. Will this be

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a safe and secure Olympics? believe it will be, we are doing

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everything we can to make sure it will be. Is this all a storm in a

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high-performance sports drink, or are there bigger issues here. We

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have Baroness Neville-Jones, the Security Minister last year, and

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Margaret Hodge, who chairs the Public Accounts Select Committee.

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First of all, Baroness Neville- Jones, you looked at all security

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arrangements, how on earth did G4S slip into pole position?

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contract that they got was let by LOCOG.

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They are a very extensive contractor, with Government, they

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do a vast range of security jobs. They are a very experienced

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security company. Do you think LOCOG as contractors weren't as

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experienced, and thought they should go for G4S because they have

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all the contracts? They would have taken advice, and it was very

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important for them to have specified the contract and the duty

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that is in that contract. I haven't seen that contract, so I don't know

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the detail of that. But, do you feel that they should have used

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more than one contractor, that is one of the big criticisms, that by

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having a single contractor, LOCOG laid themselves wide open to this

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stuff? You can also argue it the other way round, if you have

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multiple contracts you wouldn't have the problem of co-ordination

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between them. Having said, LOCOG have done exactly that, their

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events and other parts of it did have problems? There were clearly

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choices, this was the choice that was made. Where I would point the

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finger, is not so much on the original arrangement It is the

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implementation, and the ability and seriousness which LOCOG has, sorry

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G4S has fulfilled that contract. Margaret Hodge, the Public Accounts

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Committee has appointed you, have you concerns about the way the

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contract was handed out in the first place? Yes, my first concern

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is that the whole issue of security was left too late. We knew in 2005

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it was going to be a key challenge, yet it was only in 2007 we let the

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first contract. When the contract was let in 2010, a few months later

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they renegotiated it, and decided to add a further 10,000 security

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staffing. That is dreadful planning. The second thing is, I think this

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"who was to blame" I think everybody is to blame. Jeremy Hunt

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said it would not be a witch-hunt, but it will have to be a huge

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postmortem because of public money. Theresa May was very clear until

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last Wednesday she had no idea, it had not been flagged up to her. Not

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necessarily flagged up to her, but Boris Johnson made it clear he knew

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there were problems at the beginning of the year? We looked at

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the contract last December, just before Christmas, just before they

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had taken the position to increase by 10,000, which we thought was

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unachievable. At that time the permanent secretary, in the Home

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Office, said, he would just like to say, that of course, that is

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something that ministers have looked at extremely carefully. And

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it is completely clear, from all the monitoring that we have done,

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that this whole implementation, that ministers, the senior civil

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servants at LOCOG and G4S, were all involved. If you say, as you have,

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it was too late to have let that contract, your Government ought to

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have let it. So this Government. So this Government has let that

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contract. Let me just say. Let me just say, I think, it is all very

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well to say it is too late. One of the problems of an event of this

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kind, it isn't a fully fledged event straight away, you have to

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decide on the sides and the security needs, and all the

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cultural stuff, then you get a view of the overall Securitask. Isn't

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the problem that we are holding an Olympic Games at a time when there

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is so much insecurity in the world, that security is a very emotive and

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emotional issue. People want to feel they are coming to take part,

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and also to view in total security. This does not give the impression

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that is under control? Can I just say, it is silly to make a

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political partisan point on it. This should have been planned much

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earlier. Let me say something about the Olympics. The Olympic delivery

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authority is a public body, totally transparent and delivered

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brilliantly, so all the facilities on the site are there. LOCOG is a

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private body, G4S is a private contractor, there is no

:18:32.:18:36.

transparency at all, and the thing goes wrong. There is something

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about transparency and our ability to see what happens that is hugely

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important. What Jeremy Hunt said there cleeerm, there is a huge

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troop -- clearly, there is a huge troop presence, there will be

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something 7,000 military personnel, not all visible. He did say that

:18:59.:19:03.

G4S can't deliver, more troops will be brought in. So people should

:19:03.:19:06.

have confidence, because the soldiers will deliver? That is the

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point that is really important. I have no doubt at all that the, our

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Armed Forces will fill the gap. If, indeed, there is still a gap, even

:19:15.:19:19.

after the 3,500, I'm sure that gap will be filled too. We don't

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actually know at the moment how many people. We don't know ten days

:19:23.:19:27.

from the games, and we actually don't know? This is not a brilliant

:19:27.:19:31.

story. No it is not. But I don't think the general public, or our

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visitors, or the competitors, do need to be worried. On the wider

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point, if police officers are being deployed, who could be doing other

:19:41.:19:48.

things, on the beats on the streets? One of the reasons why a

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company like G4S was brought in, is because we have a limited number of

:19:52.:19:56.

policemen, and they have other things to do, as you rightly say.

:19:56.:19:58.

There is public order policing, there is crime prevention, a whole

:19:58.:20:03.

lot of other things, they will have to be done alongside this. This is

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all part of both safety and security. Thank you very much.

:20:06.:20:10.

There was a train platform, there were two people bucking social

:20:10.:20:13.

conventions, but this morning David Cameron and Nick Clegg were

:20:13.:20:17.

determined to show that the coalition wouldn't just be a brief

:20:17.:20:20.

encounter. With an announcement on rail infrastructure, and a joint

:20:20.:20:23.

press conference, they tried to show the Government still has

:20:23.:20:27.

purpose and unity after the rebellions of last week and

:20:27.:20:30.

mutterings off-age. With more gloomy predictions for the economy

:20:30.:20:36.

from the IMF, is it a love affair that can endure. We assess whether

:20:36.:20:40.

two hearts are beating still as one. This is a story of different

:20:40.:20:44.

backdrops, it was all gently perfumed back in the garden back in

:20:44.:20:50.

2010. There was still plenty of idealism, at the Olympic Park one

:20:50.:20:54.

year later. By May this year, there was more of an industrial feel to

:20:54.:21:00.

the coalition. The tractor factory backdrop said, it may not be pretty

:21:00.:21:03.

or glamorous, it is necessary. Then today it was trains that said, why

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don't I let the Prime Minister explain. We are not here to help

:21:09.:21:13.

the headline writers, sharing platforms and minding gaps, trains

:21:13.:21:18.

on track, and I'm sure you will think of some others. It is the

:21:18.:21:23.

rose garden part II, whether it will work or not is a big question,

:21:23.:21:27.

it remains to be seen. It is OK for the two principals involved that

:21:27.:21:31.

want to keep things going, I'm sure they will for their own sakes as

:21:31.:21:35.

well as others, and the country's. They only speak for themselves, it

:21:35.:21:39.

is the members of each party, the Liberal Democrats and the Tories,

:21:39.:21:43.

who will finally decide the fate of the coalition. The point of today

:21:43.:21:48.

was to announce funding for a huge amount of rail improvements, over

:21:48.:21:51.

�9 billion. But the subtext was all about the state of the coalition,

:21:51.:21:55.

following last week's row about House of Lords reform. Of course

:21:55.:21:58.

the coalition has come into question, some asking whether it

:21:58.:22:02.

has real momentum for the rest of this parliament. Others even asking

:22:02.:22:07.

whether it should end. I just want to say I'm even more committed to

:22:07.:22:13.

coalition Government, to making this coalition today, than I was in

:22:13.:22:18.

May 2010, when Nick Clegg and I formed this Government. Sure, we're

:22:18.:22:22.

two different parties, he doesn't agree with all my opinions, and I

:22:22.:22:26.

don't agree with all his opinions. That is coalition Government. It is

:22:26.:22:29.

tough, also, of course, to be in Government in difficult times, it

:22:29.:22:35.

is not always a walk in the park, or in the rose garden. And of

:22:35.:22:38.

course you also get some bumps on the road in the Westminster village,

:22:38.:22:44.

as we did last week on House of Lords reform. This backdrop, and

:22:44.:22:47.

announcement today, is designed to send a message that the coalition

:22:47.:22:52.

is doing what is needed to get the economy moving. But, as critics

:22:52.:22:57.

have pointed out all day, much of the money is not strictly new, and

:22:57.:23:02.

in any case, won't start being spent until 2014, as Labour puts it,

:23:02.:23:07.

this recovery is on pause. The Prime Minister and his deputy

:23:07.:23:10.

know that this coalition was sold to the public as being all about

:23:10.:23:15.

just one thing, sorting out the economy. That hasn't happened yet.

:23:15.:23:18.

It may be there are all sorts of reasons why it hasn't happened, it

:23:18.:23:22.

may be all the fault of the eurozone, perhaps no set of

:23:22.:23:25.

policies would have made the slightest bit of difference,

:23:25.:23:28.

politically they know that doesn't seem to matter. Most of their

:23:28.:23:32.

problems stem from this weaker than expected economy.

:23:32.:23:37.

The shine come off the coalition is almost exactly tracked by the IMF's

:23:37.:23:44.

growth forecast for the UK in 2012. Way back in May 2010, it was a

:23:44.:23:52.

blooming 12.9%. One year later, the IM -- 1.2%, one year later the IMF

:23:52.:24:01.

was predicting 1.3%, but in 2012 it was now saying that growth in 2012

:24:01.:24:06.

would be just 0.8%, not great, unless you compare it to today's

:24:06.:24:11.

predictions from the IMF, just 20.2%. There are domestic policies

:24:11.:24:16.

we could be pursuing that would help our economy grow and create

:24:16.:24:19.

jobs. So a VAT reduction and national insurance holiday for

:24:19.:24:23.

small businesss and we would be taxing bank bonuses for 50%, and

:24:23.:24:27.

using that money to fund a job creation scheme for those million

:24:27.:24:30.

young people who are out of work right now. There are things the

:24:30.:24:33.

Government could do. But this Government is sitting back, and not

:24:33.:24:43.
:24:43.:24:44.

taking the action that is required. And of today's big announcement, is

:24:44.:24:49.

building big ticket railways the answer. All over Europe there are

:24:49.:24:54.

these kinds of railways, like this one in Greece, if this was the

:24:54.:24:58.

answer to growth, you would expect Greece to be bailing out others

:24:58.:25:04.

rather than Germany. Government's investment in

:25:04.:25:07.

infrastructure will not create growth in the UK. If you look at

:25:07.:25:12.

the �9 billion announced today, it is tax-payers picking up the bill

:25:12.:25:15.

for that. Growth won't come from that. If the Government wants to

:25:15.:25:19.

create growth from infrastructure, the best thing to do is allow

:25:19.:25:24.

things like the third runway. It looks -- it needs to look at

:25:24.:25:29.

letting the private sector take the lead on building infrastructure.

:25:29.:25:36.

Where are they for the next act of unity, what they could really do

:25:36.:25:42.

with is a better economic backdrop. Can the Liberal Democrats and

:25:42.:25:47.

Conservatives agree on new policies, Tim Montgomerie, the editor of

:25:47.:25:49.

ConservativeHome website, and Evan Harris, a member of the party as

:25:49.:25:52.

policy committee. The important thing for it

:25:52.:25:56.

Government, as far as the population is concerned, is a

:25:56.:25:59.

strong, decisive Government, it is a Government that can't even get

:25:59.:26:02.

business through? It can't get its business through in some key

:26:02.:26:07.

respect that is we have focused on a lot recently. On deficit

:26:07.:26:11.

reduction, in the spirit of coalition relationship would pay

:26:11.:26:16.

tribute to the Lib Dems on this, the central mission of deficit

:26:16.:26:20.

reduction, the two parties have been completely united on that

:26:20.:26:23.

issue. It was central to the coalition agreement, and there is

:26:23.:26:27.

no wavering from it. This is the mid-term of a parliament. David

:26:27.:26:31.

Cameron says it is important for the population a strong, decisive

:26:31.:26:36.

Government, the Lords last week was yet another debacle? It was, and

:26:36.:26:40.

neither of us will deny T the central mission of this coalition

:26:40.:26:44.

isn't Lords reform or boundary changing, or other headlines

:26:44.:26:48.

grabbing the headlines, it is education reform, and most

:26:48.:26:52.

importantly, getting the deficit under control. There the parties

:26:52.:26:56.

are as united. Welfare reform, you need to get away from a situation

:26:56.:27:00.

where people are better off not working. In that respect there is

:27:00.:27:03.

agreement on that. Of course difficult decisions need to be

:27:03.:27:07.

taken to get the deficit right. That is and always of the reason

:27:07.:27:10.

why two parties, neither of whom won the election themselves, are

:27:10.:27:16.

working together, at some cost, especially for the lads. The IMF is

:27:16.:27:20.

saying it is going the other way at the moment? Just as we are together

:27:20.:27:26.

to deal with the deficit it has to be done. You can only do it with a

:27:26.:27:28.

stable Government not a minority Government. We will fall together

:27:28.:27:31.

if the economy does not turn by the next general election. That is

:27:31.:27:35.

clear as well. Everyone knows that. What I'm pleased about, is that

:27:36.:27:38.

finally today, they are saying what I think they should have been

:27:38.:27:42.

saying at least a year ago, if not from the very beginning. That these

:27:42.:27:45.

are two different parties, who don't actually rejoice in a huge

:27:45.:27:50.

amount of things. Don't you think the population knows that? They

:27:50.:27:55.

know it now. There is this idea, you can understand where it came

:27:55.:27:58.

from. Nick Clegg was clear, you couldn't see when you are forming

:27:58.:28:02.

the coalition it was important not to be seen as cats fight anything

:28:02.:28:05.

sack. What was more important, everyone will see the parties

:28:05.:28:08.

working together, it was to demonstrate the independence of

:28:08.:28:11.

both those parties, and the fact they didn't agree as much as where

:28:11.:28:15.

they aed greed. It is all very well, David Cameron and Nick Clegg

:28:15.:28:21.

standing in front of us, all with this big rail infrastructure and

:28:21.:28:25.

looking incredibly happy with each other, that doesn't mean the

:28:25.:28:28.

backbench Liberal Democrats or Tories are happy about this at all?

:28:28.:28:31.

That is the problem with the coalition. If you look at the

:28:31.:28:33.

people at the heart of the arrangement, Nick Clegg and David

:28:33.:28:37.

Cameron, they are not that dissimilar, but Evan and I are

:28:37.:28:43.

quite far apart. It is the in-laws in the relationship who have always

:28:43.:28:47.

been the trouble. The Tory backbenchers were happy with the

:28:47.:28:52.

Government programme, then I would be appalled. I guess that Tim and

:28:52.:28:55.

right-wing Conservatives would be appalled if we were happy with the

:28:55.:28:58.

Government's programme. That is the nature of coalition. In every other

:28:58.:29:04.

country in Europe where it takes place, it is just the media here,

:29:04.:29:10.

as your demonstrating, cannot get their mind around two parties

:29:10.:29:14.

getting together, who disagree with much. It is not so much getting our

:29:14.:29:19.

heads around it, but where is the radical agenda that you two will

:29:19.:29:25.

agree on for the next two years, is it Europe? On the Lib Dem Voice

:29:25.:29:32.

website, a partner website, yet there were quotes on there about

:29:32.:29:36.

reforming capitalism, and breaking up the banks and a much more

:29:36.:29:43.

competitive economic system. I think that is perfect consistent of

:29:43.:29:47.

the classical Lib Dem traditions, and these are the capitalistic

:29:47.:29:51.

traditions of Conservatism. separation of retail and investment

:29:51.:29:56.

banks isn't that radical. Rebalancing the economy away from

:29:56.:30:01.

financial services has to begin. It has to begin. And I suspect there

:30:01.:30:08.

is unity on that project. We cannot be so reliant on one aspect of the

:30:08.:30:12.

economy, as we have been in the past, that is a shared programme.

:30:12.:30:17.

You say we want to make sure that people out of work are not better

:30:17.:30:22.

off than people in work. Not better off by being out of work. That is

:30:22.:30:27.

different from signing up to a cuts agenda that we have here?

:30:27.:30:30.

recognise, all Liberal Democrats recognise that if you have to take

:30:30.:30:36.

20%, 30%, on average, out of public spending, there is no way the

:30:36.:30:42.

welfare budget can remain intact. That is just simply unIsrael yiesic.

:30:42.:30:47.

-- realistic, as it would be under Labour, they have plans for-to-

:30:47.:30:49.

reduce welfare spending. I'm concerned that the rich, in terms

:30:49.:30:55.

of tax rises, pay their fair shai share, that is why I was very

:30:55.:30:58.

disappointed, and many Liberal Democrats were, with the crazy

:30:58.:31:02.

politically and dubious economic decision to cut the 50p tax rate.

:31:02.:31:06.

Bad idea? It wasn't the most popular idea, but there were also

:31:06.:31:09.

many other things the Chancellor introduced, not least the taking

:31:09.:31:13.

the low paid out of the income system, which were much more

:31:13.:31:16.

powerful and benefited many more people than have been affected by

:31:16.:31:20.

the 50p tax rate. Glad to have brought you two together. It costs

:31:21.:31:25.

pennies and everybody can get hold of it, now in the face of an of a

:31:25.:31:30.

large of cumulative research, it can be described as "preventing

:31:30.:31:37.

cancer", it is the humble aspirin. A cheap generic drug, used as a

:31:37.:31:40.

shield against heart attacks and strokes, and now described as a

:31:40.:31:50.
:31:50.:31:54.

wonder drug. Should we all be taking it? The struggle toe stay

:31:54.:32:00.

fit and well gets tougher for everyone as we get older. These

:32:00.:32:04.

subscribers to fitness sessions run by the ex-military, each have their

:32:04.:32:10.

own recipe for good health. I take vitamins and protein shakes.

:32:10.:32:15.

liver oil. Vitamin C. Fresh fruit and vegtables. Nothing. I look

:32:16.:32:21.

after my body as much as I can. But as they strive to stay well, is

:32:21.:32:24.

their one -- is there one more potentially powerful weapon they

:32:24.:32:30.

should be adding to that list, aspirin, to ward off cancer.

:32:30.:32:34.

Aspirin has been an essential part of modern medicine in synthetic

:32:34.:32:39.

form for at least 100 years. Not only as a painkiller, but more

:32:39.:32:47.

recently, at low dose, to ward off heart attacks and stroke.

:32:47.:32:51.

But it was a close chemical relative, found in the leaves and

:32:51.:32:59.

bark of the willow tree, that first drew people to its potential power.

:32:59.:33:09.
:33:09.:33:09.

Centuries ago, around 400 BC, Hypocraties, is said to have said

:33:09.:33:15.

that people should chew the bark of the willow tree to ward off

:33:15.:33:19.

inflamation. Its modern day cousin has so many uses, it is said by

:33:19.:33:24.

some to be something of a wonder drug.

:33:24.:33:28.

Cancer studies by Peter Rothwell have sparked global interest in the

:33:28.:33:32.

protective powers of aspirin. Results in colon cancer, published

:33:32.:33:37.

back in 2010, got everyone talking. They showed that after five years

:33:37.:33:41.

on low-dose aspirin, people had had halved their risk of developing or

:33:41.:33:46.

dying from kollan cancer. Then last year, the team showed that for two

:33:46.:33:53.

more cancers, daily, low-dose aspirin cut the risk of dying by

:33:53.:34:00.

66% for lung and ossof gall cancer. When they looked at the two

:34:00.:34:05.

together, the risk fell by 25%. This year the team looked at

:34:05.:34:09.

aspirin's effect on the spread of cancer, and found it reduced the

:34:09.:34:13.

risk of secondary spread to the lungs, liver and brain, by about

:34:13.:34:23.
:34:23.:34:25.

half. How important is the secondary effect? Very important as

:34:25.:34:30.

an additional treatment for those with cancer, if it hasn't spread

:34:30.:34:33.

already. We found those who developed cancer on aspirin, were

:34:33.:34:36.

about 40% less likely to have that cancer spread to different parts of

:34:36.:34:41.

the body. It is the spread of the cancer that often kills patients,

:34:41.:34:44.

rather than the primary cancer itself. So trials are now on going

:34:44.:34:52.

to see whether that should be used more widely.

:34:53.:35:02.

Angus dag illusion is a clinical study, his work on HIV showed it

:35:02.:35:06.

causes -- he believes it could be aspirin's powerful anti-

:35:06.:35:11.

inflammatory action that might help to explain its anti-cancer effect.

:35:11.:35:17.

Many of the cancers occur only after decades of inflame racial,

:35:17.:35:22.

for instance liver cancer, which we know is associated with two viruses

:35:22.:35:27.

hepatitis B and C, it only occurs if the viruses produce chronic

:35:27.:35:32.

inflamation of the liver for two or three decades, it doesn't occur

:35:32.:35:38.

without the background inflamation. It is the same for lung cancer, it

:35:38.:35:44.

comes out of chronic bronchitis, same with bowel cancer, these are

:35:44.:35:49.

inflammatory leisons. Having something to turn off the

:35:49.:35:52.

inflamation makes perfect sense, that is why aspirin is so important,

:35:52.:35:58.

it is such an effective anti- inflamery agent. Everyone over 40

:35:58.:36:04.

should consider taking 75 Milly grams a day, and everyone over 50,

:36:04.:36:12.

300 mg a day, the dose for a headache. If an aspirin a day can

:36:12.:36:16.

have a real impact on cancer, and some medicating, some say it is

:36:16.:36:20.

time for the Government to step in with clear guidelines on who should

:36:20.:36:24.

be taking aspirin and how much. Many people have heard about the

:36:24.:36:28.

possible benefits of aspirin and are taking it any way. There are

:36:28.:36:33.

risks. Some people are allergic to aspirin, and it can cause stomach

:36:33.:36:38.

bleeds, sometimes serious. There is no doubt aspirin does reduce

:36:38.:36:42.

cancers, but it will cause death in a small number of patients, very

:36:42.:36:46.

small. But a preventive has to be given to a large number of people.

:36:46.:36:52.

You will have a significant number of deaths that is stalling proper

:36:52.:36:57.

guidance from politicians all over the world. But the scientists most

:36:57.:37:03.

closely linked to aspirin research, say the downsides shouldn't be

:37:03.:37:09.

overplayed. The risk of a bleed sufficiently serious to take you to

:37:09.:37:16.

hospital is less than one per 1,000 people per year taking aspirin. The

:37:16.:37:19.

benefits of preventing heart attack and strokes already outweighs that

:37:19.:37:26.

risk. If you add in the cancer risk it does further outweigh the risk.

:37:26.:37:32.

What's more, an influential study, run by the International Society of

:37:32.:37:36.

cancer prevention, believes that downside could be dealt with by a

:37:36.:37:39.

simple test. That expert group believes the Government should

:37:39.:37:43.

consider a mass screening programme. To test and identify people at

:37:43.:37:48.

higher risk of stomach bleeds. And in a few weeks time, they will

:37:48.:37:55.

issue advice saying just that. We all make decisions every day

:37:55.:37:59.

that will affect our risk of developing cancer. Choices about

:37:59.:38:03.

the food we eat, or alcohol, or exercise. But on aspirin, we're all

:38:03.:38:08.

in the dark about whether we should be taking aspirin, and how much.

:38:09.:38:12.

With the evidence we now have, the need for clear advice is

:38:12.:38:16.

overwhelming. Here to discuss the imI politician

:38:16.:38:23.

kas of the latest findings is Dr -- implication of the latest findings

:38:23.:38:32.

is I our guests. Julian Peto, on your assessment,

:38:32.:38:37.

how good is the evidence on taking aspirin? The evidence is good, I

:38:37.:38:41.

think Peter Rothwell presents a care case, and the evidence is very

:38:41.:38:44.

strong. The question isn't whether the evidence is good, it is whether

:38:44.:38:48.

it is good enough to justify the Government recommending that

:38:48.:38:52.

everyone should take it. What is your view of that? My personal view

:38:52.:38:55.

is it would need to be stronger. To recommend that everybody take

:38:55.:39:01.

something for the rest of their lives is very different from

:39:01.:39:06.

limited numbers of people taking it for five years, or ten or 15 years.

:39:06.:39:14.

What do you see as the problems of a universal aspirin intake?

:39:14.:39:19.

would be one thing having a few thousand people taking it, but when

:39:19.:39:26.

you are talking about 20 million people taking it with with clear

:39:26.:39:31.

risks in it. Not that much risk. There are 20 common medicines that

:39:31.:39:38.

interact with medicines. What is that? Warfarin, a blood-thinner,

:39:38.:39:44.

but also medicines used for glaucoma, that interferes with

:39:44.:39:49.

aspirin. What about lifestyle with aspirin? I'm struck by your film,

:39:49.:39:53.

you had two clear patients, one smoking and the other one drinking.

:39:53.:39:57.

Taking aspirin are not protect you against the harps of drinking or

:39:57.:40:01.

smoking. Also, the idea that you can take something that is going to

:40:02.:40:06.

offset those risks, I think, needs to be taken with a pinch of salt.

:40:06.:40:12.

Never the less, the body of evidence seems to go going in a

:40:12.:40:15.

positive direction, there is clearly an effect. Do you want

:40:15.:40:21.

clear guidelines from the Government w what will help?

:40:21.:40:25.

What will help? My sense is we don't get clear guidelines. The

:40:26.:40:30.

idea of doing another full scale, randomised controlled trial,

:40:30.:40:34.

probably isn't going to happen. I think, like many things in medicine,

:40:34.:40:39.

we have to weigh up, at an individual level, theks and

:40:39.:40:44.

benefits. If a patient came -- risks and benefits. If a patient

:40:44.:40:49.

came to you and said I'm 40, what dose should I take, or I'm 55?

:40:49.:40:54.

a patient not a doctor. I think if somebody said should I take it, it

:40:54.:40:59.

looks to me as if it does more good than harm, I would agree with them.

:40:59.:41:07.

I think that is true. The evidence has to be very strong, there is a

:41:07.:41:11.

70-80% it will do more good than harm, it is a good enough reason to

:41:11.:41:15.

take it yourself or advise your friends or patients to take it, if

:41:15.:41:20.

they want. To you would need very strong evidence before something

:41:20.:41:24.

becomes a Government-recommended medication. What about the idea of

:41:24.:41:29.

isolating people to test them to make sure they would not fall into

:41:29.:41:31.

that category? What they are talking about is a simple test, it

:41:31.:41:36.

is a simple test we use on symptomatic people, not mass

:41:36.:41:41.

screening. If we do mass screening we will pick up an awful lot of

:41:41.:41:46.

false positives, and treat those people with high-dose antibiotics,

:41:46.:41:51.

and that will create antibiotic resistance. It isn't as simple as

:41:51.:41:56.

it seems to be testing people for this bug in the stomach. On the

:41:56.:42:01.

other hand, if something like this will make a radical difference,

:42:01.:42:06.

especially when the NHS is strapped, particularly when it is saying it

:42:06.:42:10.

is reducing spread by 50%, that has moved things on? It won't make it

:42:10.:42:14.

radical, we have to die from something. The studies show that

:42:14.:42:19.

though it might reduce your death rate from cancers, particular ones,

:42:19.:42:26.

we are all going to face mortality. You are probably going to die at

:42:26.:42:30.

the same age of something else. We have to be really careful about

:42:30.:42:34.

this, yet it appears to reduce your risk of bowel and other cancers,

:42:34.:42:39.

but it won't stop you dying. There is more evidence, a lot of large

:42:39.:42:43.

studies, some large studies weren't included in the review, and whether

:42:43.:42:47.

it was appropriate to exclude people is arguable. There is a

:42:47.:42:52.

cheap generic drug? There is no question, it is effectively free.

:42:52.:43:00.

The question is the benefits clearly outweigh the issues. Would

:43:00.:43:09.

you take it? I'm not a health freak. So you don't take it? No. Would you

:43:09.:43:12.

take it? I think I would need to see a little more evidence about it.

:43:12.:43:16.

Again, I'm not a particular health freak, he gave up smoking a number

:43:16.:43:20.

of years ago. I try -- I gave up smoking a number of years ago. I

:43:20.:43:24.

drink in moderation. The fact that you are a doctor and not a health

:43:24.:43:28.

freak is disconcerting? I think there are much more boring things

:43:28.:43:33.

to do to improve our lives, such as giving up smoking and reducing

:43:33.:43:37.

alcohol intake and keeping your weight under control and exercising.

:43:37.:43:42.

All those will do far for more your risk of cancer and getting heart

:43:42.:43:46.

disease than taking a low dose of aspirin for five or ten years.

:43:46.:43:51.

Thank you very much, may you both live a long and happy life.

:43:51.:43:54.

Tomorrow morning's front pages beginning with the Guardian. Ten

:43:54.:44:04.
:44:04.:44:05.

Apology for the loss of subtitles for 57 seconds

:44:05.:45:02.

days to the games, what could go That's just about all from

:45:02.:45:07.

Newsnight tonight. We leave you with a very unrock 'n' roll moment,

:45:07.:45:13.

10.30 on Saturday night, that is when the concert organisers pulled

:45:13.:45:17.

the plug on bruise Springsteen and Paul McCartney together, on their

:45:17.:45:20.

first performance ever together, on the grounds of health and safety.

:45:20.:45:28.

It is not exactly the Promised Land. # Won't you work it on out

:45:28.:45:38.
:45:38.:45:53.

(no sound coming out of the microphone.

:45:53.:46:03.
:46:03.:46:04.

Good evening, after wet weather today, a dryer spell into the night

:46:05.:46:08.

and the first part of Tuesday morning. Morning brightness through

:46:08.:46:13.

eastern areas as well. To the west grey skies, patchy light rain or

:46:13.:46:17.

drizzle. Across Wales and Northern Ireland, central and southern

:46:17.:46:21.

Scotland and northern England, turning heavier in places in the

:46:21.:46:25.

afternoon. Increasing humidity, increasingly muddy in the afternoon.

:46:25.:46:28.

With dry conditions in the south- east. A little bit of sunshine here

:46:28.:46:34.

and there. It will boost the temperatures, 23, 24 possible.

:46:34.:46:37.

Drizzle easing a little in the south west. Around the coast, the

:46:37.:46:42.

low cloud will still be there and there abouts, rain on and off

:46:42.:46:46.

through much of the day across the mountains. A bit dry to the east.

:46:46.:46:49.

In Northern Ireland the rain coming and going through the day, the

:46:49.:46:53.

heavy burst in the morning and into the afternoon. Turning increasingly

:46:53.:46:59.

wet. To the north and east of Scotland, dry, fairly bright, same

:47:00.:47:03.

too on Wednesday. Noticing the difference from Tuesday into

:47:03.:47:07.

Wednesday, the rain gets that bit heavier and more expensive. More in

:47:07.:47:11.

the way of showers developing further south. Even the areas

:47:11.:47:16.

In-depth investigation and analysis of the stories behind the day's headlines with Kirsty Wark. As Olympic competitors arrive in London, Newsnight examines the latest security concerns.


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