16/07/2012 Newsnight


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.

Similar Content

Browse content similar to 16/07/2012. Check below for episodes and series from the same categories and more!



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


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


guards, as G4S fails to deliver its multimillion pound security


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


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


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


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


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


should be for the high jump. A summer of religionship


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


Dem Lords tear them away. Newsnight investigates research


that simply seems to say that a yes about cancer.


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


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


arriving at Heathrow this morning. But the great British summer


problems. Despite another appearance in the Commons by the


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


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


Tories that sounded like plot lines from the supposedly fictional


sitcom 2012. Buses containing athletes getting lost, and police


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


show up. The writers of 2012 the parody of


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


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


catastropheisation. I know you are taking us through that feedback


later. Ironically Lord Coe, who is Mr


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


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


beyond parody, was dismissing some of the negativity surrounding the


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


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


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


which the Defence Secretary described it as a deb backle.


Nobody will remain longer on operations in Afghanistan because


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


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


repeatedly assured us they would overshoot their targets. Shift of


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


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


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


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


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


minister delivering Olympic security be the only person who


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


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


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


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


their jackets, the picture the same across the country.


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


either this or the previous Government would want now would be


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


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


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


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


security. If somebody believes that security operation is being


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


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


definitely shambles. The big problem here is about monitoring,


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


sector who want to make their contracts as economically tight as


possible. This is the official 2012 version,


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


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


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


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


lapse, the Government will have politically shot itself in the


proverbial foot. A little earlier I went to the


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


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


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


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


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


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


have had some problems. guarantees? We can guarantee the


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


insider said that the management couldn't spot contractors cutting


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


very robust contingency plans in place. Your defence minister said


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


professionalism of the people they are currently providing. But the


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


Margaret Hodge, who chairs the Public Accounts Select Committee.


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


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


contract that they got was let by LOCOG.


They are a very extensive contractor, with Government, they


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


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


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


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


important for them to have specified the contract and the duty


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


something that ministers have looked at extremely carefully. And


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


that this whole implementation, that ministers, the senior civil


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


authority is a public body, totally transparent and delivered


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


conventions, but this morning David Cameron and Nick Clegg were


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


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


press conference, they tried to show the Government still has


purpose and unity after the rebellions of last week and


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


the headline writers, sharing platforms and minding gaps, trains


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


the coalition has come into question, some asking whether it


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


policies would have made the slightest bit of difference,


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


problems stem from this weaker than expected economy.


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


jobs. So a VAT reduction and national insurance holiday for


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


rather than Germany. Government's investment in


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


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


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


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


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


letting the private sector take the lead on building infrastructure.


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


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


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


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


policy committee. The important thing for it


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


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


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


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


reduction, in the spirit of coalition relationship would pay


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


reduction, the two parties have been completely united on that


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


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


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


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


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


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


grabbing the headlines, it is education reform, and most


importantly, getting the deficit under control. There the parties


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


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


agreement on that. Of course difficult decisions need to be


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


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


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


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


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


stable Government not a minority Government. We will fall together


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


working together, it was to demonstrate the independence of


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


been the trouble. The Tory backbenchers were happy with the


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


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


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


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


as your demonstrating, cannot get their mind around two parties


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


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


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


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


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


competitive economic system. I think that is perfect consistent of


the classical Lib Dem traditions, and these are the capitalistic


traditions of Conservatism. separation of retail and investment


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


disappointed, and many Liberal Democrats were, with the crazy


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


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


many other things the Chancellor introduced, not least the taking


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


powerful and benefited many more people than have been affected by


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


Aspirin has been an essential part of modern medicine in synthetic


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


some to be something of a wonder drug.


Cancer studies by Peter Rothwell have sparked global interest in the


protective powers of aspirin. Results in colon cancer, published


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


to see whether that should be used more widely.


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


inflammatory leisons. Having something to turn off the


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


benefits of preventing heart attack and strokes already outweighs that


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


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


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


simple test. That expert group believes the Government should


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


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


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


that will affect our risk of developing cancer. Choices about


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


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


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


overwhelming. Here to discuss the imI politician


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


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


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


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


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


it is good enough to justify the Government recommending that


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


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


something for the rest of their lives is very different from


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


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


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


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


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


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


but also medicines used for glaucoma, that interferes with


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


clear guidelines from the Government w what will help?


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


idea of doing another full scale, randomised controlled trial,


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


The question is the benefits clearly outweigh the issues. Would


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


alcohol intake and keeping your weight under control and exercising.


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


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


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


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


Apology for the loss of subtitles for 57 seconds


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


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


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


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


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


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


(no sound coming out of the microphone.


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


and the first part of Tuesday morning. Morning brightness through


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


drizzle. Across Wales and Northern Ireland, central and southern


Scotland and northern England, turning heavier in places in the


afternoon. Increasing humidity, increasingly muddy in the afternoon.


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


too on Wednesday. Noticing the difference from Tuesday into


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


the way of showers developing further south. Even the areas


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.

Download Subtitles