06/09/2012 Newsnight


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

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Tonight, are the Government's home building plans a solid foundation


for growth, or a house of straw? The new planning minister is here


to tell us that building new conserve trees is the way out of


the recession. The Central Bank fires the gun on the way out of the


crisis in the eurozone. Will it hit the target?


The way is now open for the ECB to buy unlimited amounts of debt,


taking Spain and maybe Italy out of the firing line. With opposition to


austerity rising, it will be hard for them to deliver the conditions


set, and I have been on the road with the man organising the


fightback in Andalucia. TRANSLATION: Another Europe is


necessary, a Europe of the people, a Europe of the ones who don't have


anything. The unemployed, the poor, people who demand a new reality.


will be discussing the morals of the rescue deal. And, on board the


Africa express. The train that runs on music, we have access to the


African musicians for a magical mystery tour.


Good evening, a building bonanza in England, or an urban blight. The


Government has announced plans it hopes will build our way out of a


recession, ending the need for planning permission for virtually


every garage extension, rear extension, basement conversion. The


rules will last for three years and are designed to kick start the


construction industry, and there by boosting Comet. It is about getting


the planners off our back, says the Government. Will every Englishman


put a new Tourette or two in his castle. Is this the coalition's


really big economic idea. We will hear from the plan minister, Nick


Boles, in a moment. Nobody who buys a house now, in the


south of England, in London or Oxford or Bournemouth wants to know


that the day they bought it, it has gone up by �5,000. This has been


called the ripple effect, the delayed overfle of the property


boom in the south. One estate agent it was more like a flood tide.


one is suggesting we go back to the days of housing boom: In Leeds,


estate agents report what they call staggering house price increases


over the last six months. There is a lot of confidence now in the


economy. That is one of the main reasons, I think people now feel


far more confident about moving house, job prospects are better,


and the budget, of course, helped the economy. What would David


Cameron give to have someone saying that right now. Today the Prime


Minister of unveiling the latest part of his plan, to unstick the


housing market. The problem with the system at the moment is it is


too slow, planning permission takes too long to get. There are too many


strings attached. We need to cut through all of that. There are


people living in homes with their parents, aged 30. I want them to


have a home of their own. Let's get new houses built, let as allow


people to extend their houses, so they have a better quality of life.


That will help put people to work. All of these things need to be done,


that is why we are taking the steps today. For a start, the


Government's removing the requirement to build affordable


homes in any new developments. That is an attempt to unlock 75,000


homes currently stalled. The Government will also guarantee up


to �50 billion worth of major infrastructure and housing projects.


And, there will be a major infrastructure fast-track for


politically sensitive projects. There by, projects can be approved


by planning inspectors, rather than councils. For householders and


businesses, some extensions will be exempt from planning permission for


a limited period. And there will be a �280 million enlargement for the


FirstBuy scheme, to help first time buyers with deposits. Is this the


red tape/bureaucracy reducing, some say, we need to get growth.


once, a really good supply side measure from the Government. It is


a limited measure, it won't change the world. But on the margins, it


will help the economy and also the lives of hundreds of thousands of


homeowners. Such voices might take heart at the


views of the new planning minister, Nick Boles. Back in 2010 he says he


doesn't much like planning at all. There comes a question in life, is


do you believe that planning works, that clever people, sit anything a


rom, can plan how people's communities should develop, or do


you believe it can't work. I believe it can't work. David


Cameron believes it can't work, Nick Clegg believes it can't work,


chaotic, therefore, in our vocabulary, is a good thing.


Chaotic is, what our cities are, when we see how people live, where


restaurants spring up, where they close down, where people move to,


can you predict any of that, would you like to live in a world where


you could predict any of that. I certainly wouldn't. But relaxing


planning laws isn't necessarily welcome from the people who


currently run them. It is ill conceived, we just spent two years


going through a whole review of planning policies, and to literally,


and only just publish those new national policy planning policy


framework, and to literally, a couple of months afterwards, to


come up with these kneejerk, poorly thought out responses, is really


disappointing, and suggests the Government isn't thinking about the


long-term implication of what it is saying. The Prime Minister and his


deputy were visiting a new build housing estate in Hertfordshire


today. As the news came through, that the OECD had downgraded its


forecast for UK growth this year. From an anaemic plus 0.5 per cent,


to a dismal, minus 0.7, both know a recovery in construction could be


vital to get the numbers going in the opposite direction. In recent


quarters, construction growth has gone from flatlining to negative


territory. The importance of that growth to the wider economy, well,


last quarter, construction retraction was responsible for


dragging down output of the whole economy by 0.3%.


Faced with this reality, Labour say the Government is merely tinkering.


I do have to say, a one-year holiday from the current rules on


planning for conservatory extensions for up to eight metres


in a garden, which is what the Government is announcing today,


does not represent an economic plan. Construction once fuelled economic


and political fortunes. Although all parties say we need to move


away from depend ance -- dependance on the housing market. The next


election could be decided on who is judged today to have the best plan


to get us closer to the good old days. Nick Boles is the new


minister for planning following the reshuffle. He joins me now. First


of all, a new projection for growth of 0.5%, is this planning change


going to deliver growth? Remember the initiative you focused on, I


can understand why, because it is a more colourful one, is one of a


number of great initiatives. Which includes a huge investment through


this guarantee of �40 billion on infrastructure project, and �10


billion of building houses for rent, and other things, all of those,


along with other things announced in the next few week, contribute to


growth in the economy. What will this planning change contribute of


that growth? I don't know, and you are a bit of a fool to be able to


project precisely which each element is. Do you know a number of


people who want to build a conservatory or extend their house,


that would be a difficult thing to guess. What is clear, is it is


important to make it easier for people to do t and encourage people


to do it now, rather than wait for three years time when they will


have to go through the planning process. You have absolutely no


idea whether conservatories, extensions, baigsments, will


deliver you any -- basements, will deliver you any growth whatsoever?


People do have to have planning permission, and it is a painful and


expensive process, if you make it less so, more people will want to


do it, it is logical and human nature. Who will put on these


extensions and conservatories, when houses are in negative equity,


people are losing their jobs, this Government says there is more cuts


coming. People are stretching themselves for their mortgage, and


we know their disposable income, average disposable income has


dropped by 2% over the last two years. This is a kie mere ra,


people won't be able to do this in any numbers whatsoever? That is not


true, for many people, fortunately because of the Government's


policies to keep interest rate low, their mortgage payments are low.


And long may that continue. People are very streched? Mortgage


payments are very low, what they can't afford to do is to move house,


they can't afford it buy a bigger house, they can't afford to pay the


stamp duetyie, not least to buy a - - duty, not least, to buy a bigger


house. The opportunity to extend their house, this apply to a


business too, the opportunity to extend the premises, rather than


the huge extra cost of changing premises, is one that might well be


attractive. People don't have the stamp duty to move, but do you


think they will be confident about taking out a loan? Because it adds


to the value of their house. necessarily n this climate?


course it does. If you extend a house and add a bedroom because


your two teenage kids no longer want to share, or you have had


another baby, or your mother has come to live with you. If you add a


bedroom that will add to the value of the house in the long-term.


want people to get into more debt? It is not about that. It will be?


It is not about that. What you are doing is singling out one measure.


Which has been trumpeted by this Government, absolutely? Sorry there


are seven other measures being trumpeted today. You haven't talked


about the measure which is going to mean that planning permissions that


have been granted that haven't been fulfilled, are going to be


unblocked by removing the affordable housing component from


them. You haven't talked about the guarantee of �so 10 billion about


new rented housing construction, which is a very significant measure.


These are component parts of a big package, which you say will deliver


growth. It is significant, an Englishman's house is his castle


and all that, you can't say whether any of that domestic dwelling


change will deliver any growth whatsoever? With the other measures


it is easier to make an estimate. It is harder with planning


extensions, because how many people out there want to extend their


house. What I want to put into context, given Mr Miliband's rather


ludicrous attack. His entire five- point growth plan is worth �20


billion, we are making available �50 billion of guarantees. His


plans will go on the tax and on the borrowing of the British taxpayer,


our -- payer our's draw in private funds through a guarantee. Let's


talk about the plans, is the green belt sack sabgt with this coalition


Government? The position on the green belt is not changing as a


result of anything today. What about changing in the future, will


it be sacrosanct for the length of this coalition Government? There


are flexablities in the regime, that many local authorities don't


understand, they were brought in. So local authorities don't


understand what they are doing? They are not being fully explored


by local authorities. Local authorities are sometimes worried


about how it is going to work. What we are trying to remind them today,


is in exceptional circumstances, only that, for instance, Cambridge


has used those exceptional circumstances, in exceptional


circumstances, they can, slightly change the boundaries of their


green belt. Will that be changed, or will you simply be pointing out


where there can be rules used that he can sis, or will you be changing


the -- exist, or will you change the rules to allow more


flexibility? We are pointing out that flexibility exists, and help


them take advantage that have. that be policy for the rest of the


coalition Government. Are you actually considering changing the


rules on the green belt? I was appointed yesterday, and secondly,


I'm not a member of the cabinet or the Prime Minister, I don't make


policy. Right now, what we are trying to do is encourage people to


use the policy. You have explained it as far as you know, as you say


you are a new minister, what you did have is long held views on the


planning permission. We saw you in 2010, let me repeat, December 2010


do you believe that planning work? The clever people in a room can


plan how communities develop, I believe it can't work, David


Cameron believes it can't work and Nick Clegg. Chaotic is a good thing.


Do you think everybody thinks that? Let me tell you about newly-elected


MPs, we are like young children, you are an attention seeker, you


are desperate to get notice from someone, and I succeeded there,


given it was shown on the programme. You must be incredibly attention


seeking, I want to put to you that you got a new cabinet now. You were


very vociferous at the beginning about the promise of Liberal


Democrats. You wrote an article in the Times, saying an electoral pact


is essential to make the radical changes. Do you believe an


electoral pact needed with the Liberal Democrats? I think Nick


Clegg ruled it out within about two minutes of me making the proposals.


Do you believe in it? I thought it was a good idea, and if Nick Clegg


agreed with me, I would support it now. He didn't, he's the party


leader of the Liberal Democrats. David Cameron also didn't agree


with it, it's not going to happen. It is a spurious question.


The euro at any price, that is the motto of the European Central Bank,


it seems, Mario Draghi's plan is to hoover up Spanish and Italian bonds


to try to stop those countries' debts becoming uncontrollable. Mrs


Merkel appears to go going along with the carbon nan za. Is there


not a danger of a moral hazard which all of Europe will end up the


peer. It seems the crisis in Spain which has concentrated Mr Draghi's


mind. How significant was it today?


is a hugely significant moment. There is a bail out fund for Europe,


it has 700 billion in the kitty, but not enough to bail out Madrid.


They needed something bigger, that something bigger is to print money,


via the ECB, and to use it to buy up the bonds of Italy and Spain,


and anybody else who gets into trouble, on an unlimited basis. The


aim is that the cost of borrowing for those countries comes down, the


concern about the European banking system recedes, the ECB has had to


eat a lot of humble pie do this. They are going to take junk and


collateral, to keep the euro system going. They will stand back and


allow themselves to stand equally in the queue for repayment of debt


with anybody else, unheard of. And it is all designed to try to put a


lid on the euro crisis, because nothing else has, and of course the


Germans have had too, to eat a lot of humble pie, to get this done.


But there it is, it is a massive move, we are all waiting to see


what the next move is. Will it work, do you think? There are two


obstacles to making it work, they are both political. The first one


is not here in Madrid, it is in Berlin. The German politicians had


to really bend over backwards to convince themselves to let this


happen. They haven't let the full Monty go ahead, as it were, of


quanative easing, but this is big, but the German Central Bank, the


Bundesbank, issued a statement condemning the move, saying it is


tantermount to financing Governments by printing bank note.


Here is the problem with that. This works as long as the markets


believe the European political elite are going to do it. If they


believe that 100%, then it is foolish to bet against it. If they


don't believe it, then some people in the markets will say this could


fail, and we will sell these bonds, we don't want to touch them. And


Germany, having this level of an agoism, doesn't help. Of course --


antagonism, of course the other problem is Spain. Do you think


Spain will go for the bail out? Mariano Rajoy, the Prime Minister


said today, said we haven't asked for a bail out. He said that


vehemently. Part of today's deal is to slightly soften what conditions


will be attached. In future, countries that use the bail out


mechanism, will not go down the route of Greece and Ireland, they


will be told to adhere to some conditions, here is the money, and


if you don't really do it, we will take the money away. It is not


quite the same as saying you don't get the money until you do the


austerity. I think that despite the softness that has been signalled to


Madrid here, Mariano Rajoy, the Prime Minister, he's going to fake


a long of convincing to do -- take a lot of convincing to do it. This


country's entire political system has been built on the last two


years of not taking this bail out. And the kind of austerity being


implemented already, the resistance is growing, as I have been finding


out this week. There are parts of Spain, where given the choice, they


would like to make time go backwards. A small down in


Andalucia, a horse fair. -- a small town in Andalucia, a horse fair. If


antique lace and horses could solve things, it would be all right, but


they can't, the regional Government is effectively bust, and needs a


billion euros immediately. Unemployment here stands at 34% and


rising. Even the comfortably well off, are surrounded by an


atmosphere of rising protest. Last month, the agricultural Workers


Union began raiding supermarkets and taking away food, without


paying. The food is given to unemployed. The figurehead of this


new movement, a local mayor, Juan Manuel Sanchez Gordillo, the name


and the beard, instantly famous. Now, Gordillo and his comrades are


on the march. Stirring up protest, from town-to-


town, under the watchful eye of the police, determined to stop the


austerity, everybody knows, is about to hit. For nearly a month


now, the agricultural workers have been marching from town-to-town


here in Andalucia, as with everything they do, there is an


element of symbolism to this, but things in Spain are about to get


deadly serious. As small farming towns echo with rhetoric and


marching feet, it is clear that the Spanish crisis, and the way it is


resolved, will define Europe. Tran Another Europe is necessary. The


Europe of the people -- TRANSLATION: Another Europe is


necessary, the Europe of the people. The Europe of the people who don't


have anything, the unemployed, the poor, people who demand a new


reality, people who don't have anything.


Andalucia is spectacular, but spectacularly poor. The regional


Government had tried to soften the spending cuts demanded by Madrid,


but now it needs a bail out, and it will have to pile further job cuts


and spending cuts on to those already made. Everybody here feels


a crunch is coming. TRANSLATION: What we want to see change, what


makes us march, is criticising the general sacking of workers, the


fact that many people are losing their homes, and many people can't


afford to buy food. That is why we are fighting and reaching out to


all parts of society. TRANSLATION: People don't want to hear about


premium risk bonds, bail out, Merkel or the European bank. People


want to talk about the cost of a bottle of gas, the cost of petrol,


medicine, mortgages, work, expectations. They want to talk


about their problems, that is what we do.


In Madrid, they know today's move by the ECB opens the way for


Spain's debts to be bought up en massive scale, removing the


constant threat of imminent default. But it's dependant on conditions,


and the conditions will be set in a struggle between these two. Angela


Merkel, who needs Spain to accept more austerity than the 65 billion


already unleashed, to appease German voters, and Spanish PM,


Mariano Rajoy, who still couldn't bring himself to ask for the bail


out Brussels has just offered. TRANSLATION: The priorities of the


Spanish Government right now are to create jobs. The first priority is


that we have to continue on the path of cutting the deficit. The


next is to continue the structural reforms, then rebuild the banking


sector. And in the next few weeks, we will have more detail on changes


to the banking sector. But, even if the Spanish people do accept the


conditions, say pundits here, the whole process has created cracks in


the political system, that look dangerous. TRANSLATION: There is a


problem with the loss of credibility, by the political class


in Spain. That doesn't mean that eight months into the Government


Rajoy will pay the price. They have to be closer to the people, to know


what's going Onyango the street. Cut spending in a more -- going on


on the street. Cut spending in a different way. They have to tighten


their belts. There are large numbers of people, especially among


the young, who intend to prove it wrong. The Spanish Occupy movement


gave a foretaste of the anger that will greet any bail out bill. It


won't be only the radicals, with Spain's regions going bust, one by


one, this month is set to see huge protests over budget cuts organised


by nationalists. The fear is, as in Greece, that this unites the left


and right, in opposition to the last-ditch rescue plan of the


political centre. Technically the strikes and demonstrations of the


past two years have achieved nothing. But throughout that time,


the Spanish Government successive Governments, have had to insist


Spain will never go to the EU for a bail out. Now they have to. For


many of the people here, this is not the end, but the start of the


fight against austerity. Back in Andalucia, mayor Gordillo


is about to find out whether rhetoric and civil disobedience can


stop the Spanish Government, the bond market and the ECB. The town


he runs is famous as a self- proclaimed, left-wing utopia.


Farmers here fought for, and won control of the land in the 1990s.


They built their own houses, there was no property boom, and no bust.


The town of Marinaleda symbolised one part of the dream that many


Spanish bought. The social Europe consisting with the old


Conservative traditions. The Spanish press has compared Gordillo


to Robin Hood, he himself prefers the Scottish rebel, William Wallace.


TRANSLATION: I think he was a true revolutionary, who came from the


lower class and fought and demanded a change for his people. He was


defeated, though! TRANSLATION: you always have winners and losers


in the struggle, the battle you never lose is the battle for utopia.


In truth, it's not Gordillo and his utopia the politicians need to


worry about, it is ordinary Spanish people, and their reality. The dye


is now cast for a full Spanish bail out, and the conditions attached


will bring drastic changes to the way people live. And their concern


is obvious. TRANSLATION: Somebody had to do something, we should have


more Gordillo, there should be more like him, Andalucia is a beautiful


place, we can't go on this way, with more and more unemployment and


hunger. This region has so much in its favour, but we are becoming


increasingly poor. TRANSLATION: don't respect his ideas, but I do


respect him, he's a loader, you have to respect that. And political


leadership has been the problem. Spanish politicians now have to


lead an austerity drive that will bite into the incomes of core


voters, and in places like this, as regional budgets are slashed, into


the soul of local identity. Spain's strategic problems can't be side


stepped any more. With me in the studio, Gillian Tett, the assistant


editor of the FT. Helena Morrissey, the CEO of Newton investment bank,


Emma Duncan, the deputy editor of the Economist, and Muntaha


Mashayekh Professor of economics at university of Sussex.


They say they have been resisting the bail out for two years, do you


think it is inevitable? It is moving that way, but politically


and economically it is very difficult. The crucial thing to


understand about what is happening today, Mario Draghi has bought the


eurozone time, we don't know what the eurozone is going to do with


that time. Will they actually put down the preconditions to create a


eurozone that work, by creating some form of banking and fiscal


union, some kind of growth strategy, and above all else, a system that


ordinary people can actually believe in, or will it just be more


fudging and failed bail outs. fudging, we hear the Bundesbank is


dead set against this? This is a major problem, and can torpedo the


whole thing, it is so much on market confidence. Draghi announced


there was one dissenter behind the decision. Everybody assumed it was


pretty clear that it was the Bundesbank President. I think we


are treading on a knife edge. Today's decision, while it does


suggest there has been something of a think, that is a new development


about a fiscal or sharing of the fiscal burden. Obviously ultimately


this means a backstop across Europe, it does come at a price. It doesn't


solve the economic problems, as we have seen in Spain and other


countries. How difficult do you think the Bundesbank is? I think it


is a huge issue. I think what Draghi has done is really


significant. I think it could be incredibly positive. He has done


something quite interesting and subtle, he has given two channels


for countries that want to seek bond buying. One is the rather


unpleasant one, the Portuguese and Greeks have been through, where


teams of people turn up and tell you how to run your country. But he


has also done this much, much gent letter precautionary route, for


countries like Spain and Italy, who can come along and say, we are


doing pretty much what you want, can you sort us out. The idea is


that should be politically much less toxic for someone like Rajoy.


Look what he's facing in Andalucia, this is just the start of it?


is true, as far as the ECB is concerned, Rajoy is doing exactly


what he ought to be doing on reform. If the ECB is undermined in


confidence before this thing is started, it is difficult to see how


it will work. Merkel has to get these guys under control.


Interesting that Angela Merkel gave it a following wind, that clearly


wasn't enough to sign the Bundesbank? The real change is it


becomes a self-fulfiling prophesy, one of the reasons the Bundesbank


is so scared, they think if you allow this to happen, you will be


having this constant demand for these direct and indirect bail out


mechanisms, by imposing these conditions in order for the


outright transmission mechanism, that is what he has called it today,


to work, these conditions are all about austerity, which will not


allow the "Goldman Sachs pigs", Ireland, Greece, Spain to grow. So


you might get into the constant mechanism of requiring the bail out.


Is this more likely to hasten a Greek exit, do you think? We could


see a vicious spiral situation. I think at the moment we are treading


on that knife edge. And the markets rallied, everyone liked it, it was


a relief, perhaps we got something further than people were expecting,


but it is not over yesterday. markets rallied, if you talk to


traders today, people were joking that OMT, outstanding market


transactions, stands for "on my tap", basically meaning that


Germany is now the lender of last resort, and the political tensions


behind that are growing. Germany being the lender of last resort,


aka in this majority of the ECB. German people, are they going to


rise up against this, or realise how much it will affect them?


Looking at the film about Spain, it would be interesting if you


conducted a referendum across the eurozone and asked voters if they


wanted the eurozone right now. The sense protest is rising day by day.


It is too early to say whether this will make a difference? There is an


interesting poll of German voters as compared to other European


voters. German voters are incredibly sceptical about the


ability of any of the peripheral countries to hold it together.


German voter, compared to French ones. Merkel is torn, she's in this


unbelievably difficult position. There is the central poll of German


post-war policy, which is European unity, Franco-German alliance,


holding this thing together. On the other hand, she has her voters,


disappearing, losing confidence. She made that change, didn't she?


Angela Merkel, from her position, to say, not even to stand back, but


to actually actively say that she supported this? Absolutely. I think


that was very significant, that was a dramatic shift on her part.


only difficulty now is who is winning from all of this? I think


the whole eurozone concept was clearly built on a house of sand,


we haven't had fiscal union, we haven't had political union, we


have had monetary union, it hasn't worked, we seem to be prolonging


the inevitable. House of sand? haven't had the growth union. Both


the German people, and commentators in this country, you always hear


this story about some how that the problem in Greece and Italy was


they were going fiscal and irresponsible and spending too much.


If you look at the Spanish deficit before the cry he is, Italy, also


had a low deficit, it wasn't spending all the places Germany has


been spending. You do want conditions, but what kind of


conditions. The conditions we should be asking for are that


Greece actually develop the kind of institutions, for example, that


Germany has, by includes institutes, eye R & D spending, patient finance.


Who has managed to deal with the austerity deliver some growth?


some ways one country which has managed to walk the tight rope


better than many has been a country like Ireland. That is partly


because they are reallyively unified, and they have a level of


social cohesion, it has been very painful, and they are not out of


the woods yet. It is very hard to look at positive inspiring examples


at the moment. Germany is producing growth, but doing so in a poisonous


political climate now. We do need more growth stimulus out of Germany,


we have this huge adjustment that has to happen in Europe, which is


that basically the wages of the overborrowed countries have to fall


in relation to Germany's. Because that's the big imbalance, the big


problem that has happened. That is not necessarily a problem here.


What will deliver growth, as Nick Boles said, we talked about one


area that will help to deliver growth, he said. The other big ones


are the infrastructure plans and so forth. Also the pension funds are


desperate to invest somewhere, they need these big infrastructure


projects? You can't completely generalise, but I think it is a


good idea to have. We obviously have an antiquated infrastructure,


ma many parts, whether it is roads, or whether it is utilities, there


is a lot that needs investment. Pension funds want long, stable


cashflows. As came up earlier, we need a stable regulatory background.


We won't hand the money for a 30- year project and the rules get


changed by an in coming Government. There has to be careful planning on


how this could work. Negative 0.5% growth? I do think that you were


slightly teasing Nick Boles about his conservatories, but I'm afraid


that is a really sharp illustration with the whole problem with


infrastructure. You want infrastructure you have to have big


stuff. You need big roads, third runways. Power stations, and all


sorts of things? You need house building. You need large scale


house buildings. In the 1930s, our economies jump started out of


depression by massive house building. Which you still see all


over the country. To do that you have to deal with story nimbyism,


and deal with the green belt. back to Nick Boles, he said as of


now the policy is the green belt holds with some exceptions. But


didn't say if it would change? is a key issue, but the good news,


if you like, in the UK and the western world in general, there is


an awful lot unused capital in the system. Financial markets are not


short of money. Pension funds are sitting on large pots of money,


particularly in the UK. We are unusual in having a large pension


industry with a lot of pension funds that need long-term assets to


invest in. If only you could match up the demand for investment with


projects. You say we elect politicians, we have armies of


pensions and the CBI, why is nobody doing it? Here is the problem, our


system is so centralised, that any local authority that gives


permission for the building of a local housing he state, doesn't get


any benefit of that. All the cash goes straight back into the


Treasury. If we had a more decentralised fiscal system in this


country, then there would be an incentive for local authorities to


give permission for stuff. I would say, just to defend what's out


there already, there are projects that have bonded which we buy into,


and there are infrastructure fund, it is a tiny market. It is 2.5% of


all the pension funds' assets. I think there is an appetite. You can


get 1.5% on a ten-year gilt, it not enough for feingsers. We need a


decent return, but -- pensioners. We need a decent return. The money


is there, there is �1. -- over $1 trillion in the US and more than


that here. This Government needs to show what they think drives


business and investment, is basically getting the state out of


the way. If you go to the Business Innovation and Skills department in


Victoria Street, it says Great Britain is open to innovation, with


the lowest tax and lowest regulation. You have to spend money


for that, rather than just take away red tape. It is called Africa


Express, one of the most bizarre and successful musical events of


the year. 80 African musicians are travelling in a special train,


stopping off for concerts and free Pop Up events, with music they


create on the train. Damon Albarn is on board, with Baaba Maal and


other guests, they gave exclusive access to the journey. This is a


tour that breaks all the known rules of the music industry. Over


80 musician, some very famous, some virtually unknown in Britain, but


stars in Africa. Touring the country in a chartered train, in a


venture costing �500,000. But there are no headliner, some events are


planned at the very last minute and they decide who is playing what,


and with whom, after non-stop rehearsals on the train itself. One


carriage is laid out as a studio, complete with mixing desk, and


musicians playing from the moment we left Middlesborough. In this


session, guitarist Romeo Stodart from the Magic Number, and the


wildly enthusiastic Damon Albarn, whose other projects this summer


were an opera and a Blur reunion. He has been a key figure in all


past Africa Express events, from Mali and the Congo to west Africa.


This train trip is the most ambitious, high-profile event to


date. It is nothing but music and communication. It isn't a person,


it isn't a group of people. It is an idea.


Really I think the level of musicianship is just, for me, this


is the best one. I just think everyone knows what it is about now.


So it attracts people who want to participate. That is amazing, it is


a relief for everyone to just be musicians, nothing really sort of


getting in the way of just when you want to make music on a day, just


make it, whatever it is at that moment, it is very therapeutic.


Just a few carriages away, there is another impromptu session. This one


involving one of Africa's greatest star, Baba Mal from Senegal, who we


found singing with Jupiter, the In this journey, it is not just


music, or classic music, it is young ones, the famous ones, the


less famous one, all together. People waking up and going beyond


the stages of music together, thinking and travelling together


into a wonderful journey. This is unlike any music event I have ever


been to, none of the artists are being paid, though they do get a


small allowance, and they are not here to promote new singles, or


albums or product, different musicians from Africa, Britain and


different age groups are all playing together in musical


combination, the aim is to create a positive image for Africa.


Crazy collaborations, the jamming, you know. We go to so many


festivals and you meet so many people, you hardly ever have a


chance to mess around with them. This is a lot of fun for me.


best-selling young English hip hop Popstars, Rizzle Kicks, were


clearly having a good time. It was one of the best nights of my life,


I reckon. The best night of your life? One of them. Why? It was just


like, I can't explain, the amount of positivity, and musical energy


and vibe that was there, it was impossible not to be happy about


being part of that experience, and a side of that we got to share the


stage with some musicians we respect and idolise. The train has


everything from a yoga teacher. you To a meeting room and luggage


wagon. Ian Birrell, journalist and former David Cameron speechwriter,


was involved in raising money for the trip. Around half the cost is


paid by the cullal Olympiad. need to have planning to give space


-- Cultural Olympiad. You need to have planning in the chaos and give


space for the hotels. I didn't know where you go to hire a train, for


instance. The first Africa Express jaunt, six years ago, was to the


desert state of Mali, a country famous for its ancient culture and


music. Today Mali is in chaos, after a coup in the capital, with


two-thirds of the country, now controlled by Islamic groups,


wildly opposed to events like this. No-one wants to live under such


semi-medieval ideas, it is just not acceptable. Personally, I think,


they are a democracy, and they should have a say in their whole


country. If they want to have it, then they all should agree to go it


together. Many in the west only know about


Male and its history through the work of its extraordinary musicians


like Rokia Traore, yet music is now banned in part of the country.


is really sad, and I don't want to but I can't do nothing against that.


The only thing I can do is to keep going on working, do it the best


way my work, and trying to make people think good things of Mali,


and seeing good things from Mali. Many in the west were introduced to


Mali music through the singing and player through the blind duo, Amado


and Marion. He has become friends with Romeo Stodart, they have


guitar playing, but no language in common. TRANSLATION: It works well,


it is a great pleasure sharing music, the fact that we are two


guitarists playing together is enriching. I would say Romeo, and


he's like sava, and we are off, in Leeds we were in a room two hours


just playing, and then there is a kind of, it is talking, you let


someone have the chance to play, and then you know, you say, go for


it, and I don't know. It is something unique. In Glasgow, many


of the musicians appeared at a series of free pop-up events across


the city. With Amadu and Romeo playing at very short notice to


schoolchildren out at Easter House. What did you think that have?


was different. What do you make that have? It was quite good.


was good about it? I liked the drums. Do you ever see stuff like


this at Easter House? No. But we have some parties about our country


and we play this kind of music in some parties. The full cast


appeared for a four-and-a-half hour concert at the arches under Glasgow


Central Station. With dam Monday, Traore and others together for


Melancholy Hill. When it comes to record sales, the music industry is


in crisis, but Africa Express proves there is nothing more


excited or creative than live music. There is a special finale near


King's Cross station in London on Saturday.


That was the Africa Express. That's all from Newsnight tonight,


Emily will be here tomorrow, until Emily will be here tomorrow, until


It's going to get warmer over the next few days. We start Friday with


a lot of clouds and rain and drizzle in Scotland, Northern


Ireland and North West England. Most of it petering out. The sunny


skies will be further south and east across the UK. Contrasts in


northern England, North West England will be cloudy and damp to


the east of the Pennine, sheltered from the westerly wind. It should


be a warmer day in the sunshine across the Midlands, East Anglia


and the south-east. For the south west of England, after a bit of a


misty start, that will lift, we will get increasing amounts of


sunshine, fine and dry into the afternoon as well. Wales seeing


most of the sunshine, always better in the east, because of the


westerly breeze, feeling moisture and clouds towards the west coast,


cloudy day for Northern Ireland. Best chance of sunshine is in


Antrim and Down, the south west of Scotland stays cooler and grey, and


rather damp. But for the north eastern half of Scotland we should


get sunshine. Cloudy as you can see there in Belfast on Friday.


Hopefully a bit more sunshine on Saturday. A bit of a struggle in


Edinburgh, Manchester improving as we head into the weekend. The sunny


skies will be further south, it is here we will see the highest


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