28/09/2012 Newsnight


28/09/2012

Sanchia Berg reveals what Ofqual told exam boards about GCSE grades this summer. And is it time to bin Page 3 girls? Harriet Harman talks to a former deputy editor of The Sun.


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Tonight: Newsnight reveals what really happened with the summer's

:00:06.:00:11.

great GCSE results scandal. We have got the documents that show

:00:11.:00:14.

how the watchdog leaned on exam boards to change grades.

:00:14.:00:24.
:00:24.:00:27.

Also tonight: Can social unrest derail austerity across Europe?

:00:27.:00:33.

are the bond market so spooked by protests on the streets?

:00:33.:00:39.

We have the man who predicted it all on Newsnight 14 years ago.

:00:39.:00:42.

blimey, look at her. And as close to 40,000 sign the

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petition to end the Sun's Page 3, we ask if it's time to bin the pin-

:00:46.:00:56.
:00:56.:01:04.

We're joined by Hattie from Good evening. What really happened

:01:04.:01:10.

with the summer's GCC scandal? This programme has come a step closer to

:01:10.:01:15.

understanding the sequence of events. Documents obtained by

:01:15.:01:19.

Newsnight show how Ofqual and leaned on exam boards to change

:01:19.:01:25.

grades. The aim, as we now know, was to end more than two decades of

:01:25.:01:27.

grade creep. Sanchia Berg has been going through

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the correspondence and is with me now. A strong sign there was

:01:32.:01:37.

intervention. Yes, we knew there was intervention but what it looked

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like we did not know, but now we do. This year's GCSE English grading

:01:43.:01:50.

was the worst fiasco in history of the exam but thousands of students

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expecting that crucial a C grade did not get it. Ofqual said they

:01:55.:01:59.

did not fix the results and had not told exam boards that the results

:01:59.:02:03.

should fall but ever since, everybody has been trying to find

:02:03.:02:08.

out what happened, which is why we put in a Freedom of Information

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Bill quest for all the correspondence between the exam

:02:10.:02:15.

boards and Ofqual, and we have discovered that at least two exam

:02:15.:02:19.

boards had problems with their grades as though they were coming

:02:19.:02:25.

in. So the regulator intervened. During a telecoms runs on Friday

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the 13th July it with all the exam boards, the Ofqual representative

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said that Ofqual could not accept any apparent grade inflation. Four

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days later, another teleconferencing with the exam

:02:41.:02:51.
:02:51.:02:54.

boards and they were raising Pretty unconditional. They were

:02:54.:03:00.

saying, grades cannot rise. Ofqual said those remarks should be seen

:03:00.:03:05.

in the context, that they were seeing the results could only rise

:03:05.:03:09.

is justified, and this is the first year comparable outcomes came in in

:03:09.:03:13.

English, which means the result should be on a par with recent

:03:13.:03:19.

years. Do they justify them? Edexcel and a Welsh board did try

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to justify them. Edexcel said there was a serious mismatch between the

:03:25.:03:29.

examiner's judgments and the required outcomes. But these

:03:29.:03:33.

objections, even though they were sustained for a long time,

:03:33.:03:36.

eventually they had to drop them because Ofqual said they would

:03:36.:03:42.

force them to change their grades if they did not do it voluntarily.

:03:42.:03:47.

Ofqual was pretty worried about how this would look, bluntly. Yes.

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There is a briefing paper from July where a Ofqual official says, how

:03:52.:03:58.

will we defend the grade boundary changes? And he says the rationale

:03:58.:04:06.

must be that it... The examiners judgment, rather than the

:04:06.:04:10.

statistical fix... But a statistical fix is what it really

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does look like, especially to Brian Lightman, who is head of the

:04:17.:04:19.

Association of school and college leaders. He is part of a group

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taking legal action against Ofqual at the moment. I think it shows

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that what has gone on here has been attempting to manipulate results in

:04:32.:04:36.

order to meet a statistical outcome and the problem with that is it

:04:36.:04:40.

does not take into account the actual quality of the pupils' work

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and you cannot simply hold down results in order to meet some sort

:04:44.:04:49.

of expectation without looking at the students'' work and making sure

:04:49.:04:53.

that pupils actually get their just deserts in terms of the effort that

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they have made. And as we heard, the grades did not rise, they fell.

:04:58.:05:03.

And that is something Ofqual did not anticipate. It was seeking ways

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to explain that. We found in this correspondence the message is that

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Ofqual has circulated to all of the exam boards the day before the

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results were published. Ofqual were telling the exam boards how it

:05:16.:05:26.

would explain the drop in results. Students from selective schools

:05:26.:05:30.

were not doing a GCSE English any more, their exams would not show up

:05:30.:05:37.

in the figures, but eight minutes after Ofqual sent its messages out,

:05:37.:05:47.
:05:47.:05:47.

one bounced back from a main exam That was the explanation that

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Ofqual gave the following day. Later on it said that there were

:05:52.:05:57.

other reasons why the fall may have taken place, there were other

:05:57.:06:02.

changes in the cohort, but it is interesting to see that is what AQA

:06:02.:06:06.

said and yet Ofqual went ahead with that explanation anyway, so there

:06:06.:06:12.

are still questions to be answered. It is a very interesting situation.

:06:12.:06:19.

Thank you. Ofqual refused to appear live on the programme this evening.

:06:19.:06:24.

Protests in Spain, are riots in Greece, the spectre of another

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direly needed a bail-out, just another long week in the eurozone.

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Tonight, suggestions that Spanish banks will need another 60 billion

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euros in extra capital to ride out the downturn. The Spanish

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government has gone tough with posterity and paved the way for

:06:41.:06:46.

serious spending cuts, but will social unrest destabilise this

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For Spanish politicians, this is the world they can control.

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Everything goes to a script and timetable. These are the most

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rigorous stress tests ever, says the minister, and now, tonight, we

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no space need 60 billion euros to save its banks. -- we know that

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Spain needs. But this is the world they cannot control. Violent

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clashes in Madrid this week, just the latest in a growing wave of

:07:23.:07:27.

opposition to the cuts Spain has to make to stay afloat. And the

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problem is, it is not just Spain. If Portugal's workers took to the

:07:35.:07:40.

streets in massive numbers last Saturday, faced with a rise in

:07:40.:07:43.

national insurance that would have taken a month's salary out of their

:07:43.:07:49.

national pay. We have become used to scenes like this of course, but

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not to what happened next. Portuguese government backed down.

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For two years, we have seen protests against austerity that

:07:59.:08:04.

have achieved nothing, more or less, but the Portuguese U-turn has

:08:04.:08:08.

changed that. Bond investors now have to consider the prospect that

:08:08.:08:14.

social unrest Candy real things and they are starting to price in the

:08:14.:08:19.

risk of constitutional crisis normally associated with developing

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countries. This man advises the Investment funds that buy and sell

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government bonds. They are acutely sensitive to the qualitative

:08:28.:08:33.

aspects, and one of those his political risk, and this is evident

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across the board throughout southern Europe, so what we have

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now is a situation where emerging market type risk factors are now

:08:44.:08:48.

being priced in too many developed markets, and the markets are much

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more in tune to these risks but are struggling to come to terms with

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the social and political risk. Greek workers, who went on general

:08:58.:09:02.

strike this week, are facing another 11 billion euros worth of

:09:02.:09:10.

cuts to come, and some economists believe the austerity plans are

:09:10.:09:14.

unachievable. This graph shows how much higher labour costs are in

:09:14.:09:24.
:09:24.:09:25.

The blue plaque shows where we were three years ago, the red bars the

:09:25.:09:31.

effects of austerity. But from Greece, Spain, Portugal and Italy,

:09:31.:09:40.

which costs may still have between What happened in Portugal last week

:09:40.:09:44.

is very significant because it shows that is popular resistance is

:09:44.:09:48.

strong enough, sooner or later the government will have to change

:09:48.:09:53.

their stance. That is what the markets are worried about, and

:09:53.:09:56.

politicians and officials in Brussels and Frankfurt and Berlin

:09:56.:10:01.

are fearing that more than anything else. The problem is, produced in

:10:01.:10:06.

Europe has begun to move in ways politicians are finding hard to

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cope with. Andalusia has seen rates and supermarkets co-ordinated by an

:10:10.:10:15.

elected mayor. -- have seen it raids on supermarkets. And in

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Catalonia, much of the population wants independence or fiscal

:10:20.:10:28.

autonomy. I don't think the masses can stop Mariano Rajoy's austerity

:10:28.:10:33.

measures but I think they can bring down his government. I think there

:10:33.:10:38.

is every chance that will happen. We will see a must intensify over

:10:38.:10:42.

the next year, and the ferocity of some of the individual localised

:10:42.:10:46.

protests this year, when they gather strength and when the

:10:46.:10:50.

austerity measures at a country, which already has 25% unemployment,

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we will see chaos. The if the Spanish government of Mariano Rajoy

:10:55.:10:59.

looked strong and decisive, the markets might worry less, but it

:10:59.:11:05.

doesn't, and they do. Spain is not just facing a budget deficit, Spain

:11:05.:11:12.

is facing a banking, sovereign debt, real-estate, political and

:11:12.:11:17.

constitutional crisis. They are all feeding off each other. This is

:11:17.:11:23.

making deficit reduction measures in Spain extremely difficult. I

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think that really is the nub of the Spanish problem. This week, scenes

:11:29.:11:35.

of violence were not new, but their economic meaning might be.

:11:35.:11:39.

In a moment we will speak to a Spanish MP who speaks to the

:11:39.:11:43.

government on foreign affairs about this, and the world-famous

:11:44.:11:47.

economist Martin Feldstein, but first we wanted to show you a clip

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from Martin Feldstein's appearance on Newsnight 14 years ago, in which

:11:51.:12:00.

he made some a marks that are starting to look eerily prescient.

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One of the doom-mongers in-Chief is the imminent American economist

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Martin Feldstein at Harvard. We are about to pop in on him and get him

:12:09.:12:13.

to outline way things might turn nasty. If you have more

:12:13.:12:18.

disagreement, if you have countries that feel they are under the thumb

:12:18.:12:24.

of others, under the thumb of a process that they cannot control,

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and yet they are in their own mind sovereign countries, the temptation

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to pull out will be very small, and who knows just what the response

:12:32.:12:40.

will be from the centre? Well, 14 years on, we can speak to Martin

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Feldstein again. He is in Berlin. You predicted this almost to the

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word. Has it taken longer than you expected? I don't think I had any

:12:54.:12:59.

timetable in mind but I think it was clear that trying to force a

:12:59.:13:05.

common monetary policy and a single exchange rate on such disparate

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countries was not going to work. Where do you think this is going?

:13:11.:13:17.

Well, frankly I am quite worried about Spain in particular. Not just

:13:17.:13:24.

because of the rioting, but because of the power of the individual

:13:24.:13:30.

regions. The new plan that the European Central Bank announced, in

:13:30.:13:34.

which they will buy Spanish bonds as long as Bain sticks to a plan

:13:34.:13:39.

that has been approved by the European stability mechanism, I

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think that is not going to last -- as long as Spain the sticks. I

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think at some point, Spain will depart from what they have promised,

:13:51.:13:57.

because of riots or local regions, and at that point the ECB will have

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to decide, do they stop buying the government bonds and allow interest

:14:01.:14:07.

rates to sort? Or do they keep buying them and weaken the

:14:07.:14:10.

credibility of the programme? Either way I think it will be bad

:14:10.:14:15.

news for making progress in Spain. Do you think we will see political

:14:15.:14:20.

break-up within Spain? More autonomy for some of the regions

:14:20.:14:26.

like Catalonia? They have a fair amount of fiscal autonomy already.

:14:26.:14:29.

While they are talking about pulling out, I think the odds of

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that are still pretty low. Quite interesting listening to the bond

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analyst a moment ago saying that calculated risk now in southern

:14:38.:14:43.

Europe is like it used to be for the emerging markets, that they are

:14:43.:14:46.

taking into account all sorts of things they never had to worry

:14:46.:14:53.

about? Well, in the emerging markets, in east Asia and Latin

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America, they could always take the option of devaluing the currency

:14:57.:15:03.

and allowing their economies to recover. Spain cannot do that. As

:15:03.:15:08.

long as the euro remains as strong as it is today, we are going to

:15:08.:15:12.

continued to see large international deficits, large

:15:12.:15:15.

current account deficits in Spain, and that is going too frightened

:15:15.:15:20.

the bond markets. You are famous of course for this formula that showed

:15:21.:15:26.

us originally that the measure of globalisation of capitalism... Do

:15:26.:15:36.

you think we are starting to Globalised capitalism? I don't

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think it is collapsing. What we are seeing is financial markets within

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Europe, which were supposed to be strengthened as a result of forming

:15:46.:15:53.

the euro, they are rapidly breaking down and going back to national

:15:53.:16:00.

markets, because people are afraid to lend, banks are afraid it to

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lend to borrowers in other countries. So we are seeing a

:16:03.:16:07.

breakdown of credit within the euro-zone. What do you think

:16:07.:16:12.

happens to the euro-zone and the euro? If we are inviting you back

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in another 15 years, what good your prediction be? Let's is a one-year!

:16:20.:16:25.

It is very hard to say. I think it was a mistake to enter into the

:16:25.:16:31.

euro in the first place, but it would be very costly in many ways,

:16:31.:16:39.

economically, politically, to turn the process away. We still could

:16:39.:16:43.

see some of the countries, like Greece, which are in much worse

:16:43.:16:50.

shape than Spain and Italy, we could see them leave the euro-zone.

:16:50.:16:55.

Not immediately, but perhaps after the German election. Do you think

:16:55.:16:59.

we will see a pressure to more extreme kinds of government as a

:16:59.:17:05.

result of this social unrest we are seeing, if they can get rid of the

:17:05.:17:10.

government of Mariano Rajoy, for example? The one government that

:17:10.:17:16.

seems to be working very well in the peripheral areas is the Italian

:17:17.:17:20.

government, where experienced bureaucrat, not elected officials,

:17:20.:17:27.

have been putting together a programme that has been reducing

:17:27.:17:37.
:17:37.:17:43.

fiscal deficit in a meaningful way. We are going to move on. Today's

:17:43.:17:47.

Page Three quads the American philosopher William James on the

:17:47.:17:53.

perils of pessimism while wearing a tasselled monokini. The debate

:17:53.:17:56.

about Page Three has never really gone away, but has gained traction

:17:57.:18:02.

over the past week with a sequence of high-profile comedians and

:18:02.:18:12.
:18:12.:18:12.

politicians signing a petition to ended. -- to end it. Look at her!

:18:13.:18:17.

Where would we be without Page Three? In a much better place, say

:18:17.:18:27.

many. Beauty queen shocks a council. Sharon Spencer, 22... She is more

:18:27.:18:37.
:18:37.:18:38.

It is more than 40 years since the first scantily-clad model made her

:18:38.:18:43.

bow in the pages of the tabloids. Page 3 is a British institution,

:18:43.:18:48.

but labelled anachronistic this week by Labour's Harriet Harman,

:18:48.:18:53.

known by some as Hattie from Camberwell, a moniker she

:18:53.:18:59.

apparently shared with today's Page Three girl in there Sun. The

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pictures were clamours and sophisticated in the early years,

:19:03.:19:08.

says one of the original Page Three girls. Today, not so much. They are

:19:08.:19:13.

tacky, and too obvious, and probably inappropriate to be in a

:19:13.:19:19.

family household. Today's families are different, you mustn't forget

:19:19.:19:25.

that when Page Three started, it was at a time in the Seventies,

:19:26.:19:32.

when we were exploding into free love, it was an exciting time, or

:19:32.:19:34.

freedom, free-spirited people floating about the place with

:19:34.:19:40.

flowers in the -- in their hair. current, model says Page Three

:19:40.:19:46.

objectifies women, but in a good way. It is a form of

:19:46.:19:48.

objectification but any anthropologist will tell you that

:19:48.:19:52.

it has been imperative for the survival of the human species.

:19:52.:19:58.

Celebrating sexuality is imperative, and Page Three is celebrating that.

:19:58.:20:02.

Campaigners against pornography have linked Page Three pictures to

:20:02.:20:07.

violence against women. But others have seen them to -- as the working

:20:07.:20:13.

man's old masters. The chap I am talking about is as likely to enjoy

:20:13.:20:20.

looking at the Dell on page three of these -- of the Sun as his

:20:20.:20:25.

intellectual betters, as they see themselves are, to go to the Art

:20:25.:20:30.

Gallery, seeing it painted. Today there is a lot more sex about them

:20:30.:20:36.

when Page Three began. It is still with us, and there are no shortage

:20:36.:20:41.

of young women keen to appear in it. However, almost 40,000 people have

:20:41.:20:50.

signed a petition urging the sun to drop it. -- urging the Sun.

:20:50.:20:56.

years after winning the right to vote through protest, papers might

:20:56.:21:02.

actually start to fill pages of with the almost outrageous words of

:21:02.:21:07.

powerful women, every day when the, whose place -- faces don't need to

:21:07.:21:13.

be pleasing. It is meant to represent youth and freshness and

:21:13.:21:18.

it represents natural beauty, we don't have models to have had

:21:18.:21:22.

plastic surgery on the page. It is legal, we are allowed to publish

:21:22.:21:28.

those images. It has become an innocuous British institution.

:21:28.:21:35.

proud of my body, and whatever I do with it in my spare time is none of

:21:35.:21:42.

the council's business. So, Page Three has its knockers!

:21:42.:21:45.

One person campaigning for decades against it is Harriet Harman. She

:21:45.:21:50.

is joined by the former deputy editor of the News Of The World,

:21:50.:21:55.

Neil Wallis. How do you feel when you have been on this sort of

:21:55.:21:59.

campaign for more than two decades, and it doesn't seem to have shifted

:21:59.:22:05.

at all? It is an institution today as much as ever. I think so much

:22:05.:22:10.

has changed since the Seventies. I think the whole expectation for

:22:10.:22:13.

women of what they can do with their lives and what they can be in

:22:13.:22:19.

their lives, I think it is really very old fashioned now, very out of

:22:19.:22:23.

date. It was always objectionable, the idea that women are most

:22:23.:22:30.

important as sex objects, but I do just wonder whether or not

:22:30.:22:33.

sometimes they sit down there in the News Of The World and think,

:22:33.:22:39.

should we really pack this in? Is this sensible? We have women having

:22:39.:22:48.

all sorts of campaigns, why have we got this? They may be are saying,

:22:48.:22:53.

we're not going to be told what to do by a bunch of Wood Lane. What is

:22:53.:22:59.

it for? I think it is the wrong way round, the question. This is really

:22:59.:23:05.

about - it does this matter enough that women are campaigning about

:23:05.:23:11.

edition like this, when it there are frankly most important issues?

:23:11.:23:17.

You are here now, let's have the debate. What is it for? I don't

:23:17.:23:22.

believe there is an issue about it really being in debate. Because

:23:22.:23:28.

nobody really cares. 37,000 women have signed this petition. Not just

:23:28.:23:35.

women, people. 3 million women reads the -- read the Sun every day.

:23:35.:23:42.

It is an out rated -- outdated argument. Page 3 is a harmless

:23:42.:23:46.

picture that has been their back 440 odd years. Real women do not

:23:46.:23:52.

care about it. What purpose does it serve for you? If it went, with the

:23:52.:23:58.

paper be worse off? What is the purpose of any picture of an

:23:58.:24:02.

attractive person? It is a nice picture, it is harmless, adds a

:24:02.:24:07.

touch of fun to the paper, and why not? If you open any newspaper, and

:24:07.:24:11.

one of the great things I love about broadsheet is whenever they

:24:11.:24:15.

illustrate the story, it is always a pretty young woman who

:24:15.:24:22.

illustrates the story. You look at pages about the City in particular.

:24:22.:24:25.

I think you would be fair to recognise they usually have their

:24:25.:24:33.

clothes on. Sometimes! The idea that they have got to have bare

:24:33.:24:37.

breasts and it is for objectification, and the idea that

:24:37.:24:44.

women are there to be Lear at. you see the advert for the

:24:44.:24:50.

Wonderbra? With that woman... It said, hello boys. What was it

:24:51.:24:56.

selling, on what basis? The truth is, there are many issues. But the

:24:56.:25:02.

Sun is a newspaper. The paper is full of the stories about how

:25:02.:25:07.

police and social workers have ignored, for years, the issue about

:25:07.:25:15.

exploitation of children. That is an issue to campaign on, an issue

:25:15.:25:21.

to have a petition about. Harriet Harman has done, to be fair.

:25:21.:25:25.

There are other British newspapers that have a much more vindictive

:25:25.:25:28.

approach to do some of the women that they portray in their papers,

:25:28.:25:35.

he doesn't have to be the Sun alone, does it? Yes, but with their Page

:25:35.:25:39.

Three Women, dressed only in their knickers... The whole point of them

:25:39.:25:45.

is none other than for them to be Lear at as sexual objects, that is

:25:45.:25:49.

the point of it. Of course there are a lot of other issues which are

:25:49.:25:54.

important. But we are entitled to have our say about it without being

:25:54.:25:59.

accused of not being real women, or being vilified for being frumpy old

:25:59.:26:03.

harridans. That is the other thing. You want your free speech to

:26:03.:26:06.

publish these photos, we want our free speech to say, we don't think

:26:06.:26:10.

that is how you should be looking at women in this day and age,

:26:10.:26:16.

without being vilified as a result. The issue is, there are far more

:26:16.:26:21.

serious issues. The people who have launched this petition, putting it

:26:21.:26:25.

in the Guardian, gaining lot of headlines... You could say that

:26:25.:26:32.

about anything of you wanted. What happens on Saturday and Sunday in

:26:32.:26:38.

your paper? They don't run bomb. Because the paper as much more in

:26:38.:26:43.

the house, so there is much more chance... You don't want families

:26:43.:26:49.

to see them? The primary leadership of the Sun, the 7 million adults to

:26:49.:26:56.

read it, are adults. So why did they are good, clean, innocuous fun,

:26:56.:27:01.

in which case presumably you are not ashamed to have them on any day,

:27:01.:27:04.

or else you do feel they are slightly seedy and don't want them

:27:04.:27:10.

in the house at the weekend? That is fairly fatuous, really. 7

:27:10.:27:14.

million adults choose to look at the paper every day. If they take

:27:14.:27:18.

it home or not, that is a decision for them. It is a paper aimed at

:27:18.:27:27.

adults. What we are aware of, not that I work there now is the paper

:27:27.:27:32.

is very much more family-orientated at the weekend, more television and

:27:32.:27:36.

sport orientated, so it is much more round the home, and

:27:36.:27:42.

accordingly, they don't have topless women in it. So why are you

:27:42.:27:50.

saying that there are no doubts, or thinking again about this? They are

:27:50.:27:54.

going to be sticking to it, not even having second thoughts, even

:27:54.:27:59.

though we are in the 21st century? When you look at what is around in

:28:00.:28:04.

the 21st Century, the idea that a 40 year-old institution should fall

:28:04.:28:08.

out because if a particular demographic of women deciding they

:28:08.:28:14.

don't like it - and many of those women who don't even read the paper,

:28:14.:28:17.

they are asserting their view over the 3 million... You keep saying it

:28:17.:28:22.

is women, a lot of men have signed it as well. Quite high-profile

:28:22.:28:27.

people as well. What does high- profile have to do with it? The

:28:27.:28:32.

fact that some comedians and actresses and might sign up...

:28:32.:28:42.
:28:42.:28:44.

what happens... But what are they there for? In their bed -- in their

:28:44.:28:50.

knickers, with bare breasts, that is the betrayal of Women on page 3.

:28:50.:28:54.

With respect, who want you to say that people cannot choose to look

:28:54.:29:04.
:29:04.:29:06.

at it? Did you read today's? didn't, I don't think had the comes

:29:06.:29:10.

from Camberwell anyway! I think women should be respected for what

:29:10.:29:13.

they can do in their lives, and girls should have high aspirations

:29:13.:29:18.

than just looking good with no clothes on. Surely, in the 21st

:29:18.:29:24.

century there is more than that two women. I Usain a girl should not

:29:24.:29:30.

have the right to aspire to be a Page Three girl -- or Usain? We are

:29:30.:29:39.

going to leave it there. Thank you very much. The front of the papers

:29:39.:29:45.