18/10/2012 Newsnight


Ivestigation and analysis of stories behind the headlines with Emily Maitlis. Social unrest in the Nobel Peace Prize-winning EU and PM's energy price fix dubbed a 'combi-shambles'.

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Tonight, a banquet of braced veal on a bed of spinach in Brussels,


Molotov cocktail on the streets of Athens. The fate of this nation


will be decided by EU bureaucrat, do they have a clue on how to


prevent social breakdown. There has been a good supply of


teargas on the streets today, what is in short supply is belief in the


institutions of democracy. Also tonight, it is a combishambles,


the Government confirms it will compel energy companies to give


customers their lowest tarrif, they haven't worked out how yet. The UK


has one of the worst breast-feeding rates in Europe, UNICEF says we are


risk problems down the line. We have a roomful of women who for


turning in the bottle has a whole new meaning. Could letters Prince


Charles sent to ministers undermine his role as Monarch, if they do,


isn't it a good reason for letting us see them. We speak town one of


the Prince's closest aides about the importance of being frank.


Good evening, as European leaders, no, let's call them Nobel Peace


Prize-winning representative, converge once more on Brussels,


protests raged in Greece. Today for the second time in two week, 70,000


people took to the streets of Athens, where political anarchy was


king. As petrol bombs and stones were thrown, police responded with


teargas and stun grenades. Today at the 22nd crisis summit in two years,


the EU establishment sat down to dinner. It seldom changes, talks, a


photo, memorandum, and agreement to do more next time. Can anything


stop the social collapse happening before their eyes. Paul Mason is in


Athens tonight. They have been trying to calculate


the impact of austerity, the IMF, its economists have been trying to


look at how badly countries are affected when certain levels of


austerity are carried out. What is happening here today and the past


month adds a new dimension to that. The social dimension, you just


can't calculate it on an Excel spreadsheet. What we are seeing is


far right violence, far right politics, far left violence, and


far left politics. And amid all that, the Greek Government is just


struggling to keep control. Not just of the all-important deficit


reduction plan, and the austerity measures, but of the streets. And


that's what I have seen today. You mentioned the far right there, Paul.


What reaction to the revelations you brought us on Newsnight last


night? The revelations last night were about police connections with


the far right, but in the programme, one of the leaders of the far right


made the statement that there was a civil war in Greece. This has been


wall-to-wall news in Greece all afternoon and this evening. It has


been discussed on all the programme. He's issued a statement saying that


our report was wrong, because we "paraphrased him", as you see we


paraphrased him by putting words in English of what he was saying. They


are not happy with what we have done. Golden Dawn 14%ed today, that


is in the context of a -- Golden Dawn 14% today, that is in the


context of a lot of violence and upheaval in the streets, and a


general strike, as I have seen on the streets today. In Athens, two


years of crisis have taken a bitter economic toll. A thousand people a


day are losing their jobs. The graffiti says "love or nothing".


And here on the street, the main shopping street, which I have been


coming to for two years now during this crisis, there is a heck of a


lot of nothing. So many of the stores are just closed, finished,


boarded up, grat feetied, gone. Across Greece, 30,000 shops closed


last year. Today, those still in business, were on strike.


But the economic crisis is now a political crisis, today's general


strike shut down much of the public sector. Protest has become a way of


life for very ordinary people. As they pass, the dockers, the


shopkeepers, the medical students, they have one thing in common. We


feel they have no way of influencing politics through the


ballot box. This Government was elected on a


platform to renegotiate the bail out. They said that they would try


to get an extension, and that they would try to maintain the country


in the euro. In a way, though, that would be less painful and brutal


for the population. What they are doing ined stead is that they are


announcing now that they will cut salaries, pensions, social services,


the full range of cuts, which is just a continuation of the previous


policy. So people, I think, in many ways, feel betrayed.


The Greek Government has to impose �13.5 billion worth of cuts in the


next few week, but the cuts made already have brought from the


shadows, a new political force. Golden Dawn. Its activists given to


attacking migrants, with massive support amongst serving police


officers. Yesterday, one of its leaders told me this. Nowadays we


are not talking about some normal days in Greece, some how, we are in


civil war, and people who are not, who don't see this, they are like,


how do you call these animal, the ones pulling their head in the sand.


Today, on Greek TV, he denied saying it. But many here believe


the rise of Neo-Naziism, is just a symptom of a wider problem.


political parties, all mainstream political parties, and specifically


the democratic parties, have adapted the main themes of Golden


Dawn, have adopted xeonophobia as a theme, and are pushing people


against immigrants, probably in the hope that they will get those votes


back. But what they are simply doing is encouraging Golden Dawn.


But, today's biggest problem of not Golden Dawn. It was the rapid


breakdown of order that took place once the demonstration reached the


square. The vast majority of protestors,


determined to avoid violence, but they were soon in a world of


teargas, projectiles and pain. (loud explosion)


This is what it feels like to be on the receiving end, when a Greek


demonstration is broken up. It's OK, it's ox.


Once the adrenaline subsides, you see many, very ordinary people,


looking very frustrated and very scared. The Greek Government, and


Greek society have sent the message that the last red lines have been


crossed. And we are in the situation in the euro that we don't


have the luxury of an accident of any kind of accident. And the kind


of accident can be eruption of social unrest, with unpredictable


results. The challenge for democracy in


Greece is very clear. The people behind me are from the Syriza Party,


in the last election, they came within two points of winning the


election. So the people on the receiving end of the teargas, and


the policing, could be the next Government. On the streets of


Athens today, it felt a long way from the Nobel Prize-winning ideals


the European Union was founded on. And a lot like the kind of chaos


that leads to bigger chaos. Soon. Paul Mason with that thought from


Athens. Joining me now from Athens is the New Democracy MP, and I'm


joined by Corbett correction adviser to the President of the


European Council, Herman van Rompuy, in the studio we are joined by a


Greek Professor of economics, and Tracy Corrigan, editor in chief for


the Wall Street Journal. Thank you for joining us, perhaps you heard


the end of Paul's report there, where we see what's happening on


the streets, when we look on the political spectrum of the rise of


the far right, the response of the police, should people have faith in


the political classes there? don't think that there is a


political crisis, and I don't think that Greece is like a civil war.


You know, before I was an MP, before I was elected, I used to be


a world correspond dend, I covered a lot of civil war -- correspondent,


I covered a lot of civil wars, the situation in Greece is not a civil


war, I'm very definite about that. Do you feel confident with what you


are seeing in Greece now? We are applying a very tough and very


severe austerity measures. I think that these austerity measures,


which are going to be introduced in the parliament in the next month,


will be the last ones. So, Greece is giving a very tough fight, in


order to overcome the crisis, and to win the recovery and growth. I'm


sure we will make it. Of course you can see the demonstrations, people


are very angry, are very angry against the Government, but they


are also very angry against the European elite, who applied these


austerity measures in Greece in the last three years. But, in any case,


we hope, and we strongly believe, that in the coming months, the


situation will change. And Greece will be back in Europe as a member


of the European Union within the eurozone, and we will win this very,


very difficult struggle. That European elite, Richard Corbett, is


laid clearly at your feet here? the idea that Europe is imposing


austerity on Greece, I think, has to be taken with a pinch of salt.


Why is the Greek Government cutting spending so much? Because its


levels of debts are so high, that it cannot borrow on international


markets. This is an order of magnitude quite different from


everywhere else, it is quite different from the too-far too-fast


debate in Britain for instance. They cannot borrow. Therefore,


other eurozone countries have lent Greece one of the biggest


international loans ever, in history, and secured a write-off of


existing debt. Without that Greece would be in far, far worse


austerity than it is now. Thanks to the loans from other eurozone


countries, it is bad enough, but not nearly so bad as it would have


been without the solidarity from other eurozone countries. You look


at Greece as an insider and outsider, which of these two bodies


do you see as to blame? Neither, they are as bad as each other. The


European Union has imposed the programme on the company, that is


manifestity unworkable t has imposed tread mendous austerity,


which has made things much, much worse, it has imposed suffering on


the people. And the Greek Government are in cahoots.


think they have imposed? manifesto was undoable. Those who


worked in cahoots with them insisted on imposing it on the


country, and the results are on as you see. I want to get a response


to that, that this was shown to you to be unworkable before it went


through, Richard Corbett? If Greece was not cutting its deficit, and it


doesn't have to do it which cutting expenditure by the way, it could


raise taxes, but if it weren't cutting the deficit, how would


Greece still be able to pay the public sector workers? The


Government cannot borrow money any more on markets, it has had to have


a loan from other eurozone countries. It is through its own


prove livecy of past Greece Governments who fiddled the book


that Greece is in this situation, not the European Union. The rest of


the European Union is help hading Greece by the biggest loan in


history to a country of this kind. Is Greece a place that is open for


business, is this a functioning company now? It is definitely still


sliding downwards this week we had Coca-Cola Hellenic, one of the


biggest companies in Greece, there are few international companies in


Greece, that is the problem with the economy, saying it will leave


Greece. More specifically, the problem at the moment, there is


obvious low help coming from the eurozone, the other eurozone


countries, but Greece just can't get out from this spiral with the


current level of debt that it has got. There is an increasing sense


that some of that debt is going to have to be forgiven again. One of


the things that has been discussed at the EU summit, that started


today, that we have been writing about today, is that there are


discussions again about possibly Greece being given money to buy


back some of its detect at lower prices, and then write it off.


Because otherwise it just can't possibly. To talk about increasing


taxes, we have got rising unemployment, 25% unemployment, and


rising in Greece. When you mentioned, just at the beginning,


Coca-Cola Helenic, this moves its head -- headquarters out, how much


jobs go as a result of that? don't know how many, it isn't a


massive employer in Greece, it doesn't just serve Greece but other


countries as well. It is a sign, that not only are other companies


not invest anything Greece, and it's impossible for Greece --


investing in Greece, and it is impossible for Greece to attract


companies because the labour costs are too high. Even those


established for decades want to get out. When you hear this, and look


at a blue chip company like that saying we don't think we can work


in Greece any more, can you really see that there's light at the end


of the tunnel? We made a lot of progress in the last three years.


We managed to cut our deficit by 25% of our GDP. We applied this


very, very tough and very strict austerity measures. But we still


believe that we can win this fight. And I think that Greece will be a


success story, as Prime Minister, Antonis Samaras pointed out


yesterday in Bucharest, this Greek story will be a success story. I


think that Europe will get out of this crisis much easier if Greece


succeeds and if Greece can make it. We think that in the coming months,


in the coming months, the situation will be much better. You have been


shaking your head at this for the last minute? I admire the


gentleman's optimisim, as an economist, when I look at the


figures, there is not a single thing moving positively, investment


has collapsed, consumption is declining, exports are going


nowhere, the Government is cutting again, there is tremendous


unemployment, there is nothing positive in the country, other than


in the heads of the people who run the Government. This Government,


incidentally, as your programme showed before, was elected on a


completely different ticket to the one it is currently applying. All


this talk about light at the end of the tunnel, is of the same calibre


as the stuff they said before the election. Isn't it that they are


tied more closely to the euro? People are very scared about


exiting the euro, there has been a campaign of misinformation and


terror for ordinary people, about what will happen if they left the


eurozone. They are right to be scared about what happens, whether


they stay in the euro, but also if they come out of euro, interest


would be a massive devaluation of the kuorn circumstance people who


have assets left would -- currency, people who have assets left would


lose 90% of the value of them, there would be 60-70% inflation


rates. This is what keeps Brussels functioning, the fact there is no


alternative for Greece. But this is the 22nd summit in two years. Are


you, maybe, noble -- you may be Nobel Peace Prize winners, but


isn't it faintly ridiculous to discuss the banks, when there is


this kind of social breakdown? is a regular summit meeting, it is


not an emergency one. The European Council does meet six times a year.


It is not extraordinary. Once again, Greece will be centre stage, and


there is a dislocation between...Greece Is not on the


agenda of this meeting. It is not even...The Remaining measures and


adjustments that may need to be made for Greece is by the finance


ministers. There was a great comment by Angela Merkel saying


"this was not a summit for making decisions", in that case, what is


the difference in other summits. Indeed it is not scheduled to be


taking any decision on Greece at all, that is not on the agenda of


the summit. That makes you look even more irrelevant? No, the main


decisions, the huge extra loan given to Greece, and the write-off


of most of the private sector debt, has already been decided. There is


a programme for Greece. There may need to be an adjustment, we will


evaluate that when we have the reports from the IMF and the ECB


and commission. Then then there may be a prolongation of it. It is not


on the agenda of this meeting. Greece needs debt-write-off, and a


lifting of the austerity policy, nothing will work. The social


collapse you have outlined is a very real thing, caused by


unemployment, and middle-class people losing their property, left,


right and centre, this is what is happening in the country. The


middle of the society has been crushed, that is why you get the


phenomena of the right-wing becoming very powerful. This is


what is emerge anything the south of Europe, it isn't just Greece,


Portugal and Spain aren't far off, it is about time the European Union


realised what is afoot. No-one's entirely sure what the


Prime Minister meant to say yesterday in the Commons on gas


prices, but by today his words had become hard policy. Although absent


of any detail of how that policy will work. After cries of Labour of


a shamble, accusations of a U-turn, by this evening David Cameron was


confirming he will be compelling energy companies to give their


lowest tarrifs. We go through a heated 24-hours. It is the time


year when the metre spins faster and millions have to worry about


rising bills. The first politician that promises and delivers lower


energy costs, they could reap a big political prize. And that's what


the Prime Minister seemed to be offering yesterday. Let's do


something that, sadly, we can't do with our metres, let's wine the


clock back, here is what Mr Cameron said in the Commons. I can announce,


which I'm sure he will welcome, is that we will be legislating so that


energy companies have to give the lowest tarrif to their customer,


something Labour didn't do in 13 years. Brilliant, so instead of


trying to make sense of all the different confusing tarrif, the


energy company will have to put you on their best deal. Simple. Except


it is not, for a start, if energy company has to put all its


customers on its best tarrif, in effect, it will only have one


tarrif, now, hands up who thinks the energy company is going to set


that tarrif so they make less money than they do now? Anyone? No?


But luckily, at 8.00am, the Energy Secretary, Ed Davey, was giving a


speech. The Prime Minister's announcement is big news, of course


his Energy Secretary will be able to give us some more details.


Except, here is transcript of the speech, and nowhere in it does he


mention the new policy at all. And, this is confusing. When he was


asked a direct question about the new policy, in a brief interview


that he gave afterwards, he used very different language from the


Prime Minister. The Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, announced in


April, an agreement that I negotiated with the Big Six, that


they will have to tell their customers every year what is the


best available tarrif. We have a range of other ideas we have been


working on with the Deputy Prime Minister and Prime Minister, and


others, to help consumers and businesses with their energy bills.


The Prime Minister is referring to those, we will deliver the details


over the next few weeks. Let's recap, shall we, the Prime Minister


said the energy companies will have to give you their best deal. And


this is a new policy. The Energy Secretary says they will have to


write to you and offer you their best deal, but this is not a new


policy s that is already happening. All very confusing, don't worry,


parliament is on the case. The Speaker has ordered ministers to


come and explain to MPs what is going on in, in response to an


urgent question from Labour. This time it was the energy minister


answering all, or rather not answering, really, more reading out


a long-prepared reply, designed to, well not say very much, really.


Following the Prime Minister's announcement yesterday, I'm pleased


to enfirm we will bring forward legislation to help energy


consumers get the best deal. We have already regulated, and have


plans to improve competition, simplifying tarrifs through the


retail market process, and we will improve liquidity and competition


in the wholesale market through the energy bill, in weeks, rather than


months. There are a number of options being considered. Labour


clearly weren't impressed with this response? We all misspeak from time


to time, and the Prime Minister of under a lot pressure yesterday, but


for the Government to spend a day pretending to have a policy they


have no intention of implementing, is no way to run the country. It is


like something out of The Thick of It. There is one more chance to get


a straight answer about what is going on. The Prime Minister's


official spokeswomen answering journalist questions at the morning


loby, we are found -- spokes woman, answering journalists' questions


this at the morning lobby. We found out this morning, but we didn't,


she wasn't answering question. They were to offer their best tarrif in


writing every year, but what they already do. Let's recap. The Prime


Minister said this? We will legislate so energy companies have


to give the lowest tarrif to their customers. The Energy Secretary


said this. They will have to he will their customer every year what


is the best tarrif. The Energy Minister, this. This as complicated


area. The Prime Minister surfaced at a Brussels summit, can he tell


us what he said. Except he jolly well meant what he said, so there.


I meant what I said in the House of Commons, I will with we will use


the Energy Bill coming up this year, so we ensure customers get the


lowest tarrif, that is what we will do. The Government definitely has a


new policy s we don't know quite what it is or quite how it will


work. But the energy bill is being published next month, that will


probably make things clear, won't We did invite a Government minister


to talk about the policy, but they couldn't.


Britain has the dubious honour of being one of the worst countries of


breast-feeding in the EU. One of the countries with the lowest


numbers, performance doesn't come under it. A failure to breast-feed


is not stigma enough. It is a suggestion that those who don't


cost the NHS billions and risking illness. Is it something to feel


guilty, and why do we find it so hard. As all new parents will know,


Newsnight coincides with the last feed. We have three babies, I can


hear them. A little bit noisy here. Thank you very much. In a moment we


will be talking to the three ladies here who have joined me to chair


share some of their experiences of breast-feeding what does today's


report say, firstly. This is a report from the children's charity,


UNICEF and (baby cries very loudly) But the report has been looking at


the economic case for persuading women to breast-feed, and UNICEF


said to me that, one of their aims was to use the economic argument,


because the other methods for persuading women to breast-feed


hadn't really been that successful. What they have done is they have


asked panel of experts to look at the scientific and medical case for


breast-feeding, and not surprisingly they have concluded


there are benefits for both the babies and the mothers. For babies


there is a reduced risk of stomach and breathing and ear infections,


and for women, longer term, there can be a reduced risk of breast


cancer, and all the illnesses cost money for the NHS. If you bring


them down you save money. How does the UK rate when it comes to


breast-feeding compare to other countries. We don't do veryle well.


Especially in duration of breast- feeding. We have one of the lowest


rates of breast-feeding in the world. So while 81% of women start


breast-feeding, by six to eight week, rates have fallen back to


That's despite Department of Health advice that babies should be


exclusively breast fed, if possible, for around the first six month of


life. The top line of this report is that the NHS could save at least


�40 million a year, they reckon, by preventing some of these costly


illnesses, if more women were persuaded to breast-feed for longer,


and given help to do that. So I'm joined now by Rema, Sarah and Hazel


who will tell me a bit about their experiences of breast-feeding. You


are a breast-feeding support worker, was it an easy choice for you to


make? It was, in a bay, I wanted to breast -- in a way, and I wanted to


breast-feed, and knowing the benefit. Having done the job I


wanted to do it myself and relate to how mums are feeding. Did you


learn anything about the process? found out it was difficult, and the


ways that mum felt, now I'm doing the job I'm finding it more


enjoyable because I can relate to the mums and share the experiences.


Sarah, you decided to bottle feed, what led you to that decision?


just assumed most people bottle fed, my mother did, and most people I


knew bottle fed, it was only when I got pregnant and started going to


antenatal appointments I realised I was kind of expected breast-feed,


and most people did. I felt quite a lot of pressure that this was what


was expected of mothers, that we would breast-feed. Did you feel


there was pressure on you to breast-feed? I had chosen to


breast-feed already, I was actually welcoming a lot of the support and


encouragement to breast-feed. But, it did, I was quite conscious of


how little there was about bottle feeding as an alternative. Because


I was always biased one way, it suited me. It was very biased


towards breast-feeding. Thank you very much, back to you Emily,


perhaps a little quieter for the rest of the discussion.


A miracle. Here with me the policy adviser at NCT, involved in that


report, Charlotte Fiarcloth, who studies parenting for the


University of Kent, and Francesca Entwhistle, a midwife and lecturer


in midwifery, and worked with the Department of Health to promote


breast-feeding. Listening to the women, what different


preconceptions of what is expected. In your mind is there a problem if


we are one of the lowest breast- feeding nations in Europe? Probably


what the accounts of the women there show is the current approach


isn't really working. There is a huge drop off of women who are


breast-feeding very, very quickly. I think probably these very one-


sided accounts of the benefits of breast-feeding aren't very helpful.


This approach that breast is best, actually leaves a lot of women


feeling very, very guilty about what they do end up doing, that is


98% of them, which is using formula milk at home stage. Broadly would


you like to see women breast- feeding more? The only reason we


would like to see it is that's what women want, 80 perof women start


breast-feeding, of those -- 80% of women start breast-feeding, and 90%


who stop would want to carry on. It is that support we need. If a woman


gives birth and says I don't want to breast-feed at all? That is up


to her. You wouldn't like to change people's mind? I don't think women


should be under pressure, it is their decision, it is a very


personal decision. There is a lot of factors that come into it. But


women should make their own decisions and be supported in that.


And Francesca Entwhistle, as a midwife, you see women in this very


vulnerable, initial stage, a lot of women are basically not really


taught how to do it. It is made to feel like something that comes very


naturally and it really doesn't, it is a very technical learning curve


isn't it? It is a learning curve, and women don't grow up in an


environment in the UK where they see breast-feeding, they are not


picking up the skills naturally from their parents. You think


because it is literally out of sight? It is out of sight, in many


families, two generations of bottle fed, they are not picking up the


skills intuitively, it is the role of the support workers and midwives


and health visitors to help them overcome the challenges in the


early days. And in the antenatal period to give them information and


support so they can make a real choice. What the evidence suggests


is women need face-to-face support. They need to know when they will


get that support. Why isn't that just built in to the very first day,


when a woman's given birth, that someone comes around and shows them


what to do. That is missing at the moment? It is built in to the


infrastructure, and what this report and what a lot of other


reports are showing, is that we need to keep training the midwives,


and retraining midwives. I myself trained 30 years ago when things


were very different. They have improved dramatically, but we are


making progress, and we have gone from up to 81%, since the last


infant feeding survey, but women are still not continuing. We need


to put more infrastructure in, commission more services, so women


don't feel guilty, and they can make a real choice. Do you believe


it does contribute to infant illnesses, a lack of breast-


feeding? My concern is that often these report, as I say, they are


very one-sided, they take statistics which are actually, some


of the research that is used, the data is a lot more uncertain than


these reports suggest. Quantifying benefits to the NHS in ten, 15


years time. The evidence around gastroenteritis infections more


secure, but things like obesity and cancers is very unstable. Putting


these amounts on it, and making women feel like they are costing


the NHS X or kwhr., -- Y, I don't think that is helpful. I know you


say it is not directed at mothers, it ends up on programmes like this,


mothers watch Newsnight and mothers read newspapers. Governments need


to know that investing in breast- feeding will save them money. At


the moment everything is being cut back, we need the H NHS and local


authorities to know. There is a lot spent on breast-feeding information


in the past. Will help, babies will be sick less often, mothers will be


sick less often, and more importantly they will do what they


want to do. If they get the report. When you phrase it in the way of


stopping a waste of money to the NHS. There are millions of ways you


can save �40 million on the NHS every year. This is one thing. And


it helps reduce inequalities in society. Because we know that women


with the lower income and less education are less likely to


breast-feed, it is those women who need the most support. I'm sorry to


interrupt. That is the kind of talk you don't like? As a feminist, yet


again, poor women, women with less education are being blamed for


wider social inequality. Things like class, education, you know,


breast-feeding is not a magic bullet, you can't breast-feed your


way to being middle-class. Breast- feeding has been fits, breast fed


children tend to be healthier. is a simple thing, that it costs


less money to breast-feed it comes from you. Somebody else can't do it.


It costs time for bottle feeding too. It is not just about saving


money from the NHS, we can invest that back in for women to have real


choice. At the moment women stop bread feeding and go to bottle


feeding because they can't solve the problem and they are not


getting the support they need. If we empowered them and gave them the


self-confidence and self-efficacy to overcome those problems and get


solution, if they want to go on and bottle feed and partially breast-


feed that will be their choice. Would you go a step further, you


talk about a woman's time, it is not just the responsibility of the


mother to be the feeder? Well, yeah, and particularly, let's just


imagine, I know it is a classic thing that feminists would say, if


it were men would you say to them you ought to breast-feed for 18


months to reduce your risk of cancer and save the NHS money.


men breast fed they would get all the support they need and sit


around in bed all day. I'm a feminist and I don't like that


women don't get enough support, they get inconsistent advice, that


is inexcusable wrecks know how to help women breast-feed, they are


not getting the help. It won't come as a vast surprise


that the heir to the throne holds a lot of opinions about a lot of


things. Many of them have been openly and frankly expressed, many


leaked. This week the Attorney General explains his reasons for


not publishing letters from the Prince to Tony Blair's Government.


Tonight we asked one of the Prince's closest aides for decades,


if political neutrality in a Monarch matters?


It could be decades away. But at some point we will see a different


face on our stamps and bank notes. What do we know about the future


King Charles III, about his political views, the way he plans


to use his power and influence. problem is that I can't resist


trying to find a way of doing something about many of the


problems that I come across. If you want a quieter life, lock me up.


This week, the Attorney General stepped in to block the publication


of 27 of the Prince's memo, sent to Labour ministers some years ago.


The called Black Spider letters, named after his distinctive


handwriting, are said to be particularly frank and full of


deeply-held personal beliefs. But, after a seven-year fight by the


Guardian newspaper, the full contents will remain secret. That


veto overturned a decision last month by a High Court judge. The


Attorney General said the publication of those memos could


stop ministers talking openly with the Prince, as he prepares to


become king. And it could undermine his position of political


neutrality. Unofficially we already know about the Prince's views on a


number of subjects. This former special adviser to two Labour


ministers says he had firsthand experience of some of those letters.


I remember one particular incident from when I was working at the


Department for Communities and Local Government. The Secretary of


State had given a speech about model communities, and had


mentioned Poundbury, Charles's model village in Dorset. She was a


bit disparaging about it in a throw-away remark. Within a day or


two, a handwritten letter arrived into the office, with the fleur de


lis in the corner, inviting her to visit Poundbury and see for herself.


That was particular taken up afterwards. If you or I had written


a letter to the Secretary of State to visit our pet scheme, it is


unlikely it would go to the top of the pile or get a visit so fast.


The Prince has been ayes cuesed in the past for using his influence to


interfere in other areas of public life. He wrote to the Qatari owners


of this development in Chelsea, calling for the whole original


design to be scrapped, the man behind that design, Lord Rogers,


ayes cuesed the Prince of abusing his power, and wrecking two years


of his work. Then there have been forthright


views, publicly expressed, or quietly leaked, on topics from


hunting to youth unemployment, to environmental policies. He says


it's his duty to communicate some of those views, privately, to


public official. I could have, couldn't I, have sat doing very


little indeed. And I would have been got at just as much by people


saying what a useless idiot he is. You know, what contribution is he


making. I would rather, at the end of the day, if one has to go


through all this, be criticisedor doing things, rather than not --


criticised for doing things rather than not doing them. Some say some


of the Prince's actions look like direct lobbying, designed to change


Government policy, that, they say, is undemocratic. I don't think


anyone doubts that there is anything wrong with Charles having


a range of political views and causes he cares a great deal about.


The question is the secrecy is the way he lobbies on behalf of these


causes and campaign, and the letters will be kept secret, and


the public will never know whether or not the Government changed the


mind, whether public money was spent, whether decisions were


altered, as a result of Charles's lobbying.


A recent change to the law means royal letters written today are


even less likely to get into the public domain. So, any more of


those private thoughts, scrawled in black handwriting, are likely to


remain just that, private. We can speak now to Dame Julia


Cleverdon, special adviser to the Prince's charities. She has worked


for Prince Charles for the last 20 years, and Nick Cohen, the


columnist for the Observer. Thank you both for coming in. I guess he


is clearly a man with plenty of views, and proudly so. Do you think


we want an heir to the throne with views? I think we want an heir to


the throne who has spent most of the last 35 years trying to


understand some of the key issues which face Britain in the


communities that he will seek to serve. So I think if we look at his


work across an absolute range of issues, whether we are talking


youth unemployment, or responsible business behaviour, or what do we


do with 100 redundant hospitals, this man has given his life,


actually, to understanding what the issues are, that he can do. At what


point is that meddling? You can organise if it is meddling or


mobilising. I would suggest that most of what the Prince of Wales


has done, has been to try to mobilise to make things happen,


through charities, through the business world, through communities


.% of all young people, who are not in education, employment and


training, are going through the -- 7% of all young people who are not


in education, employment and training are going through the


Prince's Trust this year, that is a contribution to the nation. You can


call him a useless idiot, he says, but he would prefer to be somebody


who did something than didn't? depends what you mean by do. What


happened was the Information Commissioner, who fully accepts


that Prince Charles's private views and business should be kept out of


the public domain, was looking at direct lobbying of the Government.


He said the Prince's attempts to say this wasn't political weren't


credible, whatsoever. He said they made no sense. These were political,


often on party political matters. We know what little that has leaked


has been his attack on the Human Rights Act. Although I agree very


much with Julie that some of the work he does is fine, and non-


political and very good. Some are pernicious, and on alternative


health, quack medicine, which he is constantly bombarding the


Department of Health to keep homeopathic hospital over. I can't


see the objection to knowing about this? I think it is absolutely


clear that Governments of all persuasions have decided that the


Queen's letters, the Prince of Wales's letters, and the Duke of


Wales's letters should not be in the public domain. The Prince of


Wales does 600 engagments a year. He wants to change mind, that is


the point of the letter is to change the mind of those with


influence? It is to take the views and experience he has picked up, as


he moves around this country and other countries, on things that he


believes to be the interests of Britain. He has an absolute right,


I would have thought, to use that experience, to pass that


information on, to do, where he can, the things he can to make more


difference to Britain. Do you really think that Tony Blair would


have changed a policy on the back of something that Prince Charles


wrote to him in a letter? We are not allowed to know, that is the


first point. And the Government has gone to great efforts to make sure


we don't know. On the whole politicians are rather frightened


of Royals. They are frightened of having an argument with them. They


are frighten the media will take the Royal Family's side. There was


an example this week, when Jeremy Hunt makes a perfectly civil


comment to the Queen and they were rather rude to them. How do you


know that, talk to David Blunkett and many of the ministers who know


the Prince of Wales and worked with him, they would say, actually they


value his views. You see it is a bit, Baroness. I'm not a Baroness.


Nothing like one. Nothing like one. It is a bit odd of you to support a


system of secrecy and say how do you know that, prove it. He's one


of the least secretive people there is, he is frank what he believes,


he founded 20 charities, what more can he do. Would he publish his


views himself? Read the speeches. They are very clear what the Prince


of Wales believes about how they can make a greater difference.


wouldn't have a problem, if they are all in the speech, he wouldn't


have a problem that they come out? It is a Government responsibility


and decision, this is not the Prince of Wales's, he didn't take


the case. Let's get the fact on the record, you are saying as one of


the Prince of Wales's advisers he would be happy for the Black Spider


to be released. I have a fantastic -- Black Spider letters to be


relyed. I have a fantastic number of Black Spider memos from the


Prince of Wales, four this morning. What is talked about, particularly


between the Monarch herself, and the Prime Minister, whatever goes


on, in that conversation, something intensely private, and gives the


person in power, the Prime Minister of the day, enormous confidence, do


you not respect that? If you look back to the present Queen, when she


was the heir to the throne. There is nothing like what has been


happening with the Prince of Wales. She was on the throne at the age of


23. If you look at the information commissioner's website, I hope do


you it, they are so concerned about his behaviour, they have produced a


20,000 history of political interventions going back to the


1970s. Not party political. In an interview with Vanity Fair, they


say his parents might have brought him up to stay out of politics, he


said he wouldn't listen to it. this something the Queen wouldn't


do? The Prince of Wales is the longest-serving Prince of Wales we


have ever had. He has spent the last 35 years trying to prepare,


support and understand the things he can do to mobilise and make a


greater difference to the things he believes are important to Britain.


Thank you both so much. We have run out of time. That's all from us


tonight, I will be back with another round of delights tomorrow.


Good evening, one way another, Friday could potentially get off to


a grey start across many parts of the UK. We are looking at some


stubborn mist and fog for northern England, the Midlands and the south


west of England. Cloud bringing further outbreaks of rain into


Scotland and Northern Ireland. East Anglia and the south-east of


England will struggle with thicker cloud and outbreak of rain for much


of the day. Perhaps not just for Friday, but on into the weekend as


well. Thanks to a weather front that never quite clears off into


the continent. The south west of England and Wales should brighten


up nice low for Friday afternoon, eventually temperature -- nicely


for Friday afternoon, temperatures reaching 14. Cooler where mist and


fog linger. After a grey start, Northern Ireland should see the


cloud breaking through the second half of the day. Highs of 11 or 12


in the sunshine. The far North West of Scotland gets sunshine, but the


central lowlands will struggle with cloud and rain. Sunshine for Friday


in Inverness, Edinburgh rather cloudy, school at 9 degrees. The


prospects for Saturday look dry and brighter for Scotland and Northern


Social unrest in the Nobel Peace Prize-winning EU and PM's energy price fix dubbed a 'combi-shambles'. With Emily Maitlis.

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