23/11/2012 Newsnight


Is the Leveson press standards inquiry too elitist? Does the euro budget row change anything? Is Egyptian democracy already fading? With Kirsty Wark.

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As Lord Leveson is about to deliver his verdict on the state of the


press, senior politicians, campaign groups and celebrities are piling


on the pressure to get their way. What about the powerless? If you


are not part of the establishment, will Lord Leveson still be on your


side? The father of a 7/7 victim caught


up in hacking, thinks not. You can see it is all part of the old boy


network and the same establishment. I haven't seen any part of the


Leveson Inquiry to which I can feel, as a member of the public,


affiliated with. The charge is eliteism, is it true?


Brussels tonight, full of sound and fury, but signifying no change at


all. Who is there to stand up for the taxpayer, who is to say,


where's the money going to come from, who will pay for this? Anger


in Egypt, as their newly-elected President make as power grab, is he


is securing democracy or destroying Good evening, when David Cameron


announced the Leveson Inquiry, he said it would look into not only


how newspapers are regulated, but also at the relationships between


politicians and the press. Has the intervening 12 months revealed more


about Britain's power elites than could ever have been imagined. Who


knew, for instance, that the Prime Minister and Rebekah Brooks had


such a close relationship. Are the fault lines developing over


statutory regulation, in the best interests of celebrities or every


day folks. First tonight, we hare the testimony of the father of one


of those who died in the London someings, and himself a suspected


victim of phone hacking. David Foulkes was 24 years old when


he was killed on the 7th July, in Edgware Road, it was his first time


in London on his own. My wife came home, we spent the next 36, 48


hours trying to get some kind of answer. We got no response, nobody


knew what was going on, we couldn't get touch with David, we had mobile


phones, two landlines at home, David had two phones, we tried


every number and combination of numbers and we called for


everything and got nowhere. would be six days before David's


parents finally learned he was dead. It would be six more years before


they discovered from the police that their phones might have been


hacked by the News of the World. was a senior police officer and he


started discussing with me Operation Weeting, it meant to go


to me, I asked him when did he know that my private details were in the


possession of News International. He said, for some years now. He had


only contacted me, and other members, simply because it was


about to be put in the public domain in the Daily Telegraph, I


think it was, the next day. When Brian Leveson was first appointed


to lead the hacking inquiry, there was hope that the inquiry would be


about the damage done to ordinary families. Despite the 100 witnesses


from many organisations, the inquiry hasn't turned out how he


has wanted. I thought for once something to do with the public


would be addressed. There was some interest in the 7/7 people again, I


didn't want to get involved with that. And yet the families of the


victims were the ones that one of the biggest grievances? Exactly. I


feel quite upset that an important piece of work for ordinary people,


for ordinary members of the public, was railroaded by the celebrity


circus. And also, it became apparent, very quickly, that the


politicians would quite like to get a grip on the media as well, and


the politicians are clearly using Leveson as a vehicle to get their


own way. But what about the Government, speaking to the


Government about what happened? Only ten days or so ago, it was


reported in the press, that Maria Miller, the minister, DCMS, had


face-to-face meetings with Hugh Grant, and the press reported she


was minded to go along with much of his thoughts and suggestions. I e-


mailed Maria Miller, explaining who I was, and my points of view, and I


didn't even get a reply from the minister. I got a reply from one of


her aides, saying it would be inappropriate for a minister to


comment as the report had not yet been publicised. Which, I just


think illustrated my point precisely. That the Leveson Inquiry


has been hijacked, if you are rich and famous and a celebrity, you


have immediate access to ministers, but if you are an ordinary member


of the public, a ministerial aide sends you an e-mail.


What do you want to come out of the Leveson Inquiry. You seem to be


suggesting that you think it is a stitch-up for politicians to put


their dabs on the media? I think stitch-up might be a bit strong.


But certainly they have seen it as an opportunity to maybe get hold of


the media and try to shape it in a way that suits them. That would be


a dreadful outcome. That would be like going back to Stalinism, and


China and North Korea. The great strength of this country is we do


have a free press. We have in place, currently, enough laws to deal with


the activities we are talking about. We don't need any more legislation.


We just need a regulation, or a body that is able to control when


they cross the line, from a morality point of view. Do you


think that the way that Leveson has been conducted, and your experience


of Leveson, tells you anything about the establishment? Well, I


think that the establishment have quickly taken control of Leveson.


If you look at the team that are supporting Leveson, you can see,


that it's all part of the same old boy network, and the name


establishment. I have not seen any part of the Leveson Inquiry to


which I can feel, as a member of the public, affiliated with, and


think that's to help me, as a member of the public, that is to


help me. All I have seen is various lobby groups take over the Leveson


Inquiry. Trying to shape it to suit them. If you were to be sitting in


front of Brian Leveson right now, what would you say to him? I would


be saying to him that I hope he has not been derailed. That he has been


able to cut through all the smoke screen and keep the inquiry on


track. I would like to think that he would recommend a course of


action that is the right and proper thing to do. Which avoids


parliament, in any way, taking over or having control of the media.


Thank you very much indeed. I'm joined now by Simon Jenkins,


columnist for the Guardian, and two people who have had their phones


hacked, the publicist, Max Clifford and Joan Smith.


Do you recognise Graham Foulkes's characterisation of Leveson as


being hijacked by celebrity? didn't need to be hijacked, he was


obsessed with celebrity. I don't think it is fair to imply,


therefore, he's going to give an establishment stitch-up, it was an


ill-judged commission of inquiry, it was way over the top. The whole


reference to phone hacking, in your own report, this is a crime.


Leveson is not looking into that crime. He's not got any remit to


look into the crime, maybe on a future date. This was a crime that


has been committed and being dealt with by the police. The Leveson


Inquiry is about the ethics of the press, that is a different matter.


The ethic of the press, as Graham was saying, he wants some new body


to govern the ethic of the press. You he couldn't say what it was, I


don't know what it is going to be. I'm doubtful this characterising


Leveson as an establishment stitch- up is the correct way to do it.


Before we talk about establishment, does he have a point, from where he


sits, it has been dominated by celebrities who have had their


phones hacked, and in a sense that the media itself latches on to that,


and that is what it has been characterised by? I'm not wealthy


or a celebrity, in the last week I have met David Cameron, Ed Miliband


and Nick Clegg, to discuss phone hacking, and all of that. And the


people. You are a columnist for a national newspaper, you have


profile? The rest of the people in the room for me were people whose


relatives had disappeared or murdered, you might have recognised


their names, not because they are celebrities, but they are people


who terrible things have happened to. What were you talking about in


the room? We were talking about, what we as victims of phone hacking,


would like to see come out of the Leveson Inquiry, and seeking


assurances from all three party leaders that they were still


committed to the Leveson process. It is interesting that you didn't


think that meeting with Leveson would have been a good idea. Maybe


that is simply not allowed? For the victims? To put your point of view


at this stage in the inquiry? of us have already given evidence.


I gave evidence on the first day of the inquiry, when it was taking


evidence. I must say, that having been involved in the whole thing


for a year as a core participant victim, I have met far, far more


people who were ordinary members of the public who had terrible things


happen to them than I have celebrities. What I think happens


is when news organisations ring up the victims' organisations they ask


for Hugh Grant, that may skew the impression of what the victims'


organisation is. This is very much Graham Foulkes's own experience


with it, do you have sympathy with how he views Leveson? I think the


most important thing, as far as I'm concerned, is hopefully the public


will get better protection. Stars, the rich and famous, have tonnes of


protection. I know, because in many ways I'm part of it, and have been


for 50 years. The rich and famous are well looked after, they have


got expensive lawyers and PR people, often giving them more protection


than they deserve. Ordinary members of the public don't have. And


that's one thing I hope will come out of the Leveson Inquiry. We must


have a free press, but you must have members of the public


protected when their privacy is being invaded, with no


justification. Do you think it does show, not necessarily that the


prevalence of an establishment, but a number of elites. For example,


you would hope that the newspapers would hold politicians to account,


but you feel that, in a sense, newspapers have been so embroiled


in this, that they don't have an independence from politicians?


think it is wrong to frame this as an attack on freem do of the press.


What it is, it is an exposure of abuse of power. I don't he see how


newspapers, and editors, can hold politicians to account if we are


meeting. I have no problem with them being lobbied by editors, and


public meetings that are publicly recorded. What Leveson has exposed


is a level of private meetings, subterranean contact, that the rest


of us didn't know about. That is very worrying. There is a very


narrow group, between the newspaper press, the broadcasters, the


politicians, they go round in a merry-go-round? What is interesting


about Leveson, he has revealed some of the things that go on. That is


interesting. Every now and then it is interesting to have a great


turning over of stones and you see all the little bugs running around


underneath the stones. That has been significant, and interesting,


it is important you do that. Whether at the end of the day you


can invent some new system that prevents that happening, or reveals


it to the public or makes a difference, I very much doubt.


someone, like people whose families were the victims of 7/7, and they


look at where the power lies, it would be fair to say that the power


lies often between the press and the politicians, and even the


judiciary. That is the narrow area in Britain where power resides?


reality of it is, of course, it is not just politicians who have a


close relationship, because they need to, with Fleet Street, so do


the proprietors of newspapers have a close relationship with the press,


and politicians, because they all want to have maximum influence.


It's just a question of trying to make it as open as possible so we


can all see and hear what is going Going back to the point that Graham


was making. I think there is a real question about how what might be


called "ordinary people", famous for a day, might get some redress


when they feel hard done by. The Press Complaints Commission was set


up to do that. In those cases the press complaints commission hasn't


done a bad job. The crime is a different matter. But redress is


there, it needs to be tightened up and tweaked, but it is feasible.


Here you have an all-singing, all- dancing inquiry that takes a year.


You have Lord Leveson who doesn't want the report to Laing qirb on


the shelf. He presents his report to parliament, and the politicians,


who are implicated, make the decision. You describe the real


world. The point is, he may, he may say that actually we should have


some, what Joan wants, satry? don't want that, I want --


statutory? I don't want that I want independent. But he has a whole


pile of people saying they don't want that? Would I rather the Prime


Minister and the cabinet take a decision than a judge. I would


rather the Prime Minister and the cabinet. What is the point of the


inquiry, there will be a second judgment? To reveal things, conduct


a public debate, which is done. To turn over stones. Judges shouldn't


make law. You say to turn over stones, if those stones are going


to be turned back again, what is the point? That is why I don't


think this is going top had a. I don't think that Lord Justice


Leveson wants to be another Calcott. The last commission to the press?


That was 20 years ago and Simon was part of that. All we have had for


the last 20 years self-regulation. The question is not self-or state


regulation, it is independent -- self-or-state regulation, it is


independent regulation. You have to have a strong press complaints body


that is prepared to stand up for ordinary people. Ordinary people


know of its existence and they will help them. That hasn't happened in


the past. Unlike some, I think the press complaints commission has


been dreadful for ordinary people, for the last 20, 30 years, so many


people have come to me, as well as other people, and saying the press


complaints don't want to know. Many, many people, and they weren't


interested. At the moment do you think Brian Leveson will be feeling


the pressure? He's a tough guy. He's run that inquiry as he wanted


to run it. I think he became star struck by it. That in itself was


quite useful, it has raised the profile of it all. If you ask me at


the end of the day if there will be a lot of difference, I don't think


there is. The thing is to meet the point to ensure you have a


plausible regime, that people have faith in. They won't have faith in


it if the press run it themselves. That is the problem. Jo all wait


through it has been about power -- All the way through it has been


about power, it is how you give power to ordinary people. And


Leveson wants to make sure there is an independent regulator where the


editors aren't judging themselves and others, and a statutory


backdrop so nobody can opt out of the situation. What is interesting,


is as soon as he brings his report out, he's going to Australia, where


the media is totally controlled by Rupert Murdoch! Maybe it was


indigestion eating a meal of cold cut late at night, or too much rich


Belgian chocolate. 27 European leaders, in the end, agreed to


nothing. The EU budget is running out with a 2% added on at the table.


There is a raft of other EU- designed policies coming down the


track, most greeted like a cup of warm sick by David Cameron and his


Conservative colleagues. So is this only the beginning of saying no to


Europe? Vasily Grossman witnessed If only it were as simple as


tossing a few coins in a hat, they could agree the EU budget and be


home in time for tea. This is not just a battle about cash. It is


also about political capital. We're not going to be tough on


budgets at home, just to come here and sign up to big increases in


European spending. From a budget of nearly a trillion euros, it is


simplely not acceptable to carry on tinkering around the edges,


shuffling chunks of money from one part of the budget to another, we


need to cut unaffordable spending. That is what is happening at home,


and it needs to happen here. This is more than just a row about the


budget, it should be seen as part of a wider conflict between


competing visions for how the EU should evolve. If you want a


concrete example of how the EU institutions themselves think they


should go, you only have to travel next door from the summit venue.


A short walk away is evidence that far from being an institution in


retreat, the EU wants to do more, it wants a deeper, comprehensive


union. It's called the Europa Building,


and it is costing over a billion euros with its central pod-like


thing. When it is finished it will be the home of the European Council,


and Herman Van Rompuy. The question is, how much will Britain be


involved in what goes on there? whole idea of not to have the a la


carte, not to do the "cherrypick"ing, and take what you


like and don't contribute to the rest of it. It is like being a


member of any club, you take the week with the sour. It increasingly


looks like "cherrypick"ing. does that go down here? Not very


well. The UK has signalled it intends to exercise its opt-out


from 140 justice and home affairs measures, and renegotiate back into


the ones it wants to be part of. We have also signalled very strongly


we want nothing to do with and would veto any attempts to


introduce banking and financial regulation that were against


Britain's interests. This is one way of relieving the


frustration of a summit like this, there is plenty of frustration


among EU partner, some of whom are taking aim at what they regard as


Britain's aggressively negative attitude. I think it is a very bad


thing that there should be a second-class membership of Great


Britain. The interest of Britain and the interest of the British


citizens and companies lies on the continent. A second-class


membership, something inbetween Norway and Turkey seems to me a


very bad move. Practically is it possible, with matters like


justice? It is already prakically a little bit the case. Britain is not


a member of Schengen, or the euro. So the summit briefing go on,


frankly Britain isn't the biggest problem the EU is facing right now.


That honour, of course, belongs to the euro crisis, that is by no


means over. The measures that the 17 eurozone countries will be


forced into taking will inevitably lead to further political, fiscal


and economic integration, and Britain, will inevitably be,


included from that. The trouble is this, we may opt out of parts of


Europe, and yet what is clear is that the 17 eurozone countries are


moving on to a deeper political union, of that there is no doubt.


There will be meetings going on in the eurozone that make laws and


rules that affect the single market, of which we are a member, and yet


we are not even allowed in the room. We are becoming the Cinderella


state, asked to do the skivvy, and not invited to the grand dinner and


decide important things for British commerce. Not the postcard David


Cameron is going to be sending home. There are forces on both sides of


the channel pushing and pulling Britain away from a central role in


the EU It is for the politicians to decide how much to assist or resist


those forces. They call him a temporary dictator,


the new Pharaoh, President Morsi, the west point man for democracy in


the Arab world, no sooner had delivered a truce between Gaza and


Israel, he brazenly issued constitutional decrees banning any


opposition to his decisions, protests were soon to follow. Is


this truly temporary, or is Israel sliding into another dictatorship.


Popular fury, that we first saw in last year's uprising, repeated now


in post revolutionary Egypt. Today offices of President Morsi's Muslim


Brotherhood were ransacked, just as the offices of their historic enemy,


Hosni Mubarak's party, were ransacked two years ago. Crowds in


Cairo's Tahrir Square accused Morsi, who won a democratic election, of


becoming the new Mubarak. One of Egypt's best-known


politician, Nobel Peace Prize winner, Mohammed Al-Baradi, called


him the new Pharaoh. They are enraged by his new rules, that his


decisions can't be overruled by the courts. For many of the liberal,


who sparked the uprising here, is proof, they believe, of a plan by


religious forces to hijack a revolution that wasn't originally


their's. The previously cautious Morsi, has been emboldened, perhaps,


bit international prestige he has just won, for brokering the Gaza-


Israel ceasefire. When he addressed a rally in Cairo today he insisted


his powers were only temporary. TRANSLATION: I would like to see a


genuine opposition, and strong opposition. I am the guarantor of


that. I will protect my brothers in the opposition, all their rights so


they can exercise their role as it should be.


Morsi's supporters argue that the judiciaries is still full of


Mubarak-era apppointees, even liberals approve his decree for a


retrial of those convicted of killings in last year's uprising.


But his bid for more power will only further polarise a society


ever more deeply split between those for and against religious


rule. Egypt's likely to become more unstable in the seven months that


will now pass with no clear democratic checks and balances.


Until a new parliament's elected under a new constitution, at the


very earliest, next summer. With us from Cairo is a researcher


for Human Rights Watch, and in Birmingham, is a spokesman for


President Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood movement.


First of all, how long do you think has President Morsi been planning


this, it wasn't a quick decision after the Gaza truce, was it?


don't think it is a quick decision. We all agree that when we are


dealing with exceptional moments we need exception decisions. He


usually tried to go straight forward. It does seem even that if


we are able to consider everything legal, the revolution itself was


illegal, because Mubarak was elected President. But he tried to


achieve what he has promised his people, this is the time to do that.


He hasn't asked to have the parliament's power, besides his


power, this has already been given to him, but dissolution of the


parliament. But a lot of the people criticising Morsi, they were all


the time, over the last year trying to say he needs to take decisions,


rather than say he's following the rules. Isn't this just unfinished


business? No, this is a threat to the transition. Egypt has a very


fragile democracy, it has had two sets of election, a decision like


this, to give a President absolute power with zero oversight, he has


given himself more power than the military had last year. At least


with the military some of those decisions we could challenge them


in the administrative courts. This is dangerous for Egypt's transition.


The fact it is temporary is no guarantee of improvement. People


have very serious concerns about the constitution right now, not in


terms of rights and provisions, but also the broad powers given to the


President. The promise of trust me, I will set myself above the law and


court oversight, but trust me, I'm going to take care of things, will


not resonate. Do you think that President Morsi is going to take


any more temporary powers, or is this the limit of it? I don't think


so, I think every way we look at it, most of the Egyptians agree about


the decisions of sacking the public prosecutor, all Egyptians agree


about having retrials of criminals that shed blood during the time of


the revolution. If we speak about trying to protect the constitution


and trying to protect the council, we have no, at the moment we have


no institution at all in Egypt after dissolving the parliament.


What's trying to say, at the moment, if we we are going to have voting


for this institution coming, of the sort of Morsi, they can say no to


the constitution if they don't like it. Do you take his promise at face


value that this is a temporary measure, and when there is a


constitution at the end of parliamentary election, and when


indeed there is a judiciary that is more inclined towards the Muslim


Brotherhood's point of view, he will recind these powers again?


think the main question is what is going to happen in the next seven


months. Why would a President set himself up beyond judicial


oversight. Why would he include provision number six which says he


can take all necessary measures to protect the revolution or the unity


of the nation f it wasn't for the fact that he's planning to issue


laws and decrees which will violate existing laws and violate


constitutional provisions and rights. Like what? I think there


are a lot of questions in terms of what's actually going to happen,


for example, with the next election. Morsi, on the one hand, disables


the role of the judiciary, yet will pass an electoral law and expect


judges to provide oversight at the next election F he pass as law that,


you know, remember the last one was declared unconstitutional, if he


passes a law that is simply unconstitutional, perhaps to even


benefit his own party, there will be no legal challenge to it, and


yet he needs the judiciary to play this role in supervising the


elections. This is incred below unhealthy.


There is nothing standing in his way, is there, he can do what he


wants? It is not about that. We have to see what he can do and has


already done. We all know we are sorry to say that the


constitutional court has been doing a lot of negative things, everyone


knows about it. He has taken powers without as much as a by-your-leave,


he has acted undemocratically? was actually the revolution a


democratic way of doing things? He has taken the decision for the


parliament to come back. Why did he say at the time of the revolution


that he was going to do this, nobody had any notice of this?


tried to say the public prosecutor has to go, and he has refused that.


The constitutional court, as we it has been announced before, that


actually they were planning everything in the dark with the


military Supreme Court before. So all the Egyptians have concern


about the constitutional court and what they are taking, and the law


for the election that has been set at the time of the revolution was


approved and passed by the constitutional court. Do you have


any faith that there will be elections in the next few months?


There was talk about next summer, the constitution was meant to be


ready by December? Obviously the President has just extended the


term of the constitutional by two month, that was necessary. I think


elections will go forward, that is not the question. The protection of


the Constitutional Assembly from any judicial challenges, is also


equally problematic, why would a President do that, it is not within


his right. There are checks and balances set up in the system. This


is clearly about pushing through a vision of the system of Government


that the ruling party, which controls the Constitutional


Assembly, is very keen on maintaining. I would agree there


are problems with the judiciary, and judicial independence is a huge


problem, but you don't address problems in the judiciary by


increasing executive interference by saying the executive would be


above the judiciary, it is not reform and will harm Egypt.


Review is up next, matter that is in Glasgow.


Tonight we have got a Hollywood comedy about bipolar disorder, has


been tipped for an Oscar. The big Christmas offering from the


National Theatre, John Lithgow will be telling us more about that.


Cross-dressing from Mark Rylance in Twelfth Night, with Stephen Fry


back on stage. And Jon Hamm and Daniel Radcliffe sharing a bath.


Sadly, not in the studio. Don't go away. That is just about


it for tonight from Newsnight, Government code-breaker at GCHQ are


stumped this week by a dead World War II carrier pigeon found in a


In-depth investigation and analysis of the stories behind the day's headlines with Kirsty Wark. Is the Leveson press standards inquiry too elitist? Does the euro budget row change anything? Is Egyptian democracy already fading?

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