10/12/2012 Newsnight


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

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help mothers get back into work. We help mothers get back into work. We


reveal what the Government hopes will happen to make childcare more


affordable and the economy a little more vigorous.


Looks sweet, doesn't she, but are she and her friends secret


saboteurs of the nation's economy. Can we afford to have a million


mothers priced out of work by the cost of childcare. We want to be


active members of society, that's all, and earn enough to feed our


kids. Would reforming the tax system sort things, and come to


that, why is childcare so dapld expensive in this country.


-- damned expensive in this country. With Cairo posed for demonstration,


and Goon squads on the streets. We talk to the opposition lead,


Mohamed El Baradei, what does he make of President Morsi's rule.


is something unprecedented in the whole history of the world. I don't


think any of the Pharaohs had the same powers.


And young, gifted and gaz san, what's it like to be 18 in one of


the most troubled places on earth. TRANSLATION: I haven't lived long


enough to know what will happen in future, all I know is we are born


into war, we live in war, and we As any parent knows, children cost,


a lot. So much so hum drum. But the cost of childcare has now been


diagnosed as such a drag on the economy, that Newsnight understands


that the Government is about to try to do something about it. We


understand the coalition is considering reforming the tax


system, and relaxing restrictions on childminding. There will be


announcements just after Christmas. Our political editor has more.


In among the traffic of inner city London, a statue to motherhood, in


among the Hurley burly of the British economy, mothers too have


retreated to bring up baby, while the hustle and bustle carries on


around them. This statue is bronze, but you could measure what is lost


to the economy with women at home in gold bullion. The rise in


British living standards appears to be driven by at least, in part,


women entering the work force. But in recent years those rises have


plateaued, and childcare appears to be playing a part. When women have


children they don't as much reach a glass ceiling but a mess neen.


Their income is much diminished when they return. Politicians all


round agree it is a problem, a problem where nearly a million


women are missing from the work place. The Government talks a lot


about mums returning to work, but not doing anything to really help


us return to work, I want to, we want to. If they could put more


money into supporting mothers going back to work host-six months, nine


months, that would make a huge difference on careers not being


lost. A tale of two mums, on very different incomes, both visited by


Newsnight today. One training to be a nurse, and another, an


entrepeneur, who did run a company with with a large turnover, both


wondering why, in Britain today, it is so difficult to care for your


kids and care for your career. We have seen the appearance of


something of a childcare bubble. A lot of money has gone in, but the


price has risen higher and higher. The organisation of economic co-


operation and development, estimates in terms of how much the


Government puts into childcare, Britain is behind only the high-


spending Scandinavian countries. Experts can test this figure, they


say it includes elements that are not strictly childcare, and that


when a purer measure is used, British state spending on childcare


is actually somewhere in the middle. All three and four-year-olds


receive 15 hours of paid childcare a week during school term time. By


September 2014, disadvantaged two- year-olds will also receive help.


Childcare Tax Credits can be claimed by a household where when


either parent works 16 households a week. Most households to claim it


Nonetheless, the cost to families appears to be very hive. According


to the OECD, the average UK family spends 27% of its income on child


cautious that is the second-highest among OECD countries. It is for


this reason that the inclination inside Government is to reform how


childcare is provides, free up the regulations on who can become a


childminder. In our experiences, the spaces required most are for


the younger age group. There has been a lot of attention, a lot of


funding on the nursery space, and therefore, accommodating older


children, therefore, I would be delighted if the focus could be


moved towards childminding, making it easier to register as a child


minder, increasing the numbers of childminder places, so enable more


children who of a younger age to be left in a home, nurturing


environment. It's for this reason that the inclination inside


Government is to reform how childcare is provided, before any


increase in its funding. Free up the regulations on who can become a


childminder. Ministers are looking to France. Their -- there one


childminder can look after four children, here it is three, but


quality is not diminished there. When I was looking for childcare


and deciding whether or not to work. I would have loved to place my


daughter in a home environment, where someone was looking after my


own child plus my dau, so I knew they were in control of what they


were doing, and they were happy to do that, that's what I wanted, was


a nice, safe environment for them. Whether they are following


educational guidelines was not a priority for me.


Increase league avail -- increasing availability of child minders, with


new requirements expected for higher qualifications with a view


to bringing down the costs, that is one way to bring down the wall in


childcare that the Government is to announce in January. What if easing


the availability isn't the only problem, what if state funding


isn't enough state funding. We want to get back to work, me and other


mothers in my situation, we want to get back to work, we want to be


active members, but we really can't, because of the financial restraints


we have on us. Labour politicians are proud of the


investment they made in child cautious including Sure Start, but


now many think they must change tack, that new money must be spent


on providing the child cautious instead of just giving the parents


the ability to pay for it, if there is little to buy, prices remain


high. Free universal childcare for all 1-4-year-olds, is something the


opposition would like to offer. do spend a lot of money currently


in this country supporting the childcare sector, supporting


parents. But is all that money being spent in the best way. This


is what we are trying to do. Hopefully we will be bringing


forward some proposals in due course, that will definitely make


this a lot better for the future. The Conservative came has always


been to make childcare tax deductable, Newsnight understands


they will make progress on this in January. Offering a flat rate of a


third tax-free, because there will be statues erected to the political


party that cracks this. The Institute for Public Policy


Research think-tank shows 25 hours provision a week, would provide a


net benefit to taxpayer for between �1,000-�4,000 a year for every mum


that returns to work. Something you can measure in gold. No-one from


the Government was available to speak to us tonight, I'm joined by


a French socialist MP, who represents French expats in


northern Europe. Karen Walker from the Bank First Direct, Zoe Williams,


and Helen Penn, I pointed by Government to write a report into


child cautious she has submitted her report and it is still awaiting


publication. What about the idea, professor, of one childminder being


able to look after more children, will that solve the problem?


Why not? Well, the problem is that the cost is so high at the point of


ruse, whether it is a childminder or a nurse -- use, whether it is a


childminder or nursery. Those childcare that has a low cost for


parents funds the provision directly, so when the parent comes


to pay it is reasonably calculated on the basis of household income.


We will get on to that point in a moment or two. Why is it in France


one person can look after so many more children than apparently they


can do here. Are French children better behaved? They are very


disciplined, don't you know! I'm not too sure, exactly. I think it


is three children per childminder. Are we overregulated? No, clearly


the child minders need good training and supervision. In France


we offer a mission of solutions, through Child Tax Credit, universal


child benefit and spaces in nurseries, and encouraging child


minders to do their jobs. What is your gut instinct? My gut instinct


is the Government is going about it all the wrong way. Basically, you


talk about a million women jumping out of the work force because they


can't afford child cautious that corresponds directly with the drop


in child -- childcare, that correspond dends directly with the


drop in -- corresponds directly with the drop in Child Tax Credits,


that coincides directly with that. The solution isn't more nannies, it


is making it possible for those on low incomes to afford childcare. It


is not for other women to earn less for other women to pay them, you


are creating a poverty problem somewhere else. Karen Walker, First


Direct, you run your own childcare programme there, do you? We do, yes.


It is run by an external company, but we have had the relationship


for the last 23 years. How many children have you got in it? Around


250 children in the nursery. many adults looking after that vast


number of children? It depends on the age of the child. But it will


either be a one-to-three ratio or one-to-four ratio, depending on the


child. Could the adults cope with more? Not in that environment, no,


I don't. Why is it worth your while, as an employer, providing this


service? Why do we do this? Yes? Because very much it is about our


support for our parents and carers to come back into work, when they


have been off on paternity leave or maternity leave. We have invested a


lot of time to recruit and develop these people, it is really key for


us to get them back into the work place and we are able to support


them for that. Why is it so important? Because we


invest up front, we invest a lot in these people, we know that if we


value our people that they will value our customer and we are in


the service industry. It results in amazing service for our customers.


You are not a social service, you are doing this because it makes


sense to the company? It makes perfect sense for our company.


Let's look at this question. Go on, you are desperate to get in? This


is the conversation they had in Germany, not particularly about


customer services, when we were discussing the fact that they had


very poor childcare provision, they said, look we spent all the money


educating women, then we lose theired education when they drop


out of the work force and don't come back, they literally had a


conversation, do you stop educating them, or do you start paying for


childcare! It was that stark. Because otherwise you lose so much.


Virtually every advanced western economy is confronted with this


problem, and they have decided to go about it in different ways,


Helen, you were referring earlier to wait in which the finances


operate, the Government finances? Yes, most countries use supply-side


funding, that is they fund the nurseries directly, so that


nurseries can offer low fees to those parents who can't afford very


much. We do it backwards so, we make people pay whatever the


nursery asks, and we say, well we will refund you, perhaps. So at the


point of use, parents are faced with huge costs for getting a


nursery or even a childminder. France went for that system, didn't


they, essentially, the French Government funds the nurseries


directly, doesn't it? Yes, yes. Which means it is almost free for


the parents. But then, not all the parents are guaranteed to have a


space. The current Government is undergoing a vast programme of


offering new spaces in new nurseries in order to meet the


requirements. I think it is half a million of children still need


spaces in nurseries. Well, I wish our Government would


copy you. It is also about the future of the state, because there


is the demo graphy at stake here, the children of today will pay for


the pensions of tomorrow. It is about a national strategy to


encourage families to have children. We spend by calculation, it is hard


to work out, about �7 billion in this country on this matter.


Possibly a higher proportion of the national income than you guys spend


in France. Why is it so inefficient here? It is always inefficient if


you give the finding retrospectively, people -- funding


retrospectively, people don't do it and it is a muddle. The number of


people who don't claim is really very high. We can't, it is very


difficult to track the funding, it is very difficult to follow it


through. But who are these people who don't claim, it is free money?


Well lots of them. There is unclaimed benefits all over the


place. It is hard to make claims. And any way, people's circumstances,


particularly when they have young families are continually changing.


Who really benefits from the fact that we do it this way round?


it's hard to say. It discriminates on people on lower incomes, isn't


that the case? Certainly our system doesn't benefit those on lower


income, if you look at it comparatively across the country,


we do rather badly by the poorest. Our system is just very wasteful.


It is not, as you say, we are not spending the money, we are spending


the money, but it doesn't seem to be going where it is needed most.


That is the absolutely baffling thing about childcare in this


country, is nobody is getting rich out of it, the nurseries aren't


getting rich, the nursery workers aren't getting paid that much,


mothers are crippling themselves to afford it. Childcare is very


expensive in this country? It is expensive everywhere, it is not a


cheap service. Human relationships cannot be priced down in a very


straight forward way. You can try. But still it is known to be very


expensive, it can cost up to �300 a week, so it means women have to


choose between keeping their job, or looking after their children. It


shouldn't be that. You have got children? I have two children.


you living here when you had them? Yes. Could you get childcare?


was a student, so I had to stay at home, I was looking for a job.


was simply because you couldn't afford it? I couldn't have afforded


it. Could you have afforded it in France? I suppose so, I haven't


tried, it depends where you live. In some cities childcare is


affordable, and it is not a case in the other places. You explain this


difference by the fact that the state subsidises the nurseries or


the childcare provision in France and it doesn't here? I suppose so,


all I can see is in the end the average spending on childcare for a


family in France is around 10% of the monthly budget, where as it is


around 30% here. So there must be something going wrong somewhere,


but I don't know where, exactly. Karen Walker, from your experience,


what do you think is the responsibility of the state?


think it's to provide help and support, in terms of the facilities


that we provide, and putting a little bit more pressure on


employers as well. I think there is a lack of facilities available when


you walk into a work place, that provides for working mums and


fathers. So you think that the state should


be encouraging other employers to do what you are doing? Absolutely,


yes. It should. Should it go further than encourage, should it


subsidise? I think that would be really useful. They do offer a free


education entitlement for children over three, so I could put my


children in nursery externally, and get that entitlement for free up to


so many hours a week. But, they could do so much more.


What's your sense of whether we're likely to change the way in which


we do this? We have some fundamental problems about how we


define childcare and education. You wouldn't expect businesses to


provide education instead of school, so why on earth are you expecting


them to provide childcare. I think the whole system that we have here


needs to be co-ordinated, better thought out, and if the price is


that parents notionally don't have so much choice, maybe that is a


good thing. Do you think Government is seized of the urgency of this


problem, what is it doing to the economy? Well, we have a lower


percentage, relatively low percentage of working women, 63%,


compared with up to 80% in some countries. But the worst thing for


me, I think, is that it is the poorest families who aren't using


the childcare. That's a question of social justice, I suppose, as much


as anything. What is the effect on society? That women aren't working,


or that children aren't getting educated properly. That women


aren't working, that you have this core of trained individuals who,


because of biological circumstances, are no longer in the work place?


That is costly, but I think it is also costly that children aren't


educated properly as well as looked after. Until we get it straight


what is childcare and what is education, and what we should be


doing for children and what we should be doing for mothers, we


will not really progress very much. What do you sense the consequences?


Obviously there is an economic consequence to lose these women out


of work force. Especially, as we know what happens, there is a


Doppler effect that the longer you are out the longer it takes to get


back in and you never get back to the same level. There is a social


problem if kids don't mix at a young age, Sure Start ensured that


kids from all kinds of backgrounds really got familiar with each other


from the age of one, it was a huge big deal. I think to lose that


would be really tragic. Do you sense something odd about this


society because of the way that we deal with this question? Not too


much French gloating, but off you go? No, but I'm not sure it is the


markets or the markets only that should deal with childcare. I think


it is a society question, and it should be also up to the state to


look into it. We have a system where childcare is regarded as a


business, and people buy into it. It is like all these things, under


the guise of choice, you end up with no choice at all, you can


either afford it or not, that is the only choice. We will await the


announcement after Christmas with great interest.


Thank you very much. Hard to read the ruins in Egypt these days, on


the one hand the new President has given up powers he had given


himself, but on the other he has authorised the military to arrest


civilians. Not unexpected on the second anniversary of the Arab


Spring there would still be demonstrations. Big protests are


planned tomorrow, ahead of the referendum this weekend, where


people are asked to pass judgment on their new constitution. Liberals


claim that Mohamed Morsi, the President, is as bad or worse as


President Mubarak. Before I talk to the opposition leader, Mohamed El


Baradei, our diplomatic editor reports.


Egyptians have certainly done plenty ofing since the fall of


Mubarak, but it -- voting since the fall of Mubarak, but it hasn't


brought stability. Protests and industrial action have done much to


frighten off tourists and investors, leaving Egypt's economy tottering.


Democracy, per se, has hardly helped. In November 201011, the


first of three phases of -- 2011, the first of three phases of


parliamentary elections were held, in January 2012 it produced a


majority for the Muslim Brotherhood, and Salafist parties. Then came the


presidential polls, the first round in May featured a variety of


candidates. By June, and the run- off between Mohamed Morsi and


former general Ahmed Shafiq, third way candidates who represented


neither the Muslim Brotherhood and the military had gone, many people


abstained as a result. Now on Saturday they will get the chance


to vote on a new constitution. But this has prompted renewed battle on


the streets. It retains existing clauses that


Sharia or religious jurs prudence should be the main source -- juris


prudence should be the main source of law. It gives the Islamic


university a role in drafting new laws, and says the state shall


protect ethics, morals and public order. It also allows for a


continued military role in upholding that order.


A limits the President to two four- year terms. Since Dr Morsi's


election, there has been a war of decrees, between a constitutional


court trying to thwart the new ruler. And a President who wants to


grasp his democratic mandate. TRANSLATION: I'm eager to protect


the legitimacy of the country, and I'm against those who harms the


institutions and the nations, I will never allow them to do that.


The President's decree of last month was intended to nudge aside


the judiciary, while he got the new constitution through. But the


backlash against his tactics has energised hundreds of thousands of


Egyptians, who reject both the old regime and the Muslim Brotherhood.


They had long alleged a de facto alliance between the country's old


military elite, and it's new Islamist masters. By calling the


army to protect the Presidential Palace, President Morsi has given


these opponents new purpose. Earlier I spoke to Mohamed El


Baradei, his home in Egypt. I asked him how he was planning to


vote in Saturday's referendum. Jeremy, I think at this stage you


are going to fight the referendum in the street. Tomorrow there will


be a huge demonstration. We believe it is illegitimate to go and vote


for a sham draft constitution. We would at least time to reach a


consensus on a constitution where we will all accept and all will


live with it. This is a constitution that defies our basic


rights and freedom, it doesn't establish a proper democratic


system. We are at this stage deciding that we continue to fight


tooth and nail the referendum next Saturday. You will boycott the


referendum? We are not sure at this stage, injure me I think tomorrow


we are going -- Jeremy, I think tomorrow we are going to stage a


huge demonstration, hopefully Mr Morsi will listen to us, and


postpone the referendum until we are able to reach, through dialogue,


a proper consensus on a proper democratic constitution. Why not


take part in the referendum, and at least register the size of


opposition? This is an option, but when the whole thing, Jeremy, is


illegitimate, when you have a document that defies and undermines


your basic rights and freedom, you don't want to give legitimacy to a


sham process. I have the constitution in front of me, it


guarantees freedom, equality, freedom of expression, what is


wrong with it? There is a lot wrong with it, Jeremy. If you look at


freedom of religion, we want to make sure that everybody has the


right to observe his belief. It is not there. It only talks about the


three monolithic religions, if you talk about freedom of expression,


it gives the permission to arrest people for their expressing their


views. It makes the whole process hostage to religious institutions,


rather than the judiciary. It is surely better than the constitution


you had under Mubarak, isn't it? I'm not sure, actually. In some


parts it is even worse than the constitution of President Mubarak,


that is the irony of it. That's why you see the anger in the street.


Because people, after this beautiful uprising, expected to see


a real democratic constitution. That has a proper balance of power,


that it has the freedom, the universal freedom, clearly


recognised. In some parts, which I'm sad to say that, it is even


worse than Mr Mubarak's constitution. Are you afraid of


something akin to civil war? It is there, it looms on the horizon.


That is why I'm calling on Mr Horsman and company, to make sure


that they have to understand, they are not a majority, even if they


are a majority, they are not at all. I think they are 20,-30% of the


Egyptians. It is not right to impose your views, which is to say


the least extremist views, that are not shared by the majority of the


Egyptians, to the rest of the country. If you insist on doing


that, you are lead leaving -- leaving us no option than a head-on


clash. There is nobody who wants that less than me. The economy will


default in six months, security is not there, Sinai is a fertile


ground for extremism, how on earth are we going to work through this


without a proper dialogue. When you see how Mr Morsi is behaving, do


you wish you had had stood for the presidency? Absolutely not. I would


have stood for the presidency, Jeremy, if we had a proper


constitution. The reason I didn't stand is to avoid being in where Mr


Morsi right now, naturally I would not have been in his position, I


would have acted differently, but you do not want to be a President


in a situation when there is no rules of the game. I saw the other


day that you had had referred to Mr Morsi as something like a Pharaoh,


did you really mean that? Absolutely. He had, until yesterday,


when he recinded some part of this constitutional declaration, he had


call the powers, he had the executive power, the legislative


power, and he and -- and he NUT turd the judiciary. It is something


new in the whole world. I don't think -- newtered the judiciary, I


think it is something new in the whole world. I don't think this is


how you can rule a country in the 21st century. The country has been


reduced to one single person. are laughing this off, but this is


a very serious time for Egypt? is serious, it is serious for my


family. My daughter, who lives in London, and who probably will be


listening to me tonight is worried, my family are worried. I don't


think they can go through with that. I think that would be the beginning


of the end, frankly. We will stay in the Middle East for a while. In


the end, all these apparently iterimable conflicts, which the


rest of the world worries about until something else make as claim


on their anxiety, are about human needs, emotional as much as


material. Nowhere on earth, perhaps, matches Gaza, the shriller of land


on the Mediterranean coast, left to -- sliver of land on the


Mediterranean coast, left to the Palestinians. The Palestinians have


now achieved a degree of recognition by the UN, much to


Israel's fury, and Gazans have just emerged from a very one-sided


conflict with their neighbour. What is it like to grow up and live in


such an embattled society. We have been there speaking to two young


Gazans. 5.00am in Gaza, barely even dawn.


But time already to be stirring in one unlucky house.


A mother's duty, to send her son to place she dreads.


Though year by year it gets no easier.


Tea, she hopes, will revive him. But that's not the first fix


Mohammed needs to face the day. Elsewhere in Gaza, other hands are


breaking bonds. They are ego Tory get to work.


-- eager to get to work. Heading off towards the horizon, mad lean


loves her job, but she -- mad da lean loves her job, but she, too,


like Mohammed is caught in a web of restrictions she can't unravel.


This is the story two of 18-year- olds. Forced to grow up before


their time, in a tiny, teeming sliver of land, from which there is


almost no escape. Gaza, blockaded by neighbours, Israel and Egypt,


for the last five years, and at war again with Israel only last month,


there is little room for childhood. Mohammed is resisting reality,


today, as almost every day, he faces another gruelling and


dangerous 12-hour shift in the smothering tunnelling between the


Gazan and Egyptian border. TRANSLATION: This work is criminal


work, no-one should do it. Have you ever seen anyone dig their own


grave, their own grave with their own hands, while you are digging,


that the tunnel might collapse at any time and kill you.


But he must go, whatever the risk. Mohammed's father, with a bad back,


hasn't worked for years. His mother, depends on her son to


feed the family of eight. He is an adult now, just. But he


has been working full-time in the tunnels since he was 14. Before


that at many other jobs. TRANSLATION: I didn't have a


childhood. When I was eight I worked as a porter at the border.


Carrying luggage. Even when I was very young. I work as well as


studying. But then, I found there was no time to study. Madelene has


had little time to study either. She's also her family's chief bread


winner, and Gaza's only fisherwomen, it makes her job more complicated.


TRANSLATION: I'm taking my gown out here, because the harbour is full


of men and boys, and they follow me with their eyes.


I get trouble from some fishermen, they are jealous of me, because I


go out to sea and come back successfully.


Sometimes they don't do so well. I get problems from the police too,


because I'm the only girl. They say it is forbidden, you can't go.


But Madelene has gone any way, full-time for the last four years.


Like her father, and grandfathers before.


She is battling waves and politics. Israel, afraid of gun running,


won't less Gazans fish far out. The ceasefire, after last month's


conflict extended the limit, but only from three to six nautical


miles. TRANSLATION: When they gave us


another three miles, the catches got better, but in another few


weeks the fish up to six miles will be used up to. There are a lot of


fishermen and though go fishing all the time, most of the fish are


beyond the new boundary. Today with a storm brewing she's not testing


the limit, she might strike lucky close in shore, if the kid brother


can scare the fish into the net. At Mohammed's house, 22 miles away,


at the far end of the strip, work can be put off no longer.


Or not much longer. He's off to be a human mole.


Another day. When a mother can only wait and pray.


With 28% unemployment here, thousands like him have taken the


road to the tunnels, since the blockade began. That was five years


ago, when the armed Islamist movement, Hamas, came to power here.


Now, the tunnels are a huge industry. One of the main


industries in Gaza. The holes that honeycomb the sand beneath the


border have become a mini-Klondike, the petrol pumped through, and the


mugled goods swept away, supply Hamas, providing much of the


Government's revenue. But the system depends on the cheap


muscle of men like Mohammed. Not for nothing his mates call him "the


untamed bull". He has drilled and dug many


passages like this through the treacherous sand and mud, hundreds


have been buried alive in recent years when they collapse. Suddenly,


they are worried it is happening again now.


Hear the distant thud, and look the power has gone off further down the


tunnel. TRANSLATION: The electricity went


off because the roof fell in. One prop slipped and took another with


it, if anyone had been underneath, it would have killed them. Now they


have to switch the whole system off to try to repair it.


It's almost dark too at sea, where Madelene has made a catch. A haul


that will earn her perhaps 20 shekles, �3, it is nowhere near


enough to cover the cost of the fuel for today's outing. Now the


storm means no more fishing for a day or two. The family sit in the


dark in one of Gaza's many power cuts, mending nets. And thinking


about mending their gerry-built house, indirectly damaged last


month, by Israeli rocket attacks. TRANSLATION: Look it is all broken.


We have had to put some stuff on the roof. It is made of asbestos,


the shockwaves from the blasts break everything. We are very close


to military targets, so there are a lot of attacks around here.


Elsewhere in Gaza, whole houses were destroyed. More than 160 lives


were lost. Hamas says it won, mainly because a few rockets from


here hit central Israel, and it tells the two thirds of Gazans,


registered refugees, fugutives from what is now Israel or their


descends, that one day they will go -- descendants, that one day they


will go home. Madelene doesn't believe any of it? TRANSLATION:


story of our home town ended a long time ago. It is a dream toe think


we will ever return there. It is impossible.


Whielt conflict goes on, so do the tunnels -- while the conflict goes


on, so do the tunnels. Building materials must be smuggled, since


Israel fears Hamas might use them for military infrastructure,


weapons must be smuggled too. For the last two years, food and


consumer goods have been let in legally, but they are cheaper


brought in underground. Mohammed is taking break after repairing the


breach, alongside a boy who looks younger than he was when he started.


Then he's back to his main job, as beast of burden.


The work so exhausting most tunnel workers take the painkiller


tramadol. TRANSLATION: It is death work,


exhausting, yesterday I walked 500ms carrying a carbon net, I was


sweating all over. There is -- car bonnet, I was sweating all over.


There is no ventilation down there, you feel you can't breathe, you


can't carry on, that is why you take tablets. But Mohammed became


addicted to Tramadol, it turned him into an invincible machine, then it


sapped his strength, and used up all the money he was earning.


TRANSLATION: I stopped eating, I stopped drinking anything. All I


wanted was to take Tramadol and work like a donkey, it stopped


working so well. So I increased the dose. Then, one day I collapsed in


the tunnel, I was carrying a big sack of flour. I started having a


hit fit, I lost consciousness, that is when I decided to quit. I didn't


sleep for two months, I didn't talk to any human being. Two months, and


I thought I would never come back to myself. Fits, anger, a lot of


things happened to me, I hated myself, sometimes I wanted to


strangle myself to death. But now, thank God, I'm not using it.


beach is where Mohammed spent much of his time as he overcame his


addiction, and still the only place he says he can relax.


TRANSLATION: The sea is my best friend, the only friend I can tell


my problems to. In another life, he would like to be an airline pilot.


But he knows that will never happen. Doesn't he feel bad that young


people in other countries have a chance to study, and even to play?


TRANSLATION: That's what I feel. Very much. Many times I have


wondered why I couldn't be like them. Well-dressed, going to school,


everything perfect, why it has to be like this for me, are they


better than me. Madelene will have to marry soon, she has had lots of


suitors already. But she and her father have said no


to them all. TRANSLATION: I don't believe there will be anyone who


will deserve Madelene and protect her. I don't think she will have a


good future in this country. Our society is closed, very closed, and


she's a free spirit. Her marriage may fail because here they don't


respect independent women. As for Madelene herself, the sea is the


only horizon that means much to her. TRANSLATION: I hope the sea will be


open much more than six miles, and all the other gates to Gaza will be


opened, and everyone will stop thinking, every time they hear a


plane that there is going to be a rocket attack. But she's not very


hopeful. Madelene, like Mohammed, was born in 1994. The year after


the Oslo peace accords between Israel and the Palestinians. But


neither she nor he, unlike their parents, has ever spoken to an


Israeli, just think, she's older than the average Gazan, who is only


TRANSLATION: I haven't lived long enough to know what will happen in


the future. All I know is we are born into war, we live in war and


we will die in war. Mohammed's vision of peace is


narrow, all it means to him is escaping this underground hell.


TRANSLATION: I hope the gates will open, and the tunnels will close,


and there will be jobs so we can leave this kind of work. Everyone


will be able to do whatever they want, but, as you see, nothing has


changed. We haven't gained our victory yet.


Gaza, as he says, is a place that can only live from day-to-day. With


no light yet at the end of the tunnel.


Tomorrow morning's front pages now. Many of them like the Telegraph are


dominated by the photograph of the husband and daughter of the nurse


who apparently killed herself after That's it, excitement in the bird


watching world, flocks of wax-wings about everywhere, seen from


Lichfield to Lothian, they are like a small brown par the question,


with red blobs like ceiling wax on their wings. They are visiting from


points north. If there is an old wives tale, that lots of sightings


means a hard winter to come, it is rubbish, they are just hungry.


# He'll say are you married # We'll say no man


# But you can do the job when you're in town


Hello, very cold tonight, a widespread frost, there will be


icey patches in the morning, across eastern England, fog patches


further west, and some of those will linger all day. Most places


should brighten up nicely, see some sunshine, it will be a colder day


than today. Down the eastern side of England, the wind not as strong


as today. There should be more sunshine, fewer showers. Watch out


for icey patches in the morning. A dusting of snow in one twor places.


Further west some sun -- two places. Further west fog lingering all day.


The like of the West Country, Somerset level, up across Worcester,


the West Midlands and the Welsh marshes, together with parts of


North West England, and around Cheshire. Northern Ireland should


have sunshine, after some early patchy fog here. A similar story


across Scotland, a cold, crisp winter's day sunshine for the most


part T will feel cold. Temperatures tomorrow lower than today. It


doesn't get much warmer on Wednesday either. Notice fog there,


around Manchester still, on Tuesday. And it could be a bit of a problem


on Wednesday as well. We have to find more fog, more freezing fog


developing, again, very quickly on Tuesday evening. Tuesday neat, and