11/12/2012 Newsnight


11/12/2012

Making sense of the census data; examining where Syria might be holding chemical weapons; and artist Quentin Blake on his career. With Gavin Esler.


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Transcript


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Tonight, who do we think we are? The latest census data released

:00:14.:00:17.

today paints an extraordinary picture of the people living in

:00:17.:00:22.

England and Wales. Around a quarter say they have no religious faith,

:00:22.:00:26.

7.5 million were born abroad, and 15% of us now rent our homes, way

:00:26.:00:30.

up on ten years ago. We will be assessing what these

:00:30.:00:32.

demographic changes tell us about the country we have become, and how

:00:33.:00:38.

the years of austerity, immigration and homeownership patterns will

:00:38.:00:41.

affect our social cohesion and tolerance of others for years to

:00:41.:00:43.

come. Also tonight, as Syria's bloody

:00:43.:00:51.

civil war goes on, what of the country's chemical weapons arsenal,

:00:51.:00:57.

what do they have and how could they use it and what does it mean

:00:58.:01:02.

to groups like Al-Qaeda. As the regime to theers the US and others

:01:03.:01:06.

are thinking totters, the US and others are thinking seriously about

:01:06.:01:12.

what it might take to secure those issues.

:01:12.:01:17.

Quentin Blake, and much beloved by children of all ages has an

:01:17.:01:21.

exhibition. His work is everywhere, and copied so many times by other

:01:21.:01:31.
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people, it is part of the culture Good evening, in Roman times a

:01:35.:01:40.

census had one purpose, to find out how many young men might be fit for

:01:40.:01:47.

military service. Now, every ten years it is to help planners and

:01:47.:01:52.

others find facts to help us with the country. Today's census results

:01:52.:01:57.

show more of us are atheist and more born abroad, and more of us

:01:57.:02:02.

behinding the dream of finding and owning your own home impossible to

:02:02.:02:07.

achieve. We will find out more. But first, the key points.

:02:07.:02:13.

This is the story of the decade. From the end of new Labour to days

:02:13.:02:17.

and dates we will never forget. From winning the Olympics to

:02:17.:02:21.

economic meltdown. From a national celebration, to

:02:21.:02:26.

riots on the streets of our biggest cities.

:02:26.:02:31.

The latest census shows, beyond any doubt, we are now in the middle of

:02:31.:02:35.

an astonishing era of demographic change. Some of hour high streets

:02:35.:02:38.

now look very different, unrecoginsable, even, from the same

:02:38.:02:44.

streets a decade ago. That picture is being changed

:02:44.:02:48.

dramatically by migration. Just one in six of the people who live here,

:02:48.:02:52.

in East London, now describe themselves as white British. The

:02:52.:02:56.

same trend is happening to a lesser extent, in towns and cities across

:02:56.:03:02.

England and Wales. Overall, this is becoming a more

:03:02.:03:07.

populate and -- populated and far more diverse country. A series of

:03:07.:03:11.

regional maps map, published today, show in detail how this is

:03:11.:03:14.

happening. Take religion, in 2001, more than three-quarters of the

:03:14.:03:17.

population, in large swathes of England and Wales, described

:03:17.:03:21.

themselves as Christian. Ten years later, that number has fallen

:03:21.:03:25.

sharply, replaced largely by a rise in people who say they have no

:03:25.:03:31.

religion at all, up from 15% to 25%. The most visible change, though,

:03:31.:03:36.

has been in the ethnic make-up of many of our towns and cities. The

:03:36.:03:40.

number decribing themselves as white fell below 90%, for the first

:03:40.:03:44.

time. One in eight households is now made up of people from more

:03:44.:03:49.

than one ethnic group. There are though wide regional variations.

:03:49.:03:53.

The capital is the only region, where the group described as white

:03:53.:03:58.

British, is now a minority, at 45%, for the first time since records

:03:58.:04:01.

began. Overall, the number of foreign-born

:04:01.:04:08.

citizens has increased from 4.5 million, to 7.5 million, over the

:04:08.:04:16.

decade. The number of Poless have gone from 57,000 back in 2001, to

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more than 500,000 ten years later. When we look at the overall

:04:20.:04:24.

foreign-born population we see 40% are living in London, according to

:04:24.:04:29.

the figures. For the Polish-born population it is only 27%. Nearly

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three-quarters of Polish-born people in England and Wales are

:04:32.:04:36.

outside of London. This means they are living in areas that have

:04:36.:04:38.

experienced less migration in the past, which has significant

:04:38.:04:42.

implications for the way the country has experienced migration

:04:42.:04:46.

in the past decade. Then, there is the impact of

:04:46.:04:49.

economic change on our society. At a time when the number of people

:04:49.:04:54.

living in big cities, like London and man chest e has been rising,

:04:54.:04:58.

some industrial towns in the North West have seen a sharp fall in

:04:58.:05:04.

their populations. And the regional also illustrate as

:05:04.:05:08.

change in our work patterns, this map shows how the number of people

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in a part-time job has risen between 2001 and ten years later,

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in 2011. A sharp increase in almost every part of England and Wales.

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And there has been a big shift in where and how we live. Fewer of us

:05:23.:05:28.

are matter yod than a decade ago and for the -- married than a

:05:28.:05:31.

decade ago, and for the first time, more say they have a degree than

:05:32.:05:35.

have no qualification. The figures show a significant rise in the

:05:35.:05:39.

number of people who rent their home from a private landlord. Up

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from 9% ten years ago to 15%. And, as you might expect, a drop in the

:05:44.:05:54.
:05:54.:06:01.

really rapid rise in private renting, it is a really stark drop

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in the number of people who have got mortgages. It is kind of moving

:06:06.:06:11.

us back in time. To a time when, I mean there was a time when the

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majority of the population rented privately, it is moving us back

:06:14.:06:19.

over who will end up owning their own home. That, seeing the speed of

:06:19.:06:23.

that change, that was the biggest shock for me this morning locking

:06:23.:06:27.

at the numbers that game - -- looking at the numbers that game in.

:06:27.:06:31.

The rise in part-time working and the increase in private renting s

:06:31.:06:35.

more to do with the economy at the moment, than any major change in

:06:35.:06:41.

the trend of society. But there are big implications in this data for

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housing, health and social care policy. When we look back at the

:06:44.:06:49.

decade, it may well be that it is required, not just for the credit

:06:49.:06:54.

crunch, nor winning the Olympics, nor coalition Government. Instead,

:06:54.:06:59.

it may be the time when our country became a much more diverse place to

:06:59.:07:01.

live. Interesting though all this is,

:07:02.:07:08.

does it actually matter. Daniel Knowles is the Britain comors pond

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dent for the Economist, AC Grayling is master of the college of

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humanties, and we have Germaine Greer, broadcaster and playwright,

:07:17.:07:21.

one of those who is counted as born abroad, and deputy chair of the

:07:21.:07:27.

British Museum. When you walked the streets of London, do you think it

:07:27.:07:34.

matters that those regarded as white British are in a minority

:07:35.:07:39.

will matter to them, and in the last ten years with three million

:07:39.:07:43.

for moreen-born people in the UK, they will have -- foreign-born

:07:44.:07:49.

people in the UK, they will notice that the Government has not said

:07:49.:07:52.

what -- done what they will say they. Do we have had Government

:07:52.:07:55.

after Government saying they want to limit mass immigration, we have

:07:55.:07:57.

seen they have not, now it is official. Do you think, when you

:07:57.:08:02.

walk the streets of London, do you actually notice, day by day, this

:08:02.:08:07.

is a snapshot of a year ago and ten years ago, do you think day by day

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that people notice that white Britains are in a minority? London

:08:15.:08:19.

-- London is the least interesting, London has had the least change in

:08:19.:08:22.

terms of minority growth. Where it is interesting is outside of London,

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it is on the outskirts of London. Inner London was at 35% non-chiet

:08:30.:08:40.
:08:40.:08:42.

and, sor -- non-white, sorry, for foreign born. There are other parts

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of the country that have doubled and tripled. If that is the case

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and it is in different places all over the country, does it matter

:08:48.:08:53.

that it makes us a more tolerant country because we resent it or

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more tolerant because we mix with people? I think we have become a

:08:56.:09:00.

more tolerant country. Ten years ago we had a problem that minority

:09:00.:09:03.

groups in this country were very much concentrated heavily in London,

:09:03.:09:09.

and a few other industrial cities, and other places. But, they are now

:09:09.:09:13.

much more spread out. So there are far fewer white British people who

:09:14.:09:19.

have, you know, who don't have any experience at all of people from a

:09:19.:09:22.

different background. You can see that in the huge rise in the number

:09:22.:09:27.

of people from a mixed ethnicity background. There is now a million.

:09:27.:09:32.

It is 1.2 million, it has doubled in ten years. What is your take,

:09:33.:09:37.

does it matter, do you think people day by day notice it, they notice

:09:37.:09:41.

it now because we are talking about the census? I live in the West End,

:09:41.:09:45.

not far from this studio, I can see exactly what the demographic is

:09:45.:09:48.

talking about. People are living their lives, I don't think it

:09:48.:09:51.

matters to anybody at all. It is interesting to have it brought up.

:09:51.:09:53.

But if you are talking about where I live, which is around Oxford

:09:54.:09:59.

Street, no, that is the way it look. London's a port, it is always an

:09:59.:10:04.

entry for people. As was suggested, it is spreading out throughout the

:10:04.:10:07.

country s is the best of the country looking forward to that

:10:07.:10:12.

kind of future, for good or ill? wonder if people think about their

:10:12.:10:15.

future in the day-to-day. This is the reality of life, this is what

:10:15.:10:17.

it is, and I think that is how people are living.

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What do you make of that change for the culture of the country, as a

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whole, do you think there is a down side to it, or do you think it is

:10:25.:10:29.

all positive in a sense that we may become more tolerant? On the whole

:10:29.:10:34.

it is a very positive thing. To be celebrated. What we have now is

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even greater, consciousness of the diversity of the world of which we

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are an important part. This is globalisation coming to roost at

:10:42.:10:46.

home, in a way. And a very good thing it is too. I think what is

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rather strike striking about it, because London has always been a

:10:51.:10:54.

great centre for all sorts of people, all sorts of foods, all

:10:54.:11:01.

sorts of cultural traditions, music, the arts. That has made it possible

:11:01.:11:06.

for people elsewhere in the down think much more positively about

:11:06.:11:09.

the possibilities for themselves. Having the role of being a host

:11:09.:11:13.

community for immigrants. The role of being a host community for

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immigrants, apart from the resentment, that you put your

:11:17.:11:21.

finger on, that people don't like it, is there a down side, is there

:11:21.:11:27.

something to point to, to say that it has made life worse? There is a

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down side for many people in this country who don't live in the West

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End minutes from the studio, or who share AC Grayling's feelings, they

:11:35.:11:40.

look at the country and look at it change immensely. I'm asking if

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there is anything you can put your finger on beyond of the fact that

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people resent it, people resent lots of things, is there something

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you can put your finger on and say it has changed for the worst?

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it has changed it, people have a better reason not to believe

:11:55.:11:58.

politicians of any main party after this decade. That is the point I

:11:58.:12:01.

wanted to make about resentment. The second thing, it is also

:12:01.:12:04.

important to remember that, you know, live in London as well,

:12:04.:12:09.

London, we're used to what the census today has shown us, and by

:12:09.:12:13.

and large we tend to be happy with it. It is not about whether I or

:12:13.:12:17.

any of you feel happy about this, but among other things what it has

:12:17.:12:21.

done to our country. One thing that really needs to be cussed on, is we

:12:21.:12:25.

need to -- focused on, is we need to look at the down side, in

:12:25.:12:29.

apartheid of unemployment and recession, foreign-born workers

:12:29.:12:34.

coming into Britain and taking jobs. Of course in many cases they are

:12:34.:12:37.

either highly-skilled people or people willing to perform jobs

:12:37.:12:40.

which people here are not willing to perform. These are people doing

:12:40.:12:44.

very important work. But, what happens when you import a working-

:12:44.:12:48.

class, the working-class become an underclass.

:12:48.:12:53.

But the problem is, that for policy maker, and politicians, and I'm

:12:53.:12:57.

calling the Obama-effect, people are not aware of the big change

:12:57.:13:01.

that is going on. They are not making policy that's reflecting the

:13:01.:13:04.

change in this country. This is all of the parties. They don't, and

:13:04.:13:09.

broadcasting as well, they don't reflect the way the country is.

:13:09.:13:13.

That affects the people, as you were saying, those people, not able

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to see the reality, of the way the country is changing. It cannot be

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stopped. So the question is, how is it going to be managed, and what

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kind of spirit is it going to be managed. That is the problem.

:13:24.:13:28.

you have been crunching the numbers today, the question of part-time

:13:28.:13:32.

working, and that has changed, that pattern has changed. And also the

:13:32.:13:36.

question of housing, the fact that many more of us now rent, does

:13:36.:13:39.

suggest that period of flux, that the past ten years have been a real

:13:39.:13:43.

sense of flux for many people, particularly in their 20s and 30s?

:13:43.:13:48.

Especially the last five years. You can see, we have reached a point

:13:48.:13:52.

now where nobody can really buy a house, in London, certainly unless

:13:52.:13:57.

they have help. The average age of unassisted first time buyer is

:13:57.:14:00.

going up and up and up. You have London boroughs where the average

:14:00.:14:04.

house prices is ten-times the average salary. So, yeah, that is

:14:04.:14:08.

kind of inevitable. I think that does go with the part-time. I think

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some of the part-time rises is probably due to more women going to

:14:13.:14:17.

work, which is probably a good thing. Some of it in the last few

:14:17.:14:21.

years insecurity. Does that insecurity make a more less rooted

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society, in a sense we don't feel the sense of aspiration, that

:14:24.:14:27.

people feel, that you can buy a house, this is something you can do.

:14:27.:14:32.

That may have gone and you may not get a full-time job either? I think

:14:32.:14:36.

property prices do constitute a serious problem for just that

:14:36.:14:40.

reason. Putting what is for our last generation, a major asset,

:14:40.:14:46.

right out of the reach of people who are struggling any way. It is a

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surprising thing to have happened in a way and needs a major

:14:51.:14:55.

readjustment, especially in London. This has to be addressed, I suppose,

:14:55.:14:58.

in part people are trying to address it by building more

:14:58.:15:02.

affordable house anything the inner city areas and brownfield sites and

:15:02.:15:08.

the like. That is not happening enough. If that changes your

:15:08.:15:10.

aspirations, in other words it was always something people had in

:15:10.:15:14.

their minds, if you work hard you can own your own home, that is a

:15:14.:15:19.

good thing, that has changed? an Anglo-Saxon idea, it is how

:15:19.:15:22.

Americans and the British see wealth and stability, in France and

:15:22.:15:26.

other places, there is not that much emphasis over bricks and

:15:26.:15:30.

mortar. In Germany more people rent than is considered normal?

:15:30.:15:34.

shift has a lot to do with the people coming in. We don't build in

:15:34.:15:37.

this country. I don't have any opinion on it one or the other, but

:15:37.:15:43.

we don't build. Is that the end of the Margaret Thatcher's dream of

:15:43.:15:45.

the property-owning democracy, where everybody can aspire to it,

:15:45.:15:49.

do you think people of your generation aspire to it or don't

:15:49.:15:53.

care? Everyone wants to own their own house, nobody can afford to in

:15:53.:15:56.

my generation, without having rich parents, which most of us don't

:15:56.:16:00.

have. I mean this is a baby-boomer thing, I don't know if the two of

:16:00.:16:04.

you probably do count as baby- boomers. But the baby-boomers had a

:16:04.:16:07.

great advantage, they had great luck with property, it made the

:16:07.:16:10.

generation rich. But my generation has suffered for that, and unless

:16:10.:16:14.

you can tap into your parents on that, there is no way you can

:16:14.:16:18.

afford a property. Partly the boomers have outlived the security

:16:18.:16:24.

net. The security net of only meant for people to be living to 65-70,

:16:24.:16:29.

we will live a lot longer than that. On a profound level, we are in a

:16:29.:16:31.

post-Christian society, right now, it is going to take a long time for

:16:31.:16:36.

that to come home to people. But we are. And some of that has to do

:16:36.:16:41.

with the newcomers, but also it is going to change our own perceptions

:16:41.:16:45.

of the idea of home owning and all of these other strictures we have

:16:45.:16:48.

had. This post-Christian society, looking at the number, still a lot

:16:48.:16:53.

of people identify they are Christians. And many of the new

:16:53.:16:59.

immigrants identify as Christians, Pole s? The few people who have

:16:59.:17:04.

seen an increase in Briggss Boston, Lambeth which, has had a lot of

:17:04.:17:08.

black African Christians move in. And I kind of think that just

:17:08.:17:12.

asking how you identify as Christian doesn't really show who

:17:12.:17:18.

is really Christian. There is an awful lot of people who went to a

:17:18.:17:21.

Church of England School that ticked Christian ten years ago and

:17:21.:17:25.

now don't. Even that has changed, people who self-identified as

:17:25.:17:31.

Christians and never went to church don't do that? It is certainly true.

:17:31.:17:36.

I'm not entirely sure, it seems less important to us. Does that

:17:36.:17:40.

matter? If this is a nation with an established church, where the

:17:40.:17:44.

church itself is part of the body politic itself, part of the clash

:17:44.:17:47.

that is happening now is that's being questioned. If you go to

:17:47.:17:51.

churches, you will see mostly, the majority of the congregation are

:17:51.:17:55.

older people, it doesn't mean that people don't live according to

:17:55.:17:58.

certain precepts, but they don't live as say the way my parents

:17:58.:18:01.

lived, or the way my mother lives. It is a different idea about our

:18:01.:18:11.

spiritual life, if we have one. Does it matter, now a quarter of

:18:11.:18:14.

people say they are not involved with religion, you think that is a

:18:14.:18:18.

good thing? It has gone up to 25%, one in four people you meet is a

:18:18.:18:22.

person not looking at the world through a particular pair of

:18:22.:18:26.

spectacles. It is a much more interesting figure than the just

:18:26.:18:29.

under 60% who now say they are Christian. The majority of whom

:18:29.:18:33.

probably have ticked that box for cultural identity reasons rather

:18:33.:18:37.

than any great commitment to dock trainal matters. Does that mean an

:18:37.:18:40.

even greater distance from being a cultural Christian? Yes, but I

:18:40.:18:43.

think it means that there is a greater openness and acceptance of

:18:43.:18:49.

the fact that there are other ways of thinking about the world. That

:18:49.:18:58.

you don't identify, for example, your local bishop as "the" moral

:18:58.:19:01.

authority in your community. It means people have individual

:19:01.:19:03.

responsibility for thinking about how they get on with others. Does

:19:03.:19:07.

it make you act any differently? does, if you are thinking about

:19:07.:19:10.

your relationships with others in your community, and there are two

:19:10.:19:13.

things here, firstly, the recognition of the fact that it is

:19:13.:19:15.

your responsibility to think about those things. And secondly, that

:19:15.:19:19.

there is more demand on you to think about the diversity of the

:19:19.:19:23.

people around you. Both of them are very positive. People who rise to

:19:23.:19:26.

the challenge are going to be better citizens as a result.

:19:26.:19:34.

Do you buy that? Not wholly. Among other reasons why this upsurge of

:19:34.:19:37.

people declaring themselves to be atheist, there is a greater

:19:37.:19:41.

visibility in society now, of people who promote an atheist world

:19:41.:19:46.

view, and have had great success and publicity for that. More xom

:19:46.:19:49.

people are uncomfortable saying they don't believe, where a

:19:49.:19:52.

generation, a lot of people would have remained quiet about that. As

:19:52.:19:59.

for the impact, one thing that makes me nervous about celebrating

:19:59.:20:03.

this, it comes back to culture identity. If we are going to have

:20:03.:20:07.

any coherence ahead, we need a core identity. Now, we might disagree

:20:07.:20:13.

what the nature of that is, it was, and maybe still is, that we're

:20:13.:20:17.

centered on a judeo-Christian world view, even if you don't believe.

:20:17.:20:22.

That is an identity. The question I would have, if these 25% people who

:20:22.:20:26.

say they are atheist and non- believers, in the huge summers

:20:26.:20:33.

board of identities they have in Britain, what are - smorgasbord of

:20:33.:20:36.

people of identities, in Britain what are they? There is always this

:20:36.:20:40.

thing of a British identity. That is interesting to me. One of the

:20:40.:20:45.

geniuses of being British is there isn't this sort of rock solid

:20:45.:20:49.

definition of identity, that an American has, which is built by the

:20:49.:20:52.

first and second...There Was an identity. There is an identity, but

:20:52.:20:56.

not the kind of identity I have experienced, or the identity a

:20:56.:21:00.

French person would experience. The brilliance of this nation is

:21:00.:21:05.

actually, people who come in are absorbed in this thing called the

:21:05.:21:08.

British identity. Sometimes it take as long time, sometimes it is

:21:08.:21:12.

violent, it will take centuries. The good thing that is happening is

:21:12.:21:16.

we are forging a new kind of identity, it is an identity of

:21:16.:21:19.

inclusion and acceptance of pluralism, it doesn't mean you have

:21:19.:21:23.

to have so much conformity and convention. This greater

:21:23.:21:27.

peculiarity of opportunities that people have to be human in their

:21:27.:21:32.

own way, is a very welcome thing. Absolutely I agree with that. The

:21:32.:21:35.

reason why this peculiarity is possible is, in part, because of

:21:35.:21:39.

our history, in part because having an accepting culture. What happens

:21:39.:21:43.

when everyone can pursue whatever they want, except the main core of

:21:43.:21:47.

that culture disappears. We will find out in ten years time, let's

:21:47.:21:50.

leave it there. For months we have been told that

:21:50.:21:54.

Syria isn't Libya, not a country where western powers should even

:21:54.:21:58.

think of intervening in an internal conflict sparked by the Arab Spring.

:21:58.:22:03.

In the past week or so, NATO countries have become increasingly

:22:03.:22:06.

worried about the chemical weapons stocks possessed by the Assad

:22:06.:22:11.

regime, and at least two nightmarish possiblities. One that

:22:11.:22:14.

Assad's forces might use them against the rebels in Syria, and

:22:14.:22:18.

two, the rebel forces, those associated with Hezbollah or Al-

:22:19.:22:22.

Qaeda, might get their hands on nerve gas or other toxins. We are

:22:22.:22:25.

here to talk through what is happening on the ground and wait it

:22:25.:22:32.

is seen by NATO. The subject of escalation has been

:22:32.:22:36.

high on everyone's agenda, particularly last week, in a run up

:22:36.:22:40.

to NATO meeting, that the Americans claimed that Syrian chemical

:22:40.:22:43.

weapons were being readied for use. Now it is known that the Syrian

:22:43.:22:49.

Government keeps nerve gas, as well as older agents like mustard gas

:22:49.:22:54.

and cyanide, at several main depots, as well as up to 20 smaller

:22:54.:22:58.

ammunitions sites. The recent scare was apparently caused by activity

:22:58.:23:06.

at Al Furqlus, not far from Homs. It has been reported that air

:23:06.:23:09.

dropped bombs were being filled with chemical agents there. Today,

:23:09.:23:13.

though, the Americans sought to calm speculation that those bombs

:23:13.:23:20.

might be used imminently. At this point, the intelligence is

:23:20.:23:27.

really kind of levelling off. We haven't seen anything new

:23:27.:23:31.

indicating any aggressive steps to move forward in that way. But we

:23:31.:23:36.

continue to monitor it very closely, and we continue to make clear to

:23:36.:23:44.

them that they should, under any means, make use of these chemical

:23:44.:23:46.

weapons against their own population.

:23:46.:23:52.

As well as those bomb, Syria has chemical warheads for scud

:23:52.:23:56.

ballistic missiles. Experts remain uncertain, though, about the size

:23:56.:24:02.

and breath of the total stockpile. I would be more concerned by the

:24:02.:24:06.

biological weaponry we know is there. Something like anthrax is

:24:06.:24:15.

very easy to hide and move around. Senses are not available to detect

:24:15.:24:19.

it, you have to find it and work out what it is. I would be

:24:19.:24:22.

concerned on the biological side more than the chemical. But the

:24:22.:24:26.

risk that some of these stockpiles could fall into rebel hapbtdz, or

:24:26.:24:30.

those of militant -- hands, or those of militant groups, could be

:24:30.:24:32.

higher than that of the Assad regime using them. There has been

:24:32.:24:38.

no real evidence that Syria's army has been issued gas masks or

:24:38.:24:41.

protective clothing. Using them anywhere near their own army, could

:24:41.:24:45.

therefore kill far more of them than the insurgents. Meanwhile,

:24:45.:24:53.

there are reports of certain key bases being overrun. Ramusso, near

:24:53.:24:58.

Aleppo, was rumoured to be home for chemical weapons, but it would

:24:58.:25:02.

appear the rebels haven't found any there. There have been unconfirmed

:25:02.:25:09.

reports in the past few days, that militants from the Al Mussa front,

:25:09.:25:15.

they are, say the Pentagon, a branch of Al-Qaeda, breaching the

:25:15.:25:21.

security base south of Aleppo. If confirmed, that is big news. The

:25:21.:25:25.

complex, seen by satellite, is one of the most important weapons

:25:25.:25:29.

facilities in Syria. It has a large chemical manufacturing plant, a

:25:29.:25:34.

warhead storage area, and a missile base, complete with tunnels for

:25:34.:25:39.

scud launchers. Any breach at this plant, could be one more sign that

:25:39.:25:44.

the regime may finally be tottering. There has been a lot of attention

:25:45.:25:49.

too on Damascus, and the increasingly bitter fight for the

:25:49.:25:53.

suburbs. Anti-Assad forces already control much of the east, as well

:25:53.:25:58.

as the neighbourhoods of those around. The regime has its

:25:58.:26:05.

strongholds in the centre, and the appropriately named AL-Assad

:26:05.:26:08.

district to the north. Their problem is getting through to the

:26:08.:26:10.

International Airport, that requires them to travel to the east,

:26:10.:26:15.

and in recent days, the rebels have been focusing attacks on that

:26:15.:26:20.

airport, leading to many cancelled flights. An increased feeling of

:26:20.:26:25.

isolation felt by many loyalists. So, many have predicted that the

:26:25.:26:30.

regime was about to collapse during the past 20 months, it is unwise

:26:30.:26:37.

now to rush to that judgment. But it is clear that the patches of

:26:37.:26:41.

land that the Assad security forces control are steadily shrinking. And

:26:41.:26:46.

further humiliations, the loss of key towns and bases, are probably

:26:46.:26:52.

imminent. The death toll, already 40,000, could rise again steeply if

:26:52.:26:55.

regime supporters feel their facing a last stand.

:26:55.:27:01.

As to what NATO, or the US might do about that, that's another story.

:27:01.:27:05.

President Obama has moved away, just a little, from his staunchly

:27:05.:27:10.

non-interventionist, pre-election stance. He has approved the sending

:27:10.:27:15.

of patriot missile batteries to turkey, to defend against air or --

:27:15.:27:22.

Turkey, to defend against air or missile attack. He has upgraded

:27:22.:27:26.

communication with the rebels. But securing those unconventional

:27:26.:27:30.

weapons stocks and plans for that finds few backers in Washington.

:27:30.:27:34.

The discussion of 70,000 troops coming out of the states I wouldn't

:27:34.:27:38.

say is an underestimate. First of all you need to secure the area

:27:38.:27:41.

completely. You then need to do detailed monitoring to see if any

:27:41.:27:44.

of the weaponry has been damaged and released. Then you need to

:27:44.:27:49.

actually go in and secure the weaponry theself. If it is

:27:49.:27:54.

unopposed, it will be slightly more straight forward, especially if the

:27:54.:28:00.

weaponry is in good condition. If it is opposed, hugely challenging.

:28:00.:28:03.

Advance parties of Special Forces have been deployed to Turkey and

:28:03.:28:08.

Jordan, where they might lead missions to secure the special

:28:08.:28:14.

weapons stockpiles. Even then, the chance of some nerve agents or

:28:14.:28:17.

biological weapons falling into the hands of terrorists could be high.

:28:18.:28:23.

That possible link between extremist groups and WMD, was

:28:23.:28:30.

exactly what Tony Blair argued when he was acting to forestall it in

:28:30.:28:34.

2003. It's a bitter irony of the Iraq experience. That the last

:28:34.:28:39.

thing America wants to do now is implement its plans to go into

:28:40.:28:47.

Syria to stop just that happening. Yaser Tabbara is in Marrakach for

:28:47.:28:50.

an International Conference on Syria tomorrow, and is spokesman

:28:50.:28:55.

for the new umbrella opposition group, the Syrian National

:28:55.:28:59.

Coalition, and we have a former British ambassador to Syria. Mr

:28:59.:29:05.

Tabbara, first, how worried are you, that Assad may get so desperate, he

:29:05.:29:11.

may use these chemical weapons against the opposition? Well, Assad

:29:11.:29:17.

has demonstrated several times that he's a mad man, that he is doing

:29:17.:29:21.

this as an existentialist battle. He has said many times in the past

:29:21.:29:30.

that he will die in Syria. We are afraid that he might resort to that.

:29:30.:29:33.

We're trying to prepare ourselves, as much as possible, to prevent

:29:33.:29:38.

that from happening. Mr Sindall, do you agree with that,

:29:38.:29:42.

that desperate people do desperate things, he has killed a lot of

:29:42.:29:47.

civilians and he may use these things? I'm not sure he will. This

:29:47.:29:52.

whole issue of the chemical stockpile in Syria has as much to

:29:52.:29:56.

do with the further demonisation of the undesirability of the regime,

:29:56.:30:01.

on the one hand, or people now with this talk that it might, these

:30:01.:30:06.

might fall into the hands of other undesirable groups, those who have

:30:07.:30:12.

an agenda, are most encouraging military intervention of some sort

:30:12.:30:17.

or another. I don't discount the risk at all, I'm not that niave,

:30:17.:30:25.

there is an agenda of political motivation to this argument. Is it

:30:25.:30:30.

like Iraq, but he has definitely got the chemical weapons?

:30:30.:30:33.

argument of chemical weapons is a potent argument to use in the

:30:33.:30:37.

debate about what to do with the Syrian regime. It is more about us?

:30:37.:30:41.

It is as much about that. It simply brings you back to this issue,

:30:41.:30:47.

fundamentally, are we seeking to bring about the end of the Assad

:30:47.:30:52.

regime by military means, by some way or another encouraging the

:30:52.:30:56.

opposition militarily, or by political means. In Geneva, the

:30:56.:31:00.

Russians and Americans, were talking about political

:31:00.:31:04.

possiblities, but at the same time, if we're talking to the Syrian

:31:04.:31:08.

opposition, and our friend Mr Tabbara, about the Syrian National

:31:08.:31:12.

Coalition, we would really need to know to what extent do they have

:31:12.:31:16.

any control over military groups in Syria, and over people like all

:31:16.:31:20.

quad dark the people who we are being told might get hold of these

:31:20.:31:24.

weapons. On that point, Mr Tabbara, what you do you make of the

:31:24.:31:33.

possibility that all nurse ra, or people associated and -- Al-Nursra,

:31:33.:31:37.

or Al-Qaeda, might get a hold of these weapons because of the chaos

:31:37.:31:39.

in the country. We have been calling on the international

:31:39.:31:45.

community for months and months, to invest in a serious way, and arm

:31:45.:31:50.

the opposition to create a chain of command that answer to a political

:31:50.:31:53.

umbrella group. The fact that the international community has chosen

:31:53.:31:58.

not to intervene directly, and not to implement a no-fly zone is

:31:58.:32:02.

putting them in the position of putting us in the primary position

:32:02.:32:07.

to actually have to deal with this issue on our own, and bring about

:32:07.:32:11.

the fall of Assad on our own. Having said that, a couple of days

:32:11.:32:16.

ago, there was the announcement of the establishment of the higher

:32:16.:32:21.

Military Council that will come under the political umbrella.

:32:21.:32:25.

presumably you accept that all that takes time, meanwhile on the ground

:32:25.:32:29.

things are changing day by day, some of these Jihadist groups are

:32:29.:32:33.

doing a lot of the fighting, and they would love, presumably, to get

:32:33.:32:39.

their hand on some of these weapons? Let me address that,

:32:39.:32:49.
:32:49.:32:50.

however, first of all, extremism is as much of a problem as it is the

:32:50.:32:52.

international communities and the Syrian people. This is something we

:32:52.:32:56.

realise we really need to deal with. Now, once we get to the point where

:32:56.:33:03.

we could topple the regime, we will put through the mechanisms that we

:33:03.:33:07.

are building right now in putting together the Military Council, and

:33:07.:33:10.

establishing the chain of command, to be able to try to control these

:33:10.:33:15.

extremists as much as possible. might be too late? Culturally

:33:15.:33:19.

speaking there is a main treem. might be too late? -- Mainstream.

:33:19.:33:22.

It might be too late? No there is a general understanding in the

:33:22.:33:26.

fighters on the ground, the overwhelming majority of the groups

:33:26.:33:32.

that join the Military Council, espouse a moderate rhetoric,

:33:32.:33:37.

espouse moderate principle, they have repeatedly isolated the

:33:37.:33:43.

extremists, and marginalised extremists day in day out. Let me

:33:43.:33:48.

bring in Mr Sindall on that, I want to be clear in my own mind, whether

:33:48.:33:51.

you think the specter of these weapons, falling into the hand of

:33:51.:33:54.

some these groups, that can't be discounted, whether you think it is

:33:54.:33:57.

a bit of a scare story, frankly, to prepare the public for the

:33:58.:34:01.

possibility that politicians are one side of the Atlantic or the

:34:01.:34:06.

other, and want to use military force? I think with this quite

:34:06.:34:09.

legitimate concern being built, we have a situation in which

:34:09.:34:13.

intervention may be ceepg up on us a bit, whether we want -- creeping

:34:13.:34:16.

up on us a bit, whether we want it or not. We are talking in parallel,

:34:16.:34:20.

with the Russians and the Americans, about looking for a political

:34:21.:34:27.

solution. Because the alternative, which our friend, Mr Tabbara has

:34:27.:34:31.

just told us, his predecessors and his council have had as one of the

:34:31.:34:37.

planks of their activity, a call, a desire for military intervention

:34:37.:34:41.

from the west. Their's is a military solution in the first

:34:41.:34:45.

place. That is how they think, as I understand Mr Tabbara, will topple

:34:45.:34:49.

the regime. Then they will think they will put the civil structure

:34:49.:34:53.

in place. The question seems to me, if that is the road down which we

:34:53.:35:02.

are going, all these other creeping issues are very potent and bring us

:35:02.:35:05.

into a completely different set of scenario, I wonder if we have to

:35:05.:35:10.

start thinking about the unthinkable, rather more, of some

:35:10.:35:13.

kind of political dialogue, involving the Assad regime, before

:35:13.:35:16.

you get to the nightmare alternatives.

:35:16.:35:20.

Thank you very much. At this time of year you can't open

:35:20.:35:23.

a greetings card or enter a bookshop without coming across the

:35:23.:35:28.

drawings of Quentin Blake. He's best known for collaborating with

:35:28.:35:32.

Roald Dahl, on darkly comic books loved by generations of children.

:35:32.:35:36.

Blake is 80 this week, he continues to draw every day, and has a show

:35:36.:35:39.

of new work opening tomorrow in London. Perhaps you would not

:35:39.:35:45.

expect to encounter priests being hanged, among Blake's work, or

:35:45.:35:49.

monkeys biting naked women on the back side. That is what Steve Smith

:35:49.:35:59.

found when he went to meet him! You sit down at the page, with a

:35:59.:36:06.

You sit down at the page, with a pencil, and you start drawing. You

:36:06.:36:09.

start round the face somewhere, and you sort of find out who those

:36:09.:36:15.

people are, as you are drawing them. You don't look at somebody climbing

:36:15.:36:18.

You don't look at somebody climbing a ladder to see what it is like.

:36:18.:36:22.

You kind of imagine what that must be like, you know what I mean. And

:36:23.:36:28.

so you feel the gestures, on yourself, in a funny sort of way.

:36:28.:36:32.

And also you make the expressions of the people looking at each other

:36:32.:36:36.

in the pictures. You don't make the expressions into a mirror, do you?

:36:36.:36:44.

No, no, you make them from inside. Quentin Blake is the man who drew

:36:44.:36:51.

childhood. His illustrations have seen several generations of

:36:51.:36:57.

youngsters through their formative years. His work means children's

:36:57.:37:03.

books, some how. And so, on if you haven't really studied it, or you

:37:03.:37:07.

don't really take notice of who illustrators are, you do know his

:37:07.:37:10.

work, it is everywhere, it has been copied so many times by so many

:37:10.:37:15.

different people, it is now just part of the culture.

:37:15.:37:19.

He's probably best known for his collaboration with the dark genius

:37:19.:37:25.

Roald Dahl. They were the good cop, bad cop, of

:37:25.:37:31.

the children's section. We were very opposite, in many ways.

:37:31.:37:39.

We liked humour and exaggeration, you know, so there was a whole area

:37:39.:37:43.

where we obviously corresponded, where the books were happening, a

:37:43.:37:47.

lot of our views about life would be completely opposite. He would be

:37:47.:37:53.

much more confrontational than I would. At the same time, I remember

:37:53.:37:58.

somebody saying, when I was small I thought the words and pictures were

:37:58.:38:02.

by the same person. I could see why that would be the case, actually

:38:02.:38:06.

the memory of the books would be of your illustrations, perhaps, at

:38:06.:38:11.

least as much as his words, if not more so? He was very generous about

:38:11.:38:19.

that, and said when people talk about the BFG, what they see is

:38:19.:38:26.

what Quein drew. You try to play the notes -- Queint drew. You try

:38:26.:38:32.

to play the notes accurately. first book I wrote was The Boy In

:38:32.:38:36.

The Dress, I met up with Quentin Blake and he showed me the idea he

:38:36.:38:40.

had for the cover, I cried, I couldn't believe a character I

:38:40.:38:44.

created he illustrated. He illustrated so many of the books I

:38:44.:38:49.

loved growing up. The magic to his work is that, it doesn't tell you

:38:49.:38:53.

exactly what the person looks like, it allows you to add your

:38:53.:38:59.

imagination to it. But is it only beamish boys and

:38:59.:39:06.

girls who spring from the ink- splattered desk of Quentin Blake.

:39:06.:39:13.

Some people like me may wonder if you have a secret cachet of dark

:39:13.:39:17.

Gothic drawings that you do when you go to bed and eat too much

:39:17.:39:27.
:39:27.:39:27.

cheese! I mean, no, there isn't a huge archive of Gothic horror, at

:39:27.:39:32.

all. I don't like that sort of thing much.

:39:32.:39:38.

Despite that, Blake said he enjoyed illustrating an edition of

:39:38.:39:43.

Voltaire's dark satire, Condide. is nice to have the opportunity,

:39:43.:39:48.

which you don't get in children's books so much, of people being hung,

:39:48.:39:54.

and garotteed and all that. Bitten on the bum by monk keys? That sort

:39:54.:40:02.

of thing, yeah. When it was illustrated when this

:40:02.:40:05.

came out was illustrated by formal drawings. What I likeded about it,

:40:05.:40:09.

I have that sort of element of caricature in it, which I think he

:40:09.:40:19.
:40:19.:40:21.

has got. Blake, who turns 80 at the weekend,

:40:21.:40:25.

has a retrospective book out. This show, opening in central London

:40:25.:40:32.

tomorrow. It includes such apparently un-

:40:32.:40:38.

Blake-like pieces as this series, Girls and Dogs. I don't know what

:40:38.:40:42.

they were about. They have this ruined landscape, the dogs when I

:40:42.:40:48.

was drawing them got very big. It looks, in a way, quite threatening.

:40:48.:40:52.

Almost wolfish! But interested in whatever she has done. The colour

:40:52.:40:56.

chart as well. It is not only the walls of gall

:40:56.:40:59.

rows that can boast of Blake, they are also turning up in hospitals

:40:59.:41:06.

and medical centres too. Blake began by cheering up some --

:41:06.:41:11.

galleries that can boast of Blake. They are also turning up in

:41:11.:41:15.

hospitals and medical centres. Blake began by cheering up some

:41:15.:41:18.

elderly patients. I did some for children, which is using the kind

:41:18.:41:22.

of techniques I had used in children's book. Then I also did

:41:22.:41:27.

some for adults, and I did these sort of pictures of people swimming

:41:27.:41:32.

about underwater, fully clothed, amongst fish and little crocodiles

:41:32.:41:35.

and things. That was one of the pictures that seemed to attract

:41:35.:41:40.

their attention, in a way. It is normal people in rather strange

:41:40.:41:49.

situations, in a sense, I have gone back to the idea of paintings in

:41:49.:41:54.

the 15th century chapel or Muriel paintings that sort of things.

:41:54.:41:59.

There was that great painting of a crucifixion, he takes a different

:42:00.:42:04.

line of it to me, less cheery. His line is, you know, you are lucky

:42:04.:42:09.

compared with this. You were the first children's

:42:09.:42:13.

laureate, and your work is very much associated with young people.

:42:13.:42:19.

What do you think is their lot, their status in 2012? They are so

:42:19.:42:26.

aware of everything that is happening. So that they start to

:42:26.:42:31.

take on a kind of psychological responsibility for what is

:42:31.:42:37.

happening in the world. That must be distressing, I think. Even if

:42:37.:42:45.

they are not aware of it. By the way, I hate to spoil a

:42:45.:42:49.

Christmas surprise, but when you open your cards and books this year,

:42:49.:42:57.

look out for his nibs! Wonderful stuff. We began tonight's programme

:42:57.:43:00.

by discussing who are we as a nation, we want to end with some

:43:00.:43:03.

thoughts about where we might be going. What difference would it

:43:03.:43:06.

make if Britain are were to leave the European Union. We will devote

:43:06.:43:12.

Newsnight tomorrow to discussing the consequences, the good, the bad,

:43:12.:43:15.

the ugly. The Prime Minister has been discussing with his inner

:43:16.:43:22.

circle the contents of Cameron's Big Speech, expected on the EU. How

:43:22.:43:26.

is the speech writing going? don't know. It was the most

:43:26.:43:29.

documented speech writing process recently the reason why it is so

:43:29.:43:32.

important, is it could end up framing the next two-and-a-half

:43:32.:43:35.

years, and part of the general election. What Cameron has to do is

:43:35.:43:40.

hold off some of the unhappiness in his own party, which means he has

:43:40.:43:44.

already lost votes in parliament over Europe. Also the rising

:43:44.:43:47.

discontent within the country over Europe. One of his chief rival, the

:43:47.:43:51.

person who keeps nipping at his heels over Europe, for our

:43:51.:43:53.

programme tomorrow, Boris Johnson was interviewed by Jeremy today.

:43:53.:43:58.

This is what he had to say on what he as worried about, which is

:43:58.:44:02.

indecision over Europe harming British interests and business.

:44:02.:44:07.

think business would welcome clarity. We have been on this now

:44:07.:44:13.

for so long, and we haven't had a referendum since 1975. It is

:44:13.:44:18.

perfectly obvious that the Europe question has got to be put to the

:44:18.:44:23.

British people. I think the formula I have come up with. What is the

:44:23.:44:27.

Europe question? Do you want to be in it or not. That is not what he

:44:27.:44:31.

thinks the question is. Elsewhere in the interview he goes on to say

:44:31.:44:34.

he does believe something closer to the Prime Minister's position, not

:44:34.:44:39.

do you want to be in it or not, but we will renegotiate, and we will

:44:39.:44:43.

put to you a renegotiated package or out. That is very similar to

:44:43.:44:46.

what we imagine David Cameron will come forward. That is why when you

:44:46.:44:48.

say how do you think the speech writing is going, when David

:44:48.:44:53.

Cameron sees the interview he will breathe a bit of a sigh of relief,

:44:53.:45:00.

that Boris Johnson has not decided to be as the big capital "O" out of

:45:00.:45:04.

Europe. Do we know how Boris Johnson would vote on in or out?

:45:04.:45:07.

What is interesting about the interview, for the first time in a

:45:07.:45:10.

few weeks, he is clear to go for the renegotiated position. He does

:45:10.:45:14.

not think it would be good for Britain to be out of Europe in a

:45:14.:45:19.

complete clean sweep. That is more clarity than we have had in a while.

:45:19.:45:23.

Thank you very much. Jeremy is here tomorrow, speaking of great fashion

:45:23.:45:30.

icons, the former head of the National Union of Miners, Arthur

:45:30.:45:37.

Scargill, seems to have inspired a range of menswear. The designs will

:45:37.:45:41.

be produced commercially for the clothes chain Burton. Let's not

:45:41.:45:47.

forget where it started. # Fashion put it on me

:45:48.:45:52.

# I'm what you want me to be # Fashion

:45:52.:45:55.

# Don't you wanna see the clothes on me

:45:55.:45:59.

# Fashion # I'm what you withstand me to be

:45:59.:46:02.

# Fashion, don't you want to see the clothes on me

:46:02.:46:12.
:46:12.:46:15.

# Put it on me Hello there, it is very cold and

:46:15.:46:19.

frosty out there already. Some icey patches, certainly fog around,

:46:19.:46:23.

particularly in the Midlands, parts of Wales, southern England, East

:46:23.:46:26.

Anglia, a patches in northern England. Most lifting, a little bit

:46:26.:46:30.

of sunshine coming through. A cold day, temperatures are struggling to

:46:30.:46:34.

get much above freezing, it could stay rather grey and murky all day

:46:34.:46:37.

through parts of the Midlands through the home counties too. A

:46:37.:46:46.

much fogier start in the south-east of England than it was 24 hours ago.

:46:47.:46:51.

The south west will be less -- south west will be less foggy, and

:46:51.:46:54.

sunshine in the afternoon. East Wales is struggling with the fog,

:46:54.:46:57.

west of Wales sunshine. Clouding over in Northern Ireland after a

:46:57.:47:01.

frosty start. A few spots of rain in the afternoon, making it feel

:47:01.:47:06.

quite cold. For Scotland it will be generally dry, icey patches in the

:47:06.:47:09.

south west and along the northern coast. Most places dry, cold and

:47:09.:47:12.

frosty with sunshine. A similar sort of story on Thursday, can you

:47:12.:47:16.

see how the temperatures, not really rising at all, on the city

:47:16.:47:21.

forecast, and further south as well. Staying cold on Wednesday and

:47:21.:47:24.

Thursday. Not as much fog around on Thursday, most of it will be around

:47:24.:47:28.

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