14/12/2012 Newsnight


14/12/2012

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


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Tonight, is it time we did something bold and admitted we need

:00:15.:00:20.

a completely new approach to drugs? Whatever Government of any stripe

:00:20.:00:23.

says, nearly three million of us are said to use them. If society

:00:23.:00:27.

really is in war, it is one we are not winning, except, of course, it

:00:27.:00:32.

is not society, but authority is not society, but authority

:00:32.:00:38.

that's waging the war.Le They may be illegal, they may be bad for you.

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But what about the very many people for whom drug taking is a

:00:44.:00:48.

recreational and social habit. think pretty much every pub and bar

:00:48.:00:53.

I have ever been into, if you look on the cistern of the toilet you

:00:53.:00:58.

will find white crumbs of cocaine. Would decriminalising drugs change

:00:58.:01:02.

behaviour more effectively than trying to pretend the state is on

:01:02.:01:07.

top of the problem. Also tonight, yet another massacre of the

:01:07.:01:12.

innocence in the United States. At least 27 people are killed in a

:01:12.:01:18.

mass shooting at an Elementary School. Our hearts are broken today.

:01:18.:01:23.

For the parents and grandparents, sisters and brothers of these

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little children, and for the families of the adults who were

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lost. And some of our most eminent scientists want an official pardon

:01:30.:01:34.

for the great code breaker and mathematician, Alan Turing, who

:01:34.:01:38.

killed himself after being convicted for gross indecency with

:01:38.:01:42.

a man. But what is the point of pardoning a dead man for a crime

:01:42.:01:52.
:01:52.:01:54.

which no longer exists. The war on drugs, the words are

:01:54.:01:58.

surb such an empty cliche, even if the Vic -- such an empty cliche

:01:58.:02:01.

even if the victims are real enough. Nick Clegg, the Deputy Prime

:02:01.:02:05.

Minister, says he wants a Royal Commission to re-think the way

:02:05.:02:09.

drugs policy works. David Cameron has ruled it out. It is not purr

:02:09.:02:12.

surprising that the two men disagree. It is -- surprising that

:02:12.:02:17.

the two men disagree, it is as plain as the nose on your face,

:02:17.:02:21.

that drugs abuse is widespread, and the illegality make as criminal

:02:21.:02:24.

connection and drug habits drive crime. Might it be time for a new

:02:24.:02:29.

approach? # Oh the weather outside is

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frightful # But the fire is so delightful

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# And since we've no place to go # Let it snow

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The equivalent of the factory hooter has just gone off here in

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the Square Mile, and people are taking to the clubs and pubs and

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restaurants to toast their bonuses, if any. Will they be celebrating

:02:53.:02:57.

only with the finest wines available to humanity, or might

:02:57.:03:01.

there be other recreational substances available too. Many of

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them in London take drugs, many of them take cocaine specifically,

:03:05.:03:10.

because you get the buzz of the trading floor, you get, it's

:03:10.:03:15.

glamorous, exclusive, expensive. It is the perfect drug for City boys,

:03:15.:03:18.

many of my colleagues and clients used to indulge. It is really as

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simple as that. No-one has a crystal ball on this, but the

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deputy PM says we can't go on as we are. If you were on ducting Anwar

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in which there were 2,000 fatalities d -- conducting a war in

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which there were 2,000 fatalties, and your enemy is getting richer

:03:37.:03:43.

all the time, and there are new weapons all the time, there are 40-

:03:43.:03:47.

50 new legal highs everyy, and in which younger and younger children

:03:47.:03:51.

are affected. If that was a war we would immediately say we have to do

:03:51.:03:54.

something differently to wage the war more effectively. Hang on a

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minute, the most recent figures actually show use of drugs is at

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its lowest level since 96, use of Class A drugs has fluctuated over

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this time, but has fallen since 2008. We have seen the gradual use

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of drugs like cannabis, and to a degree, ecstacy, those have been

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steadily going down. And I think there is pretty good evidence from

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the crime survey for England and Wales of that. We have seen, I

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think, with cocaine and with crack cocaine and with heroin, it has

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gone down very slightly, it is probably best to say it has

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plateaued. Cannabis, a class B substance, remains the drug taker's

:04:39.:04:49.
:04:49.:04:49.

top choice. Followed by Class As cocaine and ecstacy. Next aream

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mill nitrate, amphetamines and ketamine. Every pub and car I have

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been into, if you look on the cistern of the toilet you will find

:05:00.:05:04.

white crumbs of coke tain. That doesn't mean pubs populated by

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plumbers and licenseatricians, or pubs populated by City boys and

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stock brokers. It is everywhere, it really is. It was a war lost around

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15 years ago, as far as I'm concerned. Nick Clegg is sending an

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EMSry from London to investigate drug policies elsewhere. What might

:05:28.:05:34.

his wise man discover. In Portugal they put people through

:05:34.:05:38.

dissituation committees, where they might be put through treatment, and

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given a smack on the wrist and sent to an education class. In Australia

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they turn a blind eye and allow a concern amount of cannabis for

:05:46.:05:56.
:05:56.:05:57.

possession. All of these countries, the important point is, things have

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not got dramatically worse. That is great, but guess what the PM won't

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be giving Mr Clegg for Christmas, a Royal Commission on drugs?

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course the Deputy Prime Minister is entirely entitled to take a view

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for the next election and beyond for his manifesto, wanting to go

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further, wanting to have a Royal Commission. I personally don't

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support a Royal Commission. There is always a danger that they can

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take minutes and it can last for years. I'm very happy to debate and

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discuss drug policy, I think the coalition Government has taken a

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series of good steps. # Let it snow

:06:31.:06:41.
:06:41.:06:46.

Julia Manning is health campaigner and chief executive of the at this

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tang 2020 Health. We have a clinical psychologist specialising

:06:51.:07:01.
:07:01.:07:02.

in drug use. And Elliott is a drug user, what do you use now?

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injecting morphine. How do you pay for it, we pay for it, the

:07:06.:07:12.

taxpayer? Yes. You can function? function very well, I was a daily

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heroin user doing my PhD and teaching at university. Are you

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working now? I'm executive direct of the group about people taking

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drugs, I have come are back from a UN conference where I was arguing

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for drug taking. Are there lots of people like you, regular drug

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users? Countless thousands of people whose drug use is functional,

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and because of the stigma and discrimination and criminalisation,

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cannot possibly come out in public and admit to the fact that they use

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drugs that are currently legal, but do so in a perfectly functional way.

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What do you make of that position? I think it's unsustainable. It was

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interesting in the video that we heard Nick Clegg talking about why

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he's talking about this today, that the drugs policy isn't working. Yet

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we then saw statistics to show he's ten years out of date. Our laws are

:08:04.:08:08.

working, he particularly focused on children, and their drug use, their

:08:08.:08:12.

use has gone down by 30% in the past ten years. This raises the

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question, which we all need to engage with, what is the aim of

:08:16.:08:21.

drugs policy? Drugs policy really ought to be towards the public good.

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It should be to do with reducing the collective harm we have in

:08:26.:08:30.

society. But, you have just heard somebody say, we will leave aside

:08:30.:08:33.

our feelings about whether we should be paying for your drugs,

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but there is somebody who can function perfectly well, where is

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the gain in stopping him using? Part of the problem that we have,

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which makes it a difficult topic for the general public and

:08:45.:08:51.

politicians, is that use of drugs is associated with harm, for many

:08:51.:08:56.

individuals, it is a harm that we would want to avoid. But, also, our

:08:56.:09:01.

sanctions, also bringing their own collateral damage and complicate it.

:09:01.:09:06.

One is looking, really for whatever incremental change can you make,

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that reduces the harm overall. you share that view of what the

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objective of drugs policy ought to be? Every law is about balancing

:09:13.:09:19.

freedom and risk. And to date we have felt that the risk of drug

:09:19.:09:24.

taking, outweighs our freedoms to be able to do what we want and take

:09:24.:09:28.

whatever drugs we want. It is not just about the science, it is about

:09:28.:09:32.

society, it is about what's in the national interest, and that is

:09:32.:09:37.

outweighed, you know, the risks are too great. I would actually dispute

:09:37.:09:41.

that you are still functioning normally. I'm afraid the medical

:09:41.:09:44.

evidence is your blood vessels are shrinking by the month, by the year.

:09:44.:09:48.

You will not be able to sustain having morphine injections until

:09:48.:09:52.

you are old, you won't get to old age.

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How old are you? I'm 43 years old, I have been using heroin for 25

:09:58.:10:03.

years, and as you probably know, if you do know the evidence, opiates

:10:03.:10:07.

are actually a very safe substance to use. You The only risk

:10:07.:10:11.

associated with overdose. You feel well? I'm extremely well, as I said,

:10:11.:10:16.

I was doing my PhD, whilst a daily heroin user. Lots of people sleep

:10:16.:10:21.

their ways through PhDs? Indeed they do. However, when I was

:10:21.:10:27.

teaching and working, nobody ever knew I was a daily heroin user, it

:10:27.:10:30.

didn't affect my ability to function at a high level. If the

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idea is to minimise harm, that's the objective, minimising harm, and

:10:34.:10:40.

there are various ways that might be done. Is harm being minimised,

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currently, by keeping them illegal? In a way the missing ingredient

:10:45.:10:51.

from the way we tackle this problem is that we don't test that. What we

:10:51.:10:55.

have is political and public posturing, we have people coming on

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your programme and others, campaigning, or lobbying. What you

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really want to do is make small incremental changes, as you would

:11:03.:11:07.

do in the treatment, if you want to know whether you get improved

:11:07.:11:12.

treatment with cancer survival rates, or any other disorder like

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that, you expect toe see small incremental change, and you want to

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check does that improve the situation or worsen it. What is

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missing is the commitment to science. What you are saying is the

:11:23.:11:26.

very worst people to make drugs policy are politicians? I think

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there is an inherent problem in the position of positions. They

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necessarily want to do what is popular, and what I want

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politicians to do, is to look at the evidence and do what is most

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effective. What would you change about the way

:11:41.:11:46.

drugs policy works now? I would want to look at the way we deal

:11:46.:11:51.

with called legal highs. I think, the law cannot keep up, they are

:11:51.:11:54.

coming on the market, the film said one new one every year, I think it

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is more frequent than that. And we can't possibly keep up. We need to

:11:59.:12:03.

look at them in the same way we do with prescription drugs. If they

:12:03.:12:06.

have a license then they are legal, if they haven't got a license and

:12:06.:12:09.

they are not prescribeed, then they are illegal, it doesn't matter what

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they are called or the new formulation is. That is one thing.

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The other thing I would like to see is a serious look at the drug

:12:15.:12:18.

problem in prison, that is out of control. That bit isn't working,

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and I take your point, we should be looking at what we can change there

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to improve outcomes for prisoners. That we have a lunatic penal system

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in which people go in clean and come out addicted. That is to do

:12:30.:12:35.

with the way the prisons are run as much as anything. Is there some

:12:35.:12:39.

deep social problem in this country that leads to greater drug use? Why

:12:39.:12:45.

did you start doing it? It was purely a choice that I chose to

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make. Out of intellectual curiosity and interest, something I found to

:12:49.:12:54.

be enjoyable, and sociable. But you know that there are plenty of other

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people who have taken heroin, crack cocaine, and various other drugs,

:12:57.:13:01.

and are not here to tell the tale, you are very blase about it?

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this is not about me as a person, as an individual. The fact is, we

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have an enormous number of people who use drugs, who have a large

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range of social problems, whether they be lack of housing, lack of

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employment, lack of education, and in addition to drug use. What tends

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to happen is we identify drug use as the sole cause of the problems

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they have. We are dealing with a very complex social mix.

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Criminalising people and subjected them to stigma is increasing the

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problems. It is very difficult when there is such a broad span of

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people who use drugs. The sort of evidence that Steve Smith was

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citing in that piece, people go clubbing, for example, or they go

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out on social events, it is a different kind of problem to the

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sort of problem that you have identified here, of people who are

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socially disadvantaged, and are using drugs for whatever reason as

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part of that whole experience of social disadvantage. It is very

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hard to have some overarching policy isn't it? Well, I think we

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have got one, which is using drugs is illegal, that is an overarching

:14:12.:14:16.

policy. It is an interesting point. You already said, it's indicative

:14:16.:14:19.

of social dysfunction, of lack of confidence, of needing that

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something else that you can't get from yourself, and drugs then,

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turning to drugs simply causes addiction, causing problems with

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finance, with crime. We should be looking at why are people turning

:14:30.:14:34.

to drugs in the first place. What is wrong that they feel that is the

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only solution for them? David Cameron came up with the old line

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about Royal Commissions taking minutes and lasting years. The

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other one is they are not so much designed to dig things up, and dig

:14:46.:14:51.

them in. Would you have a Royal Commission? I'm probably not the

:14:51.:14:54.

sort of person who would say a Royal Commission is the right

:14:54.:14:59.

mechanism or not. A way of re- examining? What we do want is an

:14:59.:15:02.

open-minded examination of the different options. I mean I would

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differ in the view about, I would not want to be encouraging people

:15:07.:15:12.

to use drugs. I would want to have mechanisms that enabled people to

:15:12.:15:18.

get out of the hole that they are in. Some of those would involve

:15:18.:15:25.

meeting people where they are. Working with their difficulties. I

:15:25.:15:30.

think the prison example is a good one. I would go back to the science

:15:30.:15:35.

question. I would expect people to tell me where the short sentences,

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or long sentences were more effective. Or how much difference

:15:39.:15:44.

did the support after prison make? Those answers would then guide me

:15:44.:15:47.

in how I constructed a more effective response. What we can

:15:47.:15:51.

learn from Portugal, is that policy was brought in specifically for

:15:51.:15:55.

people who are HIV-positive, and the amount of transference of HIV

:15:55.:16:01.

through drug users, using syringes, it wasn't about going soft on drugs.

:16:01.:16:06.

Of course, what there is in the Portugal example, while the focus

:16:06.:16:11.

has been on the legal framework, it actually is a shift in the

:16:11.:16:16.

investment from a criminal justice response to actually a health

:16:16.:16:19.

caring response. Another bunch of children murdered in a place of

:16:19.:16:23.

apparent safety, what is there to say, except, not again. The news

:16:23.:16:27.

that at least 26 people, most of them children, have died in yet

:16:27.:16:33.

another mass shooting, this time at an Elementary School in Conneticut,

:16:33.:16:38.

has a sickening familiarity. The affection which much of the US

:16:38.:16:41.

looks on guns will be re-examined again, and we shall soon hear again

:16:41.:16:45.

the claims of the gun trade that they cannot be blamed for what

:16:45.:16:49.

people do with their lethal products. Tonight the President had

:16:49.:16:53.

this emotional reaction. majority of those who died today

:16:53.:16:58.

were children. Beautiful little kids between the ages of five and

:16:58.:17:08.
:17:08.:17:14.

ten years old. They had their entire lives ahead of them.

:17:14.:17:24.
:17:24.:17:26.

Birthdays, graduations, weddings, kids of their own. Among the fallen

:17:26.:17:31.

were also teachers, men and women who devoted their lives to helping

:17:32.:17:39.

our children fulfil their dreams. So our hearts are broken today.

:17:39.:17:42.

have Bill Clinton's speechwriter at the time of the Columbine massacre,

:17:42.:17:52.
:17:52.:17:52.

and now edits Washington Monthly, and we have the bureau chief from

:17:52.:17:57.

one of the papers. The White House was saying it is not the time for

:17:57.:18:02.

policy initiatives, why not, if not when? It is a perfect time to talk

:18:02.:18:04.

policy. In the Clinton administration, when we had these

:18:04.:18:07.

sorts of mass shooting, you bet we used them to draw attention to

:18:07.:18:14.

policies that we had, that we thought would lessen gun crimes.

:18:15.:18:18.

Since then, however, the politics of the country have changed, the

:18:18.:18:21.

politics of the democratic party have changed. And the President,

:18:21.:18:26.

and lots of Democrats over the last eight years, ten years, have made

:18:26.:18:34.

the decision that trying to do something about gun crimes, about

:18:34.:18:40.

gun control, is a political loser. So very little has been proposed.

:18:40.:18:45.

Really, since the late 19 90s. this likely to have any greater

:18:45.:18:50.

impact in terms of gun control than previous tragedies in your country?

:18:50.:18:54.

Well, I am afraid that I'm sceptical. We have seen a series of

:18:54.:18:59.

shootings over the years, and in many places people have said this

:18:59.:19:03.

is the one, this one is so ghastly, there is something so uniquely

:19:03.:19:07.

horrible. We had the one in the movie theatre this summer? Colorado,

:19:07.:19:11.

where the man was wearing a terrifying costume, it was in the

:19:11.:19:17.

middle of this Batman premier, people were trapped in their seats.

:19:17.:19:22.

There was something unusually sadistic about it. Opinion about

:19:22.:19:30.

gun control didn't change, when Gaby Gifford, a popular

:19:30.:19:33.

Congresswoman was shot that didn't change things. The victims are so

:19:33.:19:38.

young this time, and the numbers are so high, will it be

:19:38.:19:41.

qualitatively different, recent history makes me sceptical it would

:19:41.:19:46.

be. It is a matter of utter bafflement to the rest of the world,

:19:46.:19:49.

when you see these things happening time after time after time, and

:19:49.:19:58.

there is no change of policy? What is your idea? I think, if it turns

:19:58.:20:05.

out that this gun that was used in the shooting, was gotten illegally.

:20:05.:20:09.

There is a chance that we will see some policy initiative. What really

:20:09.:20:12.

needs to happen in the United States, is to crack down on the

:20:12.:20:17.

handful of gun dealers, whose weapons wind up being used by

:20:17.:20:21.

criminals in crimes. The vast majority of gun crimes are from

:20:21.:20:27.

guns that come from a tiny fraction of gun store, the problem is the

:20:27.:20:30.

federal Government's agency to regulate gun stores, the ATF, is

:20:30.:20:35.

ham strung by laws put there by Republican Congressmen, and

:20:35.:20:39.

senators, and in cahoots with the National Rifle Association, that is

:20:39.:20:44.

a good battle to have. If it is a legal gun, bought by somebody who,

:20:44.:20:49.

for whom, our existing gun laws, even if enforced, would not have

:20:49.:20:53.

stopped. Then it is a much harder to see what the next policy step

:20:53.:21:00.

would be. What do you think, why does this keep on happening in your

:21:00.:21:06.

country? We have got 300 million guns floating around the country.

:21:06.:21:10.

It has always been a country that revered the capacity of citizens,

:21:11.:21:16.

the ability of citizens, to own guns. But not to shoot children in

:21:16.:21:24.

school, what's your view? Of course. Well, of course, that, a big issue

:21:24.:21:31.

we can't overlook is mental health. If one common thread to all the

:21:31.:21:35.

incidents, is severely disturbed people who didn't get the mental

:21:35.:21:39.

health assistance they needed. I want to remind people that the

:21:39.:21:43.

story is more about gun laws, there is only so much you can legislate

:21:43.:21:46.

to prevent someone hurting people if there is something seriously

:21:46.:21:50.

wrong with them. There are often red flags overlooked, people need

:21:50.:21:54.

treatment and perhaps they need to be locked up. There is this element

:21:54.:21:59.

to the national culture, for better or for worse, it is written in the

:21:59.:22:02.

constitution that there is a might to bear arms. People argue about

:22:02.:22:06.

what it means. But it has become part of America's character, that

:22:06.:22:13.

goes back to that frontier, ethos. It was really striking, wasn't it,

:22:13.:22:17.

that Obama looked visibly, very moved by what had happened, do you

:22:17.:22:23.

think he will be moved enough to act on these in-built convictions

:22:23.:22:26.

that allow these people to act like this? I don't want to be glib, but

:22:26.:22:31.

you might speculate that he was moved because he knows that so

:22:31.:22:34.

little realistically can be done and will be done. I think the

:22:35.:22:40.

political system, look there is a well-funded, well-organised, very

:22:40.:22:44.

effective lobby that fight gun control laws in this country. On

:22:44.:22:49.

the otherhand you have a public that is horrified and outraged

:22:49.:22:55.

periodically by events like this, but the emotions fade. The National

:22:55.:22:59.

Rifle Association, and those gun lobbies who wake up thinking about

:22:59.:23:03.

this, they don't give up the fight and they have the upper hand.

:23:03.:23:08.

of the most distinguished scientists in the land want the

:23:08.:23:16.

Prime Minister formally to forgive, the mathematician that played a an

:23:16.:23:20.

important role in breaking codes in Bletchley Park. Alan Turing killed

:23:20.:23:24.

himself after being accused of gross indecency with a man. No-one

:23:24.:23:28.

denies he served his country or his suicide was a tragedy, what exactly

:23:28.:23:32.

is the Prime Minister to forgive? Indeed, is he in any permission to

:23:32.:23:38.

do so. Why not apologise to other victims of other now long dead laws.

:23:38.:23:43.

He was a brilliant mathematician and computer pioneer, it was Alan

:23:43.:23:50.

Turing's work, decoding military messages sent out by the German

:23:50.:23:54.

Enigma machine, that made him a hero. During the Second World War

:23:55.:23:59.

the Germans believed the Enigma code of unbreakable, in one of the

:23:59.:24:04.

most secret projects of the war, Bletchley Park, Turing's team

:24:05.:24:08.

cracked it. The gave the Allies the intelligence to anticipate what the

:24:08.:24:13.

Germans might do next, shortening the war and saving lives. But in

:24:13.:24:18.

1952, Alan Turing was charged with gross indecency, for committing

:24:18.:24:23.

homosexual acts. He avoided prison, only by agreeing to injections of

:24:23.:24:28.

female hormones. Two years later he was found dead, having eaten an

:24:28.:24:35.

apple laced with cyanide. In 2009, after an on-line petition calling

:24:35.:24:41.

for him to be pardoned received tenss of thousands of signatures,

:24:41.:24:45.

Gordon Brown apologised for the way he was treated. Scientists,

:24:45.:24:49.

including Stephen Hawking, the head of the Royal Society, and the

:24:49.:24:52.

Astronomer Royal, have called for David Cameron, formally, to forgive

:24:52.:24:57.

him. If he's pardoned, who else? Oscar Wilde, he's famous too, do

:24:57.:25:00.

great actions make you more deserving than the thousands of

:25:00.:25:04.

others convicted under the same law?

:25:04.:25:10.

Posthumous pardons do happen. In 2006, the MoD gave one to more than

:25:10.:25:15.

300 soldiers, shot for military eavess, including cowardice -

:25:15.:25:19.

offences, including cowardice in World War I. A pardon doesn't undo

:25:19.:25:24.

the damage, but campaigners say it would undo the blemish.

:25:24.:25:28.

Bletchley Park is in the constituency of Ian Stewart, and he

:25:28.:25:36.

is supporting the campaign for Alan Turing to be pardoned, we have the

:25:36.:25:39.

Professor of mathematics at the university of Oxford. What

:25:39.:25:44.

difference would a pardon make? this centinary year, the pardon

:25:45.:25:51.

will help us not only celebrate his many achievements, but right a

:25:51.:25:54.

dreadful wrong done to this brilliant man. He's dead? You said

:25:54.:26:01.

in the introduction, there is a precedent now, the desers in World

:26:01.:26:05.

War I was pardoned, Government has passed already an act in the

:26:05.:26:10.

protection of freedoms act, which cleanses a record of living people,

:26:10.:26:14.

who were convicted of such called crimes. I just think now we have to

:26:14.:26:20.

right the wrong. What do you think about it? Alan Turing is one of my

:26:20.:26:24.

great heros, one of the greatest scientist of the 20th century. In

:26:24.:26:29.

some ways the issue is slightly confused. You know, why pardon him,

:26:29.:26:35.

because he's a great mathematician, and a hero for the Second World War,

:26:35.:26:39.

helped crack the Enigma reason. I think it doesn't go far enough, I

:26:39.:26:43.

think, certainly, he should be pardoned, but also everyone

:26:43.:26:47.

convicted under the act. The wrong was making that a criminal act.

:26:47.:26:51.

fame, his celebrity, his talent, whatever, should not entitle him to

:26:51.:26:55.

preferential treatment, should it? The Government has already acted to

:26:55.:27:01.

cleanse the record of living people, it doesn't apply posthumously.

:27:01.:27:06.

There mayle well be other very deserving cases. -- There may well

:27:06.:27:10.

be other deserving cases. What about Oscar Wilde, he was convicted

:27:10.:27:14.

of the same offence? That is a separate debate to be had. It is

:27:14.:27:19.

the same issue, you would say yes? This is just confusing it, it is

:27:19.:27:22.

really about criminalising. What about people convicted of

:27:22.:27:27.

witchcraft, that is another law that no longer exists? For Alan

:27:27.:27:32.

Turing, we owe our liberty to this man, he cracked the code, and

:27:32.:27:35.

without his work the war would have been prolonged and the outcome

:27:36.:27:39.

might have been given. The apology given by Gordon Brown was

:27:39.:27:42.

absolutely right, think we can do better for, that there is a public

:27:42.:27:46.

appetite for it. At the time this was a crime what he did. That is a

:27:46.:27:51.

fair point. That's why Governments of both colours have resisted a

:27:51.:27:56.

pardon until now. I think there is a debate to be had. I would like to

:27:56.:28:00.

see parliament have a chance fully to debate this and express its

:28:00.:28:02.

opinion. Where would you take it, you say this is a pardon that

:28:03.:28:06.

should be extended to everyone convicted of this crime, would you

:28:06.:28:10.

extend it to other things that are no longer a crime? I mentioned

:28:10.:28:14.

witchcraft, there are people who died because they were judged

:28:14.:28:18.

witches? This is a case of taking each particular criminal act and

:28:18.:28:21.

deciding it should never have been a criminal act. In this case it is

:28:21.:28:26.

totally clear it was a big mistake to criminalise homosexuality.

:28:26.:28:31.

Witchcraft? I would go for that. Any others? So there would be a

:28:31.:28:34.

blanket pardon, despite the fact that in the context of the time it

:28:34.:28:38.

was a crime? The pardon is saying it was a mistake to make that a

:28:38.:28:43.

crime. And we now realise it was a mistake, it should never have been

:28:43.:28:48.

that. It is great retrospective wisdom? It is strange the letter,

:28:48.:28:52.

which is asking Cameron to pardon Alan Turing, he did nothing wrong.

:28:52.:28:57.

He doesn't need forgiving. The word "forgiveness". Who is David Cameron

:28:57.:29:01.

it pardon anybody? They should be asking Turing to forgive them,

:29:01.:29:05.

frankly, I think it is all the wrong way round. If I can just

:29:05.:29:09.

point out, there is a bill in parliament at the moment, sponsored

:29:09.:29:14.

by my colleague in the Lords, Lord Sharky, the bill is very

:29:14.:29:18.

specifically on Alan Turing, it would be parliament that passed a

:29:18.:29:22.

law. It wouldn't be the Prime Minister himself granting a pardon.

:29:22.:29:29.

I think that is a very important We have to check out now to make

:29:29.:29:36.

way for the review show, and their exciting Hobbit-fest coming up.

:29:36.:29:42.

Next time you watch a dimwited Hobbit wrestling with the bleeping

:29:42.:29:47.

supermarket checkouts in your local supermarket. Say out a prayer for

:29:47.:29:52.

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