17/12/2012 Newsnight


Analysis of the stories behind the day's headlines with Jeremy Paxman, including gay marriage, the row over the flag in Belfast, the onesie, and why do Americans love guns?

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Distrust, dissent and disquiet in the Conservative Party, as its


leader pushes the boat out for gay marriage. This say increasingly


vocal numbers of members, is not the Tory Party we joined.


He may see it as a civil rights issue, by David Cameron never


promised this to the British people, and plenty of his party are fed up


with him for it. This is probably the most decisive issue I have seen,


even compared with Europe and the economy. Where does the heart of


modern Conservatism lie when it comes to issues like this?


We have to go back to the early days of the United States to grasp


the gun issue, but is a 200-year- old piece of legislation, any basis


for security in the 21st century. We ask the author. Lionel Schriver.


Loyalists protest on the streets of Northern Ireland about their flag.


The Republicans are playing this game, the game is a different type


of war, it is totally different. But it is a war. A war of removing


everything that we hold dear so they can gain plaudits in their


community for doing that. How on earth did the land of fine


tailoring of this, who is to blame for the must-have Christmas item,


the oneies. A growing split is growing in the coalition, not


between the Tories and the Liberal Democrats, a split within the


Conservative Party. An increasingly vocal section of the party is


beginning to make rude noises about David Cameron. The datest friction


is over the Prime Minister's enthusiasmism for gay marriage. Not


only is this a deeply un- Conservative thing to do, it is an


idea that people never had chance to vote on, on a practical level. A


more liberal constituency will come at the cost of alienating the key


supporters the party relies on to get elected, they claim. Party grey


beards can't understand why David Cameron has such a bee in his


bonnet about it. It was traditionally festive in


Downing Street this evening, with Santa's reindeer making an


appearance for a children's party. Hopefully nobody was put off by a


chef lurking in the background. Traditional marriage isn't on the


menu at Downing Street either. Many in David Cameron's party are


perplexed, with that so many issues facing the country, like the


economy, transport, Europe, immigration, he has chosen to lock


horns with his MPs on the issue of gay marriage.


I think it sits very awkwardly on the backbenches, people feel that


there are greater priorities. That they very strongly feel that we


should be focusing on jobs, the economy, growth and reform of


public services. For a measure that was not in the Queen's Speech, the


manifesto or the coalition agreement, where as for instance a


commitment to tax breaks for marriage was, people are rather


puzzled as to why this is a priority.


Mr Jackson is one of 58 parliamentarians to sign a letter,


complaining that the Government has skewed their consultation on the


issue, by considering comments from people overseas, but ignoring a


petition from half a million people Why is David Cameron pushing ahead


with his plans? Since civil partnerships gave gay people many


of the same legal rights as married couples, there are doesn't seem to


have been a big clamour for a change in the law.


Perhaps the idea is trianglelation, you lose a few votes on the right


of the party, but pick up a whole load more in the centre. If that is


the strategy, some pollsters believe it is flawed. The polls


suggest this is just as much of as a turn-off for Labour and Lib Dem


voters as it is for Conservative voters. In that more people who


currently vote Labour or Lib Dem say that they are less likely to


vote for the Conservative Party as a result. The conclusion is maybe


60% of the public think it is a PR trick by David Cameron to persuade


people that the Conservative Party has changed in some way.


Transport Secretary, is one of several members of the cabinet to


advocate gay marriage, but his constituency party is not happy.


In any political party you get issues which create concern, or


lead to resignations. This is probably the most devisive issue I


have seen. Even compared with issues like Europe or the economy.


It is having a dramatic, calamitous affect on activists, as I


understand it, there were hundreds of thousands of Conservative


activists saying they will not work for the party any longer, we don't


believe what it is doing on gay marriage and we are going on strike.


No Government, no party can put up with that sort of situation for


long, without it having a very, very significant electoral impact.


So where are these disaffected Conservative voters going? Well t


appears there is someone answer. is a lot of evidence that gay


marriage is directly related today the surge in UKIP support in the


last week or two. For Nigel Farage, he can turn round to the public and


say, well, unlike the Conservatives, Labour and Lib Dem, I'm offering


you something different, and playing to those very disaffected


Conservative voters. Indeed UKIP have become above the Lib Dems in


five of the 12 by-elections in which they fielded candidates since


2010, they have come second in three of those by-elections.


think for an awful lot of Conservative supporters, frankly,


this is the final straw. I would remind people, that since Cameron


became leader, the number of paid- up Tory members has halved, and


most of those exist in the traditional, rural shires,


attitudes in gay marriage are different in the Metropilis to out


in the sticks. This will cost up about 25% of Tory Party membership.


David Cameron has promised his party a free vote on the issue,


even so, some of his MPs think the policy could profoundly destablise


the Conservatives, and with it, the Prime Minister's leadership.


It is a pretty difficult position to be in for any Prime Minister,


Conservative Prime Minister, to force through a policy, not in the


manifesto, or a coalition agreement, with the help of Labour votes, in


the House of Commons. That is a pretty parlour state for any leader


to be in, I would urge David Cameron to think carefully if he


wants to be in that position by late spring, as we come up to


County Council elections. It will undermine his position as leader,


it will weaken the Conservative Party both in parliament and in the


country. Mercifully tonight, Santa left Downing Street with all his


reindeer intact. It is clear though, that on the issue of same-sex


marriage, David Cameron isn't taking all of his party with him.


Let's discuss now with my guests. We have the President of Michael


Gove's local Conservative Party in Surrey heath. With the editor of


the Conservative Home website, and the signatory to the letter in the


Telegraph today, opposing proposals for gay marriage.


What is it like in your constituency, what are the


feelings? People are saddened on this. For some reason David Cameron


has decided to try to rush this legislation through parliament. I


don't think the thing has been thought through to any great degree.


Progressively the older the local Conservative members are, the more


uncomfortable they feel about this. Because they have been brought up


that marriage has been between a man and a woman, and that they feel


we should, and to bring up children as well. To be presented with what


appears to be a fait accompli. they faiing to you that is it, we


are not going to -- saying that is it, we are not campaigning for you?


It is too early to say. We had a local by-election recently, it was


pretty hard to get people to go out and put round the leaflets and


everything else. Why on earth is he doing it, then? Actually, a year


after he became Conservative leader, he made it very clear that he saw


marriage as being something, not just between a man and a woman, but


potentially two men, two women. This is something David Cameron has


believed in for a long time. There is, as Jeffrey said, a lot of


unhappiness in Tory ranks, not just on this issue, but on a number of


issues, this almost seems to be a last straw that has broke the


camel's back for many people. But there is a history of lots of


issues like civil partnerships, and Section 28, causing a lot of fuss


at the time, and then as soon as the legislation is passed, it


subsides. I think that's what will happen with this reform. Let's find


out, you are one of the signatories to the letter, saying you are very


unhappy about it, are you going to roll over in the end? No, I think


the worst thing about this ill- thought-out proposal is it demeans


marriage, which is sacrosanct and has a special meaning in the Church


of England, especially, but also it is the law of unintended


consequences. If we rush through this law, and down the line there


will have to be definitions created, there will have to be, I don't want


to go on to clause 28, marriage will have to be taught in churches,


and in schools to schoolchildren. No longer will we be able to say


that marriage between a man and a woman is something special. Now, I


think we're in a very good place with civil partnerships, to that


extent I think there has been sea change, but they are still


relatively new. What worries me about this proposal is we didn't


campaign on it, I didn't have the chance to say, in my extended


election campaign in 2010, that this was either part of my


manifesto, or when the coalition agreement was being written as I


was still campaigning, I wasn't able to say I disagreed with it.


There is a great strength of feeling, perhaps it is a


Metropolitan, rural issue, perhaps it is a younger person versus an


older person issue, it is very devisive, let's come back to it in


three years time. You said he made it clear very early in his


leadership he believed in it, why not put it in the manifesto or the


coalition agreement? That is a good point, for most people, there is a


Mori poll last week, 75% of the British people have no problem with


this reform. That is not the point? As long as religious liberty is


protected. They would be in favour of free chocolate, that isn't in


the manifesto, that is a meaningless manifesto? How many


people read the leader's man -- the manifesto rather than the leader's


speech. We fight elections on manifestos, it is the legislative


programme. For most people watching this debate, they can't understand


why a lot of Conservatives are unhappy about it, as long as


religious liberty is protected. are a Conservative, presumably you


understand it. Which aspect. understand why people like


Jeffrey's friends in Surrey Heath are so exorcited about it?


understand people are worried about a reform being imposed upon them.


The Government is clear unless religious liberty is protected.


legally can't protect religious liberties, the latest announcement


last week, trying to exclude the Church of England has made matters


worse, it shows how ill-thought-out this proposal is. In the end, what


is your majority, thousands? They weigh the Conservative vote?


There is no such thing a as a safe seat. I totally disagree with you.


This is highly controversial, this is overturning 5,000 years worth of


accepted wisdom that marriage is between a man and a woman, people,


to overturn that, in a whim and the fashion, at such short notice,


surely a wise man would give much more consideration and debate of


this. Do you think it may be a matter of personal conviction for


him. It might be something he believes in very strongly? I'm sure


he may well be. We are not a dictatorship, we are in a democracy,


an issue like this should be debated fully, and both sides of


the argument should be fully debated at considerable length. We


shouldn't rush something like this. One of the most alarming things for


people, and I have had a lot of letters from people who will say,


whether they will remember about it, if it is passed through very


quickly, but they say they won't vote for us again or work for us


again. What about the people who responded to the consultation, and


what about the 500,000-plus people who have declared that they


vehemently opposed to this particular proposal. You may have


some people who won't vote for you, presumably there will be lots of


happily married gay people who will vote for you? I personally want to


celebrate marriage, and celebrate civil partnership, I don't think we


should merge the two, drg -- I think the two are totally different.


Isn't that t you appeal to a different constituency? For me,


marriage is an incredibly important institution, it doesn't just join


two people together, it joins the couple's loved ones, friends and


family together as well, I think it is right that such an important


institution, an incredibly conservative institution, doesn't


exclude anyone in society. And actually, by introducing equal


marriage, we broaden and popularise an institution, and make it more


central to society, not less central to society. Men and women


are different. At as a one-time divorce lawyer, I know part of the


reason that marriage has succeeded in the way it has is for the


protection of women and children. If you change the ground rules,


there are going to be some very confused people out there, in the


church, in schools, in society at large, and I just think we have set


a very. What will they be confused about? About what the implications


are. It is lifetime commitment of two people? We have it in civil


partnerships, what is the need to change at this pace. Lots of things


have changed in marriage over decent decades, the church opposed


the remarriage, Jesus spoke about remarriage being wrong, in gay he


never spoke about gay partnerships being wrong. I don't think the Old


Testament is a place you want to go for the purpose of this argument.


think it is the New Testament actually? The Old Testament is more


rigorous about these issues. that in your pipe and smoke it?


I do! Supposing, that there is no resigning from this issue,


supposing that David Cameron says I'm sorry, I really, profoundly


believe in this, I'm the leader of this party, I will go ahead with it,


what will happen in an area like your's? I think regretfully we will


lose a certain number of members, probably to UKIP, that is where


they will go. Their manifesto on this specific issue is very clear.


I think it is a policy which we as Conservatives would like, we are


totally in favour of civil partnership, but we do feel that


going to marriage, so quickly is too quickly. We will lose


supporters, and we will regretfully find it more difficult to get


people to go out. If this goes through, I think we will have two-


and-a-half years and I would like to think that David Cameron will


get a second term. If there is a mass exodus, from marginal seats,


which will determine the next Government, then was it really


worth it, to introduce it with such haste, rather than put it into the


next manifesto and have a country debate with it. Some risk for you


to take the party? Lot of people think David Cameron is a PR guy,


here is someone who was completely contrary to some opinion polls,


standing out and saying this is where I stand. I think a lot of


people, like with Margaret Thatcher in the past, they may not agree


with him on this issue, but I think they will respect him for more it.


The next election will not be about gay marriage t will be about the


National Health Service, the economy and jobs. Just as civil


partnerships were accepted, just as the controversy of Section 28 went


away, this will go away, I do not believe this will be a big issue at


the next election. We will see. Thank you very much.


They buried the first two of the victims of the massacre at Sandy


Hook Elementary School, boys of six years old. The country is still in


shock, and political reaction is not much further than President


Obama's question of visiting violence on America's children is


the price of freedom. What to do about the semi-sacred state us of


guns in parts of the US is the big question. One American lepblgs lace


lator has delivered himself of the wisdom that he thinks that the


reason for the tragedy at the school was because the principal


The Second Amendment's association with freedom and rights is what


lies at the heart of the debate on guns in the US. Forget the word


"militia" for many this is the guarantee against tyranny.


Yet, the soul-searching after the Newtown massacre, has inevitably


led to questions about the state of gun control in America. These


tragedies must end. To end them we must change. We will be told that


the causes of such violence are complex, and that is true. No


single law, no set of laws, can eliminate evil from the world or


prevent every senseless act of violence in our society. But that


can't be an excuse for inaction. Surely we can do better than this?


It has been tried before, after the assassinations of President Kennedy,


Martin Luther King, and Robert Kennedy, the 1968 Begun Control Act,


crew the right to own a gun from certain catagories of criminals,


including drug addictss and those with severe mental disorders. Then


there was the Brady Act, named after the former assistant to


Ronald Regan, shot in an assassination ateplt tempt. It


requires background checks -- attempt. It requires background


checks, flagging up those with a criminal record or history of


mental health problems. President Clinton also pushed a ban on


assault weapons through Congress in 194. But that law was allowed to


lapse a decade later. There are now calls to reinTate it T It is time


to pass an enforcable and effective assault weapons ban, one that isn't


riddled with loopholes and easy evasion. A previous ban expired in


2004, and even though President Bush supported reinstating it,


Congress never acted, that must change. Congress should also ban


the high-capacity magazines that have been used again and again in


these mass shootings. A senator has now promised to


introduce the necessary legislation next year. But in Newtown, it is


too late. We have the author of More Guns


Less Crime, and believes areas that have experienced increased gun


ownership have seen a drop in crime. He joins us from fill Delphiia.


Do you think guns are good for America? I think guns make it


easier for bad things to happen, but they also make it easier for


people to defend themselves, and prevent bad things from happening.


On that, more lives are saved as a result of people owning guns. You


see this around the world. Every place around the world that we have


crime data before and after a ban, shows that when you have a ban,


murder rates go up by at least a little bit, and they often go up by


dramatic amounts. There is a simple reason for that. That is, when you


ban guns, it is the law-abiding, good citizens, who turn in their


guns, not the criminals. We disarm law-abiding citizens with regard to


criminals, you don't make it safer, you make it easier for criminals to


commit their crimes. You do accept if you were designing a modern


constitution for a modern country, you would not put in the right to


bear arms? I don't see. That police are extremely important in


protecting people. They are the single most important factor, but


at the same time, the police can't be there all the time. They


virtually always arrive on the crime scene after the crime has


been committed. The question is, what do you advise someone who is


being raped, or robbed or murdered to do when they are having to


confront a criminal by themselves. Simply telling them to behave


passively is not very good advice. It is actually much more likely to


get you killed, or harmed, than having a gun for protection. Plus


the fact that you have a gun can deter criminals. Take Britain and


the United States, one interesting contrast is residential robbers,


the rate at which burglars break into homes where the residents are


home. Britain as twice the rate than the US. What is more telling,


only 13% of the time when burglars occur in the United States are


Americans in their homes. In Britain when it occurs, 59% of the


time, when a burglar comes it is when people are in the home.


American burglars spend a longer time casing the homes before they


break in. The number one reason they gave, they spend twice as long


casing homes than the British counterpart. We are going to trade


statistic cystics, can you remind us precisely how many gun murders


there were in the United States last year? There is more than in


Britain. You have about 8,500. There were 550 murders all up in


Britain last year? The murder rate for Britain compared to the United


States was lower before you had gun control laws. That is true in other


countries. When you have gun control, murder rates go up. There


are lots of reasons why murder rates vary across countries.


this argument it would have been a good thing had the headteacher and


the teachers at that school, where this awful tragedy happened last


Friday, had they been armed, it would have been better, would it?


think so. Look, there is one phenomenon we see here, all the


multiple victim public shootings in the United States, since at least


1950, with one exception, and all the multiple victim public


shootings in Europe, even in Switzerland, have all he occurred


where guns are banned. In Switzerland it is very easy to get,


carry a concealed handgun, half the time you don't need a permit, the


other half it is easy to get a permit. There is a couple of big


multiple shooting victims in Switzerland. Each has occurred,


where tiny areas where guns aren't aed load. One example from the


United States. This is just like all the others, in, we had the


Aurora movie theatre shooting in July. There were seven movie


theatres within a 20-minute drive of the killer's apartment, only one


banned guns. The killer didn't go to the movie theatre that was


closest to his home, he didn't go to the largest one, there was one


movie theatre that brags about having the largest auditoriums in


the state. Instead he went to the single movie theatre that banned


concealed handguns, and prevented people from defending themselves.


The simple way to think about this, God forbid, some violent criminal


was threatening you and your family, would you feel safer putting a sign


in your front yard saying this home is a gun-free zone. Would that stop


the criminal attacking you there. Nobody would do that. Would you put


a sign like that in front of your home. Thank you.


Now Lionel Schriver wrote the novel We Need To Talk About Kevin, about


massacre in a school. Can we talk about this. You were born in the


states, you are about to take British citizenship? Definitely.


you continue your self-improvement. With more stories like this,


definitely. Do you understand why the gun has got this special place


in American culture? It runs very deep in the history. I had to


memorise part of the declaration of independence in junior high school,


most importantly that bit about how the state governs at the consent of


the governed, and it is up to the governed, to consent or withdraw it.


And abolish the Government and start another one. The first time


we did that, we did that violently. Schoolchildren learn this, that if


you don't like your Government, you essentially have the right, the


moral right to overthrow it. I don't think it is an exaggeration


to say there is an element of the the gun right's lobby that really


has to do with, in the back of their minds, if push comes to shove,


we should be able to overthrow the Government by force. But this is a


mature, stable democracy, there is no chance of the state being


overthrown? Of course not, it is a fantasy. That is one of the things


that is a little odd about it. I mean, there have been occasions


where citizens tried to withdraw their consent, and it didn't work


out very well. Look at Wacko, Timothy McVai, killed by lethal in-


- McVeigh, killed by lethal injection, it is an absurdty. There


is an element in the United States that is very uncomfortable with the


states, suspicious, and even hostile. And feels that rather than


the state needing to have that classic monopoly on violence, that


that the citizen needs to be armed to counter balance the power of the


state. When you hear an argument like the one we have just heard


there, put pretty cogently by that fella in Philadelphia, about people


protecting themselves, do you understand that? Yes, I do. I


understand the primitive need to defend yourself, especially in the


country where lots of other people have guns. It does compound itself.


If many other people in your surround are armed, then you feel


like a fool not to be. Is there something uniquely man nef lent


about Americans? -- Uniquely menacing as an environment? No, I


don't think so. What's behind it? think the gun has become an emblem


of that unfettered, individual liberty, that Americans are told


over and over again, that they enjoy. But they don't really have.


That makes the gun even more important. The truth is Americans


are as overtaxed and overregulated and controlled with this, that and


the other thing, as any other country. They are told all the time


they are free. They don't feel free, I think the gun has a way of giving


you that sensation of real liberty. Guns convey power. They convey so


much power, when you think about it, all you can get people to do, if


you have one, take off their clothes, let you into their house,


give you all their money. It's amazing that every American doesn't


have a gun. Just 0 to talk briefly about this awful -- just to talk


briefly about this awful killing. Given the subject matter of your


own novel, We Need To Talk About Kevin what did you conclude when


you saw what happened? Mmm. Nothing. That's what's so difficult


about these things, is they believe you stymied. There is nothing to


conclude, you know, there has been, one of the reasons we are talking


about gun control, is that it's one of the only things to, one of the


only lessons to draw, because otherwise you just are left with


the capacity of human beings, especially unbalanced ones, in this


case, for man nef lens, and there is nothing to say. I was approached


by countless newspapers over the weekend to write for them. I had to


turn them down, partly out of a sense of humility. Incapacity.


felt you could say nothing? I could say nothing.


The detail about this killing that most upset me, was the fact that


these little children were shot multiple times, and with accuracy,


to absolutely make sure they were dead. My imagining of most people


who fantasise about this kind of an incident, ahead of time, once they


get there, I don't think it usually feels the way they think it is


going to. That gives them some kind of pause. But this guy, there was


no pause, and once he was actually putting a gun into a six-year-old's


face, he didn't hesitate. That just floors me.


Thank you. There were protests again tonight


in Northern Ireland, where loyalists dream of red, white and


blue Christmas. One police officer was injured. They are still


agrieved, the loyalists, at the decision by Belfast City Council


that the Union Flag is only to be flown on designated days rather


than year-round. There has been violence associated with some of


these protests, but the majority are passing off peacefully. In the


context of the province's history, that in itself, may be significant.


We report from there. They streamed into the city senter


from their housing estates. A community bereft. The flagpole


above Belfast City Hall, striped of the Union Flag. Only to return on


select days, like the Queen's birthday. Attention, attention,


please move now, failure to move, may make you liable to arrest.


Christmas shoppers looked on, then carried on. But Northern Ireland's


working-class Protestants are used to not fitting in. While Belfast


bustles with progress and promise, they feel left behind, a sense of


abandonment, that has made the flag dispute so potent. Our British


identity is being eroded and undermined at every turn. It is


very frustrating for young people to see all aspects of the culture.


Our very identity as British citizens is under attack.


anguish over this issue shows it is about far more than what is or


isn't flying over City Hall here. For loyalists, the Union Flag is a


symbol of what binds them to the rest of us in the United Kingdom


its remove, they say, is prove that all of that is --. Its removal,


they say, is proof that all of that is at risk. The City Hall, once a


symbol of power, voted to take down the flag. Catholic councillors


might have seen it gone for good, but accepted a compromise to fly it


on selected days. A community worker is trying to help fellow


loyalists deal with their loss. A former paramilitary, he believes


his old Republican enemies have gone too far. We were promised a


dividend from the peace, and the only dividend we have got from the


peace is a continual erosion of our Britishness. The Republicans are


playing this game, and the game is to a different type of war, a


totally different type of war, it is war. It is a war of removing


everything we hold dear, so they can gain plaudits in their


community for doing that. Since the vote was taken, loyalist


anger has been expressed in time- honoured ways. Members of the


Alliance Party, that brokered the flag compromise have been


threatened. Their offices and homes attacked. A petrol bomb was thrown


into a police woman's car, she was lucky to get out. Tonight, another


police officer was injured in Belfast, as hundreds of


demonstrators blocked roads. But, over the last week, most of the


protests have been peaceful. The word "enclave" might have been


invented for this place. Themed in by giant peace walls, the


inhabitants describe themselves as prisoners. I will take you to my


house, show you a good example of where we have been attacked. Emma


shows me the broken glass and China that she says is regularly hurled


in from the surrounding nationalist estates. In interface areas it is


two-way traffic. But like many residents here, Emma has had enough.


My house of petroled bombed on the 1st July last year. There was kids


stuff along here. We had a trampoline there, there was over


�250 worth of damage. Was anyone in the garden? I was in the kitchen.


The petrol bombing of her garden while her two children were at home,


has driven her to leave. Danny is also look to go move.


Believing her two daughters, playing here with their cousin,


aren't safe. The flag issue has seen her join the protests for the


first time ever. She's not interested in politics, but she


says it is time for people like her to speak out. I'm not going to


stand and argue with somebody over a flag, or over a religion, you


know, I don't believe in that. I sit in the house just with the kids


and that's it. What's made you go out and take part in protests on


this issue? The actual just pure anger over what is being said. We


are being put down, told you aren't British, you aren't this, you can't


have your flag. What we are putting up with in the area. I mean not


being able to let your kids out and play. That is a constant thing.


That has been getting worse. This time of year we shouldn't have to


worry about it. # God save our glorious Queen


# God save our Queen The street demonstrations are


giving such people a voice. They are largely organised on social


media. Crowds gather quickly, roads are closed, and they move on. One


of those taking part is Jamie. He's unusual, a young loyalist, willing


to be interviewed, without covering his face. He wants to go into


politics. The mainstream unionist political parties have to reconnect


with the British community, especially the young people. They


have to give them some sort of avenue to express these concerns


and grievances. We are not getting that at the moment. We don't feel,


especially young people, there is strong representations from the


main unionist parties at Stormont, we feel Stormont is failing us.


Through the protests, people like myself are trying to encourage all


young people to get involved politically.


In a city where some communities remain in tribes, Reverend Chris


Hudson gets about. The peace we have here in Northern Ireland is


not the property of politicians, nor the property of paramilitaries,


it is the property of all of us. From a republican family in Dublin,


he's a trusted go-between for British loyalism. His Unitarian


church, of course, supports gay marriage, so he's not one to give


up on a cause. And sees signs of change. What we do need to do is


engage with those who are feeling hurt and an grow. We can't just,


you know, disassociate ourselves from them, and say they are the


rabble, they are the thugs. We have got to engage with them. The people


I speak to, within loyalism, people that are seeing and regarded as


significant in their communities, I find that they are willing to


engage on a lot of different levels. On the level of inclusiveness,


reconciliation, they are willing to look and talk to the other


community, and see how they can find common ground.


If loyalists have felt cornered, the recent census should have given


pause. The Catholic population might be rising at a faster rate,


but, middle-class Catholics, in particular, are prospering, they


are doing it as citizens of the UK, not Ireland. Jim Wilson wants young


loyalists to start catching up. The first step is to get more of them


to vote. Our community has got so desperate in the sense that nothing


has been happening for them, nothing is being done for them.


They have lost faith in their politicians and the willing to out


and vote, and some young lads have lost the will to register to vote.


The difficulty in the City Hall is that is the only way we will get it


back is getting kids to register to vote and come out and vote. They


need good leadership. Normally when you hear from loyalism, it is


always bad news, rage and rioting. As a community, it remains insecure


and angry. But with these flag protests, I think you are starting


to see some of that being expressed differently. Traditions pass


through the generations here. So do grievances. And if loyalists can


choose political engagment over despair, and respond constructively


to fresh calls to end the protests, they might have a chance to be


heard. Our latest audience research shows


that for the very first time, a nice carddy and a pair of slippers


have been eclipsed as Newsnight's viewers' most requested Christmas


present. As supermarkets and retail outlets reveal that the onsie are


the most popular item. Where this lack of taste came from is a


mystery, not to Mr Smith. At this special time of year,


what's better than bundling up warm and cosy with that certain someone,


as part of a poor Newsnight reconstruction.


And what has Santa brought this lucky pair? Onesies.


That's right, kids, forget the tangerine and hoola hoop, the thing


the stars are finding under the tree, is a one-piece garment in


luxurious man made fibres. Lounging


# Lounging # Mellow out and lounging


I know what you are thinking, is this new fangled loungewear really


so different from the grim old long john, and the surgical stocking.


many people have told me they will never wear it. And I Geoff them one,


and they get one, and -- I give them one, and they get one, and


they come back and say they are very, very sorry, it is the most


comfortable piece of clothing they have ever tried on.


Do you like facts about retail? Well, one high street chain told us


their sales of onesies was up almost 600% compared to last year.


Another said they have sold a onesie a minute, since they were


launched two months ago. Maybe in the current economic environment


people love the idea of wearing a onesie, because it is sort of, yes,


very child-like, almost babyish, you put it on, it is nice and cosy,


there is nothing to worry about, maybe it is like a security blanke.


I think some of our readers probably love a onesie. They are


very warm, comfortable and if you are trying to save on the heating


bills. They don't look great. you think my hip looks odd, look at


the rest of me! Let us now praise famous men, in tights. Role models


like TV's John Noakes have shown us the all-in-one can be as elegant as


practical. Winston Churchill himself banished the mystery of


messy shirt tails, with his customised siren suit. We are not


here to give political advice, if we were, we might be saying to


these fellas, chill out and snuggle down. They are so phenomenally


popular, everybody can wear one, everybody looks equally rubbish in


them, you don't worry what you look like. They are incredibly


comfortable. You could go back ten years ago and people would say they


never would wear tracksuit bottoms, once you do, they are too


comfortable not to wear them. So, enjoy. It is something that people


want, but it takes them a bit of time to get used to it. I guess the


woman from Cosmo hasn't tried one on yet. When you first try them on


it is difficult to take off. The One Nation, on Newsnight? You


are laughing now, I mean that metaphorically, but at least you


are forewarned for when you unwrap one next week! Right, tomorrow


morning's front pages now. The That's it for tonight. $500 million


of space exploration ended in a double crash on the moon about 45


minutes ago. NASA organised for two spacecraft, each about the size of