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