16/01/2013 Newsnight


Analysis of the kidnappings in Algeria; a report on America's relationship with the gun; Sweden's finance minister on fears of the UK leaving the EU; Gavin Esler eats horsemeat.

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Tonight a major kidnap crisis facing the British, French and


Algerian Governments. Islamist militants raid a BP gas plant in


the Algerian desert, and take an estimated 40 people hostage.


safety of those involved and their co-workers is our absolute priority,


and we will work around the clock to resolve this crisis. So, is this


payback for the French intervention in neighbouring Mali? Also tonight,


the land of the free, and the home of the brave, tries one more time


to reform gun laws. But with some school teachers already armed, is


it too late to change the American love affair with the gun? What's


going to happen an armed gun man that breaks into your school?


will be shoot, in the best case scenario. Britain in the EU or on


the edge, David Cameron again promises to bring back powers from


Brussels. On Europe right now, the PM is in a whole world of pain.


Nothing he says on the subject will satisfy everybody, there is a real


danger he will satisfy nobody. We ask one of our closest European


allies, Sweden, what they think of the Cameron strategy. The UK is


part of a dynamic and growing Europe. Normally Sweden and the UK


tend to have the same views on openness, competitiveness and free


trade, for us it is very worrying that the British debate seems to be


sliding, where you almost accidentally might be leaving the


European Union. Now, if you eat lamb, beef, pork


and even a slice of Bambi, why do the British say nay to eating a bit


of horse. We will be tucking in later to see what we are missing.


Good evening, it is every Government's nightmare, a major


kidnapping in a remote location, involving Islamist extremists and


British nationals. The armed raid on a BP gas FA sill ein the all


gatherian desert, near Libya, could have many cause, but what is clear


is British, Norwegian, Japanese lives are at stake. There one


Jihadist leaders said the gates of hell would hope when French


soldiers started to move into Mali. Was today's event the kind of thing


he had had in mind? The scene of this crisis is a


natural gasfield, one of Algeria's largest, deep in The Sahara. A


field run jointly by BP, Statoil of Norway and the Algerian state oil


company. According to Algerian sources the attack began at dawn,


when heavily armed Islamists attacked a bus, carrying engineers


going to the plant. They took a number of hostages at the plant


itself later. Two foreigner, including a British national, are


believed to have been killed, and there are reports that the total


number being held is 41. They include Norwegians, a man from


Northern Ireland, and several Americans. The Algerian army is now


concerneding the plant, and negotiations with the hostage-


takers are continuing. Tonight, the Foreign Secretary, William Hague,


confirmed UK citizens were also being held. This does include a


number of British nationals, this is, therefore, extremely dangerous.


We are in close touch with the Algerian Government, the Algerian


military have deployed to the area. The Prime Minister has spoken to


the Prime Minister of Algeria. gasfield is in the east of Algeria,


close to the sibian border, south of there is a poorly policed and


vast region. A region where a number of westerners have already


been taken hostage by Islamist groups. Now, those groups have


gained more weapons, leftover from the war against Colonel Gaddafi in


northern Libya. In northern Mali, Islamist groups have taken control


of half the country. France intervened last week, when it


feared those groups were moving south towards the capital, Bamako.


France began by sending warplanes to bomb rebel positions in Mali. It


has followed up with ground troops. One rebel group warned that France


had opened the gates of hell by the action. So does today's hostage


taking show what they meant? Several claims of responsibility


from Islamists have been made in phone calls to a news agency in


neighbouring more tainia. According to one -- Moritania, according to


one group they are called The Masked Brigade, and was formed to


take the interests of those countries intervening in Mali. One


call said it was a group headed by a veteran Jihadi fighter, Kian


Mokhtari. He was known as the -- "one-eyed", he was the predecessor


to the Al-Qaeda Maghreb group. He's the leader. Apparently he has


deaffected or maybe spread a little power in Somali. We know the groups


in Mali, the Salafist groups, have links with the groups in Niger.


There is no proof the Al-Qaeda groups are behind the attack today,


many think it is, and the motivation is clear? It is a direct


response to the French intervention in Mali, it is no coincidence it


happened in Algeria. Algeria has long warned against an intervention


in Mali, but over recent weeks it has openly supported the French


intervention. It seems that it is a revenge attack against such a


support. Today in Mali, civilians were


fleeing the combat zone, where francais its infantry will be


fighting within hours, despite the crisis in Algeria. TRANSLATION:


am in constant contact with the Algerian authorities who are doing,


and will do everything that is needed. We are also in contact with


the heads of state and Government of the countries concerned. All


this is not without a connection, as everyone will have understood,


to the operation that we are undertaking. Meanwhile, the EU has


said it will speed up deployment of military trainers, including


summit's expects from Britain, to work with west African forces in


Mali. It is a show of support for France, taken in the face of what


many believe is a growing risk to western security from north and


west Africa. This attack against western interests, and against


western lives in particular, will have huge consequences on the whole


region. The the global war on ter yo, which has focused so much on


countries like Iraq and Afghanistan, is now shifting in Africa. It means


that a new front in the war on terror has now opened in that part


of the world. The operation in Mali is intended to reduce the terrorist


threat to European interests. But as the crisis continues in Algeria,


some think it will do the opposite. For some insight into what might be


behind the attack, the former Foreign Office minister Lord Browne


is here, as is a specialist on North Africa. Does it look pretty


likely that this is Mali-linked? Very plausible. It seems too much


of a coincidence, even the French President in that clip was not


acknowledging there is a connection. So I think even if there is some


sort of opportunistic, randson- seeking component to it, what is


really driving it is an Islamic radicalisation in the region, which


is provoked by the French action, which is why the French were right


to go in. Justifiable to go in, in your view? It was probably the


least bad of poor choices. But there was a real risk that Bamako


itself would fall, that Mali as a country would fall under the


control of these Islamists. So some action of this kind had to be taken.


The consequences will be quite severe. What kind of group are


these people, what do you think they actually want? These people,


first of all, want to publicise their opposition to the French


intervention in Mali. But they probably are also seeking some


benefits for themselves. Possibly some money, as has been mentioned,


but also recognition among their peers. They very often want to


outdo each other, between the various brigades making up Al-Qaeda


in the mabgreb, there is a competition dab Maghreb. The person


who claims to be behind the abduction was repeatedly reported


expelled from Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, he was on bad


terms with the key boss. He wants to reassert his power over his men,


around 200-300 people, and is in the area of The Sahara, he wants to


show through this action that he's he is centre. He's an Algerian? --


He's at the centre. He's Algerian? We shouldn't forget it started in


the Algerian north. This is the 1990s, Islamist groups wanted to


overturn the Algerian Government, they failed in doing so, they were


final low expelled from the Algerian territory in -- finally


expelled from the Algerian territory and they sought refuge in


Mali and they are trying to double up their logistics. This will be a


nightmare for the French and British Governments and other


Governments, how dangerous is it? It is very dangerous, until the


event today I wondered whether or not it might be more dangerous, in


France particularly, I think at the level of Governments, not


necessarily at peoples, but at thes of Governments in west Africa, this


is broadly supported, they are as alarmed as anybody by the rising


tide of radical Islam. I do believe most of the Governments of the


region will rally behind the French. What this is demonstrating is the


limited authority of those Governments over Islamic elements


in their own society. So it will be dangerous in France, it is going to


be dangerous in the region. For the French, the real worry is, how are


they going to get out of it. Always these interventions are easy in,


but very difficult to exit. As the French press have said, part of the


critque. Particular group, are they people willing to -- in terms of


this particular group, are they for the cause, or is there rifely


between the groups and they want to prospur and survive as -- prosper


and survive as they can? Some of the fighters are ready to die. That


is what makes them such a difficult enemy to fight for the French and


Mali armies, because they are really ready to give their lives,


if necessary. The big bosses will try to escape. The other ones


really, the infantry men, they are there to die if necessary. The


leaders are extremely well trained. Some of them started their careers


in Afghanistan in the 1980s, or in Lebanon, fighting the Israelis, and


they fought the Algerian Government in the 1990s, during the war in


Algeria, then over to The Sahara, they were made part of the Twaregs,


we are touching here the crux of the relationship between the


Islamists and Twaregs, who used to be moderate Muslims, who wouldn't


be tempted by this type of venture and extremism, but they are more


open now to the alliance with terrorist groups. In terms of the


hostage situation it could go on for a long time, we had the French


trying to rescue one of their people in Somalia, and it went


wrong, he had been there for years? In this case it won't go on for


years n the sense that the hostages, we know where they are, the


Algerian army is now surrounding them. But it could go on for months.


There has been another example in Algeria in the paths, where I think


that is correct, it -- in the past, where I think it is correct, it did


go on more months. One element to put on the table, so familiar in


the intervention, is the Government on whose behalf you intervene,


whether it was way back when the Americans and French went in for


South Veitnam, or whether it was Afghanistan and the Karzai regime,


or now with the regime in Bamako, it is a weak regime, without much


legitimacy or authority. So, you're pushing on a piece of string. You


are coming in militarily, but you don't have a Government ally


locally able to extend its political authority, and take


advantage of your military intervention.


Thank you very much. After last month's mass murder of


20 children and six adults at a school in Connecticut, it was


inevitable that President Obama would have a go at tackling


America's gun law. Equally inevitable, in a country with the


highest rate of civilian gun ownership on earth, the gun lobby


responded vigorously and personally. The National Rifle Association


asked whether President Obama's children were more important than


other American children because they have armed protection when


they go to school. Today the President said he would do all he


could to prevent a repeat of last month's tragedy. If there is even


one thing we can do to reduce this violence, if there is even one life


that can be saved then we have an obligation to try. I'm going to do


my part. Alan Little is in Dallas Texas which is state where you can


buy a gun if you are a teenager, but not drink until you are 21. The


President says he will do his part, what do we know about the details


about what he wants to do? He's proposed a series of measures,


which taken together, would amount to the most sweeping restrictions


on gun ownership, introduced since Bill Clinton's first term, 20 years


ago. He wants, for example, to introduce universal background


checks, at the moment it is possible to buy a gun in certain


kind of private sales or firearms sales without proving that you are


not a felon, or not qualified to buy. That you are not legally


allowed to buy a gun. He wants to tighten that up. He wants a ban on


military-style assault weapons. Again that was tried by Bill


Clinton, there was a temporary ban, it was hugely unpopular in gun-


owning America. He wants to limit magazines to a maximum of ten


rounds, at the moment, typically, a magazine would hold 20 rounds. He


also wants to introduce higher punishments for those who buy guns


legally, in order to sell them on at a profit to criminal gangs. He


said none of it is possible without congressional action, he's already


calling members of Congress to line up behind the gun control ticket,


without that it won't be possible. Briefly, is it a dead duck the


moment he said it, because he has to have that support s he might not


get it? It is almost impossible to see how he will get Republican


support on the ban of new purchases of assault weapons. Also from the


point of view of those of us who live in countries where gun


ownership is very rare, and gun restrictions are very high, this


looks pretty moderate. It leaves 300 million guns still in


circulation in this country. It doesn't make illegal ownership of


existing assault weapons. Even so, it is likely to meet fierce


resistance from the 47% of adult Americans who currently have guns


in their home. I have been finding What is it that gives the gun so


powerful a hold on the American mind? Why does America persist with


its belief that a largely unregulated supply of weapons is


safe and sane? Why is the idea of gun control so toxic to so many?


Europeans, for the most part think it perverse, baffling. But


Americans are not like Europeans. They are shaped by a different


experience. The gun has polarised this country. One America cries out


in despair for reform and restraint, and that only pushes the other


America to be more French trenchant still in the faith in guns. This is


a journey through this other America, where the second amendment


is almost a sacred text. Here in Chicago, there were more than 500


homicides last year, more than double the number of US combat


deaths in Afghanistan, in this city alone. The state of Illinois has


some of the strictist gun controls in the United States. It is, for


now, the only state in the union, where it is illegal to carry a


concealed weapon outside the home. Get out of the city into rural


Illinois, and you are a world away from the mean streets. Here they


don't like that restriction on concealed carry at all. You are the


reason we still have guns like this and we don't have to register or


turn them into the state police. Guns Save Life, is a group for gun


rights. They are united in the belief that gun ownership make them


safer. This month they have cause for celebration. A federal appeals


court has overturned the Illinois ban on concealed carry. I have


rifles, shotguns, handguns, I'm also a certificated firearms


instructor for shotgun and rifle, I have used that in our Boy Scout


training programmes, and in today's world that right to protect


onesself is still very important to our culture as a whole. If you look


in our cities here, your violent crime, your gun crime is much worse,


but they have the strictist gun laws, people aren't -- strictest


gun laws, people aren't allowed to own firearms, it is illegal in the


city. You go to the rural areas where people have firearms, they


have the right to use them and they know how to use them, crime is very,


very low. Especially violent crime and especially murders.


Today they are learning how to build their own gun at home. It is


an AR-15, one of the most common, publicly available, Assault Rifles


in America. More than two million of them have been sold in the last


ten years. The AR-15 was useded in both the Newtown shootings last


month, and in the Colorado movie theatre shootings last July. If I


can do it, anybody here can do it, I assure you. I have chosen to


teach my son and my wife about firearms and firearm safety,


because they are going to need that skill in life. The world can be a


very dangerous place. If there is a 5% chance that there is going to be


a gun incident used against you, I want my family to be prepared for


that 5%. If it is a 2%, I want them to be prepared for 2%. But it is


about far more than self-defence. From the priories of Illinois in


the Midwest, to the endless parched plains of Texas, owning a gun is an


expression of a certain idea of what it is to be an American. The


idea of an empowered citizenry, self-reliant, independent, free. We


Europeans forget how prominently the idea of the frontier features


in the American imagination, the role it has played in shaping the


American character. There is nothing comparable in the European


experience. The pioneers who pushed west from the eastern sea board,


not that long ago, and tamed all of this, not only built a new nation,


they also forged a radically different kind of citizenship. They


did it in a sense with a copy of the US constitution and the Bill of


Rights in the one hand, and a rifle in the other. You don't have to be


a gun fanatic to see there is an enduring and intimate connection


between the right to bear arms and the liberty of the individual, as


many Americans conceive it. This is not so in Europe, think of all


those British pubs called The King's Arms, that is a mark of how


we think about guns, that they belong properly to the king, the


state or nobody else. That idea, that the state should hold a


monopoly on armed force is profoundly unAmerican.


Whenever the prospect of gun control is back in the news,


Americans flock to the gun stores to stock up. Sales rise


dramatically, as gun owners seek to pre-empt a possible ban. Gun shops


are everywhere. There are four- times as many gun retailers as


there are McDone's restaurants. This is the biggest of the kind in


the country. These guns are all ready to go on the Internet. We do


a big internet business, these are both antique and modern guns.


of these historic pieces date back to the 17th century. They contain a


striking narrative, the story of how American history has been


shaped by the gun. The American Republic owes its very existence to


a revolt in 1776, by armed citizens. They called them Minute Men, they


were people who were individual volunteers who had their own


personal shotguns or rifles used for hunting and so forth, much like


this Kentucky rifle here, this would have been an example of one


of those guns. The Kentucky rifles played an important part in that.


You had individual militias and so forth, formed for the purpose of


protecting themselves against Indians and so forth, as it turns


out, in the ousting of the British from the United States, they had to


arm themselves. Without this fact of an armed citizenry, America


wouldn't have won its incompetence? Absolutely not. I don't think King


George would have been happy to say, take it away. In Europe we seem to


have accepted the idea that only the state, only the authorities


should legitimately use violence? My response to that would be people


in Europe have been kow towed to the point, over a period of years,


that they don't know that they are missing all of these rights that we


have over here. We have had that right for so long, it has become


ingrained in the American spirit and the American culture, if you


want to say that. And it's not something that's easily changed.


you think we are less free than you? I think you are, I think the


Europeans are very much less free than we are.


That fusion of guns and freedom makes gun control politically


explosive. For it turns any restriction on gun ownership into


an attack on liberty theself. An attack on the founding ideal of the


American Republic. It is an equation that turns the state into


the enemy of the people. Has hare rorld, northern Texas, population


is 80. Children from throughout the counties come here. After a series


of shootings elsewhere in America, the education authority here felt


compelled to take matters into their own hand. They decided that


some of the school teachers should carry concealed weapons in the


classroom. No-one knows which teachers are armed or how many, and


no-one asks. Do you feel safer now? Absolutely.


I have two of my own children here, still in school. It making me feel


better, if I ever have to be gone for business or for, or away from


the school building, that they are protected. What will happen to an


armed gun man that breaks into the school? They will be shot,


hopefully, best case scenario. That's the best thing we can hope


for. This America views gun control with profound suspicion, even fear.


It is an America where there is much dark talk of Barack Obama, and


the emerging tyranny of liberal values. In this America, the right


to bear arms is the last defence of the people against an overbearing


and oppressive state. If you hear the rhetoric coming from the White


House, they are talking about mob rule, they love petition, they love


a lot of people signing petition, it shows them that the majority


want this. He even talks about the mandate he has. He has a mandate


from the people to basically do whatever he wants to do. No he


doesn't, he has a mandate to be elected as President, not to


rewrite the constitution. You are genuinely frightened of the


Government, and the dangers implicit for that? Big Government


is responsible for many of the horrors of history. 100 million


Americans have guns at home, 47% of the adult population. How do you


eradicate the danger of that when, in the mind of so many, guns are


synonymous with the basic freedoms on which America is founded. In


case you are hearing strange noises in the studio tonight, that is the


excellent chef, Henry Harris, of the restaurant Racine, preparing


horse meat from us for later. Something that differentiates us


from the friends over the channel. This is another. Two days ahead


from his supposed big speech on Europe, David Cameron set out today


what could be part of the Conservative battle plan at the


next election, he said voters will be able to choose between taking


powers back through the Tories, or Labour handing over powers to


Brussels. Ed Miliband taunted the Prime Minister that he was losing


control of the Conservative Party. In a moment we will hear how it is


seen from one of Britain's strongest allies in Europe, Sweden.


First, when a Conservative group called Fresh Start demanded a


significant repatriation of powers from Brussels, we assess the


politics and the dangers which lie ahead.


Being Prime Minister means you are never short of advice, pushing you


and pulling you in different directions. And, with Mr Cameron's


big speech coming up on Friday on Europe, that is what's on


everyone's minds. His backbenchers, the other party leaders, and, of


course, other countries. They want to know details, what is Mr


Cameron's vision for Europe, and how does he propose to achieve it T


the problem is, nothing he says will satisfy everybody, and there


is a real danger he might not satisfy anyone! Not surprisingly,


the Labour leader, Ed Miliband, in the Commons today, of not keen to


help Mr Cameron out. At a time when there are one million young people


out of work, and we have businesses going to the wall, what is he doing,


he spent six months to create a speech to bring five years of


uncertainty for Britain. When it comes to Europe, it is the same old


Tories, a divided party, and a weak Prime Minister. What we see from


his position, he wants absolutely no change in the relationship


between Britain and Europe, and he doesn't believe the British people


should be given a choice! What do Mr Cameron's backbenchers want to


hear? There is a range of opinion. Some want the UK to have a


referendum before any negotiations begin? I think the referendum needs


to be held this parliament to get the British people to buy into the


idea that we need to negotiate a new relationship. I think that is


the true of the British people. We need to demonstrate it is, so that


when our Prime Minister goes to Brussels, it is not just the leader


of the biggest minority party in the House of Commons saying this,


it is the national leader, who has maybe 80% of the British people


voting in a referendum to say, yes, we want that new relationship, yes


it must be based on trade, and no it shouldn't be common Government


of the kind emerging in Euroland. Mr Cameron is clear that any


referendum would not come until after negotiations. He's not clear


what a "no" vote in that referendum would mean. Does it mean we leave


the EU automatically, some of his backbenchers think that keeping


that unclear is not credible. have suggested to the PM two things,


very briefly, one, whatever commitment he gives, and I


personally, we hope the commitment has to be believable, that is why


we have suggested legislation in the parliament, secondly, a


referendum, we would hope, would have to be credible, and have an


out option on it. Whatever the in option is after renegotiation.


Today, Mr Cameron got another set of ideas from a group of


Conservative MPs called Fresh Start. The pref fis to their document


written by the preface of their document is written by the Foreign


Secretary. They don't want Mr Cameron to start making threats to


the EU. Genuinely what people want to see, and colleagues in


parliament want to see, is a real effort to renegotiate a better deal


for Britain. So that we don't want to want to wall -- fall out with


the rest of the EU or stand alone among 27 states, we want a better


deal for Britain, that works for the EU, and give them what they


want to see, which is greater fiscal union for European countries.


To see how poisonous the politics are for David Cameron, let's skip


forward to the end of the negotiations with European partners.


Assuming they are successful and Mr Cameron gets a deal, he comes back


and gets a referendum. He's oblige, of course, to campaign for a "yes"


vote, what does his party do? Some euro-sceptics are likely to be


unsatisfied, they will push for a "no" vote, and there are those who


want out of the EU all together, and they will campaign for a "no"


vote, what Mr Cameron will do is have a Europe referendum where he


has engineered his party to be split, and the unofficial


Conservative position is the polls are right on the wrong side of


public opinion. One of the things the public are most concerned with,


indeed, one of the reasons behind the rise of UKIP is EU migration,


that is unlikely to be touched on in any of the future negotiations.


You can do some things to that, to, for example, make it harder for EU


migrants to come here and claim benefits. But to strike down on the


entire area would be a fundamental rewriting of the treaties, this is


one of the founding principles of the EU. I don't think the Tories


can and should go there, but they can try to manage it a bit better.


Mr Cameron's big speech in the mether lands on Friday, has even


come to the attention of Taiwan's animators, you don't need to speak


the language to work out how difficult they think his position


is. Sweden, like Britain, is in the European Union, but outside the


eurozone. Sweden, like Britain, has seen a growth of the Euro-


scepticism, and Sweden, like Britain has a centre-right-led


Government. How did they view what is going on within the Conservative


Party? I caught up with Sweden's Finance Minister, who is on a visit


to London. Minister, I just wondered how you


view the prospect that Britain could actually end up leaving the


European Union? For Sweden it is a very worrying prospect. We need the


UK at the heart of the European co- operation. The UK is part of a


dynamic and growing Europe, and normally Sweden and the UK tend to


have the same views on openness, competitiveness and free trade. For


us it is very worrying that the British debate seems to be sliding,


where you almost accidentally might be leaving the European Union.


that what you worry about, not that it is a deliberate act, but it may


go that way by accident almost? Politically processes are very


difficult to control. For us, the UK is a score ally, and also, I


think, from a Swedish-British perspective, London is the


financial centre of Europe, if the UK is sliding out of Europe, I


can't really see how London can play such a crucial role as it do


both for the UK and Sweden and the rest of Europe. Do you worry about


the uncertainty, it is a very uncertain time for British business,


who certainly complain they want to know what is going to happen?


think that is a clear problem. When I meet the Swedish internationals,


nobody is talking about the European Union issue for the UK,


only three to six months ago, today it is an issue that is brought up


in my conversation, where they are asking me what will happen, and


can't they leave, are they really seriously considering this. I think


that uncertainty is quite problematic for Britain. However,


Sweden has the own problems with the European Union sometimes, there


are some things that you don't like. I wondered, as a very good friend


of this country, what you feel might be practical or possible in


terms of can you go back over the past, and renegotiate certain


things. Can you say policing policy, criminal justice, perhaps some


things with paying benefits to migrant that is come here, that


those things are possible to renegotiate? We have to listen to


what the British Government is saying here, and fundamentally we


are supportive of a solution that would make it possible for the UK


to stay in the union. But this is a negotiation between the 27 member


states, so I think one should be realistic of the difficulty we are


facing here. As you know the US State Department has suggested that


the real role for Britain has to be as a strong player in the EU as you


want, and as David Cameron says he wants. They also suggest that even


the process of a referendum can lead to countries turning inward.


You had a referendum on the euro, do you feel that is what happens,


your country turned inward, we may turn inward if we have a


referendum? Referendums tend to be very close to a 50-50 score between


the voters. Obviously accidents can happen in a referendum campaign,


and so, therefore, there is an uncertainty here. For us, who are


close to Britain, who are reliant on the British voice to be at the


table when we are talking about openness and competitiveness, this


is an uncertainty that is worrying for us. Just a final point, the


biggest picture within Europe, really, it is not just the British


who have certain reservations about Europe, there is a degree of


uncertainty all across Europe, about what kind of Europe we are


going to be living in five years time. I wondered what your thoughts


are? You made it absolutely clear you wanted Europe of a 27, but we


will have a multi-speed Europe, and we already have, in a way?


deeply worried that some of the voices in the Franco-German debate


are indicating they want a fully fledged fiscal and banking union.


There are very few citizens supporting that, that would divide


Europe between one area and the rest. I strongly believe in the


European Union as a world function -- well-functioning 27 member-state.


That is why you want Britain at your side? Most definitely, for us


it is a key point that Britain stays in Europe, it is a strong


voice, on the same side as us when it comes to flexibility, dynamics


and openness. Thank you very much minister.


News that horse meat has been found in burgers on sale in British


supermarkets of on the front page of some newspapers today. But not


everyone was alarmed, on Twitter, some vegetarians pondered why meat


eaters are prepared to eat cows and sheep, even occasionally deer and


rabbit, but go into deep shock taking a bite out of a pony. Beyond


the mislabelling of horses beef, is it British to not want to dine on


some animals, while happily chewing on others. I have never eaten horse


before, Henry Harris is chef and owner of the restaurant Racine.


He's preparing a bit of beef and horse for us. They look similar,


are they easy to cook? They are, the horse, darker, cooks the same


way as a beef steak. You will cook up as Steve Smith serves up a bit


of an advertiser for us. ( Black Beauty Music) I don't know


about you, but I like my burgers measured in pounds, not hands.


That is why we have come here to Lingfield Park, where they


appreciate horse flesh in the old fashioned way. We found grown men


so distraught over horse burgers that they were weeping into their


betting slips. I won't lie, there were a lot of long faces. I think


when you are a child, to see a horse or a donkey or anything, you


always seem to, from being a child, always want to ride them. Is that


true for you? It was for me, yes. The first thing I ever rode was a


donkey on Blackpool sands when I was a kid. Did you place? No it


wasn't a raise. What do you think about the British attitude to


horses? We are rather fond of them, aren't we? Yeah, I don't want them


in my hamburgers. What are the odds on finding a bookie from Tasmania,


who has sampled exotic sweet meats? It is like kangaroo in Australia,


if you like a wallabee, it is tasty for those who want that. What does


that taste like? It has a different twaes, I wouldn't say it is --


Taste, I wouldn't say it is a sweet taste, but you have to be switched


on to like and appreciate it. British love their horse, William


Shakespeare attributed to Richard 3, the battle of 1885, "my horse, my


horse, my kingdom for a horse", you have Black Beauty right up to Dick


Turpin. Horses have been revered throughout the centuries, we had


the plough horse pulling the plouings, there is an affection for


horse, and no eating of horses. Hang on a minute. Horse meat is


rapidly becoming part of Britain's diet. There was a moment in our


history, a folk memory we have all but suppressed. It is estimated


three-quarters of the horse meat sold goes to the restaurants.


Decent men and women tied on the nose bag for rare horse because of


shortages and rationing after the war. How does it sound so far Ed?


Pretty sad. Ever since Mr Ed and other four-legged friends got their


own shows, few of us could bring ourselves to look a horse steak in


the eye. Back at Lingfield Park, I'm not


saying it is getting foggy, but the starter is using flares. What do


you eat before a race? Well, she's carrying nine stone seven, and I'm


claiming seven, I could eat whatever I wanted today. That is


brilliant. You have had lots of cake? Plenty of Wheetabix.


wouldn't have a horse burger? Nothing like that. If I were to


take you to a fast food outlet and offer you on the BBC a horse burger,


or part there of, what would you say? I would be absolutely appalled,


and so would anybody in this country. The thought of us going in


and having a horse meat burger on BBC hospitality, surely it would


never stoop to that level. We will soon find out. Henry has been


cooking up the horse and beef, and with us is the food critic Rose


Prince. The first thing to say is getting hold of this was very


difficult. We were able to get in London very easily, zebra, insects,


all kinds of things you can eat, but getting that is tricky. Does it


surprise you? No, not at all. Most people, there is this misconception


that we shouldn't be eating horse. I think there is the whole pet


conotations, and companionship hors give people that puts them off. You


go to the continent, Italy are the largest consumers of horse meat,


they don't have the same connection and they appreciate it for more its


cullinary rather than companion qualities. While you are letting it


settle for a second, I will bring you in. Exotic meats provided the


meat for us, it was tricky to get it. The core of this particular


story is about mislabelling, if you go into buy beef you don't want


horse in it? Nobody should adult ate beef, if you buy beef it should


be beef. This is a terrible story about the food industry, I hope


somebody gets to the bottom of it and sorts it out. It appears to


have gone on for some time. have eaten horse before? I have,


only once in the UK. I went to dinner with somebody in the West


Country. They produced horse, they did warn us. They claimed they had


been buying it regularly from Market Street holder on the street


corner who kept it under the counter. It is not illegal? For the


reasons Henry has given, people find it unacceptable. The taboos


given in the and what Henry has said are true. We are very spoilt,


we can choose what we eat. When you look back to war time and to when


the French started to eat horse when the revolution started. The


arris crates had it first. They ate it out of need. It is one of those


meats that falls into the catagories sometimes. It had


supposedly health-giving properties, it is supposed to be low in fat?


Dismissing it is in conflict that we are always looking for healthy


meats these days. Horse meat has very little fat in it. As you can


see by locking at it. I don't know if you want to have a try? I don't


know if my family would forgive me. You will have some? Maybe I should


pour some wine. To be honest I would rather have the horse meat


than the BBC wine. That is another story! There we go. What wine


actually goes with this Henry, do you think? Because it is so rich in


iron, you want something that is sun baked, a good southern French


Rhone would be a good companion for it. I'm not sure it fits into that


category. I have forgotten which one is which? The darker red one is


the horse meat. I'll have a Government That is the interesting


thing, how this got into burgers is it would actually improve the


assurance of a burger, adding it to the meat. You would certainly make


it look leaner, you would make it look like you were getting more.


is excellent, it tastes like the best steak, it isn't very faty. I


take it nobody comes into your restaurant, a great French


restaurant, do you have any horse? Occasionally people ask for it, but


the logistics of buying a decent quantity from France, importing it


to sell to one person and having kilos left, it doesn't make sense.


Will we ever change our habits, we love horses, wonderful animals, we


love horse racing, we won't go down the French route whatever. It is


unlikely, in the same way in France it is rarer and rarer to find T if


you Google horse butchers, there used to be one hundreds and


hundreds, now there is one or two, it is disappearing, because


people's tastes change. You don't think it will change in Britain? We


eat zebra, apparently? I think it is something, it falls into a


category of foods which will always be taboo, because of our


relationships with hors being so strong. We quite enjoy knocking the


French. They eat disgusting things like terrible things like snails


and frogs legs. It belongs in those catagories of what the


unsophisticated people do and we don't. I will continue to be


unsophisticated. That is it for Newsnight. We will see which of the


team surrounding us can be tempted by a bit of horse. We will be back


by a bit of horse. We will be back again tomorrow. Good night Hello


there, another cold evening, cold night, widespread frost, central


eastern areas. Dense fog in the east of England. Further west


patchy rain and snow over the Welsh mountains. That split will continue


through the day. Brightness through northern parts of England, once the


low cloud and mist has broken up. A few patches around the vale of York,


Lyndonshire and towards East Anglia. Most of central England will be dry


and bright. Thicker cloud could produce light snow, nothing to


concern us at this stage. Further south and west, greyer skies,


strengthening breeze, bringing patchy rain. Slight snow over the


moors, across the Welsh mountains, starting to feel increasingly cold


as the wind picks up. As is the case in Northern Ireland, we will


see more in the case of rain and drizzle through the day. Away from


the far west, dry and bright, with sunny spells around. Some freezing


throughout. The south-easterly wind continues to strengthen,


interacting with the rain band. Snow developing over the hills here.


Around the coast of south-west England and Walesment for the


morning rush hour on Friday, western England and Wales, there


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