29/01/2013 Newsnight


How long will British troops be in Mali? Plus new childcare benefits, plastic pollution and award-winning novelist Hilary Mantel. With Kirsty Wark.

Similar Content

Browse content similar to 29/01/2013. Check below for episodes and series from the same categories and more!



This programme contains repetitive images from the start.


Britain deploys troops to west Africa, more than 300 to train and


shore up the military, not to fight. Are we going to get dragged into


someone else's war. After French paratroopers helped secure Timbuktu,


David Cameron heads for Nigeria, to meet their Prime Minister. What


will our role be, and for how long? We're in Mali.


Anti-semetic, anti-Israeli, or just anti-Netanyahu. After Rupert


Murdoch apologises for Gerald Scarfe'S grotesque cartoon in the


Sunday time, we have our panel to discuss whether or not it is anti-


Semitic. Plastic pollution is killing wildlife across the world,


it causes hormonal changes to life in the oceans, what is it doing to


us humans. The plastic particles are sponges for other contaminants,


they absorb the materials and become toxic. The Government


finally unveils its changes to childcare, in weeks where we see


financial help given to millionaires and struggling mothers


alike, we consider universalism in the age of austerity. Why shouldn't


it go to someone like me, I have paid my tax, I'm not earning now, I


should be entitled to something back from the Government. Even


though your husband earns well? Even if my husband earns well.


There is no stopping Hilary Mantel, tonight she's added the Costa price


to her two man bookers, for her portrayal of Thomas Cromwell.


We will hear from her -- ol letter Cromwell. We will hear from her


shortly. -- Oliver Cromwell. We will hear


from her shortly. Good evening, when the Defence


Secretary announced today that approximately 330 British troops


are being sent to west Africa, to support the French mission against


Islamist rebels in Mali, 40 military advisers to Mali itself,


and others to train in nearby countries and others made up of


support personnel, Philip Hammond assured MPs the soldiers wouldn't


have a combat role. They are very clear about the risks of mission


creep. According it a previous incumbent in the job, Malcolm


Rifkind, there was the risk of years of asymmetrical conflict


without solution. In a moment we will go live to the


Malian capital, first, here is our diplomatic editor, Mark Urban.


So, with French intervention in Mali just weeks old, Britain has


joined the fray. Hundreds of troops are to be sent on what the


Government insists is not a combat mission. It is not our intention to


deploy combat troops, we are very clear about the risks of mission


creep, and we have defined very carefully the support that we are


willing and able to provide to the French and the Malian authorities.


He had been responding to fears that the Helmand mission too had


started with hopes that not a shot would be fired. We need greater


clarity, Mr Speaker, on the exact role of our British troops. The


Government has said that they are not going to be placed in a combat


role, but there are a host of grey areas between combat roles and


support roles. Given America's reluctance to lead,


at the moment, this type intervention could become the norm.


Western countries have very few forces to spare, and even France,


with a few thousand in Mali, has talked with cutting back soon.


So, increasingly, the emphasis will be on training up African troops to


do the job. Britain already has 160 or so


troops in East Africa, centered on Kenia. They have helped train


African contingents in Somalia, which is now regarded as something


of a model for future operations. There is an enduring commitment of


about 50 in Sierra Leone, and a small team in South Africa too.


Today's announcement of 40 trainers to Mali, and 200 to other parts of


west Africa, follows the deployment of 60 RAF personnel to Senegal, to


support a Sentinel surveillance plane, and 20 to Bamako to assist


with airlifting operations. The shift signalled eight days ago is


becoming real. More than ever this evolving threat demands an


international response. It must be one that is tough, intelligent,


patient and based on strong international partnerships. First,


we should be clear that this murderous violence requires a


strong security response. We must be realistic and hard-headed about


the threats that we face. Our role is to support the Governments of


combat this menace, as many are doing at a high cost.


Contingents from several west African countries, co-ordinated by


will be several thousand in all. But whether that will be enough,


and how effective they might be, are open to question. The force is


is going to have to be supported and backed by that country. Whether


Nigeria can afford to send many It already has troops deployed, or


committed to Somalia and Sudan, and is currently fighting two counter


insurgency campaigns at home. France's assault on Timbuktu


Airport, and taking of the town, has scattered the opposition. It


may also have been enough to create and the more numerous Tuareg


seperatists who play host to them. had now split from the Al-Qaeda


militants. So far so good, then, for the


French intervention. In the longer term, it could get more complicated,


though. The Malian army that collapsed a few month ago, had,


afterall, been trained by foreign advisers. And the British found


several years back in Sierra Leone, that one of their advicey teams got


kidnapped, and they had -- advisory to rescue them, taking many lives


in the process. The aid promised by success.


operating across the country, it business. But given the cuts to


forces, their existing commitments, and public anxiety about entering


another shooting war, the recent that outside powers are prepared to


do. What's the reaction there to the news of the deployment in


Bamako? Well, I talked to the Malian military spokesman this


evening. He said the news of the British involvement was very


welcome. For most ordinary Malians on the streets, they are much more


aware at the moment, at least. French inter, and the support of


other west African -- French troops, the to get the north fully under


control. We shouldn't look past the idea of guerrilla war going too far.


The speed of the French advance shows there is a comparatively


small number, it appears, of hardened Jihadi fighters. They


don't have that much support among the general population. And the


tactical alliance that they formed last year with ethnic Tuareg


seperatists, now appears to be seperatists, want, if that is still


possible, a negotiated route to awe Monday me. While everybody was


really shock -- autonomy. While everybody was really shocked last


year by the speed that the Islamists took the north. That was


partly due to the Malian army being in disarray following the coup last


year. Maybe those Islamists overreached themselves by moving


south as they did at the beginning of this year, and therefore,


provoking the French intervention. As we heard in the film one of the


Tuareg leaders said they are indeed breaking away. Joining me is John


Deverell, former director of defence and diplomacy at theed MoD,


crisis resolution, and assisted several African Governments on


a former Colonel and assistant to Sierra Leone crisis, in his first


British interview. First of all, do you think, of us going in a


possibility of mission creep. My own view is this could happen. It


is possible, but very unlikely. I think we will see in the


experiences of the last few years. Clearly there are risks in terms of


Whilst we are only there in a training capacity, there will be a


need to potentially defend ourselves. Because exactly as what


there could be a kidnap, or, indeed, British training forces could be


operations like this, unless we are prepared to deal with the risks,


which are themselves a measure of our sincerity in taking on the


operation in the first place. the point about mission creep, what


is your view? What Malcolm Rifkind said, is without a political


In Sierra Leone, funnily enough, it is a similarity here, we were


focused, from the beginning, for role to play in bolstering up the


local forces, and it was very much tied into a regional view of the


situation, and a political solution. In Mali, at the moment, I think


that is going to be the focus. Our force, from what I see, seems to be


very much designed on the medium- term state, the training, much of


which won't happen in Mali. Part of an EU training mission, and then


the various assets, intelligence assets, which are really going to


Mali, to be able to capitalise on to go hear the report on the Tuareg


political -- heartening to hear the It may be in terms of a future


solution to Mali, something on the political side working well to do


it. As was said, there is a possibility the trainers could be


targeted. You have been in a position where there had to be a


complete change of gear in Sierra Leone, that is very much possible.


countries but in Mali itself, where that is true. We have a small force


Mali, the French are in the lead what they are intending to do, and


political discussions. I think the important post-9/11, the Jihadist


dealing with there. We were dealing with something that was a potential


failed state. Earlier on today about failed states being a much


That issue about Mali, the Government not being entirely


needing to be shored up repeatedly, having problems in the north. It


could be as David Cameron has said and said again on his way to


Algeria, before he goes to Algeria, this is a generational move. A


generational move doesn't sound like two or three years? You have


an interesting paradox, on the one operation this involves, on the


Leone is indicative, as other places have been, in the dangers of


taking our attention away from somewhere, because we think the


to take a wide view, the classic case of the needor burden-sharing.


As Mark has said we have limited numbers, if more were needed, how


resources, certainly in the short- term, which is why nations need to


support each other in this venture. British might be called on to give


difficult situation very quickly our specialist advice, our training


and our intelligence assets can be exactly the right level, which


gives support without getting us tied into a long haul ourselves.


A cartoon in the Sunday Times, by one of Britain's most famous and


depicting the Israely Prime Minister building a blood red wall


called a furore. The caption read "let the peace continue", the board


of British Jews reported the picture, saying it is reminiscent


of the pictures found in the anti- semetic press. Rupert Murdoch


described the cartoon as grow tes international Holocaust day. He


says he has never been anti-Semitic. The controversy has stirred up


different sentiments in different parts of the Jewish community, not


all agree it is anti-Semitic. One Jewish newspaper described it as


grossly unfashion but not anti- Semitic. Firs I'm joined by the --


first I'm joined by my guests. When you opened the paper on Sunday and


saw the cartoon, what was your first reaction? I just saw a


cartoon. This was one fair, this was offensive on Holocaust Memorial


but it is political comment. One might argue it is bourne out of a


us depict Israel and understand Israel in this way. As comment I


didn't see it as anti-semetic, there was no big noses, or none of


that Nazi imagery found in anti- Semitic cartoons. You would defend


the right of the artist to be hard- hitting what about the timing?


is very unfortunate. It takes me back ten years to a cartoon of Dave


Brown, of Arial Sharon eating a baby. That appeared on Holocaust


similar stir. timing and he's not anti-Semitic,


and he didn't think it was? I know any are anti-Semitic. Do you think


there is a particular issue. I mean, tell me about the blood libel, the


idea that there is blood cementing the bricks in the wall. A lot of


is? It is this 19th century notion that Jews would eat the blod of


children. It goes back to 1144. Christian children to use their


is the problem with visual imagery, I think it is the blood that has


that mean, in essence, that you deibgt -- blood in any cartoon


That is a taboo? It is a bit of a taboo. This whole subject, religion


is an emotional minefield, as the to it as. You have to tread very


carefully. If you think that this cartoon is simply a political


cartoon. Is it always legitimate, do you think, to attack a political,


Netanyahu was democratically elected, if people don't think he's


doing a good job, he's always a legitimate target? It depends on


how you attack him, the last time was political comment and not anti-


of different Israeli flags if your recalled, and in the cartoon --


furlled and in the cartoon they turned into missiles with the Star


of David on them and he's depicted as a puppetmaster? That made no


sense without anti-semitism, the notion of Israel as a puppetmaster.


I hope the ambassador you will have on in a minute will forgive me,


Israel is crass in its diplomacy, rather than Israeli. Is the whole


lot to vilify the Jews. Is that a bit of history a lot of people


don't know or don't care about. Do we have to, as it were, get past


that? It wasn't only the Nazi, if you look at mainstream press after


the wa, especially in Australia, you get grotesque, Jewish


stereotypes, hook-nosed, wealthy Jewish bankers, week after week


after week, in the national press. It is nothing compared to the sort


of imagery we have seen here. Steve Bell made the point on the


radio this morning, he said that Mr batted an eyelid. Which was a very,


he was right, but it was a very thought to have killed, what,


60,000 people in the last year, or been poncable for their deaths, in


the last incursion to Gaza 158 Netanyahu are considered to be


similar figure, without comment. I would like to turn to the


ambassador to the UK, Daniel Taub. Clearly Hugo and Tim have a


different view to you. Why are they wrong, and you believe it is an ity


Semitic cartoon? I'm not sure if that is the main question here.


Board of Deputies of British Jews said clearly that was what they


believed? In a statement I put out on this, I did point out I thought


this cartoon, which clearly echos images that have been used to


from medieval times. It is not that demonise Jews but in Nazi times


atmosphere that led to these disasters, these are images that


have led to vicious murder and genocide, even. I think that coming


from Israel, there is another cause for concern. Unfortunately, images


like this are all too familiar to anyone from the Middle East,


because we see them general low in the most extreme elements of --


generally in the most extreme elements of the Arab press, where


they are used to incite hatred, as part of a culture, including in


suicide bombers. That is the background you say in


the Middle East, but of course that of the concerns we are seeing is


Murdoch, but the editor of the paper today he actually apologised


unreservedly and said it was have heard said that there aren't


other cartoons. The blood, are you not allowed to have blood? With


complexity, but the notion of a Jew withed blood, is something, which I


aware of. There is another question. semitism question isn't the real


fair and acceptable comment? My feelings as an Israeli is clearly


it isn't. The wall here is a to build. The decision to construct


-- Israeli wanted to build. The decision to construct the barrier


was taken after a month where there small parts a wall, and it is


would agree but and many would not. Because Binyamin Netanyahu is a


very grown-up politician, he has times. Surely it is legitimate, as


idea of the construction of the Netanyahu's, it was actually the


previous Government. The notion have been referred to has anything


to the -- misleading, far from a were a resuscitation of the Israeli


potentially deliberately misleading. Is there a danger that by the


reaction to this, a perfectly legitimate reaction, that there is


a danger of shutting down argument? Anybody who has spent more than


five minutes in Israel will not be afraid we are shutting down


argument. We have lively debate and cartoons, but I don't think that


respecting lively debate means that barred. I think everybody in


newspapers concerned, and credit to the Sunday Times for apologising


for this terrible mistake. You know, when historic and current


sensitivities have to be respected. Later in the programme, we will be


speaking to Hilary Mantel who has just won the Costa prize. First,


you may have seen dramatic images of plastic debris left over from


miles from where people leave. We know the stuff we can see. It can


affect wildlife, seals around our coastline, to the albatross living


in the ark pel geo. What are the plastic we can't see, tiny


particles on other creatures and on Albatross spend most of their time


at sea. Only venturing on land to raise their young.


These legendary birds populate the Hawaiian islands of the north


Plastic washed into the oceans from people living thousands of miles


away is killing them. We can see with our own eyes the affect that


having an impact that is much more far reaching. A tome from the BBC's


natural history unit, filmed here broadcast next year. They found


turtles nesting in amongst plastic bottles, cigarette lighters and


toys. And they found dead and dying birds. Albatross parents,


unwittingly killing their young by feeding their chicks plastic,


carried in as they forage for food in the sea. Some chicks die when


sharp plastic punctures their bodies, others from star vague, as


their stomachs fill with plastic they can't digest. You saw


Yeah, what we found is every day we would be filming and there would be


more and more carcasses on the beach. We can't tell ourselves what


it was that killed them, what we do know from American scientists is


they have autopsyed many of these birds, and they have found plastic


in every single stomach of the dead bird. Ellen was part of the crew


These are examples of the kinds of things found on the island.


tops, the arm of a child's doll. She showed us some of the items


scientists have found in albatross stomachs. There is this really


jagged bit of plas he can. There is lots of different -- plastic. There


is lots of different plastics from lots of different origins. Some of


the plastic is illegally tipped at sea or litter from fishing, most


machines. But how does it get here? Floating debris and plastic is


carried to the Hawaiian archipelago, by systems and winds. It sits in


the north tropical high, made up of It is one of five giantic


interconnected systems of ocean currents, each spiralling around a


central point, drawing material inwards, which carries the plastic


to Hawaii. These spirals can eject material out towards the Arctic and


Antarctic, spreading material across the globe over time. It is


in the Pacific will occur in the Atlantic. Just how far does the


problem of plastic in the ocean see if it can be found in the


coastal waters of Britain. Simon Vauxhall from the National


net through the water, the water but all the particles and the


plankton are trapped within the net. They eventually come into this


bottle at the end. minutes, and it will allow us to


filter through around 400 tonnes of water.


There has been a lot of research in the United States looking at how


the plastic gets into the food chain. Certainly it is shown it


gets into the valves, the mussels and the oysters in the seabed, they


it. As we are filtering the water. They concentrate the plastics, it


has been effect. It turns some of them into hem MAFF free indicts, we


don't know -- hermafphrodites, and chain these plastics go. The idea


that these plastics can cause disturbing sex changes might sound


bad enough. Another worrying affect is beginning to emerge. That is the


filtration of just under 400 tonnes of water. We can see a few feathers


to the lab and have a look under the microscope to see exactly what


we have got. We can't see chunks of plastic debris like the pieces the


team saw in Hawaii. It is tiny we are looking for. This is where


You can see in there we have some plankton, we have some sea plankton,


they are the animals and the plants. You can see the cell particles, you


can see distinctively the plastic particles. With the sharper edges?


Yeah. You can see down here there is zoo plankton tucked in amongst


all the rubbish, the soil and so on. You can see heads and tails. We


know big plastic has an affect on wildlife, whether plastic bags or


bottles. Eventually it breaks down mechanically to smaller and smaller


particles. The question is does have an impact? A few years it was


assumed it was like roughage and didn't have a major impact. We know


those very small plastic particles can mimic certain things like


oestrogen, we know that has been impact. But also, these plastic


particles are like spoings, they are like -- sponges, like magnets


for other things, they absorb the material, and effectively they


become quite toxic particles. creatures in some parts of the


world. But there is new evidence about our own food chain. I went to


Plymouth to find out more. At the marine biology and ecology


centre of Plymouth University, they study the impact of pollutants on


our oceans and rivers, and the creatures that live in them.


Marine scientist, Richard Thomson, was the first to describe the tiny


fragments of broken plastics as microplastics, back in 2004. There


is two concerns from a tok logical point of view. There is the the


issue of absorbing chemicals from sea water, and the second question


is about chemicals introduced into plastics from the time of


manufacture, in order to achieve specific qualities of the plastic,


its flexibility, as flame retardant, or microals. Is it when we don't


have plastics as whole eye tomes but small particles, is -- items,


but small particles, will chemicals be released then. We don't know the


discovering, as in Hawaii, plastic is making its way into creatures in


the wild. He look at fish in the English Channel, 500 or so across


ten species, including mackerel and whiting. He found it, in small


quantities, one or two particles per fish. It shows microplastics


are widespread in the environment, not just in beaches, but the


creatures that live in some of those environments. The next steps


are to take information like that, from fish and other crewures, to


understand, OK -- creatures, to understand OK, what are the


concentrations, what is the plastic varying from species to species. In


order to understand which particular combinations might


the potential for the microplastics anything being done to cut back on


largist cosmetic manufacturers, Unilever, said this month it will


stop using plastic microbads, it adds to shower shells and other


products. Should the plastic industry do something? We are


unhappy the plastics are in the ocean, we don't illegal leave it


there and dump it in the sea. We need it back, first and foremost


for recycling, but it is also a valuable form of heat and power.


We know the plastic we can see is affecting wildlife in place like


Hawaii, in front of our eyes. We know tiny fragments are being found


all over the world, we know it is causing disturbing sex changes in


some creatures. Its vital now more work is being done to find out


the wild, and what that means potentially for all of us.


The Government has finally announced plans to align our


childcare with some of our European partner, bringing the number


children looked after from four to five and six, depending on their


which the Government will soon answer, is whether funding to pay


for childcare will go to everyone, regardless of income, or targeted


to need. This is a big ideolgical debate between universalism and


means-tested awards. Bringing the magic of averages to


the rescue of millions. One Winston *Beveridge rej did it. A system of


insurance, marked out by one thing, oversized safety net, for the rich


as well as more the rest. Because it announced something for


everyone, when the Beveridge report was published here, in 1942, there


were queues up and down the block. Soon when the coalition published


their new childcare policy, it would be principles that are


familiar, they would go for a tax same. If the system is to continue


to work, does it need to have a little something for everybody.


benefits universal. As things stand, with childcare to the tune of


�1,000 per family. This is what the minister in charge had to say this


morning. We want to help working families,


we know what a massive issue it is for people. All families, there is


some debate about whether the better off should? All familiar


lose who go into work, we want to help with their childcare --


families who go into work, we want to help with their children's


childcare. For mums like Ruth, you would have thought it would be


welcome, and if it came to pass a welcome U-turn. In 2010 the


coalition had signalled something time of scarcity there will be an


end to policies for the rich as well as the less well off. Child


benefit would be means-tested, she thinks that they made an error, her


husband earns many times the average Sally. I have paid into the


system and work -- Salary. I have I get it. I have worked hard to pay


my tax, I'm not earning now, I back from the Government. Even if


who get the extra benefits, they get free council flat, and money


towards milk for children. I have twins, I'm going through two tubs


of milk, a week, which costs a lot of money. Sources in Government say


their new universal policy should reward women to stay in work. It is


good for gender equality, they say, and living standards. But they will


have their critics. On childcare I think they are making a terrible


mistake, they are bending over backwards to give a tax break to


people, so long as they pay someone want to support their own children,


and perhaps share the work and share the caring. Newsnight


policy chief, is currently trying to iron out a rather serious


wrinkle in their possible childcare offer. Right now the rich do stand


to gain from any possible tax relief. Elsewhere, lower down


system, the less well off stand to lose out. This is because of


changes to tax credits, changes, and indeed cuts to other benefits,


and the bringing in of the Universal Credit. Unless there is


serious action, David Cameron might preside over a rather funny find of


universalism, where the rich benefit and other people lower down


get left behind. This is what they are worried about.


Currently a middle become family with two children in childcare


stand to make no more money, if the second earner ups their hours from


ten to Thierry hours. My sources in not worth it, I have to pay the and


food, it is so expensive now, if the Government are willing to pay


think people would be more willing to go back to work.


As the result of much study into questions of social security...Many


Thought Beveridge's baby, universalism, would be out with the


bath water of benefit cuts, a policy for plenty, not many.


Winter fuel, TV licenses, and other benefits vulnerable. In an era of


fiscal restraint, choices have to be made about where universal is


more or less important, where to proceed and where to advance.


Universalism is most important where it is imbodied in shared


services, people coming together meeting people from different


backgrounds and making a common bond with each other, like in the


NHS. It is more like a cash transaction between bank accounts.


North of the border in Scotland, the Labour leader says universalism


universal is important for the less well off as well as for the better.


One of the key things, when than it does to the people who are


better off. You get this extraordinary thing that people who


You get some of the nonsense stories, like free bus passes


leading to millionaires taking the buses. I haven't all that many


The case for universalism is made, so important, that universal


provision is what is require. Prime Minister agrees with him.


Hilary Mantel has won this year's Costa prize for Bring Up The Bodies,


her second installment of the trilogy about Thomas Cromwell,


which began with Wolf Hall, both giving her a lot of booker win. She


says she is flying through the air. I spoke to Hillary from a noisy


awards ceremony earlier. I asked her reaction to winning the scam


booker and the Costa prize in the same year? I'm astonished, I'm


gratified. It is almost too much to take in. I laboured away for so


many years in apparent obscurity, couple of years. It is all down to


your historical novels have a modern sensibility? I don't think I


of the reasons he was such an unusual man, I made such -- and


made such an impact on English history, is he was, in many ways,


ahead of his time. I have not tried to force contemporary parallels f


the reader wants to draw them, that - Hillary, I know you like to work


trilogy. Any clues, we know the broad story, how will you portray


Thomas Cromwell? Cromwell has four more years to rise in the world.


Until he is Earl of Essex, and in command of most of the great


offices of state and the business of England. Life is dangerous,


every day is a crisis, there is no down time. He's a tougher, harder


man. His fall from grace will come very suddenly, in the summer of 540,


as the reader well knows he will go to the scaffold, leaving his master,


Henry VII, very soon -- Henry Viii you find so joyful about writing?


don't know if it is a joyful experience all of the time or most


of the time. It is an endlessly experience. I never claimed that it


makes you happy. It leaves you a lot of the time in a state of


jittery vulnerability. But sometimes, just occasionally, once


or twice in a writing life, you have the feeling that you are


saying what you meant. Finally, are you heading for a Booker hat trick


with The Mirror And The Light? Fortunate light for my stability I


don't have to think about that for morning's front pages. Hillary is


Apology for the loss of subtitles for 42 seconds


That's all from us tomorrow. More from us tomorrow night, a very good


from us tomorrow night, a very good night.


Stormy wind in northern Scotland overnight. Rising rifle river


levels in the south west, the rain -- rising river levels in the south


west. Welcome sunshine in the west, some thundery. The heavier showers


are pushing into northern England. Especially the North West, possibly


arriving into the north Midland as well. We will see showers for a


while across the south Midlands and southern England. During the


afternoon those will tend to fade away. We should get more sunshine,


a brighter day than it was today. Windy, gusty winds here, it won't


feel as mild as it did today, when we saw temperatures of 14 degrees


widely. Gusty wind across Wales, and across northern England,


blustery winds in Northern Ireland. Most of the showers here probably


in the morning, brighter during the afternoon. Sunshine in Scotland.


Again some heavy showers in the morning, again it is very windy in


the far north where the rain is still around. The showers will be


on the sharp side, the possibility of hail and thunder on Wednesday,


How long will British troops be in Mali? The cartoon that is either anti-semitic or anti-Netanyahu. Plus new childcare benefits, plastic pollution and award-winning novelist Hilary Mantel.

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

Download Subtitles