05/02/2013 Newsnight


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

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400 MPs say yes to gay marriage, and make history. But the majority


of David Cameron's Conservative Party didn't back him. One member


of the cabinet tells us some Tories have further to go than others.


Sometimes parts of the Conservative Party move, but they move more


slowly, or a few paces behind prevailing social attitudes, or the


centre of gravity of social attitudes. I will speak to the


woman who was married in the world's first same-sex ceremony.


Deputy heads will roll in the LIBOR rate-fixes scandal, as RBS stands


to pay �4 billion. We speak exclusively to France's


Front National, Marine Le Pen, she tells us she supports David


Cameron's aim of renegotiation in Europe. And: A lot of his people


think he know what type of man he is, I have a clear picture of the


type of sense of humour he has. Fans of the cross word writer,


Araucaria, were left lost for words after solving one of his clues, we


speak to him. Good evening, same-sex couple also


soon enjoy the same rights to get married as they have in a dozen


other countries. Following this evening's Commons vote, Britain is


now in the vanguard of equality. But David Cameron's desire to


modernise the country has split his party. More Tory MPs voted against


the bill than for it. Including 18 members of the Government, two of


them cabinet ministers, with dissenters talking about risking


the life chances of British children, and pining that marriage


should not be seen through the merciless prism of equality. On


this controversial issue, might the cost to David Cameron outweigh the


gain. Here is our political editor. The beauty of marriage, said the


Education Secretary at the weekend, was about that moment between two


people when they go from thinking about me to we. But today David


Cameron was confronted with no such mind meld. A reminder that many of


his MPs are far from thinking of "we" not "me", when they regard


their party and their party leader. The aye to the left 400, the nos to


the left, 175. The ayes have it. In that vote of a few hours ago,


more Conservative MPs disagreed with the Prime Minister than agreed


with him. They didn't agree with this. There is something special


about marriage. It is not about religion, it is not about morality,


it is about commitment. By the way, I think it matters, and I think it


means something, whether you are a man and a woman, or a woman and a


woman, or a man and another man. They debated all afternoon. One of


the most important figures on Cameron's backbenches did not feel


he had assurance that those who did not want to marry gay couples would


not be overruled by European Courts. I will vote against this measure


tonight, not because I think the world will end if we see it pass.


But because I have serious misgivings that in spite of the


minister's commendable efforts, recognised by the Church of England,


as has been commented earlier in the debate. It is impossible to


guarantee that religious freedom will not be compromised.


couldn't give a guarantee that people would be protected.


their religious freedom would be protect, because it is impossible


to guarantee it T will be taken to the European Court, and if we pass


this measure, then it will be taken to the European Court.


If the Government is serious about this, take it away, abolish the


civil partnerships bill, abolish civil marriage, and create a civil


union bill, that applies to all people, irrespective of their


sexuality or their relationships, that means brothers and brothers,


and sisters and sisters, and brothers and sisters as well. That


would be a way forward. This is not. It is a sad day for me, Mr Deputy


Speaker, it is my saddest day as a member of this House, when my party


brings in a bill which I'm fundamentally opposed to. Why is my


view, or the loader of my party, any more important than the person


in the Dog and Duck in Wellingborough. So what is the


opinion in Bone's constituency, this isn't the Dog and duck, but it


is the Hind Hotel, we brought together three Conservatives and a


gay couple. Call me old fashioned, but as a Christian I believe that


marriage is for the procreation of children, and it is between a man


and a woman. And I really think we're in a very dangerous situation


when we let the state change religion or change faith. I think


the Government has been very careful, overly careful, they have


got a quadruple lock on this, they have banned the Church of England


and the Church of Wales. That is bizarre in itself. Apparently they


weren't consulted to any great degree. Other faiths are allowed to


opt in, which is perfectly right. If a faith looks at its


congregation and say we are all happy with blessing same-sex


marriages, the Quakers want to and the liberal Jewish sects want to,


that should be allowed. I don't think it necessarily stems, with


respect to Barbara from religion, I think it stems from a disbelief


that something as fundamental as marriage could be tinkered with,


whether or not it may seem to you that it is unfair at the moment. I


think for many of us we feel that it's, if you are going to interfere


with marriage, what about interfering with death and birth.


Many Conservative rebels feared that religious organisations, due


to have to opt in if they want to hold gay weddings, would actually


feel coerced. One Unitarian church up in North London is already gung


ho. Up here in Newington Green, historically outside the City of


London, they have made up their own rules, Tom Pane and people like


Benjamin Franklin worshiped here. And 300 years on they want to let


gay couples married. David Cameron might feel he's more in the role of


Edmund Burke, but on this he feels a radical, he wants gay couples to


marry because he's a Conservative, not despite being one. This former


minister in David Cameron's Government agrees. Entering a civil


partnership was the most important thing I have done in my life. When


I was born, homosexual conduct was a crime, not so long ago it was


possible to sack someone because they were gay. People did not dare


to be open, thank goodness so much has changed in my lifetime. Others


took on their Conservative colleagues, and indeed, the Church


of England. We may have gone two steps forward, but I fear we have


also gone one step backward. The modernisation of the Conservative


Party is not yet complete. My party should never flinch from the


requirement that we must continue this prosession. Otherwise we may


end ourselves up like the Republican Party, who lost an


election last year that they could have won, were it not for their


socially conservative agenda. And belatedly, only this weekend, the


Church of England has finally admitted that it is not realistic


or likely that churches will be forced to conduct same-sex weddings.


I made that point earlier. But so easy to say that now, isn't it,


when practically every person I meet, who doesn't follow the


deliberations of political detail in great detail has said to me,


it's about weddings in churches for gay people, isn't it? But with the


issue spliting the Conservatives, and uniting most of Labour, but by


no means all of Labour, the Shadow Home Secretary had fun. We all love


the idea of a wedding, we all support the idea of a strong


marriage. We all clearly like a good party, I notice from the


impact assessment that the department has produced passing


this legislation they reckon could lead to �14 million extra spent on


celebrations. Which is a lot of confetti and rubber chicken. Mr


Speaker, I don't think it will be quite enough to boost the economy


and deliver Plan B, but I guess the Chancellor needs all the help he


can get. The Conservatives will run a very


presidential campaign ahead of the next election, they will ask you do


you want to vote for this man, David Cameron to be your Prime


Minister next. In order to do that, they will need to emphasise


personal decisions he has taken. Included in that will be gay


marriage, especially because he's done so with considerable


opposition. To get up to the 43% that are a majority for the party,


they have to get Labour and Lib Dem voters. Tonight the Prime Minister


will be elated he is one step nearer to becoming the Prime


Minister who legaliseed gay marriage. But his Attorney-General


abstained, and two other cabinet ministers went against. The idea of


a united party front is more in sickness than in health.


Shortly after that vote I spoke to the Cabinet Office Minister, Reggie


Maudling, widely seen as the -- Francis Maude, seen as the high


priest of Tory modernisation. There will be same-sex marriage in spite


of Conservative backbenchers. think the Conservative Party


divided roughly like the country does, a lot of people on one side


and the other. It has gone through parliament with a big majority,


that is fine. As a modernising PM, which is very much what David


Cameron sees himself as, he hasn't been able to carry the party on a


key plank of his modernisation of the Tories? It is a free vote, MPs


make their own mind up. If they had wanted to, they would have backed


him as a moderniser, to show a party in touch with the 21st


century, they turned their back on him? They didn't turn their back on


him. This is very overemotional reaction to it. This was a free


vote, where MPs are encouraged to exercise their judgment. On


something which isn't a party matter. Yes, but when I'm just


giving you a couple of phrases here, Gerald Howarth, one map, "this bill


is about risking the life chances of British children", another one,


Edward Lee, "marriage should not be seen through the merciless prism of


equality", someone saying it is almost Orwellian what you are


asking to do. What message does it send to the country about the


Conservative Party? Not a strong one in any direction. I don't agree


with my colleagues who have expressed themselves in that way. I


and many Conservative MPs, and many members of the Conservative Party,


are completely relaxed about giving the benefits of marriage, making


them available to all couples, whether they are different sex or


same-sex. We think this is not about making a dogma out of


equality, but the benefits of marriage should be available to


everyone. But you feel very strongly about this, and you talked


of your regret that you had voted for Section 28 many years ago. But


it was also informed by your brother's sexuality. So you have a


personal stake in this? Yes. I think I'm broadly the same


Conservative I was in the 1980s, when I started my long and


checkered political career. I'm a fiscal Conservative, I'm an


economic liberal, I believe in open markets, I'm a moderate realistic


euro-sceptic, but I'm more socially liberal than I was. But the country


is more socially liberal than it was, we're a much more tolerant


society. We understand and respect the way in which people live their


lives more than we Z that's good. At the time when Section 28 was


voted through, and I do regret that I supported that, I regret that the


Government then put it through, and I didn't understand then the way in


which it came to be seen by gay people as a sort of emblem of


hostility. We were right, subsequently, to repeal it. But, I


think you have spoken movingly about had there been more tolerance,


your brother may not have had the same fate that he had. His


sexuality had often to be hidden, and was a thing that was not to be


discussed, and that perhaps drove him into areas he wouldn't have


otherwise gone to? I think that was less about law than about


prevailing social attitudes. these social attitudes are still


there, among many Conservative MPs. This is many years later? Among


some. Over 140 voted against? an indication of the way in which


things move is that many Conservative MPs who voted against


the introduction of civil partnerships in 2004, now support


civil partnerships. So sometimes parts of the Conservative Party


move, but they move more slowly, or a few paces behind prevailing


social attitudes, or the centre of gravity of social attitudes. Which


have changed, and will probably continue to change in ways that it


is hard to predict. But we get there. Maybe at different speeds.


It would be presumtious of me to assert that, but it may well be


that some of those who voted against equal marriage tonight will,


in yours to come, change their view, I don't know. Social attitudes have


changed, people's views change on some of these issues, and they


change at different times, and some people's views will never change.


That's fine too. These are issues of conscience, and people exercise


their judgment in the way that they think right. I wouldn't criticise


people for that. But it has been characterised, you have your George


Osborne and William Hague and Theresa May extoling the vote.


Obviously you had David Cameron championing it, I wonder the jeer


that this is really the Notting Hill set, and there are two Tory


Partys, and they are so far behind you? It is nonsense and doesn't


reflect any reality I see and live with in my daily life. What is your


reaction to the fact that it is a Conservative Government, who has


managed, or will have managed, to have made sure that same-sex


marriage, in Britain, is common place? I think it is a good thing


to have done. I don't think it is massive change. I think public


opinion, again it is, what I say about social attitudes, they have


moved, they have changed. This will be seen, by most of the public, as


a relatively uncontroversial thing, particularly among younger people


who say, yeah, so what? That's a healthy thing. I think this will be


seen to be something that will look in years to come, as a kind of


relatively natural step, which people will not find, will struggle


to understand why it was controversial at the time. Thank


you very much indeed. From Maastricht in the Netherlands


we talk to our guest who got married in 2001 in the world's


first same-sex ceremony. Thank you very much for joining us, you


married your life partner Ellen, why did you want to get married,


rather than stick with your civil partnership? For us, in the


Netherlands, marriage is the only legal bond that commits third


parties as well. And I want to show everybody this is the person I want


to share my life with. But do you accept that some people, for


perfectly good reasons, religious reasons, and other reasons, will


always be implacably opposed to what you have done and been able to


do? I sometimes find that difficult, because I'm not different to anyone


else, it is just a human right to choose to take care of someone you


love, and to take care of your family, that is what I want.


that right to take care of them, and to be a family, is different


from saying we can only do that, or only feel able to commit to that


properly within, some might say it, the confines of a marriage? It is


not that you only can do that, you can take care of one another


outside of the marriage, but it just gives you a legal bond, and


that's a commitment for life. It is also making it possible that Ellen


could adopt the children. For us that was very important. Because


that gives her and the children legal rights to one another.


course you are, as it were, the birth mother of your two children.


What challenges have you faced in the last 12 years, or has it all


been plain sailing? No, no, no. I wish it was true. You always have


to explain your family situation, not only as adults, but also the


children. If they move schools, move house, they have always got to


explain in what kind of family they live. That can be difficult,


sometimes. But on the other hand, it is the way it is. We live it and


live with it. Have people expressed their disapproval to you? Yes,


unfortunately they have. What happened? They just tell you that


they don't approve of your marriage, they don't recognise the adoption


of the children, if they do it to me I discuss it with them. If they


do it toe my children, I'm really offended -- it to my children, I'm


really offended, they didn't choose to live in our family, they have


been born into it. For us, that is the main thing. Sometimes, when it


comes close, like family members, that hurts, but otherwise, we're


just an ordinary family. It's their problem, not our's. Perhaps you


heard, speaking to the minister Francis Maude there, his view was,


that in several years it might just be common place, that this will not


have been seen to be such a major thing. He was suggesting through


the next generation, do you see, in the 12 years since you have been


marriage, a general change in attitudes in society in the


netherlands? It's getting more common. It is one of the options.


Sure, you have to explain, everybody asks you, are you married,


and then what is the name of your husband, when you say it is my wife.


They say, that is a possibility as well. In that meaning, people


change, their attitudes changes. In the next generation, where more


countries have opened up marriage, it makes it more common, so, yeah,


I think he's right. Can you explain, from your point of view though, how


you begin to explain to people how you make it, as it were, less


threatening to people, perhaps, who are religious, and feel it is


actually an attack on their religion? I'm not attacking their


religion, it is their religion, it is not mine. That's first and for


all. As I see it, I always learned from my parents that God is love.


That's the only thing I do, I love my partner, and I love my children.


What's wrong with that. You are also religious? Yes, we are.


You are religious, and within your church, has there been an


acceptance that you didn't expect, or has there not been an acceptance,


how has it operated within your church? They are fine with it. It


is not a problem at all. It is not an issue. Although for us it is not


possible to get married in church, at the moment. It is not an issue


that we are lesbians and having kids and we have a legal marriage.


Thank you very much indeed. Still to come, Marine Le Pen tells


us David Cameron has it right on Europe, and...Cancer Is a word that


people are still reluctant to use, and I thought the more public it


got the better. The cryptic crossword that left solvers lost


for words. Two days ago state-owned bank RBS was warned by the


Chancellor that their payment for their part in the LIBOR scandal


must come from bonuses from investment staff. That fine could


be expected as �400 million, who will take responsibility at the


bank, are heads going to role? Will heads role? A deputy head will


role. The head of the investment banking, he will leave the bank, it


will be confirmed tomorrow. He's also going to be denied his bonus


for 2012 he will be striped of the built-up bonuses of the three years


worth before, which is �4 million. It is a kind of punishment. It


seems to be a sacrificial offering to many. He wasn't directly or


indirectly linked to the LIBOR- fixing traders. It appears they


picked an abitary point. He wasn't linked to them at all? Yes, but why


should he go, why should the deputy chief executive go, not the chief


executive, Steven Hester, why shouldn't the chairman Government


they have decided to pick one individual. Peter Neilson, head of


markets, he's staying, he was rumoured to go. One guy is going.


At the heart is all about LIBOR and the rate-fixing scandal. Traders


six or seven pay grades beneath him decided to make money by fixes the


rate, the fines will be astronomical, Barclays �2. 9


billion, and a �400 billion for Barclays, three-quarters of which


will go to the other side of the lafrpbtic. After PPI, outlandish


bonuses and investments that caused the financial crisis, LIBOR seemed


to top them all. Colluding to set the rate of interest which sets how


much people for for homes, brought the banks to an all-time low, LIBOR


is a key interest rate used all over the world, and it can affect


major investments, derivatives and/or mortgages. Here is how it is


set. A poofl banks, based in London, tell the British bankers


association, how much they have made to pour row -- British


Bankers' Association, how much they have paid to borrow money from


other banks. They strip out the highest and lowest numbers and


reach an average figure for that day, which is published. The


scandal developed when it emerged that some banks tried to move the


LIBOR bank up or down to make a profit. Traders would call up


colleagues, who submit the rates to the BBA, and urge them to submit an


inaccurate rate on behalf of the bank, in order to skew the average


figure in the preferred direction. So, if you shave one tenth of one


per cent off the interest rate on a �1 billion bond, it could be worth


�1 million to someone. That was unearthed by British and American


regulators last summer, initially at Barclays, and subsequently at


UBS, now the taxpayer-controlled RBS. It will show others banks were


at it for the period of 2005-2010. Because we have no clear evidence


of what the LIBOR rate would have been without the manipulation, the


fines being imposed by regulators are for willful abuse of the system,


rather than a specific amount earned as a result of it. Now RBS's


investment banking boss will be the sacrificial offering, even though


he had no direct or indirect knowledge of the rate-rigging by


traders working under him. There is definite pressure, we know there is


pressure from the regulator, probably from the Government


directly that, with RBS, they want to see scalps, and various people


fired. What I think is interesting is that the fine is being paid by


the entire bonus pool of RBS staff. 95% of them did not indulge in


manipulating LIBOR, and yet they are paying for the pain. I firmly


believe culture is set from the top of an organisation, and if you set


the culture that encourages wrongdoing, you need to leave. But


I also think the individuals need to be held accountability.


fines for LIBOR abuse are set to be Most of the fines will go to


American regulator. That prompted the Chancellor to


intervene and say that fines had to be paid from RBS's bonus pool, as


well as clawbacks from previously paid bonus. We all know there are


LIBOR investigations on going into RB in both the UK and the US. Any


UK fine will benefit the public. When it comes to RBS I amer a clear


that the bill for any -- I am clear that the bill for any US fine,


related to this investigation, should be paid for by the bankers


and not the taxpayer. That is in marked contrast to 2011, when Mr


Osbourne said that RBS would be run on a hands-off, commercial basis.


When it comes to the banks where we have a shareholding in, like the


Royal Bank of Scotland, look, we have run these at arm's length,


that is what the last Labour Government did when they set up the


arrangements, and put all the tax- payers' money in. As for RBS, it is


two-thirds the way to break-even point, its shares are 50% higher


than six months ago, and it is a leaner bank than before. It is on


the critical list, and removing key executives may hinder rather than


help the recovery. Britain is set to introduce draconian new rules


for bankers who done wrong in the City of London, which could affect


other financial hubs around the world. There is a danger you could


throw the baby out with the bath wart e tell that to families who


are potentially paying for more their mortgage today than they


would do had the bankers not manipulated the LIBOR rate some


years ago. The name Le Pen is synonymous with


the leadership of the far right in France. Marine Le Pen took over two


years ago from her father, Jean- Marie, who led the party since its


form yaiing. In last month's presidential election she secured


6.1 million voters, one in five of the population. I spoke to her at


the European Parliament in Strasbourg earlier today. Marine Le


Pen is the face of French Euro- scepticism. I asked her if she


supported David Cameron's atept to renegotiation the member -- attempt


to renegotiation the relationship between member states. TRANSLATION:


For several years we have seen the affect of the EU on the economy, I


have demanded a renegotiation of a certain number of treaties,


including, of course, Schengen, in order to control immigration. Also


treaties that prevent France from protecting a certain number of its


economic sectors. As a result I understand Mr Cameron, in his


desire for renegotiation, even if the consequences of that


renegotiation wouldn't be the same for Mr Cameron's Government, and


the Government that I would eventually lead.


Last month David Cameron offered the UK the prospect of an in-out


referendum on membership of the EU. So, is it something Le Pen and her


party covet for France? TRANSLATION: I want to do the same


thing as Great Britain, if I came to power tomorrow, I would decide


to organise a referendum within 12 month. I would give myself 12


months to negotiate the most important points with the European


Union. At the end of that 12-month negotiation period, I would ask the


French people to have their say, on the points that we manage to


renegotiate, and on the points that the European Union refuse to


negotiate. Yet, Le Pen herself is an MEP, her party doesn't sit in


the same group as the Tories in Brussels, but she believes they


have been influenced by a mounting Euro-scepticism here, in the form


of Nigel Farage's UKIP. TRANSLATION: But Mr Cameron still


believes in the European Union. I'm not ignorant of the reasons that


have forced him to call for a referendum. It is quite clearly


because he's under pressure from British euro-sceptics, who, we must


admit, are very close to our own position on the functions of the


European Union. I'm thinking, of course, of UKIP, who have developed


the same, firm Euro-scepticism towards the European Union and its


structures, that we ourselves defend. It is under pressure from


eurorealist, such as us, UKIP in Britain, the Front National in


France, the FBO in Austria, that we have managed to move the goal posts.


For that, of course, I congratulate myself. I'm completely convinced


that Mr Cameron would not have taken this decision, if the British


people had not turned in such a significant manner towards euro-


sceptic movements. The issue of immigration played a


prominent role in last year's election, during a campaign which


questioned the nature of French national identity. The Front


National campaign for legal migration into France, to be set at


10,000 people a year. TRANSLATION: Listen, I think we need to


profoundly change the rules around French nationality. Because the


problem with France is it automatically manufactures French


people, with all the well- documented problems of integration


that creates. For those foreigners legally in France, it is obvious,


either there is work, and at that point they work entirelyly normally,


they benefit from the social security that is associated with


their job, or, they are unemployed, and after a certain period of time


in unemployment, well we ask them to go back to their country of


origin. We can't meet the needs of extra unemployed people at the very


same time we have officially five million unemployed people in France,


and in reality, a further nine million people who aren't work as


much as they would like. I asked Marine Le Pen about the


party's advocacy of a system of French-first for jobs, and some


social services, such as accommodation? TRANSLATION: Yes,


yes, we have defended for a long time now the idea of national


preference, or national priority, as reverential access, not only to


jobs, but also to social housing. Charity begins at home, the


responsibility of the leaders of a country is first and foremost to


allow their own people to be able to work. To look after their


families and build up an estate. But, essentially, in France, would


you not be creating, as it were, second-class citizens, and is that


not of itself a rather dangerous idea? TRANSLATION: I completely


disagree with you. In every international treaty, it is


accepted that you can reserve preferential access for naturals in


their own country. When all else is equal, a French person will have


priority in a job f there is no-one of equal competence, a foreigner


can apply for that job. The presence of French troops in


Mali has revived the French. Mr Hollande has declared they will


remain as long as necessary does she support their involvement


there? TRANSLATION: We have a common history with Mali, we are


historical allies, we co-operate on defence, and so stfs only natural


that we responded -- it was only natural that we responded to the


Mali Government's call. That shouldn't hide the fact that we got


involved in Libya, not to advance the cause of democracy but Islamic


fundamentalism. I was the only one, for years, who denounced this


intervention in Libya, who denounced the fact that the Libyan


rebels, just like their counterparts in Syria, are in


reality corrupted, and at the behest of Islamic fundamentalists,


and their seizure of power, notably in Libya, where they immediately


imposed Sharia Law, would destablise the entire region, that


is what is happening in Mali today. The Mali operation follows France's


role, alongside the UK, in supporting the ref lug, which


overthrew the Gaddafi regime in Libya. But, for a party that


campaigns on anti-immigration, the upheaval caused by the Arab Spring


was unwelcome. Would she have preferred Gaddafi to have remained


in power? TRANSLATION: It would probably have been more effective,


whilst using diplomatic means of putting pressure on Mr Gaddafi to


introduce a not insignificant dose of democracy to his country, to


leave Mr Gaddafi in place. You must remember that has deplorable and


reprehensible a character Mr Gaddafi may have been in Libya,


like Mr Assad in Syria, these men fought against the rise of Islamic


fundamentalism, they contained it. So I asked her does that


endorsement of the status quo extend to the Assad regime?


TRANSLATION: I think that diplomacy, and notably Russian diplomacy has


made progress, that might allow an exit from the Syrian conflict. What


would be, on the other hand, utterly catastrophic, would be to


help Islamic fundamentalists to brutally overthrow the Government


of Bashar al-Assad. Because, once again, if they take control of


Syria, they too will immediately impose sariia law, and persecute


minorities who are part of the Syrian population. We can't just do


whatever we want in these countries, and breaking off relations with


Bashar al-Assad is senseless. On the other hand, guiding democratic


change in the country would be much more effective, much more


successful, and much less dangerous than what we are currently doing.


Before the end of the programme, we will have tomorrow's front page.


But first, paintings, books and plays, often contain clue as to the


artist or writer's state. What about a crossword? A master of the


art of the cryptic crossword, the Guardian's Araucaria, had something


very important to tell his legions of fan. So he put it where he had


might his life's work, in a crossword puzzle.


Ten across, Chile pine by a river has Roman database for a song, nine


letters. Araucaria.


To try to describe one of his puzzles, it is the wit, there is


almost always a clue or a couple of clues that will make you laugh.


Just with the sheer elegance of it, or the sheer wit of it. They can be


witty and make you laugh. People who don't do crosswords think is


most peculiar, the clue will make you laugh with delight, and


Araucaria is the master of that. If your form with a crossword


puzzle is a bit checkered, you may have fallen foul of the genius


Araucaria, the botanical name for the monkey puzzle tree, is the nome


de clu of the former vicar setting crosswords in national papers for


50 years. He sees clues everywhere, is it an affliction? It would be an


exaggeration to call it an affliction. It is there. You can be


reading a poem, and suddenly it would occur to you that those two


words together make an anagram, and then you are not appreciating the


poem because you are side tracked, that happens a lot, certainly.


One across, "periodical for crosswords and powder", eight


letters, "magazine". # Come see the privates on parade


# You'll say how proudly they're displayed


Simon Russell Beale, knocking them dead in the West End in Privates on


Parade, finds Araucaria's crosswords a nice change after all


that cross-dressing. The company I'm in at the moment,


there are four of us who regularly, through the evening, pop into this


dress dressing room. When you say, through the evening, not while the


show is going on? Oh yeah. Really? If there are gaps, you know. If you


have five minutes, come in here and do a clue. There is a direct


connection between a fan and Araucaria. I think a lot of his


solvers think they know what type of man he is. I have an absolutely


clear picture of the type of sense of humour he has. It is a one-way


process, because I don't get to know my solvers, but they get to


know me. And I don't understand quite how it works, but they do.


Obviously because I have been doing it for a long time, and you build


up a sort of relationship, it is an odd one.


That relationship changed dramatically after Araucaria


published a crossword with this master clue.


"Araucaria has 18 down of the 19 across, treated with 13, 15".


"cancer, oesophagus, palliative care". I started it and I got


cancer and oesophagus, and palliative care, and then, to be


honest, I didn't want to continue it. I didn't, I thought it was an


amazing thing to do. But I didn't feel comfortable continuing it


really. Many others were touched too.


Cancer a word that people are still reluctant to use, I thought the


more public the better. So it worked. But I don't expect the


results to stop, it has been incredible. People have written and


send me cards and letters, and e- mails. I didn't expect anything


like that. What sort of things did they say to you? Different things.


Nobody said I deserved it! They actually seemed, because at some


point they phrased it so that it said that I was dying of cancer,


which I'm not really. I mean I have Cannes, but it does not mean to say


you have plenty of time to die of something else. There is no knowing


how long it will take. But some people got rather upset by this,


and say we can't live without you, sort of thing. People say the most


lovely things. I'm sorry. It has brought tears to my eyes thinking


about it now. What do you think of the theatricality, if you will, of


announcing your illness, in this case, through the clues of a


crossword puzzle? That has a certain drama, does it? Yeah, good


for him. It has panache, and it is and has a self-mockery too about it,


I think. It is not making light of it, exactly, it is just appropriate,


you know. It is done with love and wit, it is done for his, what do we


call ourselves? Solvers? It is done for his solvers. I think he did it


with great elan. Contemplating the end of things, a


lot of us, crossword buffs and others, tend to draw a blank. Not


so the Reverend John Galbraith Graham. We are quite ridiculous, it


is absurd that we are trying to drag it on the way we do. We waste


an awful lot of time and money and anxiety giving people a hope for


letting go. I don't know how the church got itself into that idea,


years ago people thought heaven was more important than earth. I think


so. You think so. How do you see the afterlife? I think it is utopia.


Are there crosswords there? I have had this, it is a very interesting


question, I don't see how there can be, I'm sure, if I do, yes I do see


it, because it all transcends anything we can think about. No


doubt they will find some way of doing it.


Steve Smith and Araucaria has kindly composed a crossword


especially for Newsnight viewers, you will find it on-line on the


website. Tomorrow morning's front pages now.


They all go with the gay marriage Chris Huhne's ex-wife there on the


paper, apparently wanted to nail That's all from Newsnight tonight,


the Womanables first hit TV screens 40 years ago, today, surprisingly


they weren't strangled at birth. We leave you with a brief visit to


Wimbledon Common. Womanables theme tune)


-- Wombles theme tune. # The Wombles of Wimbledon are we


# Making good use of the things we find


# Things that the every day folks leave behind. No end yet to the


current cold spell. Tomorrow an Arctic wind to contend with, that


will make it feel bitter. Plenty of cloud to start the day. Across the


north of England, showers, sleet and hill snow. Further south


overnight wet weather clearing away from the south-east. Brightening up


for a time in the morning. Windy across the south-east and East


Anglia. Strong wind across western areas easing during the day. At


this stage blowing showers across south-west England. Some


winteryness on the high ground. Elsewhere we will see sunshine.


Sunshine to come eventually in Northern Ireland, there will be


some brightness around first thing. Still a few showers to contend with.


Icey patches possible here for northern England and across


Scotland. For northern Scotland snow showers here will begin to


accumulate to lower level, as will the wintery showers running down


eastern coastal parts of England during the day. The snow for north


York moors, mainly rain, sleet and hail. Increasing sunshine. It will


feel bitter in the Arctic wind, much colder than those temperatures


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