07/02/2013 Newsnight


07/02/2013

The government's abandonment of plans to scrap some GCSEs. New Bank of England governor Mark Carney speaks to a Treasury select committee. Plus, the fight over the EU budget.


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Oops. That was an enor, I have acknowledged, for a variety of

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reasons, that we shouldn't have embarked on that course, at this

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stage. Michael Gove blots his copy book.

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We will debate whether his remaining reforms are too much or

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not enough. Also tonight: Rock star style, banker's Sally.

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Mark Carney steps into the bear pit. We're in Brussels with Mark Urban.

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The number so huge, it has only just been discovered.

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There is a list of words issued by Michael Gove's department that ten-

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year-olds are supposed to know. Among the words, "awkward ",

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"disastrous", "nuisance", "amateur". Would a ten-year-old have spotted

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the flaws for an English Baccalaureate, he had plenty of

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warnings from grown-ups. But his admission today has thawed things

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between him and his department. The question is what is left of the

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Gove reforms, and what would a gof- educated child be like.

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Gove is a man -- Michael Gove is man with a vision, today he offered

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a glimpse into the future, his version of a proper education

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system. In English, there is more clarity on spelling, punctuation

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and grammar. There is a stronger emphasis on arithmetic, and more

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demanding in content in fractions, decimals and percentages. In

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foreign languages, there will be a new stress on learning proper

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grammatical structures and practising translation. In

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geography there is an emphasis on vocational knowledge. In art and

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design, there is a stronger emphasis on painting and drawing

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skills. In music, a balance between performance and appreciation.

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Mr Gove came to parliament to set out this new curriculum. And to say

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he had dropped one controversial policy, there will be no English

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Baccalaureate Certificate. The brand-new qualification he had

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planned for 16-year-olds. Every minister makes mistake, when I make

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mistakes over building schools for the future, I was happy to come to

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the House and acknowledge I had made an error. When I make mistakes

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in other places I'm happy to acknowledge my error. The very

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first thing I said to is I have embarked on one reform too far, in

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seeking to move towards single exam boards. I'm happy to acknowledge

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today that was an error. Under this Government the words "GCSE" and

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"fiasco", seemed to be linked indelibly. This is a humiliating

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climb-down. The problem with the Secretary of State is he thinks he

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knows the answer to everything. So he digs out the fag packet and

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comes up with his latest wheeze. Much has been made of Michael

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Gove's U-turn today. But while the GCSE will stay, it will be

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comprehensively reformed. And, as planned, pupils will have to start

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studying in 2015 for these new tests in key subjects. I asked

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Michael Gove what was the main difference between what he had

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originally intended, and what he announced in the House of Commons.

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The most significant change we have made today, from the proposition

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that we put forward in September, is the decision not to press ahead

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with the single Examination Board in academic subjects. Because, as

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the regulator pointed out, moving so rapidly to change the market in

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exams, alongside improving the content, risked having too many

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moving parts in the system at the same time. So we will do the most

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important thing, the thing where there is the greatest degree of

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consensus, we will improve the exams. Some school leaders are

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worried about the tight timetable. We are disappointed there hasn't

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been more change. The profession has really been in uproar about the

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proposals for the UBC. They haven't been consulted, and the fact that

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the timetable remains the same, and we are looking at a 2015 start,

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doesn't leave teachers with enough time to prepare young people.

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are changes proposed for the national curriculum, what do you

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make of those? The national curriculum is something that keeps

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changing any way. Schools are used to different versions of the

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national curriculum. So whilst it is tight, and we need to have our

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subject specialists really take a close look at the implications,

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because there are some very serious implications. Possibly concerning

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implications in terms of the direction of travel with the

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national curriculum. But at the same time, we have to have some

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confidence in the work of the group that have been widely consulted.

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The other major change outlined today is to league tables. Now they

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rank schools by how many children get five GCSEs at grades A* to C,

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including English and maths. In future they will show how much all

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pupils make between 11-16. Many head teachers complained that the

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current system forces them to focus on students who are at the border

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between grade C and grade D. So giving them little incentive to

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help the student who is are getting an A, but might be able to get an

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A*, and those who are nowhere near a C grade at all.

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Some schools already work hard to ensure that children who struggle

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with literacy or maths, when they start secondary school, do catch up

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quickly. So they can learn along with the rest of their class, but

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others don't. This change in the league tables could have a

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significant impact. I think the changes to the accountability

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system are actually a big part of what is new today. Broadly I think

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it is welcome. They have made a wider range of measures in there,

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they have got rid of the extreme emphasis on the threshold. It is

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good. Michael Gove stepped back from one change today, but there is

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still GCSE reform, a new national curriculum, and new league tables.

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His continuous revolution goes on. Graham Stuart chairs the Commons

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Select Committee, Anthony Seldon and the principal of the school on

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the Isle of Dogs. And Ed Hirsch, a retired professor of education, who

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is often cited in Michael Gove's thinking on the national curriculum.

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Graham, you are quietly pleased, because you think the Education

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Secretary has listened to your criticisms and acts. Is that any

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way to make education policy? what is the point of having an

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Education Committee, taking the hearings and doing the work, if

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ministers don't listen. We saw in the last Government, to make a

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party political point, this sense that you mustn't ever risk being

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seen as changing. It is not humiliation it is about acting. We

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are seeing change in GCSEs, which we agreed need to happen. We are

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seeing a more Hirsch-based, knowledge-based curriculum. We are

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seeing a change to the schools, we are seeing a number and most of the

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insights the Secretary of State had will be put into practice. They

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will be done in a way that will carry much wider support than the

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original proposals. Going forward, this Secretary of State, who is a

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reforming Secretary of State, has the chance of a long-lasting legacy,

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rather than something like the diploma, with Ed Balls brought in,

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didn't listen to anybody, and ended up not being a long-term success.

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Michael Gove says he's a man in a hurry, wasn't the problem with the

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Baccalaureate announcement is he's in too much of a hurry? He put out

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proposelias, without specific proposals it is hard to comment in

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a vacuum. We commented, he listened, put out a report last week, he

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accepted most of the arguments in that report, he has listened to the

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profession as well. He is moving forward, isn't that the way we want

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policy to make. Isn't this the best way to make policy in education?

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I'm constantly surs priced by how many head teachers -- surprised by

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how many head teachers, I don't know if Kelly is one of those, who

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agree with much of what Michael Gove is saying, academies, autonomy

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for schools, and the other to the curriculum, in which he's trying to

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get much more rigour into the curriculum. He thinks exams have

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dumbed down, and he thinks that is actually patronising towards

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disadvantaged children. He wants to see them being able to access top

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universities and top jobs, by having serious exams taught in

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serious ways. But, you can't make changes in politics unless you

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carry people. He has goth gone, as Graham has hinted -- gone, as

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Graham has hinted, too quickly. If you lose touch with the supply

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lines, the people who are willing to back you, you will get nowhere.

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Is there anything about his style? Michael Gove hasn't been used to

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running organisations. Many ministers haven't, which is why

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they often achieve next to nothing as minister. The history of most

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education secretaries is one of extraordinary failure, a lot of

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activity, a lot of fuss and noise, but signifying little or nothing.

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Michael Gove is to be praised, however, for making this U-turn, he

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is listening, he is acknowledging, it is quite a big man to stand up

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in parliament, and say, look I made a mistake. You are a bit of a

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critic of much of what Michael Gove has done. Do you see this, well

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what are we callling it, a U-turn, a tweak, whatever the hell it is,

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do you see it as a precursor to more change? There will be more

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change, and we are used to change in education. I'm glad that Michael

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Gove did eventually listen. It took the Select Committee, who did a

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brilliant ror, to make him change it. Head teachers have been, since

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this first came out, have been telling Michael Gove, he has not

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been listening. 2,000 people signed a petition. I spent 30 hours

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answering a ridiculous consultation. He hasn't listened. He has had to

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now listen to the Select Committee. I'm glad. I would like a bit of

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humility. Where he has gone wrong is not listening to the profession.

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All we want to do is to be involved and listened to, and to be

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respected. But to be saying, I'm sorry, that GCSEs are rubbish and

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they are not worth anything is an insult to all the young people out

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there who are working really hard to get their GCSEs, teach anything

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our skooms has never, ever been so good -- schools has never, ever

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been so good. I would like that to be acknowledged. If Michael Gove

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want things to change he has to bring us with us. At the moment I

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haven't met anybody in the independent sector n Instagramer

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schools, and in academies and primary schools, who would be glad

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if the GCSE went. Let's go to Ed Hirsch, people have been saying

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nice things about you, including Michael Gove likes you, do you like

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what he's doing? I'm extremely gratified to be cited by the

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secretary of education, sitting here in charlottesville in my

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retirement, and suddenly find some of my work being used to help

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education in Britain. I hope it is helping, or will help education in

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Britain. What is it about core learning, your central ten knit,

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what is that and how -- tenet, what is that and how does it benefit

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pupils? What instigated my work to start with, was schools were not

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succeeding in narrowing the gap between advantaged and

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disadvantaged children. So, in fact, often students, and the data says

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that the same sort of thing is happening in Britain, is students

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who started behind, end up either just as far behind, or further

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behind, than when they started out in school. So the schools haven't

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been narrowing the achievement gap very well in the United States.

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That of the main impulse behind my attention to content, to the

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specific content of the curriculum. Because it was lack of knowledge,

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in the end, that was holding these disadvantaged children back. And Mr

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Gove in this country, and his new national curriculum focuses on

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spelling, grammar and arithmetic, getting children to identify cities

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and rivers on map, and study the great works of the literary canon,

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that makes you smile, look at you? Yes it does. I have to say, you

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know, I'm quite ignorant of exactly what's going on over in Britain. So

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I'm ready to be informed. But the basic structure of what the schools

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believe and what the schools have been doing seems to me to be very

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similar, in the United States. The ideas behind what we have been

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doing and what you have been doing, I think, and your teacher training

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institutions, the ideas are very similar. Thank you for that. Graham

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Stuart, there is a lot left of the Gore agenda, what shines and what

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doesn't work? What shines and doesn't work. I would say what I

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particularly welcome today is the review of the school accountability.

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This issue around the CDC-D borderline, -- borderline the kids

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who are there. What is it that you are struggling with, and keeps you

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awake, at the moment it is five A- Cs in English and maths. Apart from

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Mr Gove. We saw last year with the English GCSE problems just how

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driven the system is by accountability. What we want to see

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is every child, whether they are of low academic ability, or brilliant,

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pushed and the best got out of them. At the moment there is an incentive

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not to do that. That is the goal, does this idea achieve that? Well,

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I think that the ideas of Professor Hirsch are absolutely right. We

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must have a really strong content, but where Michael Gove has got it

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wrong is in failing to recognise that you can have real rigour in

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the arts subjects, in economics and a whole range of subjects that

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employers want, and which turn kids on. But also, you know, it is not

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about thumping kids with this knowledge in a grinding boring way,

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that just turns kids off. We need to have active learning, where the

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kids are actively involved in discovering these insights of

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knowledge, rather than just rope learning, which is such a failure

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of the last Government, which is the incredibly pedestrian exams.

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Why the middle years of the international Baccalaureate is much

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better than the GCSE, is the exams encourage radical ideas here,

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students to think in the exam, rather than memorise. I know, it is

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revolutionary, and dangerous. just want to get a word from you,

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Kelly, what of the remaining Gove agenda, there is still a lot of it.

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What would you still change? What I want is for him to talk to the

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profession. In whatever it is he's doing, it is not necessarily

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accountability, we have never been so accountable. You don't think he

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will listen more now? He doesn't listen at all to us. He has very

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little regard for teachers and head teachers alike, it seems. I'm not

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the only one. I want him to listen to the profession, we are happy to

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work with him. Give us the opportunity, we will work with him

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and help to develop and strengthen GCSEs. What happened with the EBCs

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is we started with the exam, and there was no curriculum, EBCs have

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never existed. You start with getting the curriculum right, and

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then you look at the exam system, and then you look at the

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accountability. You do it properly. She's right, there is an archetypal

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Conservative minister of education that thinks all comprehensive heads

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are left-wing nuts, they don't care about their kids or real learning.

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Frankly we need people like this in the Department of Education,

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alongside Michael Gove, a lot better than some of the advisers,

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and there will be real sense and it will work and carry the country,

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because it will carry the heads and the teachers. These are serious

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people, they are not to be belittled as not interested in

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serious learning. Thank you all very much indeed.

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Still ahead on Newsnight: EU leaders knuckle down to the big

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issues. We will ask the man who found the biggest prime number

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The next Governor of the Bank of England will be a Canadian. The

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last time a Canadian had that much influence over all of our lives was

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when Michael Ignatieff was never off the television. Mark Carney

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will lead more than a nice line in transatlantic witticisms to keep

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people happy. There are a bunch of people who want him to be just like

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Mervyn King, and another bunch who are hoping for something completely

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different. Today we got some hints into who he might please.

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He was compared to an Emperor, a Sun King, a saviour and a superhero.

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But today Mark Carney was more like a rock star. Arriving late, and

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hoping to get Britain back in the black.

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Never before has a Central Banker's arrival been more akin to a major

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concert. With MPs on the Treasury Select Committee more like groupies,

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complaining about the ticket price for the gig. Your current pay in

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sterling terms is around, total remuneration is around a third of a

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million pounds, isn't that right? Yes. Your total remuneration will

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be in excess of �800,000? Yes. your new job, correct? Yes.

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That salary was supposedly hagled in a grubby office block in south

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London, or a Treasury safe house. So no-one could get wind that he

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was even being interviewed for a job that will be almost as powerful

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as the Chancellor's. Having got his man, George Osborne's political

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fate is now wedded to the success or failure of the man from Alberta.

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And the bank's Monetary Policy Committee may not play ball with

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its new boss, either. It is hard to see that an MP that may not go

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along with what he wants, that he will be able to transform things

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that quickly. And the press that built him up could suddenly turn on

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him if the economy doesn't pick up. They are wedded together, but this

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really depends on this economy turning round quickly.

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Today, near the palace of Westminster, some MPs wanted to see

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if they were going to get value for money, with a mini-pop quiz on

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Central Banking. What is the capital ratio? How would you

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describe unwinding QE? What's the liquidity requirement?

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liquidity requirement is the need for a bank to have...I Think that's

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all I have on that one. I think you scored pretty well there! And the

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mania was also felt in the markets, check out the Carney curve, as

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sterling spiked up against the US dollar when the Canadian started

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speaking. So, as he was doubtless asked in the Treasury safe house

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last year, what does he intend to do with his new toy, the British

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economy? What, for example, did he feel about the effectiveness of

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quanative easing, now that �375 billion in new money had been

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printed? The work that we have done at the Bank of Canada suggests that

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the returns to QE have declined. Particularly in the United States.

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As the scale of the programme has increased. That is banker talk for

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QE probably can't help the economy much further. Mr Carney also hinted

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that when he becomes governor, he might preannounce that interest

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rates aren't moving anywhere for a set period of time. That helps

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companies and consumers when they are borrowing money. They can plan

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with a fixed repayment in mind for two or three years. There will be

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political problems, savers, for example, and pensioners, will know

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that they have got nothing to gain from this policy, that they are

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very low yields and pensions will stay that way for many years to

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come. At the moment there is hope for them, they might think that the

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monetary poly -- policy will change and help them. Under the new regime

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they might be more likely to complain. The issue of inflation

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targeting, I will let the bank much Canada itself explain the current

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policy both here and over there. Low, stable and predictable

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inflation is the goal. The Government of Canada, and the Bank

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of Canada, have a joint agreement to aim for an annual inflation rate

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of 2%. Mr Carney said that while he was still a fan of the current way

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interest rates are set, there might be room for some more plexability,

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and he's far from con-- flexibility, and he's far from convinced that

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using other targets, including nominal GDP would work over here.

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Never in the history of Central Banking has so much faith been

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invested in someone paid so much, to achieve an economic miracle in

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such a short time frame. If rock star Carney performs to his

0:22:180:22:21

potential, there will be doubtless screaming out for more in five

0:22:210:22:27

years. Underperform and his escape philosophy will break all records.

0:22:270:22:33

Philipp Hildebrand of chairman of the Swiss national bank, he's now

0:22:330:22:37

vice-chairman of the investment company, Black Rock, and best of

0:22:370:22:41

all, he knows Mark Carney. What's he like? He is a passionate man and

0:22:410:22:44

cares deeply about what he does and does it with a great amount of

0:22:440:22:47

engovernment as the British people saw this morning, he's highly

0:22:480:22:52

competent for this very complex job that that's awaiting him. I want to

0:22:520:22:55

come on to quite what he said and maybe what it meant. But you know

0:22:550:22:58

him personally and privately what should we know about had him, what

0:22:580:23:03

does he do behind the scenes, he runs doesn't he? This is man who

0:23:030:23:09

run at 6.00am at minus 25 degrees in Ottawa. That should give some

0:23:090:23:16

reassurance to the British people. Of what? Of stamina. I can tell you

0:23:160:23:21

stamina is a very important part of the job description or what is

0:23:210:23:24

required to do this job. This would be the moment, if he has intimated

0:23:240:23:29

to you privately what his big plan is, this would be the moment to

0:23:290:23:33

tell us? If he had you can be sure he would have had plenty of

0:23:330:23:36

opportunity to tell the British people and the British public this

0:23:360:23:39

morning. That is the thing, we are having to try to read between the

0:23:390:23:42

lines. Maybe it is inevitable he wasn't going to spill the beans

0:23:420:23:45

today. There is several months before he takes over. What did you

0:23:450:23:51

take from what he did say? I think what I actually attended to and

0:23:510:23:54

listened in preparation for this evening, I take away three things,

0:23:540:23:59

really. Number one, clearly he is highly qualified, as you could all

0:23:590:24:06

see. And secondly, very importantly, he cares passionately about price

0:24:060:24:10

stability, for example inflation being low, below 2% in line with

0:24:100:24:14

the mandate here. Thirdly, as he indicated, there are a number of

0:24:140:24:19

ways to get to that low inflation rate, and I think he will explore

0:24:190:24:23

the one that brings the best result on the economy and helps the most

0:24:230:24:29

to get this economy back on track. He's clearly prepared, ready and

0:24:290:24:32

courageous enough to explore these various opportunities. Is he a

0:24:320:24:37

consensus kind of guy, you talked a lot about -- he talked a lot about

0:24:370:24:41

consensus today? I have worked with the governor for ten years as a

0:24:410:24:46

public servant in various committees and committee settings,

0:24:460:24:49

he is somebody, he's a leader, I think that's important to know for

0:24:490:24:55

those who will work with him, he's a loader who will build consensus

0:24:550:25:00

and then move forward. Will he stand up to politicians if George

0:25:000:25:03

Osborne, or some other Chancellor says things he doesn't like. Will

0:25:030:25:07

he tell the Chancellor to get lost? It is important to remember this is

0:25:070:25:10

a man who has had a lot of experience in the public sector, he

0:25:100:25:14

has been in the finance ministry, he has now been governor for a

0:25:140:25:18

number of years. He is used to the tension that can arise between

0:25:180:25:22

Governments and central banks, and I have no doubt that when

0:25:220:25:26

appropriate, he will stand up. But at the same time he will do this in

0:25:260:25:30

a pragmatic way, and not make a fetish out of being independent,

0:25:300:25:34

just for the sake of being independent. He will be one of the

0:25:340:25:38

most powerful unelected people in the UK, Central Bankers tend to be

0:25:380:25:43

pretty powerful, don't they, do you think they are too powerful? Did

0:25:430:25:46

you think that when you were running the bank? First of all, it

0:25:460:25:49

is important to remember that he has a committee. He will have a

0:25:490:25:52

committee at the Bank of England, so this is not a, he can't take

0:25:520:25:55

personal decisions, so he will have to work with the committee. That is

0:25:550:25:59

the way it is designed for good reasons. And secondly, I think, it

0:26:000:26:03

is in the nature of Central Banking, that particularly at times of

0:26:030:26:08

crisis, the Central Bank tends to be the final backstop for a lot of

0:26:080:26:10

difficult decision. That is when people realise, typically, that

0:26:110:26:14

there is a lot of power in there. But I have always thought of it,

0:26:150:26:20

not so much as power, but rather that is the ability and having the

0:26:200:26:24

tools to make a difference in very difficult times. Mark Carney says

0:26:240:26:29

the role of monetary policy is to make sure economic growth rates

0:26:290:26:33

reach escape velocity, what does that mean? This economy has now

0:26:330:26:38

essentially had no growth for the last two years. So the exit out of

0:26:380:26:42

this terrible financial crisis has been very difficult. It is not

0:26:420:26:46

entirely surprising, given the enormous size and weight of the

0:26:460:26:50

financial sector, which has been the root of this crisis, really. It

0:26:500:26:53

would take longer in this country than perhaps in other countries.

0:26:530:26:59

What he means is that you need to have the policy input that will

0:26:590:27:04

allow finally for growth to escape out of this low growth environment,

0:27:040:27:07

and create prosperity and sustainable growth again. Do you

0:27:070:27:11

think accountability and openness with him will extend to letting us

0:27:110:27:16

know if there is going to be, for example, a sustained period of low

0:27:160:27:20

interest rates, letting the public in on that? I think the fact is we

0:27:200:27:25

don't know. The very essence of Central Banking, or of economic

0:27:250:27:30

policy making, generally, is uncertainty. He made that very

0:27:300:27:32

clear today, that he doesn't even know what the economy will look

0:27:320:27:36

like five months from now when he arrives here in London. There is

0:27:360:27:39

great uncertainty. But at the same time, it certainly looks like we

0:27:390:27:42

will have low interest rates, for quite some time, not just in this

0:27:420:27:44

country, but in many other countries as well. That has been

0:27:440:27:49

one of the features of this crisis, and is partly a result of the

0:27:490:27:52

policy response that we have seen all over the world. When you look

0:27:520:27:57

at the state of the UK economy, what do you do, do you shake your

0:27:570:28:01

head? So I'm a visitor here, I have lived ten years here before, I'm

0:28:010:28:05

now back for a second time, it is a wonderful country. That is why you

0:28:050:28:08

are our man to ask? It is very important for the British people to

0:28:080:28:11

have some confidence. This is a great country, this is a country

0:28:110:28:14

that historically has been an extraordinarily resilient country.

0:28:140:28:20

What about now? I have no doubt this resilience will eventually

0:28:200:28:24

lead the way out of this terrible period. We have to accept that at

0:28:240:28:27

the root of of this crisis was the financial sector, which is very

0:28:270:28:30

important in this country. So it will take time. It is going to take

0:28:300:28:35

some patience. Thank you very much.

0:28:350:28:40

Do you remember last November when EU leaders put off until another

0:28:400:28:44

summit a decision on how much Europe should spend? Well, it's

0:28:440:28:50

here, and Mark Urban is there. How is it going Mark?

0:28:500:28:54

Well, the leaders arrived here in such an uncompromising mood, that

0:28:540:28:58

the people trying to choreograph the talks, to get them into

0:28:580:29:04

agreement, had to start this summit nearly six hours late. As it stand,

0:29:040:29:08

Herman van Rompuy, the point man in trying to gain agreement, still

0:29:080:29:12

hasn't tabled his compromise proposal. So concerned is he about

0:29:120:29:16

the distance that still separate the different parties and the fact

0:29:160:29:19

that someone might veto his proposal as soon as he tables it.

0:29:200:29:23

So they could be talking well into the night. The fascinating thing is

0:29:230:29:28

the way that the countries seem to be lining up, and that it is along

0:29:280:29:38
0:29:380:29:38

the lines of an ancient fault lion that can still be seen at play.

0:29:380:29:42

-- fault line that can still be seen at play.

0:29:420:29:45

Centuries ago Europe was sharply divided by religion.

0:29:460:29:49

And the Protestant northerners considered themselves more

0:29:490:29:53

righteous, clearer thinking, than those who retained their faith in

0:29:530:30:01

the old doctrines of the Catholic Church. With today's budget

0:30:010:30:06

deadlock, there are curious echos of that. From Germany, to the

0:30:060:30:12

netherland, Sweden or the UK. There is a desire for cuts, pulling the

0:30:120:30:17

plug on the union's traditional preservation schemes. I don't want

0:30:170:30:21

to labour the religious analogy, but there is one interesting point

0:30:210:30:25

of comparison. Today, assent trees ago, the northern nations demand

0:30:250:30:29

reformation. It is as if they can't stand bureaucracy, waste, and by

0:30:290:30:39
0:30:390:30:40

implication, hand-outs. As he arrived for today's meeting I asked

0:30:400:30:43

Sweden's Prime Minister whether there were political risks in a

0:30:430:30:46

division of north and south. For a long time now, a lot of problems in

0:30:470:30:49

southern Europe, they need to increase their competitiveness.

0:30:490:30:57

They have a lot of tough reforms, a lot of their people are tired of

0:30:570:31:01

all of these austerity measures. At the same time, in northern Europe

0:31:010:31:10

we have a more competitive economy. Then, of course, we need to take

0:31:100:31:14

care of the European Union itself will increase the competitiveness

0:31:140:31:19

of Europe as a whole. It is clear, now, that the northern block is

0:31:190:31:23

happy to promote itself as such. For soon after he appeared, David

0:31:230:31:27

Cameron came to call upon the Swedish Prime Minister, followed by

0:31:270:31:34

the leader of the netherlands and Denmark, they held a meeting to co-

0:31:340:31:38

ordinate their position, vowing to hold firm for firming cuts in the

0:31:380:31:44

EU one trillion euro plan for the next seven years. But where was

0:31:440:31:48

Europe's lynch pin in this. Chancellor Angela Merkel stayed

0:31:480:31:55

away from the meeting, despite sharing many of the northern state

0:31:550:31:59

estimates' views, perhaps acknowledging the danger of

0:31:590:32:02

polarisation. TRANSLATION: We are coming together today and tomorrow

0:32:020:32:07

in a new attempt to agree a financial plan for the European

0:32:070:32:11

Council, which will be put to parliament. Whether it will be

0:32:110:32:17

successful, we cannot say. Those in the other corner, including Italy,

0:32:170:32:21

Spain and France, emphasise solidarity, and the need to spend

0:32:210:32:27

in order to grow out of recession. They decry what seems to be debate

0:32:270:32:32

in which some characterise the Mediterranean countries as idle.

0:32:320:32:36

It is true that there is some countries that have borrowed beyond

0:32:360:32:41

their capability to pay back, there is also countries and institutions

0:32:410:32:44

that have lent without the sufficient credit analysis that

0:32:440:32:49

they should have done at the time. And they lent to lose. That cycle

0:32:490:32:56

is reinforced by both sides of the situation. We should put it into a

0:32:560:32:59

moral context, it is not that there is good people or bad people.

0:32:590:33:03

lazy and hard working? Or lazy versus hard working people. What

0:33:030:33:07

was clear is as the leaders assembled for talks tonight is that

0:33:070:33:12

gaps of perception, as well as bugetry figure, remain large.

0:33:120:33:16

Compromise is essential, since the leaders failed to agree at the last

0:33:160:33:20

summit. And Ireland, now holding the EU presidency, is struggling to

0:33:200:33:25

achieve it, all too aware that voices off may regard this

0:33:250:33:29

torturous negotiating process as a sign of deeper dysfunction. It is

0:33:290:33:34

not an ideal process, that is for sure. I think if you were starting

0:33:340:33:38

from scratch you would probably devise a better way to come up with

0:33:380:33:43

the budget. It is a legacy and it is a process that has evolved over

0:33:430:33:49

many decades at this stage. It is not perfect, but from our point of

0:33:490:33:53

view the EU budget adds value. When we look at the EU budget, like a

0:33:530:33:56

national budget, you know, we have to spend better, we have to be

0:33:560:34:01

smarter in terms of how we invest our euros, and at EU level that is

0:34:010:34:04

particularly important when you are talking about transnational

0:34:040:34:07

projects, when you are talking about the connecting Europe

0:34:070:34:09

facility, for example, when you are talking about research and

0:34:090:34:12

development, when you are talking about those types of investments.

0:34:120:34:17

We have to be smart, we have to be future orientated, and we have to

0:34:170:34:22

be careful with tax-payers' money. Britain is sitting comfortably

0:34:220:34:26

among the budget hawks. It is not isolated, as so often here. But the

0:34:260:34:30

question for the Swedes or others is whether they will also line up

0:34:300:34:35

with Britain on the big picture of getting a new deal in Europe.

0:34:350:34:39

listen to the UK, and David Cameron, and let's say it is a good thing

0:34:390:34:44

that he is taking an initiative that can enable the UK to stay

0:34:440:34:47

inside the European Union, because that is an absolute value for

0:34:470:34:55

Sweden. It is an important ally for Sweden and for Europe. So I will be

0:34:550:34:59

pragmatic and listen to David Cameron. But, it is a tough thing

0:34:590:35:04

to say that you should renegotiate a lot of the substantial parts of

0:35:040:35:09

the European Union that are already in place.

0:35:090:35:14

Europe is too secular, too modern these days to default to the old

0:35:140:35:19

religious division. But they do appear still to inform its culture,

0:35:190:35:23

and some of its stereotypes. Under the pressure of economic stagnation,

0:35:230:35:30

the differences between Europe's north and south may now intensify.

0:35:300:35:36

With those differences, will Mr Hollande be the key? Sorry, I

0:35:360:35:40

didn't catch your question. Will there Mr Hollande be the key to

0:35:400:35:47

solving these differences between north and south? Well, he, of

0:35:470:35:51

course, is a key protaganist in this. He has vowed to defend the

0:35:520:35:54

principle of solidarity, as he calls t which is redistribution

0:35:540:35:59

from the richer to the poorer regions of Europe. People say that

0:35:590:36:05

he and Mr Cameron arrived in much more difficult or intransigent

0:36:050:36:09

moods, threaten to go veto any proposals, than was expected. So a

0:36:090:36:14

meeting that we had been expecting, in which Angela Merkel was going to

0:36:140:36:17

sit with the two men and mediate a solution, did not happen. Mr

0:36:170:36:21

Hollande did not come to that meeting, David Cameron did. Now

0:36:210:36:24

there are all sorts of possible explanations for this, it was a

0:36:240:36:28

diary problem, as he co-ordinated with some of the others, President

0:36:280:36:32

Hollande, through to the differences were still too grait

0:36:320:36:36

great, and the Germans themselves - - great, and the Germans themselves

0:36:360:36:41

felt maybe it would do harm to air them in that forum why. One person

0:36:410:36:44

on the inside of these talks tonight, told me that Mr Hollande

0:36:440:36:47

seems to have come to the conclusion, that the defence of the

0:36:470:36:50

principle that is he feels Europe is built on, for example against

0:36:500:36:53

David Cameron's agenda, set out in his recent speech, on renegotiation,

0:36:530:36:57

starts here. Should we expect decisions at this

0:36:570:37:04

summit, or just another summit? Well, you know, the issues have

0:37:040:37:07

become largely symbolic in this, I think. The negotiating box, which

0:37:070:37:12

the two sides are arguing about, on the spending, should not be that

0:37:120:37:15

hard to bridge. That is why many people before this said there

0:37:150:37:19

should be agreement. But then there is the whole question of to what

0:37:190:37:23

degree the European Parliament will sign off on what the leaders agree.

0:37:230:37:28

So, will it come to an agreement, very hard to say. If it does, will

0:37:280:37:33

it then go through the parliament? This could be a prolonged crisis.

0:37:330:37:39

Thank you. Before the end of the programme, we

0:37:390:37:43

will look at tomorrow's front pages before your eyes. Before then a

0:37:430:37:48

light up in your at particulars. You should at least be impressed by

0:37:480:37:53

the fact the largest known prime number has been discovered. Prime

0:37:530:37:56

numbers can only be divided by themselves, and one. And there is

0:37:560:38:00

an infinite number of them, which means mathematitions, like

0:38:000:38:07

undertakers, will always have a job. The huge number was generated by a

0:38:070:38:17
0:38:170:38:20

computer, and contains 17 million digits, best expresses as 2 raised

0:38:210:38:25

to a very large number. It was started by a 17th century

0:38:250:38:29

French monk, he created a form he believed would help identify big

0:38:290:38:33

crimes. This week's find is only the 48th Mersenne prime to be

0:38:330:38:39

confirmed, and relied on complicated computer all georhythms.

0:38:390:38:46

It shattered the previous biggest discovered four years a with only

0:38:460:38:52

13 million digits, losers! Each number is eligible for the Great

0:38:520:38:59

Successor, or GIMP SFOR short. It hopes there will be the discovery

0:38:590:39:04

of a prime number containing one million digits, which would make it

0:39:040:39:14
0:39:140:39:16

twice the size of Wales. Dr Curtis Cooper from the

0:39:160:39:20

University of Central Missouri led the search for the big prime number.

0:39:200:39:24

Congratulations. Can you remember the first time that you were aware

0:39:240:39:30

of prime numbers? Not really. I have been interested in mathematics

0:39:300:39:35

since high school, but, and in prime numbers and number theory,

0:39:350:39:38

that has always been a big interest of mine. I can't remember the first

0:39:380:39:43

time. You can't remember how you got on to the big prime numbers

0:39:430:39:51

game. How did that start? OK, there was a George Waltman is the founder

0:39:510:39:58

of this GIMPS project. He started it in 1996, a student of mine in

0:39:580:40:03

1997, informed me about the project. He said to me there is a lot of

0:40:030:40:06

computers here at the University of Central Missouri, maybe you can

0:40:060:40:09

harness those and participate in the project. So that was kind of

0:40:090:40:15

the seed that got us going. have held the record for the

0:40:150:40:19

biggest prime number before, what is it you are doing that other

0:40:190:40:27

people aren't? I don't know, exactly. Oh come on, don't be

0:40:270:40:33

modest? We have been lucky, for sure. But I have a lot of support

0:40:330:40:36

from our university, the administration, the technology

0:40:360:40:40

information, information tknolg departments have really helped --

0:40:400:40:43

technology departments have really helped. We have a lot of computers

0:40:430:40:47

on our campus. We have got 1,000 that are working on the project

0:40:470:40:54

right now. As we have had success, it has kind of team rolled, and so

0:40:540:41:00

the administration and -- steam rolled, so the administration and

0:41:000:41:05

services will say they have let me be administrator on the project on

0:41:050:41:09

computers, and I have a server in my office where I can access all

0:41:090:41:12

1,000 machines and co-ordinate and start and stop the programme, and

0:41:120:41:15

things like that. Those two things have been a really big help. What

0:41:150:41:19

is the driver here for you, I know there is some prize money, but you

0:41:190:41:25

are not going to be able to retire on it? No, no. In fact, we have

0:41:250:41:30

always taken the prize money and given it back to the university. I

0:41:300:41:34

think what drives me is the process of searching for the primes, and

0:41:340:41:40

the fact that this is kind of like climbing Mount Everest, or diamonds

0:41:400:41:45

in the rough that we are searching for. And just the beauty of the

0:41:450:41:50

mathematics and the all georite ims, and harnessing all the computer

0:41:500:41:55

power, that is what drives me and I love it. Mount Everest is there,

0:41:550:41:59

while these bigger and bigger prime numbers aren't, or you can't see

0:41:590:42:05

them? Yeah, that's right. I'm still wondering what drives you. Because

0:42:050:42:10

some people look at these huge prime number and go, what's the

0:42:100:42:17

point? A lot of people have said that to me. What's the practical

0:42:170:42:25

application of this, and really, nobody has a use for this 17-

0:42:250:42:28

million digit prime we have found. There is no practical application.

0:42:280:42:31

Some of the side benefits. One of the things that used to drive a

0:42:310:42:35

colleague of mine that worked with us in the past, was this

0:42:350:42:40

distributed computing idea. Where you can have a big problem, and you

0:42:400:42:45

can distribute it among a whole bunch of PCs worldwide we have got

0:42:450:42:50

thousands, tens of thousands of PCs worldwide that have downloaded for

0:42:500:42:56

free George Waltman's software, and run it on their computers, and it

0:42:560:43:01

has been co-ordinated by the prime net server in San Diego. That is a

0:43:010:43:05

fascinating model in itself, that you can solve a big problem like

0:43:050:43:10

finding a big prime number, and do it on all these little PCs all over

0:43:100:43:16

the world. Are you good with your tax return? No, not really. My wife

0:43:160:43:20

does our taxes. I don't even touch them! At least the numbers are

0:43:200:43:25

smaller, I guess. What does it mean to you, do you get a sense of

0:43:250:43:29

something, when you see this new big number, what do you see, what

0:43:290:43:37

do you feel when you see it? course it is exciting. And you get

0:43:370:43:42

a sense of satisfaction, because you know the last one we discovered

0:43:420:43:48

was in September of 2006, and so, you know, during the process, in

0:43:480:43:52

2009, in 2010, even three or four week ago, I think, gosh, we have

0:43:520:43:57

tested a lot of numbers and haven't found anything, what am I really

0:43:570:44:05

doing. But, what kind of drives me is just the thrill and the prime,

0:44:050:44:08

so and it was announced we discovered it, there was a big

0:44:080:44:13

excitement. Our university has gone crazy. Congratulations.

0:44:130:44:20

notoriety of it. Thank you. Good to hear from you, gone gratlation.

0:44:200:44:30
0:44:300:44:55

-- congratulations. Let's take a We will encourage to take the

0:44:550:44:58

stairs not the lift. We leave you with some people who raised to the

0:44:580:45:03

top of the Empire State Building, 86 floors, and more steps than the

0:45:030:45:09

big prime numbers. Australians were the fastest men and women, Mark

0:45:090:45:19

Borne made the climb in ten minutes and ten seconds.

0:45:190:45:21

# Ain't nothing gonna break my stride

0:45:210:45:24

# I'm running and I won't touch ground

0:45:240:45:28

A look at the government's abandonment of plans to scrap some GCSEs. New Bank of England governor Mark Carney speaks to a Treasury select committee. Plus, the fight over the EU budget.

Eddie Mair presents.


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