20/02/2013 Newsnight


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

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Tonight, does the collapse of the Vicky Pryce trial suggest a major


flaw at the very heart of the British jury system. It is now your


duty to sit down and try to separate the facts from the fancy.


If there is a reasonable doubt in Muir minds as to the guilt of the


accused, then you must bring me a verdict of not guilty. If there is


no reasonable doubt, you must, in good conscience, find the accused


guilty. That is the Hollywood version. The real-life version was


a jury asking a judge questions which suggested they hadn't a clue


about their role, hadn't listened, or hadn't understood.


Also tonight, why is it that school results are better in some of the


poorest areas of London, than in more prosperous places outside the


capital. I do actually want to become a Prime Minister. I want to


show that it doesn't matter what race you are, what religion you


come from, that you can become anything you want.


England's Chief Inspector of schools, in rare interview, will


tell us whether the London effect can help children become Prime


Minister. Currency wars, are all the big


currencies competitively devaluing to help their economies. What


should the UK do about it. Paul Mason will have an exciting graph.


How old is too old to have a baby. With a report demanding that the


NHS should pay for IVF treatment for women over 40, where should we


draw the line? Good evening. This is a trial which


will go down in legal history. Not for the verdict, there wasn't one,


and there will have to be a retrial. But the jury in the Vicky Pryce


case asked the judge a series of questions which Mr Justice Sweenew


found so extraordinary, after 30 years experience, that he said some


of the questions demonstrated a fundamental deficit in


understanding of the entire trial process. In less polite layman's


terms, he was suggesting some of the questions were extremely stupid.


You might possibly agree. We report on a truly remarkable day in court.


The jury were discharged after sending the judge a note indicating


it was highly unlikely they would reach even the majority verdict he


had asked for. Yet this may have seemed a reasonably simple case.


Vicky Pryce is accused of perverting the course of justice.


She denies the chanch, saying she was coerced by her ex-- charge,


says she was coerced by her ex- husband, Chris Huhne, into take


iing his speeding points. Whether or not she was the victim of


marital coercion was the specific issue. That is an ancient defence,


back to 1925. The most appropriate thing is for me to read the words


Mr Sweeney used in his summing up. He said that a not guilty verdict


would require the jury to agree that she had no choice but to do as


her husband order, and that she was present at the time she signed the


paperwork. And she said that he was so present. So that is an issue


which he has quite clearly defined for the jury. There is, of course,


nothing unusual in a jury asking a judge for guidance. Yesterday the


jury of eight women and four men asked the judge, Mr Justice Sweeney


ten questions. They ranged from the straight forward to the curious and


Those were questions that clearly shocked lawyers in the case. The


prosecutor, Madelin Nistor QC, said the ir-- said that the jury seemed


not to have sufficiently grasped its task, and the judge talked


about his concern about the fundamental deficit in


understanding that the questions demonstrated. He added that in well


over 30 years of criminal trial he had never come across this, at this


stage, never. The judge had told the jurors that if they couldn't


understand the directions they couldn't reach a true verdict. Do


jurors always understand what they are told. Some years ago a survey


for the Ministry of Justice suggested two thirds couldn't. Do


today's events show there is a serious problem with the jury


system? This is one case where the jury have been unable to reach a


verdict. Juries are, sometimes, unable to reach verdicts. I think


we would all accept that we would rather any jury in any criminal


case adopt a reasoned approach, at the end of which they are simply


unable to reach a verdict one way or the other. Than for a jury to


return in haste, with an ill- conceived, ill-considered verdict,


which, don't forget, if it conflicts with the evidence, could


be taken on appeal for the Court of Appeal as being a verdict that was


made against the weight of the evidence. The jury has been


dismissed, but the case is, of course, not over. There is to be a


speedy retrial, starting next Monday.


Chris Huhne won't be sentenced until the Vicky Pryce case is


concluded. Let's discuss this with John Cooper


QC, and the QC who appeared for a defendant in a Heathrow robbery


case conducted, very unusually, without a jury, for fear of jury


tampering. How surprising this that a judge is saying, however politely


to a jury, that some of you are not up to the job? I'm not sure he's


saying. That the fact is jurors sometimes ask questions, sometimes


jurors get it right, sometimes they get it wrong. This is a system


based on human beings, and they are fallible. But the alternative is


more frightening. The alternative is no jury, the alternative is not


being tried by our peers and a judge. The other thing is this, I


98% of trials don't have jurors in them any way. It is not a major


upheaval as far as the courts are concerned. It is a good system, it


works, it is fallible and gets things wrong. But the alternative


is frightening. The fact it is unusual, we are reporting on it,


and we are paying attention to it, that points up to the fact that it


is news? It points up to being news. We can talk about anecdotes we have


in the past. We can all talk about for instance stories we have heard,


like the jury some years Agatha consulted a wee ghee board to


consult with the dead defendant -- ouija board to consult with the


dead defendant. I had a jury asking could we convict on the evidence or


could it be gut instinct. We have all had stories like that, but


importantly they are our peers judging us. You appeared in a case,


for the first time in 300 years, heard in England without a jury.


Did it change the whole nature of the trial, did it feel very odd to


you? It was a very strange experience, as somebody who is used


to juries. We suddenly had a crown court judge who was also the jury


in the case. We had to work out our own procedure, everything was


different. When points of law are argued a jury goes out. This time


you obviously had the judge being the judge, taking off his jury hat.


It was very different. But things I did notice were, for example,


because the judge also had to give his judgment, he was taking a very


close note of the evidence. So therefore he couldn't always watch


the witness the way that a jury sitting across is able to do. Those


sort of differences really struck me. It really confirmed, in my head,


I'm a big fan of juries. You both are in different ways, with


criticisms. I wondered whether you felt perhaps a lay person would


think, look, a jury is likely to be the softer option. It is more


likely to get off in front of a jury than with a judge, because he


or she will have heard it all before? I'm sure people do think


that. In fact, some defendants will deliberately elect for a jury


because they know statistically they have a greater chance of


acquittal before a jury than a magistrate. Those are the facts.


That is not necessarily a bad thing. I think the bigger picture of the


jury being a barometer of society as well, in that they may consider,


for example, that this is a prosecution that really should not


be brought. They do not like it. Although they may feel perhaps the


evidence is sufficient here for guilty, this is not a case we want


to convict on. That is justice rather than the strict


interpretation of the law? A jury sense of justice, that is


interesting. I was going to add to this, and if jurors are not


understanding a case, it is not the jurors' fault, it is the


professions' fault, and the system's fault for not enabling it


to be explained to them. How do you change that, because you know,


we're all lay people on juries, we have all other jobs and interests,


we don't spend our time in court, how do you change it to make sure


that the jury, since they are just like the rest of mankind, how they


really know what they are up to? lot of criminal cases are all about


human life. Which is exactly what a jury is calibrated to judge, they


are human beings with experience of life, as is often referred to by


judges. If there are technicalties in a case, whether it be medical


technicality, financial technicality, my experience is that


you can boil that down into propositions and presentations


which a jury can understand. Even in very complex fraud cases, that


is one of the areas where some people say juries don't get the


expert evidence there? I have done a number of complex fraud cases and


presented it to the jury. The jury have come back with rational and


important questions. We have paperless trials, it is getting


less and less complicated. The profession are getting more and


more used to clear presentation. My view is this, if the jury don't


understand a point, let's not blame the jury, let's blame us and


perhaps the judges. Is it more complicated now, just because


jurors, because we all are exposed to 24-hour news, Twitter, there is


so much more going on than to think about what you are only going on in


the case. If you were doing the Pistorius case you would hear


nothing but that? It is more complicated because there is more


information from outsiefpltd those people who serve on juries and


write about it, write about the real seriousness with think they


approach the task. You are judging your peers, you can feel that sort


of atmosphere. The court goes quiet, the jury is entering. They are very,


very important. I think they can actually get around things in the


press and Twitter and so on. Thank you both very much.


In a moment, why are poor white children outside London falling


behind in education? And, putting the biological clocks forward,


should IVF treatment be offered to women in their 40s.


What make as good school? What is the secret all me that turns an


underperform -- alchemy that turns an underperforming pupil into a


successful graduate. There are schools performing well with


a first language, and those outside London, the London schools are


performing much better. If there is a London Effect, what is it? How


could it help schools up and down the country? Tesmoore Zulfiqar is


16, in his last year of school in the East End of London. He's


determined to move up in the world. We come from a humble background,


the family really motivates me to do good. I have seen my cousins,


they are very high achievers, they are doing medicines and accountants


and stuff like that. I want to really achieve high in my life. To


help out my parents as well. It is a challenge. This is one of the


poorer parts of London. At his school, Little Ilford, over half


the pupils are eligible for free school meals. The vast majority


speak English as a second language. 15 years ago exam results were poor,


and yet, this year 71% of pupils got five GCSEs at grades A*-C,


including English and maths. Tesmoore Zulfiqar has already taken


three GCSEs, he got A*s and an A. have been to a lot of trips to


universities, and I have been to Oxford and Cambridge. I like the


ethos, the way Cambridge University is. I quite want to go there. And


they hold a lot of reputation in the work world. If you go to an


employer and say you have been to Oxford and Cambridge, it gives you


more of a chance to get a job. His family are originally from


Kashmir, his mother works in accounts, and Mohammed is a driver.


Neither went to university, but her keen their son should. GCSEs will


be hard as well. You can't expect it to be easy. Research suggests


parents' support for education can be crucial. You have to make sure


you use your time constructively. Putting effort in study and you


will get your results for certain. His family say the school often


calls them, if he's going well, or if he needs some help. In English


he was finding some of the course work difficult, and he's doing


another GCSE in Urdu, where he was finding some of the work difficult,


so the teacher did get in touch with us and we did speak to us.


He's doing extra after school, two hours and one hours in English and


fis sicks, sometimes in the Urdu G -- physics, and sometimes Urdu GCSE,


the teacher arranged it for him and that is at the school. English may


not be their first language at home, but at school these 11 and 12-year-


olds are following Shakespeare's verse.


We have seen real success with young people who have come to us,


come to us with very low levels of attainment, and through the support


they have received in the classroom, from the intervention sessions,


they have left our school flourishing with fantastic GCSE


results. As a school we have seen that young people can succeed,


given the right support. I pose the "no excuse culture" means, we know


with the right support, the right type of learning, any young person


can achieve. That is what we strive to do.


One of the most significant things they do, is to give extra teaching


to any students who are behind in their reading and writing. Like


these pupils in year seven. What letter is taken out of here?,


not an "e" an "o". We knew for our learners it was about their writing


F they weren't able to write -- if they weren't able to write fluently


they couldn't access the wider programme. We have developed that


with the lessons and developed it with staff in the wider school to


transfer the skills into all their classes.


Government policies over the last decade have helped Little Ilford


climb up the league tables. Teach First brought in graduates for from


universities, and the Challenge Programme, meant Little Ilford


worked for closely with other schools.


The dynamism of the capital inspires children too. Newham was


an Olympic borough, and from their classrooms, pupils can see the


London skyline changing. The shard, soaring upwards.


Over the last ten years schools in London have been improving,


sponsored academies have been getting best fastest, but local


authority schools have been improving too. Many as describe


this to London Challenge, but central Government cut the funding


for that two years a and yet the momentum continues. The gap between


schools in the capital, and the rest of the country is growing.


When you look at GCSE results regionally. Chris Cook of the


Financial Times has made the most detailed analysis yet of pupil GCSE


results of pupils across England over the last ten years. London


schools are now a long way ahead of the rest of the country. To the


extent if you look at children looking in the very poorest few


neighbourhoods in the city, the children there get GCSE results


that are better, on average, than the rest of the country. It is


better to be poor in London than an average kid outside London. That is


how huge the capital's advantage has become. That is especially


obvious when you look at children he isable for free school meals.


Comparing 2003 with 2012. These scores are not based only on GCSE


passes, but on exactly what grades children got.


This year's results show one ethnic group is falling well behind.


If you are from an ethnic minority you are more likely to be in a


London school, that means the improvement of London schools has


taken you with it. If you are a white person, you are more likely


to be outside London. So the problems of the failing schools are


weighing entirely on white children. Where as the benefits of London


rise proportionally benefit black and Asian children.


Researchers have sought to understand why the educational


achievement of poor white British children across the country is now


lower than others. They found a correlation between attainment and


educational aspiration of both parents and children. As Little


Ilford has shown, these attitudes can be influenced by school. And


every parent wants the best for their child. Barnsley has its


ambitious students. Alex is doing his GCSEs next summer. He wants to


go to medical school. I wanted to be a doctor because my friend is in


a wheelchair, he has spina bifida, I want to help people like him who


haven't got the same life as everyone else, to make a difference,


and hopefully help other people. you understand it, or do you need


me to go through some of it with you. His stepfather went to


university, his mother, Beverley, didn't, she would like her son to


achieve his dream. When I was his age I wanted to leave school, get a


job and make some money. I want him to try his best, if he wanted to be


a dustman and he's happy doing that, that's fine, as long as he tried


everything he wanted to do and he's happy. That is ultimately what you


want your children to be happy. I know Alex wants to try his best and


Barnsley isn't the bee all and end all in Alex's life.


GCSE results in Barnsley as a whole are well below England's average.


The authority sits close to the bottom of the National League table.


The question is, whether Barnsley and other authorities can learn


from the improvements in London schools, and breakthrough the


legacy of the industrial past. 40 years ago, going down the pit was


the only option for many, the mines closed decades ago.


Alex's headteacher told me, they still affect people's outlook.


won't find anyone, head teachers, or people connected with education


in the council, who would stand and say they are happy with the


position we are in the league tables and they are happy with our


results profile. Having said, that I do think we need to be findful of


the situation that towns like Barnsley have been through in


recent years. In the very recent past, the mining industry was there,


it was very active, there was lots of jobs for people, and those jobs


aren't there any more. As a result we have got a lot more unemployment,


and we have a lot more children growing up in families, where


unemployment is a real issue and economic situations are a real


issue. So, that has been effect, undourtedly, on the mind set of the


-- undoubtedly on the mind set of young people as they come to school.


It is our job to try to work on that, raise aspiration and ambition,


and try to enable our young people to do really well in the future.


That can now start with the very youngest children. Alex's school


has been merged with two others, to create the brand new Holy Trinity,


taking pupils aged 3-16. # We can make the most of our time


Almost all these children speak English as a first language. Fewer


than one in six are eligible for free school meals. So the school


doesn't qualify for the Teach First programme, which places graduates


from leading universities in schools.


Last year, just 53% of pupils got five GCSEs at grades A*-C,


including English and maths, that is below the national average.


Because of this problem with the Greek number system...The


Headteacher is determined to improve results, by monitoring


standards closely, and making sure all the children have personal


targets. He's getting parents more involved, he started calling them


into school if their child isn't making enough progress. He wants to


bring some of the energy of London into his own school. Last year he


took some of his pupils to Newham, they saw the sites, and visited


another school. It was really calm and controlled there, where


sometimes it can be slightly different to that here. Callum and


Emily said the atmosphere was quite different. You knew they were


achieving higher, but on the other hand, we knew we could do it too.


That is how we think of it. If you didn't look out of window and know


that you were in Newham in a rough area, you wouldn't have known T


they looked like really good learners, they were all smart, it


looked like they were all prepared and ready to learn.


These pupils wanted to go to university, to have professional


careers, and ambitions shared by many in the Newham school. Where


pupils see no limits for themselves. I do actually want to become a


Prime Minister, I want to be the next PM for England. That's because


I want to show that it doesn't matter what race you are, what


religion you come from, or what ethnic or economic background you


come from, that you can become anything you want. That's my goal,


to be a doctor. I wouldn't mind if I become a doctor, and my back step


would be a pharmacist, it is still in the field of medicine. It is not


just a soaring ambition, they have the exam grades to take them


forward. The question is, whether the lessons of London will travel,


especially to places like Barnsley. With me is the Chief Inspector of


Schools in England, Michael Wilshaw. In 200 London schools were said to


be under-performing, now they are out-performing. What is the secret


here? I was a London teacher and headteacher before I joined Ofsted


as its Chief Inspector. I saw the good and the bad. In the 1970s, 80s


and 90s standards were low in London. Now they are good F you


said to me in that period that London would be achieving really


well, I wouldn't believe you. What has made the difference has been


political will. The programme talked about lon -- London


Challenge, Government-sponsored action through that system made the


difference. We all want all children to do well, what is it


that concentrates it to get the job done? The chief adviser to London


Challenge uses a phrase of presenting the brutal facts to head


teachers and governors and schools, where there is underperformance.


And the messaging of those brutal facts was done by head teachers,


good and outstanding head teachers in London took responsibility for


improving schools that were less effective. And that worked really


well. That model of school-to- school support, engineered by


London Challenge and brokered by it, is a model happening up and down


the country. It is happening outside London as well. There were


a couple of interesting points, literacy, saying effectively, here


is a brutal truth, if you can't read you won't do well in chemistry,


we have to teach you to read. That seemed to be basic isn't it? It is


a basic. Good schools operate those basic. The thing about comparing


London and Newham, with Barnsley is this, that children are children


are children, they are not genetically different. What makes


the difference is the culture of the school, the expectation levels


of the school. That is determined by leadership. The way you have got


a situation where youngsters are coming from homes with limited


ambitions, and go to a school with limited ambitions, and supported by


a local authority with limited ambitions, it doesn't work. Schools


can make a difference. Clearly then, some children who are


not doing so well, we heard in the report, outside London, quite often


they happened to be white British, in London there is a relative


disproportion of people from ethnic minorities. That is a problem isn't


it. If white British kids aren't doing so well? That is a problem. I


can give you examples of schools with white British populations who


are doing phenomenally well. accept tough do better with this?


We have to do better. We have just done some research into good


performance across the country. We have compared local authorities


with similar demographics, similar levels of poverty, similar levels


in their populations, similar levels of children with free school


meals, that are performing very, very differently. That is why we


are saying, local authorities have a responsibility here to make sure


they do what London Challenge did, that is to draw a line under


performance. That is interesting, if relative poverty or how much


money spent on the school is less sporpbt, what is important, and


what is there -- important, and what is important, is that in white


working-class British groups that you need to look at. For instance,


is it aspiration? It is aspiration, but by teachers in the school, the


headteacher in the school, culture makes a difference. Children are


children are children. What makes a difference is the level of


expectation of the school, and the intervention that takes place after


school and at weekends and other periods. Something you have done in


London which is called Teach First, to attract some of the best


graduates into teaching first. Does that help because it says really


bright graduates go into teaching, that is what they do, and this


school is, by its nature, attracting better people, you as a


pupil will do better. Teach First helps, if you go around the country


and see good schools, you see head teachers who are really proactive


in recruiting good people into their schools. Up and down the


country, not just in London. They are very creative in the way they


do recruit good teachers. Do you need to also deal with the question


of some bad teachers, some teachers who are not up to it. You


commissioned a report on whether some teachers fail to stretch the


brightest pupils. Is it difficult to get rid of a few teachers who


are not up to it? My view, and I say this as an ex-headteacher, is


that where there is a will to remove consistently poor staff,


head teachers can do that. It is a myth to believe that they can't.


you think it should be easier or you think it is OK at the moment?


think head teachers have a responsibility to root out poor


practice, when they identify it. Everyone can have a bad lesson now


and then. Do you think it should be easier for them to do so? Yes and


the Secretary of State has brought in legislation to allow head


teachers to do something about poor practice. It is at the heart of


this, head teachers have a responsibility to recognise and


reward good teaching, but also a responsibility to do something


about people who teach ineffectively on a consistent basis.


Obviously the ball is in your court, London, 10 years ago,


underperforming in a short space of time, in educational terms, doing


much better. What will you do to say to children in Barnsley or


elsewhere, this will work for you? Lock around you. Look at not just


what's happening in London, but look at outstanding practice in the


same authority as your school is in. Look at what's happening in the


next authority. Look at good practice elsewhere and learn from


it. That final question, that question of aspiration. That's very


difficult. We had a child there saying he would be Prime Minister,


good luck to him. But how do you do that, how do you create the sense


that you can achieve? Speaking as an ex-headteacher, you greet


children at the gate of the school, and you say to them very clearly,


you keep the culture of the street over there, if you come from a


background where aspiration isn't high, that's fine. But, when you


enter the gates of this school, the aspiration is high, we're going to


make sure we do everything in our power to get you to achieve. That


is what is important, leadership and culture.


Now, the pound sunk to a two-and-a- half year low against the dollar


today. Minutes released by the Bank of England show it was considering


whether to print even more money under the quanative easing system.


Talk like that tends to weaken the pound, and it is thought some


currencies are having a secret currency war. Something everyone


claims to be against, but might be happening despite the protestations.


Here is currency war for dummies. Great qefs our time. How many


arrowheads do you get for a whale bone? In the 1930s they were


obsessed with funny money for a reason, the currency system had


gone haywire, and now, suddenly exchange rates are a big issue


again. Tiny arrowheads worth three shillings a pound. If you ask the


most powerful people in the world what the biggest question in the


It is a good question, we know the answer is no, because they say so.


But they are being sorely tempted, and here's why. If we go back to


2009, many countries in their response to the recession had plans


to have large increases in exports. In fact, the increase in exports


was something which couldn't be achieved which everybody at the


same time unless some other planet were planning to start importing


good from the earth. The consequence of that has been that


over time those export plans haven't come to fruition, people


have started to think they might need to double up on their export


plans. They want to depreciate currencies to increase exports in


the future. Here is an economist to explain why currency wars are bad.


Nobody can win if it is a competitive devaluation. One


country does it and drives its currency down, and another country


does it, that drives the currency up on the first one. What will


really happen is a lot more money being pumped into the world economy


which has inflationary consequences. But some people think a currency


war has kicked off. Japan, which needs to export more of these


things, is accuses of manipulating its currency down to boost exports.


Recently the yen has been high, now it is rapidly collapsing.


Shells the oldest and most widely distributed currency. Still used in


some states and tropical Africa. The problem with the currency war,


is even without declaring one, by taking certain actions you can make


other countries feel like they are being, well, attacked. One thing


that the emerging market countries are doing is to put blockages in


the way of additional currency appreciation of their exchange


rates. Brazil has done that, made it a little more expensive to buy


into the Brazilian currency. China intervenes in the currency market


to hold the rate down. Switzerland for example, a year or so ago, put


a cap effectively on its rate. They are trying to defend themselves,


but each of those distortions in the market forces action somewhere


else. It is a dangerous situation. Now, if we do get into a currency


war, the United Kingdom has previous. In 2008 sterling fell


against the rest of the world's currencies by 20%, the Bank of


England was very pleased by that, because it helped us avoid absolute


depression. Now, here's the thing, sterling is falling again, so why?


Sterling is falling because the UK is likely to lose its triple-A


rating soon, making it less attractive to hold Government bonds,


which means you don't need sterling in order to buy the Government


bonds. It is falling because the Bank of England is likely to print


more money, likely to lead to more inflation in the long-term over the


UK, that is undesirable from an international investor Percio


pective, and the general economic outlook -- perspective, and the


general economic outlook is poor, so people don't want to hold assets


for that reason. Beads has always been used for money. That is the


currency of the north American Indians. IRA assuring picture


emerges, by printing money, countries are trying to boost their


economy, because it tanks their currencies and boosts their exports


is a pure coincidence, including here. So, there is no currency war,


any reblemblans between what the Bank of England is doing and a --


resemblance between what the Bank of England is doing and a currency


war, is purely accidental. I hope that was clear. Before the


end of the programme we will have the front pages. First, new


guidelines recommend that the age limit for women to have fertility


treatment in England and Wales should go up from 39 to 42. It


means childless women in their early 40s could be considered for


IVF on the National Health Service. With an ageing population and ever-


increasing demands on the health budget, is it a sensible way of


spending NHS money. Why are we leaving it later in life to become


parents? They probably know it already, but for parents wanting


children in their late 30s, the clock is ticking. Have a look at


this graph that came with today's NHS guidelines. You will see why


experts believe the best time to conceive is between 20-35. As a


nation, we are having kids later. The average age a mum has her first


child has gone up from just under 25 in 1981 to just under 28 in 2011.


If you dig into the detail, the figures show a dramatic increase in


new mothers aged between 35-39. It was nearly 22 per 1,000 in 1981 and


2011 it was 112 per 1 though though for those aged 40 and over, it has


doubled to 14 per 1,000. IVF is factor in this. Back in 1991 there


were 6,500 IVF cycles in the UK. By 2011 it had grown to 60,000. The


figures show just over half of those who use IVF are over 35. For


those struggling to conceive, the experience can be incredibly


traumatic. But many will question whether allowing older couples the


right to fertility treatment on the NHS, is really the best use of tax-


payers' money. Mariella Frostrup is a broadcaster


and mother of two children who arrived after she turned 40,


Katherine Baldwin is a journalist and author, also in her 40s,


writing about the experience of childless women. Do you think the


new rules are a good thing. They extend the choice for some women in


some families? I think the new rules are a good thing. I think the


women who will benefit from the new regulations is very small. As nice


as said -- as NICE has said it is a small number of women. We need to


look at the big picture this headline number sends out. That my


concern is that women will think oh I have got until I'm 42 now. I'm


concerned that too many women will think I can delay and delay and at


the end of the delaying period there is IVF. The problem is, IVF


doesn't always work. A lot of women end up feeling very sad about the


fact that they have tried and it has failed. You can change the


rules, but you can't change biology, there is always the potential for a


problem the later you leave it? I think it is important that women


are made aware of their fertility rates. Of the chances of IVF


working over 40. IVF is marvellous, I have friend who have had children


via IVF, I do think because of the way society is set up, I think more


women should have access to it. But the problem is, if we think it is a


safety net, and we just leave everything until the last minute,


and then there is IVF. Every case is different. It does seem to be a


trend that some women are leaving it later and later, more women are


doing. Why do you think that is? love the way it is only women


making this choice. Of course generally speaking to have children


it takes two people. More frequently that happens to be a man.


This is situation that's evolved because of relationships between


men and women in the main, I would say changing over the last 30-40


years, since the sexual revolution and the advent of the pill and so


on. I don't think it is that women are leaving it later and later, I


think it is becoming harder and harder to find a willing partner


with whom to have children when you are younger. There aren't very many


men, certainly not in my experience in their 20s and 30s saying let's


go make babies. Without going into the basis of biology, that is


because for men it is different and women it is different, and the


biological clock ticks differently for the two sexes? Absolutely, if


we want to continue to have children and the human spee sheets,


it can't be down to women, -- species, it can't be down to women


forcing men to have children younger. With the new


recommendations from NICE, you would think it was the Apocalypse


Now, all we are talking about is a recommendation that women, for a


couple more years should be allowed the benefit of progress in medical


science. Infertility is a condition, it is a medical condition. It is


not something that someone's willed upon themselves. In any kind of


defeatist way. It is actually the same as a bun I don't know, a lot


worse, but you know it is a condition.


-- a bunion, a lot worse but I don't know, it is a condition. You


talk about your working-class background in your book, and you


went to Oxford, and the women friends you have met in those two


different places have made different choices? I don't know


whether my background, working- class, I'm not sure if that is the


wry term. Single parent mum, my parents divorced in the 70s divorce


boom. I got a scholarship to a private school. Although we didn't


have much funds when I was growing up. Then I ended up at Oxford. I


suppose the girls that I was at school with, a lot of them got


married and had children. As I moved to Oxford and to London, and


the women I have since met in London, there is a city thing going


on. The more you mix in big cities, the more your peer group is just


getting on with their jobs, and going out, you know. We feel a lot


younger, we behave a lot younger. There is the tendency to wait. But


I agree with Mariella, there is a diminishing pool of men. Did you


make a choice that you would wait until 40 to have kids and then get


some IVF, did you ever for a second make that choice. I didn't make the


choice to have my children in my early 40s, it took that long for me


to find a man who I felt confident. My parents divorced in the 70s as


well. That left me with a very strong sense of the impermanence of


relationships. It took a very long time for me to feel confident that


I had found a partner who I felt secure enough with to have children.


Because I wanted my children to have the security that I didn't


feel as a child. Katherine was already pointed out that perhaps


very few people benefit from this. And it is all a bit all over the


place. England and Wales have one rule, 42, Scotland has a different


one, Northern Ireland has a different one, and it depends on


what your local Health Trust is prepared to pay for? It is the


signal that is important. That is incredibly important. When I went


to my gynaecologist who I had been seeing for 20 years when I met my


future husband, and I said I was going to try for children and I'm


really excited, I was 40 at the time, he burst out laughing and


said you have a.00000001% chance of conceiving. There is a sense of a


woman reaching your early 40s that your chances have run out. That


there is no way short of a miracle that you will conceive, and yet out


of ten of my good friends, eight of them had their children in their


early 40s. There should be far more message of positivity. Most women


who find their lives in that situation, it is not of their


choosing. I'm delighted it worked out for you and so many people. I


mix in circles and speak with women who are grieving the fact that they


didn't, that it didn't work out for them. What would your solution be?


We need to look a bigger picture. How can we enable women and men,


maybe a bit younger, not in their 20s so much, but maybe mid-30s. I


know women in their mid-30s, working in the City, they just


don't think they can take the time out yet. They will wait. That is a


cultural thing that we need to change. It is not their choice,


then actually. It is something forced on them. We all have to work


for a living! Indeed, thank you very much.


A quick look at tomorrow morning's front pages. Beginning with the


Apology for the loss of subtitles for 58 seconds


That's all tonight. If you are an art lover, you might be pleased to


hear you have been left a collection of Italian Baroque


masterpieces by the late Sir Dennis Marn. The �1 million gift to the


nation can be seen in various galleries for free around the


Apology for the loss of subtitles for 58 seconds


country. Find out where in the Art Good evening, a cold, frosty and


windy night and into the morning. Particularly across part of Wales


and south-west England. Clear he conditions with a bit of sunshine


in the morning. -- clearer conditions with a bit of sunshine


in the morning. The snow flurries won't be much of a covering but


plenty of cloud through Scotland and the north-east. Longer spells


of sunshine in the south developing. Temperatures may be reading 2-4


degrees, factor in the strong south to south-east early wind.


Particularly across southern Wales and England. It will feel more like


minus 2-4. Lots of sunshine across Wales and the south west. Northern


Ireland not as much sunshine through the day. But best of which


will be towards western areas. That south-east wind really will have a


bite to it. Wind a little bit lighter in Scotland. It is that


east-west split. Conditions like to the North West of Scotland, much


more cloud further east. Friday probably introduces a little more


cloud across areas, the winds falling a touch lighter.


Temperatures dropping 2-3 Celsius as you can see. Much thicker cloud


across part of central southern England and Wales, the temperatures


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