21/02/2013 Newsnight


How a planned terror attack in Britain was foiled, the return of Berlusconi, the Pistorious trial gets stranger, and women as engineers. With Gavin Esler.

Similar Content

Browse content similar to 21/02/2013. Check below for episodes and series from the same categories and more!



$:/STARTFEED. Born in Britain, educated in Britain, yet they hated


this country so much they wanted another 9/11 of terror and murder.


The three key players in a terrorist bomb plot made in


Birmingham face life imprisonment. Have the security forces turned a


corner in the fight against extremism. We will hear from the


experts about the battle on home- grown terror.


Most of Europe think he's a clown, a crook or a dirty old geezer, or


all of the above. As he plans yet another comeback, what is Italy's


strange love affair with Silvio Berlusconi.


They are fascinated, they love him, they laugh. They cannot really,


they should be angry with him, because actually he destroyed our


country. Oscar Pistorius is in the dock, but now it is the prosecution


that is on trial. South Africa's extraordinary murder case gets even


more bizarre. And, what does it take to get a


bright young woman to become an engineering. Has the profession got


an image problem? Your typical man in their overalls coming to fix a


washing machine and asking for a cup of tea.


Good evening, MI5 and West Midlands Police have broken apart a


terrorist plot so serious in its ambition, that hundreds of innocent


British people could have died. Part of the plan was to detonate


bombs in crowded areas, and attack the plotters in way that would be


far greater than the London 7th of July bombings, which claimed 52


lives. We hear of the change in counter


terrorism strategy that may have helped disrupt the plot. First, the


plotters themselves, fanatical in their aims, but at times


incompetent in their abilities. It was the day that 52 innocent


commuters lost their lives to the bombs of radical Islamists. For


these three man, Irfan Khalid, Irfan Naseer and Ashik Ali,


convicted today of 12 counts of preparing acts of terrorism, the


events of the 7th July 2005 were, in fact, a disappointment. Terror


on too small a scale. From their own words, they were quite critical


of the 7/7 bombers and the fact they didn't kill enough people.


They wanted this to be their 9/11. The evidence retrieved from the


plotters safe house demonstrates their deadly intent. Including


setting off up to eight bombs in rucksacks and possibly other bombs


on timers. They also posed as street collectors for the charity


Muslim Aid. So fraudulently raise �13,500. But a series of hair


brained plots, and the loss of �9,000 of their funds trading on-


line, led Ashik Ali, one of the convicted men, to remark to his


estranged life, "you think this is a flipping Four Lions, we are one


man short". It is very simple, you eat your SIM card. The Lions film


tells of incompetent terrorist wannabes, but the reference


underestimates the gang's fanatical desire to murder and maime. None of


this detracts from a number of realities. They were able to go


abroad and connect with Al-Qaeda, and record video, receive some form


of training, which they then came back to the UK to put into play.


All these things have very serious. That they did things on the side


that were typically clownish and with a fine fine-element, are par


for the course for these sorts of plots. The trial is a reminder that


British cities like Birmingham have a disaffected few who could present


a radical threat and terrorist danger in the future. Birmingham


broadly needs to take seriously the threat that emerges from


radicalised young men. I'm really comfortable that I stand shoulder-


to-shoulder with key political leaders of Birmingham City council,


we are working over the long-term to stop today's ten-year-olds being


tomorrow's residents of Belmarsh or other high-security prisons. With


growing instability in the Middle East and North Africa, some experts


are concerned that a new front in the radicalisation of young British


Muslims is about to be opened. Syria is, I think, the case which


has the potential to have most direct implications in the UK at


the moment. Because there is a body of young British Muslims who are


being radicalised here in the UK who are electing to go over there


and join with groups that are fighting the Assad regime, some of


whom are secular, some are not. Some have connections with Al-Qaeda


in Iraq. From a security perspective, this presents a


dangerous problem. Last summer's Olympics presented the Security


Services with their biggest-ever challenge. In part, thanks to an


emergency deployment of troops and the positioning, alarming to some,


of surface-to-air missiles on the top of a local tower block, the


event went off without incident. This, combined with today's


successful prosecutions, gives the impression of a threat that's under


control.P even if that is true, -- even if that is true, the threat,


does indeed remain. For some perspective on the


significance of the case I'm joined by Huband, who has published a book


on the fight against terrorism by terrorist agencies. First Richard


Watson, I suppose MI5 and counter terrorism police officers must be


pleased with how this has turned out? I think absolutely, this is a


big success for the police and MI5. If you look back we haven't had a


successful attack on the UK since 2050 now, 7/7, which claimed so


many lives. That has to be put in the context of probably one


credible attack plan per year since 2001. Every single year, that is


what sources are telling me at the Security Service. So, clearly, many,


many plots have been thwarted. Largely, this is down to the fact n


my view, that MI5 has a closer understanding now of the extremist


networks. They can penetrate those networks and put them under


surveillance in a much more efficient fashion. Undoubtedly it


has been a big success for the Security Service. As you know, the


IRA used to say they only have to be lucky once, you have to be lucky,


meaning the Security Services, every time. What keeps these people


awake at night worrying about future threats? They won't be


complacent about this. Even though their penetration and understanding


of the networks is a lot greater today than it was in 2003, when the


actual knowledge was very, very poor. It is not impossible that


there will be a clean skin coming through, or an attack not on the


radar. An attack is still possible. One sourced said to me today, it is


a kind of stalemate here. We have a situation where the Security


Service and the police are penetrating and monitoring plots


that are far earlier in their stage, but the aspiration from the


extremists is still there to actually carry out these plots.


Also, I think, we have to look at the wider picture here. A few years


ago, 90% of MI5's resources were tide up with Pakistan. I'm told by


sources that today that figure is close to 50%. So a marked


difference. Largely because the drone attacks in Pakistan and


Afghanistan tribunal areas. That is having a very -- tribal areas. That


is having a very significant effect. What is keeping the Security


Services awake at night is the changing nature of the threat. It


is shifting away from Pakistan and Afghanistan towards North Africa,


the mabgreb, Somalia and Syria. That changing nature of the threat


is very significant, I'm told that between 50-80 British nationals


have travelled to Syria to join the insurgents. The key issue for the


Security Services is, what happens when they come back to the UK as


British citizens. They will be battle-trained, and that means they


present a far greater danger in the future. Beginning with the Security


Service and counter terrorism just to kick off with. How much better


are they at it now, how much more focused and how has that changed


since 2005? I think a lot better. They would be the first to


acknowledge that they had huge problems prior to the July 7th


bombings in 2005. They were, frankly, playing catch-up. They


were in a position where they didn't know what kind of threat


they were facing. They were in a position where the process of


infiltrating potential plots had proved pretty much impossible. They


were also in a position where, in the global scheme of things, they


were still fighting alongside the United States in the global war on


terror. Only when they were very -- there were very major changes to


all these different aspects did they start to be effective. The


first thing was to say to the Americans we can't fight a global


war on terror with you any more because we have a big problem at


home and we need to be dealing with that. The steps that followed,


certainly before the July bombings in 2050, which were certainly


accelerated after that, involved in particular MI5 creating regional


offices in different parts of the UK. Which brought them, as Richard


has just said, very much closer to the ground level. So in Birmingham,


in this case, and other places. The real shock to most people is


this is home-grown, British people, British educated, brought up in


Britain. They go to Pakistan for training some of them, but they


come back here and try to do something terrible here. Where is


the source of this hatred of what this country stands for. What is


being done to counter that? I think there are certainly different


aspects. Certainly the profiling of the terrorist is something that has


been done a great deal over a long period of time. Certainly since


9/11, trying to work out what is it that radicalises an individual,


trying to work out what radicalises one individual but not another,


even if they have been to school together and in the same community.


Personality play as role, individual responses play a role.


Whether it is the case that somebody from a broken home, or who


has been unemployed for a long time, within that community, is more


likely to be radicalised than somebody else. Remains, frankly


pretty uncertain. It is not the case that there is one profile. I


think that it is the issue of hatred the issue of personality, it


is very much a personal thing as social and community based. What


about the nature of the plot. It would have been devastating if some


of this had happened. On the fringes of it there were thoughts


of putting poisonous hand cream on things so people would die. Or


getting a car or truck driving into a crowd in such a way to injure


them. It is very evil but it also sounds strange? The logistics of


the whole thing. The hand cream is resonant of the Ricin plot, a you


foo years ago, it was thought this -- a few years ago, it was thought


this poison that was developed in a flat in North London, it was


thought it would be distribute bid putting it into cream and then


smeared on the bannisters of underground stations and all sorts


of other things. The issues with regard to how to carry out the


attack have not become particularly sophisticated. Clearly it was


rucksacks and so on, which were also being considered. Just a final


thought, what more do you think needs to be done in terms of the


kind of threat Richard was talking about. It is changing all the time.


It mutates, different language, different ethnic groups, different


groups of people who seem to be involved? Clearly the process of


surveillance, identifying individuals, essentially very


important and keeping the community and the Muslim community on side.


Encouraging people in the Muslim community to talk to the


authorities and the police about what is taking place within their


own communities is absolutely essential. In a way it is more of


the same. This is clearly what has happened today. It is a great


success in many ways. Clearly a plot was thwarted, but the evidence


gathered was also credible as evidence. So these people have gone


to jail as a result. There are some pretty important steps that have


been taken. In a moment, the latest


extraordinary twists in the Oscar Pistorius trial. The prosecution


becomes the accused. Now, here's a bit of a puzzle,


Silvio Berlusconi. All across Europe the former Italian Prime


Minister is regarded as a music hall joke. In Italy he's loathed by


millions, but many regard him as a Lost Prince, the saviour who can


redeem their country from the awful ordinary politicians. Since


Berlusconi has more comebacks since Frank Sinatra and is planning


another in elections this weekend, we wanted to try to explain his


appeal. If that is the right word. The man of a smile and a tan, that


never seemed to fade. Silvio Berlusconi has a lot to grin about.


His billion-dollar business emmire, decade-younger fiance, and Phoenix


from the ashes return to politics in Italy's election campaign.


Despite 20 years of financial, sexual and political scandals,


millions of Italians say they will vote for Silvio Berlusconi now, as


before. Why? Outside Italy this is what we think of when we hear the


name "Silvio Berlusconi", luxury, flashy villas, this one known for


hosting his bunga-bunga parties, accompanied by other ageing


influential men. Cavorting with scores of scantily dressed young


women. We think of the famous gaffes, such as praising Mussolini


on Holocaust memorial day. But there is a large part of the


Italian electorate that has a very different image of the man.


This is where Silvio Berlusconi was born. Milan, where Italy's business


heart beats. And where he made his fortune in property, football and


media. It's also a key battleground in this weekend's election. Back in


1994, when Silvio Berlusconi entered the world of politics, he


promised to share his recipe of glitz, glamour and success, with


the rest of Italy. But the party here is very much over. The


eurozone's third-largest economy is in serious trouble. Mr Berlusconi


was uncermoniously booted from Government 18 months ago. His


political career apparent low in tatters. Now he's campaigning for -


- apparently in tatters. Now he's campaigning for a comeback.


Promising a fairytale ending for Italian families. People here are


listening. So how has he managed this remarkable resurrection from


the political dead? In the heart of many Italians Berlusconi will never


die. He's really like Mr Peron in Argentina. The nature of the


relations between Berlusconi and his voters is not rational, it is


an emotional relationship. How? the sense that he's a sort of


Emperor. He's a sort of king. We are looking for a king. We were not


a democracy in the MoD he were sense of the determine, we are


inbetween, in the middle between a modern democracy and a more ancient


political form. In previous elections Silvio


Berlusconi relied pretty heavily on the cult of Berlusconi. Just look


at the video from his 2008 campaign for re-election. With this


insistent refrain, "thank goodness for Silvio"!


But now, possibly a little chastened by being ousted mid-term


from Government, and by the growing public distaste for his private


conduct, Mr Berlusconi is pushing his economic message rather more.


His flamboyant image a little less. Silvio Berlusconi knows the economy


is on all Italians' minds. Living costs here are some of the highest


in Europe. So are the levels of tax evasion, by the way. Lost tax


revenues in Italy are thought to be equivalent to 18% of GDP. Bergamo,


like Milan, is part of the northern Lombardy region. People are still


relatively well-off, compared to the mystery in Italy's south. But


the bitter chill of economic hardship bites here too.


TRANSLATION: I would love to see Berlusconi live on the wage of the


average Italian, he has noed idea. He wouldn't last an hour-and-a-half.


TRANSLATION: I hope he can keep to his programme to create jobs,


remove the taxes introduced recently and pay back the money we


have already paid out. Berlusconi? TRANSLATION: Berlusconi is a great


businessman. He has built a media empire. If he wins the election I


hope he will do for Italy what he has done for himself. But Silvio


Berlusconi has already been Prime Minister three times. While his own


fortunes prospered, Italy's economy nose-dived. Critics say he turned a


blind eye to the structural reforms Italy so needs. You won't notice it


when walking down Rome's splendid streets, but protectionism,


corruption and red tape mean it is tough to do business here. Worse in


Italy, according to the World Bank, than in Belarus and Monday goalia.


But a growing number of -- Mongolia. But a growing number of Italians


blame the euro for their pain, rather than Silvio Berlusconi. Ever


the populist, Berlusconi has added a sharp euro-sceptic tone to his


campaign. And this is his favourite pulpit, the television studio. Mr


Berlusconi knows 80% of Italians get their news and information from


television. He owns three of Italy's biggest TV channels. In the


lead up to this election he has appeared almost daily on all the


others. TV presenter, Giovanni Floris, is a household name in


Italy, he says Berlusconi is the master of the medium. TRANSLATION:


He bases a significant part of his power on his ability on television.


Of course it has helped him a lot that half of the television


stations long to him, and he has influence over the other half. He


uses the media to speak with his many people as possible. His


strongest talent is making Italians believe he has understood their


problems. When he talks about returning what they have paid in


property tax. As a journalist you want to bring him back to reality,


but his skill lies in peddling dreams as reality.


Silvio Berlusconi's opponents say his agenda is more insidious. They


accuse him of using his media influence to silence critics and of


being in politics primarily to keep himself out of jail. Mr Berlusconi


says he's innocent. But over the years his legal woes have been


considerable. This is a political satirist, her


scathing sketches have often been censored in Italy. After 20 years


of Berlusconi we don't have culture any more, we don't have a sense of


freedom any more. Sabina Guzzanti is just finishing a film about


corruption, nothing new in Italy. But she blames Silvio Berlusconi


for lowering the moral tone of her country. When you live in a big


mess with this big scandal every day, ever day, involving everyone,


every level of institutions, people get used to this. There is no wrong


and right any more. In this election period, even the people


supposed to hate them they are fascinated. They love him, they


laugh. They cannot really, they should be angry with him, because


actually he destroyed our country and our culture, he destroyed every


bit of dignity we used to have. But they don't.


Perhaps so many Italians have had that reaction to Silvio Berlusconi


because they are deeply disillusioned with politics in


general. It is carnival time in Viareggio, Tuscany. Even here


Italian leaders are derided. They are mocked as infantile, accused of


leading the country a merry dance and of emptying ittal y'allian


profits while they enrich themselves with kickbacks. Aside


from their politicians, many Italians have little faith in their


political system. It was put in place after Mussolini to make sure


no-one person or party could turn Italy into a dictatorship. Good in


theory, in practice it means no Italian Prime Minister has the


clout to deliver tough political reforms. It has given birth to a


culture of arragiarsi, finding your way around the system. Silvio


Berlusconi is a master at that, and many here admire him for it.


Deborah Bergamini is an MP for Berlusconi's People of Freedom


Party, and a close all lie. She says non-Italians are unjustly


dismissive of Silvio Berlusconi and his supporters. To the truth you


should be Italian. You should live in this country which are the main


problems. The media circles have decided that Berlusconi is not


acceptable. The other option is you believe that Italians are all


stupid. The allegation is he wants political power just for his own


self-interest? My experience of the man is if he had looked at his own


personal interest he would have been far, far away from politics.


That is exactly the contrary of what he decided to do. Wouldn't he


have been in jail if he hadn't been in politics? In jail, no way. All


the rest about personal interests in politics, again, I have seen the


country. I have seen that he's been profoundly hurt by his decision of


getting into politics, open face. You can do politics in two


different ways. You can put your face on and, how do you say, work


openly and clearly, and make your proposition to the country. As you


are, or you can do politics in a second line, hidden. That is


something that is quite common in Italy. I very much appreciate the


fact that he's been very open since the very beginning.


Mr Berlusconi is unlikely to win these elections. But this is just


another chapter in the long relationship between Silvio


Berlusconi and the Italian people. Following the vote, he will remain


a strong presence in the Italian parliament, on Italian television


and on the streets of Italy. The world knows that Oscar Pistorius is


on trial for murder, but today we found out that so is the lead


detective in the case, Hilton Botha. Who has been central to the


prosecution. Now Detective Botha has been suspended while he fights


his own murder charge. After allegedly firing on a mini-bus


containing seven people. All this comes as he's also accused of


contaminating the crime scene, getting evidence out of witness


wrongly, and generally being out of his depth, in the most high-profile


case in South Africa for years. Day three of the Oscar Pistorius bail


hearing. It has begun to look more like a full trial, and a media


circus that has enthralled South Africa and the world. Today's twist


being that Detective Hilton Botha, who until now led the inquiry, has


been replaced. It became known that he himself is facing seven charges


of attempted murder, for apparently opening fire on a mini-bus full of


passengers last year. Charges against him have been dropped and


reinstated. The police urgently tried to rescue the situation.


Today I have come to report to you that the leader of the team is the


top detective in Subs. That is Lieutenant General Moonoo. He heads


the portfolio. I have also said to you that he will be collaborating


with the Head of Police, the provincial commissioner to ensure


that they put together a team that is formidable to do this job.


it is a development that naturally raises concerns about South African


justice. Certainly to be caught in a situation, the prosecutor himself,


or the investigating officer himself is facing murder charges is


most undesirable. Clearly that shows a malfunctioning in the


justice system. This is the latest setback for a prosecution team that


seems increasingly in disarray. The prosecution accused Pistorius of


pre-meditated murder. He said he fired because he thought there was


Anne truder. The now replaced -- an intrude ear, the now replacement


for Botha. He had amended his testimony after the defence argued


the witnesses he took evidence from were too far away. The prosecution


say the police lost track of ambition found in the house. He was


also accused of not wearing protective clothing on the crime


scene. It is argued that South African police have problems.


detectives are facing huge caseloads, it is not uncommon for a


detective for carry between 50-100 case dockets at one time. They


don't have the facilities needed for their job. They share cars,


many are not computer literate. They wait for a long time to get


any evidence into the forensic laboratories and back.


Pistorius case has been played out in very great detail in the South


African press, and on Twitter and other social media sites. With


parts of the media initially suggesting he must be guilty.


Leading to claims that evidence has been leaked and his right to a fair


trial had been undermined. I do worry that there was a rush to


convict him. In the public arena and the media in particular in the


last few days. You know, when he came to present his case in court,


in the last day or two, it became clearer than his guilt was not that


clear. That it was at least disputed. So I do think that in


terms of assuming his innocence until proven guilty there has been


some prejudicial coverage. Britain the press would be accused


of breaking sududecy rules, why not in South African? For one thing


there is no jury system in the country. It was abolished in 1969


in the apartheid era. It is argued that judges are less likely than


juries to be influenced by what they read in the press. There was a


further change in 2007, with the supreme Court of Appeal decision


that the right to a fair trial had to be weighed against the right of


freedom against expression. means thaw don't have people not


trained in law looking at the evidence. Our judges generally will


only make decisions based on the evidence before them, and the facts


that are presented before them and the law and the precedent that the


law interprets that evidence. Of course there are mistakes, we do


have problems now and then. These are usually picked up in appeals in


the higher courts. Today was good news for Oscar Pistorius and his


legal team. After the initial media conslaught, they may feel events


are moving their way. And it is argued he may have advantages not


enjoyed by other South Africans on murder charges. The conditions on


which remand prisoners are awaiting trial if they don't get bail are


truly appalling. We have serious overcrowding in our remand prisons.


So with Oscar Pistorius, because of his particular conditions and his


wealth, you will see the best of the system there. For many other


South Africans it is a much, much harsher system. The Oscar Pistorius


bail hearing continues tomorrow. For some expert thoughts on how the


South African legal process is doing, I'm joined from Cape Town by


William King a senior advocate at the Cape Bar, the equivalent of a


queens counsel in England. How do you make of the prosecution's


handling of this so far, including the lead detective, Hilton Botha?


Very unfortunate is the immediate thought. No system of justice could


properly deal with something of that magnitude happening to it. The


police investigation also. We are not familiar with your system, it


does looks a if the prosecution is rushing into this, unprepared. Even


though this is a bail hearing. It looks to us a bit like a full trial.


Unfortunately it is, because of the Owen news on -- the onus on the


defence to prove certain facts that will allow him to come out of jail.


Those circumstances are exceptionally difficult to prove.


That necessitates a hearing to show those exceptional circumstances.


Oscar Pistorius has tried to show that the state case is weak. He


will in all likelihood, in due course, be acquitted or found


guilty of a lesser offence. That would justify him being released on


bail. I just wondered under South African law, how bad it looks for


Mr Pistorius. That he shot through a door with someone at the other


side in his own home? The defence would be one of self-defence, I


would think. Oscar Pistorius would claim there was an open window. One


had claimed through, locked themselves, or hidden in the


bathroom, with the intention of attacking him. Unfortunately in


South Africa, we have this crime wave. We have people that are


getting in and attacking others, and criminals are the order of the


day in every day life. So people are paranoid. They take, like Oscar


Pistorius, they take extreme measures to safeguard their homes,


and these types of accidents happen. Very much like the battered wife


syndrome. Where you have a person that is placed in a situation with


a violent person around him, around her, and then she is left to deal


with this. So therefore she's always called what we would think


of as Jane Bond, because she has a license to ki. I would presume


Oscar Pistorius would start with the same defence. He is the person


under siege, and he's entitled to take extreme measures to defend


himself because of what is happening in the broader community.


I'm sure everybody in South Africa is aware that the whole world is


interested in this and watching it. I wondered how much pressure the


South African legal system and people will feel to get this right?


I would think extreme pressure. With the world looking on at how


the justice system works you would expect that the investigation


wouldn't have been rushed. It was. It was quite clearly undercooked.


The investigating officer himself would appear to be the wrong choice.


Now hopefully the team assembled will do it right. The inherent


facts remain the same. So I believe that this case has a long way to


run still. I'm sure that in due course the justice system will be


able to show that it is up to the task. Thank you very much for


talking to us. Before the end of the programme we


will have tomorrow's front pages. But first, the Business Secretary,


Vincent Cable, has suggested that more women should go into


engineering, to help solve the skills shortage in a vital part of


the British economy, and listened the idea that engineering is a


dirty-hands business for blokess, with a lot of pens hanging out of


their shirt pockets. Nine out of ten engineers are men, but need it


always be like. That Cars, conveyor-belts and robots,


usual boys stuff, or are they? For these teenage girls this is more


than just a tour. It is an attempt by Jaguar-Land Rover to encourage


young women to consider a career in engineering. Those in the industry


say it is suffering from a huge gender imbalance. With men make up


more than 90% of its work force. When I say "engineer" to you, what


pops up in your mind? Your typical man in their overalls, fixing the


washing machine and asking for a cup of tea at the same time. What


about you? It is very physical and dirty, maybe sometimes you go home


in covered overalls. Sometimes you would see a man. It is very male-


dominated, I would say. 20% of the UK's advanced engineering and


manufacturing work force is female. Compared to 49% for all other


sectors. Only 6% of professional engineers today are women. Research


suggests misconceptions about the industry are turning many women off.


Those in the industry say they are facing a perception challenge. The


image of men in boiler suits and hard hats must be diluted if they


want to recruit more women to the sector, they say. How to do that is


still puzzling those at the top. Even though firms like this one are


employing initiatives to increase the number of women, figures


suggest over all they are having a limited impact.


Since 208, the number of women working in the industry has gone up


by just 1%. It is thought that Britain needs to train more than


90,000 scientists and engineers over the next four years to replace


those who retire. Trainers say there is a skills shortage with


more than 300,000 engineers lacking up-to-date qualifications. Women


represent a huge opportunity, because right now today, the data


says that only a very percentage of women decide to move into


engineering disciplines. So to me it just represents a huge untapped


resource of talented people out there that we could attract into


engineering in the future. Figures show out of those who study


engineering at degree level, 85% of them go into paid work or further I


hadcation within -- education within six months of finishing


their course. Even so, 50% of those who study it choose not to go into


the industry, compared to 30% of their male counterparts. What would


more women in the sector bring to the table? Women are excellent


problem solvers. They can also add an area of multitasking to really


drive problems through. Often when in times when you have a difficult


problem to tackle, women can bring a different dynamic to the team


that is looking at the issue. That is a very important matter. Vincent


Cable used a recent trip to an aviation company to urge more women


to join the sector. The UK has one of the lowest proportion of female


engineers in Europe. He says the Government is working hard with


companies to promote the opportunities available by


encouraging more school visits to engineering plants. However, he


believes part of the problem is some women don't believe they are


capable of doing the job. I think in many cases it is lack of


confidence. It is an assumption that this is all not for us, and a


bit difficult. Actually young women should be told that they probably


have as much, if not more potential than men, and should overcome lack


of confidence. I think that's one thing we can do is to say, well,


there are lots of very good role models out there.


Amid a backdrop of a gloomy economy, the UK's engineering sector is


expanding. It turned over more than a trillion pounds in the year


ending March 2011, almost 25% of the turnover of all UK businesses.


But a failure to recruit the right people here could lead to


recruiting from abroad. Those in the industry say at a time of high


unemployment, doing that would feel very wrong.


Watching that were the skills minister, Matthew Hancock, and Sue


Ion, a fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering. What do you think


the problem is here? The main problem is the number of girls


doing physics in school. You have to get them early enough. Once they


get to A-level they have already taken a decision to either take


physics or not. Unless you do physics you can't do mechanical


engineering, you can't do electrical or civil engineering,


can you do chemical engineering, it is not mandatory, especially the


bioengineering aspects. Physics is hard, that is true? It is, but it


is also very exciting. It is no harder than any of the other


scientific disciplines. I think there is a real issue in schools in


terms of getting girls particularly interested in physics. We are all


agreed there is a problem, it affects boys as well as girls,


disproportion nationally girls. What is the Government doing about


it? -- decision proportionally girls. What is the Government doing


about it? There is a problem, and we can't exclude half of the


population from the profession. We have a series of proposals on the


daibl. We are working with Rolls- Royce and BAe and Network Rail on a


specific project to get girls interested at a younger age. You


mentioned A-levels is too late. And also support them through. But it


is also about that big kalure change. Getting engineering --


culture change. Getting engineering into schools from 14. You can go to


college aged 14 instead of 16, and the new university technical


colleges are all about getting these sorts of skills in younger so,


that we can catch kids when they are enthusiastic. We heard Vincent


Cable there say there are a lot of role models. Our guest is one, but


can you name others? I will give you a great example, the Apprentice


of the Year is called Jenny, working in engineering in Preston.


Totally brilliant, and 21 years old. She says because she last gone into


an apprenticeship at 18 in engineering, while her friends are


at university, she can afford to buy her own car. There are role


models out there. Of course when there are far fewer women in senior


engineering roles it is incumbent on more of them coming forward to


mentor too. Is part of it actually that a lot of teenagers and younger


girls don't know what engineering is? They don't know what it is. We


heard the prejudice, we heard it there, some bloke fixing the


washing machine and demanding a cup of tea? That is a real


misconception and we have to do a lot to fix it. A lot of people have


no idea what engineering is about. They don't know it is about


designing bridges, or about designing and making new heart


pacemakers or bionic limbs, or fixing the energy problems by


developing new wind or marine turbines or power station, or


running new power station, whether nuclear or other. It is about every


aspect of life in the 21st century. I noticed, one of the quotes from


Professional Engineer Magazine, a woman who loves her job, she says


she has been to meetings where because she's the only woman she's


thought to be the secretary. There is a degree of that going on that


puts women off? That is in the minority rather than the majority.


Most industry is more mature in the way it approaches gender within the


sector. Other countries do better, don't they. Turkey, women engineers


in Turkey in lots of places, China? China and the Eastern Bloc. It is


going in the right direction here. Over the last four years there are


a third more women applying to go to university to do engineering.


The number of apprenticeships in engineering is up 120% in just the


last year. Things -- 20% in just the last year. Things are starting


to move. I hope the culture block is starting to move. Engineering is


problem solving which is something, in my experience, women are


brilliant at and just as good as men. And there is absolutely no


reason, especially in this high- tech world that there should be any


gender divide at all. What was the moment when you said I'm going to


be an engineer? I guess I did maths, physics and chemistry. I enjoyed


them all. I wasn't sure whether I wanted to pick one out of all of


those. For me, at the time a mixture of those subjects, which


meant engineering was the right exciting thing for me to do. I have


never regreted it. We will leave it there. Thank you very much.


Now let's have a quick look at tomorrow morning's front pages. The


Apology for the loss of subtitles for 81 seconds


That's all from us tonight, we will Good evening. A widespread frost to


start the day. We could get as low as a minus 10 in the Highland. More


typically minus two or three. With a lot of cloud across the eastern


side of the UK. That cloud bringing a few light snow showers. Through


the morning and on into the afternoon. Quite grey skies across


much of northern England. Cumbria may poke out in something a little


bit brighter. There are wintery showers in and around the Wash,


nothing too untoward. One or two degrees for Oxford and London under


the cloud. It will feel more like minus two or three. A cold


afternoon to come here. Cold in the south west in spite of the sunshine.


Significant wind chill factor, cold and grey across most of Wales.


Cardigan Bay poking out brighter. After grey start in Northern


Ireland. Good sunny spells here. After that really cold start to the


west of Scotland, it will be sunny for most of the day. Always more


cloud in the east of Scotland. Generally speaking a fair bit of


cloud around to end the week. A lot of cloud to start the weekend.


Notice those temperatures staying at 3, 4 degrees, if you are lucky.


There is still a keen breeze blowing across the southern half of


the UK. The wind chill factor will come into the play for the first


How a planned terror attack in Britain was foiled, the return of Berlusconi, the Pistorious trial gets stranger, and women as engineers. With Gavin Esler.

Download Subtitles