17/07/2013 Newsnight


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

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Tonight is the most ambitious transport plan for decades to build


a high speed rail link from London to the north of England running out


of steam. HS2 will redraw the economy of a nation, according to


the Department of Transport. Where are political and business figures


and a former Rail Minister going cold on the idea. It is going to be


with us for a very long time, do we really want to tell constituents


and tax-payers that we are spending �50 billion of their money on a


train line that really doesn't need to be built? His successor is here


to tell us why it is worth �43 billion of your money. Also tonight,


the promises we have made to an ageing society for mentions and


healthcare, could propel us into a future of chronic economic problems.


We will debate a gloomy forecast from the Office for Budget


Responsibility. As the politicians pack their suntan cream and head


for their no doubt well deserved holidays, Newsnight's political


panel are here to give an end of term report.


Summer in the city, Nile Rodgers on how to stay cool of five decades of


getting dirty and down there. cheerful tunes were about the


future we thought we would see, future we envisioned has never


happened. Plans for one of the biggest leaps forward in British


transport history is in trouble today. Today the Government


launched its second consultation into the posts of high-speed 2. The


costs have risen to a whopping �43 billion. The likes of Alitair


Darling and Nigel Lawson, former Chancellors, are oply opposed. The


new consultation wants to know about what the CBI, enthusiastic


about the project, and Tom Harris think. But we have a report on the


growing chorus of people with business, transport expierence who


want the Government to think bin on HS2. There is one thing that is


already high-speed about HS2, that is the speed the Government is


pressing ahead with the plans, despite warnings to slow down. Lord


Mandelson, a one-time supporter now says it could prove an expensive


mistake. Former Labour Chancellor and Transport Secretary, Alitair


Darling, says it will suck money out of the budget that would be


better spent on other projects. Moon while Conservative former


Chancellor, Lord Lawson calls it "madness", Boris Johnson says the


cost will spiral to over �70 billion. Newsnight can reveal now


that the latest Doubting Thomas is called Tom, Tom Harris, Rail


Minister under Tony Blair and Gordon Brown. My own party is


strongly in favour of it, I was until relatively recently. More and


more are listening to those who say it might not be have a great idea.


Austerity will be with us for a very long time, do we really want


to tell constituents and tax-payers that we are spending �50 billion of


their money on a train line that really doesn't need to be built and


that money could be spent in any number of areas far more


effectively? Some politicians have started reassessing their support


for HS2 since the Government announced it was increasing the


budget. The Transport Secretary says the bill is rising from �33


billion to over �42 billion. Sow how did the senior civil servant


here at the Department for Transport explain these higher


costs? Well he said what we should remember is that the original


estimate wasn't really so much an estimate it was more a...what was


the phrase he used?:...a High level desk-based exercise. Yes, a high-


level desk-based exercise. Which means what, perhaps Tom Harris


could finish in? The plans for HS2 have been written on the back of a


fag packet. The increase in costs, it came on top of a high-level


desk-based mauling of the HS2 business plan by the National Audit


Office. We will build a new network. The Government has been working on


a new version of the business plan, incorporating some of the changes


the National Audit Office wants to see. This won't be ready until the


autumn, we will just have to wait. It is just I'm not very good at


waiting, why can't we have a go, how hard can it be to update the


benefit cost ratio for a �40 billion infrastructure project.


We have commissioned a high-level pack particular table-based


exercise from two transport economists, David Parish and Chris


Castles, together they wrote a peer-reviewed study of the HS2


business case back in 2011. So we will leave Chris and David updating


their numbers. But first I think we should look at the changes that the


National Audit Office has asked the Government to make to see what sort


of thing they are going to be doing here. They are looking at the first


phase of the project and at three specific areas, updating the


forecast for how many people are likely to use HS2, the business


case at the moment uses an out of date higher demand forecast.


Updating the value of shorter journey times, at the moment the


business case assumes that no-one works on a train and any time saved


is used for productive work. And thirdly, including the recent


budget increase. OK, so you have had time to put in those changes,


what impact do you think the new numbers will make to the Government


as business case? What will it do to the benefit cost ratio? If you


take the reduced demand and the change of value of business time


and the higher costs the impact is devastating. The benefit cost ratio


comes down from 1.4 in the latest published Government report, in the


range to 0.5-0.6. So for every pound we spend we get 60p of


benefits back. Does it make it a good-value project? There are many


projects that offer ratios of four or five, including alternatives to


the HS2 that are proposed by the local authorities and also by the


Government's own consultants. that would suggest that HS2 isn't


value for money at all then? Not at all. You might think it is absurd


to downgrade the business case for HS2 by that much, but, there is


academic evidence to suggest this would only be par for the course. I


have come here to the Siad Business Scohool in Oxford to meet one


academic who has studied over 100 years of big infrastructure data.


This professor says on average big infrastructure projects cost 50%


more than planned and deliver half the cost benefits. The bad projects


are much worse than that. The Channel Tunnel was 80% over on


construction cost and 120% over on financing cost. They only made 20%


of the passengers that they forecast in the first year, so much


worse. Why is that, why do we get that double whammy of lower returns


and higher costs? This is something we have studied in detail here at


Oxford, we find two root causes. One is optimisim, people are


generally optimistic, and that includes planners, the other is


something we call strategic misrepresentation. We find actually


in some instances decision-makers, politicians, policy makers, will


deliberately underestimate the cost and overstatement the benefits and


revenues in order to get their projects started. If a project


looks good on paper it is easier to get approval for the project in


parliament or whoever is aproving the project. And you know the old


saying that it is easier to get forgiveness than permission. That


seems to be sometimes the approach used in getting projects started.


The final stop on the journey is to take some of the concerns to the


people who are supposedly going to be building High-speed 2, that is


HS2 Ltd, it sounds like a private sector company, there is a clue to


who owns it in the building they are situated in. It is a Government


office, and HS2Ltd is a subsidey of a Government. I don't think you


should necessarily assume that the business case, the quantified


benefit cost ratio will go down. Beyond that, of course, it is not


just about the benefit cost ratio. First and foremost high-speed 2 is


about providing additional capacity. The existing railway is


increasingly full, Network Rail forecasts by 2020 the eastern


Network Rail will be full. There is an overriding argument for


providing capacity. Any competitive economy needs strong infrastructure.


Today we have one of the busiest networks in Europe.


This point is made in the HS2 promotional video, but the ANO says


the Government needs to do more work in explaining why HS2 is the


best solution. Are there other cheaper projects that might deliver


as much or more capacity. For those politicians and business leaders


who say we should pause and reconsider? There is an imperative


to keep driving this forward. I think the other thing I would say


about people who say we should pause, even the people who oppose


this route, it is much better we get on and do it. They don't want


continuing uncertainty. So there is a strong case. Can they get it


right rather than go on and do it? We have got it right. Plenty of


people don't think you have got it right? We haven't yet put out all


the further work, we will in the autumn. That will show it will


update the cost benefit ratio and present the wider case, which as


represented work over the past year or so, which will look at both the


capacity arguments and also the wider benefits and how HS2 can


support both the national economy and also importantly how it will


support the cities we connect. the political signals changing for


HS2, some don't believe that three- party consensus in favour of the


project will last much longer. There is something of of the grand


project about this, aing willcy for politicians. Politicians love a


legacy, we love building huge capital structures, that is not


good enough. There has to be a business case, it has to be worth


it. The Government began its consultation on the second phase of


HS2 today. The Transport Secretary was in Manchester making the case


in terms of jobs and apprenticeships. It is clear there


are still plenty of people he has yet to convince. The Rail Minister,


Simon Burns, came into the studio a little earlier. Why it that so many


people with transport or business or Government experience are now


running away from the HS2 project? I don't think that a lot of people


are. There is considerable support, particularly if you look in the


Midland, north of England amongst local authority leader, business


groups, including the local CBIs and chambers of commerce.


mentioned the CBI, the Director General of the CBI is one of them.


He says questions need answering, �43 billion could be put to better


use, and politicians have been dazzled by promises of speed. He


makes it sound like another Concorde. He did qualify the


comments and he said he was still enthusiastic about the project but


he wanted to ensure the costs of building the railway did not run


out of control. I have considerable sympathy and agreement with him on


that. When you have lot Lord Mandelson, Tom Harris and Boris


Johnson all agreeing that something is up here, Lord Lawson is another


one, maybe, maybe they are right? don't think they are, for a reason,


the critical thing is on the conventional railways we are


running out of capacity. Between 2020 and 2024 on the West Coast


Main Line, the major spine up the country towards Scotland we are


expecting the capacity to become full. We have got to provide extra


capacity. There could be cheaper ways of doing it? We have looked at


it and some people have said, thinking it was a cheaper way, that


we should just build another conventional line. The costs are


slightly less, but not that less, you lose all the benefits that


high-speed rail brings to this country. It is a project can he


can't afford not to do. Our major competitors are all engaging in


building or have high-speed railways. In that case does it not


matter about the cost, it is so important we have to do it any way?


I think it is important. But it has to be done within cost disciplines,


and that is why we have been so determined with robust governance,


robust economic plans to ensure that we keep to a very controlled


budget. You say that, but how much is too much, the budget has just


gone up another �8 billion to �43 billion, Boris Johnson saying it


could cost �70 billion. The people on your own side say it could be


�100 billion. Boris is Boris, you would expect people who are opposed


to the project to exaggerate the costs because they are making a


case and they are entitled to. much is too much? The fact is it is


what we are going to spend which is to quote the figure you quote,


�42.6 billion. Of that �14.4 billion is contingency, we are


aiming to stick to those rigid budgets. You know the history of


capital projects in this country has been exactly the opposite, that


Governments of all stripes have said we will stick to it and it


goes up and up and up? If you have discipline and you vigorously check


on the effectiveness and the efficiencies of the building


process you can cheap within budget and I will give you an example.


billion, that too much? I will give you the example, the Olympics,


everybody said that couldn't be built within the budget. They were


because there was rigorous discipline to ensure the cost


didn't go spiralling out of control. It did go up from the original


budget. Let as move on to part of the business case, this is also


questioned, the benefit cost ratio. We were told to put it in simple


terms that we get �2.60 back for every �1 we put into it. Now it is


revised down to �1.40, and it may be lower than that. We have people


saying 0.5, in other words we would lose half the money we put in. The


business case is very shaky? business case is now outdated


because of the time it was done. At that point if you take the whole


route, both phases, the BCR was between 1.4 and 2.5. This is the


benefit cost ratio, the amount of money we would expect to get back?


We are preparing at the moment an updated business case, available


later in the year. Philip Hammond said if the BCR went less than 1.5


he would put it under close scrutiny. Some people say it is


certain to go less than 1.5. Where would you draw the line. Where


would you say we have to have more benefits otherwise we are not going


to proceed? What I would say is that with the extension of the


Jubilee Line, which everyone recognises has been a tremendous


benefit to travel in London. That BCR, I think, from memory was about


0.4%. To use that parallel of the Jubilee Line, would you be content


if the benefit cost ratio was 0.4 as it was with the Jubilee Line. In


other words we got 40p back for every pound we put in. Although


people would not be content, including Philip Hammond? I don't


accept that is what the BCR will be, it is certainly not at the moment


with HS2. We will wait until the publication of the next business


impact studio later this year. I don't accept it will be 0.4%.


there any figure on this that would make you give up this project?


is the overriding importance, as I said before, it is capacity,


helping solve the capacity problems on the conventional railway. The


job creation and the regeneration that will flow from it,


particularly in Birmingham and the Great Northern cities. Minister,


thank you very much. In a moment. Hey, I'm Nile Rodgers and you are


watching Newsnight, your late night funk jam! We talk to the man behind


Chic. Now in ancient Greece poor old Sisyphus was punished by the


gods, condemned to roll a massive rock to the top of the hill only to


watch it roll down again, to repeat that for all of history. The Office


of Budget Responsibility can't compete with the Gods, but if they


are right about the unsustainable public finances we are all


condemned like Sisyphus. In our case it could be years of austerity,


because of the ageing population and strained healthcare system will


still leave a massive hole in our finances, and more austerity to


come as we try once more to roll the rock to the top of the mountain.


Or is there a better way? Our political editor, Allegra Stratton


has spent the day with the bar charts.


We already know this clock of public debt races faster than some


would like, we have been old it add naus yum. This Government's pitch


is they are the ones trying to stop this clock, trying. In the next


five years the aim is to reduce Britain's debt. What about the


long-term? From an array of scary graphs, this is today's key one


from the Government's Office for Budget Responsibility. Towed is


their annual attempt at physical futurology. The recent debate has


been about these bars, the Government has successfully, you


can see, brought down the debt and the deficit, but after about 2020


and that low point there things start to climb, that is because of


two new pressures. Firstly the traditional sources of revenue


begin to dry up, things like duties from tobacco and fuel. Also North


Sea oil is going down. But then there are fresh demands of the


state. We will be having more demands of the NHS, social care and


pensions. That is why that line climbs rather alarmingly. As soon


as we hit the 2020s we hit the cost of an ageing society, more money


needs to be found for the NHS, social care and pensions. What we


need to do then is have a big debate as a country about how we


pay for that. You can either do it by cutting services, charging


people for the services they use, or by putting up taxes. I actually


think that the fairest way of doing it is to raise taxes. But of course


we see from the political debate we are having about the NHS at the


moment it is very difficult to have a grown-up sensible conversation


about how we pay for these things. These two bars show how old our


society is right now. And then it is broken down by age in 2062. In


the future there are fewer people aged between 16-54, the big purple


band. But there are many more 65- year-olds, and even more aged over


85. Just with fewer working age people to support them. A toddler


uses a lot of healthcare, a lot of education, but clearly pays in


barely no income tax. When they graduate to working age of course


the amount of income tax they pay in will go up massively, but they


will actually be using relatively few public services in that time.


Then when they retire they will be using the NHS, social care and an


awful lot. But again it will be paying in not very much income tax.


The OBR is saying that an older population will be a financially


poorer one. And, decisions taken by this Government may have made it


even more so. The called pension triple look means pensions will go


up in line with the highest of inflation or earnings. That's more


expensive. The OBR also suggests trouble ahead if the Government is


successful in bringing down immigration. The yellow bar shows


if it does bring it down to almost nothing, the working age population


is much lower. The red bar shows with high immigration you end up


with a greater working population to support the elderly. The Office


for Budget Responsibility gives today's politicians a stark choice,


they either have to cut an extra �19 billion from public services on


top of everything we have already heard that will be cut, or they do


it more slowly and over many more decades, but they do have to make


that choice. The OBR says unless they do everything we have been


through in this decade from 2010- 2020 will have been for nothing.


The lesson is that George Osborne has got a long-term challenge. He


stands for higher pensions spending, protection for health spending, now


we hear no tax rises. The OBR tell us today that pensions, health are


going to drive the public finances and make them unsustainable for


decades to come and taxes will have to go up to record levels. He


commissioned this report but the report is a big challenge to him.


big challenge to the Chancellor but also to his successor, unless one


of them gets lucky in a piece of megatechnology invented on their


watch, bringing in fresh revenue for Britain. 50 years a very long


time in politics, even longer if you don't like bar charts.


We have an economic correspondent and Ann Pettifor. Long range


economic forecast is like long range weather forecast, do you


broadly accept the OBR is right on this? The man who runs the OBR is


an honourable and brilliant man, when you are making forecasts for


50 years the slight tiller assumption has massive effects. I


would like the OBR to focus on what is happening in the last five years


and what will happen in the next five years. Back in 2008 this


country's national debt was about �580 billion, we are now above a


trillion pound, by 2015 we are going to be at �1.6 trillion in our


national debt. So, yes there are parts of the public sector that are


suffering, nobody is denying that, but the macro picture is not one of


austerity. The macro picture is a situation where over five years our


national debt almost triples. This is the reality of the situation we


face. With what does that mean for interest rates? What does that mean


for tagsyaix going forward? There is not enough -- taxation going


forward? There is not enough discussion among the political


classes about the debt we are accumulating and have to service


day in day out. The core of the argument appears to be ageing


population with health problems we are all going to face in the future


and the pension rises that it is unsustainable because we are not


creating wealth fast enough to pay for it? This report is more about


policies that are operating now, mainly austerity. Than it is about


the future. It is using assumption based on austerity policies to talk


about the future. And one of your contributors said the choices are


to increase taxes or cut spending. There is a third choice, which is


to increase income. This report doesn't really deal with that. The


only way to increase income is to increase employment. The report


doesn't include in assumptions what will happen to employment over this


period. The fact is population will go up and baby-boomers like us will


rot and die and then the next generation will come up. This is


life. I don't know about the rotting and dying. Jo Hammer House


of Horror. One of the interesting things about this report is the


reflection on immigration. It says immigrants will make a more


positive contribution to the UK public finances than natives, and I


wonder if this raises the whole question of whether we should


change our immigration policy, because it would be of economic


benefit, which appears to be part of this report? Sure, I think the


OBR would have been braver than it has been, had it focused more on


the fiscal trajectory over the next three-to-four years. It has been


brave in grasping the nettle of immigration. I personally think and


the weight of economic evidence is behind me, that if you have more


immigration you bring in immigrants from the shadow world of the


untaxed economy, you bring them on to the books. If you celebrate


economic migrants rather than ostracising economic migrants, that


will do a lot to help this country grow its way out of the massive


fiscal hole that it is in. Of course that means you need better


infrastructure, it also means that politicians have to explain this to


the body of voters. None of that will happen if we persevere in the


current policies basically. Do you accept the point that immigrants,


in the words of the report, would be "good for the long-term economic


health of the country", because people coming in paying taxes


wooing dob the services other people won't do? We are very lucky,


in Italy the population is falling, here it is rising, we have a


population rising which will be able to work and create income to


finance the pensions of the future. Let's not beat about the bush here.


This is about laying the ground for cutting universal provision and in


particular attacking pension Do you think that is politically possible?


Of course I think what, creating jobs and generating income to pay


for pensions? It is entirely possible. It would make it immense


low important. Cutting pensions?I don't think it is politically


popular, but the logic of austerity is that you should go that way.


of the things that this does is talk about some of the things we


don't talk about in public debate, cutting pensions is one of them?


Ann is right, of course, the population is growing, it will need


to grow a lot faster if we are going to even hope to tackle our


fiscal problems. But of course while the population is rising, the


dependency ratio is really changing in a crushing way. At the moment


about four people are in work for every pensioner, by 2030, 2030, not


very long, it will be only two people in work for each pensioner.


Right now we have 2.5 million people unemployed, we have 1.5


million people who have been unemployed for a short time, young,


educated, skilled who are hungry to work and we have policies which are


denying them work which would generate income tax revenues to pay


for these things. Not just now but into the future. The bank of


international settlements the Central Bankers' think-tank if you


like. Extremely robust organisation, they say by 2030 the UK's national


debt on current projections. And on current policy. Maybe you can let


me talk, you didn't let me last time I was on the show. Go on.The


bank of international assessment says by 2030, a short long-term


forecast will be our national debt will be about 300% of GDP, that's a


massive number unless we take drastic action. We have now got a


situation where politicians are just beginning to nibble at the


edges of pension reforms. But their pension reforms are saving by


nudging up the retirement age. These are scare stories. Hundreds


of millions over 30 years. When the problem is one of hundreds of


billions. They are economic scare stories in order to attack pensions


and in order to attack a whole generation that have paid for their


pensions. And in order to deprive an upcoming generation of work.


will have to leave it there. Thank you both very much. Now what to put


on cigarette packets? How much to charge for a can of beer, who is


responsible for shocking failures in the health service and the role


of lobyists and trade unions -- lobbyists and trade unions in


politics. Particularly Lynton Crosby, the's adviser. This is only


Wednesday. The politicians are off on hole day, although today's Prime


Minister's Questions suggests the mood is not exactly mellow.


reality that he cannot admit is against the advice of every major


public health organisation he has caved in to big tobacco, that is


the reality about this Prime Minister. And he knows it, it is


Andy Coulson all over again. He's a Prime Minister that doesn't think


the rules apply to him, dinners for donor, Andy Coulson and now big


tobacco in Downing Street, he always stands up for the wrong


people. The reason his leadership is in crisis is he can't talk about


the big issues. We are getting to the end of a political session,


when the deficit is down, unemployment is falling, crime is


down, welfare is capped, Abu Qatada is back in Jordan, every day this


country is getting stronger and every day he's getting weaker.


now all this comes in a week in which one poll suggested that the


Conservatives are now neck and neck with Labour, thanks to a


significant drop in supporting UKIP. Here to talk about the flavour of


politics to come is Newsnight's panel. Danny Finkelstein former


Conservative adviser and columnist. Sally Morgan who worked for Tony


Blair, and the Lib Dem peer, Lord Razzall was the past chair of the


party campaigns and communication committee. First of all on the NHS,


did anybody win that row? I think that when the salience of the NHS


rises the Conservative Party loses out until it changes the long-term


terms of trade on the NHS and it is a long way away from doing that.


You can't avoid talking about the NHS, but this kind of row in the


House of Commons will it change people's view of the Conservative


Party in the NHS? No. It is a bit like Ed Miliband raises the unions,


you raise the salience of something you lose. I'm not sure tactically


it is good, but strategically in the long run you have to try to win


the argument. The Conservatives are at least equal with Labour on the


NHS. Where do you stand on this, the Prime Minister had a bit of


wind in his sales he didn't have three months ago? People out there


will hate it. It will just sound like people playing politics and


scoring points around the NHS. I think it is really simple for


politicians, they have got to remember that ultimately they have


to deliver for patient and they have to keep completely focused on


quality. They have to be completely focused on greater transparency,


that allows patients to have power within the health service. And as


soon as they seem like they are moving away from that focus and


just getting into yaboo politics it is a failure. I think that the


Tories have put it on the agenda and behaving like that is a real


mistake. I thought the Prime Minister handled Staffs really well,


it is such a dramatic shift from that approach. I think it is a


little unsafe for them. Yaboo politics? The three of us are in


danger of agreeing on this. I'm very much reminded of political


history, go back to 1992, the war of Jennifer's ear, Labour tried to


race that and it didn't resonate. Even Duncan Smith trying to talk


about Rose Addis lying on a hospital bed. When politicians try


to score points off the NHS they lose. Let's move to lobbying,


Lynton Crosby and Unite. Did anyone make anything of that, or does it


raise suspicions in voters' minds, politics is for other people, they


are insiders? There has been a major player in the last few weeks


and that is Ed Miliband's move on the unions. It creates a strategic


opportunity for him and massive danger. The strategic opportunity


is obvious you can show as a strong leader and distance Labour from


unpopular vested interests. The danger is he gets half way into it


and can't finish the job. Then he gets tangled up in something that


he doesn't think is a U-turn but people watching think is a U-turn


and then he looks weak. It is a strategic opening for him but also


a big risk. I think that was a much bigger play than other issues about


lobbying. Len McCluskey saying in tomorrow's Guardian this is a


gamble that could bankrupt the party. That is what's at stake?


Bizarrely I think the money is less of an issue than in the end whether


or not Ed see it is through and wins. I'm afraid I agree with Danny.


It must be the warm weather? think the position is this is


potential lot biggest breakthrough for Ed, if he gets it right and


sees it through. If he doesn't it will be a really significant thing


for him. He might think he's seeing it through. Dam on grammar schools


got into a row, and then about technical differences about


Dominique Grieve was having grammar schools in Kent, and then there was


the U-turn and it collapsed. Ed Miliband has to be careful


technically or he will look like he U-turned. The Lynton Crosby thing,


does it raise the question that Liberal Democrats have been banging


on about years, public funding? This must get back on the agenda


the issue of how political parties are funded. I mean we have banged


on for ages and you might well say we would, wouldn't we, as a party.


But how Labour is in the pocket of the trade unions because they are


the paymasters, Tories are in the pockets of originally big business,


now the City. The issue now is, is it really now the opportunity to


reactivate the proposals for proper finance. It was the Tories who


pulled out, everybody thinks it was Labour that pulled out, it was the


Tories. These proposals are fine but they will bankrupt political


parties. If they have a �5,000 or �10,000 limit on donation, everyone


says we will have small donation, we all know really it is all about


bankrupting, the Liberal Democrats are bankrupt already, they are


perfectly happy with that. understand we are doing rather well,


I'm no longer treasurer, but we are doing well. Lynton Crosby, was it


unwise for him not to be forced to devest from business links. He


shook the party up? You couldn't have Lynton Crosby and have him do


that, he wouldn't do it on the terms. You had to choose to have


Lynton Crosby and background noise or no Lynton Crosby. They have


experienced Lynton Crosby before and they think he has integrity and


he certainly has ability. They have decided to take the risk. He will


get himself tangled up in stuff but it is below the radar. I don't


agree with that, I think the problem with Lynton Crosby and the


way it is positioned at the moment, it has a smell about it. That is


not to say he has been in lobbying David Cameron, but if you take a


position where we know Lynton Crosby says let's wipe away sue


perv Louis issues, and one of those being public health, -- superfluous,


and one being public health, I think that is somewhere the


Conservatives don't need to be. is a cut-through issue, I would


take a lot of persuading that people knew Lynton Crosby really


was very widely or they were paying a lot of attention to these


parliamentary debates. You are netting this off against the impact


that he can make for you. You couldn't get him any other way.


don't think Lynton Crosby will have significantly influenced the


decision that was taken, and there is far too many people involved in


it. What worries me about this is it brings the whole political


process into disrepute, it is just yet another peg to people adding to


all the other pegs that people have, that politics is corrupt, and


politics isn't corrupt in this country but people are beginning to


think they are. It is another thing. I don't think it will damage the


Tory Party, it will damage all of us. It creates a smell. Just in the


couple of minutes we have left, it is lovely weather, a great sporting


summer are people going in a cheery mood or is it the next two years


will be this, austerity election, the battlelines are obvious and


pretty miserable? I think it will be a very tough political period. I


think it is clear that the Conservatives are in a better


position than they were a month ago. It would be foolish not to accept


that. I think we are in a position where the general election is wide


open. I think you could end up with either major party having a


majority or hung parliament. Nobody could call that at the moment. I


think we are going to have a lot of hand-to-hand combat. The real issue


is whether the economy is showing green shoots and beginning to


recover. If it is both of the coalition parties will start to


improve their position in the opinion polls. If they are not we


have a problem. And the other very big issue is whether Ed Miliband


sees through the strategic opening he has made for himself or it


become as big trap for him. Not just in terms of bankrupting the


Labour Party, that is secondary, it is much more about weakness and


strength for his leadership. It is perfect Barbie weather, but


what is on the Newsnight summer playlist, drifting from our iPod


dock, one artist has been on heavy rotation for decades, five of them,


Nile Rodgers, hit maker to the stars, Bowie, Madonna and Daft Punk.


Nile Rodgers has let his music do his talking but in a by star store


in London he gave us tips on how to make hit records. He even had a go


at the notoriously tricky Newsnight song book. In a guitar store down


Tin Pan Alley in London's West End we are hanging with Nile Rodgers


and bringing our own joint toe the jam. (Newsnight theme tune played)


Hello, the Queen has entered the building! That is actually our


theme music, it sound regular gall. What happens when a world famous


hero meets the theme tune of an acclaimed late night...well show,


basically. Let's go with that. The horn is it. It has been the summer


of bling. Liberace is big at the box-office again. It was a shiny


gold pot for Andy Murray, and at the festivals a storming turn by


Chic and Nile Rodgers. # We're lost in music


# Caught in a trap His career was born under a


glitterball. # We're lost in music


How does he come up with those tight, funky groofs, how tight are


they? They are tighter than Mickey Rourke's forehead. The process of


writing a song and a groove and hook is so much trial and error.


All of the composers I know and respect we never get it right the


first time around, it is only after you rewrite it and rewrite it and


then there is that moment usually that a-ha moment when you go, I got


# Let's dance # Put on your red shoes


# And dance the blues Not bad, but how is Nile Rodgers's


audition going for the Newsnight house band. (Newsnight theme plays


) Is it in six-eight?It is mainly a piece for banjo! Anybody in the


store know what this tune is. his long career Nile Rodgers has


collaborateed with all sorts. Including the droids of Daft Punk


on this year's monster hit. But how are people getting along in America


today. In the aftermath of the fatal shooting of Trevyon Martin, a


black youngster in Florida, are things better or others than when


Rodgers was starting out? I think things are worse, I tell you why,


because gone is the sense of optimisim. A Trevyon Martin type of


case could have happened when I was a kid and the outcome would have


been the same. The difference is when I was younger we believed that


in 2013 things would be different. We were loaded with this optimisim


which is what fuelled, that was the turbo charger in our music, that is


what made us write these optimistic songs, we were writing about a


future that we thought we would see. In fact, the future that we


envisioned has never happened. It is pretty much the same. Despite a


black man in the White House? That is something you might not have


anticipated or maybe you did? certainly never anticipated that in


a million years. I think that is probably worse, in a strange way,


because of someone like that. Because I have never seen any


President as disrespected as I see President Obama being disrespected.


# I'm coming up # I want the world to know fl # Got


to let it show When Nile Rodgers wrote this song


for Diana Ross he was smuggling a gay anthem into the charts, a


harder thing to do 30 years ago than today perhaps. What's his view


of the gay marriage debate? almost don't understand how a


person could be against gay marriage. Why would what someone


else does bother you? You wouldn't even know. America is quite divided


because things that don't really affect their lives they believe has


some sort of moral effect or some sort of residual effect when it


doesn't really. 1-2ahhh


# Freak out # Le freak


Much admired by rappers and artists, he has been sampled more than John


Lewis curtains, he has come to terms with it, especially now they


are paying him. That is just a big part of the music business. I will


go work with producers and I will sit down with them and they will


play tonnes of my samples right there in front of me. They don't


think about it. I can't tell you. There is no self-respecting DJ that


doesn't have the beginning of Le Freak as part of their samples


library, every as an "ahhh". Newsnight theme) big finish? I'm in


the ball park but not there. If you had this cold in Hyde part, you


would have blown them away. You got to be kidding me. (plays the


Newsnight theme) that can't be it. You got it. Wonderful Nile Rodgers,


Apology for the loss of subtitles for 60 seconds


let's have a look at tomorrow That's it for tonight, we are back


Today more sunshine for Scotland and Northern Ireland and more heat.


Further south perhaps our hot spots just a bit further west. For


Northern Ireland some decent sunny spells, temperatures up into the


mid-20s, similar figures are forecast across southern and


eastern Scotland. Persistent low cloud and muark further north, the


isolated chance of a shower through eastern Scotland through the


afternoon into the evening. Sunny spells for northern England,


sunshine across the Midlands into East Anglia and the south-east of


England. Some of the temperatures, a couple of degrees down on the


last few days, an Eastleigh breeze, we can see the highs more intense


further west. A hotter day for Devon and Cornwall in South Wales,


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

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