23/07/2013 Newsnight


The CIA arms Syrian rebels. The strange life of a royal baby. Thalidomide in the Brazilian slums. And baby boomers bailing out their grandchildren.

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given the go ahead by the United States Congress to begin arming the


Syrian rebels. Light weapons and ammunition will begin to flow


within weeks along with training, logistics and intelligence. With


America's top soldier in uniform fretting about possible mission


creep and unintended consequences, we hear from both sides of the


debate in Washington. Everyone remembers their first baby


pictures, but this baby will need to get used to a life under the


microscope. What kind of childhood can the infant Prince look forward


to. We're still working on a name, so we will have that as soon as we


can. And what name is fit for a modern king? William, Heny. Stephen.


Richard John. Hey. David Starkey and Martin Bashir


share their expertise. The children in Brazil born to poor mothers


being treated for leprosy with a drug banned after causing birth


defects in the 1950s. Where is thalidomide being handed out again.


TRANSLATION: His father said the doctor didn't tell him that women


couldn't take it. He said they didn't tell him anything about it.


What of the baby-boomers and what have they done for you? Quite a lot


actually, according to a new study of the way grandparents give their


wealth and time to their grandchildren. Good evening,


American military intervention in Syria means the guns will now


arrive within weeks. The United States House and Senate


intelligence committees have given the go ahead to the CIA to ship


weapons to the Syrian opposition. Big doubts remain. America's top


soldier in uniform, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General


Sir Martin Demsey, has warned of the unintended consequence, that


could empower extremists or unleash the very chemical weapons we seek


to control. We have been assessing whether this marks a significant


turning point for western intervention.


It is very significant, no doubt about it. It was back in early June


that the White House briefed that America would supply weapons, they


then deflected all further questions on the topic and we were


left wondering what's happening. As we have pursued it and tried to


follow it up over the last few weeks we heard the thing had moved


to the Hill, to the Senate and the House Intelligence Committees. Some


doubt as if there was a constitutional need for them to


sign off it on it, it seems there was a political need. Doubts within


both committees about whether these weapons could be kept under a


reasonable degree of control, whether it was a sufficient measure.


All of these types of things had been to be assuageed, they have


received the go ahead from the committee. We have heard weapons


could be arriving in two weeks, the beginning of August, it is clear it


could be very soon. The American programme will channel


guns, anti-tank weapons and even mortars through Jordan. The


operation could cost $500 million in the first year. Washington


insiders say it is ready to go. think that they would expect to


send the first shipments within the next couple of weeks, ramping it up


over a period of months. They already have the infrastructure


largely in place in Jordan. Training, intelligence, logistics,


and so I think that the first of it would be there within the next few


weeks. It is months since President Obama


said he would do more to help the opposition. He had been stung by


criticism that he had done nothing to punish the Assad regime for


crossing a red line by using chemical weapons. When it comes to


using chemical weapons, the entire world should be concerned. In terms


of what that means in terms of American action, keep in mind, we


are already taking a whole range of actions, we are going to continue


taking a whole range of actions, separate and apart from the


chemical weapon use, we have tens of thousands of people being killed


inside of Syria, we want to see that stopped. For humanitarian


reasons but also for strategic reasons.


Although the White House refused to elaborate it ordered troops in


Jordan for military exercises to stay put and speculation soon began


that they were there to set up training camps for the Free Syrian


Army. Back home the battle continued between those who thought


this would mark a slippery slope of intervention and those who think it


is barely an adequate response to the Syrian crisis. The response of


the administration has been slow and piecemeal, especially as the


complexity of the Syria crisis has truly unfolded before us, where he


it started out as peaceful uprising against a largely tyrannical regime


and has movered into a sectarian -- morphed into a sectarian war that


has divided the country into three parts and threatened to destroy


Syria and the architectural region around Syria. The Pentagon has been


siding with the non- interventionists recently. Its


chief yesterday gave a downbeat assessment of military operations


Apology for the loss of subtitles for 43 seconds


It could require thousands of Special Forces but only expected to


control the, of the some but not all chemical weapons and might make


it easier for extremists to get hold of others. A lot in Congress


have been saying let's have a no- fly zone and attack Syrian air


bases to down the Syrian air force. Dempsey has said it is a very


difficult thing to do and will require a lot of resources. He has


made no secret of his lack of enthusiasm. That is reflected in


his letter. By pushing ahead with the plan to arm rebel groups the


White House will channel lethal support via the CIA. Keeping the US


military, if all goes to plan at arms length from it. But the


problem is, as General Dempsey knows only too well, that


intervention can rarely be managed in such a neat way.


A little earlier I spoke to Congressman Adam Schiff, on the US


House of 7 presentives -- House of Representatives Intelligence


Committee. And to Danielle Pletka, author of Dissent in the Arab World,


and director of the think-tank the American institute.


Why why did did you choose to vote against the plan to use the CIA to


arm Syrian rebels? I have a great deal of concern about getting


involved in yet another civil war. I think that there are better steps


that we can take than providing arms. Arms that we can't be sure


even if they get in the right hands that they will stay in the right


hands. I think we should retain our focus on getting the parties to


negotiate a settlement on providing humanitarian relief, on taking


action with the international community on a chemical weapons


threat and try to degrade Assad's ability to deliver chemical weapons


again. But, becoming an armed supplier in a civil war is not


something I favour and that's something I have been speaking out


on. Just so I understand the kind of consensus within the House and


Senate Intelligence Committee, the House chairman Mike Rogers spoke of


"very strong concern". Even though most have been seen to go along


with the Obama add minutes trace, is there some people who think he's


making a mistake? There is a broad concern in Congress about getting


involved in this sectarian civil war. That a small amount of weapons


is unlikely toe make a difference, and that we would have to provide


such a massive quantity of arms and sophisticated weapons to tilt the


balance on the battlefield that inevitably we would be drawn


further and further into the civil war. Again there is the fear most


members of Congress have on both sides of the aisle that even if you


can vet members of the opposition that you provide weapons to, you


can't be sure that they will stay with that vetted opposition. Many


of the rebel groups are now fighting each other, and we have to


prudently expect that some percentage of whatever weapons we


might supply would get into the wrong hands. So without getting


into any specific about what the administration is asking for


calling for, I want to express my general concern without becoming a


weapons supplier in the civil war. You have heard those reservations


but also General Sir Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the joint chiefs is


warning of unintended consequences and deeper involvement might be


hard to avoid. You must be uncomfortable that a senior general


with real experience of Iraq is so unenthusiastic of this? I'm not


surprised at what General Dempsey is saying. The military is always


unenthusiastic about war, that is why we have a civilian Commander-


in-Chief who leads them. The President has made a decision about


arming the rebels in Syria. The Congressman raises some reasonable


calf youths. The honest truth -- caveats. The honest truth is if we


could seal Syria off and keep it there, perhaps the American


Congress could sit by and watch as hundreds of thousands of people are


killed without fear that there would be an expansion regionally.


As for the question of arms getting into the wrong hands, I'm afraid


that horse has already left the stable. Arms are already in the


wrong hands, that is one of the reasons why the balance has tilted


as the chairman said last week, in favour of Assad. I wonder how you


will judge as you monitor the CIA's arming of these rebels how it is


working? Presumably you will rely on the intelligence coming from the


CIA on a policy they are expect to go implement. They may not be


entirely straight on telling you whether it is working? Of course it


will be very difficult to monitor exactly how the provision of any


material support is helping the opposition. But that's part of our


responsibility to oversee anything that might be understaken. I will


say this in response to the comments that were made. It is very


seductive to want to help the opposition here to want to get


involved and balance out what Hezbollah or the Russians are doing.


That is why it is so easy to get involved in conflicts.


Unfortunately we find as easy as it is to get in, it is very difficult


to get out, to extricate yourself from a civil war. I fear we will


simply be drawn further and further into this conflict. You know there


is a question that we have the capability of doing this, we have


the capability of deciding the course of this conflict in the


sense of who wins militarily and who does not, but as we see in


Afghanistan, as we saw in Iraq, the military equation is only one part


of the equation. As General Dempsey pointed out so forcefully the other


day, when you change the trajectory on the battlefield, that is not the


end of the story, if it was, the war in Afghanistan would have been


over a long time. You have to be concerned about what comes in after.


Let me bring in Danielle Pletka, that is the core of with what


General Dempsey is saying, I wonder what your judgment is, whatever the


policy appears to be now, in another year's time the United


States will be more deeply involved in Syria? No I don't know that we


will be more deeply involved. I'm waiting for the President to


actually implement the arms transfers that he suggested were


going to happen. It is funny the Congressman suggests that it is


easy to be seduced by ideas of helping people. Well I do find


ideas of helping people rather seductive. But I think that the


notion of getting inbetween Assad and Hezbollah and Al-Qaeda is not a


terribly attractive one. On the other hand, I think that anyone who


is, as the Congressman is, in ardent and a correct supporter of


Israel and the relationship between the United States and Israel needs


to understand that the Syrian conflict is not staying in Syria.


It is already spilling over to Iraq, it is spilling over to Lebanon. It


is spilling into Turkey and Jordan and Hezbollah is gaining a foothold


on the hills in the Golan which will open a second front towards


Israel. The notion that this isn't going to drag in other parties


where we do have great interests I am afraid is a bit of a pipe dream.


A final thought from Congressman Schiff, in your judgment, whatever


the disagreements we have heard here, in your judgment do you think


the United States will be more deeply involved in a year's time in


Syria? Yes I do. If we take this step now of getting more militarily


involved we will inevitably be called upon to do for more all the


reasons mentioned. Once we make this a proxy war with Russia and


Hezbollah. Once we put the credibility of the United States on


the line to that degree, then the arguments become irresistable that


we have to do more. If the battle is still not going well then we


have to do more, we have to provide more weapons, meer sophisticated


weapons. That is how you end -- more sophisticated weapons. That is


how you end up with mission creep and get more involved in and


getting sucked in. After two wars, drawing down from one and another


one there is little appetite to get involved in a third war in yet


another Muslim country. Thank you very much both of you.


The first public glimpse of the new royal babey a few hours ago is the


beginning of a life lived under the flash bulbs and the TV lens. The


little Prince, unnamed as yet, is being born into a society where


privacy is, if not dead, is difficult to achieve. His


grandmother, Diana, was a victim of the the insatible appetite for


information about the Royals. Since she died everybody who has a mobile


phone is capable of publishing information. The Duke and Duchess


of Cambridge looking like normal and happy parents, how normal can


their baby's life possibly be. In a moment we will hear from David


Starkey and Martin Bashir. First we report, as you might expect there


is some flash photography. The new Prince makes his bow in the


arms of his mother. If the movement had been choreographed to look


relaxed and natural, and perhaps it was, it could scarcely have gone


any better. The proud parents in their informal, co-ordinating gear.


Body guards and flunkies well out of site. He has a God pair of lungs


on him, that's for -- a good pair of lungs on him, that's for sure.


He is a big boy, and we are working on a name. It is the first time we


have seen him so we are catching up. It wasn't only the new father who


handled reporter's questions. emotional, it is very emotional, it


is such a special time, any parent I think will probably know what


this feeling feels like. It is very special. Prince William was asked


about the delay between the birth and when it was announced. Was that


time for the family? It was, and I will remind him of his tardiness


when he's older, I know how long you have been waiting out here.


Hopefully you and the hospital can go back to normal and we can look


after them. It has felt like a bit of a wait for the sight of the


royal infant. In a spectacle witnessed only once in a generation,


bulletins about a future heir to the throne are displayed on


Newsnight's called easal of news! Some day my Prince will come, but


when? Through the song sultry day, on-lookers took in the scene, where


photographers kept their watch of wandering lens. Caught between the


irresistable force of air time to fill, and the immovable object of


nothing to say, one man stood out. Daniella thank you very much, that


won't stop the fevered speculation here but as far as what is going on


at the hospital right now the news here is that we have no news.


People have found your take on it refreshing, they look at you and


see something has perhaps died in your eyes for the time being?


hasn't dyed. I have covered the Royal Family for many years in a


previous life. You have got to be very careful that you are not


speculating to the point where you lose the viewers' trust. I speak as


I find. I think you have to. If you walk outside a hospital, hour upon


hour and nothing has happened, it is a bit difficult to sustain hour


after hour. We are expected today do that and I will do my best at it,


but I won't lie about with what I'm saying.


The Prince was asked if he had changed add nappy yet. I have done


that already. He's done a few already. It is very, very good.


different from the home life of our own dear Queen who reportedly


outsourced a lot of the hands on childcare to servants. Kate


Middleton and Prince William put their DNA into a Kenwood blender,


and the resulting smoothie is an extraordinary combination of royal


and middle-class. The challenge for the pair is to enjoy bringing up a


child that is essentially the first royal middle-class baby. They will


attempt to give this child as normal an upbringing, if you regard


Weatherby, Ludgrove follow bid Eton as normal. In the current


configuration of our Government it is normal and quite common. They


will do that for this child, but I think there will be a lot of


Berkshire, and there will be a lot of Malborough rather than Eton. We


may see them looking at upper middle-class rather than royal.


Admittedly a prosperous middle- class father, Prince William


strapped his son into his 4X4 and drove his family home from hospital.


All unknowing, the newest royal has had his first encounter with a huge


media interest, which has been repellent to members of hits family


at times, which these days is a large part of what they are -- of


his family at times, which these days is a large part of what they


are here for. David Starkey is here in the studio and Martin Bashir,


who famously interviewed Princess Diana for Panorama at a troubled


time for the House of Windsor joins us from New York.


First of all, Princess Diana lived her life under a great deal of


scrutiny and was very unhappy about it at times. Do you think that's


the kind of fate that awaits the new Prince? It could, but I think


there are three encouraging signs. This is largely to do with Prince


William. First of all Prince William has beefed up the media


operation following his father Prince Charles to the extent that


now they have a media and marketing department that's akin to any


institution in the United Kingdom. No longer do we have a couple of


thumpingly good chaps who have come down from military service that are


dabbling a bit in the media, these are now professional media


operators. Secondly, the Duchess of Cambridge shows no inclination to


breach any of the royal protocols of privacy that of course people


like myself and others in journalism were able to exploit


with the late Princess of Wales. She doesn't display any willingness


to disclose her feelings or troubles to anyone outside the


Royal Family. The third reason why people don't need to be so


pessimistic about this child's future in front of the lens is the


British press is to some extent could youed and bowed following the


phone hacking inquire -- cowed and bowed following the phone hacking


inquiry. It was a text message on Prince William's cellphone that


provoked inquiries about whether someone was hacking a member of the


Royal Family's home. This was a reference to a knee injury. That


then spawned all the other inquiries. This year alone we have


seen public servants go to jail for selling information to national


newspapers. I think that kind of example has probably discouraged


people. In the past I'm sure some of the tabloids would have been


thinking about offering a few quid to people who work at the Lindo


Wing at St Mary's Paddington. They are discouraged in doing that at


the moment because of Leveson and what we have seen. How do you view


this, clearly this was a very beautifully choreographed bit of


normality, and ordinariness. The father, we can run some pictures of


some of those scenes, the father strapping the baby into the car.


The immensely expensive 4X4. Very beautifully polished, which clearly


we hadn't polished. But yes. That is part of the story that we are


watching? I think it is. We have been talking, remember, about


middle-class monarchy ever since Victoria and Albert, the embrace of


middle-class values, the middle- class style of living, the contempt


of the high aristocracy for the Victorian monarchy. They sneered


that this royal "can I". What is new about The Middles and Kate and


William is the reality -- the Middleton, and Kate and William is


the reality is notching towards the myth. We are seeing this incredibly


delicate balance between totally ordinary behaviour, William has got


himself a new estuary accent, and at the same time the specialness,


which we never want to lose. The myth is between those two things.


Do you think, the way you said that makes me think that British people


get both sides of it, they get their sort of just like us, but


they are not at all like us? Celebrity is the same, you want


them to be the same, but at the same time you fantasise about


becking ham palace in exactly the - - BeckinghamPalace in exactly the


same way. And Kate understands, saying every family having a baby


goes through this. The reason family monarchy that we have got


works so well is it taps into universal experiences, slightly


tipsy grandmas, some what off uncles, boisterous younger brothers,


and the whole process of birth, marriage and death. I want to bring


that point about boisterous younger brothers, you are sure they will


retain a degree of privacy. We also know the media is just not pulling


in the editors and giving them a telling off and whatever Leveson


will do to cow them. It is also Prince Harry having photographs


taken in a hotel room in Las Vegas and published so everyone can see.


It is no so easy to control? It is not, but it is not the most helpful


thing playing strip poker with young ladies who are attractive and


drunk that you met a few hours before commencing your game. That


is not the most sensible thing. We accept this is a digital world, and


all of these forces are at work. They apply to anybody who is a


public figure. I was photographed recently coming out of a jazz club,


and the photo-grat appeared to suggest that I wasn't entirely


sober. I was actually and I had just been there on my own without


any alcohol. That is part of what this means. But I do think keep in


mind the power and force of Her Majesty the Queen throughout this.


David Starkey and yourself were talking earlier about that


difficult period, I did that interview and it was broadcast in


1995. Windsor Castle fire happened, the divorce and death of Princess


Diana. That was a terribly difficult time, one of the things


that has been continuous has been Her Majesty's absolute


unimpeachable character and service to the nation. And I think that


British people feel well disposed to the Royal Family, principally


because of her role. This is not an ordinary bunch of celebrities on to


whom we can project our own aspirations and expectations. This


has at the centre a woman who, as I said, has a profound character of


commitment and service and duty that British people respect


enormously. I want to bring in David Starkey on the other part of


the family, which is the Middletons themselves. We touched on middle-


class values, people say it is the first time commoners will be the


grandparents to king. That isn't true? Look at the family tree of


most of Henry's wife. Queen Elizabeth had a second cousin who


was a blacksmith. Ranking a good deal below the Middletons. The


Middletons are not all that ordinary middle-class, ordinary


children don't send three children to Malborough at �26,000 a year.


They are self-made people and people can relate to that? With the


Middleton the myth of the middle- class monarchy has made another


edging towards that. You are edging away from a great Victorian Vision


of enormous households service, and a vast family, towards something


which is much more like a modern nuclear family. That is an


interesting point, because a Royal Courtier said to me that people


love the monarchy and the Queen but they don't like too much of the


extended family? That's right. But the really important thing about


changing the rules of the succession, to the rage of


assembled feminists, this is a boy, so we will have three kings in a


row. But when you say that the eldest succeeds irrespective, why


do we need HRH hangers on. To use that rather unkind term. Why do we


need the Kents and Gloucesters any more, we don't. I think what we are


going to see is a move ever closer to a standard upper-class family.


It is only the upper-classes that marry, and marriage is key here. It


is not quite pop but it will be more normal, with a gradual discard


of the hangers on. Thank you very much both of you.


Now, in the 1950s, what was billed at a new wonder drug, thalidomide


was prescribeed to some pregnant women to help them overcome the


symptoms of morning sick test, the side-effects were severe and the


drug was banned. Now a new scientific study seen exclusively


by Newsnight shows that thalidomide is still causing birth defects


today. It has been relicensed in Brazil to help leprosy. It is


believed 100 babies have been born with 200 -- since 205 with injuries


caused by the thalidomide of the past. We were told this could never


happen again. That no child would be so terribly damaged. No family


forced to live with the stigma. But Alan is living proof that is not


true. Thalidomide was meant to be been contained, controlled and made


safe. But it is still mutilating limbs and continuitying lives. Alan


lives in a small town in rural Brazil. His response to the wrong


the drug has done him is to improvise and adapt, with an eight-


year-old's energy and appetite for life. And he has ambitions too. His


mother wants him to be a lawyer, but Alan has other plans. When you


get older and you go and get a job, what do you think you want to do


with your life? TRANSLATION: professional footballer. First


marketed in the late 1950s, thalidomide was sold as a wonder


drug, so safe it was given to pregnant women for morning sickness.


10,000 thalidomide babies were worn worldwide, more than 400 in Britain


before it was officially withdrawn in 1962. But thalidomide never


really went away. This factory produces about eight million pills


a year. It is cheap and highly effective at streeting a disease


that stalks Brazil's slums. Leprosy. Here health workers spread out


across a favela near Rio deJanuary near row, showing people how to


spot signs of the disease and encouraging them to come for free


testing. Artur Custodio is from the National Leprosy Organisation.


TRANSLATION: Brazil is number one in the world for leprosy cases,


after Brazils Congo, and East Timor. In absolute numbers Brazil is


behind India which has a bigger population. It varies around the


country because leprosy is a disease of forgotten populations.


On the surface Brazil may look like it is booming. It has the sixth-


biggest economy in the world, larger than Britain's, and a GDP of


�1.6 trillion. But there is a very different Brazil beyond the


playgrounds of the elite. The gap between rich and poor is immense


here. While Brazil has as many billionares as France and Spain put


together, 16 million people here have to live on less than �1 a day.


With poor healthcare and massive overcrowding. Perfect conditions


for leprosy to thrive. Favelas crowd in on all the big


cities here. People leaving the countryside gain a precarious


foothold on the fringes of this society. The country's boom seems


barely to have touched them. After years of Government inaction,


leprosy is now being tackled head on. Mass education campaigns are


reaching out into the slums. At this event even Miss Brazil puts in


an appearence to encourage people to come and use this testing van.


TRANSLATION: People give greater support and look for more


information. We want to get the message out about early treatment.


Because from the moment the person takes the medicine for the first


time, he or she stops being able to pass on the disease to other people.


So this information is very important. And come they do. A


detailed medical history is taken, blood test too, then an examination


by a doctor. For this man it is a quick diagnosis, much of his back


is disfigured by the illness. But as more sufferers are identified,


so the need for thalidomide grows. And at this clinic in the suburbs


of Rio half the patients use the medicine. Such is the taboo that


still cloaks the illness, we are asked not to show their faces. But


one patient, being examined by her doctor let us see how thalidomide


has reduced the painful leisons on her arm. And she proudly shows us


her son Pedro she had him before she began the treatment.


TRANSLATION: I know that I need the medicine, that if I don't take the


contraceptive pills I could get pregnant and have a disabled child.


I don't think it is fair to bring a disabled kid into the world just


because of being careless. I have already had my son, who is my whole


life, and I don't think it would be right to have another child who was


disabled. But she believes others aren't as careful as she is.


TRANSLATION: No because if they were more careful there wouldn't be


children with so many defects. There are people who don't think


about their child, just about themselves. Thalidomide is kept


looked away in a secure room. Dr Fernanda Vianna is shown how it is


stored and dispensed. She's an epidemiologyist, a chemist who has


carried out the largest study in the effects of the drug. How


dangerous potentially is this drug? This drug it is possible to produce


malformations, very difficult to manage throughout life.


analysed 17 million births between 2005-2010. The study shows in


places where more thalidomide is used there is a higher than


expected number of birth defects. TRANSLATION: So we found after the


six years of research a strong correlation, a significant and


positive correlation between the amount of thalidomide dispensed and


the type of congenital defects and the occurrance of these defects and


in particular limb reduction reeffects. The research also showed


the highest number of cases were in areas of extreme poverty, where


leprosy is pref vent. She admits to being shocked by the -- prevalent.


She admits to be shocked by the results. TRANSLATION: We had 100


cases in six years similar to thalidomide syndrome. We couldn't


evaluate each case, we couldn't say all cases are thalidomide syndrome.


But this type of defect is very rare. These are just some of the


forms that a woman last to fill out. There should be tight controls when


thalidomide is prescribeed. A woman must be using two forms of birth


control and agree to regular pregnancy tests, but the system


isn't fail safe. Some patients don't understand the prestrixs and


in Brazil it is common for people to share medication. Are these


controls enough? We have some problems and some situations that


some patients don't have a lot of information. The exchange of the


information is so difficult in some situations that the physicians


explains but the patient doesn't understand so it is difficult in


some situations. This is what seems to have happened to Alan. His


father had leprosy and was taking thalidomide. His mother says she


was feeling ill and took several different pills from the medicine


cabinet, without knowing she was pregnant. TRANSLATION: I got it and


took it when I was feeling sick, not well. So I got the medicine and


took it. I had already taken others like paracetamol to make myself


feel better without knowing I was pregnant. His father said that the


doctor didn't tell him that women couldn't take it. He said they


didn't tell him anything about it. For doctors who use the drug every


day, there is no dilemma. How good is it as a drug? The best.The


best? For this type of reaction it is the best drug. There will be


many people in my country who say I'm shocked that thalidomide is


still used. You have the ghosts of thalidomide in the 50s, I


understand, but they should forget their ghosts. It is a drug. We have


other drugs why thalidomide, only thalidomide. I think these ghosts


will disappear as soon as the older people die. Such is the need for


thalidomide that the Government has more than doubled its order from


this factory. TRANSLATION: Nowadays there is a myth about thalidomide.


People are afraid of thalidomide. People are afraid of taking it and


people are afraid of being anywhere near it. But I think with


information and publicity about the benefits that thalidomide brings to


patients, this myth can be overcome. Because the benefits outweigh the


risks. No-one is saying that thalidomide


should be banned, it is far too important a medicine for that. But


this is a deeply unequal country. It is the poor who suffer most from


leprosy, and because of bad education and inadequate healthcare


it is the children of the poor most likely to be damaged by thalidomide.


Thalidomide is a terrifying part of medical history, that it is still


able to mutilate young bodies today will horrify many. The complex


causes makes poverty with disease, ignorance and simple bad luck. Alan


is living proof that more than 50 years after thalidomide was first


withdrawn there is a second generation of children who are


having to live with the terrible damage it can cause. Now, we can


assume that with grandparents like Prince Charles and the Middletons,


not to mention a great-grand mother of some influence, that the new


royal baby can count on a considerable amount of financial


system from the Bank of Granny and Granddad. So do others,


grandparents are paying for mortgages, holidays, and even


school uniforms. They shell almost �2,000 a year to support family


life. According to a new report the grey pound is keeping a big role in


keeping families afloat. For years we have been told that the baby-


boomers have had it all, secure jobs, final salary pensions and


often a second or third home thanks to a massive housing boom. But is a


quiet and voluntary redistribution going on between the generations? A


survey by GP Morgan suggests more than a third of grandparents


contribute to their families' living costs, helping pay for


mortgages, school clothes and even the family car. It adds up to


almost �1500 a year, plus another �1,000 of free childcare. So is


that sustainable? Or even desirable. Or is redistribution from old to


young really the Government's job. By scrapping free TV licenses and


increasing the retirement age, or even higher taxes on pensions. All


have been suggested to pass money to a struggling next generation. We


have the editor with saga magazine aimed at the over 50s, and we have


the author of Jilted Generation, a book about how those in their 20s


and 30s may be losing out. Do you think we understatement how much


grandparents do? I think it is a very visceral thing to want to give


money to your family. I think that when times are hard the impact that


grandparents can have on keeping families afloat is greater than


when we are going through good times. Do you think that however


much people in their 20s and 30s feel they may be losing out,


grandparents are filling up a lot of the holes in our social life and


apparently our financial life as well? And families will be families


as Emma has said, you can't really legislate against that, that would


be utterly ensane. The question is really why do young families in


their late 20s and early 30s need this kind of help. Why if they are


in work are they not able to do these things themselves without


relying on older parents. answer to that is these are really


hard times for everybody, as you say families will do the best they


can, grandparents will do the best they can. There is no going back to


the golden age where the baby- boomers got MIRAS and free


university places, it is not going to happen again? Why not. The


question is this, we know that young adults today are suffering


massively in terms of housing costs, if they want to buy a house they


have to pay over the odds for it. Historically speaking if they are


renting they are paying over the odds in the private sector and


there isn't enough social housing to go around and yet we don't, we


are not really doing anything about the housing issue in this country


except to chuck some loan guarantees at it, which all


economyists agree will boost the price of those who already own


homes. What do you think of this? In a way grandparents are


redistributing some wealth, is that the Government's role? Should they


do more about it? Or should people get used to the fact? The key word


in the introduction was the word "voluntary", people are much


happier choosing where they give their money. So they give it to


their families and to the very generations that we're talking


about. The other thing is that they are actually taking, if you like,


the value of their houses, this is what is enabling them to give the


money. But they have the security that perhaps owning your own home


and having paid off the mortgage gives them. Disposable income in


the over 60s is now greater than people in their 20s, is that the


Government's job to change that or should they just say that is fine?


There is no doubt that this is a very lucky generation. I couldn't


possibly argue against that, it is a sort of whatever, it is a perfect


storm of the last of the final salary pension, and the property


boom. But it isn't going to last. Already final salary pensions are


dying. Even I'm in my early 60s, I'm not going to get that. So this


isn't going to last. When these the wealth from this important is


passed down it is exactly filtered down to the very people that we


want to help. About the sort of things being handed down things.


When people are having families it is biologically limited, if that


doesn't happen for another 30, 40 years then that generation then


what do they do. The other aspect of this is what you have been


saying underlies the point really, it is well look yes we have done


very well, but you know get off our backs now none the less, the future


will look after itself, but we don't want to pay any cost towards


making that happen. There isn't a plan in this country actually to


figure out what we are going to do over the next 20 years. We do have


a plan about the ageing society and the social care costs, we are


starting to put that together. We don't have a plan about housing, we


don't have a plan about how to get extra school places now there is a


mini-baby-boom going on at this point in time. We are really,


really bad in this country about future planning. The Office of


Budget Responsibility last week was saying this is a problem that


affects all of us. Looking forward healthcare costs for an ageing


population, increasing pension costs, public pension costs are


going to suck money out of the economy. There will be a black hole.


Do you not see any argument for either taxing those who work of a


certain age or taxing people who are older to help pay for the


younger generation to get a better standard of living? But I don't


think you can run a taxation system, you can't put in a special tax rate


just because people are over 60s and prosperous. The answer is there


are perfectly good tax bands and if you are working you pay tax on it.


Yeah the over 60s already enjoy special tax and favours, one


example, national insurance, if you are over 65 you don't pay national


insurance, why? The reason is you can claim a pension, it would be


ludicrous to pay a pension and give it back. A million over 60s work.


There are small ano mam lease in the system. I will stick my head on


to the block of the bus pass and say I do think it is a huge


anomally of wealthy pensioners getting free bus passes, et cetera.


Prince William says they are still working on a name, here is a


reminder of a few options on the table. This is curtesy of a


children's programme that all grown-ups secretly watch, BBC's


Good evening, certainly not done with the storms yet. In fact in the


last few hours it has certainly been very thundery across northern


parts of Britain. As far as Wednesday goes, I don't think the


thunder showers and the downpours will be as widespread as what we


have had in the last day or so. In Northern Ireland certainly a chance


of some showers growing through the course of the afternoon, that is


the case also for parts of Scotland. I think the morning across eastern


Scotland and the borders will be wetter and more thundery than the


afternoon. Looking at the rest of the country, the heat of the day


will develop big shower clouds and one or two locations, but they will


be well scattered. That means there will be plenty of fine and dry


weather, temperatures will get up to around 25 degrees, still very


humid. These thunder storms we have recently had, they haven't cleared


away, all that humidity. Quite often when we talk about a thundery


breakdown, we mean fresher conditions reach the country. That


has not really been the case. Nor will it be the case on Thursday. We


will see the area of rain splashing its way across the UK. Thunder


storms too and thunderstorms with sunshine to the south. Look at the


temperatures still well into the 20s, we are not getting that fresh


The CIA arms Syrian rebels. The strange life of a royal baby. Thalidomide in the Brazilian slums. And baby boomers bailing out their grandchildren.

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