10/09/2013 Newsnight


10/09/2013

Jeremy Paxman is in Beirut as the US drive to war in Syria gets more complex. Why do most of us claim to be working class? And who would take a one-way ticket to Mars?


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Beirut, the question of what to do about Syria is being played out

:00:12.:00:15.

across the world in Washington, in Moscow, in Paris, in Damascus, but

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if President Obama does send bombs or missiles they will strike 100

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miles or so across the border over there. This country is already

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offering refuge to three-quarters of a million Syrians and in a

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population the size of Lebanon that is like Britain sheltering nearly

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11 million strangers. Far more than the entire population of London. In

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Washington President Obama's plan to get strikes authorised by

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Congress has stalled. Everybody seems to have been left behind by

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the pace of diplomacy. Also on the show tonight. Come on move your

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blooming arse. It is a long way show tonight. Come on move your

:01:00.:01:08.

from Pygmalian, 60% of us claim to be working-class, can it be true?

:01:08.:01:13.

Life on Mars, maybe in a decade, 200,000 people have signed up for a

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one-way ticket. Who would want to? They talked in Washington, they

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talked in Moscow, they talked at the UN and doubtless they talked in

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many other places. The plain fact is that the military strike which

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Obama threatened last week hasn't happened. What his officials played

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down is a bit of vague conjecture by the American Secretary of State

:01:46.:01:49.

the Russians have turned into a peace plan, although thus far it

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has no status at the United Nations. It has, however, kiboshed President

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Obama's attempt to get congressional endorsement. If the

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ball is in anyone's court now it is in President Assad's. First, let's

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go to Washington. The President came to the hill this

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morning, his policy convoy heading one way, lobbying the Senate and

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preparing tonight's TV address, while diplomacy was taking another.

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To put Syria's chemical Arsenal under inter-- arsenal under

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international control. That further undermines support here for a

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military strike. I don't believe America's long-term credibility is

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at stake here, President Obama's credibility is. I don't want to see

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that shaken further if he presses a vote, which at this point in time,

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certainly in the House, I don't believe he can succeed with. And

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the Senate, could he even get it through the Senate given the latest

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developments? I think it would be tough. Part of the problem is

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President Obama has not been making the case as he should have for the

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last two, two-and-a-half years of why Syria the events in Syria pose

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a national security threat to America. He headed into a meeting

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with Democratic senators, knowing that even those who at first

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supported calls for strikes were hard at work drafting a new motion

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that would tie such action to future Syrian violation or a new UN

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resolution on their chemical weapons. Bob Casey was among those

:03:21.:03:27.

developing the new Senate bill. I have supported the authorisation

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for use of force, I think it is in the national security interests of

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the United States. I think we should move forward with it. But

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this does allow us to take away a threat if they are serious about

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meeting all of the details of removing the chemical weapons,

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having them secured and doing it in a very tight time frame. This is

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not, this should be a question literally of days, not even a

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question of weeks. In the short- term, the creation of that new

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Senate resolution will slow everything down here. But the

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President insists that he would still like a congressional vote

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backing force in case diplomacy falters. I don't think that we

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would have gotten to this point unless we had maintained a credible

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possibility of a military strike, and I don't think now is the time

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for us to let up on that. I want to and I don't think now is the time

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make sure that norm, against use of chemical weapons is maintained.

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make sure that norm, against use of That is in the national security

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interest. If we can do that without a military strike that is

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overwhelmingly my preference. That initiative will also tie things to

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progress towards a new Security Council resolution in New York.

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France tried to get that moving today. But evidence soon emerged of

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France tried to get that moving differences of approach with Russia.

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Russia has already quibbled with the wording of the French draft

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resolution, and talks broke up this evening without agreement.

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President Putin, meanwhile, has hinted that the option of US force

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must be taken off the table. It will take time to resolve those

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diplomatic differences during which the US military option will have

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been stalled and people will be asking whether President Obama has

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been sold a pup. The fact of the matter is public in opinion in

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America is strongly against military action. I think it is very

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dangerous for an American President military action. I think it is very

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to engage in military action, you have to be committed to success.

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How can you remain committed to suck iss if you don't have the

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backing of the American public. Again we're in a very bad situation,

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I think made worse by this President's lack of action to date

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I think made worse by this on Syria. But, we have got an

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opening here. He has talked about military use, that threat obviously

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has, from my standpoint, resulted in this lifeline being tossed.

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There is diplomatic opening and we should take advantage of that

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diplomatic opening and push it and prb it hard. The President --And

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push it hard. The President left the Senate with supporters left

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uncertain about timings, wording and much else. Our schedule is

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being driven by developments. Developments that are taking place

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not some Developments that are taking place

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is why I took it off the counter last night to have a vote tomorrow

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morning. As I said last night, I will tell everybody again. It is

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important we do this well, not quickly. The diplomatic track may

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have got the President off the hook over the use of force in Syria, but

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if it fails it may also leave him with nothing, having looked to

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Congress for support but failed to get it. Look -- looking at it from

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a long way away, is a deal on these terms even remotely possible? That

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is a question they would love to have an answer to in the White

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House as President Obama prepares his prime time address to America

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later this evening. It was thought that it would be that sort of "my

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fellow Americans I'm taking force because..." type of address, but

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now it will have to accommodate all of the uncertainties raised by this

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diplomatic opening. We know that when the French move their draft

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resolution earlier today in New York it contains some terms that

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were extremely objectionable to the Russians and the Syrians. It talked

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about the Syrian Government taking responsibility for the attacks of

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the 21st of August. It talked about them destroying their chemical

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weapons, as well as placing them under supervision, and it talked

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about possible war crimes proceedings for those responsible

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for the 21st of August attacks. Now great elements of that will be

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unacceptable. The Russians have said that straight away. The real

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question is what they end up with at the end of that. John Kerry is

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going to Geneva on Thursday to have concrete discussions with Sergey

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Lavrov, the Russian Foreign Minister, about whether

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Lavrov, the Russian Foreign find a way forward. I think the

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thing they are clinging to here is the understanding and hope that

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Russian anxiety that chemical weapons could go adrift and end up

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with militant Jihadist groupss, if the Assad regime falls, is one of

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the things that underpins their position and it is therefore a

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sincerely held position. Let's speak now to two Syrians who live

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in Beirut. We have a writer and political analyst who supports the

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Syrian army and a student here who wants to see imdeposed. Do you

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think are we -- him deposed. Do you think we are in any better position

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tonight that people are talking rather than expecting a missile

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strike, are we in a better position? I think we are advancing

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now. The current decision of the Syrian Government to put its

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chemical arsenal under the international control is sending a

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very clear message to the international community that it is

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willing to negotiate and it is willing to compromise, this is the

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first point, the second is it is not willing to use this arsenal

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against its own people as the international community claims. But

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it does mean the initiative now lies with Assad? It deficitly does.

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The concession will most probably be made by the regime because the

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recent weeks have exposed their inability to deal with an

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international initiative as strong as the one that has come in the

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last weeks, although it hasn't reached anywhere really. We were

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talking earlier and you sounded to me like a man in some despair about

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the state of his country, are you? I am, definitely, I am deeply

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concerned. It has changed the lives of many Syrians, many of which I

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know forever. Is peace any more near tonight than it was a week

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ago? It definitely isn't.Isn't? And if this initiative goes through,

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I believe that things will become as static as they were last June or

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July and whereby most of the territories have been dealt with by

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the regime and the opposition and it is more static and takes time.

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That is now how it feels to you? I think the Syrian crisis is more

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complicated on this. It depends on the will of the Americans to push

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further their allies who are fighting on their proxys in the

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Syrian territories. Any compromise other deal should put both sides on

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the table, but the Syrian regime and the opposition, and this needs

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the will of the Americans and the Russians both sides. It took this

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question of chemical weapons to get the international community

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motivated, this is a Civil War that has gone on in a horrible fashion

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and killed well over 100,000 people before there was any kind of

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energetic intervention by the west. If the chemical weapons is removed

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some how from the equation, where is Syria then? As I told you siria

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will be exactly where it was a day before August 21st whereby the

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regime has the upper hands when it comes to strategic weapons with

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artillery and fighter jets and scud missiles which have been targeting

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densely populated areas, even months before chemical weapons were

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used. You will understand why it is frankly incomprehensible to many

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people that bringing more weapons into a crisis, killing more people

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is actually going to make peace any more likely? I would like to point

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out that firstly the Syrian crisis has been in the recent weeks been

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mystified a lot, and it has been surrounded by this aura of mystery

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that we do not need to intervene because we might get inadvertantly

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get swapped into this whole mess and it is not really that messy. Of

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course it is but there is still people responsible for war crimes,

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for systematic killing of civilians for strategic or morale-related

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means. And I think to actually negotiate would be granting the

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regime a legitimacy that should by now they should be striped of that

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legitimacy. I don't believe the issue of the chemical weapons has

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anything to do with the internal conflict, this weapon is for

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deterrent purposes. The Americans are now trying to get this

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deterrent from the Syrians just like they did with Iraq and Libya

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before and then they invaded it. So this issue might be an opportunity

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for the Americans to invade in the future, not now. Because the

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Americans are not willing now to go into Syria and the Congress

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according to the recent polls and the recent reports will vote for no

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to go into Syria. Although that is the recent reports will vote for no

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kind of irrelevant at present until we know how the diplomatics out? I

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believe thatest me of the Congressmen now they are asking

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Barack Obama what is the excuse to go to Syria, it is the chemical

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weapons. If it is the chemical weapons if the Syrian regime is

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saying OK we will put the arsenal into the UN, what context do you

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have to go to Syria and strategic gain will have have to strike Syria

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and military bases. If you bombed gain will have have to strike Syria

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it, will you pave the way for the gain will have have to strike Syria

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extremists to enter into Damascus, that is the question for Barack

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Obama. We will talk about that tonight. Can I rebuttal?I have to

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move on. The Syrian civil war has lasted the best part of three years.

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For most of the time the rest of lasted the best part of three years.

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the world looked the other way and left places like Lebanon to cope

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with the consequences. It was the use of chemical weapons which

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crossed the called red line, which galvanised much of the rest of the

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planet. Russia's scheme to put the singularly reviled weapons beyond

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use and under international control would change everything. Question

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though, can it be done reliably. One for our science editor, Susan

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Watts. The images of victims of the One for our science editor, Susan

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August 21st attack in Damascus are amongst the most haunting the world

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August 21st attack in Damascus are is ever likely to see. Each side of

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the civil war in Syria blames the other. Samples gathered by the

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inspection team that visited the site are being subjected to

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forensic examination. Under the oversight of the organisation for

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the prohibition of chemical weapons, here in the Hague. The UN report on

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what their team found could come here in the Hague. The UN report on

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before the end of the week. In the meantime the proposal that Syria

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place its chemical weapons under international control may fall to

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this same inspection body. Already operating under intense pressure.

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The proposal raises numerous questions, not least about the

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practical risks of any such process. And who would carry out this task

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of finding, securing and dismantling any chemical weapons,

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in a country where a civil war still rages. Is it a wild card or a

:15:57.:16:04.

game-changer, so the question is how many countries would be

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prepared to send substantial numbers of personnel, probably

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mostly military, on the understanding that they would in

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turn be guarded effectively by the UN in an unpredictable and violent

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environment. That is hard to judge. Maybe there will be a kind of crowd

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contagion effect when more countries put their hands up to to

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it. Geneva is where the world first countries put their hands up to to

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tried to put serious limits on the countries put their hands up to to

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use of chemical weapons, with the Geneva protocol of 1925, following

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use of chemical weapons, with the the use of chemical agents such as

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mustard gas in the First World War. The chemical weapons convention of

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1993 went further. Banning their production too, Syria is not a

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signatory, but tonight said it may now be prepared to sign up. One

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scientist here in Geneva with 30 years experience of international

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controls on chemical weapons told us they thinks the safest way to

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dismantle Syria's weapons is by putting people physically on the

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ground. But given it is such early days in this latest round of

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diplomacy and it could yet fail, doing it militarily is still

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possible. Though messy, because of the risk of spreading chemicals

:17:16.:17:20.

down wind. In bunkers it is probably is the use of precision

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munition niings and the creation of high temp -- munitions and the

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creation of high temperatures within the bunkers. Whether you can

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achieve that, you shoot the hole into the structure and fire in with

:17:35.:17:40.

a second weapon and that create a fireball inside and you hope that

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the temperature is high enough to incinerate everything inside. If it

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is on the outside I honestly have doubt if you can do it in a safe

:17:47.:17:52.

way. He told us there may be clues buried in the inspectors' report

:17:52.:17:56.

about who was responsible for the recent attacks on civilians. From

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what he has seen published so far has him puzzled? The question about

:18:02.:18:06.

who fired is really the amount, it is that whole thing on the outside

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was all filled up with agent. Calculation on that it could be up

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to 50 loters of agent. To make 50 litres of chemical agent is not

:18:16.:18:22.

done. That is semi-industrial process. It looks like a system has

:18:22.:18:28.

been adapted to fire it. It doesn't look like the sort of thing I would

:18:28.:18:33.

expect in the chemical weapons stockpile of an army. Does it leave

:18:33.:18:37.

you coming down on one side or the other? I'm on the fence. Because we

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are in a situation where even parts other? I'm on the fence. Because we

:18:39.:18:44.

of the opposition will be able to get their hands on agent. If they

:18:44.:18:50.

know where it is. Whilst diplomatic of for thes to avoid military

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action proceed, the details from the inspectors' samples are crucial.

:18:54.:18:58.

In managing stockpiles and holding to account those responsible for

:18:58.:19:02.

attacks. Once the samples from Syria arrive with the organisation

:19:02.:19:07.

for the prohibition of chemical weapons here in the Hague, they are

:19:07.:19:16.

split up and sent to several sent to civil independent laboratories

:19:16.:19:21.

to identify the finger print of any chemicals they might obtain. Is the

:19:21.:19:26.

plan to rid Syria of chemical weapons for the future realistic?

:19:26.:19:30.

It is practical if the world wants it to work. But it is dangerous and

:19:30.:19:35.

difficult. You could get people out fairly fast, if the mandate and

:19:35.:19:39.

political will were found. But the actual destruction of the chemicals

:19:39.:19:43.

wouldn't be impossible but it would take month, I suspect. That's if

:19:43.:19:49.

you could agree that you had got them all. That might be disputes

:19:49.:19:54.

over the validity of any declaration, which could bog the

:19:54.:19:59.

whole thing down. If Syria really is prepared, as it has said tonight,

:19:59.:20:04.

to tell the world where its chemical weapons are and stop

:20:04.:20:07.

making them, the experts we have spoken to says the chance to put

:20:07.:20:11.

them beyond use is an opportunity. But for it to work dialogue on all

:20:11.:20:18.

sides must be sincere. Just a short time ago we spoke to

:20:18.:20:24.

the former weapons inspector Hans Blix who hold Newsnight that any

:20:24.:20:28.

reliable inspection by weapons inspectors under these

:20:28.:20:31.

circumstances in Syria would be more or less impossible. We are

:20:31.:20:36.

ajoined by a political analyst. First off, it has now become a

:20:36.:20:40.

diplomatic rather than an imminent military threat, that, how is that

:20:40.:20:44.

playing here? It plays he very well military threat, that, how is that

:20:44.:20:48.

within the Syrian regime. We know that the Syrian regime always

:20:48.:20:52.

relies on the element of time. We have seen that with the

:20:52.:20:56.

assassinations and along the his tro, four decades of the regime.

:20:56.:21:02.

Whenever -- history of the regime in the long history four decades of

:21:03.:21:07.

the regime. Whenever they can move forward with that agenda it works

:21:07.:21:11.

well for them. Shifting it from a military operation to a diplomatic

:21:11.:21:15.

operation, or diplomatic solution, if you want, works perfectly for

:21:15.:21:20.

the regime. Does it shift, as it were, the balance of power? It

:21:20.:21:27.

gives them more time, you see I always picture the Syrian regime as

:21:27.:21:30.

playing poker. He they always have these you know when you play poker

:21:30.:21:35.

you have different cards to play with and you always bluff. If you

:21:35.:21:38.

put you know the different cards that they hold with the bluffing it

:21:38.:21:40.

gives you a clear idea of what the that they hold with the bluffing it

:21:40.:21:45.

regime has always been doing and what it is doing now. It hasn't

:21:45.:21:50.

brought an end to the war any nearer? No and unfortunately it

:21:50.:21:54.

won't. What effect is the war having on the region as a whole,

:21:54.:21:57.

this is a horrible thing to see, we are 2,000 miles away and it looks

:21:57.:21:59.

horrible from are 2,000 miles away and it looks

:21:59.:22:04.

what effect is it having? It has been spilling over, he specially to

:22:04.:22:09.

Lebanon on different fronts -- especially to Lebanon on the

:22:10.:22:15.

different fronts, especially with the refugees. Lebanon is a small

:22:15.:22:19.

country with very limited resources, it has also blocked our only land

:22:19.:22:26.

you know border with Syria. Because we have closed it on the Israely

:22:26.:22:30.

side, we are land looked with what is happening. It has spilled over

:22:30.:22:35.

in terms of tension between the pro-Syrian camp and the anti-Syrian

:22:35.:22:41.

camp on the political level, with Hezbollah's involvement in Syria.

:22:41.:22:42.

camp on the political level, with Lebanon has been affected with the

:22:42.:22:49.

latest bombing in Sunni suburbs and Shia suburbs. It has been adding up

:22:49.:22:53.

to the increased tension in the country. Looking broader than

:22:53.:22:59.

Lebanon in the area as a whole, you have all these other countries,

:22:59.:23:03.

whether they be Iraq, Jordan or further afield, what effect is it

:23:03.:23:09.

having there? If you look at it on an international level, it is more

:23:09.:23:15.

of a, we are back to the Cold War. Russia supporting one side against

:23:15.:23:17.

the Americans on the other side. Then if you take it to the regional

:23:17.:23:24.

level it is Iran, Syria, part of the Iraqi regime, with Hezbollah on

:23:24.:23:31.

one side, with the gulf states and the pro-US allies on the other. So

:23:31.:23:38.

the rift between the pro-US camp and the Iranian camp it is widening

:23:38.:23:40.

and it is creating tension along and the Iranian camp it is widening

:23:40.:23:44.

sectarian lines in all the neighbouring countries. Does it

:23:44.:23:50.

feel more dangerous now? It is dangerous but it is still in a

:23:50.:23:57.

place where we are, we could manage the crisis. It not yet totally out

:23:57.:24:01.

of control. If the international community assumes its

:24:02.:24:04.

responsibility in dealing with the regime proper low in Syria and

:24:04.:24:13.

really trying to push whether a diplomatic resolution or military

:24:13.:24:17.

intervention. We know after a military intervention they were

:24:17.:24:20.

supposed to go to the Geneva II convention with all these elements

:24:20.:24:24.

on the table they might reach a diplomatic solution, a political

:24:24.:24:28.

solution, as we call it. Still the international commune toe has to

:24:28.:24:34.

push more towards that direction. We're at the 1 10,000 deaths

:24:34.:24:38.

besides the detained and the tortured and the misk. So it is

:24:38.:24:43.

really growing in numbers. Thank you.

:24:43.:24:49.

I will be reporting later this week from some And the missing. So it is

:24:49.:24:53.

really growing. I will be reporting later this week from Lebanon. We

:24:53.:25:01.

can talk to Hans Blix from Sweden, the former weapons inspector. Are

:25:01.:25:05.

you optimistic this Russia plan can work, is it possible to put the

:25:05.:25:10.

weapons beyond use? I think it is a very valuable opening that has

:25:10.:25:12.

taken place. Some things are doable very valuable opening that has

:25:12.:25:19.

and easier, but others are very difficult. If the Syrian Government

:25:19.:25:21.

is ready to make a commitment, not difficult. If the Syrian Government

:25:21.:25:29.

to use the chemical weapons, whether in the form of the

:25:29.:25:33.

ratificaton of convention or some other way, this can be done

:25:33.:25:36.

relatively fast. If the Government is also ready to give a declaration

:25:36.:25:39.

of its stocks and where it is, what qant toes and where it is, that

:25:39.:25:43.

could also -- quantities and where it is, that could also be done fast.

:25:43.:25:51.

When it comes to knowing whether it is a declaration or not that is a

:25:51.:25:55.

harder thing. We saw that in Iraq and our work and the inspection

:25:55.:26:00.

pages. Even worse, of course, is more difficulty to inspect whether

:26:00.:26:09.

the declarations are right. You can't go into every basement or

:26:09.:26:12.

store in the big countries is not easy. We did it in a country that

:26:12.:26:19.

was not at war. The inspectors didn't have a risk to be shot at,

:26:19.:26:22.

but in Syria with a raging war all around this sounds very, very hard.

:26:22.:26:29.

Watching the destruction I think is harder still. Never the less, I

:26:29.:26:35.

think it is a valuable opening. What is unsatisfactory about this

:26:35.:26:40.

solution, as well as the solution of the punitive strike is that it

:26:40.:26:43.

is limited. It is like telling the parties that OK, you have to do

:26:43.:26:47.

away with this, you will be punished for it and there after you

:26:47.:26:51.

can go back to your war. I think what the Syrians need with00,000

:26:51.:26:56.

dead and the whole world -- 100,000 dead and the whole world watching

:26:56.:27:00.

is a ceasefire and end to hostilities and conference. I see

:27:00.:27:05.

this as an opening to a dialogue, to show the Security Council is not

:27:05.:27:09.

necessarily paralysed and there are things to talk about. Do you think

:27:09.:27:14.

this has any chance of technically working? The first part, as I said,

:27:14.:27:20.

they could do so, but the second part of inspection and being sure

:27:20.:27:23.

that frg has been declared, no I don't see that as working in the --

:27:24.:27:29.

everything has been declared, I don't see that working in a raging

:27:29.:27:32.

war. Thank you very much. Has Russia pulled off a remarkable fete

:27:32.:27:44.

of world diplomacy, well Russian -- feat of world diplomacy, well

:27:44.:27:53.

Russia thinks it has. We spoke to to our guest. He asked what did he

:27:53.:27:58.

imagine the timeline to be? It will depend on a number of things, it

:27:58.:28:02.

will depnd on the United Nations how quickly how soon they are ready

:28:02.:28:15.

to come to Syria. It will depend on which sites they want to visit

:28:15.:28:18.

first. It will probably depend also on the situation on the ground. As

:28:18.:28:23.

you know the war is still raging in Syria. But to my mind, and

:28:23.:28:27.

basically that's what we think in Moscow, the most important thing to

:28:27.:28:34.

have the general agreement of all sides for this solution. Two days

:28:34.:28:39.

ago, one day ago we were on the brink of a big regional war. The

:28:39.:28:43.

stake were extremely high. Today we have a working proposal by the

:28:43.:28:47.

Russian Foreign Ministry which seems to have been accepted by

:28:47.:28:55.

President Obama, by David Cameron, by the European Union, by Ban Ki-

:28:55.:29:01.

Moon the General Secretary of the United Nations and by Damascus, we

:29:01.:29:04.

have to strengthen this general agreement. We cannot allow to those

:29:04.:29:09.

who would like to strike Syria at any cost. To come back to this

:29:09.:29:15.

military plan. Let me take you back 24 hours, of this plan inspired by

:29:16.:29:20.

the words of John Kerry yesterday? As far as we can judge and as far

:29:20.:29:29.

as we can trust what President Obama said. He discussed this

:29:29.:29:32.

possible option with President Putin during their short meeting at

:29:32.:29:36.

the G20. As far as I understand this was aired even before John

:29:36.:29:43.

Kerry mentioned this possibility. As for John Kerry's remark, I have

:29:43.:29:47.

to say it was a very unconvincing remark, I would say. Because he

:29:47.:29:59.

said that if Assad agrees to bring his chemical arsenals under

:29:59.:30:01.

international control, America would consider the possibility of

:30:01.:30:03.

not striking. Then he said of course it will never happen,

:30:03.:30:07.

because we don't trust Assad and he will never do this. One hour later

:30:08.:30:14.

the state department basically denied what Kerry said, they said

:30:14.:30:20.

it was a receiptorle kal sentence. Kerry was -- rhetorical sentence.

:30:20.:30:25.

Kerry was thinking allowed the possible scenarios about which the

:30:25.:30:31.

American side is sceptical. Then Obama's assistant on national

:30:31.:30:34.

security said it will never happen, don't think it is possible, it is

:30:34.:30:38.

out of the question. Americans first aired this idea and then

:30:38.:30:45.

started to play back. They took Obama's personal appearence own ABC

:30:45.:30:52.

to hear that the American side will a gree -- agree. I will be pointing

:30:53.:31:08.

out that to John Kerry. It is force may be used if Syria doesn't

:31:08.:31:12.

complay with chemical weapons, do you accept that? I don't think

:31:12.:31:16.

Syria will not comply. I think it is absolutely in the interests of

:31:16.:31:21.

the Syrian people, of the Syrian Government. Of President Assad to

:31:21.:31:28.

bring those weapons under international control. If they

:31:28.:31:34.

don't, would it agree to a resolution? I wouldn't go that far,

:31:34.:31:39.

I wouldn't see any signs that would preclude them from doing this. I

:31:39.:31:43.

don't see an interest from the Syrian Government to do this. The

:31:43.:31:48.

French Government wants to sound very resolved and decisive and so

:31:48.:31:52.

on and so on. Actually playing a very minor role in the whole story.

:31:52.:31:57.

Paris shows himself a big worrying. It is up to them. But I think that

:31:57.:32:03.

all those assertions do not look credible for me. Because the Syrian

:32:03.:32:13.

Government wants to prevent it work, I don't think they will not apply.

:32:13.:32:16.

Let's talk about the practicalities, decommissioning on the ground,

:32:16.:32:20.

would Russian troops be prepared to go into help the process? It will

:32:20.:32:25.

be an international effort, a United Nations effort. I don't

:32:25.:32:29.

think that national troops will be brought to Syria, national

:32:29.:32:32.

contingents will be brought to Syria. It will be up to the United

:32:32.:32:34.

contingents will be brought to Nations and it will be the United

:32:34.:32:39.

Nations responsibility and United Nations operation under the

:32:39.:32:41.

auspices of the Security Council and on the basis of the Security

:32:41.:32:45.

Council resolution. But would that include Russian troops, would you

:32:45.:32:51.

be happy to see that? It is not discussed in Russia at this point.

:32:51.:32:59.

So I am really, I don't think I can answer your question because there

:32:59.:33:04.

were no statements made by neither President Putin nor Mr Lavrov, I

:33:04.:33:08.

think we are still not at the stage where this is being considered.

:33:08.:33:17.

We're all middle-class now, the then deputy PM Lord Prescott

:33:17.:33:21.

declared nearly two decades ago, before he was Lord. Tonight it

:33:21.:33:25.

would appear we are not. The latest British Association attitudes

:33:26.:33:32.

survey, a statistics-lovers manual, it shows that 60% of people think

:33:32.:33:38.

of themselves as working-class. Should your accent define your

:33:38.:33:42.

class or what you do. Why is working-class authentic and middle-

:33:42.:33:47.

class a bit lame. For all the talk of revolution in

:33:47.:33:52.

the 1960s, these North London teenagers knew their place in the

:33:52.:33:56.

social order. Do you think England is still a class-conscious country

:33:56.:34:02.

or as it is supposed to be working towards a classless society. I

:34:02.:34:05.

think England is still very definite low class conscious,

:34:05.:34:08.

speaking to myself I'm always thinking about the next rung up the

:34:08.:34:17.

ladder. In the 80s when the first British attitudes survey was done,

:34:17.:34:20.

class was still a national obsession. The BBC brought three

:34:20.:34:22.

class was still a national 17-year-olds together. One a

:34:22.:34:26.

factory worker, one from public school, one from Grammar School. Do

:34:26.:34:30.

you think there is a language barrier between any of you when it

:34:30.:34:34.

comes down to that. Well I swear a lot more. Compared with 30 years

:34:34.:34:42.

ago far fewer people have manual jobs, many more people go to

:34:42.:34:46.

college or university and generally people have more money. So you

:34:46.:34:50.

might expect that in these surveys rather more people would be

:34:50.:34:53.

decribing themselves as middle- class. But it is not the case. In

:34:53.:34:59.

the first-ever report, 60% of people described themselves as

:34:59.:35:03.

working-class. 34% middle-class. Last year those proportions were

:35:03.:35:06.

almost exactly the same. It might well be the case that being seen as

:35:06.:35:12.

middle-class is seen as a bit of an elitist label, that might well put

:35:12.:35:15.

people off using it. It is also the case that we know from other

:35:15.:35:19.

research that people do feel very strongly attached to the class they

:35:19.:35:23.

feel they were born in. It might be they feel really strongly they are

:35:23.:35:26.

working-class even though the job they have now got is a very

:35:26.:35:32.

objective low middle-class one. Even in 19 -- objectively middle-

:35:32.:35:37.

class one. Even in the 1980s class used to drive politics. That is not

:35:37.:35:41.

clear now. Looking at people's jobs, rather than how they would class

:35:41.:35:45.

themselves, shows how political affiliations have changed. In 1983

:35:45.:35:50.

professionals voted Conservative, not Labour, 30 years later the

:35:50.:35:55.

revrs. As for the traditional working-class voter, in 1983 more

:35:55.:35:59.

than half said they voted Labour, last year that fell to 41%. So what

:35:59.:36:02.

than half said they voted Labour, do modern teenagers think, we came

:36:02.:36:06.

back to the same North London college, the BBC visited in 1964,

:36:06.:36:12.

very different now, to ask the same question? Do you think England is a

:36:12.:36:19.

class-conscious society or working towards being classless? I do

:36:19.:36:24.

believe people aren't classed within society, within education

:36:24.:36:30.

and outside as well. Everything to do with how people live, how they

:36:30.:36:33.

look and speak their attitude towards everything in general. They

:36:33.:36:37.

all agreed, and then talked about the upper-class. If you are upper-

:36:38.:36:40.

class you would have that confidence as well that your

:36:40.:36:48.

parents have given you. That you are better than other people.

:36:48.:36:51.

Nowadays everybody has a degree, it is about who you know and how far

:36:51.:36:55.

you can get with the people you know and the information you have.

:36:55.:37:00.

Which is why while the old class war is over, social mobility is

:37:00.:37:07.

still around. I'm joined by Terry Christian, best known for

:37:07.:37:11.

presenting The Word in the 1990s. Thank you for joining us. How would

:37:11.:37:15.

you describe yourself? I come from a very solidly working-class

:37:15.:37:21.

background, you know, free school dinners, one of six kids, dad a

:37:21.:37:26.

labourer and mum a school dinner lady, I have worked in the media

:37:26.:37:32.

since I was 20, 30 years. It is many ways what has defined me. One

:37:32.:37:36.

of the reasons nowadays that so many people that aren't working-

:37:36.:37:39.

class are saying that they are working-class is because a lot of

:37:39.:37:42.

those middle-class institutions seem slightly tainted nowadays. It

:37:42.:37:47.

is like so we have this romantised version of an idea of working-

:37:47.:37:56.

classes. Del Boy Trotter looks like St Francis of Assisi compared to

:37:56.:38:00.

all the bankers. You look at the Bullingdon Club and there is that

:38:00.:38:04.

mistrust of politicians, there is the expenses scandals and everyone

:38:04.:38:07.

likes to feel they have a journey in their life. It is more

:38:07.:38:11.

impressive to say I'm a doctor and my dad was a hospital porter than

:38:11.:38:15.

it is to say I'm a brain surgeon and my dad was a brain surgeon. But

:38:15.:38:20.

is there anything that would have pushed you to call yourself middle-

:38:21.:38:24.

class in terms of your change now as an adult to how you grew up, or

:38:24.:38:29.

do you stick to how you were brought up? You still come up

:38:29.:38:33.

against a lot of subconscious prejudice in people. I work in the

:38:33.:38:39.

media, which is a very demo graphically 90% middle-class, a

:38:39.:38:43.

very high proportion of kids that go to private a everything. So

:38:43.:38:46.

often you are battling against that. There does seem to be a slight

:38:46.:38:52.

jealousy of your journey from them. It is offering the most innocuous

:38:52.:38:56.

comment you make means you have a chip on your shoulder. Everyone was

:38:56.:39:02.

discussing going skiing, somebody said to me do you ski and I said we

:39:02.:39:06.

couldn't afford it when I was a kid and they said "no need to be so

:39:06.:39:12.

chippy". It is strange. What about the numbers we are dealing with

:39:12.:39:16.

today, 60% of people asked say they are working-class. Does that

:39:17.:39:26.

surprise you, can it be true? Possibly in that there is this

:39:26.:39:28.

surprise you, can it be true? squeezed middle, a lot of people in

:39:28.:39:31.

the white collar jobs haven't the security they once had, aren't

:39:31.:39:34.

getting the money they once had. Also they look towards that idea of

:39:34.:39:39.

that solidarity. It is like the kind of juxtaposition between this

:39:39.:39:45.

kind of almost imagined honest noblity of theing classes and the

:39:45.:39:49.

of a ris of bankers and business people now -- of a ris of bankers

:39:49.:39:57.

and business people now -- avarice of bankers and business people. If

:39:57.:40:04.

you ask people they are not shy about saying how well they have

:40:04.:40:08.

done in America, and not as modest as the British are and clinging to

:40:08.:40:13.

that? In Britain you are admired for tugging your forelook a bit,

:40:13.:40:19.

and people saying "he's so humble", if you're a foopbl footballer like

:40:19.:40:24.

Paul Scholes, saying he's humble, I think he's fantastic football and

:40:24.:40:29.

he should be allowed to brag and be big headed. There is all those

:40:29.:40:35.

strange inconsistencies in us as British. We are so class-ridden in

:40:35.:40:41.

any way. Would you feel betrayed or let down if your kids described

:40:41.:40:47.

themselves as middle-class? No, not at all. What makes me laugh is

:40:47.:40:52.

people want to sequester what you have got, you have kids from

:40:52.:40:55.

privileged backgrounds who I have worked with over the years who

:40:55.:40:59.

pretend to be smart working-class, and you think that is all I have

:40:59.:41:04.

got, I have the one thing money can't buy, poverty claim Thank you

:41:04.:41:07.

very much indeed. It is the kind of present you would

:41:07.:41:10.

like to buy for someone else, the It is the kind of present you would

:41:10.:41:13.

four most annoying people in your office, the one-way ticket to Mars

:41:13.:41:18.

can only be bought for yourself. Despite that 200,000 people have

:41:18.:41:20.

can only be bought for yourself. applied to be part of a £4 billion

:41:20.:41:25.

project. It is reality TV meets the new frontier, with no ending

:41:25.:41:33.

insight. The plan -- in sight. The creator says human settlement will

:41:33.:41:38.

aid our understanding of the Solar System if we can find the right

:41:38.:41:42.

people. It is like being snowed in a cabin, if it is your best friends

:41:42.:41:46.

it is fun for a couple of days. After a month you will be annoyed

:41:46.:41:49.

with each other. We are looking for the people that no matter how long

:41:49.:41:53.

they are snowed in together in cabin they will not get annoyed

:41:53.:41:55.

with each other, that will be the most difficult part of the solution

:41:55.:42:02.

selection. Who are the right people If the next great step in humanity

:42:02.:42:07.

is this and I want to be part of it. Jo I would like to have first hand

:42:07.:42:12.

experience of planet Mars to research the conditions, learn new

:42:12.:42:16.

aspects of the planet. I want to be an inspiration of people on earth.

:42:17.:42:22.

I would like a more civilised world for mankind. Mars has been my dream,

:42:22.:42:26.

but I know I have the skills necessary to make the mission a

:42:26.:42:33.

success. Just a few of the volunteers, we didn't have room for

:42:33.:42:37.

200,000. Our guest has worked with NASA and the Johnson Space Centre,

:42:37.:42:46.

he's the director for the Centre of Space Medicine, and the author of

:42:46.:42:52.

Extremes, a look at what Mars is regarded now. Let's look at the

:42:52.:42:58.

time frame, this is projected for 2023? It is enormously ambitious.

:42:58.:43:02.

That is understating it. If you were an international space agency,

:43:02.:43:07.

if NASA spent ten-times what it spends now and said we are going to

:43:07.:43:11.

go before this decade has elapsed - - you might think maybe. But this

:43:11.:43:17.

is a $6 billion operation operated out of a small office at the moment.

:43:17.:43:21.

It is ambitious to say the least. Do you understand why people have

:43:21.:43:25.

applied? It is very difficult to know actually. And you look through

:43:25.:43:29.

those, when I look and browse through those videos I expected to

:43:29.:43:33.

see slightly cookie, odd people. But you heard some of them. Some of

:43:33.:43:38.

them are rational about why they want to go.M So of them sing?. I

:43:38.:43:43.

would send the singing girl one, she is my favourite. It is

:43:43.:43:46.

interesting isn't it, even though space stillled holds a place in the

:43:47.:43:51.

affections of people. And a generation who most people are too

:43:51.:43:55.

young to remember Apollo. You make it sound very aspirational, bluntly

:43:55.:43:59.

those people, the ones to be taken seriously are saying I will leave

:43:59.:44:03.

my friend and family and go and die on another planet. That is what it

:44:03.:44:08.

is coming down to? Yeah, and it is hard to understand that. I don't

:44:08.:44:13.

know whether it is just because that is part of the human condition

:44:14.:44:17.

that we want to explore, that you have to find unknown destinations.

:44:17.:44:22.

I think it is so hard to d that now and find genuinely unexplored

:44:22.:44:26.

destinations. The other thing I find interesting, despite the fact

:44:26.:44:29.

we have all of this remote presence on Mars, despite the fact we are

:44:29.:44:35.

seeing beautiful pictures from countless probes orbiting around

:44:36.:44:43.

the surface people still want to go. In you have writ on the subject,

:44:43.:44:52.

Galileo was laughed at and Magellin ignored. All the great explorers

:44:52.:45:01.

and discoffers have been -- discoverers have been laughed at.

:45:01.:45:09.

Until the hast century life and exploration were risky, 500 years

:45:09.:45:17.

ago almost exactly Magellen circumnavigate the globe, he

:45:17.:45:21.

doesn't survive, only 18 of 500 crew members return. So to them I

:45:21.:45:26.

guess circumnavigating the globe must have felt like a mission to

:45:26.:45:28.

Mars. How long do you think you must have felt like a mission to

:45:28.:45:31.

could survive on Mars? I don't know, I don't know about the Mars 1

:45:31.:45:34.

expedition. The interesting thing about Mars is it is much closer to

:45:34.:45:39.

being within our grsp than it has been for some -- grasp for some

:45:39.:45:42.

being within our grsp than it has considerable time. There was talk

:45:42.:45:45.

about going there from the earliest days of space flight. There is a

:45:45.:45:49.

sense some how it is closer than it was. I don't know how you would

:45:49.:45:52.

fare, the main thing about is if you want to go to Mars the main

:45:52.:45:57.

thing is not worrying about whether you will survive the experience or

:45:57.:46:00.

come back. Thank you very much indeed.

:46:00.:46:01.

Now the papers. That's all for tonight, but before

:46:01.:46:51.

we go a small service to our viewers, here is your chance to

:46:51.:46:58.

avoid a 13 million victim YouTube pandemic, spawned by Ilvis, think

:46:58.:47:06.

of it as old McDonald for the YouTube generation.

:47:06.:47:12.

# What does the fox say # Ding ding

:47:12.:47:21.

# What does the fox say Mx wapowwapowpow

:47:21.:47:28.

# What the fox say # Hattithatco

:47:28.:47:29.

Jeremy Paxman is in Beirut as the US drive to war in Syria gets more complex. Why do most of us claim to be working class? And who would take a one-way ticket to Mars?


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