23/09/2013 Newsnight


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

Similar Content

Browse content similar to 23/09/2013. Check below for episodes and series from the same categories and more!



Hairy Biker on hand to turn it into something


Hairy Biker on hand to turn it into the finest greenhouse, the reason


Hairy Biker on hand to turn it into party unless they. Start The source


Hairy Biker on hand to turn it into of the emotion in this


They hate him for it. I will be talking to Damian McBride in the


moment. First, here are his thoughts. I came to my first party


conference eight years ago. It was like a raucous wedding weekend.


Hundreds of friends gathered in the same place. A few memorable


speeches, the odd heated argument and far too much alcohol consumed.


Times have changed. In the Blair and Brown years, there was something


else. The battle for the leadership and control of the party. It will


sometimes brutal, and I played my own part in it. What lessons do they


need to learn? Our Ed Miliband and Ed Balls the right people to lead


them in that? They came to work for Labour in the wake of an election


defeat in 1992. Much of the blame was level that John Smith's shadow


budget. It made it too easy for the Tories to define who would lose out


if Labour came to power. But Ed Miliband and Ed Balls know they will


need to give the same level of detail in 2015 if their promises on


tax, spending and the deficit are going to have credibility. So, how


do they avoid the Smith mistake? As veterans of Gordon Brown's budgets,


they know the potential pitfalls. The fine detail could be crucial.


that Ed Balls and others need to learn lessons from previous


elections. I will not be calling an election, let me explain why. That


elections. I will not be calling an terrible day Gordon told us he had


decided to call off the election, it felt like a catastrophic loss of


never, his Premiership never recovered. Miliband and Balls face


the same test as the polls narrow and the economy turns. There is


pressure to change tack on issues like the economy and welfare. The


lesson of October 2007 is when political leaders wobble in the


wind it can do huge damage to their reputation, Miliband and Balls must


hold their nerve. Most of all they need to stay united, it is widely


accepted that the feuding of the Blair-Brown years, in which I


played a large part, was hugely distructive for the Labour


Government. Many think I'm a traitor because I published a book


lifting the lid on that feuding, especially at the party conference.


I think if Labour is going to stop repeegt its past, it needs to


exorsise its demons. Any repeat of the Blair-Brown feud will be fatal


for Labour's election chances, if anything I hope pwhie book will act


as a sobering -- my book will act as a sobering thought. It helped


Miliband and Balls had ring side seats for the Blair Brown hoplts,


and they can -- moments. Crucially they have something that Blair and


Brown lacked, clarity about who is in charge, Balls accepts he's the


junior partner. By the time they get to the next election Balls and


Miliband will have worked for 20 years at the heart of the


Government, they know enough about the past to avoid its mistake, if


anything can do it is them. Damian McBride is here, Ed Balls called


what you did today despicable, what do you think of that adjective? I


agree with him. The extracts that have appeared in the Daily Mail.


You describe those yourself? I describe myself in far worse terms


than anyone has in the conference so far in that book. This is a


confessional is it? It is me saying this is how I behaved, it is not


all of what I did in that job, but that was maybe five attempts and


skullduggery. You made it clear in that piece of tape that you would


like to see Labour return to Government, is that correct? I'm


still a Labour supporter. Can you tell us precisely how it helps the


Labour Party to serialise your memoirs in the Daily Mail on the


eve of conference? It doesn't help, Jeremy. But there is no good time


to publish a book like this. There is a bad time and you have chosen


it deliberately? I was offered a much more lucrative contract to


publish this book in April 2015, I was told whatever I was offered by


anyone else I could double it to publish in April 2015 to do maximum


damage to the Labour Party. I chose not to do it, I wanted to publish a


book at some stage and I thought better to do it now as long as


possible before the general election. How many pieces of silver


did you get for this one? I have been well paid for. Over £100,000?


Yes, and after the publisher and the tax man keep their's I will do


well out of this book. You say Gordon Brown wasn't in on the


intricacies of what you were doing when you were rubbishing the


members of the cabinet and the like. There was some sort of


understanding between the two of you. What did he think you were


doing? I don't think he knew what I was doing most of the time, I


operated in the shadows and in pubs with different journalists and


doing that kind of operation. What Gordon knew he got from me was


media intelligence that was unparalleled and access to


different bits of the media other politicians couldn't reach, and


frankly, he never asked the question how do you pull this off.


He just assumed this was based on my personal relationships with


journalists. Where did he think all the Tories in the newspapers came


from? Which ones? The Tories for example the Tories against, I don't


know John Reid and Charles Clarke, for example? Let's take the Charles


Clarke story, I have admitted in the book I orchestrated a briefing


war and his anti-social behave representative Louise Casey, they


had no idea that I was responsible for that, and Charles Clarke's


advisers would pour their hearts out to me about Louise Casey, if


they weren't knowing that, and they were close, how could Gordon Brown


work out they were coming from the special adviser. Not only was it a


man described by other insiders in Downing Street as psychologically


flawed, he was away with the fairies half the time was he? Not


at all. But he had bigger and better things to be getting on with


than worrying about where a particular story appeared on the


front of the Sunday Times from. It wasn't for Gordon Brown to think,


he didn't understand how I operated, that is the truth of it. I regarded


myself as being responsible for giving him an unparalleled


relationship with Sunday newspapers so that they didn't attack him. Did


Ed Balls and Ed Miliband know what you were up to? Even less than gord


Dan did, they didn't work with me on a day-to-day basis as I did with


gord Dan. I spent half my life going around to journalists with


him, I didn't do that Miliband or Balls. You have described in the


extracts we have seen how the then Prime Minister, Gordon Brown


exploded periodically, did you come to the conclusion he was


psychologically flawed? No, I thought he was a great man. A


piercesome temper? Like a lot of us. He was a hugely tender man, not out


in the extracts today. There was a tenderness and care about him and


concern for his staff that you don't really see in the memoirs,


hopefully people will see from the book I have written. The stuff you


were putting into the newspapers reflects on him doesn't it?


Ultimately it does, because I was employed by him. And...And He


protected you? He knew that in April 2009 when I was doing for


arguably far worse things than I have admitted to in this book, he


was deeply ashamed at that, and deeply ashamed that was done by


somebody in his employment. How do you think politics gets to the


state where people like you are able to do what you did? Because


people don't tell the truth. That is what I have tried to do in this


book. If people aren't honest about how politics really operates you


can't clean it up. The great thing about this week, as much as Labour


people will feel this has been disastrous for them as was said.


Every single member of the Shadow Cabinet has now made a commitment


and vow they will never do anonymous briefing, we never had


that before and didn't have it under the Conservative opposition


or previous Labour Government, hopefully that will be a good thing


and held to that standard. I wasn't trying to produce that effect, but


never the less that is the result. Can politics be done that way


nowadays? It should be. You concluded, inside Number Ten it


couldn't be done like that? But I was wrong. I shouldn't have


operated that way. From my point of view, I was, I don't want to blame


the system, but the longer stayed in that system, the worse my


behaviour became. Are you worried? Deeply. And ashamed. The people you


hurt, would you like to apologise to them? And I do in the book. I do


feel ashamed and sorry to those individuals whose careers I


affected. And even more sow to the sort of, you know, if you -- so, to


the sort of innocent bystanders that got in the by, they lost jobs


because people got shuffled out of Government. People were mentioned


in the context of sleazey stories who did nothing to deis serve to be


there and not members of a political party. I'm sorry for that.


Have you sought abs illusion? Those religious -- Be a sol illusion?


Those religious things are private. I admit the truth and I'm being


honest in the book. I I have friends of mine in the Labour Party


admit to me, if they tried to write a book was not honest about


everything I had done they would destroy my credibility. I took the


view I will take them at their word. You confessed to some things that


may be criminal offences, the misuse of computers act for


example? I'm sure Jeremy because I was always very careful about this


during the years that I wasn't committing any criminal offences. I


go at great lengths to explain how I would not leak classified


documents, you know, and I would take pains. You are not worried


about a police investigation? I'm happy to talk to the police if they


want an explanation. What about a suggestion from another


Conservative MP that you should be denied your Civil Service pension?


I was denied all sorts of things when forced to resign in April 2009


if they want to take my pension that is up to them. You are not


trying to illicit our sympathy? Not at all, I have been well paid for


writing this book, if that's what the Civil Service want to do and


think it is appropriate, that is up to them. I'm not going to sit and


plead. It raises the question whether we can believe a word in


the book? If people read the book they will see I haven't hidden or


taken anything out. I have been honest not only about what I did


and the impact it had on me and my personal life. I don't think many


people read this book and think they are reading someone that is


trying to obscure the truth or be dishonest. Is there anyone here to,


listening to this account of what life was like, at the heart of


power in this country, I mean what does it make you think about


politics? You in the second row, please? I think it is very


indicative of the way society has become and how challenging this


country is now. I don't feel there is a great left in Great Britain


because of the damage done by the last Government. The chap with his


hand up behind you. I feel that what you have done is part of you


said the "system", what Damien has done is part of the system, and I'm


wondering do you not concern yourself with actually causing the


downfall of the Labour Party? I don't think this will happen,


frankly I don't think this will make a single difference to how


people cast their vote for the next election. It might make a few


people look inside now, but I don't think it will make any difference


to the outcome of the next election. So I disagree with you. How you


behaved and what it has done to trust in politics, that must


trouble you, doesn't it? It does, but you know what would be more


damaging than that is to pretend these things don't happen and not


to be honest about that. Whenever you have had these kinds of periods,


to be honest about that. Whenever I compare it to the banking crisis,


when you think about the banking crisis, if all we heard was the


individuals are responsible for those kinds of catastrophic


failures in the banking crisis were swept under the carpet, we would


never clean up the system. You talked in the vt with an altruistic


gesture on your part, not only have you caused damage to the Labour


Party, but also the perception from the public who are really fatigued


and very cynical about politics in general. How do you feel about


that? I would hope when people would read the book as a whole they


would see both that this is a would read the book as a whole they


problem of the system that needs to be fixed so our politics can be


fixed, a bit like the expenses scandal. And when we had the


expenses scandal clearly there were people who were almost mild


offenders, but there were serious offenders, I would regard myself as


one of those in this context. That is the only way to clean up the


system is to get to the bottom of why it happened. Do you still talk


to the people at the top of the Labour Party and do they talk to


you? I haven't for several months precisely because I was writing


this book. When did you last talk to Ed Balls? I bumped him in the


arsenal match, he was meeting Robert Peston they have a closer


relationship. Ed Miliband? I haven't seen him since we bumped


into each other in the park three or four years ago. Your predecessor


Alastair Campbell seems to have come through similar actions and is


now a media darling, perhaps there is a chance for you to redeem


yourself. I'm really curious, if the police decide that you have


committed a criminal offence, will you then just say it was all a pack


of lies again, which would be actually of course more believable


than what you are actually sitting there and saying. No and I wouldn't


be able to, I have been clear in the book about exactly what stories


I was responsible for briefing, if the police wanted to say that story


was a breach of the law then, I would be banged to rights. That's


the honest truth. And then perhaps if you were in prison would you


write the sequel in April 2015? I'm not sure people would be as


interested in that. I think they might be. There is a gentleman over


here with his hand up. Damien if you are truly sorry about the


damage you have done to the Labour Party, how about donating your fee


to the Labour Party to redeem yourself and make amends. Well, the


fact is when I left Government, when I left the Labour Party I left


with nothing. I got no, I'm not saying I should have done, but I


did leave with nothing, I have a lot of debts from that period, the


majority of the money I make from writing that book will pay off


those debts. That is the reality. How do you rate the current spin


operation in the Labour Party, are they as good as you? It depends


what you think I was good at. There is certainly. You obviously thought


you were pretty good at the time? I think I was good at certain things.


There are things that haven't necessarily come out from the Daily


Mail articles, I think people in the Labour Party and the


Conservative Party will read from the book and would say they would


like to have someone doing that kind of job. The 24/7 monitoring of


the media and making shower that bad stories about the Government,


as much as possible didn't appear. Even the stories I talked about


leaking, I did those in positive ways. You know take the Charles


Clarke and Louise Casey stories, they were positive stories about


what the Government would do to tackle anti-social behaviour. Other


stories don't fall into that category? No, but the majority of


things I did over the years were, about positively promoting the


Government and a huge amount of stopping. Would you go back to


politics? I don't think they would have me, quite rightly. One last


question. You had a team that worked with you, you didn't do this


by yourself. And they all kept quiet, so hoi can you justify that


they kept quiet and why didn't they speak? The fact is I didn't have a


team, for the entire period when I was head of communications at the


Treasury I had a large Treasury press office but they weren't


involved in this, they were civil servants. When I was a special


adviser, a press adviser to Gordon Brown I was largely doing that on


my own. You did that all by yourself. Yeah, and you know I


describe exactly how. Thank you very much. I don't suppose they are


missing us much inside the conference hall tonight, it has


been an oddly passionless affair so far, the highlight of which was a


speech from Ed Balls today, the Shadow Chancellor, the Labour


leadership is desperate to establish credibility because the


electorate associates Labour with the meltdown which preceded their


ejection from power. So Ed Balls talked both about investment, and


about continuing cuts. Our political editor, watched it all.


Is this the key for Labour leaders? Not chilllaxing in the dangerously


cream leather sofa, but the whole perspex and plastic structure, the


conservatory test is a test Labour politicians set themselves. Any


politician who doesn't understand the desire to own one of these, so


the argument goes, is unfit to lead the Labour Party. This isn't a


living, breathing conservatory, it is a company that caters for people


who would like conservatories, that is the kind of business that Labour


strategists think the party needs to be in. Right now it is polling


at around 30-35% in a opinion polls. But to be up to that point where it


is really sure of a good grip on Government, it needs to be up above


40%. To get there it needs to reach out to new voters. Probably Middle


England voters, people who Labour strategists like to say in a


England voters, people who Labour shorthand have, or would like to


have a conservatory. It is for that reason that this evening Newsnight


is obsessed with glass houses. Tony Blair is held up as the king


of conservatories, he won three election victories, largely with


this man at his side. Alastair Campbell I said conservatory test,


and you said you like it, why? That is exactly the sort of person that


the Labour Party has to have in mind when thinking about policy.


And there is a real danger when you get to a Labour Party Conference


that people imagine this is the real world, and everybody is


talking about Damien McBride this, and all the small stuff, and for


the public they want to know about them and their lives and their


living standards, and the idea of the Labour Party, one of the things


that I think new Labour and Tony Blair was really good at was


understanding people's basic aspirations. A lot of people have a


basic aspiration to extend their house with a conservatory.


Newsnight asked polling company, YouGov, to survey the attitudes of


those with conservatories and those without. Fewer conservatory owners


believe Labour cares about people like them. That's compared with the


general public. There is more support for the coalition's benefit


general public. There is more cap among conservatory owners than


among the general public, just. All political parties are hoping to win


over the floating voters within that group called "the strivers" or


"hard working families", however you want to characterise it. And


aspiring conservatory owners are one such label for that group. The


Labour Party still has a lot of work to do and a lot of people to


win over, particular low on the issues of immigration and welfare,


-- particularly on the issues of immigration and welfare to win an


election. The MP Foris left-wingen to North, a critic of new Labour,


thinks a conservatory test is a wrong test. People are worried


about health, education, housing, jobs, particularly for young people.


In my constituency I get very few letters or e-mails of concern about


the provision of conservatories. You have actually got four children


sharing one bedroom in a two bedroom flat on the 15th floor, I'm


sure they would love a conservatory. This weekend many policy pot plants


have been brought out by Labour, a pledge to reverse the Bedroom Tax,


a re- requirement on companies that hire a foreign skilled worker to


train an apprentice. The details on this one wilted a little. Next dawn


to dusk daycare, sounded great, but questions about funding lingered.


Today another pledge to help parents pay for childcare. Again it


look good, but it may also be funded by an already earmarked pot


of money. One former aide to Miliband ban believes the


conservatory test needs updating. The insecurity means that people


areage husband is about their prospects, -- anxious about their


prospects, you might think next year I can have two hole day, the


year after that I will build a con- - holidays, the next year after I


will build a conservatory. And now it is I don't know if I will have a


job or afford the fees for university. That is affecting as


much Middle England? People are genuinely struggling in work. You


don't have to be in a council house, relying on social security to be


struggling right now. Middle England may be feeling the chill of


economic insecurity, but at Labour Party Conference today few thought


the conservatory principle should be completely demolished, just a


little renovation perhaps, nothing drastic. Of course keep the cream


leather sofa. Now the number two in drastic. Of course keep the cream


the Labour Treasury team, Rachel Reeves is here, have you got a


conservatory? I was thinking you might ask me that, I don't have one.


Do you aspire to have one? I don't think it would work on the house I


live in. But many of my friends have conservatories. How is it that


a party can be both the party of conservatory-owners and the party


that wants to abolish the bedroom tax, as you call it? Well, what


we're talking about this week at conference is the cost of living


cry is, that is affecting a huge range of families from those on the


minimum wage struggling, perhaps with the Bedroom Tax, up to


families on middle incomes who are feeling insecure right now, who is


perhaps a mum who wants to go back to work but doesn't think it adds


up because of childcare. A range of things to help with the cost of


living. Not just to help those at bottom but up the distribution. You


mentioned childcare there, there is to be greater, if you get into


office, there will be greater childcare providers. Two things,


three and four-year-olds where parents are in work will get 25


hours of free childcare, and wrap around childcare at school from 8-6


to help those who have to go out to work. Paid for by what? For the


three and four-year-olds we will increase the bank levy. The


Government introduced a bank levy to raise £2.5 million but it has


raised £800 million less than that. The increase in the bank levy have


been promised to the youth jobs guarantee? No that is being paid


for by the bank bonus tax. That is something Alastair Darling


introduced. What about the VAT increase, has it been promised for


that? We are not saying we will reduce VAT at the next election, we


have said we will provide the childcare. Our misunderstanding,


despite someone speaking for your party said so? What we will say on


VAT, over the last three years when the economy is flatlining, we


thought during that period of time to cut VAT would stimulate the


recovery and create jobs and growth. Now as we are hopefully moving into


recovery mode, VAT cut isn't the right thing to do. There are 1


things for which the increase in the bank levy? I have just said


what it will be used for, that is to pay for the childcare for three


and four-year-olds. If you had £50 billion to spend, what would you


spend it on? You are asking about HS2 and the north-south rail link.


That is one thing it could be spent on? We're in favour, my


constituency is in Leeds, the party are in favour of a new north-south


rail link, but we're not going to give a blank cheque to it. You


can't think of a better way of spending £50 billion than building


a railway to leads? That would go to Birmingham and Leeds and


Manchester and Nottingham and derby -- Derby, could really revitalise


areas and bring growth and jobs. You can't decide perhaps what might


be as good? The thing about infrastructure is it can realise


benefits over a number of years. We won't give a blank cheque to HS2


other any other infrastructure investment. When money is tight,


you have got to say that every pound has to be well spent. And you


have also got to say that no project can see its cost rise and


rise and rees, and the Government say it is fine. -- and rise. And


the Government say it is fine. They are not doing it in all other areas,


there is taxes and increase and prices going up. What would you


spend £50 billion on? There are lots of things. Better than a


railway? We have made the commitment to high-speed rail, but


if the costs go up we have to look at it again. It won't have a blank


cheque, we can't just see the costs spiral and underwrite a project at


any cost. That is not right. If the costs rise we will have to look


again at it. Let me ask you about Ed Miliband, why is it that he


doesn't look like a Prime Minister? That's your judgment. I think that


Ed Miliband will make...It Is a judgment of the polling evidence?


Ed Miliband will make a great Prime Minister because he uns the


challenges that ordinary families are facing with the cost of living


crisis. Ed of talking about issues like the squeezed middle, taking on


vested interests and the banks and Rupert Murdoch before other


politicians were brave enough to say that. This is not a statistic


kal representative sample here, people here, d statistical


representive sample here, some have conservatories and some don't, they


are fine citizens. Does Ed Miliband strike you as a Prime Minister, can


are fine citizens. Does Ed Miliband you imagine him in Downing Street?


I can. Two people can? Two of you can? What is it about him? I think


he's a man of virttu, he believes what he's saying -- virtue, he


believes what he's saying. I think he's genuine and speaks from the


heart, that is why I like him. Who can't imagine Ed Miliband in doubt?


You Can think of him as a devisive person, he's not a unifyer, you


need that in the top position. He's a well-meaning man isn't he? He may


well be that. But he's still not a, unifier. One remembers his


background with all the viciousness we have heard earlier on in the


meeting. About you how he got the job as leader? And during the


course of his career in politics. I think he's a possible future leader


because he's growing into the part. He is slowly trying to reach out


and he's trying to put a balance together by bringing in different


players together from the old progressive Labour to the Labour


that we have today. I think he has started reaching out, Emily Benn


has been moved down, we have a younger generation moving in and


that is a good move. When you hear someone like Rachel, I'm not being


personal here, do you feel politicians are talking to ordinary


people as ordinary people need to be spoken to? I think there has


been since Mrs Thatcher where she said there is no sense of community


any more. And the rupture of the social bond between politicians and


ordinary people. In the second row here? I think in terms of being


out-of-touch I think the sort of, the definition of Middle England


isn't around aspirations around to the definition of Middle England


have a conservatory or whether they have one or not. There is there is


plenty of Middle England people who want to get on the property ladder,


full stop. Because Labour was prosperous people are paying the


price now. Aspiration has shifted and people's aspirations are to


have enough disposable income for enjoyable things like holidays,


with £50 billion affordable housing would be good. You haveen gauged


her interest now you are not talking about HS2? It is a really


important point made there. It is also about spending time with your


family, people want to earn to be able to go on holiday or build a


conservatory or get on the housing ladder. They want to earn enough to


get to spend time with their families and not take two jobs. I


know so many people who are now working one job during the day but


have to take another job during the working one job during the day but


evening, because prices are working one job during the day but


and the waging aren't keeping pace. It is things like that, you know,


it sound base you can but for a lot of people that is the basic


aspiration to earn enough to do the things perhaps in the past people


have taken for granted. That is really worrying. And politicians


need to wake up to some of that. We have to join our diplomatic editor


who has been watching event in Kenya today.


The siege in Nairobi is now over. Or so the Kenyan Government said,


just before we came on air. The official death toll now stand


at 62 with six Britains among them. Britains among them. The seize of


the Westgate Mall created terror and international crisis, shoppers


were cut down by Al-Shabab militants, estimated up to be 15.


Some of the dead lay where they fell for hours. Compounding the


confusion about how many had been killed or were still being held


hostage. This morning columns of black smoke emerged, and there was


frequent gunfire as Kenyan troops started clearing the building. From


this satellite view you can see where that last shot was taken from,


pretty much from this angle, the car park here is behind the


building and the smoke was coming from behind the mall. Probably


produced by vehicles burning in that war park behind. Armed police


had tried to fight their way in yesterday, from the ground floor,


but fell back without success. Today, attacks were launched from


the top floor as well by the Kenyan army's Ranger Strike Force. This


special unit has been trained and supplied by the Americans. These


images show them arriving yesterday. In give away Humvees with special


rifles, they were involved in In give away Humvees with special


yesterday as aborted attempt to storm the ground floor. The wider


area of them all of secured, meanwhile, by the police, general


service unit, putting in a cordon around there, but that was only


partially successful, with many bystanders getting close to the


scene. Throughout the day the slow process of clearing the mall shop-


by-shop continued, with the Kenyan authorities announcing they had


killed two Al-Shabab gunmen and the army taking casualties. We have


really covered the building. We have taken control of the whole


building, and there are no indications that there are still


any hostages. We are still, however, very careful just in the event that


there is any that rerescue them. But going by the process of search


-- we res view them. But going by the process -- rescue them, by


going by the process and looking at the building it is unlikely there


are more hostages. The authorities were claiming to be in control of


the mall but many questions remain, not least whether all of the gunmen


who took the place were eliminated or some descape. The Government in


Nairobi says all of the hostages have now been accounted for. We


have been hearing many powerful stories over the past few days from


those inside the mall. Kamal Kaur, a mother of two injured children


was hosting a cookery competition when the shooting occurred, she


describes how sh she tried to protect over 30 -- she tried to


protect over 30 children she had with them? The animals were worse,


they were climbing on top of the, the adults, were trying to climb


over them, they were stepping on the children. I think somebody


carried my daughter out, she couldn't work she was hurt pretty


badly on her leg. She couldn't work, a Samaritan picked her up and ran


off to her. I said a prayer to look after her, and then...(cries) ...we


pushed the kids away, we ran towards each other, we heard more


firing, we thought they were back to fire at us, but it was the guys


who had come in and they were protecting us and firing to keep


them away. Harrowing stories there, Richard


Watson is with us now. Do you think this is the shape of things to come


in terms of Al-Shabab exporting this kind of violence from Somalia?


Looking beyond the awful attacks of the last cop of days, this attack


is de-- couple of days the attack shows that Al-Shabab are a force to


be reckoned with. They have had African Union troops take away


security over the years, and internal splits about whether it


should focus on Somalia or have a Jihad link to Al-Qaeda. One


question is whether it is about Somalia or Al-Qaeda. Today I spoke


to someone who claimed to be a commander in the field in Somalia.


This is what he had to say? Reports about possible UK or US


nationals being among those who went into the mall. What is your


assessment of that? There is no confirmation but it is very


possible. My understanding is that 50 British nationals have joined


the ranks of Al-Shabab in recent years, it is entirely possible,


there is no confirmation on this point at the moment. What is most


worrying for western security agencies is that the ideology of


Al-Qaeda is proving appealing for a tiny minority. This idea that laem


is -- Islam is at war with the west, and there is an Islamic duty to


create an Islamic state. It is worrying that some young men appear


to go going to Somalia and I think 100 people have gone to Syria to


fight. They go there to and they will eventually probably come back


with British passports. What has happened to them then? I asked the


Al-Shabab commander on the ground about British support?


Shabab's presence in East Africa, it is about soft targets in Europe


and the battle of ideas. Now back it is about soft targets in Europe


to Jeremy in the Newsnight conservatory.


In this rather cold conservatory now we are joined to discuss the


issues of the Labour conference and now we are joined to discuss the


how Ed Miliband is doing by Steve Richards author of The Brown Years,


and Jenny Russell, who writes for the Times and the Standard. What is


Ed Miliband's problem? I think his problem is that in opposition you


need to be a political artist, above all. That opposition is about


pretending almost to seize the agenda, always appear to be on the


offensive, to be mighty and powerful, even though you have no


power at all. And he's not brilliant at artistry, but to give


you one example of the problem that this gives, and almost a conundrum.


He's the most experienced leader of the opposition, for four decades, I


tell you why, the last leader of an opposition to win an election with


cabinet experience is 1979 and Margaret Thatcher. He has been in


the cabinet and the Treasury, yet people say he's so inexperienced


and he's not ready for power. I don't think Jenny agrees with you?


That is a fact! I agree with that, I think Ed is principled and


thoughtful and analytical, he's no good at conveying the ideas to


interviewers like you on air. He's not yet comfortable on skin, he


interviewers like you on air. He's gives the impression he has come on


air with preprepared phrases that he will stick to no matter what


questions he's asked. It is seems then as if he and other Labour


politicians haven't created a political landscape over which they


can range in comfort. Too often you listen and watch. It is as if they


are on a Little Rock on the sea and terrified of stepping off in case


they go in. That is fatal in the contemporary political Scotland


scape. Jo You reinforced my idea about artistry, interviewing with


people like yourself is part of about artistry, interviewing with


this. I think two things, first of all they will not be caught out as


the Conservatives hope on areas of tax and spend. Because they look so


young people forget, Ed Balls and Ed Miliband have fought four


elections avoiding the tax and spend traps. They won't fall into


them this time. That is not the issue, the issue is how they come


across. The Tories hope to win an election based on the spending


campaign. Do you think they are coherent on policies? They are


working out policies very slowly, and those are the prerequisites,


you will not get elected unless your policies look coherent. Labour


comes forward and suggests something that is very important,


like the squeezed middle or the need for responsible capitalism or


the need for a pause on Syria. Having made these statements it


retreats from them, there is a vacuum, you get the impression they


have thought up this part of the policy and the rest isn't woarked


out. When you posed the question are they coherent in policy. It is


difficult in opposition to go into policy detail. For a year now all


of us three in our different ways have been saying where are your


policies, they announce sum and us three say, qu how are you going to


pay for them? The moment you get into that you fall into all kinds


of difficulty, it is incredibly difficult to translate concepts


into detailed policy. That is common sense, if your son or


daughter said to you I want to buy a motorbike, you would say how are


you going to pay for it? That is absolutely right. Every now and


then you say I'm not selling a motorbike because it gets into that


difficulty. The problem any opposition has, and David Cameron


had it trying to translate big society into detailed policy is how


in advance, before you have, if you like broken through the electorate


and gotten into power, you use policy to develop an argument. And


it is very, very difficult, I completely agree with Jenny that is


the essence of what they have to do. Where I disagree is you imply it is


pretty easy and it is not. It is fundamentally, you have to work out


the policies and be able to talk easily fluently and confidently


about it. It is something that David Cameron does, Nigel Farage


can do and Margaret Hodge. We are all sophisticated media consumers,


we can take instantly if they are evasive or know what they are doing.


That is what the two Labour politicians can't do. One thing a


problem for this them. For the past two years the country has wanted to


know an austerity alternative. Just as they are coming up the idea it


looks a if the economy is proving and people may stop listening to


them. That's it from the Newsnight


conservatory on the south coast, miraculously it is still in one


piece. Has Labour passed the conservatory test. We will find out


in 18 months. We are back to our usual potting shed tomorrow night.


If you hadn't had enough from Brighton today, conference is


coming up, In Conference is coming up after this. It was announced


that production of the Volkswagen up after this. It was announced


camper vab will end for good at the end of the year. There have been


ten million made since the first one appeared in 1950. Now new


safety laws in Brazil still, the only country still manufacturing


the van have prompted Volkswagen to announce a final run of 600, they


will be the last ever made. Goodnight.


M # Peace and love # Riding around


# In a Volkswagen van # Thinking about the people upside


down in Japan # Staring at the stars


# And in a distant kal galaxy, wondering if there is someone out