16/10/2013 Newsnight


16/10/2013

The risks to teenagers of 'sexting'; the latest on the so-called Plebgate affair; the US reaches a fiscal deal; and Emily Maitlis interviews chancellor George Osborne in China.


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Transcript


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Instant messaging. It's fast, it's personal, but how vulnerable does it

:00:10.:00:14.

make young people? Whose responsibility is it to keep

:00:15.:00:18.

teenagers safe - and why do they sext in the first place? I have a

:00:19.:00:22.

girlfriend, a boy friend, you have friends, send a picture of this and

:00:23.:00:27.

that. It is fun and games. The confrontation between a Cabinet

:00:28.:00:30.

Minister and police officers intensifies as it emerges that one

:00:31.:00:33.

of the forces involved had decided at one point there was a case to

:00:34.:00:35.

answer. In Washington, everyone blinks and

:00:36.:00:41.

Government service resumes. How does a supposed model democracy get

:00:42.:00:46.

itself into a mess like this? How will this episode be judged by

:00:47.:00:52.

history? Simon Schama will tell us. And in China, Emily chats with the

:00:53.:00:57.

Chancellor of the Exchequer. You don't do this job to be popular and

:00:58.:01:02.

being Chancellor isn't being a contestant in a popularity contest.

:01:03.:01:11.

The harmless explanation is that it's just the modern equivalent of

:01:12.:01:14.

the old children's game of doctors and nurses. Yet child welfare

:01:15.:01:16.

organisations are increasingly worried by what seems to be a big

:01:17.:01:20.

growth in so-called sexting -the exchange of explicit images. An

:01:21.:01:25.

NSPCC survey seen by Newsnight suggests over half of 13 to

:01:26.:01:28.

18-year-olds may have been asked for explicit images, and four out of ten

:01:29.:01:32.

young people in a small survey for Childline said they had created

:01:33.:01:40.

pictures of that kind. Now there are calls for the possible dangers to be

:01:41.:01:43.

spelled out in sex education classes in schools. Sima Kotecha reports

:01:44.:01:47.

from the Salmon youth centre in South London.

:01:48.:01:59.

Why do people do it? Fun. Simply, you know? Have a girlfriend, have a

:02:00.:02:07.

boyfriend, have friends, send them a picture of this and that, it's all

:02:08.:02:12.

fun and games. For many young people it's flirting,

:02:13.:02:18.

exchanges images and videos through their phones. While sexting may seem

:02:19.:02:23.

quick, easy and fun, it can lead to shame. Within seconds, photos can be

:02:24.:02:28.

transferred to somebody else, and where they end up is out of control.

:02:29.:02:32.

With most phones connected to the internet, a couple of key strokes

:02:33.:02:37.

and they can be posted on social networking sites, accessible to

:02:38.:02:41.

millions. But some of this content that's exchanged this way by young

:02:42.:02:45.

people is sexually explicit, and the consequences can be perilous.

:02:46.:02:50.

ChildLine say the results of its recent survey show that teenagers

:02:51.:02:58.

are taking huge risks. Out of the 450, 13-18-year-olds questioned in

:02:59.:03:03.

August, 60% said they had been asked for sexual images or videos of

:03:04.:03:09.

themselves. 40% admitted to creating graphic material. A quarter of those

:03:10.:03:13.

surveyed said they had sent the content to someone else. 15% said

:03:14.:03:18.

they had sent it to a total stranger. These results show that

:03:19.:03:24.

sexting is increasingly a feature of young adolescent relationships.

:03:25.:03:29.

Whether we like it or not, it is almost becoming the norm, the

:03:30.:03:33.

expectation, that a young person in a relationship should share an

:03:34.:03:38.

explicit image of themselves. I've taken topless pictures on this, the

:03:39.:03:42.

I'm not going to lie... It is illegal to take or have indecent

:03:43.:03:46.

images of anyone under 18, even if they are of the person taking the

:03:47.:03:51.

picture. However, the Association of Chief Police Officers says it is not

:03:52.:03:55.

impossible but highly unlikely that children will be prosecuted for

:03:56.:04:01.

sexting. You don't send it to a random person, that's what some

:04:02.:04:04.

people think. I've had friend who've done it and everything like that,

:04:05.:04:09.

and most of the time it is their girlfriend or boyfriend they are

:04:10.:04:14.

sending it to. I was asked to send pictures, and I said no, I don't

:04:15.:04:18.

agree with it. It is my reputation. I have got to live with the fact of

:04:19.:04:22.

that picture going around, so I refused to do it no matter how peer

:04:23.:04:28.

pressured it was in to doing it. I will hold my hands up, me and this

:04:29.:04:33.

girl had an argument, not about the picture. I got so angry, I was like,

:04:34.:04:39.

what? I went around, I was sending that picture everywhere. It was

:04:40.:04:47.

mean. It was mean. She slapped me. You ruined that girl's reputation

:04:48.:04:52.

throughout the whole school. I apologised and to this day she hates

:04:53.:04:56.

me. That's not the point. Don't do it. That's why it shouldn't be done

:04:57.:05:00.

in the first place, because you are young. Things will happen. You will

:05:01.:05:03.

fall out, have disagreements and that person will react. Easy access

:05:04.:05:10.

to hard core pornography online is said to be fuelling a desire to

:05:11.:05:15.

imitate porn stars. Experts believe that sexting partly stems from

:05:16.:05:27.

exposure to explicit film at a time of sexual experiment and

:05:28.:05:30.

development. This video was produced by CEOP to educate young people

:05:31.:05:35.

about the possible ramifications of producing and exchanging sexual

:05:36.:05:41.

content. What's going on? It says its main concern is about those

:05:42.:05:46.

images getting into the wrong hands. We are very concerned about the

:05:47.:05:50.

potential consequences of sexting, the consequences when images get out

:05:51.:05:53.

of control. One of the figures in today's findings is about 15% of

:05:54.:05:57.

young people who sent images sent them to total strangers. What we are

:05:58.:06:01.

seeing is abusers taking advantage of this and getting images out of

:06:02.:06:04.

young people and then blackmailing them for more by saying, if you

:06:05.:06:09.

don't do more for you, I will send these to family or your friends.

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Last year the Internet Watch Foundation carried out a snapshot

:06:14.:06:18.

study into sexting. After analysing more than 12,000 self-generated

:06:19.:06:23.

images of teenagers it found that 88% of them were posted on what were

:06:24.:06:28.

called parasite websites, sites created for the sole purpose of

:06:29.:06:32.

exploiting sexual content of young people. Now the IWF is joining

:06:33.:06:41.

forces with ChildLine to help get inappropriate images taken offline.

:06:42.:06:44.

Experts say once the photo is out there it is difficult to eliminate

:06:45.:06:49.

it completely. The IWF simply needs proof that the

:06:50.:06:55.

image is of a young person under 16. With ChildLine's help, if we can get

:06:56.:06:59.

proof from the young person of their age, that's all the IWF feed to take

:07:00.:07:05.

Timmage down. -- take the image down. It is better if the young

:07:06.:07:09.

person hasn't created the image in the terrorist place. The number of

:07:10.:07:13.

young teens who own a smartphone has gone up by 20% over the last year.

:07:14.:07:18.

By the end of this yeerts estimated that more than 90% of teenagers will

:07:19.:07:22.

own a mobile. Using smartphones is their preferred method of accessing

:07:23.:07:26.

the web. All this is driving calls for the Government to do more to

:07:27.:07:30.

educate young people about the potential dangers of self-generated

:07:31.:07:36.

sexual content. Ministers that from next year in England, all children

:07:37.:07:39.

from the age of five will be taught how to stay safe online, as part of

:07:40.:07:46.

the new Itive. T curriculum. But campaigners argue that sexting

:07:47.:07:49.

should be covered in personal, social and health education lessons.

:07:50.:07:54.

Sexting is not an IT issue. It's a relationships issue. What we want

:07:55.:07:58.

and the office of the Children's Commissioner wants is that every

:07:59.:08:02.

school run as comprehensive, thorough relationships and sex

:08:03.:08:06.

education programme. That is a whole school programme, so all staff are

:08:07.:08:10.

aware, whatever they teach or whatever they do, and that the

:08:11.:08:16.

content is relevant and pertinent to children's lives. It must cover

:08:17.:08:21.

things like sexting and use of mobile technology.

:08:22.:08:29.

I think sexting is down to self es teerges especially when it comes to

:08:30.:08:34.

girls. Most girls of my generation do it for attention, to try to find

:08:35.:08:38.

love out of it, but it usually is the wrong way.

:08:39.:08:43.

It is clear that for some young people a sexy snap sent to a

:08:44.:08:48.

boyfriend or girlfriend can have devastating consequences. But Aztec

:08:49.:08:53.

knolly continues to continues to evolve, sending graphic pictures

:08:54.:08:57.

will become easier, raising questions of how and if teenagers

:08:58.:09:06.

can be restricted from sexting. Tim Loughton was Children's Minister

:09:07.:09:09.

in the current Government until last year. Professor Andy Phippen has

:09:10.:09:12.

spent many hours interviewing teenagers about their experiences on

:09:13.:09:14.

the internet. And Phoebe Wakefield is, as her appearance suggests, a

:09:15.:09:21.

teenager. You are representing an entire generation here. Tim

:09:22.:09:24.

Loughton, there are lots of places we could start looking for

:09:25.:09:28.

responsibility to be exercised in this - schools, Government, parents,

:09:29.:09:32.

teenagers themselves. Where do you think we should start? Well, it

:09:33.:09:36.

start at home. The trouble is that we have a generation of parents who

:09:37.:09:41.

are now completely divorced from their own children's technological

:09:42.:09:45.

know how and don't have the confidence to talk about sexual

:09:46.:09:48.

matters, and we rely on schools. What's the answer then? We need to

:09:49.:09:53.

embolden and give confidence to parents. We need to educate parents

:09:54.:09:57.

about how they can communicate with their kids. It is really necessary

:09:58.:10:00.

to do that. We need to make sure that what the schools are teaching

:10:01.:10:04.

our kids in sex education is good quality sex education. So you want

:10:05.:10:09.

part of the core curriculum? Whether it is part of the core curriculum,

:10:10.:10:14.

we need central guidance that makes clear what we should be teaching our

:10:15.:10:18.

kids. And examples of good practice. At the moment it's a postcode

:10:19.:10:22.

lottery. People are taught about the mechanics of sex but not the

:10:23.:10:26.

relationships. It is about the how rather than the when or why not.

:10:27.:10:31.

Andy Phippen is nodding his head vigorously. Good. I think parents

:10:32.:10:36.

are struggling. I've had conversations with parents and with

:10:37.:10:39.

teens and what's clear is there is a gulf. Parents want to do something,

:10:40.:10:44.

teens would love to engage in these discussions sometimes but there is,

:10:45.:10:49.

no way would my child do this, or I couldn't tell my mum or dad if

:10:50.:10:55.

something went wrong. I think schools might play a role in

:10:56.:10:59.

bridging that gulf but it needs to be good quality education. How does

:11:00.:11:04.

it feel to you, Phoebe? Where responsibility lies is what I'm

:11:05.:11:10.

getting at. In my school I'm very lucky that the idea of telling us

:11:11.:11:14.

about sexting, promoting awareness of the issue, discussing the issue

:11:15.:11:18.

is really actually central. It is brought up a lot. We've had

:11:19.:11:22.

assemblies on this, discussions on in that school have organised and I

:11:23.:11:26.

think it has helped a lot. It should be like that in other schools as

:11:27.:11:30.

well. But the real responsibility presumably lies with the people

:11:31.:11:33.

doing the sexting doesn't it? Well, can you really say that 13-year-olds

:11:34.:11:39.

are particularly responsible? Well, to have some awareness of where it

:11:40.:11:43.

might end up might be a sensible thing to inculcate then. Exactly.

:11:44.:11:48.

There needs to be an awareness of chemical weaponses. And instead of

:11:49.:11:51.

like the idea that teenagers who do this are damned and demonised... Do

:11:52.:11:57.

you think they are? Yeah actually I think they are. Why? It is a really

:11:58.:12:01.

big thing, sexting is this incredibly wrong thing, if you do it

:12:02.:12:05.

this will happen to you and this and this and this. It doesn't step

:12:06.:12:12.

sexting, but it makes people more ser up tissuous. I very much agree.

:12:13.:12:18.

I hear a huge amount, I don't want to be idea. I say, would turn to a

:12:19.:12:25.

teacher and they say no, they would clag me off in the staff room. The

:12:26.:12:30.

worse thing you can say to someone in this situation is, you shouldn't

:12:31.:12:33.

have done that should you? That's not going to help anybody. Teens are

:12:34.:12:39.

risk taking by nature. Thinking back to my teenage years, there weren't

:12:40.:12:47.

mobile phones in that day but there was the occasional Politkovskaya

:12:48.:12:53.

Royal Wedding -- the occasional Polaroid at the school. True. These

:12:54.:12:57.

days something gets translated on a mobile phone can be seen by millions

:12:58.:13:03.

of people, it is on the internet in perpetuity. There are consequences.

:13:04.:13:09.

Kids need to know that. There are younger kids, the sex education that

:13:10.:13:13.

Phoebe gets in her school is fantastic... What do you tell your

:13:14.:13:18.

kids? It is usually what my kids tell me. We've got to educate a

:13:19.:13:23.

generation of parents who lack confidence, who feel embarrassed

:13:24.:13:27.

about talking about sex and feel pretty dim. Some schools should be

:13:28.:13:33.

inviting their parents in to talk them through what they are going to

:13:34.:13:37.

be teaching their kids, to get their input, and when they've taught their

:13:38.:13:41.

kids back, invite the parents back in so they can carry that forward to

:13:42.:13:45.

the home and talk about it around the kitchen table in a much more

:13:46.:13:49.

relaxed and grown up way. We don't involve our parents in our schools

:13:50.:13:53.

enough with our kids' education. We expect them to do it all at home. It

:13:54.:13:56.

doesn't happen I'm afraid. Do you think there should be a Government

:13:57.:14:00.

role in that? Of course there's a Government role in this. The

:14:01.:14:05.

syllabus has become too crammed with all sorts of stuff. We know that.

:14:06.:14:09.

This is big-ticket stuff. This is stuff that can really undermine

:14:10.:14:13.

kids. It can drive kids to suicide. We've seen horrendous case there is.

:14:14.:14:17.

It can knock their confidence so they won't perform in the classroom.

:14:18.:14:21.

We need to have a frank discussion about this and the Government needs

:14:22.:14:28.

to set the tone vaern having the laissez faire attitude, which isn't

:14:29.:14:31.

working. Due agree with that? I do. There is an expect nation it will be

:14:32.:14:36.

covered in the home between parents and children, but it is not. What

:14:37.:14:40.

you are talking about isn't sexting, a boy or a girl or two boys and two

:14:41.:14:46.

girls exchanging pictures of their genitals, it is bullying. That's a

:14:47.:14:51.

different proposition altogether isn't it I think con ensual sexting

:14:52.:15:00.

between two teenagers is going to happen. You can't do much to get rid

:15:01.:15:05.

of that. What really is the problem is when it goes wrong, when

:15:06.:15:10.

teenagers are willing to use that as a means of bulge. There needs to be

:15:11.:15:16.

a differentiation between the coerced bullying and the sexting

:15:17.:15:20.

that goes no further. The alarming thing is the people not knowing who

:15:21.:15:24.

the other person on the line is. That's really worrying. That's being

:15:25.:15:29.

used to blackmail them so they have to send more explicit images. That's

:15:30.:15:35.

a huge, hugely bullying issue there. That's what's worrying. Kids should

:15:36.:15:42.

know what they are doing. We need to tell them they've got to have their

:15:43.:15:46.

eyes wide open. We need serious warnings of the consequences. That's

:15:47.:15:50.

where Phoebe is right. Just because you can do it in your bedroom, take

:15:51.:15:55.

a selfie and press a button, doesn't mean that there are no consequences.

:15:56.:15:59.

A lod of people will see it and you don't know who they are. I'm looking

:16:00.:16:07.

-- I'm wondering if we are looking at go old-fashioned moral panic. I

:16:08.:16:12.

don't see an epidemic. I see a lot of awareness of a few people doing

:16:13.:16:16.

it. I do think there is a far wired context. This is about self-esteem,

:16:17.:16:21.

wanting to be felt to be attractive. This is about looking at what your

:16:22.:16:25.

celebrity heroes are doing and emulating what they are doing. I sat

:16:26.:16:29.

with a bunch of girls a while back and we struggled to find a positive

:16:30.:16:35.

female role model. It's a massive cultural mix. Thank you all very

:16:36.:16:39.

much. Coming up: I guess there is an irony

:16:40.:16:44.

seeing a Conservative Chancellor who has slated his opposition for being

:16:45.:16:48.

socialists doing all these deals with the Communists. They are a lot

:16:49.:16:54.

more market orientated this lot than the British Labour Party are at the

:16:55.:16:59.

moment. The confrontation between much of

:17:00.:17:01.

the political class and representatives of the police over

:17:02.:17:05.

who said what to whom at the gates of Downing Street grew today. The

:17:06.:17:07.

Prime Minister insisted that his former Cabinet colleague, Andrew

:17:08.:17:11.

Mitchell, was owed an apology. Then tonight the Independent Police

:17:12.:17:13.

Complaints Commission disclosed that the initial investigation by the

:17:14.:17:15.

police into whether three officers had misrepresented Mr Mitchell

:17:16.:17:22.

concluded they had a case to answer. And then a month later the force

:17:23.:17:25.

concluded they didn't. David Grossman is with me with some bits

:17:26.:17:32.

of relevant paper. Go on. A complicated case. What we are

:17:33.:17:35.

talking about here is not the initial alleged altercation at

:17:36.:17:38.

Downing Street, but meeting that took place a month later in Mr

:17:39.:17:43.

Mitchell's constituency of Sutton Coldfield between himself and three

:17:44.:17:46.

representative of the Police Federation. What was said at that

:17:47.:17:50.

meeting was a matter of dispute. After the meeting the three officers

:17:51.:17:55.

gave one version. Mr Mitchell insisted that something else had

:17:56.:17:59.

happened. The man he was with, the press officer, recorded the

:18:00.:18:02.

conversation and we know precisely what was said. The IPCC, the

:18:03.:18:05.

Independent Police Complaints Commission, believe there was a

:18:06.:18:08.

problem there, asked the force to investigate, the force concerned,

:18:09.:18:12.

west mersia, although three officers from three different forces were

:18:13.:18:16.

involved, West Mercia took the lead and concluded there was no case to

:18:17.:18:19.

answer. The men had done nothing wrong. Skip forward to yesterday,

:18:20.:18:24.

the IPCC, the Independent Police Complaints Commission, another bit

:18:25.:18:28.

of paper there, concluded that that investigation itself was flawed.

:18:29.:18:31.

They didn't like the outcome and said there was a matter of honesty

:18:32.:18:34.

and integrity that should have been looked at. Yesterday, the response

:18:35.:18:41.

of the three forces involved, and the Independent Police Complaints

:18:42.:18:44.

Commission, and the Police and Crime Commissioners, one of whom you are

:18:45.:18:47.

about to speak to, was that actually it was unfair of the IPCC to

:18:48.:18:51.

criticise the investigation, the investigation took place perfectly

:18:52.:18:55.

above board and along proper lines and reached its conclusion in the

:18:56.:19:02.

correct way. Today, the IPCC say actually that's not what happened.

:19:03.:19:06.

Here's a letter that was written to the gentleman you are about to talk

:19:07.:19:12.

to, Ron Ball. The Police and Crime Commissioner for Warwickshire.

:19:13.:19:38.

In short, this is a bombshell in one respect, that the initial

:19:39.:19:42.

investigation, the investigating officer thought these three men had

:19:43.:19:49.

a case to answer for misconduct. Yet somehow the following month, a month

:19:50.:19:53.

later, by the time this has got through the top brass of the three

:19:54.:19:56.

forces, the report said these gentlemen had no case to answer. Now

:19:57.:20:00.

that is a question that politicians are going to be looking at very

:20:01.:20:04.

carefully. Next week all three Chief Constables and a load of other

:20:05.:20:07.

people, including the IPCC, are going to come to Westminster to

:20:08.:20:11.

answer questions from the Home Affairs Select Committee. The Home

:20:12.:20:13.

Affairs Select Committee have asked tonight to see both reports to

:20:14.:20:16.

compare and contrast them. David, thank you.

:20:17.:20:21.

The Chief Constables at the heart of the scandal will appear before the

:20:22.:20:24.

Home Affairs Select Committee next week. They are from West Mercia,

:20:25.:20:27.

Warwickshire and West Midlands Police. Joining me now is the Police

:20:28.:20:30.

and Crime Commissioner for Warwickshire, Ron Ball. You've been

:20:31.:20:34.

made a bit of a fool of haven't you? No, can I just take issue with a

:20:35.:20:39.

couple of things there? You can if you want. The investigation was not

:20:40.:20:45.

carried out by the forces - well, with it was, but it was supervised

:20:46.:20:50.

by the IPCC, so it was a supervised investigation, which is significant.

:20:51.:20:55.

So it was conducted by the police though wasn't it? It was, and the

:20:56.:21:01.

IPCC could have at any time taken that investigation over. Is it not

:21:02.:21:05.

the case that the first report concluded there was a case to answer

:21:06.:21:08.

the second one didn't? That is correct. Is it not also the case -

:21:09.:21:15.

you didn't know that until today? Correct. When but first become aware

:21:16.:21:23.

of this? Is lunchtime today. What are you doing defending your Chief

:21:24.:21:26.

Constable then? You didn't even know what was going on. That again I

:21:27.:21:30.

think is a bit of an oversimplification. I can't, I don't

:21:31.:21:34.

have the resources tore time to conduct this sort of investigation

:21:35.:21:39.

myself. We get it the professionals, the IPCC, so I have every right to

:21:40.:21:46.

expect that the IPCC will conduct a professional investigation. They

:21:47.:21:49.

have said that it was all done professionally. There's a question

:21:50.:21:54.

to answer over the changing, clearly, that's the question I want

:21:55.:21:58.

to address. Is it not only the case that not only did the fist report

:21:59.:22:03.

conclude there was a case to answer, the second one exonerated the men.

:22:04.:22:08.

Is it not the case that the IPCC said, are you sure you want to stick

:22:09.:22:13.

with this? Will you reconsider? Not to my knowledge. That's in their

:22:14.:22:20.

letter. The... They invited them to reconsider their judgment that there

:22:21.:22:22.

was no case to answer. From the letter, in September, it appears as

:22:23.:22:27.

though they had some concerns. They at that point, if they had those

:22:28.:22:31.

concerns, could have taken over the investigation. And they didn't. I

:22:32.:22:36.

think that's a question. With something as significant as this,

:22:37.:22:40.

why were they not conducting the investigation themselves? Has the

:22:41.:22:43.

Chief Constable explained to you what happened? In terms of, when you

:22:44.:22:49.

say what happened... How they could come to two contradictory

:22:50.:22:52.

conclusions and then apparently ignore the request from the IPCC

:22:53.:22:59.

perhaps to reconsider. Since I had that information, I've done nothing

:23:00.:23:02.

other than media intervurksz I haven't had the opportunity to talk

:23:03.:23:05.

to the Chief Constable about it. I most certainly will be asking the

:23:06.:23:08.

question as to explain to me how that process happened. There's a

:23:09.:23:14.

potentially embarrassing explanation for it, but there is also a

:23:15.:23:18.

perfectly potentially innocent explanation. With any prosecution,

:23:19.:23:24.

there needs to be a judgment as to whether or not a sufficient level of

:23:25.:23:30.

proof exists to continue with it. Sure, and in this case there were

:23:31.:23:35.

two recordings that completely contradictory testimony. Highlighted

:23:36.:23:40.

bits of that evidence has been made available to the media, but in terms

:23:41.:23:43.

of this decision as to whether to proceed with it or not, different

:23:44.:23:47.

individuals came to different conclusions. There is, I'm not naive

:23:48.:23:52.

enough to believe there isn't a potentially sinister implication for

:23:53.:23:57.

that. But there is also a potentially innocent explanation. My

:23:58.:24:00.

view is I have an open mind and I'm going to investigate that and find

:24:01.:24:05.

out what happened. Do you think shoe have known before today? It would

:24:06.:24:09.

have been helpful. Are you hoping to be re-elected? Too early to say. I'm

:24:10.:24:15.

loving the job. It is incredibly busy and there is a lot to do. And

:24:16.:24:20.

rather unexpected apparently? It was - I had no idea. On the election day

:24:21.:24:25.

itself, I turned up and I literally had no idea whether I was going to

:24:26.:24:30.

lose lie deposit or get elected. Many unexamined elements to it

:24:31.:24:35.

though it turns out. Yes, but, as I say, I'm thoroughly enjoying the

:24:36.:24:39.

job. I've stayed out of trouble so far. But we'll see how we go from

:24:40.:24:49.

here. Ron Ball, thank you. The machinery of American Government

:24:50.:24:52.

looks as if it'll be coming out of suspended animation tomorrow. The

:24:53.:24:55.

confrontation between Republican legislators and President Obama was

:24:56.:24:58.

seemingly resolved two hours ago - the formal vote will happen later

:24:59.:25:02.

tonight. But it is only - yet another - stay of execution, saving

:25:03.:25:05.

the world from another financial crisis. For a country that is so

:25:06.:25:09.

often considered a model democracy, it is an extraordinary situation.

:25:10.:25:17.

Alan Little is in Washington. I rise today in opposition to Obamacare. We

:25:18.:25:22.

shouldn't inflict pain on the American people the try to see if

:25:23.:25:27.

one de gets a little extra leverage. Washington is more split than ever

:25:28.:25:32.

before, this country is more guide -- divided than than ever before. On

:25:33.:25:40.

Capitol Hill they've been arguing about the deckchairs while the ship

:25:41.:25:44.

is sinking. In a sense Americans have been having this argument for

:25:45.:25:50.

more than 200 years. How big and how powerful should the Federal

:25:51.:25:57.

Government be? It is still at the heart of the American identity, the

:25:58.:26:00.

idea that as an American you should be an independent citizen, self

:26:01.:26:05.

reliant, not dependent on any Government. For many Conservatives

:26:06.:26:08.

the growth of federal power under President Obama is a plough against

:26:09.:26:16.

the character of America itself. They've risked economic disaster to

:26:17.:26:20.

refight a battle on health care that they lost three years ago. You are

:26:21.:26:25.

going to harm the country immeasurably... Nothing could be

:26:26.:26:30.

more harmful to the American economy and the people than Obamacare,

:26:31.:26:34.

putting under Government control one sixth of the economy. I realises

:26:35.:26:38.

that in Great Britain that's something that you embrace. We've

:26:39.:26:41.

looked at your system and we see a lot of problems and flaws that we

:26:42.:26:47.

don't want to replicate. So 24 is a law that's already passed, it has

:26:48.:26:51.

democratic legitimacy in both houses and the President signed it off. You

:26:52.:26:56.

are prepared to tip this economy into what many will say is

:26:57.:27:00.

o'clockity? Prohibition was not only a law but a constitutional

:27:01.:27:08.

amendment. We've repealed the speed limit. In England I don't know if

:27:09.:27:13.

that's the case. This is an old divide in America. There are exoez

:27:14.:27:20.

here today of the 1930s, when President Franklin Roosevelt enacted

:27:21.:27:23.

the first social security legislation. It was almost word for

:27:24.:27:29.

word the challenges made to the affordable Care Act, the Government

:27:30.:27:33.

taking a larger role in our healthcare and our pensions system.

:27:34.:27:37.

The Federal Government prying into people's laws and orchestrating

:27:38.:27:42.

people's lives. Almost word for word the same arguments. 80 years ago?

:27:43.:27:46.

That's right, but social security not only was it passed, signed into

:27:47.:27:51.

law but once it happened the American people accept that. They

:27:52.:27:54.

embrace these programmes and I think that's part of the fear that's going

:27:55.:27:58.

on among Republicans, the fact that they never supported those

:27:59.:28:02.

programmes when they were first introduced years ago. They know that

:28:03.:28:08.

once people get used to having universal access to affordable

:28:09.:28:11.

healthcare, they are not going to want to give it up. Which is of

:28:12.:28:16.

course precisely what small government Conservatives fear, that

:28:17.:28:19.

once the power and scope of Federal Government is expanded there is

:28:20.:28:23.

never any going back. You can argue that the election of President Obama

:28:24.:28:28.

in 2008 was one of those rare moments, when America tips from one

:28:29.:28:33.

era into another. For a 40 years wherever that, ever since the

:28:34.:28:37.

election of Richard Nixon in 1968, Conservative America had an almost

:28:38.:28:41.

unbroken hold on the White House. In all that time only two Democrats

:28:42.:28:48.

made it to the presidency and both of both of them were southern white

:28:49.:28:53.

men who came to Washington with the mud of the Conservative rural south

:28:54.:28:57.

on their boots. Many Conservatives came to believe this was a semi

:28:58.:29:01.

permanent state of affairs, that they had managed to build such a

:29:02.:29:05.

lasting majority in the country that it made them, the Republicans, the

:29:06.:29:09.

natural party of Government. The Tea Party Republicans know now look more

:29:10.:29:14.

like an angry counter culture than a party of protest. Liberals and

:29:15.:29:20.

Conservatives have switched roles. I think you are seeing a historic

:29:21.:29:25.

realignment, driven by the increasing secularisation of the

:29:26.:29:28.

United States, particularly among younger people, who are much less

:29:29.:29:34.

likely to be religiously affiliated than older Americans. The United

:29:35.:29:37.

States is 30 years behind Britain and Western Europe in the degree of

:29:38.:29:41.

sec labisation. Why is this significant? It means that a lot of

:29:42.:29:46.

these religious right issues are simply losing their traction. Even

:29:47.:29:52.

so, Americans remain sceptical about the state. At the Lincoln memorial

:29:53.:29:56.

we found one protester linking today's crisis explicitly to the

:29:57.:30:00.

core values of American identity. What is the answer to your question,

:30:01.:30:04.

what does it mean to you to be an American? It means that you can be a

:30:05.:30:09.

sovereign citizen, you can be a free man. Whatever you want to make for

:30:10.:30:14.

yourself decision-wise you can do that. Do you think that's under

:30:15.:30:17.

threat? I think it is directly under threat right now. Two Americas fight

:30:18.:30:25.

for ascendancy, in the nation that first secured the enFrenched

:30:26.:30:28.

Government of the people by the people for the people. Seld Dom does

:30:29.:30:32.

that fight bring the people as close to calamity as it did tonight.

:30:33.:30:39.

Joining me from New York is the historian Simon Schama, with his

:30:40.:30:45.

view on the latest from America. - that great country. It is an

:30:46.:30:48.

extraordinary spectacle watching from a distance. What lesson do you

:30:49.:30:52.

think we should draw Simon? Believe it or not I don't think it is the

:30:53.:30:56.

failure of democratic institutions, much less the constitution, Jeremy.

:30:57.:31:02.

I think what we are witnessing is a pro found personality, identity

:31:03.:31:08.

crisis inside the Republican Party. Actually inside Republican

:31:09.:31:12.

Conservatism, because it was not the case that even during the period of

:31:13.:31:18.

extreme alienation from the administration of Jimmy Carter or

:31:19.:31:24.

even from Bill Clinton while Government was shut down that

:31:25.:31:28.

essentially there was so much throwing toys out of the pram, in

:31:29.:31:35.

order to actually use the fundamental credit and good faith of

:31:36.:31:40.

the United States and its debt to get your way in order to reverse

:31:41.:31:44.

legislation. Which has already been enacted. There was a piece a moment

:31:45.:31:50.

in Allan Little's excellent piece where a Congressman was saying,

:31:51.:31:54.

we've repealed lots of good laws, and that is the heart of the issue.

:31:55.:32:03.

It is right now impossible to repeal the Affordable Healthcare Act, the

:32:04.:32:07.

Obamacare Act, because any repeal law has to be passed as a discreet

:32:08.:32:12.

stand-alone piece of legislation. President would veto it. In order to

:32:13.:32:17.

override the veto, this is crucial, you need a two thirds majority of

:32:18.:32:23.

both houses of Congress. So what do you do when you know you can't

:32:24.:32:26.

repeal it? You either turn into it a kind of semi cometic piece of

:32:27.:32:31.

theatrical grandstanding like Senator T tection d Cruz fill

:32:32.:32:34.

bustering the Or you go on screaming and having a

:32:35.:32:43.

tantrum and threatening to bring about not just an American but a

:32:44.:32:47.

global fiscal calamity, because you are not getting your way. It is an

:32:48.:32:53.

infantilisation of politics on the Republican right. When you have a

:32:54.:32:57.

constitution that allows the entire world's financial system to be

:32:58.:33:01.

brought almost to the brink of crisis, doesn't it indicate that

:33:02.:33:07.

something really outmoded, that needs changing, that is broken about

:33:08.:33:13.

the constitution it's I'm open to hearing suggestion forensic

:33:14.:33:16.

examination you Jeremy. Well it is very old now isn't it? It is quite

:33:17.:33:22.

true. Again, the Allan Little piece was spot on in that the argument

:33:23.:33:26.

between Jefferson and John Adams was exactly over the extent to which any

:33:27.:33:31.

sort of Federal Government authority was going to be legitimate. But -

:33:32.:33:36.

this is crucial - once a democratic Republican as he was called like

:33:37.:33:41.

Jefferson came into office, he understood that American Government

:33:42.:33:46.

was not an oxymoron, that actually the process of governance was

:33:47.:33:51.

extremely important. Quite often actually Jefferson is a good case in

:33:52.:33:56.

point, he grasped the reins of Government with an appetite which

:33:57.:34:00.

sometimes dismayed his more individually minded supporters.

:34:01.:34:03.

What's happening inside the Republican Party is a pro found

:34:04.:34:08.

split in two ways. One, between seeing Republicanism as a kind of

:34:09.:34:13.

evangelical church. It was no accident that the Republican caucus

:34:14.:34:20.

prefaced their deliberations in that nadir of idiocy yesterday when John

:34:21.:34:27.

Boehner failed to get the House to come up with their own plan. They

:34:28.:34:33.

prefaced the it with a rousing chorus of Amazing Grace. You can

:34:34.:34:37.

assume that politics is an act of spiritual rebirth, or you can,

:34:38.:34:42.

generations of Conservative law makers have accepted, and this is

:34:43.:34:46.

still the case with sun like Mitch Muslim column in the Senate, without

:34:47.:34:50.

whom the deal to get us back from the brink couldn't hangs you assume

:34:51.:34:53.

that whatever your Conservatism, you do it through the machinery of

:34:54.:34:58.

politics, through a sense of basic combity, which is not prepared to

:34:59.:35:03.

push the United States and the rest of the world's economy to the brink

:35:04.:35:07.

of ruin. The difficulty is right now we are in a kind of isolationist

:35:08.:35:13.

moment in America. The tendency to really want to tell the rest of the

:35:14.:35:18.

world to go away is ominously fierce. The more bewildering, the

:35:19.:35:23.

more distressed, the more alienated, the more upset Americans are by the

:35:24.:35:28.

long-term consequences of what been happening to the economy since 2008,

:35:29.:35:35.

the deafer, at the extreme right, the defer, the angrier, the more

:35:36.:35:42.

obtuse, the more, "I'm mad as hell." Sounds like the mantra of the

:35:43.:35:51.

estranged. That's the threat to the system. Simon Schama, thank you. I

:35:52.:35:56.

wish you would speak your mind more. I know! It is sad isn't it, but

:35:57.:36:00.

that's because I'm heavily sedated right now. Simon, thank you!

:36:01.:36:07.

There were a couple more announcements of Chinese investment

:36:08.:36:10.

in Britain today, as the Chancellor of the Exchequer continued his trade

:36:11.:36:13.

mission there. He said China's growth in technology was a great

:36:14.:36:16.

opportunity for Britain. It would be something of an exaggeration to

:36:17.:36:19.

suggest that his visit has generated a tenth as much attention in China

:36:20.:36:23.

as it has here, and he did admit today that this country had been

:36:24.:36:26.

pretty slow off the mark in getting to the party. But Emily caught up

:36:27.:36:32.

with him anyway. The empire of China is an old crazy first rate man of

:36:33.:36:38.

war, declared Lord George McCartney, arriving on these shores more than

:36:39.:36:42.

200 years ago. He refused to kowtow to the Emperor. His trade mission

:36:43.:36:47.

was unsuccessful. No surprise then if George Osborne deploys a more dip

:36:48.:36:51.

crack demeanor and a phrase which sounds a lot like, come on in.

:36:52.:36:55.

Britain and China have a great economic future together and there

:36:56.:36:58.

is a huge amount of business that we can do together and we can take the

:36:59.:37:03.

next step together in our relationship. After Beijing and

:37:04.:37:09.

banquets today it was the turn of the tech sector, he praised a

:37:10.:37:12.

company for its growing investment in Britain. And if it is slightly

:37:13.:37:19.

counter intuitive seeing a Conservative Chancellor doing

:37:20.:37:22.

full-scale trade with the Communists, those pesky questions

:37:23.:37:26.

may have to wait. After all, it seems that business comes first.

:37:27.:37:30.

George Osborne, this week you've welcomed China into Britain with

:37:31.:37:32.

open arm as. This a significant move? Is this a pivot towards China?

:37:33.:37:38.

I think it is a moment when we take another big step in the

:37:39.:37:40.

Britain-China relationship and certainly what I wanted to say to

:37:41.:37:46.

China is that Britain is open to investment and jobs being created in

:37:47.:37:50.

Britain by Chinese companies. But I wanted to say something to people in

:37:51.:37:54.

Britain - that China is fast-changing. A company like this,

:37:55.:37:58.

you are literally seeing the future being built. So change is no longer

:37:59.:38:03.

just a low-cost manufacturing centre. It is also pioneering the

:38:04.:38:08.

tech and the science and the medicines of the future. What about

:38:09.:38:11.

the nuclear industry? Would you like to see China becoming more involved

:38:12.:38:16.

in that in the UK? I've signed here a memorandum of understanding with

:38:17.:38:20.

the Chinese Government. In other words it kind of umbrella agreement

:38:21.:38:24.

that is going to allow British nuclear companies to get involved in

:38:25.:38:28.

the fastest growing civil nuclear programme in the world, here in

:38:29.:38:31.

China. But it is also going to allow a China he's involvement, Chinese

:38:32.:38:36.

investment in British civil nuclear power that many countries in the

:38:37.:38:40.

world that wouldn't want other countries involveded in their civil

:38:41.:38:45.

nuclear programme, but I do. If it wasn't Chinese or French investment

:38:46.:38:47.

it would have to be British taxpayers. I would rather British

:38:48.:38:52.

taxpayers were spending money on our schools and hospitals and other

:38:53.:38:56.

things and let's get the resist of the world investing in energy. Can

:38:57.:39:01.

you see see a day where China owned and operated a British nuclear

:39:02.:39:05.

plant? We've signed this memorandum of understanding between two

:39:06.:39:08.

Governments. There are a set of commercial negotiations. I don't

:39:09.:39:11.

want to say more about those commercial negotiations, but I'll

:39:12.:39:14.

have more to say on Chinese involvement in civil nuclear power

:39:15.:39:19.

in the UK later this week. I guess there's a certain irony seeing a

:39:20.:39:22.

Conservative Chancellor who has slated his opposition for being

:39:23.:39:26.

social assist doing all these deals with the exhom niss. They are a lot

:39:27.:39:33.

more market orient ted this lot than the British Labour Party at the

:39:34.:39:36.

moment. There's a complex story of the Chinese Communist Party and how

:39:37.:39:40.

it came to run a very capitalist system. We have to engage this

:39:41.:39:44.

country because it is a fifth of the world's pop police station. What

:39:45.:39:48.

about at home? Do you accept when it comes to living standards, policies

:39:49.:39:51.

that people really care about and feel, Labour has stolen the march on

:39:52.:39:56.

you, outmanoeuvred you? I don't accept that at all. Labour is

:39:57.:39:59.

responsibility for the economic calamity that made this country much

:40:00.:40:03.

poorer, the financial crisis, the deep recession, and it is the

:40:04.:40:06.

Government that is fixing the economy and the British economy is

:40:07.:40:09.

now turning a corner. You went to fight a cap on bankers' bonuses on

:40:10.:40:14.

the same day that Ed Miliband said he would freeze fuel. Did that not

:40:15.:40:19.

feel out of sync? The Labour Party policies are built on nothing. They

:40:20.:40:23.

are flimsy, they are gimmicks. They wouldn't work. Even the Labour Party

:40:24.:40:26.

themselves accept they are promises that can't be accept. A serious

:40:27.:40:31.

economic policy is not just a series of gimmicky conference

:40:32.:40:35.

announcements. It is what are you going to do to grow business bishs.

:40:36.:40:38.

One of the things the Government offers a sensible, solid, consistent

:40:39.:40:44.

economic plan. OK. You are talking about sensible and solid. You've

:40:45.:40:48.

warned before of the illusion of cheap money. We know that the

:40:49.:40:51.

average house price reached its highest ever in August, and yet you

:40:52.:40:55.

are flooding the market with cheap money with the help to buy scheme.

:40:56.:41:00.

First of all real house prices are down. Number of transactions in our

:41:01.:41:06.

mortgage market are down. The NPC are worrieded this is going to push

:41:07.:41:10.

house prices up There are plenty of people out there, not least the

:41:11.:41:15.

Deputy Governor of the Bank of England, he told us of course we've

:41:16.:41:20.

got to be vigilant but there is not a housing bubble today. Are we

:41:21.:41:24.

prepared to see young families in their 20s and 30s completely frozen

:41:25.:41:28.

out of the mortgage market because they don't have rich parents and

:41:29.:41:32.

they can't afford the large mortgage deposits that the banking crash has

:41:33.:41:36.

required the banks to ask? What about a higher personal tax

:41:37.:41:40.

threshold? Is that something you would like to see. It is going up to

:41:41.:41:45.

10 in April, could it rise above that? I'm not going to write my

:41:46.:41:53.

budget in shen Jen or Newsnight. Please do? It is a huge commitment

:41:54.:41:59.

to helping people... Is it pretty much at the top now or could it

:42:00.:42:05.

rise? We are committing to indexing the personal allowance with

:42:06.:42:07.

inflation. People should judge us with our deeds. Where we've had

:42:08.:42:11.

available resource we've lifted millions of low income people out of

:42:12.:42:15.

tax and cut tax... Is that a tiny opening? We've cut tax for 25

:42:16.:42:22.

million working people. Matthew Dan cone neigh cites a dinner where you

:42:23.:42:30.

said if I'm not not the most unpopular Chancellor within six

:42:31.:42:37.

months I've failed in my job? During an economic calamity where we had to

:42:38.:42:42.

take decisions that affected working families to fix a hole in the public

:42:43.:42:45.

finances if, I knew it was going to be a tough and not particularly

:42:46.:42:50.

popular job. But what's the point of doing this job? It is to work for

:42:51.:42:54.

the British people and hard working families. Everything I have done

:42:55.:43:00.

isn't about whether it plays well in the focus group or the opinion poll

:43:01.:43:04.

next day. It is what is right for this country. Ultimately good

:43:05.:43:10.

politics follows good economics. There was personal vitriol aimed at

:43:11.:43:15.

you, the only man to be body at the Olympic Stadium or booed when you

:43:16.:43:18.

saw Chelsea raise the trophy in Munich. I'm wondering if that starts

:43:19.:43:24.

to affect you, if it starts to hurt. I think that might have been the

:43:25.:43:29.

Bayern Munich fans in Munich. Look, you don't do this job to be popular.

:43:30.:43:34.

Being Chancellor isn't being a contestant in a popularity contest.

:43:35.:43:38.

You are there to make the tough decisions that are going to help the

:43:39.:43:42.

economy turn the corner. My mental here in China has been pretty

:43:43.:43:46.

uncompromising. I've been trying to tell the British people, China's

:43:47.:43:49.

changing, and not everyone wants to hear that. This message here of be

:43:50.:43:54.

here or be nowhere is a really important part of our economic plan.

:43:55.:43:59.

The economic plan is what I have the responsibility to deliver. The plan

:44:00.:44:06.

A fell scarily on your shoulders. I wonder if you ever wondered if you

:44:07.:44:10.

were wrong. Look, I was very clear. We had to take early decisions to

:44:11.:44:15.

deal with the hole in the public finances. That was going to be

:44:16.:44:19.

unpopular. But the south-eastern we made those decisions the better. Of

:44:20.:44:22.

course I look back and say, is there more I could have done in the

:44:23.:44:25.

banking system, and at the moment I'm looking at what we could do with

:44:26.:44:30.

the Royal Bank of Scotland. Of course there are things if I had my

:44:31.:44:33.

time again, I would say perhaps we could have done more in banking. I'm

:44:34.:44:37.

really impressed by what we've done in China but I would have liked to

:44:38.:44:41.

have done even more, and I'm doing more now. When it comes to plan A as

:44:42.:44:46.

it is being called, we needed that plan. I have stuck with it, the

:44:47.:44:52.

whole Government have stuck with it and the British people have stuck

:44:53.:44:56.

with it and you are beginning to see it is working. Chancellor, thank

:44:57.:44:57.

you. Prince Charles has barged into

:44:58.:45:10.

something else. This time it is the pensions industry, which he doesn't

:45:11.:45:17.

like. And NHS guidelines shouldn't call

:45:18.:45:25.

fat people fat and a nice picture of the Speaker's while.

:45:26.:45:29.

The BBC unveiled today how it intends to mark the centenary of the

:45:30.:45:33.

First World War. Between 2014 and 2018 we're promised 2,500 hours of

:45:34.:45:35.

World War One-themed programming. Can't wait? Here's the first

:45:36.:45:41.

30-second instalment. Goodbye. So if Germany were to attack Russia, she

:45:42.:45:45.

would also have to attack France. France? Yes, France. And if Germany

:45:46.:45:51.

were to attack France, it would leave Belgium threatened, and

:45:52.:45:56.

Belgium is our friend. We would hop in there to defend them. So we've

:45:57.:46:01.

all got to fight in a war because of that, Sir? Yes, Maltravers. But I

:46:02.:46:08.

might get killed, Sir. Yes, you might. But

:46:09.:46:09.

The risks to teenagers of 'sexting'; the latest on the so-called Plebgate affair; the US reaches a fiscal deal; and Emily Maitlis interviews chancellor George Osborne in China. Presented by Jeremy Paxman.


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