03/12/2013 Newsnight


Why is UK education stagnating in world league tables? Plus, the former head of NY and LA police on the state of the British force, and the Guardian's editor faces MPs.

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Beat in, math, beaten in reading, beaten in science, British teenagers


are performing no better in school tests than they were six years ago.


What's gone wrong? How is it that above average spending on education


seems to be delivering no improvement in performance? This man


invented modern British policing, we talk to his greatest fan, the top


cop of New York and Los Angeles about how to restore confidence in


the police. Do you love this country? Is there more than a whiff


of McCarthyism in how the Guardian has blown state secrets. And what


possesses someone to decide to climb up the outside of a skyscraper for


fun? As long as nothing gets broken and you know, hopefully the police


don't get called in and you don't waste their time and nobody gets


hurt, then nothing has been affected. We're a nation of dunce,


at least we are if you take seriously the figures produced in an


international survey of teenage achievement in maths, science and


reading. Let's ignore the fact that in these rankings Britain is ahead


of the United States and most of Europe. Let's ignore too that to


benefit from a Chinese education you would have to live in China. Let's


content ourselves with the simple question, why are British children


so dumb? Which is the interpretation being put on the figures by most of


the political class of this country. Stuck? You're not the only one, in


the latest international tests for 15-year-olds, UK results are at best


stagnant. Standards in some other countries are improving much faster.


The OECD calculates the tables based on results in math, reading and


science. All three are dominated by south-east Asian countries. In maths


the UK comes 26th out of 65. In reading, we're 23rd, in science


we're 21st. We lag behind Estonia and Poland! In the Arc Chain of


schools, children learn maths Singapore style. We learn from maths


mastery and copied from the Singapore style, we focus on number


drilling, not going out into algebra and having depth not breadth. We


encourage our year seven students to explain what they are learning to


one another, and explicitly say what they are learning and how they have


done it. They have only just started secondary school, but these pupils


know in adult life there will be a global market. When you compete with


other people from all over the world, you don't know what their


school has taught them or if it is different from you, you have to try


hard in everything. Michael Gove is shaking up the education system in


almost every way, he has brought in new kinds of school, new kinds of


tests, even new kinds of teacher. The aim of this seemingly constant


change is to improve the results of English schoolchildren, so they can


compete on an increasingly global playing field. So, is there anything


the UK can learn from the Ps of success, like Poland? You can look


at our reforms and the way we not only change the curriculum but we


also have the aligning it with the examination system. On the one side


we give a lot of autonomy, a lot of freedom to teachers and to our


schools, on the other side we clearly state the goals they have to


achieve. Then we test whether they achieve these goals or not on


national exams. That is another thing Michael Gove is changing. He


said today these results justify his reforms. He's following the most


successful countries. But Labour disagree, saying he had learned the


wrong lessons. England's free schools were modelled on Sweden's.


No other country has fallen so abruptly as Sweden in maths over a


ten-year period. Across all three measures, reading, maths, science,


since 2009 Sweden has performed very poorly indeed, and many in Sweden


regard the ideolgical programme of unqualified teachers and unregulated


free schools as responsible for their drop in standards. It is the


DHEAS unfortunately in Sweden results have slid. But as I


mentioned in my remarks earlier, what we need to do is not just grant


greater autonomy, as they have to school leaders in Singapore and in


Hong Kong, in South Korea and elsewhere, we also need a more


rigorous system of accountability. In such a big complex international


study, it is easy to cherrypick. I suppose it is an inevitable that


politicians will want to pick out points that suit their particular


agendas, for us it is really important that we look at both


issues of teaching standards, as well as the structures in education,


and that we also look at the impact on the least advantaged pupils as


well as on the system as a whole. Describe -- many people say they are


simply no good at maths as though it is an inate ability. In its own


conclusions the OECD said that is simply not true. Getting maths right


is mainly down to hard work and high expectations.


With us to discuss all that is Christine Blower, General Secretary


of the National Union of Teachers, Peter Hyman and Mark Lehane. Do you


recognise the picture painted in the survey? I have been in state


education for 11 years, some things have changed an awful lot. Some


things haven't. And what I have talken out of what has come out


today is things haven't changed, or are not showing through in the


survey results yet. It is too soon to see a difference. Do you


recognise the picture painted? What we have done well at is lifting the


floor over the last ten or 15 years and making the worst schools better,


we haven't had a wave of innovation. The danger is we have learned the


wrong lessons from the Far East, we think it is about rote learning, and


it may have been at one point, but they have learned and moved on and


are becoming problem-solvers and creative at the point we were


chasing what they are doing ten years ago. Coming to the question


about how we teach as opposed to what we teach necessarily, it is an


indictment of teachers this isn't it? No it isn't. If you actually


look at the figures today maths results are up for the UK, they are


at the OECD average, and we have got fewer low-performers and we have got


about the OECD of high-performers. You are pleased with these? That is


not to say that schools can't improve things. We are essentially a


self-improving profession. But it is just wrong to say that we stagnate


or dropped. We are 26th in maths? Yes, and we used to be 28th. That is


good is it? It is improving, it is not stagnating and not getting


worse. Peter is right that actually what we really need to be doing is


encouraging problem solving and creativity rather than rote


learning. There is place for rote learning but it isn't the be all and


end all of teaching. It doesn't measure literature or writing,


creativity, which isn't to say maths and science aren't important, of


course they are, but there is a broader picture here as well. There


are a range of international surveys done every so often, there is some


students that I taught a few years ago took part in that. They measure


quite a narrow range of things. When you look across those, the general


picture we have seen is gentle decline, that is fair to say, or a


steady state. That's not good enough. As I say to the students at


my school, you can employ in China a tri-lingual graduate for the same


cost as someone stacking shelves in Bedford for Tesco, if we want to


keep jobs in the country there is no point in being in the middle we have


to be in the top 10%. We have had a catch-up policy not a get out there


model. What is fascinating is the next survey in 2015 will measure


collaborative probl solving. You may ask how will they do that. But Pisa


has caught up with the way the world is going. That is the table, the


Mecca? We are getting more traditional about measuring exam,


Pisa is saying they want collaboration to be measured,


creativity and problem solving. That is the right way of going. You


expect a better result? Only if we follow that. Only if we don't go in


the reverse direction. But the other thing is the very figures themselves


are contested. If you had on for example Martin Steven, the former


High Master of St Paul's, he would say the basic methodology is flawed,


because actually there are children in all jurisdictions that don't


answer all the questions and make assessments of what they might have


said. It is from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and


Development isn't it? But the fact is it is open to contest. What is


true is people do teach to the test in other countries, perhaps we


should, but we don't. Is that one of the things that has gone wrong with


education in this country, teachers teaching to the tests? If you have


high-stakes tests then you would expect teachers to do that because


there is a survival mechanism. Also they don't want the children to fail


do they. All I would say is Peter says we have been getting more


traditional in approaches to teaching and what we are covering. I


know the reason why Peter set up his school and the teachers behind my


school in Bedford set up the school, we think you can have your cake and


eat it, you can have a traditional and core approach to the basics and


blow open and be radical in how you address other things. That is


exactly what we are doing at Bedford Free School, that is one of the


things you will hopefully see it again when they do this again in


2015 and 2018, a lot of the reforms you will see the benefits coming to


fruition then. The National Union of Teachers thinks all schools should


have that level of curriculum and autonomy, you shouldn't have to be a


free school or academy. It is important that all schools and


teachers are trusted to develop the curriculum. That way you do get a


multiple approach. I don't think there is anything we are doing at


our school, School 21 that couldn't have been done in my last school, a


Community School. We are working on well being of the students, their


oral communication, we are working on project-based learning, which


means giving real tasks to student that is have value in the real


world. I hope you are being engaged with the community, that is an


important aspect. A lot of the projects are out in the community.


One of the big changes we are seeing is not just what we are teaching, it


is easier for new entrants to come into local areas and shake things up


where they are needed, we are doing that Bedford. Hopefully that will


spread those ideas further afield. I do d'oh any of you have an


opportunity to have comparison with, you could benefit from Chinese


education but you have to live in China, a bit of a downside many


people might think. There are cultural differences, absolutely,


between living here and China. There are a few things Chinese people are


doing over here. What about your kids and how they behave or whether


they will be happier or more successful adults than children


being raised in South Korea or Singapore or Taiwan or wherever it


is? It is balance of these qualities, the child suicide rates


are very high in some of those countries. You want the balance of


happiness and well being in the child, the rounded child, but also


academic success. Ironically given how badly we have done on some other


scales for happiness for children. In these OECD studies it does show


that children in the UK are generally, generally feeling happy


at school. Now actually children from low socioeconomic groups tend


to feel less happy in school, and that's a big issue. Actually if you


strip out social class, children in these studies are doing as well in


state schools as they are in private schools. So you know, it is true


that social class and socioeconomic status in families does make a


difference to children's capacity. What has been shown in recent


history is the difference in ambition and aspiration, but in


cultures where education is seen as the key thing to do and families


invest in it, they do very well. In those countries hard work is


rewarded n this country we still have an ethos that the talented


amateur is the person to tell blat, wherein -- celebrate, with where as


in those countries they believe hard work. It is the idea you are not


bornal leapted but you work to become successful. The talented


amateur is Michael Gove's idea for teachers, we believe teachers to


have proper status and to be properly trained.


We had to move fast to get off the bridge. Yet another day passed today


without the former International Development Secretary getting his


job back, as things stand at present, it is the police whose


reputation has suffered most in the called "plebgate affair". The


current Police Commissioner in post hasn't had the happiest times of


command. How different it would have been if the rules had allowed the


much more charismatic Bill Bratton from the New York and Los Angeles


police department to be in charge, as was wanted. Bill Bratton's policy


of "zero tolerance" in the mid-1990s revolutionised attitudes to law


enforcement and made him the most sought after police boss in the


world. The idea, based on an academic theory known as "broken


windows" was that if you concentrate on reducing relatively minor


anti-social offences, a reduction in the major would follow. Working


alongside the mayor, crime fell by a third and the murder rate was


halved. Mr Bratton then successfully transferred the policy to Los


Angeles, and there are now suggestions that the new Democrat


Mayor of New York may be about to ask him to return for another run.


But could we see his services being used on this side of the Atlantic,


after riots across the country over the summer of 2011, Bill Bratton


advised David Cameron on urban and gang violence. The Prime Minister


was even keen for him to become the Met Police Commissioner, the rules


at the time stated only British citizens could do the job. Now there


are plans to change that and to bring in talent from outside the UK.


The current Metropolitan Police Commissioner, Sir Bernard


Hogan-Howe's term is up in 2016, which brings the Government plenty


of time to put the new legislation on the statute book. What would Bill


Bratton do to restore public trust in the police? Bill Bratton will


tell us now, I hope, he will join us from his old patch in New York City.


How do you, Mr Bratton, go about restoring confidence in the police?


Good evening. I think that first and foremost you need transparency,


policing for much of its history has been some what hidden behind the


blue wall, if you will. Increasingly the more successful police


departments, the more successful police leaders have embraced


transparency. The idea of opening up their organisations to greater


collaboration with their communities, with their political


leadership. And the term "collaboration" is one that I


certainly embrace and I would hope have modelled in the organisations


that I have been privileged to lead over the last number of years. But


when you get an apparent distinction between public interest and police


interest, it is the absolute opposite of what you are talking


about isn't it? Well, interestingly enough, the founder of modern


policing, Sir Robert Peel, basically his nine principles of policing


which, they are my Bible! They are as good now as they were in the


1800. They are all about the idea of rather than seeing the two as


separate, the idea again of providing platform where they can


join and collaberate. So that the two, when they go their separate


ways that is when you have your problems. You mentioned the


transferability across the Atlantic of his principles to your country,


what about, any object lessons you could have brought from the United


States, New York, or Los Angeles to Britain? Well in the introduction to


this piece that there was an error that I would like to correct, that


the emphasis on "zero tolerance" as you referred to "broken windows"


policing and "zero tolerance" in your country. That in and of itself


will not solve any issue, either public satisfaction with the police


or police effectiveness. What we did not do in this country which, I


would argue you did not do in your country also was understand that you


couldn't just focus on serious crimes and neglect the minor crimes,


that is effectively what happened in my country in the 70s and 80, and as


I have come to understand the situation in your country. You went


the same thing, you began depolicing the enforcement of mine in the


streets, which was what Sir Robert Peel was all about when he created a


bobby, the police presence in the streets to prevent crime. You won't


prevent crime by just looking at serious crime, it is looking at what


causes it over time and what is neglected. It is what happens when


the small crime is neglected the criminal feels embolden to commit


big crime. It is amazing to read those principles about how right he


had it then and they are appropriate for 21st century policing, whether


in my country or yours. What about the minor crimes in this country


that they are not cracking down on? My sense is the hooliganism, the


term he used, the idea of the rowdiness associated with the


emptying of the pubs at a certain time. My personal issue with


graffiti, unchecked graph feety not covered over very quick -- graffiti,


not covered over more quickly or dealt with quickly. I think your


issues are the same as the American issues, the sense that when the


public feels that the police are not dealing with things that are making


them fearful. Whether it is aggressive begs, whether it is use


of narcotics and open view, whether it is street prostitution. These are


often times described as victimless crimes, the idea that there is not a


victim, that the person seeking the services of the prostitute, the


person spray-painting graffiti or smoking a joint in public, the


victim may not be an individual, the victim is society. The victim is the


neighbourhood and the community, the victim is the city. And there is no


place more emblematic of that than New York City in the 1980s, where


for 20 years all that type of anti-social behaviour was not dealt


with by the police. And the public began to lose trust in the police,


began to lose trust in Government. Then it was compounded by, in our


case in the United States because of the gun violence that is so


prevalent here. The horrific violent crime, the combination of the two


together left unaddressed successfully, led to a great loss of


faith in policing and Government. Would you like to come over to


London and do what you did in New York? It remains to be seen. I


happen to be a good friend and admirer of your current


commissioner. I think that some of the recent statistics that I have


seen have been produced by the Met, very promising. Understanding that


you have got political issues that are being wrestled with at this time


over there that I made it quite well known that at some point in my life


if the position were to open that would be certainly something I would


take a look at. The position is not open and is not likely to open for a


few years, in the meantime I think you have g somebody in position


there doing a pretty God job. Thank you very much indeed. An


individual, a committee of politicians and the question "do you


love this country"? It sounds like Senator Joe McCarthy, and his


un-American activities commission. It wasn't, it was the chairman of


the Home Affairs Select Committee, the never knowingly understated Vaz,


having a go at the editor of the Guardian, talking about the evidence


stolen by Edward Snowden. He replied that the newspaper loved the country


and was trying to defend its democratic values. It wasn't only Mr


Vaz asking him challenging questions, here is a flavour of the


exchanges. Some of the criticisms against you in the Guardian have


been very, very personal, you and I were both born outside this country


but I love this country, do you love this country? How do you answer


that? We live in a democracy. Most of the people working on this story


are British people who have families in this country who love this


country. I'm slightly surprised to be asked the question, but yes we


are patriots and one of the things we are patriotic about is the nature


of the democracy and the nature of a free press and the fact that one


can, in this country, discuss and report these things. It isn't only


about what you have published it is about what you have communicated.


That is what amounts or can amount to a criminal offence. You have


caused the communication of secret documents. We classify things as


"secret" and "top secret" in this country for a reason, not to hide


them from the Guardian but from those who harm us. You have


communecated those documents. Is that a question? If you had known


about the enigma code during World War II would you have transmitted


that information to the Nazis. That is a well worn red herring if you


don't mind me saying so. We invited the chairman of that committee and


the man who asked Mr Rusbridger if he loves his country to tell us why


he had asked the question. At first he said yes, and then he changed his


mind and decided he couldn't make it afterall. We are joined by two other


members of the committee, the Lib Dem Julian Huppert, and the


Conservative Mark Reckless. What did you think when the question was


asked? I was some what surprised by it, I don't think it gets to the


heart of the issue. There is a huge issue about the surveillance, and it


is amazing while there is debate in Germany and the US and around the


rest of the world, here is the mobiling cuss of what did the


Guardian do. I don't agree with the Guardian in much of what it writes


but I wouldn't question that. Why do you think the question was asked? I


don't know, I thought it was certainly interesting, it prompted a


lot of coverage. What did you think, could you see why it was asked. Was


anyone going to answer "no I don't love my country". It was an odd


question but it was an odd session. There is this question of what


exactly happened. We had the discussion about whether the


Guardian broke the Fedex terms and conditions. That is a shame, we are


going to have the head of MI 5 to give evidence to our committee. The


real question is what can they do and what difference will it make,


and how can they do their job properly without invading everyone's


privacy. A lot of people from a foreign country would have found it


strange that here you are haul anything a newspaper editor instead


of asking why were the intelligence agencies up to what they were


clearly up to? The Guardian has asked those questions, and I'm not


calling into question the editorial judgment it has made. What I'm


concerned about is how it has treated the information, whether it


has applied the appropriate security, and in particular it seems


to have communicated that information about members of


Intelligence Services overseas and it appears three different


circumstances. I just wonder if that's put potentially our agents,


employees of the services into danger and whether the Guardian


really needed to transfer, to communicate that information


overseas in the way it did. Do you think an offence has been committed?


It may well have been. So should there be a prosecution? I think the


offence has been committed in terms of the communication of the data


about members of the Intelligence Services, I think it could be useful


to people who might be concerned in terrorism. The question is, whether


the Guardian was justified in doing that, and whether it would be a


public interest in prosecution. That is a matter for the CPS. The issue


wasn't, was what the Guardian published in the public interest,


but was it the way it treated the information in the public interest.


In particular transferring 50 thousand miles to the New York Times


and this issue about James Miranda on his games console going ow over


to Rio and other information Fedexed. Why was the Guardian doing


that with members of the Intelligence Services. There clearly


an offence committed under the Terrorism Act? I don't think it is,


because the section referred to in the session actually has a specific


clause 583, which says it is not an offence if there is an excuse. I


think an international news story would count as a reasonable excuse.


I think the Guardian has been really careful. The NSA had all of this


information, 58,000 files containing names and other information, yet a


contractor with little seniority was able to get hold of it and take it


away. There were 850 thousand people with access of t the question is how


the NSA lost so much data, any of the other thousands of people could


have sent it directly to people who could do us harm. Mobiling cussing


on the Guardian is missing the key point. The key point is we know far


more about what is happening in our name. This needs to be discussing.


That what are the rules, we benefit massively from the Intelligence


Service,s what are the limits, what is OK to do and what is not. Isn't


it amazing that 850,000 people had access to this information? I'm not


sure what that exact number is or how much that information was


available and how easily to those people. But I am concerned that the


information has been sent to a number of different countries, a


number of different organisations, by the Guardian, and the security of


that information may not be what it needs to be. In particular that


foreign countries and their Intelligence Services may now have


access to who our agents are in way they didn't before. That is an


issue. The Guardian should assist the Security Services about what


information was transferred and who the individuals were, so if


necessary they can be protected. That is one point. I think it raises


issues about the Intelligence Services, how there is oversight of


that. I think it would be important in parliament to elect at least the


subject of vetting, and the chairman and members of that Intelligence


Committee who oversee these matters so we can be sure that actually the


way they are looking at intelligence, and Julian and I may


disagree about this, I may lean more to allowing the services to keep us


safe by overseeing the information and seeing if there is suspicious


patterns in it. I think parliament should decide and monitor the


appropriate limits. By common consent the biggest threat to the


spirit of world sport comes from the chemistry laboratories, the problem


has been around for the best part of 50 years or so. Now the man at the


head of the international organisation responsible foreign


suring all sporting competition measures talent rather than who can


most successfully get around drugs bans is a 7 #-year-old former bad


minute done player, Sir Craig Reedie. I will talk to him shortly.


First we have this report. Fast e higher, stronger. Mankind has always


sought to perform to the best of its sporting ability. With that desire


comes the temptation to gain an advantage, any advantage and emerge


at the top of the pod come. Those who seek to cheat are using


ever-more efforts to evade the testers. With the world anti-doping


authority recognising the need for effective strategies to uncover


those breaking the rules has never been more needed. I believe we are


doing a vast Himont to keep sport clean. We shouldn't be -- amount to


keep sport clean, we shouldn't be complacent. What we need in the


deterrent effect is to make sure there is a good risk of the athlete


being sampled, that the doping control officer will come and knock


on the door and ask for a sample to be collected. And the methods of


detection are as sensitive as we can make it. Sports Hall of Fame has big


names again it, Lance Armstrong admitted earlier this year he used


doping in his victories, tripped of his title, he's attempting to


convince authorities he should be allowed back from the ban. Asafa


Powell produced a positive test in July. Last week the entire board of


the Jamaican anti-doping body resonde. That follows concerns by


one doping executive that one out of competition test had been conducted


in the six months prior to the London 2012 Olympics. Six Jamaican


athletes have tested positive this year. With the Government there


promising to back and restore confidence in the anti-doping


programme. The London 2012 Olympics were for hundreds of athletes the


pinnacle of their sporting career. It was here in East London and


venues across the UK that some of the drama only sport can provide was


played out. Now only a handful of athletes were caught using


performance-enhancing drugs during the games themselves. Now a new


casting method threatens to expose those who cheated but went


undetected. The samples from the winter Olympics in Turin have been


ordered to be unfrozen and examined. The warning is sooner or later you


will be caught, even if it is some years after the event itself. We


have electronic files on data collected during the Olympics, we


have the possibility of going back simply on our electronic records to


look for substances we may not have thought of. The idea is to say if


you are taking drugs and we collect a sample from you, we will catch


you. Nicola Adams know what it takes to win and win clean, Sheehy merged


as one of the stars for 2012 for Team GB walking away with gold. Now


like many she wants to know with confidence that her opponents are


drug-free. I would hate to think I lost a competition to somebody who


cheated. I go in there 100% all me. I go to compete and win and I like


to think that everybody else, my opponents are doing exactly the same


I am. Sir Craig Reedie, a leading figure within the British Olympic


movement for many years will lead the doping agency. At 72 he


acknowledges this is his final role in sports governance. Can he


strengthen the global effort to combat an issue that threatens


integrity and soul of sport but its very future too.


Sir Craig Reedie joins us now from our Glasgow studio. Is this a


problem, drug use in sport, that is getting worse? I would like to think


that it isn't. I would like to think that it's getting marginally better,


but I'm not niave enough to believe that we can win, absolutely. The


problem will not go away. As one of your speakers there said it has been


around for 50 years. I think there is evidence that we are beginning to


get on top of it, the London Games was a good example. But it wasn't so


much the very few people who were tested and caught positive during


the games, it was the very sophisticated pre-games operation


which was run by the IOC and the UK Anti-Doping Agency. Which I think


encouraged somewhere over 30 athletes didn't appear in London at


all. I think that's rather encouraging. You raised the question


at the London Olympic Games there, given that there are samples and


they are now capable of being analysed for presence of drugs maybe


six months before the test was carried out. Frozen samples, do you


think that they should be re-examined now, maybe even the


Beijing Olympics too? There is a of limitations under the standard


anti-doping codes which is eight years. Let's talk about the IOC they


have a period of eight iritis within which they can retest frozen sample,


that period under the new code will be extended to ten years. As one of


your speakers said technology gets better, testing gets better and we


are able to turn around to athletes and say if you cheat now we may well


be able to test you at a later date and catch you when the technology


gets better. And it wouldn't surprise me at all that London


samples wouldn't be tested eight years from the London Games. Do you


think they should be tested? I do, I think it is a major, major


deterrent, at the end of the day the whole object of this exercise is to


protect the clean athlete. I spent most of my sporting life trying to


promote sport to young people, and I need people to believe, athletes to


believe it is clean. I think this is a very good way of doing it. Not all


samples are retested. They are done on a selected basis. And I mean


London took somewhere around about 5,300 sample, it would be really


over the top to test them all. But I think a reasonable selection will be


tested at a future date in the knowledge of better testing


procedures. That would mean the theoretical possibility that some


medallists in the London Games could be tripped of their medals?.


Absolutely, and the IOC have struggled with that regularly over


the last five or six years, ever since the policy started. We have


had medals returned to us, and they have been medals reawarded, they are


done under the main, in the main under the rules of the international


sports federation. The IOC would cancel a medal award and reallocate


it. But, yes, that is entirely possible. I hope that too is a


sanction. I'm sure you are a very fit and robust man, but do you feel


tough enough for this job? It is an intellectual challenge. If you spent


all your days trying to encourage people to do things, you now take up


the heading of an organisation which in many ways tells people what not


to do. You know, officials in the anti-doping community in some ways


are policemen. That is a tough role. But at the end of the day if we


can't be seen to win this battle then young people will not be


encouraged to take part in sport, and people who watch it will


question the validity of it. We will not have again the bonders of the


London Olympic Games which I thought were outstanding for everybody who


took part and certainly everybody who watched them. Thank you very


much for joining us, thank you. Now for a strange dark side of our


national life that most of us never see, and it is not the parliament


channel! Urban exploring is the strictly unlicensed pursuit of going


into places where you are not really meant to be, sewers, derelict


buildings, or to the top of sky scrapers without taking a lift. Are


these intrepid types taking a stand against property lying idle or


surveillance culture or are they troublemakers going where they are


not wanted. Stephen Smith has made it a habit of working completely in


the dark. Don't try this at home. How are you feeling? I'm loving


this, it doesn't get any better. Any plans for the weekend, or are you


just hanging out? Oh my God. If you haven't


encountered it before, this is the high-adrenaline, high-rise and


high-stakes past time of urban exploring. Taking the fresh air


route up the side of the Shard in London, for example, the tallest


building in Europe. Newsnight went out for a night on the town in


London with with Bradley Garrett, university person during the day and


explorer at night. We see the skyline behind us, what do you see,


a jungle gym, a world of opportunities, what is it? It is a


realm of possibility and opportunity. Over the past four


years we have climbed almost every major construction project in the


city. We have climbed the Walkie Talkie building, the Cheese Grater,


Heron Tower, there is something really enticing about walking into a


building and kind of unravelling its history one thread at a time and


trying to piece together the history of that place on your own. Paris,


why go potholing on some lonely moor when you could go spelunking through


the French sewers instead, like Bradley and friends. For the urban


explorer half the fun is posting images like this on-line once you


make it back, assuming you do. Injury and worse goes with the


unauthorised territory. This is the Forth Bridge as you have never seen


it before, filmed from a element-mounted camera as urban


explorers shuffle across its mighty arches on their back sides. We did


have a bit of a scare about three-quarters of the way down the


bridge when it started raining, we had to move fast to get off the


bridge, you don't want to be stuck on a bridge when it is raining.


Bradley Garrett can't be prosecuted for trespass as it is not a criminal


offence in the UK. Though he and others have appeared in court


charged with criminal damage, following an alleged incident on the


underground. What would you say to people who say what business is it


of yours to enter these premises in this slightly cloak and dagger way?


Obviously there are certain lines that you draw. You would never go


into someone's house, for instance. But there are certain place,


certainly places that were built and maintained with taxpayer money that


urban explorers feel they have, you know, they have a certain right to


see if they want to see them. What about this place over here then,


that wouldn't have been built with tax-payers' money, I'm guessing? No,


not at all. But it was empty, it was covered in scaffolding, it wasn't


being used for any particular purpose. As long as you don't damage


it and nothing gets broken and you know hopefully the police don't get


called and you don't waste their time. And nobody gets hurt? And


nobody gets hurt. Nothing has been affected. Emerging from the high


grass in a corner of Regent's Park, it is Sir Simon Jenkins, chairman of


the National Trust, and fully paid up member of the great and good.


Naturally he thoroughly disapproves of pesky urban exploresers, ex--


explorers, except that he doesn't really. This is where I came as a


tiny boy, it was my sort of Loiin, the Witch and the Wardrobe


territory. He used to let himself in to the ruins of a great house that


once stood here. When I did my urban exploring in my youth we could go


around dozens of warehouse, old churches, houses in Spitalfield,


wonderful all sea captains' houses in Deptford, the London dock, the


top of St Pancras Station. You were chased away by turnkeys and janitors


were you? Frequently, all the time. With all of your weight on the


National Trust that urban exploring is a good thing? There are


circumstances where simply drawing attention to an empty property, that


is wrong, can deliver good. It draws attention to it, it says to the


people who own it, this is wrong, we have used for these build, come on


now let as discuss it. Urban explorers have taken remarkable


photographs like these, here and in Europe. They are accidental curators


of a portfolio of lost properties. Those pictures were taken by these


British urban explorers. There is an element of maybe urban archaeology.


It is not like a strict science, but you are going there, having


experiences and continuing the life cycle of that building by just being


there and interacting with the objects you find, and you do find


out little small stories about people, their lives, just from the


documentation left behind. It is quite interesting to actually


interact with that and be there with it instead of it all falling into


nothingness and decay. Back on the Thames embankment, Bradley Garrett


is off on his adventures again, in another unseen London, the world of


urban exploration and things that go jump in the night! Now tomorrow


morning's front pages: That's all from us tonight, I will


be back with more tomorrow, I will leave you with London mayor Boris


Johnson, stopped in his tracks on a London radio station when he was


asked if he knew the cost of a rail fare, it is one way to kill minutes


of air time. How much would it cost you to travel one way, angel to


London Bridge? On what, on an oyster card? No just a one-off trip, you


have forgotten your oyster, angel to London Bridge, how much will that


cost you. (Countdown music) Here we go, here is the whole list, OK. Even


I knew this. I don't use the things. If you want a one-way, a one-way...


It is currently... . In zones 1-7 it is ?6. 70. Single? I don't think


that's right either? That is what it says here! It seems unbelievably


expensive to me, that is outrageous! Big changes in the weather over the


next few days, through the morning we are going to push the band


In-depth investigation and analysis of the stories behind the day's headlines with Jeremy Paxman, looking at: why UK education is stagnating in world league tables; the former head of NY and LA police on the state of the British force; the Guardian's editor faces MPs; drugs in sport; and urban explorers.

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