06/01/2014 Newsnight


With Jeremy Paxman. Are threats of new cuts just electioneering? Plus, the latest on the situation in Fallujah and 12 Years a Slave director Steve McQueen.

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You Hello, happy new year. Unless electioneering politicians get on


your nerves in which case you have 16 months of irritation to look


forward to and photo shoots. The Chancellor is keen for us to know


there are plenty more cuts on the way and that those on benefits can


take a lot more pain. I will be asking this Treasury Minister why he


wants to pick on the most vulnerable people in society? Will this


brilliant plan involve us climbing out of our trenches and walking very


slowly towards the enemy, Sir? How could you possibly know that, it is


classified information. Has our understanding of the First World War


been distorted by left-wing prejudice? The Education Secretary


suggests this man might have something to do with it. I saw you


talking with her? Tell me? I cannot speak about what did not occur. And


the film they are saying is the most unflinching portrayal of American


slavery et. We talk to its director. I don't make films for white people!


I just don't! My film is about us rather than specific group of


people. The political new year began today, not that it looks very


different to the last one. Indeed the Chancellor of the Exchequer's


promises that next year will look much the same too. He believes


another ?25 billion has to be cut from public spending after the next


election. About half of that from welfare. Cue Nick Clegg, leader of


the party he's suppose to be governing with saying cuts like that


will be a monumental mistake. Our political thor Allegra Stratton is


away having given birth to a son and Emily Maitless is covering.


The sound of Christmas past, the removal of the fir and tree and


amidst the odd bauble or two Westminster welcomed the day they


reassuringly dubbed "the most depressing of the year". A bit of a


back to school feeling, washed out and defeated by the weather before


it had begun. But today is not just any day, you understand, today is an


historic 16 months and... Let's see, seven hours until the polls open to


the general election. I point that out in case some how you failed to


notice the sound of the starting gun in the mounting political rhetoric


of the last 24 hours. The high-visibility Chancellor, for


example, unmissable in Birmingham. He began the day with a warning of


hard truths and stark figures. ?25 billion of spending cuts, he stated,


would be taken in the first two years of the next parliament, nearly


half of those cuts will come from one department. Welfare cannot be


protected from further substantial cuts. I can tell you today that on


the Treasury's current forecasts, ?12 billion of further welfare cuts


are needed in the first two years of the next parliament. Yesterday the


Conservatives committed to the triple-lock on pensions for the


elderly, protecting the way they rise through the next parliament.


This means George Osborne's cuts to welfare will have to come from


elsewhere. Welfare is by far the largest departmental budget in terms


of spending, a massive ?2 O2 billion of all. Of that ?63 billion is the


state pension, now protected by the PM. Another ?48 billion goes to


pensioners on top of the state pension, those are benefits that


haven't been explicitly ring-fenced for the parliament. What is left,


?29 tax credit, ?18 billion disability benefits or ?17 billion


on housing. If you exclude anything that goes to pensioners you have


another ?90 billion that goes to working-age people. There are lots


of benefits there, you can take more child benefit away if you want. You


reduce any of these things, most of that cut will hit relatively


low-income people. What do the Chancellor's coalition partners make


of this morning's announcement. Minutes after the speech, the new


girl asked the deputy PM. Welcome, it is your first day! REPORTER: It


is, and a big announcement, would you be happy then to sign up to ?12


billion of welfare cuts? No, we haven't and we won't during this


coalition Government. Because what we have said is that tax, for


instance, has to play a role, of course it does, and tax on those,


and tax, like any fair approach to tax, is asking people, particularly


those with the broadest shoulders and greatest wealth to make a small


additional contribution. We believe you can finish that job but do it


for fairly than the ideolgically driven approach that the


Conservatives appeared to set out. Come on Nick, tell us what you


really think! I think that is economically and lob sided balanced,


a monumental mistake... Extreme in its undertaking... Unbalanced and


unfair. This might be part of the differenciation strategy, but it is


already sounding turbo-charged, with friends like these, who needs an


opposition? Whether or not we need cuts on that scale will depend upon


whether we can get the economy growing more strongly, whether we


can get young people back to work and whether he will face up to fair


decisions, as we have advocated to take away the windswepter allowance


from the richest pensioners, at the moment fairness steams to be the


issue George Osborne is looking left, right and centre. Today was


about hard truth, but maybe not the ones the Chancellor had in mind.


Don't think it was just economic, today was pure politics. The


Conservatives would like the next election to be 1992 all over again.


An election they won in hard times. So the message today was cautious


and slightly scary. We're not there yet, he's trying to say, so don't


even think about throwing us out. With us now is Sajid Javid the


Conservative Financial Secretary to the Treasury, also here the Shadow


Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Labour's Chris Leslie. ?12 billion


reckoned to be saved from the welfare benefit, which benefits will


be cut? We have set out today a strategy to deal with the economy


and to make sure it continues to recover. That means continuing to


make some very hard decision, that is what the Chancellor set out


today. The hard work of the British people is paying off, we are not


going to squander those efforts and we are faced with the choice.


Britain is faced with a choice. We can go back to the bad old days of


more borrowing and more debt, Labour's way, or go forward and


continue to have a growing economy which means dealing with the hard


truths. Do you remember what my question was, come on? I want to set


the context, I will of course come to your question. A very important


question. We have spending cuts this year and next year, which includes


welfare cuts, and what the Chancellor set out today, beyond the


next election, there is a further ?25 billion of cuts, ?12 billion


will be welfare cuts. The Chancellor has given suggestions today about


what kind of welfare cuts we are thinking of. But we're going to have


to deal with the welfare budget, as we have just seen in your piece just


now, it is still the second-largest item of Government spending, we are


not able to bring the budgets books back into balance. This is a very


important question, which benefits do you propose to cut? What we set


out today, two benefits specifically, we are going to look


at housing benefits for under-25s and people in council houses that


earn more than ?26,000 a year. I will come to you in a second Chris


Leslie, don't worry. Housing benefit for the under-25s, if you cut that


how much money will you save? It won't lead to the whole ?12 billion,


that is not our strategy. How much? We set out a process today of the


types of cuts we are thinking of. We are not going to write our next


election manifesto right now. But what we are going to do. Give us a


rough idea? It depends on how you finally set out the policy and we


have not set out every detail of that particular policy. It is


something we are looking at. I'm not even asking to the nearest million,


the nearest billion will do? Of a total ?12 billion that can be an


important component of it, I'm not suggesting for a second it adds up


to the ?12 billion, nor is the Chancellor suggesting that. What we


are saying is these are the kind of tough decisions we need to make. It


comes to nowhere near ?12 billion, it is somewhere under ?2 isn't it?


Some of the estimates we have heard today from some of the economists is


around the ?2 billion. It depends on the final detail. We have begun a


very important process, which confronts these hard truths. I


wonder if you have thought this through properly, let me show you


this piece of tape, a young woman, 22 years old, lives in west London,


this is what it would mean to her, this is how she depends on the


benefit you propose to cut. Let's hear it? Growing up it felt I had to


grow up fast. The disagreements with like my mum and my brothers and


sisters is because like I told them that I was gay. I went upstairs to


my room, all my stuff was packed up in boxes and I went downstairs and I


said to my mum what are you doing. She said I didn't live here. I


stayed between friends of friends, you are constantly moving, you don't


feel safe, you don't feel stable. I just spoke to the council again and


just finally it got through to them and practically I got place in


Centrepoint. So it is about ?170 per month just to live here. But housing


benefit helps towards actually me having a roof over my head. It is


not a lifestyle choice for us. You need it. If you don't have it then


you are homeless. Right, so if you cut housing benefit for


under-25-year-olds, there is no money to pay for the place in the


hostel which a girl like that has. Let me tell you, first of all there


are many under-25-year-olds that work, they pay taxes which make the


money that helps to pay these benefits. Indeed they are. Many of


them live with parents or friends. Where as people under-25 that are


not working are currently entitled to housing benefit as you have seen.


What we need to do to make sure people like this young lady and many


others have a better standard of living is making sure we have a


growing economy and the economy continues to grow. We are only going


to achieve that if we keep confronting the problems facing our


country. We cannot go back to the bad old ways. We have to make tough


decisions and if it is not welfare it has to come from somewhere else,


those are equally tough decisions. She has just to hope for the


benefits of a growing economy. Has she? Let me ask you another specific


question, you cut housing benefits for under-25-year-olds, does that


include those who have children? We haven't set out the details of this


policy, nor were we going to today. What we are showing is we are


willing to deal with the hard truths facing our country. We will confront


these tough decisions and make sure our economy continues to grow and


the recovery is not put at risk. Chris Leslie, how many of these


proposed benefit cuts, you will probably be no more specific than Mr


Javid has been now. But of the ?12 billion which these guys are going


to cut from the welfare budget at the next election, how much would


Labour cut? You gave Sajid Javid a moment to put it into context I


require that. He has dreamt up this figure for ?25 billion for four


years time. A sensible Government would look at the state of the


economy and make decisions based on what the economy needs. The


Conservatives, George Osborne, we know they are playing politics, they


plucked this ?25 billion out of the air as part of a political game to


some how create dividing lines. No cuts? No, and we have gone further,


to be fair than any other opposition by saying we would not borrow


further in 2015/16, the only year they have done this Spending Review


for day-to-day spending. But the key thing is this, yes we will have to


have cuts, but they have to have fair and support growth in the


economy. That will be the dividing line between the parties. Specific


example of the young woman we saw there, you would not cut the


benefits of someone like that? It is a very good question. I'm asking


you? Housing benefit under-25s, what about people leaving care, you


mentioned the case in point. What would you do about it? I think what


we need to do is for the housing benefit bill, it has gone up


considerably under welfare costs that have risen because people's


earnings have fallen. There is a lot of people in work who get housing


benefit and that bill has gone up. If we dealt with the cost of living


crisis we could reduce the housing benefit. Can you make a promise to


that woman and others in her position that you would not make


these cuts? I don't think it would be fair to hit her even further than


she has already been suffering because of the cost of living


crisis. You can make her a promise? It is the difference in political


value, I happen to think in society you have to stand up for those?


Vulnerable. You are making a pledge? We wouldn't do the bedroom tax, you


look at the list. We're not talking about the bedroom tax? These are the


examples of fairness versus unfairness, we wouldn't give a tax


cut to the richest ?150,000 earners, which Sajid Javid decided to do in


shape, cutting it from 50p to 45p at a time when people can't get food on


the table, the foodbank queue, think about people struggling to heat


homes. You have a very unfair society, made more unfair because of


your uncaring approach to managing the economy and the cost of living


crisis which is getting worse not better. What What we have heard from


Chris is exactly whey said, an inability to confront the hard


truths facing our country. More spending, more borrowing and more


debt. That is the only policy he has. You have neglected growth. You


were asked about housing benefit, the only policy that your party


currently has on housing benefit that you have committed to and


include in the next manifesto is increase it to make sure people have


more rooms than they need in their home. That is the only policy they


have. Do you understand the point I was making when their earnings fall,


of course the housing benefit rise, the cost of living has an effect on


the Welfare Bill. I want to turn to the panel, there was a moment when


we saw something acutely political going on, what did you think it was


Chris is right it is a dividing line speech which you can like or not. It


is a dividing line speech on the deficit, trying to move the agenda


back from the cogs -- cost of living issues raised before Christmas to


the agenda on the deficit, which is the big one. It will face all the


parties with difficult decisions. Ultimately it will face Labour with


difficult decisions about what to cut, because there are billions of


pounds that can't be covered by tax rises unless you are assuming


massive tax rises. Obviously it will mean the Conservative Party goes


into the election with a difficult message as well. Your adoring fans


of course know who you are, I forgot to introduce you all, Lord Fink,


John McTiernan, former Labour big wig, and Linda Jack from the Liberal


Democrats. When you see this marking out of terrain, how will it play, do


you think? I think what you have seen today was George Osborne going


too far. He is a politician who is too clever by half. He could just


have stuck the figure of ?25 billion out there and said to Labour what


are you going to do and watched Labour struggle with the question


you asked Chris, Chris has been asked to give a Labour manifesto


today, when we're 16 months away from an election, it would have been


a good ploy. To say ?12 billion to come out of the welfare budget, and


no answer to the question which areas do you mean. I tell you what


areas he means, that budget is benefits to children, child benefit


and tax credit for children, it is benefits for disabled people, or it


is housing benefit. ?12 billion ?1,000 a year. Most of it goes to


old people? They have excluded that, they have said there is ?110 billion


you can't touch. You have a small amount of money. I do not believe


that George Osborne is going to go into an election actually with the


kind of cuts that you would have to have to make ?12 billion from


welfare. Unelectable, that is what a party would be, unelectable if they


took the money from disabled people. Isn't the purpose of setting out the


figure looked at stragically that Labour will also have to answer the


question of how it is going to respond to that sort of figure. That


is just taking the budget books from the OBR and reading out what the


figure is. Labour will also have to have some response to that? The


thing that intrigues me about the current situation is, you have a


coalition Government which gives the Government of the day a large


working majority in parliament, yet whenever a hard question comes up


they say what will would Labour do, I tell you the answer, let Labour


form a minority Government, you can't say I'm the Government. On the


question of the coalition Government isn't it very bizarre indeed when


the Deputy Prime Minister says the Chancellor of the Exchequer is


talking rubbish? To be honest it is a long time I have said I agree with


Nick but today I do. He has at last got back to what our core values are


as Liberal Democrats when we say no-one should be enslaved by


poverty, ignorance or conformity. The clip you just played, I would


have expected a difference response from you. That young woman to live


in those conditions, I have an 18-year-old foster daughter you are


going to take her housing benefit away from you. You are hitting the


most vulnerable when they are most vulnerable and you are doing no cost


analysis, I never see any cost benefit analysis of what you


propose. Ultimately, this is what the election will be about, clearly


you are correct both of you that the Conservative Party has to be very


careful as an answer about fairness, it does have to answer what the


point of doing it is otherwise all people will see is cuts. That is a


big electoral challenge for the Conservative Party. For the Liberal


Democrats and Labour the figure remains ?25 billion, it has to be


filled. Why does it remain. Where did that figure come from? Unless


you decide to put up a lot of taxes? Unless the Liberal Democrats will go


into the election saying that the deficit totals they have agreed to


they don't agree any more. There was a report last week from the BMJ


about the cost of malnutrition, children going into hospital with


malnutrition, if you look at the cost benefit. That is what I'm


saying, you can't look at the cuts without the consequences. If you


start to look at how you make cuts sensible. The Liberal Democrats


agreed to deficit totals and now the Government. Sorry Nick Clegg and


Danny Alexander agreed! The Liberal Democrats have signed up. We are a


democratic party, wait until our conference makes a decision on our


manifesto. You are not speaking for the Liberal Democrats then. They are


not either, because we don't have a decision come through the


conference. We are democratic as a party. I think it would be hard for


the Liberal Democrats, we now have a disagreement on this, it would be


hard for them to walk away from the figures they agreed to. Those


figures imply ?25 billion, perhaps the Labour Party will have slightly


easier deficit terms, Chris says we don't know the exact figure, we know


it will be many billions of pounds. The question will be for all the


parties, I agree. The Conservative Party will have to have a response.


How are they going to fill that? I would love it if it was not a


difficulty for anyone that is not realistic. The problem you have got,


and you have articulated it well, the problem is ordinary people


seeing this see a Government that says they will take ?12 billion out


of a specific set of benefits, but as has a minister that can't name a


single benefit he will reduce. If we are having hard decisions let's have


hard information. There is something else, I thought you chaps weren't


going to take part in this conversation. There is something


else, if George Osborne is right and the economy is starting to get


better people are going to start feel and see the changes, the


benefits perhaps. In those circumstances can you continue to


talk as effectively about the need for cuts? Clearly obviously if the


Conservative Party is going to run a "Britain's on the right track don't


turn back election", you don't want to be at the point where people


think you have reached the end of the track, you have to be saying


there is a lot of work to do, that was what he was doing. I think the


Conservative Party will have to effectively explain to home how


deficit reduction will improve their living standards. That is a hard


argument. They will have to link the argument about living standards to


deficit. You are not persuading him sitting next to you? I think you


have currently got the National Health Service going through its


tightest spending constraints in the history of the National Health


Service, the tightest spending restraints on any health service


anywhere in the world over four or five years and you are going to then


do it again for the next five years. It is unbelievable. It is


unbelievable, most people with a brain can see something is going to


give. You can't take the money from the kids, you can't take the money


from the pensioners and people from disabilities. Even broadly, very,


very vaguely outline it, I honestly don't understand it. I will have to


stop you all there if I may. Thank you. Coming up:


I don't want to survive. I want to live. The Prime Minister of Iraq was


begging the people of Fallujah today to drive out the fors that have


captured the town. Well he might, the cost of a town of so many


American lives and lose it to an Al-Qaeda affiliate risks asking the


question of what the whole war was for. Late 2004, ferocious urban


warfare on the streets of Fallujah, plane troops trying to flush --


American troops trying to flush out Al-Qaeda troops hiding inside. Ten


years on and Fallujah once more out of control, Islamic militants taking


over Government buildings, defying Baghdad. Has Al-Qaeda returned to


its old stomping ground. Has the war in Syria some how fanned the flames


of Iraq's burning sectarian embers. It is certainly the way the


Government in Baghdad would like to see it. One of the main arguments to


use is these areas have become, they use the word "infested" by elements


from Al-Qaeda groups and fighters who are foreigner, even from outside


Iraq. They want to clean them, clear that area from these fighters.


Fallujah and Ramadi sit on Baghdad's western doorstep, behind them the


vast empty province of Anbar stretching to the Syrian border,


where another war is now almost three Years' old. Sunni militants


battling against insurgents. Both countries having proclaimed


allegance to Al-Qaeda. The Islamic state of Iraq and Syria, whose very


name suggests a common purpose. It is tempting, perhaps, to see the two


countries as two fronts in a bigger war. Tempting but probably


misleading too. We see that Al-Qaeda and radical Jihadists are exploiting


one popular alienation, both in Syria and Iraq to the absence of


Government. And then three, an increased heightened sectarianism


across the whole region. There may well be one organisation exploiting


two distinct battlefields and finding similarities in each. But


they are, at the moment, two separate conflicts, one driven by


the incompetence and repression of the Government in Damascus, the


other driven by the incompetence and repression of the Government in


Baghdad. It could have been different, three years ago Iraq's


Sunni minority deified Al-Qaeda and voted in parliamentary elections.


Political participation, they hoped, might improve their lot, in a


country now dominated by Shia politicians. But it didn't happen.


Two years later amid mounting grievances there were protests on


the streets of Ramadi Anbar's capital. Eventually broken up in a


heavihanded Government operation. A crisis some say of the Prime


Minister's own making. This is almost the ideal scenario for


Al-Qaeda, recruiting small numbers of people but not being whole


heartedly rejected by a wider population that voted in 2010, had


that investment in the ballot box squadered by an Iraqi Government now


running the election campaign for April 2014 on a very sectarian


basis. And against a backdrop of extreme violence. This was the scene


in Diala province three days ago, another massive car bomb, almost


9,000 people were killed in Iraq last year, the deadliest since 2008.


The Prime Minister, urging the people of Fallujah to expel the


terrorists. But not everyone here is Al-Qaeda. There are plenty of local


tribesmen equally willing to take on the Government. It is a messy three


or four-way fight. With overwhelming fire power, the army will probably


win, but at what cost? Here we are, 2014, the centinary of the outbreak


of the First World War, all sorts of commemorative events are planned,


amid much controversy about what is the appropriate tone to mark a


catastrophe that took vast numbers of lives and turned out not to be a


war to end wars. The Education Secretary, a man who can't see a


sacred cow without ordering up the truck from the nearest abattoir


added his tuppence in, inevitably the Daily Mail. He argued that apart


from a pointless slaughter it had been a just war. This great


blood-letting cost millions of lives, reshaped the societies of


Europe, promoted revolution, enfranchised those previously denied


the vote, and tragically sowed the seeds of future war. According to


the Education Secretary, our understanding of the war is filtered


through a series of predominantly left-wing prejudices about loins led


by donkeys. Field Marshall Hague has formulated a tactical plan to ensure


final victory in the feel. Would this brilliant plan involve us


climbing out of our trenches and walking very slowly towards the


enemy. How could you How could you know that it is classified. It is


the same plan we used last time and 17-times before that. Michael Gove


says this portrayal presents the war as a misbegotten shambles, a series


of catastrophic mistakes perpetrated by an out-of-touch elite. He claims


World War I was plainly a just war. In which the Germans' pitiless


approach and expansionist war aims justified Britain's involvement.


Enter Tristram Hunt and Labour's schools' spokesman, he claimed the


Government is using what should be a moment for national reflection and


respectful debate to rewrite the historical record and sow political


division. History, Churchill is supposed to have said, is written by


the victors, the outcome of the war may not be in doubt, but what it


meant still is. With us now is Professor Richard Evans from


Cambridge University, a man singled out by Michael Gove for particular


reproach. And in Toronto TWEF Margaret Macmillan, author of The


War That Ended Peace. Do you think that Michael Gove is right to say we


see the war through a particular set of preconceptions, "loins led by


donkeys" and the like? I don't, I think he has said this a lot and a


lot of people have argued it. Quite frankly there are many ways of


seeing the war. One of the things we should be doing a hundred years


later is looking in the round, not arguing about one particular view of


the war. It wasn't entirely a war led by donkeys, the generals were


trying hard to deal with new technology and strong edge to


defensive war. They learned as the war game on, but they debt -- war


went on but didn't have the technology to make successful


attacks. We need more nuance and we need 100 years later to talk without


these polemics. Do you think the nuance and lack sophisticated


arguments you are talking about has been lost? It has been lost, we have


tended to argue about the First World War in a very nationalistic


way. I think surely 100 years later we should be looking at something


that was a catastrophe that hit the whole of Europe, hit the world as


well and hit, you know, it wasn't just a European war. I speak as a


Canadian. This is something that we feel quite strongly about. I do


think it is a time to be able to pull back. Instead of arguing about


which nation was right and which was wrong and who was responsible, I


really would like to see more discussion of what that war meant.


What did it mean for European society, how did it happen, why did


Europe fight it in that particular way. It seems to me there are all


sorts of interesting questions, and there is nothing wrong with debating


interpretations. This is what we should be doing, but what I really


don't like is the idea we should only be looking at the war in one


way. That there is only one correct interpretation of the war. The


Education Secretary singled you out by name as one of the perpetrators


of the left-wing or orthodoxy about the war, how did you feel about


that? It is always like to have enemies like Michael Gove because


he's usually wrong about historical matters. The point I would like to


make is there is nothing left-wing about saying lions led by donkeys,


the phrase about the troops in the First World War, that phrase was


created by Alan Clarke, a Tory MP, a maverick right-winger. You accept it


is not the total picture No it is not. It is not even the total


picture of military leadership? No it isn't. Margaret is right in


saying they simply could not cope with the new technology. Barbedwire,


and the machine gun, turned the tables on attack, which had been


favoured in 19th century wars and put it all on the side of defence.


It wasn't until the 1918 when the tank was developed that was reversed


and the allied armies could advance. What about the point that Michael


Gove makes that this was a "just war", that is the phrase he uses?


You can't really say that until 1918. Britain's principal ally was


Tsar of Russia, despotism that put Germany into the shade, it is not


until Russia withdraws from the war and the Americans come in everything


changes. It seems to me legitimate enough to argue that Britain and


France were fighting for democracy and liberal values. What is your


view about this idea of the "just war" Margaret Macmillan? Well,


people always feel that what they are doing is just. But I'm rather


reluctant to accept the view that the war was about promoting a


liberal international order. Most people who fought on all sides felt


they were fighting to defend their homelands, their families and


friends. I'm not sure they were fighting for a great vision, that


came later. The politicians provided the visions. But I do think we need


to remember that people at the time felt they were fighting for


something. We don't have to agree with them. But we're not also I


think in the position of sitting there saying you are completely


wrong. We are not marking their cards, are we. We shouldn't be


saying you got it right, you got it wrong, at this stage we should be


trying to understand how the war happened, and how this very


prosperous continent created this awful mess. The intervention by the


Education Secretary is of a piece with interventions by other


politicians who looking to this complicated question which is


precisely how do we commemorate this event? Is it helpful do you think to


have politicians wading in like this? Well it is not always helpful,


is it? I think the politicians will have very strong views of what they


want to do. I think it is something that belongs to all of us. I think


the politicians are entitled to their views, but I think we also, as


the public, should have our views. I'm not saying historians are the


only people who should describe the war either. It is something we


should be all talking about. What is your feeling about these political


interventions? I think they are unhelpful. We don't want politicians


to tell us what we should be feeling about the war or how we should


commemorate it. I actually think the Government has got it more or less


right in giving the freedom, funding, to people locally, to


institutions, to all kinds of groups to commemorate the war in the way


they want to. If you look at the Welsh Government for example it is,


it has plan to commemorate the war, it includes honouring not only the


troops who fought so bravely but also the conscientious objectors. It


has schools' visits to Germany, the royal Fusiliers museum is having a


collaboration with German institutions to commemorate the


Christmas truce. It should be an educational experience. We need to


teach people about the reasons why war happens, to try to avoid it


happening again. Thank you both very much indeed. Ever since that


unfortunate Romanian young man took a new year flight from Transylvenia,


only to be met on his arrival by, horror of horrors, Keith Vaz, there


has been intense speculation about whether the prove sighed tsunami of


benefit scroungers and migrants was a figment Nigel Farage's


imagination. There are some people coming and tonight we meet some of


them in their Transylvanian home town of Cluj Napoca. I want to go to


the UK because I want to find a better job. The change in the


regulations regarding work permits will make a fewing -- huge


difference. It is easier to find a job than here. You can do just more


than wait tables in a restaurant. You can finally do something related


to your study, you can make a contribution to the English society.


I'm working five years in hotel reception. I'm really pleased with


my work, I like my work. I like to work with people every day. But I'm


not so satisfied by the material part. I think that we are not


appreciated financially as well as we should be. Over the next few


weeks I plan to do a very thorough research to analyse the market, the


job market in the UK and I will have a look at what's going on with


journalism and communications and PR and I'm looking phwoar internships


at various institutions and corporations. I will also be


contacting people I know in the UK hoping to land a job. We're going to


the employment agency. There we will find a big database about the jobs


across Europe. I want to go to the UK because here in Romania


everything goes on family relationships. The manager is the


father the director is the son. If you don't have a kind of family like


that you can't find a job. I have read a lot of articles recently in


the English newspapers, in the tabloids especially about this fear


in dealing with an exodus of Romanians. They are concerned about


flooding the job market, and I think most of these facts are quite


overblown. Me and my friends share a common view on what is happening


with migration, we all think that most of the Romanians will come back


and just go there to get some skills and then they are probably going to


head back. I think there is no need to worry about that part of the


population that will go there to exploit the welfare, because that's


like 10% of the population, maybe even less than that. The other


percentage is very well equipped and very well skilled. I'm certain some


people will go, for benefits, because there are people who like to


take advantage everywhere. But this is not what the main population who


emigrate will go specifically for that. Some will, some will go to get


a good job, to get their studies finished or advanced or they will


return or find a job there. I have my own concerns about travelling to


the UK, of course, I know jobs, especially the high end jobs are


very competitive and there is also the bias that you have to take into


account because you are going to be competing with you know people froms


native population. You have to be perfect, you have to be outstanding.


I never have been there. I don't know what I will find, but I hope


that I will like it. And we will be returning to those Romanian job


seekers to find out how they fare after they arrive in the UK in the


weeks ahead. One of the most hot low-anticipated films of the last


many months opens this week. Twelve Years A Slave is widely tipped for


Oscar glory and has been called the finest film to have been made about


slavery in the states. It is all the more powerful for being based on a


true story. The director, skean Steve McQueen is an artist who has


just won the Turner Prize. Steve McQueen is a film director whose


tract record dictates he will never compromise his vision. His new


movie, Twelve Years A Slave, is based very firmly on the true story


of Solomon Northup, a free man, kidnapped and sold into slavery. It


is a story of how he kept his humanity in the face of the most


unspeakable relentless cruelty. I don't want to survive, I want to


live. My wife is a historian and said why not look into firsthand


accounts of slavery. We did, she found this book called Twelve Years


A Slave. It was amazing, every single page was a revelation. I


closed the book and I was very angry with myself. I was angry with myself


because I thought how did I not know this book. I realised nobody I knew,


knew the book, I knew I had to make it into a movie. I got this from


mistress Shaw, she won't grant me no soap to clean with. I stink so much


I make myself gag. The film was a fantastic combination of intense


moments, there is intense cruelty but also intense beauty in it as


well? When people for example say to me how can you shoot something so


horrific but beautiful. Because that's life. If you go to Louisiana,


it is one of the most beautiful places you have been so. Shaun was


on camera and wanted a dark Len, I can't put my filter on to life, life


is perverse. Under the circumstances he is a slave owner, you lucksate in


his favour. I survive, I will not fall into despair. It was tragic,


Chiwetel Ejiofor was the job, he had a stature and presence to him, there


is a nobility, and humanity, which is most important, less nobility


more humanity. Within the environment of a situation which was


unhumane, he had to hold on to that. My back is thick with scars for


protesting my freedom. I was reading one of the articles of black writers


saying he's not going to watch this film because race films are made for


liberal white film-goers because they will end up feeling guilty and


that is the purpose of them? I don't make films for white people! I just


don't! It is like saying you know I don't need anyone to verify my


existence, I make films or I make art because I'm alive and I'm an


artist and I want to make things, I'm an entertainer, absolutely no


two ways about it, you can't escape that. My film is about us, rather


than specific groups of people. You know it is just the American tale


but it is a global tale absolutely. You are no better than prized


livestock. Chiwetel Ejiofor has to do so much without words, playing


that character, particularly when he has to whip Patsy, how do you


separate the acting from the natural distress of doing something like


that? You don't. You cannot. But that's part of actually getting to


some kind of truth within filming. The fact that we shot it in one take


shows the tension there, that is why you get that performance, you ramp


it up and we have to do it now. You talk to the actor already previously


and in rehearsals, it is like a 100m sprint, you train four years to run


for ten seconds, that is what it is about. You have to do it now. Steve


McQueen doesn't shy away from tough subjects, Hunger, his first feature


dealt with Bobby Sands, the Provisional IRA prisoner who died on


the 5th of May in 1991 after 66 days on hunger strike. For me what was


important about the film it was something swept under the carpet. At


that time and even now it is the most important political event to


happen in Britain at that time for 27 years. Ten men died through


starvation in British prison cells. When the film came out a dialogue a


conversation occurred about the troubles. So the movie at that point


for me wasn't important, what was important was the dialogue. Certain


things were said, people admitted to certain things that were never


admitted to. The British establishment admitted to atrocities


that occurred in H-blocks, that was the first time that has before


happened, a dialogue occurred. That is the power of art in a way that it


can actually, the simple thing it can do is just talk about what is


going on now, where we are at and hopefully where we can possibly go


in the future. Steve McQueen is already being garlanded for Twelve


Years A Slave, but if he wins the Oscar, he will be the first black


director to take the statue. If you win the Oscar is the pressure on you


to take the Hollywood money or do you want to maintain their


independence? I'm not a Hollywood money, if I was interested in money,


you know if I was interested in money I would be somewhere else I


wouldn't be here. That doesn't interest me. All I wanted to do, I


wanted two things out of my life as far as money was concerned, I wanted


to have shelter and I wanted to be able to buy any book I wanted, that


was t I have those, that's enough. There is very definitely a Team


Queenzieburn, Michael Fassbender has starred in each of his three films,


he works with the same director of photography Shaun Bobbit every time?


It is my band, we come together and make an album. Michael is Jagger,


Shaun is the drummer, and you know, Charley Watts! You're Keith


Richards? I have to be. Everyone wants to be Keith, I'm sorry, I'm


Keith, yeah. That's it for tonight. Just before we go, a couple of


tomorrow morning's front pages at least. The Times has news that many


Tories are very fed up with George Osborne over the ?12 billion planned


in welfare cuts. And the Guardian has the same story on its front


page, the outrage of people being allies of Iain Duncan Smith, it also


has a picture of Simon Hoggart, the parliamentary sketch writer whose


death was announced today. Much more tomorrow, until then, good night.


Are threats of new cuts just electioneering? Plus, the latest on the situation in Fallujah, 12 Years a Slave director Steve McQueen, a look at Romanian immigrants and do we have a left-wing view of the First World War? Analysis of the stories behind the day's headlines with Jeremy Paxman.

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