16/01/2014 Newsnight


16/01/2014

Is the Abortion Act fit for purpose? Minimum wage rise; Vince Cable; anti-gay legislation in Nigeria; Oscar nominations; and sunspots.


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It is almost half a century old. But is the Aorganisation Act fit for

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purpose in the modern world. With abortion going ahead on the basis of

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gender, we will debate whether it is time to update legislation.

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Tomorrow Ed Miliband will give us a clue as to how Labour will run the

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economy. Today George Osborne tried to get in his pre-emptive attack.

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Tonight, what does Vincent Cable think? The UK gives Nigeria hundreds

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of millions in aid. So why have we been unable to prevent antigay

:00:45.:00:49.

legislation coming into force there. I fear for my family and my friends.

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I fear for every ordinary lesbian, gay, transsexual, transgender people

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in Nigeria. And it is a very exciting time if you are a solar

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scientist, because the sun has fallen asleep. What difference will

:01:04.:01:07.

that make to predictions of rising global temperatures in the future.

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Good evening, in 1967 in an attempt to end backstreet aorganisations, a

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law was introduce -- abortion, a law was introduced in England Scotland

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and Wales, almost five decades later, 185,000 terminations were

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performed. Including a minority including women who had one because

:01:39.:01:41.

they were expecting a girl. According to the Independent

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Newspaper. Some campaigners say the Abortion Act is no longer fit for

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purpose, and needs updating. It comes at the same time as figures

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obtained by a Conservative MP, a member of the all-party pro-life

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group, shows that in nearly half cases doctors sign off abortions

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without having met the woman whose termination they are approving. The

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1967 legislation requires two doctors sign a consent form "in good

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faith", but it doesn't require face-to-face assessment. For nearly

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five decades the 1967 Abortion Act has remained relatively unchanged.

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Increasingly on both sides of the debate there are calls for reform.

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Even the law's architect says it is out of date. In 67 the only method

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of abortion was surgery. And that is no longer the case. Also the law in

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the rest of Europe has changed and most of our European neighbours

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allow a woman's right to choose up to about the 13th week of pregnancy.

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That we don't allow. There are two major issues which I think need to

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be addressed. What would concern you most do you think about revisiting

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that law? My anxiety about an inquiry is that those who are

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campaigning against abortion all the time will want to try to use it to

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restrict the law. And that would be a mistake. The 1967 act doesn't

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state explicitly that abortion is a woman's right. Instead the law says

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that two doctors kittying in food faith -- acting in good faith can

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permit a termination when it is in the medical interests of a pregnant

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woman or her unborn child. That wording is just as contentious today

:03:26.:03:30.

as the day it was written. Abortion rights campaigners say the language

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smacks of 1960s paternalism, a "do knows best" attitude, saying women

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are incapable of making this decision in a serious way. We would

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say there is room for it to be extended so it trusts women to make

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the decision. At the moment women need to go to their doctor and get

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two doctors' signatures to sign off on a legal medical procedure. You

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don't need two doctors' signatures to go through brain surgery. We

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don't see why this is special. But special is exactly what this

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procedure is. It should be harder for women to get access to it, say

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those outraged and upset that nearly 200,000 women had abortions last

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year. I would like to see the law tightened so that we see a reduction

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in the number of abortions, certainly no more children being

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aborted for minor physical elements and certainly recognising that there

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have been scientific breakthroughs in antenatal care and neonatal care.

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We have to get the term limit down from 24 weeks at least to 22 weeks.

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What concerns people on both sides of the argument is the issue of

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gender selection. The idea that in some communities women are aborting

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girl foetuses. Until recently the Government said this wasn't

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happening in significant numbers. But research commissioned by the

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Independent Newspaper has forced the Department of Health to launch an

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investigation. The natural ratio of boys to girls means for every 100

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girls born there are about 105 boys born. But the independent found that

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the sex ratio of second born children in the UK was heavily

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boy-biased in the families of mothers born in Afghanistan and

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Pakistan. And this might be the case in families of mothers born in

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Bangladesh. They say the statistics suggest that there are between 1,400

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and 4,700 missing girls within all these ethnic groups living in

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England and Wales. My reaction to the independent report is neither of

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shock or surprise. But of deep disappointment. That this is still

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going on and it is not settling down. As far as the UK is concerned

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4,700 girls which are missing is a very significant number for a small

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country like the UK. I know of at least 12 families in the Midlands

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area who have been in touch with me, who have all of them actually

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travelled to India to get this sex selective abortion done. It is not

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hard to understand why it has been more than 20 years since the

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Abortion Act was last amended. It is not just Westminster that is

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nervous. So too are the campaigners. Worried that the other side might

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gain more from any new legislation. We have If you are is -- Anne Furedi

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is the chief executive of the Pregnancy Advisory Service and my

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other guest is with me. Does the legislation need updating? It has

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worked pretty well for the last 45 years but it definitely needs

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updating now. There is a big question about whether abortion

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needs to be covered by criminal legislation in this way. I mean

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really the best person to decide on whether she should continue a

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pregnancy is the woman herself. You would relax it, in effect? I think

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that it won better if abortion were removed from the criminal law. If

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women were able to make decisions, and indeed if the people who carried

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out abortions were the people who were clinically able to do them,

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that includes nurses as well as doctors. Clare Gerada, if a woman

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can have an abortion because she's expecting a girl and a girl isn't

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wanted, does that suggest to you there are flaws with the 1967 act? I

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think we need to separate out those two issues, and separate out a small

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minority who chose to abort a female foetus from the overall picture of

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making sure that women have good access to safe abortion. And

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actually I agree with Anne, I think we should look at the Abortion Act.

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There are many things that can be improved. For example women need two

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signatures on what is called "the blue form". When women have medical

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terminations, where they take a pill, they have to come back to the

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clinic two days later to collect the second pill and take the second pill

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on site, and end up then having to travel possibly even having the

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miscarriage on the tube or the bus going home. We need to separate out

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those two issues. Let me ask you specifically about the gender

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selection abortion, a minority but they are going on. It suggests that

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women are effectively having to lie about their reasons for having an

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abortion, because if they went to a clinic and said I want to abort this

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foetus because it is female, they would be denied an abortion, so they

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say there might be mental health problems? I'm in a woman, I wouldn't

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be in favour of aborting myself just because of gender. I have looked at

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those figure, the figures you have there, and the figures that the

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Independent printed today. It is not as clear-cut as it is. Actually

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there has always been more men than women, since figures first began in

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the 1930s. The ratio between women and men has actually dropped so

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whatever is happening it is not with losing lots of women, it is a very

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complex issue. But equally I would like to repeat, what we must make

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sure we do is give women timely and access to good and safe abortion.

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And also, as your piece said, better access to contraceptive advice, and

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better access to other ways to avoid an unwanted pregnancy. Anne Furedi,

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are you saying that nurses should be able to sign off abortions and that

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nurses should be able to carry out the procedure? What I'm saying is it

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is really time, I believe, for a review on where abortion sits in our

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lives and women do need abortion as, they need it as a back up to their

:09:53.:09:56.

contraception. Because contraception fails them and sometimes we fail to

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use it properly. That abortion should be able to be carried out by

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people who are clinically competent do it. Whether it is nurses, or

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indeed whether it is doctors. That women shouldn't have to demonstrate

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that they need grounds laid down by politicians, because that makes no

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sense, and I also really think that we should face up to the fact that

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women in the north of Ireland should have exactly the same access to

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abortion care as women in the rest of the UK. So society has really

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moved on and I think it is time that the Abortion Act moved on. So you

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really would want to see politicians, some of whom have very

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entrenched views on both sides, you would really want to see the Commons

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revisit the 1967 Abortion Act? What I believe very clearly is that if

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we're going to have fundamental change on this, then politicians

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will have to make that change. There is no way that it should be done

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through the back door. We're a democratic society, politicians

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should decide on our laws. But, no, I'm not worried about politicians

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opening this question up. Because I think the overwhelming majority of

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people in this country understand that abortion is a part of modern

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life. A regrettable part, perhaps, but a part nonetheless. Would you be

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worried about politicians revisiting it? I would be, they should and we

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need to review the act. But I would be very worried about going

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backwards, tightening up. You heard in the piece about using legislation

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to prevent women having terminations. Actually we need to be

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using education to prevent women needing terminations, not

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legislation to prevent women, once they have an unwanted pregnancy so

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like your piece I would be quite concerned about some of the views

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that some of our politicians hold, which would make it harder for women

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to have terminations. If there is a majority in the Commons? Listen, I

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have been a doctor for my entire life, with the Abortion Act in

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place, I have never had to work pre-1967 where women died because

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they couldn't access a safe termination. Women will die if they

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can't access safe terminations of pregnancy, I certainly don't want to

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see that happening. If you want to go back to see when

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the sun was this inactive in terms of the minimum we must have had and

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the peak we had, you have to go back 100 years.

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Ever since the Labour Party Conference last year Ed Miliband has

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been making hay on the cost of living. On a speech today on the

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cost of living he will seek to build that momentum, with a pitch to

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constrict the power of the banks. Today, George Osborne launched a

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pre-emptive attack, with an intervention on the minimum wage,

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that a decade would have had Tories choking on their morning cornflake,

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we will hear from Emily Maitlis in a second. First, this is what he said.

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Just as we were all in this together in the crisis, I want to make sure

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we're all in this together in the recovery. And because we're fixing

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the economy, because we're working through our plan, I believe Britain

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can afford an above inflation increase in the minimum wage. So we

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restore its real value for people and we make sure we have a recovery

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for all and that work always pays. It is quite interesting, isn't it,

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to hear the Chancellor saying those words, he wants to restore the real

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value of the minimum wage, which is dropped in real terms, we know,

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since 2008. I imagine the Lib Dems will be hopping mad to hear their

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language and words coming out of his mouth today. He's clearly at pains

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to make clear that because of his tough choices this is something

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Britain can now afford to do. Last week we had the ?12 billion of

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welfare cuts announced. This is George Osborne saying we haven't

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forgotten those at the bottom of the pile. We know we need to do

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something. The Tories very keen to try not to incur that "nasty party"

:14:05.:14:10.

rhetoric once again. What do we know about the wage, the level, he hasn't

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said what the rate s he has been careful to remind us it is set by an

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independent body, the Low Pay Commission. He said if it had

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followed inflation it would be ?7 an hour by 2015/16. That is a pretty

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strong hint. We know the minimum wage sits at ?6 an hour. That is

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Anne crease of maybe 10%. What is intriguing is the politics of the

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timing of it. I reported last week that there was a move on the minimum

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wage in the air. I don't think the timing, just the night before Ed

:14:47.:14:50.

Miliband's major speech on the economy. The first time we have seen

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the leader of the opposition this year was a coincidence. The

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Conservative Party years before was not on the prime minister page, but

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it is on the right page now, it has rescued the British economy from the

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brink of disaster and got us to a position where you can see the

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minimum wage going up for people. Of course, more broadly, I want to see

:15:19.:15:22.

living standards go up for the whole country as we fix the economy. That

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clip came a little early what that pre-empted, if you like, the fact

:15:28.:15:31.

that Labour said to me when the news broke, they were late to come to the

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party, and don't forget actually they opposed, the Tories opposed the

:15:35.:15:39.

minimum wage when it was first introduced in 1999. I was with the

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Labour insiders when the news broke, they were a little surprised, but

:15:47.:15:50.

their response was that Labour had established the minimum wage and

:15:51.:15:54.

they were keen to get that across. I mentioned Ed Miliband's speech

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tomorrow, on Tuesday we broke the news that he was implementing

:15:58.:16:01.

radical reforms if he gets in touch with the banking sector. We have had

:16:02.:16:06.

confirmation on what that would mean. Ed Miliband we understand

:16:07.:16:10.

would say he wants to see two new challenger banks come into the

:16:11.:16:14.

market. They would have at least 6% market share over the course of the

:16:15.:16:17.

next five-year parliament. Who will ask the new competitions and

:16:18.:16:21.

markets' authority just set up, to set a maximum threshold for the

:16:22.:16:26.

future market share of any bank, any big bank, which would limit the size

:16:27.:16:30.

to which they are able to grow, if they bust that level there would be

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an investigation. That means nearly all the big banks would be broken up

:16:34.:16:38.

in some shape. They would have to sell off branches and that could in

:16:39.:16:43.

turn jeopardise plans to privatise RBS again, because there could be

:16:44.:16:46.

too much uncertainty surrounding its value. They are calling this,

:16:47.:16:50.

Labour, the new economy, they say they will taken every broken market.

:16:51.:16:54.

We don't know what that means. They are paving the way more. They were

:16:55.:16:58.

critical of Mark Carney's comments on these proposal. They said he

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needs to be careful not to be overtly political. They said they

:17:03.:17:05.

were rather surprised he had commented on proposals in a speech

:17:06.:17:10.

that he couldn't possibly have heard because it hadn't yet been made. But

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the overall thrust, if you like, of that Labour message was a warning to

:17:15.:17:19.

the Government, and we can see some of what Ed Miliband's going to say

:17:20.:17:21.

tomorrow. This was written, don't forget,

:17:22.:17:43.

before we heard the announcement from George Osborne on the proposed

:17:44.:17:46.

increase to the minimum wage. And when I asked Labour if the speech

:17:47.:17:50.

would be rewritten at all as a result of this, they told me that Ed

:17:51.:17:56.

Miliband had learned it off by heart and it was very unlikely he would

:17:57.:18:00.

actually be changing it, but there will be a Q session. Let's talk to

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the Business Secretary. How significant is this intervention

:18:07.:18:09.

from George Osborne on the minimum wage today? I'm pleased with it. He

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has effectively en dorsed the guidance I gave to the Low Pay

:18:15.:18:19.

Commission, in fact I announced it at the Lib Dem conference in

:18:20.:18:22.

September last, we wanted the low-pay commission to proceed. In

:18:23.:18:26.

other words to increase the minimum wage, reflecting the fact that we

:18:27.:18:30.

got a recovery, to restore its real value. Did you know he was going to

:18:31.:18:35.

say this today? I didn't, but he did contribute a letter which formed

:18:36.:18:38.

part of the evidence that I put forward to the Low Pay Commission.

:18:39.:18:42.

When you heard him say this, were you surprised? Yes, I was a little

:18:43.:18:47.

surprised. As I say I'm not taken aback by it, imitation is the best

:18:48.:18:51.

form of flattery. When you have the Chancellor backing the policy I have

:18:52.:18:55.

gone out and endorsed, I'm rather pleased. You will be, as Business

:18:56.:18:58.

Secretary, it will be your final decision, it would be polite to

:18:59.:19:02.

inform you today? He wrote to me yesterday, and he set out his views

:19:03.:19:06.

on it and formed part of the package of Government evidence to the Low

:19:07.:19:09.

Pay Commission. You are right, this does come to me and I will decide on

:19:10.:19:15.

it, traditionally the Secretary of State accepts the views of the Low

:19:16.:19:20.

Pay Commission. It is important, this whole thing has become very

:19:21.:19:26.

politicised, we recognise it is nonpolitical, nonpartisan, it is

:19:27.:19:32.

employers views' and they have to be respected. Do you wonder perhaps if

:19:33.:19:36.

George Osborne is using what he said today to change people's perceptions

:19:37.:19:41.

of the Conservative Party. Having cut the top rate of income tax? I

:19:42.:19:46.

don't know what his motives are. You talk to him, you sit in cabinet

:19:47.:19:50.

meetings with him? He has come to the right place. I think it is

:19:51.:19:54.

important that we focus on the fairness agenda. As your comments a

:19:55.:19:58.

few moments ago. There is a sense of people have been through a very hard

:19:59.:20:03.

time, we have to concentrate on the people at the bottom end of the

:20:04.:20:06.

scale. The Liberal Democrats lift people out of tax and we got this

:20:07.:20:09.

approach to the minimum wage. We also deal with the inequalities at

:20:10.:20:14.

the top, that is why we want to tax wealth as well. I'm glad George

:20:15.:20:18.

Osborne is aligned with us on the minimum wage approach. Why has it

:20:19.:20:21.

taken two years. You say it is really important to help people on

:20:22.:20:25.

low incomes, you talked about raising the threshold. Why have you

:20:26.:20:28.

done nothing on the minimum wage since you have been in Government?

:20:29.:20:32.

Because that's not been the recommendation of the Low Pay

:20:33.:20:35.

Commission. We have actually increased it, but you know their

:20:36.:20:39.

concern throughout has been you don't want to increase wages in way

:20:40.:20:43.

that creates large scale unemployment. That is their remit

:20:44.:20:47.

and that is the way they interpret it. Their recommendations have been

:20:48.:20:51.

that we should increase the minimum wage but not displace employment.

:20:52.:20:56.

One of the big suck stories, and it has been a stuff time. The British

:20:57.:21:00.

economy has taken a bounding as a result of the financial crisis, but

:21:01.:21:06.

employment has held up. 1. 3 million more jobs. Unemployment has fallen

:21:07.:21:10.

to 7. 4%, it is lower than in France and Sweden and other countries. We

:21:11.:21:14.

don't want to spoil that story. We want jobs to continue to grow.

:21:15.:21:18.

And when you have tried to persuade George Osborne of the merits of

:21:19.:21:22.

increasing the minimum wage in the past, what has he said to you? I

:21:23.:21:27.

don't think he fundamentally disagrees, he is concerned, as I am,

:21:28.:21:32.

and indeed the Low Pay Commission, that we approach this in a way that

:21:33.:21:36.

we want to help people on low earnings, but we don't want to have

:21:37.:21:40.

adverse effects on the economy. The guidance I gave to the Low Pay

:21:41.:21:43.

Commission asked them to look at this in a more holistic way. And to

:21:44.:21:48.

look at the wider economic effects, take account of the fact the economy

:21:49.:21:52.

is now recovering. Giving an incentive for people to work. The

:21:53.:21:56.

time is right now? To be more positive. They have to make the

:21:57.:21:58.

decision, they are an independent body. They make the recommendations,

:21:59.:22:04.

as you have already said, it is your final call. Is it right you can be

:22:05.:22:09.

so generous with business's money? That is not the way we see it.

:22:10.:22:16.

Businesses are represented on the Low Pay Commission. That is why we

:22:17.:22:18.

have to be responsible. I don't think any previous Secretary of

:22:19.:22:21.

State has challenged the basic recommendation of the Low Pay

:22:22.:22:26.

Commission. I did last year over the apprenticeship wage, but there was

:22:27.:22:29.

an issue of principle there. We recognise that passing the costsen

:22:30.:22:33.

to business is not right. Because they would in turn pass it on to

:22:34.:22:40.

consumers. The CPBI, the British Chambers of Commerce, the Federation

:22:41.:22:43.

of Small Business, they are a lot more cautious than you and the

:22:44.:22:46.

Chancellor? I'm beg very cautious, and the guidance I have again to the

:22:47.:22:51.

Low Pay Commission, is we do want to see increases in low pay. We want to

:22:52.:22:55.

have real improvement, but it has to take account of the effects on

:22:56.:22:58.

employment and the wider economy. That, of course, involves business

:22:59.:23:04.

profitability. Let me ask you about Ed Miliband's plans for reforming

:23:05.:23:10.

the banks what do you think? There are certain elements I agree with,

:23:11.:23:13.

we need more competition, particularly in business banking.

:23:14.:23:16.

Many of the things he's calling for have actually happened. Two new

:23:17.:23:20.

banks have been created out of RBS and Lloyd's. Williams and Glynn,

:23:21.:23:27.

TSB, carved out and up and running. I have established something called

:23:28.:23:33.

The Business Bank, Government Finance, it is supporting new

:23:34.:23:39.

companies, internet-based crowd funding. What is called peer-to-peer

:23:40.:23:41.

lending, that is happening on a rapid scale. We are getting more

:23:42.:23:46.

competition. What his proposals don't clearly indicate is exactly

:23:47.:23:50.

what kind of bank is he trying to create. There is lots of competition

:23:51.:23:55.

for mortgages, it is not a problem. There the real problem is for small

:23:56.:23:59.

business, we are taking action on that already. I do agree with him,

:24:00.:24:03.

we want to make more competition. We have been badly served by the banks

:24:04.:24:06.

in the past. You would expect me to ask about Lord Rennard. Would you

:24:07.:24:10.

like to see him removed from the party? Well, I think there is a lot

:24:11.:24:16.

of frustration after this very strong report that came yesterday

:24:17.:24:21.

that the party's rules don't permit that action. But what has happened

:24:22.:24:25.

is the party leader, Nick Clegg, and the President, Tim Farron are now

:24:26.:24:29.

discussing this closely and seeing how we can proceed and whether you

:24:30.:24:33.

are rules need revisiting. Would you like to see him removed? I think I

:24:34.:24:37.

would rather leave it to them. They are the key decision makers in the

:24:38.:24:40.

party. They have to operate within the rules. I don't want to add an

:24:41.:24:44.

independent view to that. Thank you very much.

:24:45.:24:55.

20 lashes for being gay. Another vivid example of what can happen to

:24:56.:24:59.

gay people in parts of Africa. This particular punishment was in

:25:00.:25:05.

Nigeria, where a few weeks ago the Government quietly signed

:25:06.:25:08.

anti-homosexuality legislation. Which means long jail sentences for

:25:09.:25:12.

same-sex couples, and even for going to a gay club. You might say that is

:25:13.:25:16.

a matter for them. But David Cameron wants justified the amount of aid

:25:17.:25:22.

Britain gives to Nigeria by saying he would use it to influence

:25:23.:25:28.

same-sex policies there. The bill was signed into law quietly earlier

:25:29.:25:34.

this month without fanfare or announcement. When the news came out

:25:35.:25:39.

this week it was relegated to a small corner of the national press.

:25:40.:25:44.

But it is a piece of legislation that will have a huge impact on the

:25:45.:25:50.

lives of gay people in Nigeria. Gay sex is already illegal, but this act

:25:51.:25:55.

goes further. It recommends prison sentences of up to 14 years for

:25:56.:25:59.

same-sex couples. Public displays of affection or even going to a gay

:26:00.:26:03.

club could land you in jail for a decade. It is a populist and almost

:26:04.:26:10.

universally popular move from a President under intense political

:26:11.:26:13.

pressure at home, and facing re-election next year. We don't want

:26:14.:26:23.

something in our country, I'm so happy that they signed against it.

:26:24.:26:29.

It is better we have such law in place that we have situation where

:26:30.:26:32.

is people would take the law into their own hands on account of saying

:26:33.:26:37.

someone is suspected to be a homosexual, and then jungle justice

:26:38.:26:47.

pertains. Since the announcement of the signing of the bill dozens of

:26:48.:26:51.

people have been arrested in this staunchly religious and conservative

:26:52.:26:55.

country the The police will arrest people and go through their

:26:56.:26:59.

telephone and ask them to identify who is gay on their telephone

:27:00.:27:04.

number, get the number and give this person a call and invite them over,

:27:05.:27:08.

they go to the police station and get arrested and the system goes on.

:27:09.:27:15.

This man, who fled to the UK in 2007 after coming out live on Nigerian

:27:16.:27:21.

TV, says he and his family have been receiving death threats on social

:27:22.:27:26.

networking sites. Where mob justice is bigger than anywhere in the

:27:27.:27:30.

world, I fear for my family and friends and I fear for every

:27:31.:27:37.

ordinary lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, transgender people in Nigeria.

:27:38.:27:43.

Being gay in Nigeria isn't easy. In a recent poll 98% of respondents

:27:44.:27:48.

said homosexuality was unacceptable in society. Meetings are held in

:27:49.:27:53.

secret, activists must conceal their identities. Nigeria is Africa's most

:27:54.:28:00.

populist country. Despite its vast oil wealth, it is also one of the

:28:01.:28:03.

continent's poorest. Where more than half the population survive on less

:28:04.:28:12.

than ?1 day. British aid to Nigeria has almost doubled in five years. In

:28:13.:28:26.

2010/11 D -- DFID gave: Nigeria is one of many African

:28:27.:28:31.

states with antigay legislation on the statute books. Consensual

:28:32.:28:35.

same-sex relationships are illegal in around two thirds of countries on

:28:36.:28:39.

the continent. They include Ethiopia, which last year received

:28:40.:28:45.

over ?261 from DFID. Tanzania at ?150, and south sudden Saab at just

:28:46.:28:51.

under ?110 million are amongst the top recipients of UK aid money. In

:28:52.:28:55.

2011 David Cameron said Britain would use aid to try to influence

:28:56.:29:00.

Government policy on same-sex relationships in countries like

:29:01.:29:04.

Nigeria. Britain is now one of the premier aid givers in the world,

:29:05.:29:07.

saying that our aid actually, we want to see countries that receive

:29:08.:29:11.

our aid adhering to proper human rights. That includes how people

:29:12.:29:19.

treat gay and lesbian people. The Foreign Secretary said he was

:29:20.:29:22.

disappointed with the signing of the bill, and that Britain frequently

:29:23.:29:29.

raises its concerns both with Nigeria and other countries. Clearly

:29:30.:29:33.

the aid money has continued to be forth coming. Some activists say

:29:34.:29:38.

British policy of public rebukes and saber-rattling over aid is both

:29:39.:29:42.

ineffectual and counter-productive. We can see the backlash from that in

:29:43.:29:50.

nigh goria, Uganda, Zimbabwe and Zambia, all over Africa. Africa

:29:51.:29:55.

standing up and saying Britain you are coming back to colonise us with

:29:56.:29:59.

your money, take it away. After David Cameron made the statement

:30:00.:30:06.

about the conditions attached to LGBT rights I wrote to the Foreign

:30:07.:30:12.

Office, using the Freedom of Information Act, asking for

:30:13.:30:15.

Britain's investment in LGBT organisations. No investment

:30:16.:30:20.

atsoever. Britain's ?10 billion foreign aid budget is meant, in

:30:21.:30:25.

part, to project soft power abroad. Nigerians both in the gay community

:30:26.:30:28.

and in Government could be forgiven for thinking that all the tough talk

:30:29.:30:35.

doesn't really mean very much. We approached the Foreign Office, the

:30:36.:30:38.

Department for International Development, and the Ministry of

:30:39.:30:41.

Justice for a minister to talk about this, but we were told that no-one

:30:42.:30:48.

was available. As far as news stories go, you might think there

:30:49.:30:51.

couldn't be two as different as the recent political earthquakes in the

:30:52.:30:59.

Middle East, and the Hollywood Tinseltown. Two films with these

:31:00.:31:07.

political uprisings have been nominated. A documentary about

:31:08.:31:16.

Tahrir Square is up for nomination for best foreign film. And Camara

:31:17.:31:26.

has no Wall is up for best short documentary. We did this to remove

:31:27.:31:33.

him and put someone exactly like him in his place.

:31:34.:31:47.

The army has killed us and tortured us and the people out there know

:31:48.:31:50.

that. With me now from New York are my

:31:51.:32:35.

guests. Congratulations first of all, tell us what is it about the

:32:36.:32:40.

Arab Spring that was so inspiring to you as a film maker? Well I'm

:32:41.:32:46.

Egyptian, I grew up about ten minutes from Tahrir Square. And the

:32:47.:32:50.

square really gave birth to this film, Tahrir Square. In t square I

:32:51.:32:56.

met an incredible group of film makers, Egyptian film makers, it was

:32:57.:32:59.

a great collaboration. And I met characters that inspired me, that

:33:00.:33:03.

were fighting for human rights and social justice, a universal

:33:04.:33:07.

struggle. And have spent the last three years and are still on the

:33:08.:33:13.

ground fighting. And they are incredibly inspiring people, people

:33:14.:33:15.

that will put everything they have on the line to fight for what they

:33:16.:33:20.

believe in. And they taught me a great deal about courage and bravery

:33:21.:33:25.

and so this film I see and this uprising that we followed is really

:33:26.:33:28.

about the courage and beauty of the Egyptian people. And it has changed

:33:29.:33:33.

me forever, actually, the process of making it. I will ask you about that

:33:34.:33:38.

in a minute. I want to say congratulations to Sarah as well in

:33:39.:33:45.

Cairo. What inspired you with your film? I was there when the

:33:46.:33:51.

revolution began and I spent quite a bit of time in the square with

:33:52.:33:57.

cameramen and with people in the field hospital before it became

:33:58.:34:03.

violent. What inspired me was similar to Jihan was the bravery of

:34:04.:34:08.

the young men who put themselves at risk on the front lines. I went back

:34:09.:34:12.

the following day, even after witnessing you know the brutality of

:34:13.:34:20.

the regime, witnessing death and young men as well. I felt as a film

:34:21.:34:24.

maker and someone who had the means to put their message across to the

:34:25.:34:29.

world, that I should in some way facilitate that for them and with

:34:30.:34:36.

them. It was really inspiring to be in the midst of such bravery. Why

:34:37.:34:43.

don't you tell us why you say your life has been changed forever on

:34:44.:34:49.

making your film? Well I have spent great deal of time in Egypt and the

:34:50.:34:54.

States. The US is a place known for its people power, of the uprising of

:34:55.:34:59.

the 1960s and I marched against the Iraq and Afghanistan war, it was

:35:00.:35:03.

depressing to see nothing be affected by those marches. I have to

:35:04.:35:06.

say when I went down to the square in Egypt, I had made a film in 2007

:35:07.:35:13.

about women who were might fighting for political change, most of it

:35:14.:35:19.

ended with people being jailed and cameras smashed and everything. When

:35:20.:35:22.

they managed to bring down a President of 30 years, a dictator of

:35:23.:35:26.

30 years, my complete understanding of possibility changed. I think when

:35:27.:35:31.

that happens to you and you see the determined nature of people and this

:35:32.:35:37.

adamant nature of this, that people, sticking to their principles against

:35:38.:35:42.

all odds, your understanding of yourself changes. It is not only a

:35:43.:35:46.

revolution on the outside. It is a revolution on the inside. When you

:35:47.:35:50.

experience that magic, the hope is to be able to share that with the

:35:51.:35:53.

rest of the world. That's why we made a film. Sarah, it was mentioned

:35:54.:36:00.

the possibilities that emerged from the Arab Spring, very much seen as

:36:01.:36:03.

an opportunity for women to have a voice. When women were often

:36:04.:36:08.

marginalised. I wonder if you think things have changed permanentry when

:36:09.:36:15.

it comes to women's rights? Women did take a very significant stance

:36:16.:36:20.

during the revolution and they have been recognised since then as well

:36:21.:36:28.

in some very prominent roles in relation to the Nobel Peace Prize,

:36:29.:36:33.

journalists and within media. I think what it has done is set a

:36:34.:36:40.

precedent and women have set an example. Politically I don't think

:36:41.:36:44.

that much has changed. There hasn't really been progress in that regard.

:36:45.:36:49.

But on a social level I think doors have been opened. Women are

:36:50.:37:01.

definitely more inspired. I think they are able to break free from the

:37:02.:37:07.

shackles of society and politics as well and really take part in a more

:37:08.:37:10.

effective manner. So in that respect I think things have changed. There

:37:11.:37:19.

are a number of people in west who look at Egypt and say not that much

:37:20.:37:24.

has changed, what would you say to them? I would say it took 16 years

:37:25.:37:28.

between the revolution and the constitution writing in the United

:37:29.:37:31.

States. We have had three. These processes take a long time. There

:37:32.:37:36.

are people that are still on the ground every single day fighting for

:37:37.:37:44.

change. One incredible woman got me out of prison a couple of times, and

:37:45.:37:48.

is in the courthouses getting people out of prison every day is on the

:37:49.:37:51.

forefront of that change and many others. The change doesn't only

:37:52.:37:56.

happen on the political level, but on other levels, the cultural

:37:57.:37:59.

levels, the explosion of art and poetry. Writing on walls, all of

:38:00.:38:05.

this is changing th culture. And that's very significant and if you

:38:06.:38:08.

think about the civil rights movement for example, there was a

:38:09.:38:11.

consciousness change, people would never put up the kinds of actions

:38:12.:38:15.

that happened after the civil rights movement as they did before the

:38:16.:38:19.

civil rights movement. I believe a consciousness has changed and is

:38:20.:38:23.

changing in Egypt as we speak. Thank you very much both of you, good

:38:24.:38:29.

luck. Scientist say we're in the middle of a solar lull. The sun's

:38:30.:38:33.

fallen asleep, effectively, and it is baffling them. History suggests

:38:34.:38:39.

that periods of unusual solar lull coincide with bitterly cold winters

:38:40.:38:43.

what effect could this current inactivity have on our climate this

:38:44.:38:48.

time round. What are the implications for global warming. We

:38:49.:38:57.

have this report. The wonder of the Northern Lights. Reminds us of the

:38:58.:39:02.

intimate connection we have with our star. This happens when solar winds

:39:03.:39:11.

hit the earth's upper atmosphere. But many of these displays may soon

:39:12.:39:17.

vanish. Something is happening to the solar activity on the surface of

:39:18.:39:23.

the sun. It is ng, fast. Whatever measure you use it is coming down,

:39:24.:39:27.

the solar peaks are coming down. For example with the flares, it looks

:39:28.:39:31.

very, very significant. The solar cycles are now getting smaller and

:39:32.:39:35.

smaller, the activity is getting less and less. There is a vast range

:39:36.:39:46.

of solar activity. Sunspots, intensely magnetic areas, seen as

:39:47.:39:53.

dark spots on the sun's surface, the UVA lights reflect towards the

:39:54.:39:58.

earth, and flares erupt violently and tonnes of charged particles go

:39:59.:40:05.

into place. It rises and falls in cycles over 11 years, now we are at

:40:06.:40:11.

a peak. The solar maximum. This is eerily quiet. I have been a solar

:40:12.:40:21.

physicist for 40 years, I have never seen something anything quite like.

:40:22.:40:26.

To go back to see a similar minimum you have to go back 100 years. It is

:40:27.:40:30.

not something I have seen in my lifetime or a couple of generations

:40:31.:40:35.

before them have seen. The number of sunspots is a fraction of what

:40:36.:40:40.

scientists expected. Solar flares are half. This man is head of the

:40:41.:40:48.

lab in Oxfordshire. He says the rate it is falling mirrors a period in

:40:49.:40:54.

the 17th century where sunspots disappear. It was a period of nearly

:40:55.:40:59.

no sunspots for decades. We saw a really dramatic period where there

:41:00.:41:03.

was very cold winters in the Northern Hemisphere. You had a

:41:04.:41:08.

mini-Ice Age. You had a period where the Thames froze in the winter, it

:41:09.:41:13.

was an interesting time. Rivers and canals froze across northern Europe.

:41:14.:41:19.

Paintings from the 17th century show frost fairs taking place on the

:41:20.:41:25.

Thames. During the great frost of 1684 the river froze over for two

:41:26.:41:29.

months. The ice was almost a foot thick. The astronomer who observed

:41:30.:41:48.

the steep decline in solar activity. The Monza minimum came when the sea

:41:49.:41:53.

froze over and crop failures were widespread across northern Europe.

:41:54.:41:57.

Does a decline in solar activity mean plunging temperatures for

:41:58.:42:01.

decades to come. We have been making observations of sunspots, the most

:42:02.:42:07.

obvious sign of solar activity from 1609 and on wards, we have hundreds

:42:08.:42:11.

of years of observations. The sun seems in a similar phase as it was

:42:12.:42:16.

in the run up before. I mean the activity is dropping off, cycle by

:42:17.:42:20.

cycle. Lucy Green is based at the science laboratory in the North

:42:21.:42:25.

Downs, she thinks that lower levels of solar activity could effect the

:42:26.:42:30.

climate. She's not sure to what extent. It is a very complex area,

:42:31.:42:33.

because the sun's activity controls how much visible light the sun gives

:42:34.:42:39.

out, but also how much ultraviolet light and X-rays that the sun

:42:40.:42:45.

submits. They create a web of changes in the earth's atmosphere,

:42:46.:42:49.

and producing effects we don't fully understand. Some researchers have

:42:50.:42:57.

gone way further back in time, locked into the ice sheets are

:42:58.:43:02.

particles once in the upper atmosphere, particles that show

:43:03.:43:11.

variations in solar activity. Mike Lockwood's work suggests this is the

:43:12.:43:18.

fastest rate of solar decline for 20,000 years. When we look at the

:43:19.:43:22.

record we can say what has the sun gone on to do, based on that and the

:43:23.:43:27.

current state of decline, we estimate ho 40 years from now, there

:43:28.:43:35.

is a 20% probability that we will be back in the early conditions by that

:43:36.:43:40.

time. Less solar activity means a drop in ultraviolet radiation. Mike

:43:41.:43:47.

Lockwood says this seems to affect the behaviour of the jet stream. It

:43:48.:43:52.

changes its pattern and ends up blocking warm air from reaching

:43:53.:43:57.

northern Europe. It causes long, cold, winters, but what about

:43:58.:44:03.

tempures as a whole? One has to make a separation between winter cold

:44:04.:44:10.

claimate. If we get something happening it is warmer than England.

:44:11.:44:16.

The average is change. It is a redistribution of temperature around

:44:17.:44:20.

the North Atlantic. The relationship between solar activity and weather

:44:21.:44:25.

on earth is complicated. If solar activity continues to fall, could

:44:26.:44:29.

the temperature on earth as a whole get cooler? Could there be

:44:30.:44:36.

implications for global warning? The world we live in today is very

:44:37.:44:41.

different from the Monde Minute yum, we have had the Industrial

:44:42.:44:46.

Revolution, and all kinds of gases being put in. On the one hand you

:44:47.:44:50.

have a cooling sun and on the other hand you have human activity that

:44:51.:44:54.

can counter that. It is difficult to say how these two are going to

:44:55.:44:57.

compete and what the consequences are then for the global climb plate.

:44:58.:45:09.

So even if the planet as a whole continues to wall, if we enter

:45:10.:45:15.

another Ice Age the future to be frozen winters for decades to come.

:45:16.:45:21.

And we don't even have bountiful displays of the Northern Lights to

:45:22.:45:23.

cheer us up. That's all from us tonight. We

:45:24.:45:28.

learned today that the actor, Roger Lloyd Pack died last night. He was

:45:29.:45:34.

69. Dramatic actor, nevertheless found game with his character in

:45:35.:45:40.

Only Fools And Horses. Trigger was a road sweeper by trade, and gave a

:45:41.:45:47.

modern name to an old paradox, "trigger's objects". Is a product

:45:48.:45:53.

with everything replaced still the same project. If you have had the

:45:54.:45:57.

broom for 20 years, have you actually swept any roads with it? Of

:45:58.:46:04.

course, but I look after it well. We have an old saying handed down by

:46:05.:46:09.

generations of road sweepers, look after your broom... . And let your

:46:10.:46:14.

broom look after you? No Dave it is just look after your broom. That old

:46:15.:46:23.

saying. That is what I have done, I have maintained it for 20 years.

:46:24.:46:29.

This old broom has had 17 new heads and 14 new handles in its time. How

:46:30.:46:40.

the hell can it be the same bloody broom thenment Here is a picture of

:46:41.:46:44.

it, what more proof do you need. MIT The showers coming down and more

:46:45.:47:05.

sunshine. Fog in

:47:06.:47:06.

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