29/01/2014 Newsnight


29/01/2014

Labour and the Unions, cartoon controversy, and is news bad for you? With Jeremy Paxman.


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They may have created the Labour Party, but the trade unions could be

:00:13.:00:18.

on the eve of losing their role of choosing the party leader. A change

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could be on the way but will it give the unions less power or more. We

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talk to the cartoonist who drew the caricature of Jesus with the Prophet

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Mohammed, and which caused a Liberal Democrat to get death threats. I

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can't see that it's my problem. I can't be responsible for the actions

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of bad people. The writer Alain De Botton on what's wrong with the

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news. We hear about terrible catastrophes all the time, and yet

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in our hearts we often don't much care. The news doesn't help us to

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care. Because it parachutes us into places only when disaster strikes.

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He's here with Alistair Campbell and Samira Ahmed. Now in an

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ever-changing world the ability of the Conservative Party to taunt the

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opposition with the cry that it has been bought by the trades unions and

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had its leaders chosen by the trades unions has been a constant theme

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more or less since the dawn of contemporary politics. Ed Miliband

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has indicated while he's happy to take the money the arrangement needs

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to change. We understand we are about to learn how he plans to

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change the system which gave him, rather than his brother, the

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leadership of the party. What have we learned this evening? I sense

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this is a pretty significant moment for the Labour leader. These plans

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are being finalised as we speak, we will know more about them on Friday.

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It feels like a big moment and crunch time. At the heart of this is

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that rather complicated and close relationship you were decribing

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between Labour and the trade unions. We understand that Ed Miliband is

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going to radically transform the way Labour chooses its leaders,

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including the way he was chosen. Some in his party are even calling

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it his own clause IV moment. At the moment leaders are chosen through

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the Electoral College. This is how the college is shared. One third of

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the vote for MPs and MEPs, another third for party members, and the

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controversial third is given to the trade unions. Under the reformed

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plans, from what we are learning, it would move to one-member-one-vote.

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Each Labour Party member, some 200,000, gets a vote. That sounds

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like fairer system and pretty simple. With one bound he was free!

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Sort of, we understand that within this package is the introduction of

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a new kind of membership, possibly one they are calling the "associate

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union member". They would be able to exercise their own individual vote

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at greatly reduced annual fee, maybe as little as ?3 a year. This goes to

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heart of what Ed Miliband was saying in that rather forceful speech last

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summer. He promised to put more power into the individual members of

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the union, and not as it were to the union leaders. But here is the rub,

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the unintended consequence of what might happen is if just one in ten

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union members signed up to become a new associate member, you can see

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what happens, that as group could potentionally wield more influence

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that the rest of the Labour Party. Although, voting as separate

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individuals rather than a block-style vote and what the unions

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prefer to call a "guided vote". The question is, would these reforms, as

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we understand them, give the unions more power or less and how would the

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MPs and MEPs feel about that amount of power coming from a different

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source? What about the highly controversial matter of the

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political levy, which he did talk about a few months ago didn't he?

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Controversial, because assumed your membership of the Labour Party, when

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y joined the union, and it charged you for it. This is what Ed Miliband

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said last year. He couldn't have been any clearer about wanting to

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end that automatic opt-in livy. I do not want any individual to be paying

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money to the Labour Party in affiliation fees unless they have

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deliberately chosen to do so. Individual trade union members

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should choose to join the party through the affiliation fee, not the

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automatically affiliated. In the 21st century it just doesn't make

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sense for anyone to be affiliated to a political party unless they have

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chosen to do so. So he keeps using that word "choose". I understand

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there is a fierce debate, those close to Ed Miliband, some are

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saying they believe the reforms are a key test of his leadership. And

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some who are saying this puts the party's finances at massive risk by

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allowing union members to opt out of this political levy. One insider

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told me it is crackers, you can't just crater the party's finances.

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What they imagine would happen if you allowed people not to pay that

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sum. What I understand is, it will be an opt-in mechanism. What one

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union leader described to me as a standardising of a system that

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already happens in several of the unions. But in order to stop a

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massive and instant black hole in Labour's finances, the plan would be

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rolled out very gradually, possibly over a five-year process and one

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union at a time. So Labour wouldn't feel the impact of that negative

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effect so instantly or so bleakly. Thank you. Now it takes a bit of

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believing that someone could be put in fear of their life by a cartoon,

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but that's the world we are living in. When a Liberal Democrat

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candidate met a man wearing a T-shirt carrying a cartoon showing

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Jesus and Mohammed and then tweeted that image, he so irritated some

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members of the Muslim community that they demanded he be striped of his

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position in the party. He said he didn't feel threatened by the

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cartoon even though there is ban on any likenesses of the prophet. Majid

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Nawaz says he was standing up for liberal Muslims whose voices are

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seldom heard, when he tweeted an image of a cartoon showing Jesus

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saying Hey and Mohammed saying Hi. He said it was not offensive and

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he's sure God is greater than being threatened on it. He had just been a

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guest on the BBC's Big Questions programme, in the front were two

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students with T-shirts showing Jesus and Mo. A debate ensued about

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whether they have the right to wear them. Do they have the right to wear

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those T-shirts? No. Why are you trying to offend a religious faith.

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You are offending us. That T-shirt doesn't threaten me or my God or my

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faith, it doesn't threaten the Koran, it doesn't threaten any

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aspect of my religion, I do not feel threatened by these gentlemen

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wearing that T-shirt. It was the BBC's decision not to show a

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close-up of the T-shirts that prompted Majid Nawaz to send the

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tweet. Within days tens of thousands of Muslim, including members of the

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Liberal Democrat party had put their names to this on-line petition

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calling for him to be deselected as a parliamentary candidate. Some said

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he should be killed. Majid Nawaz's decision to tweet the

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image of the Jesus and Mo cartoon, hasn't just set up a debate about

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freedom of speech, it has also set the Liberal Democrats an important

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test. What does it actually mean to be a liberal? This afternoon the

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petition's organisers met with former leader of the Liberal

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Democrats Paddy Ashdown, and urged him to deselect Majid Nawaz. We are

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very clear, we don't believe his position is tenable, he has to step

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down and we have let the leadership, Paddy Ashdown in particular know how

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we feel, we believe he should step down. What do you say to people who

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say your position is very il-liberal in your view? I'm not that, I'm a

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liberal and Liberal Democrat who believes with liberalism with

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respect, freedom to speak out and freedom of expression. Except in

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areas where you don't like it? No, definitely, liberalism with respect,

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regardless of what area it is, it doesn't matter if it phoneds people

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or not, my argument is simple, liberalism with respect, thank you.

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So is Majid Nawaz's position safe, after the meeting Lord Ashdown

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didn't appear to be offering any guarantee? If members of your party

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keep calling for Majid Nawaz to stand down, what will you do? It is

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a matter for proper procedures for the party. In order for someone to

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stand down there has to be a clear case for that. He has express admin

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youth view, and he has used immoderate language in expressing

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it, he has apologised. How do you know it is a minority view, how do

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you know what all Muslims think about these cartoons? You have to

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know what their theology is, if you don't know that in Britain, a vast

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majority of Muslims believe that any image of the prophet is blasphemous.

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Many Muslims are not offended? And they are entitled not to. The

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majority Muslim belief is against any image of the prophet. That does

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not allow the majority to tell the minority they may not hold it. The

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Jesus and Mo comic shows the two characters sharing a house, Majid

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Nawaz calls it a mild cartoon, whether it is right to ever show a

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picture of the Prophet Mohammed is the subject of debate in Islam. Some

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of these people are saying within Islam you can't draw pictures of

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people or of animals or of the Prophet Mohammed, peace be upon him,

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especially him. There are paintings by Muslim who is are more religious

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than the Muslims today who are complaining about this and yet they

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are paintings, they exist, they exist in art galleries an the world.

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So this is not an issue which it just has one view. There are many

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different views within the Muslim community. The Liberal Democrats may

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hope their internal procedures can fix this row, but as of tonight more

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than 21,000 people have signed the petition calling on Majid Nawaz to

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go. The campaigners say the fight goes on. Earlier I spoke to the

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creator of the Jesus and Mo cartoon, he asked that his appearance and

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voice be disguised. I started by asking him if he has been

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overwhelmed by the attention his cartoons have received? I'm

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horrified. And yeah I suppose I'm quite bewildered, because the mind

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set of people so determined to take offence or to exploit that offence

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of others for their own ends is very alien to me. So, yes, I find that

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bewildering. But I do think that rather than focussing on me, it is

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Majid Nawaz that deserves our support really. He epitomises what

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is happening in the Muslim community at the moment, where there is a

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division. The Muslim community is sorting itself out between your

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moderate, liberal, average every day Muslim who couldn't careless less

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about a cartoon and just wants to get on with his life. And the

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self-serving rabble-rousers that are just trying to promote their own

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selves. But for you as an atheist who kinds the whole subject of

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religion inherently comical, they are all wrong Of ge. Of course, it

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doesn't matter -- of course, it doesn't matter if you are wrong if

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you are not rabble rousing. Why did you start doing the cartoon? I have

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always found religion very interesting but at the same time

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quite amusing. The idea was in my head for several years about

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featuring the two major prophets of the two major world religions in a

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cartoon strip. But it was actually the Danish cartoon fiasco that

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prompted me to actually begin and so I did, back in 2005 in September.

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Doesn't that suggest that you deliberately set out to court

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outrage? It might suggest that. But it is not true. I deliberately set

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out to have a laugh at religion and to provide amusement for atheists.

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But you do understand that depicting the prophet is a great offence to

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Muslims? To some Muslims. Not all Muslims. And also it is not my

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concern because I'm not a Muslim. Isn't it your concern if you give

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offence? No. It's my concern to make people laugh, I don't give offence

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to anyone deliberately. If they take offence then that's their

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prerogative, they can take offence. You don't find something offensive

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about somebody anonymously making others unhappy? If they stumble upon

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it, then I admit they may find it offensive then. But they don't have

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to stay and they don't have to come back. It is the Internet. There are

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thousands of things on the Internet that I would find very offensive and

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occasionally I stumble on them. I don't go back. But if these cartoons

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are done to give amusement to yourself and to fellow atheists, if

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they should result in harm coming to someone, is that sufficient

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justification? ? The desire for a bit of humour a bit of a laugh? I

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can't see that it's my problem. I can't see that as my problem, I

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can't be responsible for the actions of bad people. I am creating

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something to make my fellow atheists laugh. Other people take it

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differently, there are other people that gain strength from my cartoon.

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It is a very badly-drawn, poorly executed silly comic strip, but some

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people feel it is very important to them. They find it liberating. I

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don't want to say I have a duty, because that sounds pompus. But I

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will continue. You are resolved on that are you? Pretty much. So here

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we are, 12 minutes to 11, nearing the end of day in which millions of

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things have happened, some happy, some tragic, frightening or

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reassuring most of them dull. And out of this quotidian mails strum,

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Bd mails stop BBC editors selected ten things they constitute news, and

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they will be in the newspapers, and whether you pay attention or not the

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world will continue to turn, and tomorrow night there will be more

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news. What is all this exposure to events over which we have no control

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doing to us? Before we talk about it here is the writer Alain De Botton's

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take. The news doesn't come with any instructions. At school they teach

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you how to analyse books and pictures, but no-one ever tells you

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how to make sense of that far more powerful questionable art form, the

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news. We're taught to decode Shakespeare, but not the celebrity

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section of the Daily Mail, George Elliott, but not the Sun, yet the

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news is the most powerful force out there, shaping how we view political

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reality, no wonder revolutionaries head to the TV and radio stations

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first whenever they want to change stuff. Here is my list of some of

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what's questionable about the news. Modern democratic nations think

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badly of censorship. They pride themselves on how much information

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is out there. But there's an awkward fact about information. If you have

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too much of it, it starts to number you, you lose the thread, you forget

:17:45.:17:48.

what you were even interested in or what could be changed. Rather than

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making us more political, an excess of information can erode any sense

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of what the real priorities are. Here is the paranoid frightening

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thought, if you want to make people accepting of the status quo, you

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have two option, either give them no news at all, or, more slyly, give

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them the opposite, so much news they will drown in it, then nothing will

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ever have to change. Thought ful people often imagine that what makes

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news organisations serious and worthy is their ability to provide

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us with information that's unbiased. But this bias against bias is

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fundamentally mistaken. Facts only become meaningful to us when they

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slot into some picture of what matters. Neutrality is simply

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possible, vis a vis the biggest questions. Think of the big figure,

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Plato, Buddha, Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, all of these have been

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highly biased, their judgments were anything but perfectly balanced.

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Don't need news striped of buyia, we need news presented to us with the

:18:59.:19:13.

best kinds of bias. The news might tell us what is happening in the

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economic establishment, but fails to tell us what might and should

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happen. It sets an agenda but the agenda is woefully limited. The so

:19:20.:19:24.

called debate about the economy doesn't stray beyond some tightly

:19:25.:19:29.

defined line, restricting the audiences' understanding of what is

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actually possible. Alternative views soon end up in the territory of what

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is dismissed as radical and ridiculous. The news terrifies us

:19:37.:19:43.

every day about floods, fires, cancer. And at the same time it

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makes us furious, mostly at apparently incompetent people

:19:50.:19:52.

running the country, messing everything up. News outlets badly

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need their audiences to be agitated, frightened and bothered a lot of the

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time, and yet we have an even greater responsibility to try to

:20:03.:20:06.

remain resilient and see that the news is, in part, at least winding

:20:07.:20:11.

us up for its own ends, to keep itself in a job. We hear tragedies

:20:12.:20:25.

all the time, 300 gone through, and a thousand starving here. Yet in our

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hearts we don't much care. Is it because we are shallow and cold? No,

:20:30.:20:33.

it is just the news doesn't help us to cautious because it parachutes us

:20:34.:20:37.

into places only when disaster strikes. But we can't care about

:20:38.:20:42.

people in trouble when we didn't know them when things were OK. We

:20:43.:20:45.

need to know the steady state of a land before we can be motivated to

:20:46.:20:52.

care about its crises. The news ends up corrupting us with a sense of the

:20:53.:20:58.

overwhelming importance of our own era and concerns. Our debt, our

:20:59.:21:03.

affairs, our parties, our rogue missile, but a good life involves

:21:04.:21:09.

realising that there moments when the news has nothing to teach us,

:21:10.:21:14.

and we have to leave it behind to focus on some of our own anxieties

:21:15.:21:17.

and hopes in the brief time we are all allotted. Here to discuss all of

:21:18.:21:25.

that, Alain De Botton, the author of a new book, The News: A User's

:21:26.:21:30.

Manuel, Samira Ahmed, a journalist and presenter of Newswatch, a BBC

:21:31.:21:35.

programme that keeps a watch on how news is reported. And Alistair

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Campbell, former Fleet Street hack, better known for serving as Tony

:21:41.:21:44.

Blair's Director of Communications. Several time in your book you make a

:21:45.:21:48.

comparison between religion and news, what do you mean? Religion

:21:49.:21:52.

used to be the place you went out to find out what was important, what

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mattered and what is the meaning of life. All of those things we have

:21:56.:21:59.

taken to the news. The news is the thing that guides us and tells us

:22:00.:22:02.

what is important. The interesting thing is we never think here is

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something that we should learn to ingest with a little bit of care. We

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get taught how to read books and look at pictures, nobody says there

:22:12.:22:14.

is this thing called the news and it is a strange phenomenon and you need

:22:15.:22:17.

to think of a few things before going near it. Nobody teaches us how

:22:18.:22:21.

to take in the news. That is what I'm interested in. Do you recognise

:22:22.:22:25.

this picture, Alistair? I do, I read the book earlier today, I do agree

:22:26.:22:30.

with a lot of the thesis. I do think there is now a need for a kind of

:22:31.:22:35.

education about the modern media. Because I think there is very little

:22:36.:22:39.

self-analysis within the media about itself. And I think some of the

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points he made, even within that film, we saw Emily earlier talking

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about Labour and the trade unions, everything has to be presented as

:22:49.:22:52.

really new, really big, really important, the new this, the new,

:22:53.:22:57.

that the biggest since the last big thing, and... Of course. I know, but

:22:58.:23:04.

you say "of course", but part of your job is... Do you want us to

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come on air and say nothing much happened today and here are a few

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old stories. You made a speech and you said some days you should do

:23:15.:23:18.

exactly that. I think you should and nobody does. But on a regular date,

:23:19.:23:21.

that is a significant story. I'm not saying it is not a significant

:23:22.:23:26.

story, I not criticising Emily for the story, I'm saying news has

:23:27.:23:31.

become what somebody, an editor, a presenter decides is of interest.

:23:32.:23:36.

But the viewer. I'm not saying it is new, I'm simply saying I agree that

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the reader, the viewer, people growing up in Britain today where

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the media is much more prevalent than it ever used to be, I think

:23:45.:23:48.

there is a need for people n a sense, to get an education about

:23:49.:23:51.

where it is coming from and often why. It is ubiquitous, you accept

:23:52.:23:57.

that? It is, but the one thing I would agree with Botham on is

:23:58.:24:01.

education is important. I speak in schools a lot. I'm always struck by

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the fact that essentially watching the news is like critical

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appreciation. You should approach it with that critical detatchment. Most

:24:09.:24:12.

young people get that very, very quickly. They need to be taught it

:24:13.:24:16.

as part of a genuine thing. My greatest concern is this idea that

:24:17.:24:20.

some how the news is some how not made by individuals who are, it is

:24:21.:24:25.

some how a force out there. One, I think it gives a sense of community,

:24:26.:24:28.

people can turn on and tune into a sense of what is going on in the

:24:29.:24:31.

outer world and feel connected to it, in a positive way. They are not

:24:32.:24:35.

connected, they can't do a dam thing about it? Sometimes they can. An

:24:36.:24:39.

interesting thing about a story which there is a lot of cynicism

:24:40.:24:43.

about how it is reported is changes to the NHS. We have had a lot of

:24:44.:24:47.

complaints about the bias in the way it is reported. Here, here. There is

:24:48.:24:51.

a whole political party set up on that. You could argue about what the

:24:52.:24:56.

truth of it is, but people have been motivated to take action. Just to

:24:57.:24:58.

give you one briefly, because in your book you talk about this drip,

:24:59.:25:03.

drip, where news isn't given context. The Staffordshire Hospital

:25:04.:25:08.

scandal, that emerged because patients were being reported

:25:09.:25:12.

anecdotally to journalists. Now we have coverage of the National Health

:25:13.:25:15.

Service, right across the media that only wants to focus on the National

:25:16.:25:19.

Health Service being bad, when the National Health Service is actually

:25:20.:25:23.

very, very good. Everyone knows the National Health Service is pretty

:25:24.:25:26.

good, which is why when it goes bad it is news? It used to be, I used to

:25:27.:25:33.

have a colleague on the daily Mir Yorks she was the health -- Daily

:25:34.:25:39.

Mirror, her job was to write good stories about the National Health

:25:40.:25:42.

Service, she was laid off because the editor said there was no longer

:25:43.:25:45.

a market for good stories about the National Health Service. Because the

:25:46.:25:48.

news and the nature of the news has changed. Isn't it changed because of

:25:49.:25:52.

spin doctors. No. Do you accept no responsibility for feeding a news

:25:53.:25:56.

agenda? No, not at all. I just want to ask this one question, you said,

:25:57.:26:00.

just a year or so ago that the one thing that still makes you wake up

:26:01.:26:04.

and think did I really do that was getting Tony Blair joining the

:26:05.:26:10.

Rashid story, there was a point that was a distraction that the Murdoch

:26:11.:26:16.

press took up and took attention away from a story. I'm referring to

:26:17.:26:19.

a story years back and you are taking it up as serious. You talk

:26:20.:26:24.

about the Olympics in the book. That was a good news story? DPAKT exactly

:26:25.:26:30.

but up until the point to the Opening Ceremony the media were

:26:31.:26:33.

busting a gut thinking it would go wrong. You do sound a bit like

:26:34.:26:39.

Martin Lew! I don't think so. The news when it is looking for

:26:40.:26:42.

corruption, and it spends a lot of time looking for corruption, it

:26:43.:26:45.

imagines that corruption comes in the handy shape of one bad egg and

:26:46.:26:49.

put in a prison van and taken away. They don't say that. They are more

:26:50.:26:56.

complicated and don't involve criminal negligence, they involve

:26:57.:27:01.

stupidity and lazy thinking, that is hard for the news to get its teeth

:27:02.:27:05.

in. That is tripe what about Government spending on computer

:27:06.:27:09.

systems, that is just incompetent. A very important story. And very well

:27:10.:27:15.

reported? But one that really struggles. If you look at who is

:27:16.:27:21.

clicking on the Justin Bieber going mad, versus chaos in the DRC

:27:22.:27:26.

stories. I am afraid we are not all imbued with your high standards? I

:27:27.:27:33.

think the real challenge in a multichannel world is how do you get

:27:34.:27:36.

the most important news to be the most ar? At the moment there is a

:27:37.:27:39.

yawning divide between news that is important and news that is popular.

:27:40.:27:42.

In a democracy that really matters. What you want to do is to yolk the

:27:43.:27:47.

two together? That comes throughout your book, talk about what the news

:27:48.:27:52.

should do. I'm trying to make it better. You do that as well.

:27:53.:27:58.

Everyone who loves the news as I do it. That is the difference between

:27:59.:28:02.

God and bad journalism, a lot of your complaints are about bad or

:28:03.:28:06.

sloppy journalism. Let's get ambitious about what we can do. We

:28:07.:28:10.

are the first generations to know about news and have it on offer. We

:28:11.:28:14.

are working out how it works. It is natural to be confused. Are you

:28:15.:28:18.

suggesting it has a moral purpose beyond informing people? Yes. That

:28:19.:28:21.

it should be changing them? I think the point of the news is to make the

:28:22.:28:24.

nation flourish, to help the nation to go better. That's why we are

:28:25.:28:28.

interested in criminality, that is why we are interested in scandals,

:28:29.:28:31.

we are trying to get things to go better. Who makes that judgment? I

:28:32.:28:36.

think that is the collective voice out there. It gets better because

:28:37.:28:40.

you expose wrongdoing and people might challenge. One of the most

:28:41.:28:43.

important aspects in news reporting, which you in your book write in the

:28:44.:28:47.

headlines about criminal trials, there is something wonderful seeing

:28:48.:28:52.

a criminal trial that brings people to justice, sometimes it is an

:28:53.:28:54.

individual example but can you change the law and change behaviour.

:28:55.:28:59.

Alastair gave a lecture in Cambridge saying that Watergate had been the

:29:00.:29:04.

greatest journalistic story in the 20th century but ruined journalism.

:29:05.:29:08.

His point was because Watergate was such a big story, and still the

:29:09.:29:13.

yardstick, that now journalism is only journalism if it is bringing

:29:14.:29:17.

somebody down, preferably somebody in a position of power. A great

:29:18.:29:26.

example is Fred Goodwin and taking away his Knighthood, I don't think

:29:27.:29:29.

there was a public attitude to see it taken away, but it was a public

:29:30.:29:33.

appetite for saying something is wrong. We had a Government that

:29:34.:29:36.

cynically threw him to the wolves and encouraged the news machine to

:29:37.:29:40.

offer him up. We have a PR man who is our Prime Minister now. You know,

:29:41.:29:45.

there is a kind of an interesting relationship between politics and an

:29:46.:29:49.

attempt to manipulate the news agenda, which you know all too well

:29:50.:29:53.

about. I do, but I think the relationship between media and

:29:54.:29:55.

politics, let me give you one example. You look at this wall,

:29:56.:30:01.

there is more media than ever. Even on the Daily Mirror two reporters

:30:02.:30:07.

had a job covering parliament, we now have shows thousand -- thousands

:30:08.:30:13.

of showers of parliament and nobody is covering it. There is nobody on

:30:14.:30:17.

the benches either half the time? Agree there is an issue about

:30:18.:30:23.

political reporting. We have the parliament channel nobody watches.

:30:24.:30:26.

Part of the job is to say it is not just about sales and ratings, we are

:30:27.:30:29.

part of an important process involving the public. Politicians

:30:30.:30:34.

have to not play the game with creating little policy ideas. They

:30:35.:30:38.

wouldn't do that if they felt they were forced on to the agenda. Go to

:30:39.:30:42.

more mature countries you will find less going on. Can I bring it back

:30:43.:30:46.

to the viewers and every week we have people who e-mail in and I

:30:47.:30:49.

think your book implies people feel helpless and are some how

:30:50.:30:53.

manipulated by this. Social media gives them a big voice. We put too

:30:54.:30:58.

much emphasis on social media, most people aren't on there. Most young

:30:59.:31:02.

people are not watching the BBC. The media have a short attention span,

:31:03.:31:08.

we move on now. You can always contact Newswatch and complain about

:31:09.:31:13.

bad coverage and we will tackle it with BBC boss, the editor of

:31:14.:31:17.

Newsnight has yet to commit to a date. If he doesn't come, I will. We

:31:18.:31:23.

want the editor. You may recall a few months ago Newsnight reported on

:31:24.:31:28.

police investigations into a Pakistani political party called the

:31:29.:31:32.

MQM, with headquarters in North London. The MQM represents Muslims

:31:33.:31:41.

who arrived in Pakistan during the creation of their country in 1947.

:31:42.:31:50.

The leader of the MQM has been accused of involvement in 30 murders

:31:51.:31:55.

in Pakistan. Yet he maintains total control of the party and 19 members

:31:56.:31:58.

in the parliament there, all from British soil. As we have discovered,

:31:59.:32:04.

that intense investigation into the MQC is putting the party under

:32:05.:32:11.

intense pressure. An office in Karachi. A college in East London.

:32:12.:32:19.

And a murder in Edgware. The British Police are trying to work out

:32:20.:32:24.

possible connections. A Pakistani politician is complaining of British

:32:25.:32:31.

Police harassment. Altaf Hussein has lived in North London for over 20

:32:32.:32:35.

years. He has been accused in numerous murder cases back home.

:32:36.:32:40.

When he gives a speech down a telephone line to Karachi, thousands

:32:41.:32:46.

gather to listen. It is remote control politics. As the MQM leader,

:32:47.:32:51.

he's a hugely powerful figure in Karachi, representing, he says, the

:32:52.:32:56.

secular middle-classes. And he's not happy with the investigation into

:32:57.:33:01.

the murder of one of his party officials Imran Farooq. A senior MQM

:33:02.:33:07.

official, he was bludgeoned and stabbed to death after walking to

:33:08.:33:14.

his home in September 2010. It has been a massive investigation, more

:33:15.:33:19.

than 4,000 people have been interviewed. And for months now

:33:20.:33:28.

Altaf husband tain -- Hussein has been complaining.

:33:29.:33:40.

MQM officials say they want to co-operate with the murder inquiry,

:33:41.:33:45.

but complain of police harassment. The only person so far arrested in

:33:46.:33:51.

the case is Altaf's nephew, who is now on police bail. He was arrested

:33:52.:33:55.

on suspicion of conspiracy to murder. Police believe the case will

:33:56.:34:06.

be unlocked in Pakistan. Officially the police will neither confirm nor

:34:07.:34:11.

deny that they have asked for Pakistani assistance in the case.

:34:12.:34:18.

But Newsnight has learned that the UK Crown Prosecution Service has

:34:19.:34:21.

formally requested that Pakistan give access to two suspects, and

:34:22.:34:26.

documents obtained from Pakistan named them. As Mr Saied and a Mr

:34:27.:34:36.

Khan Camran. The two men flew from Pakistan to London. The first to

:34:37.:34:44.

come Mr Saied, arrived in the UK in February 2010. He stayed first in

:34:45.:34:50.

Tooting and then in a bedsit in this North London street. Mr Khan Kamran

:34:51.:35:02.

came a few days before the killing. Phone records show he was with Mr

:35:03.:35:08.

Saied the whole time in the UK. On the evening of the murder they left

:35:09.:35:12.

from Heathrow to Sri Lanka and then on to Karachi, where the Pakistani

:35:13.:35:16.

authorities picked them up on the airport tarmac. It is thought they

:35:17.:35:19.

are still being detained in Pakistan. So how did they get to the

:35:20.:35:30.

UK? The two suspects applied to study at this East London college.

:35:31.:35:34.

The rules say that non-attending students must be reported within

:35:35.:35:39.

days of going missing. And yet the college, which enjoys official "most

:35:40.:35:46.

trusted status" for sponsoring students, said for one of the men it

:35:47.:35:50.

waited 18 months before making a report to the UK authorities. The

:35:51.:35:54.

college says it has been asked to explain this and has done so. The

:35:55.:35:58.

Home Office refuses to say whether the college kept to the rules, it

:35:59.:36:01.

just says it is not currently being investigated. So, how did the two

:36:02.:36:08.

men get the visas? Documents obtained by Newsnight say the visas

:36:09.:36:14.

were endorsed by a Karachi businessman, Mr Khan, who was in

:36:15.:36:20.

regular contact with Mr Hussein's nephew throughout 2010, the visas

:36:21.:36:28.

were then processed by Atif Siddique. He told Newsnight he was

:36:29.:36:32.

not an agent of the college and didn't know either of the suspect,

:36:33.:36:37.

and Mr Ali Khan did not respond to our request for comment. And the MQM

:36:38.:36:42.

denies any link with the murder case. There are raids against MQM

:36:43.:36:48.

leadership, all the people in MQM and what would you expect Mr Hussein

:36:49.:36:52.

to say, what would a reasonable man in Britain say? Therefore I would

:36:53.:36:56.

tend to think there is one very important aspect which maybe the

:36:57.:36:59.

authorities and police are overlooking and that is perhaps a

:37:00.:37:08.

possibility that this murder of Dr Imran Farooq could be a spoiled

:37:09.:37:12.

mugging or it could well be that it is some conspiracy hatched by our

:37:13.:37:19.

political enemies abroad. It is very easily they are attempting to slap

:37:20.:37:24.

the blame on us. It is only fair to point out that a nephew of Mr

:37:25.:37:27.

Hussein has been arrested in connection with the murder inquiry.

:37:28.:37:31.

May I say this again, that is primarily because wrong information

:37:32.:37:34.

has been fed and that nephew that you are talking about, he faced a

:37:35.:37:42.

lot of atrocities at the hands of the authorities in Pakistan. He

:37:43.:37:45.

himself is not a person who is really with himself, mentally. The

:37:46.:37:51.

MQM faces multiple investigations. One is into Altaf Hussein's speeches

:37:52.:38:07.

in the UK. More than 10,000 people have complained to the Met about

:38:08.:38:12.

these kinds of threats. The Met says it is still considering the issue of

:38:13.:38:15.

whether these statements amount to incitement. Then there is the matter

:38:16.:38:20.

of nearly half a million in cash found in Mr Hussein's home and the

:38:21.:38:27.

party headquarters. Last month the police arrested a long-serving party

:38:28.:38:31.

official in connection with possible money laundering. Many of the

:38:32.:38:36.

party's UK bank accounts have been closed down and there is unpaid tax,

:38:37.:38:42.

MQM insiders admit they face a massive back tax bill. The MQM is

:38:43.:38:47.

under real pressure now and the question is whether they the

:38:48.:38:54.

Pakistan Government will give access to the two suspects. Politically

:38:55.:38:58.

Altaf Hussein's supporters say his power base is intact, but his

:38:59.:39:04.

opponents say his grip on Karachi is loosening.

:39:05.:39:08.

Now a poll carried out for Newsnight and released tonight shows that over

:39:09.:39:12.

a quarter of women claim to have been sexually harassed at work, on

:39:13.:39:16.

the street or in a social situation. Over half of those questioned about

:39:17.:39:20.

harassment at work thought the best thing to do was to deal with it

:39:21.:39:25.

themselves and respond immediately, 37% felt it worth involving an

:39:26.:39:29.

employer, 6% they would prefer a legal response. The poll in which

:39:30.:39:33.

over 800 women were questioned was conducted just after the Liberal

:39:34.:39:37.

Democrats embarrassment over the Lord Rennard affair. More than a

:39:38.:39:41.

third of the participants found the party less attractive because of the

:39:42.:39:46.

way it handled the allegations, almost half weren't so bothered.

:39:47.:39:51.

Here to discuss this is Laura Bates, founder of the Everyday Sexism

:39:52.:39:55.

Project. And the journalist Dame Ann Leslie. Are you surprised Laura at

:39:56.:40:00.

the size of the sample of women who felt they had been harassed? No, if

:40:01.:40:04.

anything only surprised that it sounds a little bit low to me. But I

:40:05.:40:08.

think that might be partly because no under 18s were questioned in this

:40:09.:40:11.

survey, and sadly the reality is that a lot of the people reporting

:40:12.:40:15.

sexual harassment to us are actually schoolgirls in their school uniform.

:40:16.:40:19.

It is something that happens at an incredibly young age. What did you

:40:20.:40:23.

make of this proportion, about a quarter of the women surveyed?

:40:24.:40:28.

Again, you know the whole thing is a question of gender and time, because

:40:29.:40:34.

in my youth, of course, a quarter, is nothing. It was 100%, for

:40:35.:40:38.

heaven's sake, I spent a lot of my youth when I was young and gorgeous

:40:39.:40:42.

like you being chased around the furniture by dirty old men. I took

:40:43.:40:47.

it as that's what one did and occasionally of course I would stub

:40:48.:40:51.

out a fag on wandering hand if it was getting a bit too far. But of

:40:52.:40:56.

course in a way that kind of every day sexism, although it is very

:40:57.:41:00.

annoying, and it is still annoying clearly wasn't as bad as the

:41:01.:41:07.

institutional sexism. For example at 22 I was very successful already and

:41:08.:41:11.

earning a lot of money, and I was forbidden from getting a mortgage

:41:12.:41:15.

because I was a single woman and I was told things like, why don't you

:41:16.:41:19.

get a nice man to look after all that. You know. That sort of thing.

:41:20.:41:23.

So I sometimes think people like you, although I think you are

:41:24.:41:27.

wonderful and I wouldn't dream of criticising a sister or any fellow

:41:28.:41:32.

sisters I just think sometimes... But here it comes! Sometimes you

:41:33.:41:39.

don't realise how silly it can sometimes seem. People I know who

:41:40.:41:44.

say I'm sexually harassed because someone says that's a nice dress.

:41:45.:41:50.

That is not sexual harassment. No sexual harassment. We are not

:41:51.:41:53.

complaining about compliments, we are talking about something quite

:41:54.:41:56.

extreme here, the fact that things have moved on for women is

:41:57.:42:00.

wonderful, why should that mean we shouldn't tackle it. Over a quarter

:42:01.:42:04.

of women is a huge figure, why do we keep coming back to this idea of

:42:05.:42:07.

women shouldn't be overreacting, women shouldn't this and that, why

:42:08.:42:10.

aren't we stopping and ask why are men doing this. Men or women or

:42:11.:42:17.

children or anybody should not because that way perdecision lies,

:42:18.:42:21.

all I'm saying is sometimes I think when women particularly, because of

:42:22.:42:25.

course we are women, whingeing away, moaning away on television, when

:42:26.:42:30.

actually I think the worse problem at the moment facing society is poor

:42:31.:42:38.

white boys, who underachieve in class, they are also the great

:42:39.:42:43.

sexual harassers. That is a serious problem, but it is another problem

:42:44.:42:46.

than the one we are talking about right now. It is related. And

:42:47.:42:51.

serious. This is why the schools. Serious sexual harassment is a

:42:52.:42:55.

serious matter isn't it? It is very annoying. There is a problem with

:42:56.:42:59.

definition here? It is not about whingeing or moaning, we are talking

:43:00.:43:02.

about sexual harassment, that is something, this isn't a women's

:43:03.:43:05.

issue, this is something nobody should have to put up with. Which is

:43:06.:43:09.

why I brought up young boys, you talked about school girls who are so

:43:10.:43:13.

pressured, these young boys who see a lot of television, a lot of porn,

:43:14.:43:19.

they think that young, of course their testosterone is at their peak,

:43:20.:43:24.

they think these girls should be available. I absolutely think it is

:43:25.:43:29.

not just a question of women it is a question of boys, particularly.

:43:30.:43:33.

Where do you think those boys are getting those messages from, I

:43:34.:43:39.

agree. That is not really what we are talking about here, and it is

:43:40.:43:43.

interesting that when sexual harassment comes up, particularly to

:43:44.:43:46.

do with women, the response very often is this kind of let's talk

:43:47.:43:49.

about other problems, let's say there is more serious things going

:43:50.:43:53.

on. But I just think you know why don't we actually stop and instead

:43:54.:43:56.

of looking at the victims at all, say shall we talk about the

:43:57.:43:59.

perpetrators, why are people doing this. Let's look at that. We have

:44:00.:44:03.

just been doing that. Let's look at the second part of this survey, the

:44:04.:44:07.

first question was extremely difficultly worded I think, but the

:44:08.:44:11.

question as to what women thought was the appropriate thing to do,

:44:12.:44:15.

that an immediate, far higher proportion thought the things to do

:44:16.:44:20.

was give an immediate response and a smaller proportion thought you took

:44:21.:44:23.

it up with your employer or whatever. What do you make of that?

:44:24.:44:27.

I think that is partly because a lot of women are operating currently in

:44:28.:44:32.

a world where people aren't taken when they try to report things. As

:44:33.:44:35.

we have seen in the media response to the recent allegation, instead of

:44:36.:44:39.

taking it seriously and dealing with it, things are brushed off and swept

:44:40.:44:43.

under the car at the time pet. We receive a huge -- carpet, we receive

:44:44.:44:47.

a huge amount of women trying to report it to HR, they are told not

:44:48.:44:52.

to make a fuss and see how it could impact on their career. And many

:44:53.:44:55.

women are not in a situation where there is a HR department to go for.

:44:56.:44:59.

We have heard from waitresses who have been told to choose between

:45:00.:45:03.

getting an abortion or resigning when getting pregnant. Women in the

:45:04.:45:07.

service industry getting groped and assaulted, there is nobody to be

:45:08.:45:14.

report it to. Need to look at the perpetrators. I know it is unfair,

:45:15.:45:19.

because you know my grandmother who was brilliant and you know passed

:45:20.:45:26.

all, it was a long time ago, she was a brilliant mathematician, she went

:45:27.:45:30.

to Cambridge, she passed absolutely the top but Cambridge did not allow

:45:31.:45:34.

women to get degrees. So of course and then I'm not quite as old as she

:45:35.:45:38.

was, of course there were things against me. And I just sometimes

:45:39.:45:45.

wonder if women who go on and on and on about the natural interaction,

:45:46.:45:52.

natural I'm afraid, of folks at bars and parties in that particular

:45:53.:45:56.

survey that they were sexually harassed, there is some pest there,

:45:57.:46:00.

they can push them off, you know. Why are we going on. They shouldn't

:46:01.:46:04.

have to Anne. Why not. You are talking about natural interaction,

:46:05.:46:08.

sexual harassment is about unwanted behaviour. Of course a lot of

:46:09.:46:14.

unnatural interaction is unwanted. I'm sure you have had a period in

:46:15.:46:18.

your time. I tell you what we're going to the credits now. You are

:46:19.:46:26.

not going to confess when you were unwanted. Kirsty has the pleasure

:46:27.:46:29.

tomorrow until then good night.

:46:30.:46:32.

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