17/02/2014 Newsnight


17/02/2014

Who knows best on floods - scientists or politicians? What happens when your welfare is stopped? North Korea atrocities. Scotland and the EU. David Bailey.


Similar Content

Browse content similar to 17/02/2014. Check below for episodes and series from the same categories and more!

Transcript


LineFromTo

Who knows best when trying to protect Britain from adverse

:00:00.:00:16.

weather. The media, the people whose homes have been wrecked or the

:00:17.:00:19.

Government. There is a substantial number of right-wing MPs who are

:00:20.:00:24.

privately climate sceptical, and who are even more sceptical about the

:00:25.:00:30.

spending of money to deal with the problem. Also tonight this:

:00:31.:00:34.

With the social services I need to have food in, and I need a separate

:00:35.:00:39.

bed for my child. What happens when benefit claimants break the rules

:00:40.:00:42.

and the Government stops their money?

:00:43.:00:45.

David Bailey will be taking me around his exhibition of the

:00:46.:00:48.

National Portrait Gallery, a few of his many millions of snaps he's

:00:49.:00:53.

putting on display for the first time. Snaps? Snaps, is can he do

:00:54.:01:02.

that again! ? Good evening. I will make sure we learn all the lessons,

:01:03.:01:06.

it is what a politician usually says when he or she has made mistakes.

:01:07.:01:13.

David Cameron promised that today while visiting another flood-hit

:01:14.:01:17.

areas, while announcing a fund for businesses who have had a

:01:18.:01:20.

significant loss of trade from all the bad weather. Politicians from

:01:21.:01:26.

every party have been rushing to show their best plans so it doesn't

:01:27.:01:31.

happen again. We track the course of the River Thames in search of the

:01:32.:01:33.

lessons the politicians should be learning. What's normally a trickle

:01:34.:01:45.

is now a river. What's normally a river resembling a lake. Stubborn

:01:46.:01:50.

water with nowhere to go, and everywhere it is not wanted.

:01:51.:01:53.

But if the country's journey through weeks of flooding will change

:01:54.:02:00.

anything, this is where it begins. You can even see bubbles coming up

:02:01.:02:04.

to the surface as the water comes above ground for the first time. And

:02:05.:02:08.

it might not look like much, but this stone marks the start of the

:02:09.:02:12.

River Thames. This isn't just another flooded field, but the

:02:13.:02:16.

beginning of a river that has caused such chaos for thousands of families

:02:17.:02:21.

and businesses. An awful lot of political trouble for those 180

:02:22.:02:27.

miles further along. Nearby the PM is still cramming in

:02:28.:02:32.

visits after his colleagues spent the start of the crisis pointing

:02:33.:02:34.

fingers rather than pointing out what might help. Desperate to --

:02:35.:02:44.

show he knows which ways the wellingtons are pointing. The army

:02:45.:02:47.

are on the streets and the call has gone out for favourite political

:02:48.:02:54.

past time, are you ready... There was always time to ask what could be

:02:55.:02:58.

done, what schemes should be looked at and I will make sure we learn all

:02:59.:03:04.

the lessons. But if we have had the heaviest rainfall in more than two

:03:05.:03:08.

centuries is it reasonable, even if feasible, to expect the Government

:03:09.:03:13.

to defend all our homes using our money? Much, much more than the ?10

:03:14.:03:17.

million promised for affected firms today. One former minister at the

:03:18.:03:22.

stable when some spending was cut believes it is. The decision in 2010

:03:23.:03:26.

to cut flood defences in, in retrospect, clearly a mistake. I

:03:27.:03:29.

think the Government has to face up to a key role, which is to protect

:03:30.:03:35.

this as best they can from the natural disasters. The Prime

:03:36.:03:38.

Minister has gone right to the other extreme by saying money is now no

:03:39.:03:42.

object. Well it is a shame that there wasn't a bit more money back

:03:43.:03:49.

in 2010. Spending is now being dragged up, and some of the

:03:50.:03:54.

environment agencies' efforts have made a difference, they have kept

:03:55.:03:59.

water from the door but far from making the problem disappear. This

:04:00.:04:02.

is a part of Gloucester David Cameron didn't visit today. Sandbags

:04:03.:04:07.

are piled as high as the hip outside every front door. Locals have been

:04:08.:04:11.

fighting off the water for days. But for many people we have spoken to

:04:12.:04:15.

the risk isn't just from the rain, it is also from years of bad

:04:16.:04:21.

political decisions. Flood defence walls were built in people's back

:04:22.:04:29.

gardens here after 2007. I'm Laura from Newsnight, this must be a

:04:30.:04:34.

lovely garden without the River Severn. What has happened? It came

:04:35.:04:39.

to the top of the wall but not over. Richard said the agency and army's

:04:40.:04:44.

help has been better, it took three days for pumps to arrive. While he's

:04:45.:04:50.

protecting his 19th century home, he's furious new houses are being

:04:51.:04:54.

built nearby. Stew pit, this was build in 1851, they didn't know

:04:55.:04:59.

about things then, we have advanced since then, therefore people know it

:05:00.:05:11.

floods on the floodthings then, we have advanced since then, therefore

:05:12.:05:14.

people know it floods on the flood pla they know it and shouldn't be

:05:15.:05:16.

building. Two thirds of this flood plain is gone, covered in houses

:05:17.:05:19.

since 1947. Round the corner another local sketched out why he believes

:05:20.:05:23.

more roads and more houses don't leave enough room for more water. A

:05:24.:05:30.

lot of it is down to historical Government incompetence. They

:05:31.:05:33.

allowed the landfill site to the south of us, in excess of 300 acres,

:05:34.:05:37.

blocking out the whole of the exit of where all the float warders of

:05:38.:05:45.

1947 went. The problem is that -- flood waters of 1947 went. The

:05:46.:05:49.

problem is the Government is allowing building on flood plains.

:05:50.:05:54.

Even though a person who thought the Government have been excellent

:05:55.:05:57.

thought there was enough. Rivers need to be dredged again, which they

:05:58.:06:00.

are going to be, very positive, very, very positive. Dredging won't

:06:01.:06:06.

be reintroduced everywhere, it is expensive and can hurt as well as

:06:07.:06:11.

help. And senior politicians are now vying to be seen to accept climate

:06:12.:06:16.

change is part of the problem. The coalition's actual commitment to

:06:17.:06:19.

following policies that might make a difference have ebbed and flowed at

:06:20.:06:24.

best. But some senior sceptics have been rather less vocal. So with some

:06:25.:06:29.

of the wealthiest parts of the south-east under water, a powerful

:06:30.:06:33.

constituency, is this the moment where Cameron will cleave again to

:06:34.:06:39.

his original promise, vote blue-go green. I'm surprised that anybody

:06:40.:06:43.

can really dispute with 98% of climate scientist who is say that

:06:44.:06:47.

climate change is a reality. Actually even the climate change

:06:48.:06:51.

sceptics are only sceptical about whether it is man made or not. All

:06:52.:06:55.

of us need to unite behind the very, very clear plan of mitigation and

:06:56.:07:01.

adaptation. Insurance firms are perhaps inevitably being called to

:07:02.:07:04.

Number Ten tomorrow. Emergency payouts have started. But what will

:07:05.:07:08.

matter is not just how this Government deals with this crisis,

:07:09.:07:12.

lapping at the banks of Westminster. What will matter is what happens

:07:13.:07:16.

when these waters finally recede and what will really be different the

:07:17.:07:23.

next time. One of the few areas of consensus among the politicians on

:07:24.:07:26.

the floods is the role of climate change, a Tory cabinet minister said

:07:27.:07:31.

it was clearly a factor, while Labour leader, bland, said floods

:07:32.:07:39.

meant -- Ed Miliband said that floods was a priority. What should

:07:40.:07:46.

our response be? Let's discuss with Kevin Anderson, Professor of Climate

:07:47.:07:53.

Change, and Andrew Montford, author of Hockey Stick Illusion which

:07:54.:08:01.

critques the science of climate change. What we know from the

:08:02.:08:03.

climate modelling we have and science and physics and observations

:08:04.:08:07.

is as we warm up the atmosphere we can hold more moisture in the

:08:08.:08:11.

atmosphere and get more intense rainfall. We can see and the records

:08:12.:08:15.

show this over the last 50 years the intensity of the rainfall in the UK

:08:16.:08:18.

has increased. What we are seeing now by this sequence of unusual

:08:19.:08:22.

events, this is consistent with the fixes, the modelling and with the

:08:23.:08:25.

observations. But we will never be able to say that any single event is

:08:26.:08:31.

a climate change event. Some politicians have pretty much said

:08:32.:08:35.

that, are they exaggerating? If they say that they are misusing the

:08:36.:08:39.

science, that is the case. It is fair to say this is consistent to

:08:40.:08:42.

what we think about climate change. It is fair to say that the scale of

:08:43.:08:45.

the challenge and the impacts will have been exacerbated by climate

:08:46.:08:49.

change. We know the sea level rise has gone on because of the

:08:50.:08:52.

atmosphere and the oceans have warmed. We know therefore that some

:08:53.:08:56.

of the impact in Sandy in New York and the impacts we are seeing now

:08:57.:09:01.

are partly due to the increased sea level rise. It makes the situation

:09:02.:09:05.

worse, even if the overall event is not a climate change event. When

:09:06.:09:09.

Philip Hammond says climate change is a factor and Ed Miliband saying

:09:10.:09:13.

if you keep throwing sixes and they roll the dices are loaded. You say

:09:14.:09:17.

that is exaggeration, but it might be useful for somebody like you. You

:09:18.:09:21.

want to mobilise people to do something don't you? We want to

:09:22.:09:25.

inform people to decide if they want to make the changes necessary. When

:09:26.:09:29.

it was said it was factor, I want to point out from the sea level rise it

:09:30.:09:33.

is a factor, it is not the cause but it is a factor. Andrew Montford, you

:09:34.:09:37.

are not a scientist, you have been writing secretarically about this

:09:38.:09:51.

for -- secretary -- sceptically for a while now, what do you think?

:09:52.:09:55.

Everybody seems to agree, at least scientifically they seem to agree

:09:56.:10:00.

that you can't link these floods to climate change. When he says that

:10:01.:10:04.

sea level rise has been a factor, yes, I suppose it probably has been

:10:05.:10:08.

a factor in terms of the sea level has gone up by, you know, a few tens

:10:09.:10:13.

of centimeters over the last century. You have to remember that

:10:14.:10:19.

sea level rise was occurring before man made carbon emissions were big

:10:20.:10:23.

enough to effect climate change any way. We have seen perhaps a tiny

:10:24.:10:27.

amount of acceleration, but sea level rises have been going on any

:10:28.:10:30.

way, so it is something we have had to adapt to in the past and probably

:10:31.:10:38.

we will just go on adapting to it in the future. My concern is actually

:10:39.:10:43.

all we have seen so far in terms of global warming is about 0. 88 can he

:10:44.:10:49.

greet of -- 0. 8 degree of a rise. If we radically don't reduce our

:10:50.:10:54.

emissions it will he issed up to four, five, six degrees. We have a

:10:55.:10:59.

taster of where we are heading, we have a choice between now and 2025

:11:00.:11:03.

we have a choice about radically reducing emissions ordeal with the

:11:04.:11:07.

impacts of climate change. If we look at people's homes who are

:11:08.:11:13.

wrecked, pools of sewage across the ground floor, trying to persuade

:11:14.:11:19.

them to spend millions on emissions and decarbonisation now? They won't

:11:20.:11:25.

buy that? We have spent ?350 billion on bailing out the banks, we could

:11:26.:11:30.

have greened all our infrastructure, and made all the houses in the UK

:11:31.:11:35.

low carbon and resilient to climate change for less than we put into the

:11:36.:11:39.

banks. It would have employed more people and better for the

:11:40.:11:43.

engineering base, it would have helped with fuel poverty, everything

:11:44.:11:47.

was a tick on that, we gave that much to the banks. We are not short

:11:48.:11:52.

of money, wealth or capital to overcome climate change. What do you

:11:53.:11:55.

think of that? There is certainly things we can do to spend money

:11:56.:11:59.

better than we have been. I must say I'm not entirely convinced that

:12:00.:12:04.

spending it on decarbonisation is the best way of doing it. We have

:12:05.:12:09.

seen that the concern that people in the south west have about dredging,

:12:10.:12:14.

and I think usefully money could be spend on dredging rivers. I know

:12:15.:12:20.

there is a factor in the Thames floods as well. This is something we

:12:21.:12:24.

can do for very small amounts of money. Let alone the amounts that

:12:25.:12:29.

Kevin's talking about spending. We could do a lot to mitigate against

:12:30.:12:34.

the risk of future flooding. Because flooding has always been a risk. We

:12:35.:12:38.

talk about these, the rainfall in recent weeks having been completely

:12:39.:12:44.

unprecedented. In fact it isn't completely unprecedent. You may find

:12:45.:12:48.

odd places where it is unprecedented, over the south of

:12:49.:12:53.

England it isn't, more infall in the 1920s for example. We have dealt

:12:54.:12:56.

with these things in the past, we could deal with them in the future,

:12:57.:13:00.

spending really quite small sums of money. Let's not talk about spending

:13:01.:13:03.

billions, let's deal with the millions first. You think global

:13:04.:13:09.

temperatures will rise by three, four, five degrees by the end of the

:13:10.:13:14.

century? If we don't reduce our emissions. What will Britain look

:13:15.:13:18.

like then? We are talking about a metre of sea level rise towards the

:13:19.:13:22.

end of the century, if you put on top of that increased severity of

:13:23.:13:26.

storms and possibly increased frequency of storms. What would

:13:27.:13:30.

Britain be like? It would be a different shape. It doesn't matter

:13:31.:13:34.

how much dredging do you in the Somerset levels they simply wouldn't

:13:35.:13:38.

exist. Neither would large parts around the Thames as well. The shame

:13:39.:13:42.

of the UK map a lot of East Anglia would go, and many islands in the

:13:43.:13:45.

north of Scotland. Humberside as well. Many parts of the UK would

:13:46.:13:51.

suffer and we would see, you know, major problems in terms of rehousing

:13:52.:13:56.

people. Same this is a global problem, we would be having problems

:13:57.:14:00.

with imports of food from anywhere else in the world. Our energy system

:14:01.:14:06.

is not able to cope with this, we have a system that is really

:14:07.:14:10.

Victorian. The future of welfare will be a fee -- key battleground in

:14:11.:14:16.

the next election. Getting people off benefits is a key

:14:17.:14:23.

part of the Government's plans. What impact are the changes having. They

:14:24.:14:31.

Maundy Relief drop in centre they provide support and food to some of

:14:32.:14:34.

the poorest residents in the town. We spent a week there finding out

:14:35.:14:38.

about their experiences of benefit sanctions. Maundy Relief, can I

:14:39.:14:56.

help? Hiya Keith. I have still got six days left on my sanction, I

:14:57.:15:01.

wanted to know if I can get help with a food parcel and can you sort

:15:02.:15:07.

a microwave for me. I'm not sure if we have a microwave I can do a slip

:15:08.:15:13.

for you. Ever since we opened in 1998 we have always given out food

:15:14.:15:17.

parcels. Now we are giving out twice, possibly three-times as many,

:15:18.:15:22.

of those probably 70% are going to people whose benefits have been

:15:23.:15:24.

sanctioned, that means they are left without any means of support. I have

:15:25.:15:29.

got six days left. And then everything back to normal. Are you

:15:30.:15:32.

run out of everything? I have got nothing. Could we have dinner here?

:15:33.:15:44.

Dinner is at 1.00, can you stay for dinner. We are almost like a

:15:45.:15:49.

mini-welfare state here. But we're being asked to do more and more. It

:15:50.:15:54.

is forcing people into destitution, that's the word for it. You know we

:15:55.:16:00.

can do what we can here, family and friends, but family and friends are

:16:01.:16:03.

often in a similar position themselves. You can have people

:16:04.:16:11.

sitting in the dock in -- in the dark with no food because there has

:16:12.:16:15.

been a minor infringement of benefit rules, or in my opinion no

:16:16.:16:20.

infringement at all. John was sanctioned last October, he says he

:16:21.:16:23.

was told he hadn't been applying for enough jobs. This is the living room

:16:24.:16:32.

and that is the kitchen there. This is where it is supposed to be doing

:16:33.:16:38.

this up, but I have been living in this for a long time. The sanctions

:16:39.:16:44.

are about basically saying you are not making enough of an effort to

:16:45.:16:51.

look for work. So is that not fair? I turned around to them and said I'm

:16:52.:16:57.

61 now, there is no jobs for somebody at my age, there is young

:16:58.:17:02.

people, how can you sit there a young person, 25 years old and tell

:17:03.:17:06.

me about work. You haven't had the experience I have had. So I said

:17:07.:17:13.

don't make me laugh. This was a bigger bedroom, as you can see it is

:17:14.:17:17.

really damp, I was living in this, you can imagine breathing that in. I

:17:18.:17:21.

started getting really ill, ended up in hospital with it, with pneumonia.

:17:22.:17:27.

This was the smaller bedroom I found were warmer, easier to keep, to get

:17:28.:17:35.

warm in. You can see it is not right good. Sometimes when, if I'm really

:17:36.:17:41.

desperate I will go and do a bit of shoplifting, which sometimes it can

:17:42.:17:48.

be too busy and you are not able to do it. It is one of them things. You

:17:49.:17:53.

take that risk, you might get caught. But you don't think that

:17:54.:17:57.

when you are doing it. You just thinking of something to eat,

:17:58.:18:14.

mainly. Look after yourself and ring the numbers if need be, all right

:18:15.:18:23.

then, OK Jim see you Monday goodbye. Another one in crisis. We see people

:18:24.:18:31.

here with extremely complex needs who suffer from mental health

:18:32.:18:36.

problems who have been brought up in very, very bad circumstances, who

:18:37.:18:43.

have been in care, who have not had the support at the beginning of

:18:44.:18:46.

their lives that some of us would have expected. Many of those people

:18:47.:18:54.

can move through that and have fulfilled lives, and some can't. And

:18:55.:19:00.

they are too damaged, but they are not an attractive group of people to

:19:01.:19:03.

many people. They might be people that you wouldn't want to sit in the

:19:04.:19:08.

same room as. But they are vulnerable. I have been job

:19:09.:19:15.

searching, but I even said to them I said that I had obviously would

:19:16.:19:19.

bring it in to show them that I have been looking for the work and that.

:19:20.:19:25.

But well they still sanctioned me and I were meant to be paid today.

:19:26.:19:33.

You have not been? No. Zach's just been sanctioned. He's 25 and hasn't

:19:34.:19:39.

worked since he was 16. Come in here, no. Shut that door. Bella,

:19:40.:19:55.

chill out. There are jobs out there, why aren't you applying, or why

:19:56.:19:59.

aren't you getting those jobs, what is going wrong? Well, I don't know,

:20:00.:20:09.

some jobs they are only taking on certain qualified people, things

:20:10.:20:14.

like that, I don't have no qualifications. I left school before

:20:15.:20:21.

all my GCSEs and all that. But, most jobs are for qualified people and

:20:22.:20:29.

like yeah, I do apply for it, even things that you need qualifications

:20:30.:20:36.

for. But it is just, I don't know, obviously there must be better

:20:37.:20:42.

people like qualified people for it. Because I just don't seem to be

:20:43.:20:47.

getting anywhere at all. I have got a son to pay for, basically. And I

:20:48.:20:54.

might not even be able to have a place. Breakfast, eat it up. With

:20:55.:21:01.

the social services like obviously I need to have food in, I need to have

:21:02.:21:06.

the gas and electric and things like that, and that's basically who has

:21:07.:21:13.

told me I need a separate bed for my child. But obviously without being

:21:14.:21:23.

paid I can't do that. Eat it up? We know people are trying, really

:21:24.:21:29.

trying hard to get work and are unsuccessful. There is maybe quite a

:21:30.:21:34.

low-skilled labour pool here. The sort of jobs that people

:21:35.:21:37.

traditionally did aren't available any more. They don't have the means

:21:38.:21:42.

to travel to another part of the country because they don't have the

:21:43.:21:43.

money to

:21:44.0:14:47

Download Subtitles

SRT

ASS