26/02/2014 Newsnight


26/02/2014

Angela Merkel's visit to London, a possible mass animal extinction, the magic of government statistics and Jerry Springer. With Jeremy Paxman.


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Transcript


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Britain tomorrow won't be David Cameron. The most powerful figure in

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Britain will be Angela Merkel, the Chancellor of Germany, the Prime

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Minister wants to renegotiate our EU membership, what succre can she

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offer? What she want promise has no power to offer is the possibility of

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treaty change. Will it be enough? These animals are on the verge of

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extinction. Could these ones be going the same way, why isn't the

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planet big enough for all of us. And... The first trip is vanish --

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the first trick is vanishing inflation. If you wonder whether

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Government plays fast and loose with statistic, we will show you how it

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is done. And Jerry Springer on whether television serves up poor

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people as a freak show for the amusement of couch potatoes.

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Break out the beer, the Riesling the sasauges and the sourkraut, we are

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on the eve of a celebration of all things German. The Chancellor of the

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most powerful country in Europe is in London tomorrow to address a

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joint meeting of parliament. Having tea with the Queen and being

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buttered up by David Cameronment he wants to keep her sweet because

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she's potentially his most powerful ally in his attempts to renegotiate

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this country's relationship with Europe. An opinion poll today

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suggested voters in the two countries have some quite similar

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views on the European project. Emily Maitlis has been looking ahead to

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the visit, which, like Emily's report, may contain flash

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photography. ??FORCEDWHI # Here she comes... No, not the

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Queen, but she might as well be, such is the weight of expectation

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sitting on the German Chancellor's shoulders. Angela Merkel's due here

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tomorrow, she will get the full royal treatment. It is what she may

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say in private that may have a far greater impact. The Prime Minister

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is hoping to hear from her something akin to support for the kind of

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Europe that his party envisages. My admiration for Angela Merkel is

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enormous and there are many things that she has achieved that I would

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like to copy, not least getting re-elected! Angela Merkel gets to

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come here it address both Houses and she gets tea with the Queen. Warm

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words from the Prime Minister this morning, it all adds up to a very

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different level of reception to that accorded other European heads of

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state in recent weeks. It's far cry, for example, from the treatment the

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French President got when he turned up here last month. Mr Hollande,

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more renowned for his social life than socialism, was greeted with a

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pub lunch. Now no-one can complain about an English country pub, but it

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wasn't tea with Her 34. Madge. There is a clear reason behind the

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love-bombing, David Cameron needs Angela Merkel to guarantee him

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assurances in a revised treaty if he's to win a referendum campaign on

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the EU. I asked the deputy EU if he thinks that could happen? Reform

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yes, but unilateral repatriation, no. Merkel, for her part has a

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vested interest in keeping Britain happy. As a figurehead of EU power,

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she can't afford to see Britain leave it. I think she can offer

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certainly her support when it comes to some areas where there are strong

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common interests. One is to reduce EU regulation and red tape for small

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and medium-sized enterprise, another would be the support for a trade

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policy. Fine, says this woman, who understands German sensibilities

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better than most, but it won't be enough. I think she would be able to

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deliver what I call some "smarties", that will allow people to feel good

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about themselves in a limited way. In terms of the fundamental

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renegotiation which part of the British political class is looking

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for, returning powers, Angela Merkel is simply not in that kind of

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business. What the Conservatives want to set in stone, are what they

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call "limited opt-outs", ways of Britain more power for certain areas

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of policy. One German politician put it to my early it is not very likely

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for an opt-out, saying we British want an opt-out for the financial

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industry, and the Germans for the automotive industry, and the French

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for their sheep, in other words, once you start you would never stop.

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This restaurant, you didn't think you would see a whole piece on

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German state visit without a reference to a sausage, is the baby

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of two expatriots, they have been here four years, I asked how they

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see the British appetite for Europe? Split in half because in some ways

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the Brits always like to be the Brits on their own, in a way, I

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think. But obviously they are also collaborative. So I don't know what

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to really say? I'm totally in agreement, as long as they can keep

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the pound! All is good! Hopefully fingers crossed. They serve the

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Chancellor's favourite street food here, Crushy wurst, probably not on

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the menu for the dignitaries tomorrow. It is over lunch they will

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get down to business. Angela Merkel will all for targeted treaty change.

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This is a phrase that doesn't exist in EU process or proceed ducks and

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Labour argue if the language were made any plainer the gap between

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what David Cameron wants and what Chancellor Merkel can actually offer

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would be way too obvious. The Chancellor will see all three

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leaders tomorrow, each is likely to claim a meeting of minds. State

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craft is a powerful tool, but once the red carpet is re-rolled and the

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day is done, the Prime Minister will have to see with his own party if

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the German Chancellor has come with enough. Emily's here with more

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developments on coalition machinations. There were suggestions

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that David Cameron would rule out any future coalition and even make

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it a manifesto pledge if he thought it would bring back his backbenchers

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or anyone who might lend UKIP their vote and tell them he wants to go it

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alone. Last night on this programme you will remember Len McClusky from

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Unite, urging Ed Miliband to say he would lead a majority if he could do

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so. I put it to Nick Clegg in the press conference and asked him if he

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had a direct Conservatives, or any knowledge that this is what David

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Cameron might be wanting, along the lines of a coalition in future?

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Clearly there is a... How can I put it a McClusky tendency in both the

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Labour and the Conservative Party, what you are seeing is the last gasp

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of the assumption from the two bigger parties that some how they

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have always got a right to run things. It is now, they are now some

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how claiming that they would have a right to decide how this country is

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governed, even if they don't win a majority, that is clearly a

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preposterous assertion. He sounds pretty confident he will be in power

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again? He thinks, given the shape of electoral mathematics now, that

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coalitions will be more not less likely. He thinks for that reason

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the public have to get used to two parties working to the, even if they

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don't particularly get on. The example he used was work place

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colleagues. He says that people have to get used to hearing different

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things because they all experience it themselves. Some will have

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noticed, rather more stride dent tone in the recent weeks about Tory

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partner, they have been saying things like "unbalanced" "unfocussed

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and "dangerous policies", you but today he said the public knows and

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expect us not to be on the same page. One source close to the

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cabinet told me today that although they were going all out for a

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majority, this was a Tory source, they would find it much easier to

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work again with t Lib Dems than their own backbenchers. Still to

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come, Jerry Springer on how television portrays the poor. The

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two Muslim fanatics who hacked an offduty soldier to death were

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sentenced today, one got a minimum 45 years, the other should spend the

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rest of his life in prison. Neither showed remorse in court, and the

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judge said one was beyond the possibility of rehabilitation. So

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they will live at the tax-payers' expense for decades to come. What

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can be done with them during that time. This report contains some

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flashing images. It was, the judge said, a betrayal of Islam and the

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peaceful Muslims who give so much to this country. Michael Adebolajo and

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his accomplice, Michael Adebowale, started screaming and had to be

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hauled from the dock as they were sentenced to long prison terms

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today. There were sobs from the relatives and friends of Fusilier

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Lee Rigby, who all sat in silence throughout the judge's remarks. A

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police detective read the family's statement outside the Old Bailey.

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The Rigby family welcomes the whole life and significant sentences that

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have been passed down on Lee's killers. We feel that no other

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sentence would have been acceptable and we would like to thank the judge

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and the courts for handing down what we believe to be the right prison

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terms. Both men will start their sentences at a category A prison,

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like Belmarsh, in south London. This place has held some of the most

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high-profile terror suspects of recent years, from the radical

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preacher Abu Hamza, to one of the men behind the failed London

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bombings. One in six of the men behind the walls is a Muslim

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prisoner. As we were filming the man carrying Adebolajo and Adebowale

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pulled into the prison gates. Both men will be held in the

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high-security unit here, where any contact with other prisoners is

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tightly controlled. They have their phone calls monitored, it is

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unlikely they will be allowed to pray alongside other inmates. These

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men served time in Belmarsh after being jailed for soliciting murder

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after a rally about a cartoon satirising the profit Mohammed.

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Their views are extreme to other Muslims. The fact they are in the

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high-security unit people will be interested in what they were like. I

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remember when Abu Hamza was in the unit, people hoped to be in the unit

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just to see what they will like and hear what he has to say. A lot of

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people in the prison system, that will go through their mind. First

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and foremost they won't be able to see them in the high-security unit

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isolated from all other prisoners. Perhaps five years down the line

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will they transfer them to other high-security prisons where people

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may have similar views. Looking up terror suspects and convicts in the

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same place as of course led to serious difficulties in the past.

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The H-blocks in the Maze were notorious recruiting grounds for

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republicans and unionists. The authorities started worrying that

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looking up high numbers of extremists in Belmarsh could store

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up similar problems, there was a decision made to disperse those

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convicted of high-profile terror offences across the estate. It is a

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massive challenge for prison officers up and -- prison officers

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up and down the country, because you don't know what you are facing

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day-to-day. For example those prisoners themselves with extreme

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and radical views may well be the target themselves from the rest of

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the prison population. They could be dangerous towards prison officers,

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and the danger for them is that they radicalise other prisoners. Official

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Muslim chaplains are now being used to Dublin a new programme of

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one-to-one sessions meant for inmates with the most entrenched

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views. Independent advisers who work with extremists say it is possible

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to make a difference. You have to remember that these people hold

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these extreme ideas, they are religious zealot, they are people

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that want to propagage their point of view. They want to convince

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others around them. You have a premise for engaging in the first

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place. The difficulty would be I guess the idea that whether you are

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a credible interlocketer or not, are you someone they could be worth

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engaging with, you have to establish that credibility. Critics say the

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Government strategy isn't cutting through, of the 150 people convicts

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of terrorist-related offences in recent years, it is thought 40 have

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agreed to par at thises operate in the programme -- participate in the

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programme. The prison him mans were seen with suspicion. Nobody saw them

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as somebody who confide in or even to really refer to or to ask. They

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saw them as another guard or governor who was there to gather

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intelligence and information. In the case of Adebolajo and Adebowale any

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talk of rehabilitation and re-entry to society may mean little. Neither

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will be eligible for release until 2059. It is up to the authorities

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now to monitor and control. We are joined by Peter Neumann, founder and

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director of the international centre for radicalisation at King's College

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London. What will happen to these men? They are both going to go to

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prison. One will be there without any chance of parole, the other one

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is going to be released when he's a pensioner. So I don't think we

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should expect any miracles. They don't have any incentive to change

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their beliefs. If anything their incentive is to stick to their

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beliefs, to change them would be to admit to themselves that they have

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wasted their lives. Will they be free to associate with other inmates

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do you think? The way it is being handled in this country is they are

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being treated as high-security prisoners so they are in a

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high-security prison. And within these high-security prisons there

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are so called specialist units, they are not particularly made for

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terrorism offenders but the chance to interact with the rest of the

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prison population is pretty limited. You are an expert on

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deradicalisation, you have already hinted that there may not be much

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reason to think of deradicalising, but 45 years or longer is a great

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time to think about it? Absolutely. But since they are not going to be

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let out, I wonder if any efforts are going to be made? What would be the

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point of doing that? The principle incentive to deradicalise people is

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they will be let back into society at some point. If you are not going

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to be let back into society why would you even try? Are they similar

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in any sense to other guerrilla groups, terrorist groups that have

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been in prison, I'm thinking for example of the IRA? So the principle

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difference between Al-Qaeda-inspired terrorists and Irish republicans,

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Irish republicans looked at other prisoners as ordinary criminal, they

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wanted nothing to do with them. They didn't want to recruit them, they

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saw themselves as superior to them. Where as Al-Qaeda-inspired prisoners

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see their time in prison as an opportunity to radicalise. If they

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are being exposed to other prisoners they will try to make recruits. That

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creates a dilemma for the prison authorities, they can't allow them

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to associate with other prisoners that much because they will try to

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radicalise them. They are a real security risk? They are, they are

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and they have been, there have been incidents, and Abu Qatada said he

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saw so many people in prisons coming in ripe for recruitment. And now it

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is a dilemma for the prison authorities because they don't want

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the prisoners to be exposed to them. Let's hope there are no more

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incidents, if there are more there will be more men and women being

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locked up, because the Government have a strategy? Well the

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Government, if you had asked me that question five or six years ago I

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would have said probably no, but over the past five or six years they

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have actually done quite a lot, so prison staff have been trained,

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there are moderate Imans in prisons, you don't have to go to extremist to

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get religious instructions. There are a lot of things in place that

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would prevent radicalisation happening. It is not perfect but

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better than it was five or six years ago. Thank you very much. Now the

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end of life as we know it. In the last 500 million or so years there

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have been five mass extinctions of life on earth. The most famous is

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the one that wiped out the dinosaurs after a meetite about the --

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meteorite in excess of 45,000 miles an hour hit the earth. We are

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entering a sixth mass extinction it is thought, this time the agent is

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us. Kolbert is the author of The Sixth Extinction -- Elizabeth

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Kolbert is author of The Sixth Extinction, and we have the previous

:18:47.:18:51.

economist and writer from the Economist. Elizabeth Kolbert, how

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close are we to the sixth extinction? Well, some people would

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say that they are, you know, only on the verge of it, we can still

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prevent it and some scientists would say we are pretty deep into this

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project already. That we have been, human cause of extinction is a thing

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that goes back 50,000 years or so ago, since our ancestors went to

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places like Australia and caused a wave of extinctions. Do you worry

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about this? Yes I do. It is a really dramatic impact we have had on other

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species on the planet. I'm a little less pessimistic in that I think

:19:38.:19:40.

richer countries are beginning to take this in hand. One of the key

:19:41.:19:47.

factors in this is climate change isn't it? Yes. Climate change is

:19:48.:19:53.

predicted. If you, once again, all we can do at this point, because

:19:54.:19:56.

there is a pretty big lag time in the system in climate change. So

:19:57.:20:01.

there is a lot of modelling efforts, people trying to figure out what

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will the world look like 50-100 years from now. Many of the studies

:20:07.:20:09.

will be climate change will become the major driver of extinction. It

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isn't at this point. There we are. Some reassurance there? Well, if

:20:15.:20:19.

climate change is at the upper end of current estimates, then it will

:20:20.:20:24.

be disastrous, but if it is at the lower end than probably most

:20:25.:20:29.

biodiversity won't have that much of a problem with it. What time scale

:20:30.:20:34.

are we talking about here? In terms of climate change? Yeah. Well we can

:20:35.:20:38.

see some serious climate change by the end of the century. Some people

:20:39.:20:43.

are talking about four degrees, some talking one degree. One degree is

:20:44.:20:47.

not that much of a problem, four degrees is a massive problem. Let's

:20:48.:20:50.

supposing, Elizabeth Kolbert, I don't think in New York you can see

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this, but we have a rather nice illustration of a spotted frog,

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which has now vanished conveniently, a spotted frog and a wildcat. But

:20:59.:21:04.

supposing these creatures disappear, in what way are we diminished? We

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are really talking about the richness and variety of life on

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earth, which is last taken many, many millions of years reach this

:21:16.:21:21.

point, and we are unravelling it very, very quickly. We have to be

:21:22.:21:26.

concerned on absolutely all levels, on an ethical and practical level,

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at every level. Surely extinction is the natural counterpart to

:21:31.:21:34.

evolution. Everything is going to become extinct at some point? That

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is absolutely true. The question is the rate at which things are

:21:39.:21:41.

becoming extinct. When you think about it, it is absolutely clear.

:21:42.:21:45.

You don't see new species popping up around you all the tile. And you

:21:46.:21:49.

shouldn't, in the course of a human lifetime for example you should not

:21:50.:21:54.

be able to see a single species of mammal go extinct, it should only

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happen on the order of many hundreds of years that one species of mammal

:21:59.:22:04.

should go extinct. If they are going extinct faster than that, it means

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they are evolving more slowly an extinction, the variety of the

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planet is plummeting. That is happening now. Are you bothered by

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this deminute fusion in variety? Yes, but I do think we need to look

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at the efforts that a lot of countries are making to stop this

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reduction in variety. If you look over the last 30 years in the rich

:22:24.:22:27.

world we have made huge efforts in terms of getting rid of invasive

:22:28.:22:32.

species, of increasing nature reserves. The deforestation on the

:22:33.:22:38.

Amazon is running now at about 10% of what it was ten years ago. All

:22:39.:22:43.

over the world people are making a huge effort to stop this happening.

:22:44.:22:48.

You are absolutely right that over thousands of years humanity has had

:22:49.:22:52.

a disastrous affect on other species, but there is a good chance

:22:53.:22:56.

that we, simple Lewis because we have decided to, may be able to stop

:22:57.:23:01.

this destruction. And there will be plenty of people at home will say

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frankly what does it matter if the spotted frog disappears? A number of

:23:07.:23:10.

things, all sorts of species have really interesting DNA that medical

:23:11.:23:15.

researchers are increasingly realising can solve all sorts of

:23:16.:23:17.

problems that scientists which themselves cannot. Chairman Mao

:23:18.:23:27.

decided to wipe out all the sparrows and the result was a playing of

:23:28.:23:32.

insects. We need creatures more than we think we did. What do you make of

:23:33.:23:36.

the argument that human kind has it within its possibility of doing

:23:37.:23:40.

something to arrest this extinction, which may already have started, not

:23:41.:23:43.

of the frog of the general extinction, the mass extinction? I

:23:44.:23:47.

certainly hope that Emma is right. Absolutely. I think that what is

:23:48.:23:52.

propelling this extinction event forward is the ways in which we are

:23:53.:23:56.

changing the planet. Changing the planet on a global, geological

:23:57.:24:01.

scale. Very rapidly, much more rapidly than most species can adapt

:24:02.:24:05.

to, what we need to be thinking about and we need to be thinking

:24:06.:24:09.

about it very fast and on a global level is how we are doing that and

:24:10.:24:15.

how can we minimise our impact. Let as be realistic about it, this is

:24:16.:24:19.

all accelerating since the Industrial Revolution kicked off.

:24:20.:24:22.

Which has been a huge benefit to human kind. Are you suggesting that

:24:23.:24:29.

we some how diminish the benefits to human kind in order that we avoid

:24:30.:24:35.

something that may happen in a couple of million years time. How do

:24:36.:24:38.

you get people to think about that? I don't think we are talking about

:24:39.:24:41.

something that may happen in a couple of million years time. If we

:24:42.:24:44.

continue on the trajectory we are on, we are talking about causing a

:24:45.:24:48.

significant extinction event, a major extinction event within a

:24:49.:24:51.

matter of centuries, not a couple of million years from now. We are not

:24:52.:24:56.

talking about something that lies in some distant mythological future,

:24:57.:25:00.

and balancing what people need. There are as you suggest seven. Two

:25:01.:25:05.

billion of us on the planet right now, balancing what we need and

:25:06.:25:09.

want, against the needs of all the other creatures with whom we share

:25:10.:25:14.

this planet, the challenge really I think of our times and as was

:25:15.:25:20.

suggested it is not some abstract thing that is it nice to share your

:25:21.:25:27.

planet on with other creature, we dependant on those other creatures.

:25:28.:25:33.

I will ask Emma a question, without any preparation, could you persuade

:25:34.:25:38.

your children to wore and care about -- worry and care about an event

:25:39.:25:45.

that may happen in century's time? ? I would encourage them in different

:25:46.:25:51.

ways, I would say we need soil to grow stuff and DNA. You look very

:25:52.:25:57.

sceptical, but, about, more than a quarter, something like a half of

:25:58.:26:01.

the new drugs found these days comes from the DNA of other creatures,

:26:02.:26:05.

this is really important to us. Plus, people like nature, you know.

:26:06.:26:10.

People actually like holidaying in the sun, they don't want live in

:26:11.:26:14.

concrete jungles. Even the Chinese they have destroyed their

:26:15.:26:18.

environment more than anywhere else on the planet, they are now creating

:26:19.:26:22.

National Parks as a faster rate than anywhere else in the world. We could

:26:23.:26:28.

talk all night on this. Now there is a 97% chance you will believe this

:26:29.:26:31.

and a very much smaller chance that you won't. Politicians misused

:26:32.:26:39.

statistics to their own advantage. The head of the statistics society,

:26:40.:26:43.

the man in charge of guarding the official significants pointed out

:26:44.:26:47.

today that figures given by the Government for spending on flood

:26:48.:26:52.

defences weren't all they appeared to be. Ed Miliband announced that

:26:53.:26:54.

the Government was banged to rights, and no Labour Government would ever

:26:55.:26:59.

stoop so low as we all know. In this four-year period and indeed in this

:27:00.:27:03.

parliament overall spending on flood defences has gone up. Mr Speaker I

:27:04.:27:08.

am afraid that the figures the Prime Minister is quoting are phoney, and

:27:09.:27:13.

I believe he knows it. How is it that politicians are always able, as

:27:14.:27:18.

if by magic, to find statistics to suit their case? Revealing the

:27:19.:27:25.

Westminster's inner circle's inner trick, we present to you tonight

:27:26.:27:35.

Lessons in Lull illusion. The First trip is vanishing inflation. The

:27:36.:27:47.

slight of -- sleight of hand here is the Government hopes you don't

:27:48.:27:50.

realise that money loses its value over time. You might hear them talk

:27:51.:27:54.

about protecting a budget in cash terms, that is what they say when

:27:55.:27:58.

they can't say they are protecting a budget in real terms. That is to say

:27:59.:28:01.

they are increasing the budget faster than inflation. If you

:28:02.:28:06.

protect it only in tax terms it means you are only cutting it by

:28:07.:28:11.

more than 10%. The The second trick is apples and oranges. This piece of

:28:12.:28:22.

conjuring is very switch but very powerful. What you do is you compare

:28:23.:28:27.

two numbers and they seem to talk about the same thing but aren't the

:28:28.:28:35.

same at all. Chris Grahaming back in 20 -- Grayling produce figures that

:28:36.:28:40.

showed a rise in crime in the 1980s, but in truth statisticians knew it

:28:41.:28:48.

had fallen. But Mr Grayling was looking at the way they recorded

:28:49.:28:52.

crime. That was one trick that didn't come off. For their next

:28:53.:29:04.

trick the amazing moving goal posts. This is where Governments just

:29:05.:29:08.

change rules when the data doesn't suit them. Take the case of Gordon

:29:09.:29:12.

Brown, he set himself two fiscal rules, those are rules that are

:29:13.:29:17.

designed to show that he was a prudent custodian of the public

:29:18.:29:23.

finances. When one of them, the golden rule, didn't suit him, he

:29:24.:29:27.

fiddled with the definitions of the data and finally changed the years

:29:28.:29:31.

over which it would count. For their next trick, junk research. Ministers

:29:32.:29:42.

can just commission dodgy analysis. Cambridge University opposed plans

:29:43.:29:45.

to change the AS-level, presenting real research that showed it was

:29:46.:29:50.

helpful. Whitehall officials cooked up some nonsense numbers of their

:29:51.:30:02.

own in retaliation. Finally, just lying claim You know how that works.

:30:03.:30:07.

But even so they do a lot of it. Takes the case of the Liberal

:30:08.:30:09.

Democrats who claimed credit for a doubling of our offshore wind

:30:10.:30:16.

capacity since 2010. That did actually happen, we have increased

:30:17.:30:21.

our offshore wind capacity, but all because of policies undertaken by

:30:22.:30:25.

the last Government. Everyone involved in politics says they want

:30:26.:30:29.

more evidence-based policy. But if we are going to have that we need

:30:30.:30:33.

everyone involved in politics, the politicians, the lobbyists, the

:30:34.:30:38.

charities and the journalists to just be a little bit straighter when

:30:39.:30:47.

it comes to statistics. Chi Onwurah is a Labour Shadow

:30:48.:30:54.

Cabinet office minister with an MBA in statistic, David Spiegelhalter is

:30:55.:31:01.

Professor for public understanding at the University of Cambridge. You

:31:02.:31:05.

are not surprised Governments play slightly fast and loose with

:31:06.:31:09.

statistics? As we saw in the segment, you need to tell a story to

:31:10.:31:12.

get a message across. Politicians need to tell us in the story and a

:31:13.:31:16.

narrative, and statistics are important. Characters in that

:31:17.:31:23.

narrative. The real danger comes when they are part of the fiction.

:31:24.:31:27.

It is the case that this Government seems to be running a kind of

:31:28.:31:34.

culture of statistical administration. Gordon Brown

:31:35.:31:36.

wouldn't have doing anything like that would he? This Government has

:31:37.:31:40.

been written to by the national statistics authority, so repeatedly,

:31:41.:31:44.

a so many times that it is becoming embarrassing. It is also the case

:31:45.:31:48.

that this Government doesn't believe in active intervention. They are not

:31:49.:31:52.

going to freeze energy prices. Get off the party horse for a second?

:31:53.:31:57.

When you believe it should be left to free markets then you need to do

:31:58.:32:01.

more, you have more of a temptation to manipulate the statistics. Do you

:32:02.:32:04.

think things have got cleaner and better? Actually I think they have a

:32:05.:32:09.

bit. I think they have got better. I think statistics now are subject to

:32:10.:32:14.

more scrutiny than they used to be. There is agencies such as Fact Check

:32:15.:32:19.

and Full Fact, that will take people to task, then there is the national

:32:20.:32:23.

statistics authority. When be somebody sees a bad number they

:32:24.:32:28.

write to Sir Andrew Dilnot, it is like going to the headmaster and say

:32:29.:32:33.

David Cameron said something wrong and then he's writing letters. It is

:32:34.:32:38.

a great development that politicians are being held to account for their

:32:39.:32:42.

use of numbers. Is public understanding any better though?

:32:43.:32:49.

Yes, that was supposed to be my job. It is difficult, I mean the royal

:32:50.:32:53.

statistical society has a campaign to try to improve public and

:32:54.:32:56.

political understanding of statistics and chance and risk and

:32:57.:33:00.

how that will work in society. It is a long job, to give them their

:33:01.:33:05.

credit the changes to the GCSE and the proposed new core maths

:33:06.:33:08.

qualification should also contribute to that in education. Do your

:33:09.:33:18.

colleagues have any idea of statistics? MPs represent people,

:33:19.:33:22.

and coming from engineering it was something of a shock to the system

:33:23.:33:27.

to see the extent to which the understanding of statistics and

:33:28.:33:36.

figures and being familiar around numbers is no better than the public

:33:37.:33:44.

average. The fact that what we say tends to be amplified we contribute

:33:45.:33:48.

often more to the noise than the signal when it comes to statistics

:33:49.:33:51.

and figures. That is really important because statistics are so

:33:52.:33:55.

important. I often think about Florence Nightingale, well known as

:33:56.:34:00.

a nurse, less well known as a statistical innovator who invented

:34:01.:34:06.

the Pi Chart and said if you want to understand God's thoughts you must

:34:07.:34:10.

study statistics for there is written his purposes. I wouldn't put

:34:11.:34:14.

it so religiously, I would say if you want to understand humanity and

:34:15.:34:18.

Government achievement study statistics. For example in

:34:19.:34:22.

Newcastle, some areas of Newcastle the average life expectancy is 15

:34:23.:34:27.

years more than some areas of south Kensington. It tells us. Fewer,

:34:28.:34:35.

sorry 15 years fewer than in some areas of south nsington. That tells

:34:36.:34:43.

us a lot about our society. In a highly educated person like you

:34:44.:34:46.

makes that elementary slip where will the rest of us go. I'm sure

:34:47.:34:51.

that everybody could make slips and what we're talking about here is the

:34:52.:34:55.

public understanding and use of statistics.

:34:56.:34:57.

There is a big difference though between the sort of job that we have

:34:58.:35:02.

got over here and your sort of job. Your job is about clean, facts,

:35:03.:35:10.

data? Yes. Your job is about judgment? That's very true. I don't

:35:11.:35:18.

think you can make a complete split. People who produce statistics knows

:35:19.:35:21.

that statistics have been chosen and constructed. They are not just pure

:35:22.:35:25.

facts about the world. The last unemployment figures in the last

:35:26.:35:30.

couple of weeks says unemployment has gone down 124,000, no it hadn't.

:35:31.:35:34.

It is based on a survey, did you know that. They only know those

:35:35.:35:41.

figures accurately to plus or minus 100,000. People don't know that.

:35:42.:35:44.

That changes almost within the margin of error? Exactly. But last

:35:45.:35:51.

year unemployment went down by 37,000 and a big fuss was made about

:35:52.:35:55.

it, actually you had no idea if it had gone down or not. That is not

:35:56.:35:59.

part of the discourse. People don't understand that statistics are

:36:00.:36:03.

actually constructed to some extent. The argument today with David

:36:04.:36:07.

Cameron and the flooding expenditure, that was because of

:36:08.:36:10.

changing the time scale, changing not allowing for inflation, it was

:36:11.:36:14.

what you included in terms of expenditure, all those little

:36:15.:36:18.

changes meant that they could say they sent more than Labour did in

:36:19.:36:23.

their period. It is not to say those statistics in a sense are correct,

:36:24.:36:27.

it is just what they chose to use. That is why you do need people to

:36:28.:36:32.

look rat these, to take them -- to look at these and take them apart

:36:33.:36:35.

and deconstruct them. It is not a choice between fact and fiction,

:36:36.:36:39.

there is always an element of judgment in the statistics we have

:36:40.:36:43.

useded. You have to use facts to get across developed policy and a

:36:44.:36:47.

message. What we can perfectly agree about is the really important

:36:48.:36:53.

decision that is we're taking now. Say on flood defence but in the

:36:54.:36:57.

future around climate change and increasing population extinction

:36:58.:36:59.

there will be a lot of statistics involved in making those choices,

:37:00.:37:02.

people have to understand how they are used and politicians who have

:37:03.:37:12.

the job of getting those decisions made have to understand them. Can I

:37:13.:37:22.

ask you on public subjects understanding. At what point does an

:37:23.:37:26.

unemployment figure become reliable. If it goes down by 50,000 it is

:37:27.:37:31.

meaningless. It is not meaning less, it is more likely to go down rather

:37:32.:37:35.

than up, but it has to go down by 100,000 for the confidence of it

:37:36.:37:40.

going down. The broadcasting regulator Ofcom

:37:41.:37:44.

says it is going to investigate the Channel 4 programme Benefits Street,

:37:45.:37:47.

after receiving the best part of 2,000 complaints. Yet the programme

:37:48.:37:52.

yielded Channel 4 their biggest audience for the best of two years.

:37:53.:37:56.

It is more evidence of the way in which a particular portrayal of poor

:37:57.:38:02.

people on television has become immensely popular. The people on the

:38:03.:38:08.

Jeremy Kyle show on the ITV reflects the same taste. The old injunction

:38:09.:38:11.

for the special care and reverence for the poor seems to have been

:38:12.:38:16.

shunted aside for the freak show. There was a time not so long ago

:38:17.:38:23.

when the two people you needed and replied upon were your grand show.

:38:24.:38:29.

Years ago the talk show was a careful gassing about the business

:38:30.:38:33.

of the day, and perhaps the little general discussion on such saucy

:38:34.:38:38.

topics as relationships. Then this happened... The Jerry Springer show

:38:39.:38:44.

and others like it found huge ratings success in the 1990s, with

:38:45.:38:51.

an increasingly unashamed brand of lurid personal confession and

:38:52.:38:56.

confrontation between protaganists. My next guests say they have double

:38:57.:39:04.

the troupe. At the show's peak this journalist turning politician turned

:39:05.:39:11.

ring master, he spawned a foul mothed opera in his tribute.

:39:12.:39:16.

# Hope you die slow with Payne The airing of dirty washing on

:39:17.:39:22.

national television format has found notable success on these shores too.

:39:23.:39:32.

The Jeremy Kyle once "human bear bating" by a judge has reached its

:39:33.:39:37.

ten years. Recently Channel 4's Benefits Street brought a slanging

:39:38.:39:42.

match over whether the trove viles of poor people -- at that veils of

:39:43.:39:47.

poor people should be put on television.? ? What does the creator

:39:48.:39:55.

of these shows think about the monster he helped to create. The

:39:56.:40:03.

Godfather of the confessional chat show is here. Are you ashamed of it?

:40:04.:40:07.

The show is stupid but I have always thought the show is stupid. Ashamed,

:40:08.:40:13.

not. Shouldn't you be? No, not any more than a journalist should be

:40:14.:40:18.

doing the news. For example you would make a living, let as say you

:40:19.:40:22.

are a journalist and you do the news every night, every night you tell

:40:23.:40:28.

stories about very bad things and it is very profitable for the station,

:40:29.:40:32.

you are not necessarily helping the people you talk about, newspapers

:40:33.:40:36.

are in that business all the time. You could decide, you could decide

:40:37.:40:42.

only to put well-scrubbed, wealthy people that speak the Queen's

:40:43.:40:48.

English on television and just do that. But that wouldn't reflect the

:40:49.:40:55.

whole society. You are being factitious? No television should

:40:56.:40:58.

reflect, in a free society the entire culture. If all shows were

:40:59.:41:03.

like mine that would be wrong. But you cannot just have television that

:41:04.:41:11.

is like Friends, Seinfeld, all these good looking and wealthy people and

:41:12.:41:15.

you love it. If some wealthy and famous person goes on television and

:41:16.:41:19.

talks about who he or she has been sleeping with, we can't get enough

:41:20.:41:23.

of it, we cheer them. If it is a person of low income we say trash,

:41:24.:41:27.

trash, like they are less than another person. Speak for yourself,

:41:28.:41:33.

some of us chose not to look at either? You do watch television, are

:41:34.:41:37.

you saying here that you don't want television? Of course you watch

:41:38.:41:42.

television. I'm interested in whom is sleeping with whom? I'm not, I

:41:43.:41:47.

watch sport. I don't watch my show I have always said that. If I was in

:41:48.:41:51.

college I would. I would get a hoot out of it. I'm saying we shouldn't

:41:52.:41:57.

be too uppity and say if these shows show poor people it is trash but if

:41:58.:42:03.

it is rich people it is OK. It is not that it shows poor people but

:42:04.:42:09.

that it ex-employments poor people? -- it exploits poor people. I worked

:42:10.:42:17.

in news for ten years, that was exploitation, never once was there a

:42:18.:42:21.

conversation in the newsroom that we should drop a story because this

:42:22.:42:25.

story might hurt this person, ruin their career, ruin their marriage or

:42:26.:42:30.

as you them discomfort. We never cared about the people we did

:42:31.:42:34.

stories on. You were working in a rubbish newsroom. I have been party

:42:35.:42:38.

to those conversations many a time? You are telling me when you run a

:42:39.:42:42.

story on the BBC that puts someone in a bad light, you ask their

:42:43.:42:47.

permission first. No, not ask their permission, that is what you said, a

:42:48.:42:50.

conversation saying is this going to be damaging to the person, that

:42:51.:42:55.

Conservatives most certainly the one? Did you say to the person who

:42:56.:42:58.

was it was damaging and you don't run the story. That happened many a

:42:59.:43:01.

time? That is not true. If

:43:02.0:36:06

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