14/04/2014 Newsnight


Are Russian troops posing as Ukrainians? The backlash after Nigel Evans. The hacking trial. Saved from death row. Michael Morpurgo on WWI. With Jeremy Paxman.

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Zero Bottleneck are the towns of eastern


Ukraine falling to the mobs or Special Forces. And town after town,


Following Nigel Evans's acquittal, a Tory MP rejects accusations that she


tried to get the complainants to call the police. I have offered to


step down as an MP if they felt I pressured them into making an


allegation. We will ask Nigel Evans's friend, what should happen


next? The story of a horse conscripted into battle has made a


global conflict real for many. We ask the author whether stories about


the First World War help or hinder or understanding of it.


The confrontation in Ukraine has worsened today. Much of the rest of


the world wrings its hands, but plainly doesn't have a clue what to


do about a far array country of which they know little. The European


Union is offering financial help, Washington says it is assessing the


situation, and the UN Security Council whitters. The Ukraine says


it has asked for UN peace keepers but Russia holds the veto on their


deployment. We're We saw another deadline for


protesters to vacate buildings come and go this morning. We saw a threat


from Kiev to conduct an anti-terrorist operation as they


called it, no action, the protesters are still there, by my account


occupying 12 public buildings across the region. Trading accusations


internationally, the US, the EU and the Ukrainians themselves have said


it is Russia stirring up trouble here, causing the protestors and


even accusing them of having their own forces on the grounds. The


Russians answering and saying it is the Ukrainians who are causing the


trouble by not listening to the demands of the protesters. We are at


a dangerous moment, we have 35,000-40,000 Russian troops just


the other side of the border here and the protesters holed up in the


building down the road for me and not appearing to back down. It is a


very difficult moment for Kiev. We have seen news that President Putin


has phoned Barack Obama and asked him to restrain the Kiev


authorities. There is a real threat of war here. Now the Russians have


flatly denied that they have got any troops here taking part, Special


Forces, taking part in the seizure of these buildings. And we haven't


seen widespread, what were call little green men that we saw in


Crimea, stoney-faced and well-disciplined troops, obviously


Russian soldiers, despite denials. We haven't seen those widely here.


But who are the people taking over all these public buildings over the


past weekend and today today, I have been travelling an the region and


watching events unfold. A provincial police station in eastern Ukraine.


On the streets outside there is battle for control. A shot rings


out, this was on Saturday morning were it all began. That man in the


blue jacket is a local journalist. The mob has decided's an enemy of


their cause. In towns across this region angry pro-Russian protesters


have been taking over Government buildings. We arrived here just


afterwards, our car was stopped by the same crowd. The protesters are


extremely aggressive, they just saw us with our camera, they threatened


us, they broke our memory chips, they told us to get back in the car


and get out of here immediately. What is by now familiar pattern we


got news that police stations were falling to protestors in other towns


as well. We went to find the journalist that fled in search of


safety. TRANSLATION: I will carry on, I'm used to this. I have had


death threats, I have had threatening notes and text messages.


Someone through a rock through the windscreen of my car. Russia has


explicitly denied sending Special Forces into eastern Ukraine. But who


were the men then who seized the police station? TRANSLATION: There


were about 100 of them, 10-15 guys were clearly soldiers. They arrived


in a mini- but I couldn't tell if they were Russian or -- a minibus, I


couldn't tell if they were Russian or Ukrainian, the rest were local


guys in military fatigues. We returned the next day, the


protesters had barricaded themselves inside the police compound. We got


permission to go in and film at what is becoming the centre of this


rebellion. The men at the gate referred to their commander by his


nickname "Slava", clearly these were local guys, not the Russian Special


Forces on open display in Crimea. But they were armed. We saw at least


a dozen men carrying Kalashnikov rifles and other firearms, weapons


they appeared to have taken from the armoury inside t police station


itself. These men said they were old friends from the local school. Some


were still neighbours. There was nothing organised about it this man


says, he's a carpenter and he heard what was happening on TV, jumped


straight in a taxi and came here. His friend, a car mechanic, admits


they did take some of the equipment out of the police station, just to


defend themselves. All of them refused to recognise the new


authorities in Kiev, they want a referendum on independence for the


region. He says doesn't need Russia, America or England, he wants to be


left in peace in his own country without someone telling him how to


live his life. Today Kiev indicated it might consider some sort of


referendum on autonomy. But it is also sending in military hardware,


and for these citizens that is a scary thought. They have put up


barricades on the roads into town in anticipation of an attack.


TRANSLATION: Vladimir Putin help us, please. It is clear who he sees as


the guarantor of his security. These local women are preparing Molotov


cocktails, they say they are ready for a fight, but they are not


Russian Special Forces. But who are these men? Seen here taking over the


police station in the nearby town. Could these with the Russian Special


Forces? They certainly look more disciplined and better armed than


the local activists. Might this be the pattern? The men with the big


guns go in first and then retreat leaving the locals to hold the


building. It is clear that there are overlinked between some of the


seperatists and Russian nationalist groups. This for example is


Alexander Dugan, pick at the end here in South Ossetia, weeks before


the Russians invaded Georgia. He's a Russian idealog, with links to the


Kremlin, who relishes greater empire. Here he is in late March,


giving advice over Skype to one of the leading rebels, in a


conversation littered with words like "traitors" and "enemies", he


tells the seperatists to organise local self-defence forces. Set up


checkpoints and take control of the eastern border he advises. There is


no suggestion that this particular activist or Dugan have been involved


in the seizure of Government buildings, but this conversation


closely mirrors the thinking here inside seperatist headquarters in


the centre. At this meeting seperatists discuss their plans,


include seizing control of airports, military installations and those


border posts. They were clear who they would turn to if Kiev attacked


in response. TRANSLATION: We will call on Russia for help, on Belarus,


or Kazakhstan, or Georgia, I know plenty of people who are sick and


tired of what happened after their revolution. Here the protesters


remain in control of the police station, the seperatist now occupy a


dozen buildings across the region. What happens now here inside this


police compound is absolutely crucial to the future of this


country. If this stand-off can some how be resolved peacefully, then


there is hope for a united Ukraine east and west together. If this


place is stormed, if these barricades are broken down and there


are mass casualties, the ramifications of that will be felt


hard and for a long time to come. Kiev is losing control. But any


crackdown could become the pretext for a Russian invasion. One false


move could lead to war. Our guest is a specialist in the


Ukraine at the foreign affairs think Stanning, Chatham House, we have the


a representative from the Russian radio station from here. What is the


hope here? To see Ukraine as a stable and neutral country, which it


has stayed for the last 23 years of its independence. That is difficult


when you haven't got a Government there? There is a Government and it


was elected by a legitimate parliament that has been in place,


taking into account the vacuum of power, when the fugutive President


left. It is case of ruling? If it is case of ruling over the security and


the externally ruled armed conflict. So you assert, it is just a claim?


The claim is the Ukrainian Government will take control in the


way of consolidating the power. It is clear now that some parts of


eastern Ukraine would like their own revolution. But it has never been a


home-grown seperatist movement. What does Russia want to see happen in


eastern Ukraine then? I guess. Russia does believe in the


territorial integrity of the country does it? That has been said, Crimea


was a very special case, but I guess what it does want to see is


stability in eastern Ukraine and respect for the rights of the people


who live there that are mostly ethically and linguistically, I'm


not sure about mostly, but significantly Russian. That is a


wish that should be respected isn't it? It is clearly we don't have any


evidence in the last months that any rights, any human rights of


political rights, or ethnic minority rights, of people who we see on the


screens have been violated. There is an OAC mission that said no rights


have been violated. The instinct of the new authorities, the Kiev


Government, right from the start, from the word go, were to limit the


use of the Russian language, and actually that concerned Hungarians


as well. And Hungary came out in protest against that and


Switzerland, strangely, although I'm not aware of any Swiss community in


the Ukraine. I don't think we can apply instincts towards a political


reality. The political reality is such that the language law passed by


the old President is in place. It was vetoed by the acted President.


So any of the linguistic rights granted before are in place. But you


would accept that there was an elected Government in your country,


that it was deposed, that it is clearly incapable of asserting its


will in the country. Would you accept all of that? You mean there


was a legitimate Government of President Yanakovic who violated


human rights. But there was a coup in your country? There was a coup in


parliament and it has they had acknowledged this Government and it


was voted in the parliament. The change to the, or the revert to the


2004 coalition was agreed to by Yaakovic, the change in the


constitution was adopted by Yushenko, the previous pro-western


President. The The mamenings we see are covert operations to destablise.


I wouldn't say it is a Russian plan to destable Ukraine. We have never


seen militants before, we have never seen such images in the eastern part


of Ukraine. And I mean these... You are seeing them now? These men could


have been deployed either from Crimea, under Russian control or


crossing the boarder from Russia. Or possibly they are local people?


There are local people later on used as a shield and some of these police


stations they are taken over by clearly paramilitary troops. Do we


know and have evidence of that. There has been talk from Washington


about 20 of those special ops Russian soldiers have been captured.


Let's see them. There has been evidence of the arms today using the


ammunition of the Russian military. AKM-74 has been produced since 1974,


it has been in circulation in the former Soviet Union. The British


Foreign Secretary, he's also not been there says that there is a


clear evidence of Russian intervention. But he has got


satellite surveillance, he has human intelligence. You know, these are


people who don't usually make things up aren't they? Don't they? Go back


to Iraq? Do we? Fair point! But there is another thing that the


satellite images are available on Google maps. I don't think this is


about satellite images and we are not saying that Russia is deploying


those militants that we see on the satellite images I think they are


infiltrating through the covert security operations, and throughout


the week we have been hearing Ukrainian services arresting Russian


intelligence officials on the territory of Ukraine being part of


the covert operation. Now it certainly doesn't seem fair that a


man judged by the courts to have done nothing wrong should end up


massively out of pocket and know when mud is thrown it is usual some


of it will stick. The former Deputy Speaker of the House of Commons up


on charges of sexual assault says the trial cost him his life savings


and dignity. The Crown Prosecution Service is trying to recover from


another failed case. Nigel Evans believes those accused should be


entitled to the anonymity of those who make the complaints. The MP who


took the original allegations to the Commons authorities has told


Newsnight that she doesn't regret doing so, but has faced massive


hostility from colleagues. Cleared of all allegation, free to


take the breakfast TV sofa. Nigel Evans makes no secret of how


low his spirits fell, at one point he considered taking his lie. In the


early days, at the darkest most loaneeist moment -- loneliest


moment, you think there was only one thing worse and that is being


accused of murder. It was only because of the friends who had faith


and hope in me that kept me absolutely solid. People who you


would think would run away from you, because of the allegations that were


made actually ran towards me. Now he's won the fight to clear his


name, he will battle, so others accused of sexual offences can have


their identity protected. Number Ten said there are no plans to change


the rules. But Evans's friends in the Commons are making plans for a


party to celebrate his return. The MP who first heard the complainants


allegations is unlikely to be invited. So I asked what was her


motivation? The action I took was to pass the contact details for the


police to these individual, I did not report this case to the police,


in fact I did everything I could to try to see if there was an internal


disciplinary procedure. Because that was the clear preference of those


involved. The problem is within parliament, if people have a concern


about a member of parliament they are working for, that person is


their employer so they can take a complaint to them or they can take


it to the whip's office. The whip's office is hope lessly conflicted in


handling these kinds of allegations. Why was it up to you, even to take


it to the Speak e these young men could have at any point gone to the


police if they had seen fit? Of course they could have done, but the


point is they didn't wish to go to the police at that stage, they


wished to, this is what they have told me, they wished to have a


disciplinary process. Didn't wish to go to the police at that stage, they


wished to, this is Did you push them into that? No it


would be very serious if I did. Why did you say you would step down? If


I felt I had pressured them, or they felt I had pressured them, it is


such a serious allegation I would be prepared to step down. When did you


offer to step down? I phoned them yesterday, because I felt it was


very important to, you know, because this allegation had been made about


me and my professionalism, I wanted to know whether that is how they


felt? Not, of course it is how they felt about it that matters. And they


were both very clear with me that they hadn't felt that I had


pressured them. But if they had said to me they felt pressured or they


felt I should have stepped down I would have done so. Many of your


colleagues and Nigel Evans himself believe that some how you were


trying to push this. Nigel Evans has said today it was mentioned to you


as a throw away remark and yet you pursued it. He didn't know why but


he says you decided to have it in for him? That is ex-orderry, I would


turn that around, why is it that people in parliament don't take


forward concerns that are reported them. These issues are widely


discussed in parliament. This was the first time anyone had ever said


to me this has happened to me. Are you surprised that colleagues,


frankly, some of them are furious with what you did? Of course I'm


surprised. I would say the really serious questions that need to be


answered in parliament is where are the people who have been hearing


these kinds of allegations in the past and not taking them forward


SFUF. We need to have the same standards as other professionals.


What is the issue with culture in Westminster? There are issues of


professionalal boundaries, you are in a position of power, and that is


my point of view. People may think I'm were youedish, but there you


are, I think there is a professional responsibility and some MPs overstep


the mark. There are calls for the CPS to treat these cases differently


and calls for anonymity for defendants? I stress that Nigel


Evans has been found innocent of all charges, and this is entirely


separate. The point is what we must now do is not have a kneejerk


reaction to actually change the law. Nigel Evans and many of your


colleagues look at this case now, look at what happened to him and the


case fell apart, they believe now it is time for change, are they simply


wrong? I think that we have to be very wary to do anything that stops


women and men of course, because men are victims as well, from coming


forward. I would not support absolutely would not support a


removal of anonymity, nor for a change in the law that allows the


CPS to bring lesser charges to build a case. Because in some cases, and


I'm not referring at all to this case, but in some cases that can be


very important. Do you regret at all doing what you did? I think it is


very difficult. The thing I regret about it is the hostility that I


have faced in actually doing it. It has been very uncomfortable bringing


this forward. Certainly professionally for me it has been a


very difficult experience. And no doubt will continue to be a very


difficult experience in Westminster. Do I think that if somebody came to


me again and said I have been raped would I feel I would say to them in


future, nothing to do with me. I think that what we absolutely need


within Westminster is a process where people can go to. I never


sought to be judge and jury in this case, that is for others, somebody


needs to be there who can listen to all of the evidence and make a


judgment. And the fact is unfortunately within Westminster


there is no process for that to happen.


We invited Nigel Evans to speak with us this evening, but we were told he


wasn't available. The former Conservative MP Anne Widdicombe gave


a character reference at the trial. You thought he was kind, truthful,


considerate, when you heard about the drinking and the inappropriate


sexual conduct, or contact, what did you think? I think the fact that


somebody makes the odd drunken pass does not make them a rapist. And I


never believed the allegations that were made. But they have been


through a proper process of trial. And have been shown not to be


sustained. And I think there are now major questions to answered, not


least on the part of the CPS. Because this is just the latest in a


whole series of cases where high-profile people have faced not


one charge but multiple charges and have then been acquitted on all of


them. Just before we move on to that, was the sort of behaviour that


you heard about, you say everybody gets drunk occasionally and does


something inappropriate, but precisely where you draw the line is


the key thing. Is it appropriate in the Deputy Speaker of the House of


Commons? I don't know exactly what happened, I mean Nigel Evans denies


what was suggested. I was certainly never invited tho these events and


-- to these events and wouldn't have expected to have been. What we all


now know is he was innocent of every single charge from the most serious


one which was rape, down to sexual assault, where even the alleged


victim said they didn't want to press charges. The police had


insisted. I do think there are two big questions, in fact there are


three big questions coming out of this. The first is whether the CPS


is operating to a sensible standard of proof when it decides to bring


these charges. The second is whether there should be a level playing


field when it comes to anonymity. The third is whether there is now a


habit on the part of the CPS of bunkedling up a whole load of very


weak cases, none of which would stand up on their own in court and


suggesting that some how because there is a lot, therefore there must


be something in it because there is no smoke without fire. Let's take


the two points about the CPS, is it in that terrible phrase "fit for


purpose" as far as you can see? I'm not saying it is unfit for purpose,


but it has certainly got its approach wrong. It was wrong in the


case of Bill Roache and wrong out of 14 of the charges for Dave Lee


Travis, and wrong with the nine charges against Nigel Evans. If it


has any sense at all it will be saying we're not getting this right,


we need to look at our approach. Most people reading some of the


evidence, not just in Nigel's trial, but in some of the others' which I


have mentioned say hang on how could anyone bring a case based on this


evidence. Why do we have all the expense, and from the point of view


of the defendant also the agony of a public trial, tying up state


resources when actually most of the evidence is flimsy. Let's look at


the case of the public aspect to all of this. There are suggestions now,


not least from your friend, Nigel Evans, that in a case like this a


defendant should be entitled to the anonymity often given to those who


claim that they have been assaulted. What do you think about that? I


think that either you have anonymity for both, or you have anonymity for


neither, or you have the course which I would prefer, which is where


you do allow accusers to be anonymous, but at the end of the


trial, if the accused is acquitted, then it should be a matter for the


judge to decide whether or not the anonymity should be preserved. Or


whether they should be named at that point. If he thinks an allegation


was wholly unsubstantiated or frivolous or malicious or whatever


it might be, he might then decide that they could no longer have


anonymity and the press could name them, or he might decide that the


circumstances were such that the anonymity should continue. What I


don't think is fashion and I have said it for a long time, I have


written this in the past. What I don't think is fair is where you


have got anonymity f one side but not for the other. In the specific


circumstances of the House of Commons, the Houses of Parliament


generally. Doesn't the place need a different set of rules and


procedures that people can go through in order to have their


grievances properly explored without having to take it up with their


employer, effectively, the member of parliament who is also the


discipline channel. A member of staff can go to a tribunal in the


same way as anyone else. If there is a possible criminal element


involved, really they reported it to the Speaker, and they took action.


Nobody would suggest up internal disciplinary procedures over a rape


charge. For goodness sake. So I don't actually think that many of


the procedures need changing, but I think as a result of this case that


there are things that will be looked at, and probably quite rightly so.


Thank you. Now, it is one of the greatest nightmares, being convicted


of a crime you didn't commit and then being sentenced to death. In


the case of Glenn Ford almost everything about the trial Stanning.


No eyewitnesses -- stank, no eyewitnesses or any evidence, just a


couple of incompetent lawyers in front of an all-white jury. He was


sent to his death in 1984 in Louisia 30 years later he has been cleared.


The moment Glenn Ford finally walked out of prison. A free man after


three decades locked up for a murder he didn't commit. 30 years, 30 years


of my life, if not all of it. Because I can't go back and do


anything I should have been doing when I was 35, 38, 40, stuff like


that. Ford was a young man when he was convicted of shooting and


robbing a local watch maker. An all-white jury found him guilty, he


was sentenced to die in the electric chair. Locked up on death row in the


notorious Angola Prison in Louisiana, a long legal challenge


started. His supporters always said the evidence against him was weak.


There was no eyewitness, or murder weapon. But it took until March this


year for the Louisiana Supreme Court to overturn the conviction, an


informant went to the police saying another of the original suspects


pulled the trigger. I certainly feel bad for him and I'm sorry it


happened. But also when you look at the case everybody had good


intentions and it was a mistake. Ford is one of the longest-serving


death row inmates to be set free. Since executions were reinstated in


the mid-1970s another 143 prisoners have had their convictions


overturned. But public support for the death penalty has always been


high. Only once in 1966 have polls shown opponents in the majority. The


number who say they are in favour has been drifting down since a peak


in the 1990, but 60% of Americans still support it, just #3R5% are


against. -- 35% are against. It is high, but if you consider they have


had the death penalty a long time, so to conceive of not having it is a


bit of a leap. I think it is getting closer and closer to 50% will force


the Supreme Court to look at this issue. Gle Ford will get ?8,000 for


each of the years he spent inside his cell. Asked for a pent as he was


-- comment as he was driven away from the gates. He told the court


his sons were babies when he was convicted, now they are grown men


with children of their own. Joining us from New Orleans is Glenn


Ford. Mr Ford what's the best thing about being free? I wouldn't know, I


haven't felt free yet. It hasn't really sunk in yet? Everything is,


no, everything is just some what of a hassle. It feels some what


strange. What has been the most surprising thing about coming


outside after 30 years? Technology. Everybody with these cellphone,


computers, stuff, things of that nature. As I was saying, being


arrested for a crime you didn't commit, being found guilty, being


given the death penalty, the death sentence, it is one of the worst


things anyone can imagine, do you stay angry the whole time or what?


Yeah. Well, you get angry, you feel helpless, but I never felt hopeless,


just helpless. Angry. And don't know which way to go, I couldn't do


nothing but wait. Were you angry all the time? No. Trying to keep my mind


busy on other things. What did you keep your mind busy with? Read, do


art, draw. Reading, drawing, playing chess, playing sudoku, something


could keep my mind occupied. Doing things for somebody else. Whatever


to occupy my mind I did. There must have been low points I guess? It was


quite a few low points. Could you see, was there a pattern to them?


No, well they were causing me to withdraw into myself for months.


Months? I lose contact with people that I had known. Months, I wouldn't


write or call anyone What do you feel now about the whole thing? What


do you feel now about this way of administering justice? It's not


justice. It's not, I don't know what justice, how can you call justice


what happened to me. In Europe, we don't have capital punishment here,


has it made you feel differently about your country do you think? No,


I feel the same about it, it is a good country with some twisted laws


and views and understanding. And routines that need to change. But


the country is good, I like the country. What are you looking


forward to most now? To be reunited with my family. To see my son, my


grandson. Family I have never seen before. Thank you very much indeed.


Thank you for your time. Now it is still over three months to the


precise 100th anniversary of the outbreak of the First World War, and


there is no consensus on how to mark the event. There has been some


bad-tempered debate about whether people are being invited to


commemorate an event or series of events, or an idea of what the war


was, which has been got up in the years since and used, this is the


Education Secretary's belief, to run down patriotism, honour and courage.


What passing bells for these who die as cattle? Only the monstrous anger


of the guns. Only the stuttering rifles rapid rattle can patter out


their hasty odisons. Even before the war had ended, its legacy was being


contested in print, music and on campus. Among the casualties of war


was an entire world view, and among the many things fractured was the


human imagination. But the strongest criticism and the deepest revulsion,


the sense that it had Raul been a pointless sacrifice of lions led by


donkeys came in the decades afterwards. In the 1960s came the


musical Oh What A Lovely War. It fitted the times, but it is this


idea that Michael Gove believes distorts a proper understanding of


war. This is not war, it is slaughter. God is with us, it is for


king and empire. We are sacrificing lives at the rate of five to


sometimes 50 thousand ,000 a day. The next generation's take was


shared in Blackadder, which shared many of the same convictions. Don't


forget your stick? What oh, wouldn't want to face a machine gun without


this! The First World War changed almost everything in Britain, but it


didn't turn out to be the war that ended all wars, that has made it


easier to consider it an exercise in futility. Michael Morpergo's story,


Warhorse, took a mute animal to show industrialised killing. These images


can bring an appreciation of an utterly foreign experience. 100


years on do they help or hinter our understanding of it. To understand


that is the author of Warhorse, what do you make of the Michael Gove


accusations that these fictional renditions of the war are some how


undermining patriotism, honour and courage? They don't, what they do is


to draw attention to one of the most dreadful conflicts that humanity has


been involved in, we lost ten million men. It is something this


country has tried to come to terms with now for 100 years. Oort can


play its part in -- art can play its part in that. Whether black cadder


or Warhorse, or Oh What A Lovely War, it tells the story in different


ways. We can tell the historical story, or we can tell it


fictionally, and when you for instance, Blackadder is an


interesting case in point. What we have in that story were beloved


characters, loved characters, they came into people's houses for years,


and they took the extraordinary courage, Richard Curtis and Ben


Elton, to wipe them out. What did that mean? It meant that we all in


an extraordinary way, because nobody knew about it. There was this huge


loss, immediately, and you thought well that's the end of something,


and it was the end of something, it was the end of a whole way of


thinking, I thought it was a very significant moment both in arts and


television and very brave thing to do. Didn't it make patriotism look


stupid? What is it said, patriotism isn't enough it has to be


thoughtful. Art can do that you know. Benjamin Britain brought


together will Fred Owens poems and brought them in a different way and


sang them. We need those emotions and feelings about the war tested


and examined and art can do that. It can shine new lights on it. It is a


limited picture, isn't it all the First World War "what passing bells


for those who die as cattle", that is the pervading wisdom about it? I


came to an interest in that war through those poem, read more


closely and I think it would pay Mr Gove to do that. If you read Edward


Thomas, and you read John McKray, these were patriotic people, they


were trying to toss up right from wrong and what their place was in


all of this. You know John McKray's In Flanders Field, "take up our


quarrel with the foe", this was not against patriotism, poetry had its


part to play and touches the deeper parts of us. Why is it that the


First World War has a unique capacity to engender such flights of


creativity? I just think it is unimaginable for me, and I have


thought about it a lot, and many of us have about being put in that


situation and live through what those men lived and died in and then


survived and were ill afterwards and mutilated afterwards. And then you


think about the grieving that went on and I suspect in my generation, I


grew up just after the Second World War, so I witnessed the grieving


after the Second World War, which I think does enable you to empathise


with what happened before. We did have the link back to the First


World War, and we do know there was this extraordinary catastrophe which


wiped out the flower of our youth. Which did change the country and


Europe. And 100 years later, to me any way, if we are marking this


moment, that it should be done in the arts, but with purpose, it


should be done with reconciliation and peace in mind, not with any


sense of that this was a victory. I know the Germans turned around and


marched back towards Berlin and we had more men standing at the end


than they did. But it is a very, very difficult thing to talk in


terms of victory when 20 years later there was another war which killed


another 20 million. They weren't to know that? No, but we know it now.


We can look back, those people themselves did what they did, many


of them out of a passion for their country. There is no question about


that. They went to war that way, and when it was over there was relief


and joy. We know now that dreadful, dreadful conflict didn't solve what


we hoped it might solve. They would want to know that at that time, it


is striking after Sasoon and will Fred Owen write their poems they go


back and fight? The sad thing is they did go back and fight, and they


did make their protest in 1917 Sasoon and Landsdown they wanted to


see if peace could be arrived at without utterly humiliating the


enemy. They realised the suffering had gone on too long, by that time


everyone's blood was up and they wanted to surrender. Doesn't the


fact of the allied victory some how get overlooked in a lot of these


first world war narratives? There is no doubt there was a victory of


sorts. But what I want to focus on in my head is, yes there was a


victory, but at what cost? At the cost of the lives of these people?


All across the board, whether they were Germans or Italians, the


Germans lost two million men. And when people go and I have been often


to France and Germany as you have, and you see the cemetaries, the


German cemetaries are empty, they were sons and fathers, it seems we


now, 100 years later respect the fact that they went and fought for


their country. They were not always Kaisers, they were fathers and


people like we are. Do you emerge a pacifist? The older I am the more I


want to be a pacifist. I had growing up two uncles in the Second World


War, my uncle Peter who went to fight in the RAF almost immediately


war was declared, and another uncle who became a pacifist. I had this


extraordinary thing in my family where it happened, when my uncle


Peter was killed my other uncle joined up and that solved it really.


That is almost all tonight, we leave you with 14-year-old Lottie whose


film maker father has recorded the same short video of her every week


since she was born. Apparently's already planning part two. Good




In-depth investigation and analysis of the stories behind the day's headlines with Jeremy Paxman.

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The hacking trial.

Saved from death row.

Michael Morpurgo on WWI.

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