15/04/2014 Newsnight


Jeremy Paxman examines Ukraine, Labour's economics, whether Britain is the world's most sexist country, Syrian jihadis and social media, and Norman Tebbit as a children's author.

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Ukrainian troops are face-to-face with pro-Russian insurgents tonight,


the Kremlin says it may be the brink of Civil War. As protestors march on


the airport, will the Ukrainian army roll over again or fight? This guy


is saying to the Ukrainian soldiers the other side of the wall, get out


of here, this is our airport, this is our air trip, this is Donetsk's


air strip. We will ask a leading member of the Ukrainian parliament


what they are going to do. Also tonight. And in, and fling! Oh!


Matron, take them away! A UN investigator is appalled at how


sexist Britain is. Absurd or has she got husband banged to rights. And


the story of a telepathic Russian dog that depreppeds -- befriends a


disabled boy, what drug addled hippy wrote that! You might be surprised


at the answer. Government forces in Ukraine today


began trying to take back the ground occupied by protestors in the best


part of a dozen towns in the east of the country. There was gunfire but


to no-one's great surprise the United States said the Government


had no choice and Russian officials said they were worried about


casualties. Pretty much the precise reverse of the attitudes the two had


struck when the protesters were on the streets of Kiev. This is the


most dramatic confrontation between east and west since the end of the


Cold War. At Kramatorsk airbase this evening, the pro-Russian


demonstrators came face-to-face with the troops they see as their enemy.


These soldiers are loyal to the Government in Kiev, and only this


wall separates them from the mob. This guy is saying to the Ukrainian


soldiers, the other side of this wall, get out of here, this is our


airport and our air strip, this is Donetsk's air strip. The soldiers


had arrived by helicopter a short while earlier. Kiev has said it will


dislodge the seperatists from Government buildings they occupy by


force if necessary. They have already lost control of police


stations, they don't want to lose a military base. But the crowd fears


this might be the start of the anti-terrorist operation announced


by the Ukrainian President this morning. TRANSLATION: We don't know


who these people are or why they are shooting, the whole town has come


out to defend itself. For the first time inside Ukraine proper the


demonstrators have raised the Russian flag over a Ukrainian


military base. Yesterday we had filmed a group of seperatist leaders


urging their followers to take control of military installations.


This situation now is beginning to feel very, very familiar indeed.


Angry locals, surrounding Ukrainian military installation, until


eventually they fall. The only thing that is missing here is those little


green men with the big guns. But today in nearby Slovansk we did see


those men on control. They are different from the pro-Russian


demonstrator, they have a high level of military training, they are


heavily armed and discipline. We don't know if they are Russian or


Ukrainian, their loyalty is not to Kiev. They were not keen to be


filmed, but after some fraught negotiation some did agree to speak


to me in private. I have just had quite a long conversation with those


men in green with the big guns, they didn't want to go on camera but they


did talk to me, I asked them straight, I said are they Russian?


They said they are all Russian, it became clear they meant culturally


Russian, they are citizens of Ukraine, one got his passport out,


clearly a Ukrainian passport. They talked about Iraq, Syria, the evils


of the west, they accused me of being an MI six spy. But then they


asked me am I an orthodox Christian, I said I grew up in an Anglican


tradition, then they said I must be a Pederast, then, their concerns


were partly political but partly cultural. They felt threatened by


what they saw as the culture of the west. 50 miles to the north the


Ukrainian army began moving troops and military hardware in an


adepartment to reassert its authority. Moscow has warned the


country is on the brink of a Civil War, sending in soldiers against the


protesters could lead to a Russian invasion. If Kiev does nothing it


risks losing control of the east. Nervous militia men run around a


children's playground, there are rumours of incursions, for ordinary


citizens these are worrying times. TRANSLATION: I don't know what to


do, I don't know what's going on. The masked armed man are clearly not


from round here. As night falls over the Kramatorsk military base, the


stand-off continues. This woman is berating one of her fellow


protesters for trying to climb over the wall into the base. But moments


later gunfire rings out as two men make their way towards the Ukrainian


soldiers. They are warning shots, no-one was hurt, but some of the


bravado here looks like it might be fuelled by alcohol. This is a


dangerous moment for Ukraine, mistakes could have terrible


consequences. About an hour ago I spoke to the leader of Ukraine's


governing Fatherland party in parliament. I asked him why Ukraine


was sending in the troops. We decided to do this because it is a


very similar situation that we had in Crimea. When again these green


men, again terrorists with Kalashnikovs, again we had the


surprising uprising of civilians, the only way to clear these cities


of real gangs of Russians is anti-terrorist operations. This is


the same sort of language as Mr Yanakovic used when he was talking


about moving against the protesters in the middle of Kiev. What is the


difference between what the Government is doing now and what he


tried to do then? You and all other correspondents, all our citizens


never saw arms in the hands of those who make this uprising at the events


during this Independence Square. We really saw how people without any


weapons were killed and they were killed not only one day, they were


killed second day, third day, and just now we hear 106 people without


weapons were killed on the square and first of all on the central


square of Ukraine. Now at this period in the region of Donetsk city


we saw not our citizens, we saw a special troops that were prepared in


the Russian federation who occupied all main buildings and not only


buildings of, for example of councils. How do you imagine that


this situation in eastern Ukraine will end? The Russian Federation,


through their special troops that have the best ment they want to


divide the Ukraine, they want to claim this is their territory and it


will become the territory of the Russian Federation. First of all we


need all the areas, airports, buildings of police, special


services offices without common people and after this we propose to


people with the weapons to put this weapon down. If no it will be a


special anti-terrorist operation against people with weapons. There


is a real danger though isn't there of Civil War? No, it is not a Civil


War. When we are struggling against Russian troops it is not a Civil


War. It is a war for our independence, it is a war against


aggression, Putin's aggression, and so the only way, if we do no have


some result in negotiations, any terrorist as well as in Great


Britain, the United States, in all other countries all over the world,


they must be localised and after this anti-terrorist operation have


to do the main task, to stop this invasion of Russian troops against


Ukraine. But in the long-term you are going to have to have, won't


you, a federal system in which the rights of minorities are properly


protected? Only 12% of people supported so called federalisation,


more than 80% of people supported the unity of one state, the state of


Ukraine. Even in eastern regions our constituencies supported the union


country, not the federalisation, so it is a choice of the Ukrainian


people. Ev now we proposed the referendum. Please we want to


provide a referendum on the 25th of May, with a question, you are for


unity of the country or not? And when we announce this proposition,


first of all the members of the Yanakovic party refused the


proposition, they want local referendums in some small cities and


regions, but it is impossible. Our proposition, if really they want to


hear a voice of the people, please we are ready to provide all country


referendum in which people will answer. But they are afraid of the


result of such a referendum. It is not a question of federalisation in


Ukraine. Thank you very much for sparing the time to trac to us,


thank you. Inflation in this country is now


running at its lowest rate for four years. One. 6%. Figures out tomorrow


are said to show wages rising ahead of inflation. A year before the


election this is good news for the Conservatives. Ed Balls the Shadow


Chancellor was steadfastly maintaining that this didn't mean


the cost of living crisis was easing. Labour has already had to


change its attack on the Government once.


Let's face it, for years millions of voters have felt skint. So to use


the ghastly political venacular, Ed Miliband has taken this jazzy retail


offer right around the country. We have got a cost of living crisis


facing ordinary families. I wanted to talk about the cost of living


crisis. We have a lost of living crisis in the country.


The top priority for the budget today has to be the cost of living


crisis. Is it still a crisis. Prices are rising at their slowest pace for


four years, tomorrow expect number crunches to say wages have caught


up. Rejoice if you are worried how far your cash goes, maybe not if you


are a Labour strategist. For as long assuages were dragging behind price


rises the retail offer, to use the jargon, made a certain political


sense. Now the misery gap between wages and inflation has nearly


closed, might Labour find they have made a mistake and put all their


eggs in one basket. So if the statistics suggest the so


called crisis is abating, has Labour almost started to shift, listen


carefully. There is a long-term challenges to make sure if our


economy grows that people share fairly in that rising prosperity.


That's why Labour says not there is no cost of living crisis, that's the


out-of-touch Conservative view, Labour says there is a challenge, we


will rise to it. They can't return to Ed Balls's favourite hand


gesture, the accusations about the slowdown in Government spending to


kill off growth, because the economy, month after month is


growing, but in real life there is still gain in talking about the


pound in our pocket. Next year, come 2015, whilst incomes may be a bit


higher than they are now, they will almost for sure be still


considerably lower than they were in 2010 or in 2008 before the


recession. One Shadow Cabinet member told me there is a conscious move to


talk about the future economy. Another source said it is pretty


desperate. Economic policy isn't more than bits and bobs that won't


convince. But one senior Labour figure told me people are not just


suddenly going to feel better off, the Tories' optimisim, they said, is


disconnected with the public. The crucial question is what bargain


does Labour try to strike? That is trick year, some Labour MPs want to


take on the rail industry, perhaps even supermarkets after the energy


prize freeze row, but this former ministers warns about pushing


business away. I want to see a Labour Party that takes wealth


creation as seriously as distribution of wealth. I'm all for


justice and fairness in the work place, and in terms of public


spending decisions in terms of health and education and everything


else, but you have to create wealth too, and we have to be a party that


cares every bit as much about the creation of wealth as how it is


distributed. Is Labour at the moment saying enough to give business any


confidence? It is really important to communicate, not only to business


people, but to everybody who works for them, that you take wealth


creation every bit as seriously as you take fair distribution of


wealth. I think Labour has always been strongest when it does that.


There is not much sign that Labour's able yet to agree how to make the


sums add up. But it can't be oblivious to an ugly truth. When


things get better for your political on Ponte al opponents it is harder


to -- opponents, it is harder to cash in. Growth is up, and inflation


is down, wages are going to be above inflation, do you want to apologise


to the Conservatives? Look the growth that we have seen after three


very damaging years of a flat-lining economy is very welcome and today's


fall in inflation and what we expect might happen with the wages figures


tomorrow, that is all moving in the right direction. It doesn't however.


Well done them eh! ? It don't make up for all the lost ground we have


seen since the Government came to power. We know that on average wages


are down ?1600 a year since the election, and by next year


households will be ?1,000 a year worse off. That is on IFS figures.


That is not small sums of money for ordinary families to be struggling


with. Absolutely not, but if people feel life is getting better, that is


the key things isn't it? I think this is where the cost of living


crisis continues to be suffered in a very keep way. Families are under


real pressure, if I think about my own constituency where every time a


bill comes on the doorstep people have their head in their hands


thinking how they are going to pay for it. Whilst obviously the changes


that we have seen in terms of inflation and what we think will


happen with the figures tomorrow, as I say, they are welcome steps in the


right direction, but people don't live their lives on a graph. Out


there in the country millions of people are struggling because they


are worse off and because by next year they will still be worse off


than in 2010. Your policy started off being the Government was cutting


too far and too fast, when there was a bit of growth you said you would


match their spending. Then you said there was a cost of living crisis.


What exactly is your policy now? Well the truth is that this


Government did choke off, there was a recovery under way in 2010, and


the choices this Government made on its economic plan choked off that


recovery and led to three very damaging years of flat-lining. I


don't think we can just write that off and say because we have growth


very late in the day, with George Osborne way off on his own figures


that some how that makes up for the calls that he made at the beginning


of this parliament which I think were wrong. You have to have a


policy going forward? We have set out a range of measures that deal


with this very real and deep-seated cost of living crisis, whether that


is on energy prices, which we said we would freeze, or childcare where


we said we would increase the hours for parents of three and


four-year-olds to 25 hours a week, these are practical measures. I tell


you another name for practical measures, what one of your


parliamentary candidates calls "bits and bobs" that don't add up to much


at all? I don't accept that. We are also talking about the long-term


changes we are seeing in the economy, whether that is setting up


a proper British investment bank to support British businesses to grow,


whether that's what we were talking about this week when it comes to


regional economic development, a huge devolution of power,


responsibility, money, to city and county regions, to really power


regional growth. That is a whole range of measures. If this is so


brilliant, why do people trust the Conservatives to run the economy


much more than they trust you to run the economy? We are trying to do


something we managed before. Manage competently? No, to be a one-term


opposition, we know we came down to one of our worst defeats in our


history in the 2010 general election, we still have to make the


case to every section of British society and every member of the


public about our offer. That is a task for us which we are not


complacent about, we know the job of work we have to do. But the policies


we have, the range of policy offers we have, I think, put us in a good


place going ahead to make that case to the British electorate. Do you


believe that the next election will be determined by whoever is judged


to be the most competent at managing the economy? It will be a range of


measures, that is in the gift of the British electorate to give. The


argument I will be making and my colleagues will be making is that


ordinary people. You can't think of a bigger issue can you? The economy


will be a central issue at the next general election. The thing is


people don't trust you? We know ordinary people are going to be, as


the OBR tells us, worse off because wages will be five. 6% down on 2015


than 2010. Why aren't people saying you will be better off running the


economy? We have to continue to make the case to the electorate. There is


a year to go and you failed to get through to them? Actually we are


still ahead in the polls, the bounce the Chancellor saw after the budget.


Not in the economy you are not? The bounce the Chancellor saw after the


budget has dissipated. Looking at the polls today I would say if you


are a Conservative you have a bit more to be worried. We are not


complacent about the job of work that we have to do, we know what


happened in 2010, we know what it is going to take for us to come back


and form a Labour Government in 2015. We are up to that task, we


have a range of policies, we have more to come which will deal with


not just the short-term economic measure that is we need but actually


looking ahead to the long-term, how we are going to get to a high-wage,


high-skilled economy with sustained growth shared all over the country.


What must it be like to live in the most sexist country on earth? Take a


look around, according to the United Nations Special Special Raporteur on


violence against women, who spent a whole 16 days in the country, found


that sexism in Britain was more in your face than other places. She


made no comparisons with her own country, South Africa, or Saudi


Arabia, she was clearly rather appalled. This is a flavour of what


she said. I think I saw that in yesterday's paper about the


harassment on the tubes, that is sexist culture when you think you


sit on public transport that it is OK to harass someone,


inappropriately touch them, it is sexist culture. If I was walking in


the street and they were whistles, which won't happen at this stage of


my life, I know, but that is sexist culture. What is clear from these s


of portrayals of women and girls is there is a boys' club sexist


culture, that exists and it does lead to perceptions about women and


girls in this country. My guests are with me. A writer and commentator


who was born in Sudan, and Louis Chum, former editor of the


Guardian's women's pages and Laura Bates is the founder of the Everyday


Sexism Project, which collects women's experienced of sexism. What


do you make of the comments? It doesn't really reflect my experience


living in the UK. What do you mean? I think that women, there are


problems for women, I quite agree, particularly young women at the


moment, but I think by overstating it, by saying it is one of the worst


most sexist cultures in the world, it just makes everybody believe


there isn't any, you know. It just seems ridiculous. Your take


presumably is entirely the opposite? Not completely the opposite. I would


absolutely argue there is still a huge amount that women in this


country are facing both on the more sexism end of the scale and when you


look at sexual violence and that is often underestimated with a


propensity to point the finger elsewhere. But I don't think it is


particularly helpful to think about this in terms of one country being


worse than another, women are facing horrendous things all over the


world, the important thing is that we take it seriously everywhere. How


does it seem to you? It seems it is obviously a bit ridiculous to hear


that the UK is considered more sexist than places like Saudi


Arabia, Somalia and Afghanistan. I think she was let down by her


expression. It is important to understand that there are different


grievances everywhere across the world. It is not a competition, and


it is certainly not one anybody wants to win. But it is important to


watch our language when we talk about these things, because if you


are trying to highlight things that you think are sexist but not FGM or


honour killings etc, you need to say it in a way that doesn't have people


tune out of the conversation at the beginning. Look behind you at the


screen that some person on the production screen has made you sit


in front of? So kindly. I would have been up in arms about that if I was


in your shoe, there we are. These are images with which we are all


familiar. And they do represent women in a particular way don't


they. Don't you believe that feeds into anything more sinister? I do. I


think the kind of sexualised images of particularly of younger women is


a real problem. I speak also as the mother of two girls. So I see it as


a real problem. But I think when you overstate it, it doesn't help


anybody. I think the sort of things that Laura Bates has been doing, I


applaud them I think they are great. But I think we should also remember


that we have come such a long way in the time, even I have been around.


Do you think this is a generational thing? No, I don't think so, I think


it is something that women experience of all age, women of all


backgrounds and in all places as well. Do you think you face the same


degree of sexual harassment as Louis might have done? I think it is


really difficult to say, I think it is not necessarily about comparing,


it is really dangerous to kind of go down that road of what things were


like at one point. The point is that we are still in a country where


85,000 women are raped annually, where over two women are killed


every week by a current or former partner, where one in four women is


the victim of domestic violence. To throw the baby out with the bath


water and say this has been an exaggeration and everything is fine


isn't accurate at all. We have made progress but we have a long way to


go, is that a fair enough argument? It is a fair enough argument, but


there is also a danger of viewing feminism or criticising sexist


culture in the UK and in the west in general only through the prism of


images and of popular culture. There has been a move in recent years to


talk about feminism and women in terms of page three in terms of


pornography, in terms of body image and the pictures we have behind us,


that, I think, sort of hides far more serious issues that people need


to speak about, equal pay, maternity leave, the lack of women in


boardrooms and I think that there is a danger that we spend too much time


talking about body image and the popular culture of sexism rather


than actual practical challenge that is aren't FGM that aren't honour


killings and all these things that obviously aren't happening in the UK


but are practical drawbacks to women's lives every day. It's not


fashionable to say there is a continuum, we should be obviously


bothered by all things at the same time, but I'm far less bothered by


the imagery of women in the popular culture by the lack of equal pay. It


is funny you mention a continuum, the spectrum means all things are


connected. I agree with the importance of addressing all those


issue, I would argue that the sexualisation of women in the media,


issues like page three feed into an impact on exactly those areas. On


discrimination against women in the work place, on women in business,


because if we're presenting women in the media sphere as sexualised


dehumanised objects I think that has a knock-on impact on the way they


are portrayed and the way they are behaved towards elsewhere. I would


say that things, what goes around comes around in a way. You know I


became the Guardian women's page editor at a time when Madonna was


striding the world, and people talked about it as a post-feminist


time, and it was very difficult you know, I can remember on the Guardian


people groaning when I mentioned FGM, one feature over about four


because everybody wanted it to be lipstick lesbians and how great


their sex lives were. And then that grew and grew and grew to the point


where, fortunately people then said no this is too much, we don't like


this, and this is not about women showing their power, because that


was only about ten years that was where everything was heading. If we


wish to shake off, however merited or not, this opinion that has been


delivered by the UN Special Raporteur, what are the practical


steps that need to be taken by us as a society as a whole? I think one of


the most important things which was one of the issues she raised herself


is the importance of addressing these issues in the classroom. We


know from a recent survey also quoted in this report that one in


three girls aged 16-18 experienced unwanted sexual touching in school,


and yet we won't have compulsory sex and relationships education that is


dealing with issues like consent, like healthy relationships and


violence. And I think it is just absolutely vital that we look at


implementing that recommendation. Have you got further suggestions you


two? As a foreigner and somebody who has come to the UK from a culture


where women aren't visible I'm still shocked at how invisible women are


in the public sphere? The UK. And I think something that should be


encouraged is to have more women in the media, in Government, in the


cabinet, visible, in influential positions, and not only in a pen of


women's issues or women's health issues or as we are sitting here


today talking about sexism, that is an important thing. Louis? I think


one of the things that women have children and they very often want to


spend time with them. You will also run into problems where women, they


may be aiming for those kinds of roles but then they may draw back


because they will always have a problem, a tension there. Even if


the best childcare is offered there are some women that won't want to do


that, they will want to spend that time with their children. But


fathers have children too, there is so much we can do to make that


easier for women, flexible working hours, shared parental leave. Those


are all good advantages that have been made in this country. Right OK


thank you very much. From what has emerged from the world of espionage,


and counter espionage, it seems received wisdom that the greatest


terrorist threat in this country comes from radicalised young men who


have travelled to Syria to fight in the Civil War and then returned to


Britain. How do these networks form, how does a young man get drawn into


an experience so utterly alien to his life here. A group of


researchers from King's College London have unearthed the vital role


played by social media. Syria is being called the world's


first social media Jihad. A conflict with combatants posting on-line in


real time. -- real-time. Social networks have been embraced


enthusiastically by foreign fighters. This is the most social


mediated conflict in history. They want to use it to inspire people to


come out and join their cause. They use the social media to promote an


excitement, and excite youngsters over here to join them and commit


violence. New research scene by Newsnight charts the rise of this


social media Jihad. Academics from King's College London have built a


database of tens of thousands of social media interactions, to map


the conflict as never before. Their analysis provides a fascinating


insight into the motivations of British and European radicals who


flock to Syria to fight President Assad. Young Brits are travelling to


fight. Big machines! Big boys, big machines! We have seen an horrific


video with a fighter holding up a severed head taken from a bag of


heads, that reveals the brutality of the conflict. Many are joining an


Al-Qaeda group called Islamic State of Iraq or ISIS, fighting to Straub


a regional Islamic calm ic Kalafet. The overwhelming majority in the


database belong to ISIS, they have a low threshold for who they take for


fighters, they brand their material. For young people that visual imagery


is very attractive and seductive, that is the team they want to be


part of. Remember this man? From Portsmouth. We obtained an exclusive


interview with him near the Syrian front line in November via Skype. I


am ISIS, this is the group I'm joining. Two weeks after our


interview he was killed fighting with ISIS. What advantage is there


in mapping it like this? The researchers from kings have


mapped foreign fighters' social media connection, the lines, who


they follow and who follows them. You can pull up details of


individual fighters. What is going on here, can you actually go into


say Iftaka Germain. Yes, all the lines you see are the individuals he


follows on Twitter. And some of those lines are other foreign


fighters who follow him on Twitter as well. He was a prolific tweeter,


he is one of 190 fighters to feature in the new research. On Twitter we


have elected more than 80,000 individual unique users who follow a


foreign fighter or are followed by a foreign fighter. On Facebook we


collected more than 4,000 pages liked by the foreign fighter


community. Once we put the data together we were able to build a


unique picture with other information as well about who is the


most popular, who is the most important within these networks.


What really shocked us is when we pulled up the data in tab later --


tabular form, we noticed number one and three were two Sheikhs. So Ahmed


Jabrul, a an American preacher was the most popular. He doesn't speak


directly of Jihad, but speaks against democracy and the supremacy


of Islam. Our religion was sent to be supreme not equal, we must be


different to other faiths. He preaches the worldwide community of


Muslims must spurn the unbelievers, the kaffar. Masses of our people


will join in with the unbelievers in a celebration? Jibril sent a direct


message to those who have died on Twitter saying it made them weep. We


consulted an Islamic scholar about Jibril, he rejects democracy. These


are sloganisation to create Anwar Animosity, saying we are superior


and we are better. Democracy has a different meaning to different


societies. Essentially it is about three people coming together in an


association to air their views in a freedom. And the Koran supports


that? Court ran -- the Koran supports that. The next most popular


preacher is an Australian called Moussa Seretonian, from an Italian


Catholic family he converted to Islam ten years ago. We will be the


soldiers of Islam, holding high the banners. He says he supported ISIS


because it is trying to establish an Islamic state. The capital of the


Islamic city will be Al Quds. He's more explicit about his support for


Jihad. He's extremely anti-American, and refers to the Department of


State as the "Department of Rape". Last year a post on his Facebook


page highlighted terrorist attacks on America, and talked of abhorrent


and Satanic evil in both Republican and Democratic parties.


Controversially the post also states they should be fought, explaining


that we should stop them by fighting them, by assassinating their


oppressive leaders. This is This is dangerous talk isn't it? It is quite


dangerous, isn't T it is a selective passage quoting from a selective


type of ideology. What they are doing is increasing the facade that


is going there already. The chaos? The chaos on the ground, they are


increasing it. They are increasing it mercilessly. They are increasing


it and they are doing a disservice to Islam itself. Because this is not


Islam. No serious cleric of knowledge will recognise it. He


declined to give us an interview, but answered some questions on


Facebook. He admitted supporting ISIS, but he also says he has been


critical of the group. Some will argue his words are free speech, but


when it comes to Jihad in Syria, crickets will say his sermons


encourage young Muslims to go to fight.


Now, pilot, trade union rep, member of parliament, cabinet minister,


member of the House of Lords, cook book writer, what else could life


offer a man like Norman Tebbit? His latest incarnation is as a


children's writer. For man known in ward as Chingford Skinhead, it is


gentle stuff, featuring a talking Labrador, the central character is a


14-year-old who is left paralysed after a car crash that killed his


father. Lord Tebbit's wife has been in a wheelchair paralysed since the


Conservative Party bomb 30 years ago. He has learned a lot about


disability in that time. What is the attraction of writing for children?


I wanted to write something else, something different, I thought I had


a few things to say and a few debts to pay as well. I wanted to pay some


tributes to some of the people at Stoke Mandeville, the guys at Canine


Partners, that train dogs to be help dogs, and they are quite remarkable


animals when they are trained. And things like that. And to say


something about the awfulness for a youngster particularly to suddenly


find his world has changed right about him. Samuel, your hero is in a


wheelchair, he's 14, isn't he? You have had 30 years effectively of


looking after someone in a wheelchair, what have you learned


about disability? That everything takes longer and costs more. They


are the two principal things about disability and how much it cramps


life. You get excluded from things. It just becomes more difficult to


get places and to do things. There are not many hotels around where we


have got hoists in bathrooms and things like that. So there are lots


of places you can't go. I think that's what I have learned about it.


On the other hand the country is surely much better if you are in a


wheelchair or otherwise disabled now than it was say 30, 40, 50 years


ago? Yes indeed. And a tribute to that goes to particularly the people


at hospitals like Stoke Mandeville. The average life span of someone who


is spinally injured is not much different to somebody who is


perfectly fit. 50 years ago it was a very short span of life you could


expect after a serious spinal injury. And caring for someone who


is disabled is a special sort of task isn't it? It is and there are


lots of easier jobs, so it isn't always easy to find people to do it


professionally. My wife has to have somebody with her within hearing


distance all the time, day and night. She often needs help and


somebody has to be there. It is not easy, it is not an easy job to do.


Are there any consolations to it? If there are I have not really found


them yet. A friend of mine in a wheelchair once said it was very


irritating whenever you went to a social gathering, always looking at


people's stomachs? I could very much think that, fortunately my wife has


a big power wheelchair and she can lift it up so she can still be


eye-to-eye with her if you are at a cocktail party or something like


that. Things are getting better slowly. Do you think we have become


a more compassionate society, do you think politics are more


compassionate now than they were? It is not so much more compassionate.


We are better equipped in many ways to know what to do. How to handle


things. There are more ramps, there are rather less obstructions in


shops and things like that. Partly self-interest, retailers realise


that disabled people have got wallets and if you can't get, if


they can't get into your job they won't buy anything from you. You are


a terrible cynic, I thought we had become a more compassionate society?


Perhaps we have a bit. More thoughtful? We have a bit too I


think. We don't hide disabled people away in the way that we used to. I


think that's the important thing. That's part of the message of this


book and this extraordinary alliance between the boy and the dog and one


or two other characters, all of whom have a counterpart in real life. The


places are all real, the things that happen are perhaps a little bit


stretched, there is a little old lady in the book, as you may know, a


dear, peaceful white-haired little old lady who played a key role in


this, she is drawn in the memory of my former colleague lady Daphane


Park who was just a great lady. The MI6 lady? Who ran is in South


Africa, perhaps there is a streak of feminism in it, I never saw that, my


goodness me. People will say you have gone nuts writing about


telepathic dog? You have got a dog, you know your dog often knows what


you are thinking. What's more he knows what mood you are in before


you have got to the front door, when you come home. Now listen as you are


here I must ask you something about contempory politics or they will say


I have been too easy on you. What do you think of this new softer


Conservative Party? Well, I think that the Conservative Party's place


in the world is to do the hard, tough things. Because the Labour


Party certainly won't. As you explored this evening. Forget the


point scoring, get to the point about the Conservatives? I don't


want to point score against my own side. I think that's happened. I


think it was a terrible mistake in the election campaign of 2010 to try


and move on to the centre ground. Because there is a centre between


you and me, if I move to there the middle has moved towards you as


well. And in fact I think Mr Cameron in his campaign persuaded lots of


potential liberal voters, yes, even Cameron thinks that the liberals are


right, so we vote liberal. I'm great exponent of the common ground. Which


is rather different. You would never vote UKIP would you? I don't think I


would want to vote UKIP. But I understand why people do vote UKIP.


Very often people say to me why don't you leave the stories they


have got so far away from you. I always say I have been a member of


the Conservative Party since 1946, I'm not going to be ousted by people


who are in charge at the moment. You know! Thank you. That's all for


tonight, liver Football Club today commemorated the 96 people who lost


their lives 25 years ago at Hillsborough. We leave you not with


that but the voice of the Anfield Kop two days earlier before Sunday's


game when it felt like it was more than just a football game the people


of Liverpool had finally won. Good Good night.


# Walk on # Through the rain


# Walk on # Through rain


# For your dreams will be whole # Walk on


# With hope # In your heart


# And you'll never walk alone # You'll never walk alone


# Walk on # Walk on


# With hope in your hearts Another cold one out there tonight, but


another fine day to look forward to for England and Wales, through


tomorrow, any more sunshine to come. Windy north and west, cloudy with


rain extending in across Northern Ireland and Scotland, particularly


across western areas, a real change in the weather, feeling cooler here.


This is the snapshot mid-afternoon, patchy rain into Northern Ireland,




In-depth investigation and analysis of the stories behind the day's headlines with Jeremy Paxman, looking at Ukraine, Labour's economics, whether Britain is the world's most sexist country, Syrian jihadis and social media, and Norman Tebbit as a children's author.

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