23/04/2014 Newsnight


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

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Tonight Vladimir Putin sends out a warning to the US that Russia will


respond if its interests in Ukraine are attacked. What kind of Russia is


this man trying to remake? We will be speaking to the Pulitzer


Prize-winning editor of the New Yorker who witnessed the fall of


communism close up and has been following Vladimir Putin's every


turn. What happened to this likely lad, we


learn that Boris could announce his decision on a return to Westminster


as early as June. I would love to play Juliet!


running the show in the Ukraine. There was a reference to the brief


war in Georgia over the region of South Ossetia, at the same time


Russia announced it is conducting a military drill in the region


bordering Ukraine. For Vladimir Putin the conflict with Ukraine has


become a defining moment of his PRESIDENCY. WHAT IS THE END GAME?


The Russian spring, from Crimea, eastern Ukraine and elsewhere. Each


new self-pro-claimed Republic has its flag, emblems and slogans. Part


of an ideology championed by the Kremlin and Vladimir Putin. I think


it is a very old doctrine coming back in a very surprising form.


Europeans in the 1870s or 18930 -- 1930s would have found it familiar


as an idea. It is extremely dangerous doctrine to say that a


state has so much responsibility for the people who just speak its own


language and share its culture, even if they are not its citizen that is


it can take chunks of territory. Russia's presidency is surrounded by


imperial pomp, enabled with far-reaches powers. In a culture


where manly Vertonghen yous are still prized in an unself-conscious


ways, the office has given Mr Putin the chance to act decisively and to


the delight of many of his people. His people can see that in Kiev


power is taken illegally which the criminal junta of ultra


nationalists, who served not the citizens of Ukraine but to


Washington. This illegal junta used force against Ukrainian citizens and


this illegal junta wants to ban the Russian language. The western hue


and cry about gay rights and the panned Pussy Riot, some pro-Russians


saw signs of a plot against them. With new exercises reported today,


Russia's army stands ready to enter Ukraine, Foreign Minister Lavrov


made clear this afternoon they could do in defence of the Russian


minority. Some Putin supporters say the army should go in to protect


most Ukrainians, anyone who speaks Russian. The Russian public opinion


would support the use of Russian troops on the Ukrainian territory or


not. It depends on circumstances of such a decision. If Vladimir Putin


will ask just troops to go, maybe it will be not supported. But if there


will be some bloodshed agonised by the illegal junta Russian public


opinion would support Russian troops saving lives of Russians. This new


assertiveness might leave western countries reeling. But it finds


admirers too. I think that narrative, which is also one about


standing up to the west and poking Uncle Sam in the eye has


considerable appeal beyond the Russian borders, beyond the Russian


world. I just spent two weeks in China and it was striking how much


resonance there actually was for Putin in China. I'm told even in


India. Many Russians, stranded in other countries by the collapse of


the Soviet Union, now look to President Putin. How far he can go


in eastern Ukraine and whether the model can be extended elsewhere are


questions now actively being considered in the Kremlin.


We have the Editor in Chief of the New Yorker magazine, and former


Moscow correspondent for the Washington Post, his book, lip


anyone's Tomb, won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction. What do you think


is Putin's end game? It was right in the introduction when you said it


was a lot about obscuring the problems he has domestically. People


in Russia were becomes prosperous in ways they never had before, and


power was becoming more stable in Russia. And his popularity was firm.


Now he has a situation where the economy has slowed to zero, he has a


choice, can he go before his people and admit that the economic


situation is what it is, or can he gain popularity by whipping up


nationalist fervour in places like the Ukraine. He has chosen,


tragically this second category. And I think above all it is terrible for


Russia to say nothing of a sovereign state known as Ukraine. The idea


that the United States... I wonder what you made of the analysis there,


that there is a dangerous position for a state to be in, to say that it


is going to protect all Russian speakers and people of Russian


culture. That is a cimera, you can't possibly follow that through? This


is a problem born of the fall of the Soviet Union. There were the ethnic


mix created over decades, landed where it landed. And there certainly


are Russian speakers in the eastern Ukraine and northern Kazakhstan and


the Baltic states. And some of them feel a dual identity. But the idea


that some how the majority of people, anything close to it in


Ukraine are welcoming Russian military and political incursion and


invasion is a terrible error of analysis, and yet it is great banner


of propaganda in Russia on TV today. So various things are going on here,


the economy is crashing, another quarter the same as this one and it


will go into recession and yet there is huge capital flight. At the same


time wouldn't it be fair to say from what you have seen, and I know you


were there recently because of Sochi, that actually he's clamping


down again, there is a huge clamp down on the intelligence, a


clampdown on dissidents, a clampdown on the liberals? It is not just


liberals, it is anybody that is a free thinker or has any kind of


opposition to the Government. Look if you were to do what'sness radio


with the Russian economy, it would endanger a lot of the people around


Putin and Putin himself. He's not willing to do that. His cronies


aren't willing to do that, they are cornered and they have gone to an


old strategy of hypernationalism, culture conservatism, that is where


the gay issue comes into play. And I think it is right to call it


dangerous. Looking at it from the other side, do you think that


President Obama has mis-stepped over this. Did he not take seriously


enough Russia and its concerns. In a way has he a role to play in this


problem, and he may end up leaving the White House with relations


between Russia and America worse than at any time before Ronald


Regan. The United States mistakes recently and over decades are well


known and obvious. They range from Iraq to a triumphalism that occurred


in the 1990s, that was in hindsight a terrible strategic mistake. The


idea that the United States would go on and on in the post-Soviet era as


a power was a dedevolution, not only in the United States by the world.


Remember what Russia is, Russia has an economy the size of Italy. It


wants to assert itself as a superpower, and the only thing that


makes it a superpower, alas and unfortunately is its nuclear


weapons. I think Putin is playing a game of concealing for his on


short-term political game a tragic situation. Because to reform Russia


in ways that it needs to requires too much of him, and it threatens


him, it threatens his circle and that he's not willing to do. You


cannot underestimate the power of totalist propaganda that you see on


state television in Russia. Yes, his popularity is 80%, but that has a


lot to do with the way information is transmitted and even the Internet


is being cracked down on in Russia, which you hadn't seen before. Thank


you very much for joining us. Statistics suggest that the


incidence of violent crime has fallen inexorably over recent years,


halving in this country over the past decade without anyone truly


understanding why. Now a new study by Cardiff University, tracking


treatment for victims of violent crime at A departments in England


and Wales suggests the reason for the drop is a less macho culture,


and also because fewer young people are drinking because of cost and


because society is changing and across the western world. Preparing


to fight, with the rules of engagment made clear. At this


academy in East London, boxing is a key part of the curriculum. For


teenagers who faced exclusion at their mainstream schools. Instead


they do their GCSEs here, and learn that violence is never OK, and that


sparring in the ring can help them combat it. It is the discipline. In


what way? If you are out with your friends and they want to encourage


you to do something bad, you stop and think about what will happen if


you go home or the police get involved. You would think you were


more violent before you came here? Yeah. That is a big yeah. In what


way? I was more tempted to fightout side and do -- fight outside, but


being here I learn there is more things in life than fighting


outside. There is a decrease in violent incidences since 2013, the


fifth consecutive year figures have fallen. Most violent crime is


committed by people under 30. But it seems youngsters are getting better


behaved, and far less aggressive. In here boxing is used as a way to


channel aggression, but perhaps unsurprisingly it doesn't make it


into the list of explanations for why violence is down more generally.


It might sound counterintuitive, but a fall in disposable income is one


possible cause, linked as it is to the decline in "binge drinking" and


drug taking. Improved public health is another reason suggested, as is


better crime prevention. For the boxing academy, combatting violence


is about early intervention. It is no good just telling young people


not to be violent. You have to give them the tools to analyse the


background, work out their trigger points, confront the conflict, if


you like, and develop strategies to cope with it and therefore reduce


the likelihood of it happening. With more and more of that emotional


intelligence-style teaching going on, young people are definitely


responding positively. Youth-led violent crime used to lead the air


waves. This was the 1950s, when a gang was terrorising bank staff.


More recently British town centres became no-go zones at weekends when


fighting followed boozing as night followed day. But police and other


agencies working together has paid off. Plus there is a new attitude to


drink and drugs amongst many young people that might just surprise


their parents. These youngsters are ambassadors for the youth charity,


Just 4. 4 Kids. You need to realise your boundaries and people are


getting alcohol poisoning and people are reading newspapers and realising


they can't go too far. People are being young people but recognising


there are boundaries. Perhaps the fall in violence is also down to how


much family attention modern children get. In 1974 full-time


mothers with children under four and no job sent 77 minutes a day on


childcare, that rose to 202 minutes by 2005. Mothers working more than


four hours a day also increased childcare time from 25-97 minutes a


day, they are spending more time on childcare than full-time mothers


were 40 years ago. The most comfortable place in my area is my


house, my mum and my little brother. Does your mum work? She works. My


dad takes me football, that keeps me away from violence. Whatever the


reasons for the fall in violence and violent crime, here they say


attitudes to young people still haven't changed. How do you think


you are seen by society? As criminals. That is how it feels? It


feels. Hoodlums and hood-rats. But you are not? Yeah, you are! No


matter what others say, these young people are now focussed away from


violence. On the goals that will give them a better future. Joining


me now from Boston is the author of The Better Angels of our Nature. Why


Violence has Declined, and a writer for the Economist, and also the


Hackney heroine, after the riots in London in 2011, when a video of her


berating rioters in her native Hackney went violent. These figures


showing violent crime is on the decrease, does it look like that


where you live? Nowhere I live, I'm afraid. I have to sadly say it is


not happening in and around most of the areas I connect with. Just


recently we have had a young boy shooting a young girl in Hackney. We


have had a gentleman killing his partner and his child, again today


on the news there is a mother who has killed her three children. All


exceptional circumstances, but it is still a violent crime. Of course the


death of the three children today is still an allegation that it was the


mother that was involved in that crime. But Daniel, do you think that


what we're seeing here is a result of a changing society, although not


one that Pauline recognises locally, or is there something fundamentally


changing in our society? I think there is a changing society, but to


do with an awful lot of interventions at once. Your report


raised a view of them. Parenting, contrary to politicians, has


actually got a lot better. But there is myriad things like that. I mean


the way we approach crime, the way we tackle crime and prevent crime


has got better. If you look at things that were common 20 years


ago, bank robbery, that is harder. Because of CCTV? Yeah, but things


like car immobilisers. Don't you think they find other ways of


getting in there? I don't think they do. I dug up a statistic today,


107,000 kids entered the criminal justice system for violent offences,


there is a four fold drop now. Do you think there is amongst young


people a less propensity to commit crime. Is there a fundamental


societal change? There is a change, a long-running historical change,


going back to the Middle Ages the rate of violent crime in western


countries has just plummeted, then there was a little up-tick in the


1960s and this is a reversal of the up-tick. In general there has been


less tolerance of violence as a way of establishing one's manhood and


honour, and more emphasis on dignity and controlling your emotions and on


being more of a gentleman. Why is that happening? It probably is


triggered by a number of ways of trying to control violence. Most


probably Government and policing. That has been the trend that drove


most of the rate of violent crime down over the centuries, there was a


renewal of energy after the crime burst of the 1960s when after a


couple of decades, communities all over the west got sick of the rate


of crime and started to do various things about it. It is not


inherently that human nature is changing for the better? I don't


think human nature is changing, but I think human nature has many


components, there is a part of us that reacts angrily to insults and


frustrations as in the computer repair technique called precussive


maintenance, something goes wrong and you want to whack something. On


the other hand there is another part of human nature that can anticipate


the future, and can inhibit these impulses to lash out. I think when


you change social institutions, you can give self-control and long-term


planning the upper hand, so you are tilting one aspect of human nature


against another. This is precisely it, Stephen has explained well in


his book over 1,000 years why crime has increased in those decades from


the 60s, # 0s and 80s. What we have seen over the last 30 years across


the board in western countries, little ways we have found of making


things work better. Things that we have improved institutionally have


changed. Tell me where have you done this and where did you get the


statistics from, and where did you do your research to find it. I walk


out on the streets every day, every day I'm out there, with the people,


you know, on grassroots level, ghetto level, whatever way you want


to class it, but I'm out there and I'm seeing crime every day. Pauline


I'm wondering if part of the thing is actually it doesn't contribute to


the statistics, because a lot of the crime you are seeing goes


unreported? There you go. So how can they get a right balance, I don't


understand. We actually have a very good crime statistics, it was based


on the survey, essentially we ring up 60,000 people and say what crimes


have you been a victim of. The crime statistics are pretty good and we


have hospital admissions? Why is it only now that we are in the last


decade coming to understand, or see why this is changing? I think it is


only recently become so apparent in Britain because certain types of


crimes were still rising into the mid-noughties, things like knife


crime, even the crime has been fouling since 1995, it has been


quite easy to point to something getting worse. But now everything is


falling. Have you done research into the gun crime. I have. Can I finish


up. The number of shootings has fallen by 80%. That is not the


question I wanted to ask, I wanted to ask where are the guns coming


from and getting on the streets. They are in less and less numbers.


One area you will be in accord is over the idea is why we are not


seeing a commensurate reduction in domestic violence? We do, estimates


of domestic violence are also down. And maybe for some of the same


reasons, maybe we are becoming increasingly intolerant of violence,


it is considered a mark of absolute shame to beat up or threaten your


intimate partner. Where as that was a matter of comedy and jokes for


much of the 20th century. Also there are better social service agencies,


places that women who are terrorised by spouses or boyfriends can escape


or complain, and less tolerance on the police on domestic violence, and


less tolerance for other violent crime. Is this a prosession or


something that might kick it all off again, like the riots we had in


2011, is this a definite trajectory or could we see it reversed? We


could see it reversed. I think unlike the 1960s and 1970s, where


there was a deep pessimism, that we could ever take it back to cities.


How do you propose to reverse it? Could it be reversed ore become


worse again. Sorry, my misunderstanding. It could become


right again. But there has to be a lot more input into this than just


us sitting here on a TV, having a debate. We need to get out there,


the people need to get out there and work on this. Thank you all very


much indeed. There is only one man who could have said my chances of


being PM are about as good as finding he will visit on Mars or


being re-- Elvis on Mars! But he know Boris Johnson tries to put you


off. Newsnight understands he may soon announce his decision to return


to Westminster and not foot about on the backbenches, at least not for


more than five minutes. I'm getting on with my job. Being Mayor of


London is the most fantastic job. What I would rather do is get on


with my job of running the city. You heard the man, he's just getting on


with the job. Why then is it becoming increasingly difficult to


find anyone round here who still believes that. Perhaps that's


because beneath the distinctly uncool exterior, the handle bars,


the floppy fringe, and the quotations from Virgil, there lurks


the beating heart of a man still deeply ambitious for the very top


job in politics? I would be amazed if at the next general election


there is not in some corner of England a Boris Johnson standing for


election. He has not finished his political career. I think he's just


getting started. Put bluntly, the concept of Boris Johnson not


standing as an MP is pretty hard to imagine. Indeed Westminster's


favourite parlour game has been to guess which seat and when an


announcement would come. Colonel Mustard, there is an image to


conjure, think Cluedo without the lead piping. Officially no decision


has been made, once you take out the summer, conference season, and the


upcoming elections, time is getting short. I understand an announcement


could come as early as June, once the European and local elections are


safely out of the way. What he can't afford is anything that starts to


become what one source described to me as the Boris soap opera


distraction. So why are things hotting up now? Quite simply because


the PM, David Cameron, has extended the invitation. Last month in the


Sun the PM made clear he does want Boris to be part of the line-up,


telling James Cordon, more readily than he meant, he wanted his top


striker. Football analogies can be dubious, but it may fit well, the


Cameron plan is to present a top team to the electorate before May


2015. You take the likes of Hague, Osbourne, Cameron and Michael Gove,


and throw in Johnson for good measure, and you have a cabinet of


big beasts. He wants to put on show a proven squad, rather than the team


of nobodies he thinks Labour will offer up. One of the unknowns is


what George Osborne makes of any Boris return, there may be mixed


emotions, incentives even, as campaign strategist he will want to


cement a Tory majority whatever cost. He knows if Cameron fails he


fails too. When it comes to that leadership bid, potentially,


eventually, the two could be rivals and that could spell out a very


different story. Already there is huge tension between Team Boris and


Team George Osborne. It is even to hear even senior Tories talk with


each other about which side they are on. Imagining some 2018 run off. But


politicians are mental chess players, and Boris Johnson features


at a great big Queen in the chess board and George Osborne being the


rival Queen. Many Tories are wondering how this will play out and


beginning to take sides behind one of these two men. The big question


is which seats will be freed up and where would make geographic sense


for the man who will take the day job of the London mayor. George


Young could be one, he's standing down. Or the seat of Andrew


Lansley's in south Cambridgeshire if he was the new EU minister. Peter


Tapsal and Patrick Mercer are also standing down. Then there is London,


seats in Bromley and Beckenham, Uxbridge and Richmond, often


mentioned yet all four MPs there have told me today they are not


standing down. What are you left with? Kensington and Chelsea might


sound obvious, but no fine from Malcolm Rifkind he's willing to give


up that prize yet. Cameron is the insider, Boris is the outsider, he


doesn't have a great gang of people ready to take over or the key


installations. The bookies' odds on a Boris Johnson MP have never been


shorter, that perhaps is for others to say. As the classic scholar


himself might put it even if everyone else does he won't. What


happens if you lose everything? You go bankrupt. It is a question which


may face more of us if interest rates rise, what happens when


discharging the debt can cost you many times over. Sometimes debtors


have no choice but to allow professionals called insolvency


practitioners to manage their affairs, the Government is


increasingly concerned that the fees they charge can be very high. Even


over a small debt of just several thousand pounds, fees can bring the


total bill to tens of thousands. The consequences can be devastating, as


Richard Watson has been finding out in a report made by Fire Crest


Films. Debtor, bankrupt, terms which instill fear and shame, for friends


and family the stakes can be very high. When people can't pay,


professionals are brought in to handle their assets, but they charge


fees, often by the hour. The Government is reviewing the level of


fees across the insolvency business. We have also been investigating fees


charged by lawyers and accountants when things go wrong. And some of


what we found gives rise to serious cause for concern. Alan Town, 55,


used to live in his own home. After being made bankrupt he has moved


back in with his 92-year-old father. I'm very lucky I have had the


support of my family. A lot of people, however, do not have that


sort of support, so if their properties are lost they would be


out on the streets. Alan used to live in a flat he owned outright


here in South-East London. It was forcibly sold after he was made


bankrupt over unpaid council tax of ?7,000, other debts brought the


total amount owed to ?27,000. In bankruptcy the costs began to rise


steeply, ?13,000 of fees were payable to the Government, called


Secretary of State fees, and ?11,000 were legal fees, but the single


biggest cost came from fees charged by what is known as a trustee in


bankruptcy, appointed to sell assets so creditors can be paid, ?36,000


were from Alan's trustee, who worked for a big firm of accountants. The


total cost of bankruptcy including his initial debts came to just under


?100,000. His flat was sold to pay the bill. The trustee told the


family that the reason costs were so high was because Alan was


obstructive and didn't engage in the process. In Alan Town's case his


trustee in bankruptcy was from a company now owned by accountany


giant Baker Tilly, we asked him to explain the fees run up over three


years. They told us they didn't think it was appropriate to comment


on individual cases. So what are trustees' fees? They are usually


charged in bankruptcy by insolvency practitioners. Their job is to


realise assets of the bankrupt to pay creditors what they are owed.


Critics argue the way they are currently paid often by the hour,


can send bills sky high. There are a very, very high chargeout rates,


even ordinary is three figures plus, it is very, very lucrative, it is


virtually a license to print money. The minister responsible for


insolvency has been consulting with the industry. We are certainly


concerned in Government about the level of fees, we have just closed a


consultation looking at how we can change the way that fees are


charged, we're looking at flat rate fees and fees as a proportion of


asset that is are recovered and so on, we are looking at a variety of


different options. But the insolvency industry opposes the


ideas of fixed fees. The fixed fee idea has been put forward by


Government in its recent consultation. We actually don't


think that is the right way to go, and the reason we don't think that


is the case is we don't think there is any evidence to show that will


work. The report which lies behind the Government's plans for reform


raises particular concern about small personal bankruptcy where


there is a family home at stake. Often fees rise massively when


people fight to avoid paying debts. For 30 years Peter Williams lived


and worked in his house in Bedfordshire, but astonishingly a


?1350 debt he owed to his council spiralled into an ?80,000 bill. His


family says it cost Peter his home and his life. I was totally


appalled, absolutely appalled, and could not believe it. A debt of


?1350 and to actually pursue it in this way, to make somebody bankrupt


is beyond belief. Colleagues say Peter Williams was a brilliant


inventor, but his private life started falling apart after he fell


ill in the 1990s. Friends and family say he was vulnerable. Council tax


bills went unpaid for almost ten years. The council says he had


plenty of chances to settle. Eventually he was made bankrupt, he


paid some council tax, but with legal fees he still owed around


?1350. The accountany firm Grant Thornton was appointed at Peter's


trustee in bankruptcy, that meant they handled his assets, like his


house here, to make sure his debts with were paid. The fees for Peter


Williams' bankruptcy began to climb. In 2010 his friend asked the council


for breakdown of the bill. They wrote back to us and told us that


they will not tell us how the debt was broken down, because it will


further inflate the debt if they did. As in most insolvency Grant


Thornton was charging by the hour. A partner is charged out at ?450 an


hour. An administrator it is more than ?150 an hour, even for


assistants and support staff it is over ?140 an hour. Soon the bill was


in the tens of thousands. Peter Williams' house was to be sold to


pay this and other bills. Finally a date in February 2012 was set for


Peter's eviction, on that day a policeman called at his sister's


house. He told -- He told me that my brother had died. I just couldn't


believe it, because I didn't know anything about what had been going


on. I just could not believe it. Peter Williams had taken his own


life. After his death his family is told the costs of his bankruptcy,


nearly ?80,000. More than ?27,000 were fees charged by Grant Thornton


as trustee. I was horrified. Absolutely horrified, the minute


trustees in bankruptcy are brought in there is a huge charge. Grant


Thornton told Newsnight that the family have their deepest


sympathies, they said the prosession of the bankruptcy required numerous


court hearings all of which necessarily contributed to the time


and costs involved. They also said they agreed to repeated delves of


the possession order to -- deferral order to allow Mr Williams to


explore his options. Was it right to force him into bankruptcy over such


a small debt in the first place. Currently those owing ?750 can be


forced into bankruptcy by law. The level of ?750 in 1986 and times have


changed and what is appropriate is different now. I'm looking at it to


see if the threshold needs to be increased. Central Bedfordshire


council said they have always recognised the tragic nature of


Peter Williams' death, but for more than a decade he didn't pay the


council tax. They distanced themselves and said the debt that


ultimately led to action to repossess Mr Williams' home related


to the costs pursued by Grant Thornton, which were entirely


outside the council's control. The insolvency profession has currently


eight, yes eight regulators, who people can complain to if they feel


they have been treated unfairly. They cannot assess the level of fees


charged by trustees. You are put in the position where you have to


accept what they have said and what they are willing to give you at the


end of the process. And the regulator won't look at it? I don't


know what the regulator actually does. Insolvency cases are driven by


law and the moment the redress for someone who has concerns about the


fees is to go to the court. Someone has taken themselves to


court won't do so because it is a vastly expensive process? The court


is very ready to look at insolvency practicers' fees. The Government


wants to reform the bankruptcy business by strengthening regulation


and capping fees. The insolvency industry is resisting some of the


changes, but for families affected reform is long overdue. As birthdays


go, William shakes peers is -- William Shakespeare is some what


imprecise. Newsnight thought it would get in on the celebrations


going on in Stratford. Every night we will finish the programme with


big British stars performing their own favourites of Shakespeare. Here


is Helen Mirren on what Shakespeare means to her, ahead of her


performance on Friday. When I was young I didn't go to the cinema, we


didn't have television, but I did see an amateur production of Hamlet


was when I was 14, I was completely overwhelmed and it was so magical to


me, just the story alone, imagine seeing Hamlet when you don't know


that Opheila goes mad or that Hamlet dies, I didn't know any of that. You


are watching it like a thriller as much asking? Anything else. It was


such an electrifying experience for me that I immediately went back and


found a very musty old copy of Shakespeare that my parents had, and


started reading it, and that was the moment I think that I realised that


was really what I wanted to do. By favoured fountain or rushy brooks,


thy brawls though has disturbed our sport. Children should not be


allowed to read Shakespeare until her 15 years old, taken to see a


play at 13, 14, they would say you can't read it is much too grown up,


not allowed, not until you are 16. Then of course you are dying to


secretly reading Shakespeare in your bedroom. A play like Coreolanus, you


can do a play Ross thighesing for fuedalism or capitalism. That is the


extraordinary nature of his work is that it is just always multifaceted.


You can put it in an African, Aborigine society, an Asian society,


and it always has resonance to the people who watch it. I would love to


play Juliet! Too late! But I do practice Juliet from time to time.


You know. REPORTER: Did you ever have to turn


down Juliet? No, I was never asked, it broke my heart. Especially when I


realised I was in my 30s and 40s and it is not going to happen now. It is


not going to happen now. Gap hop apace you feeble feet, bring on


cloudy night immediately! Starting us off with our first performance


will be David Harewood in just a moment. Before that let's discuss


Shakespeare's power today with the director with us. We were talking


about the idea that you can do anything with shakes beer? We have


just done a production at the Donmar, set roughly in a Rome that


feels a bit like now. The amazing thing about it, it ran the NT lives,


which go out around the world. I have had people writing from Russia


movingly saying this is an incredible play about democracy. Do


you find it good, do you agree with Helen you shouldn't be allowed to


read Shakespeare at school? I would disagree. I think you should give


Shakespeare to kids all around the world and let them experience it. It


is only by experiencing it, it comes alive, by reading it, saying it,


experiencing it, that is when you get the full benefit of it for me.


It has so many ideas in the writing, so much beautiful language and so


many beautiful images in the language. It really comes alive when


kids get a hold of it and understand what it is about. Do you remember at


school, I remember it was Macbeth? The most brilliant thing happened, I


was in correspondence with my brother's niece who is six years old


and studying Shakespeare, she has been writing e-mails saying about


adding things with the witches' cauldron and stirring things with


someone's arm, it is making her brain pop. Have you seen firsthand


how it can change children's lives? We did the all-female workshops


around Shakespeare's plays, and there was a girl in the workshops


who never been heard to speak before, she was reading Julius


ceaser, it is so KOUFRL. The point is about not making it dry and the


performance. What we are mindful at the moment is it doesn't desiccate


into the curriculum as something academic, they were written to be


spoken and performed. Shakespeare never published his plays in his


lifetime, but after his death. He wanted them to be exciting and


crackling things, not dusty books? I have experienced Shakespeare in


prisons, and these prisoners have no experience of the language but when


they understand about it, you can feel their back straighten and these


huge characters come alive. And they start to understand this isn't some


kind of posh you know thing that belongs to the rich people or people


living in London, it belongs to all of us. And there is no right or


wrong in Shakespeare, you can do it anywhere, any time, and why


shouldn't Helen play Juliet, it would be fantastic to see it. There


is absolutely no right or wrong in Shakespeare, can you do it wherever


and whenever. Tonight you are going to do Iago, why? I have always been


interested in doing things, as I said, that you are not supposed to


do. Or flipping things on their head. And the idea of having, I did


Iago for my RADA audition, I can remember their faces going you are


doing this not Othello, and I thought why not. You can't do


anything wrong with Shakespeare, and it is about bringing it alive. If it


means casting a white actor in a black role, or whatever, or a woman


as a man, do it. You go off and prepare, one final question for joss


circumstance having done -- Josie, having done your all-female Julius


Caesar, has it whetted your appetite for another production with


all-women? We would love to bring that work back, it had such a great


force of change in the lives of the actors that did it. Listening to


David there, it is a great point about elitism, it is only elitist if


people don't get to go to the theatre and drama doesn't get caught


in school, when you don't allow admission to it, that is elitist, it


isn't at its heart. Here is David Harewood playing Iago from act I of


Othello. Oh Sir content you, I follow him to serve my turn upon


him. We cannot all be masters, nor all masters cannot be truly


followed. You shall mark many a duteous and knee crooking knave, who


doting on his obsequious bondage wearing out his time like his


master's ass, when he's old cash yeared, with me such honest knaves,


others, there are who trimmed in forms and visages of beauty, kept


yet their hearts intending on themselves, and throwing but shows


of service on their Lords, do well thrive by them. And when they have


lined their coats, do themselves homage. Those fellows have some


soul, and such a wonder I profess myself, for Sir, it is as sure as


you are Rodrigo, and I the moor, I would not be Iago, and following him


I follow but myself, not I for love and duty, but seeming so for my


peculiar end, and when my outward action demonstrate the native act


and figure of my heart in confident external, it is not long after, that


I will wait my heart upon my sleeve for daws to peck at. I am not


Rain continues to spread east overnight, heavy showers fading from


south-west England and Northern Ireland, a chilly start to the south


west of the UK, patchy fog too, Wales, Midland, southern England


slowly clearing and then a


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