30/04/2014 Newsnight


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Fein is arrested tonight in connection with the murder of a


woman killed by the IRA in 1972. We have the latest.


How society is dividing into a vast number of have-nots and a very small


number of have-lots, and lots, and lots. Why social inequality is


predicted to get worse and what, if anything, we ought to do about it.


We talk to the French economist who has written what's been called the


Das Kapital of the 21st century. On the 25th anniversary of the fatwa


pronouncing death on Salman Rushdie, Martin Amis on freedom and


fundamentalism. Our latest tribute to Shakespeare: Simon Callow as


Prospero. Our rebels are ended, and these are actors, as I foretold you


who are all spirits that are melted into air - into thin air.


Dramatic developments tonight in the police investigation into the murder


of a woman killed by the IRA in 1972. The police Service of Northern


Ireland are questioning the president of Sinn Fein, Gerry Adams.


Mr Adams says he has always been willing to help the police trying to


discover how Jean McConville came to die, although he had nothing to to


with it, one veteran IRA man has already been charged with aiding and


abetting the murder. Mr Adams said attempts to implicate him are pure


mischief. Jean McConville, a widow and a mother of ten was abducted in


front of her children, killed bit IRA. She had been wrongly accused of


being an ininformer. When do you think you'll see your


mummy again? I don't know. Her body was recovered from a beach in 2003.


Before his arrest this evening, Mr Adams maintained he was not guilty


of Hur perioder. But he presented himself voluntarily to police this


evening. I will tell the PSA that I am innocent totally of any part of


the abduction, killing, or burial of Jean McConville. I do have concerns


about the timing. I volunteered to meet them. I have concerns in the


middle of an election about the timing, but I have tried to work at


building the peace and I will continue to do that. Allegations


surfaced recently in a BBC documentary which included an


interview with the former IRA commander Brendan Hughes recorded


before his death. In it, he accuses the Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams


of involvement in McConville's murder. This woman was taken away


and executed. Jean McConville. There is only one man that gave the order


for that woman to be executed. That man, right, is now the head of Sinn


Fein. The or this evening of such a senior political figure will be


Fein. The or this evening of such a as a landmark moment in how Northern


Ireland attempts to deal with its past. No-one knows exactly what


evidence they have against Gerry Adams, but there's a sense tonight


that it will have to be pretty watertight for such a major


political gamble to be taken. With us now is the seasoned Northern


Ireland reporter Peter Taylor, and Alex Maskey member of the Northern


Ireland Assembly for Sinn Fein who is in Belfast. Peter Taylor, the


Jean McConville case, remind us what happened. She was accused by the IRA


of being a tout, an informer working for British intelligence. She was


taken away, abducted in front of her children, and then she disappeared,


and she was murdered by the IRA and her body was buried, and ultimately,


the IRA pointed out where she was buried and her body was recovered,


but it is a terrible, terrible story. No-one has ever been held


accountable for it? No. It is really interesting about Mr Adams and what


has happened to him. First of all, we've got to remember that he's only


been arrested - he has been arrested many times. He hasn't been charged


with anything. He is denying it. What it really comes down to is what


he has always denied which is that he was never a member of the IRA.


I've done a lot of work on this and I remember interviewing the Chief of


Staff of the IRA who met Willy Whitelaw with the leadership. When I


interviewed him, I asked about the people who are with him, the


leadership of the IRA, and I said was Gerry Adams a member of the IRA?


He said they were all IRA. I said, "Including Gerry Adams?" Said, "All


IRA." If Chief of Staff of the IRA says Mr Adams was a member of the


IRA, then I think that's a pretty good chance that he was. Alex


Maskey, what do you make of this arrest tonight? First of all, as


you've already heard, Gerry Adams has repeatedly rejected all these


allegations in relation to the killing of Mr McConville and


repeatedly said over many years that he's available and willing to speak


to the police about this manner. We believe the manner this has


happened, that Gerry Adams has arranged to speak to the police this


evening, and been arrested in such a public fashion. We believe it is a


political agenda. We want to make the point again that Gerry Adams has


rejected all allegations against him. You say there is a political


agenda here: you're accusing the Police Service of Northern Ireland


of acting in a politically motivated fashion? We believe on the basis


that Gerry Adams has repeatedly stated publicly that he was


available to speak to police at any time, we're now three weeks into an


election, and then this has happened in the manner in which it has


happened, and we believe there is an agenda, which is a very negative


agenda, and it is regrettable it is happening and should not be


happening. You surely wouldn't want to impede a police investigation


into an ancient and horrible crime like this, would you? Absolutely


not. As I've said, Gerry Adams has said repeatedly publicly, over a


long number of years now, that he has always been willing and able,


and available to meet the police at any time. Far from impeding Gerry


Adams has been able to speak to the police for a number of years now in


this regard. This has now happened until three weeks before an


election. As far as we are concerned, we republicans will take


this as part of an agenda. Depending on what does happen, if Mr Adams is


charged - and remember he has only been arrested - if he is charged, I


find it difficult to see how they're going to make the charges stand up


because I can't see any former IRA man or woman standing up pointing


the finger at Mr Adams, and I don't think they can use as evidence


perhaps as confirmatory or corroborating evidence the voice


from the grave of Brendan Hughes because you can't, whatever Mr


Hughes says in that tape-recording, can't be cross-examined in a court


of law because he's no longer with us. I think they would find it very


difficult to make a incredible case against him, assuming he were to be


charged, which of course he hasn't. Do you share a similar view on that?


I would expect Gerry Adams to be released fairly soon because there


was no case against Gerry Adams, and let's remind ourselves that those


people who made statements because obviously we're working on the basis


that Gerry Adams is in this position because people have made statements,


for example, to the boss, the tapes inquiry, as it has been called,


those people who made those statements can have no reliability


since they made the statements on the basis they would not be released


until they died. There is no reliability or integrity as far as I


am concerned - Alex says this very well,


am concerned - Alex says this very through much of the


am concerned - Alex says this very conflict, a very close friend of


am concerned - Alex says this very Gerry Adams. He was


am concerned - Alex says this very Brendan Hughes says what he says


when he Brendan Hughes says what he says


degree of credibility in it, Brendan Hughes says what he says


over the peace process. First of all, you're


over the peace process. First of comment. They parted their ways,


over the peace process. First of unfortunately, and the same could be


said for a small number of other republicans.


said for a small number of other someone makes a statement for


whatever reason doesn't mean to say that it is true. I have to say that,


as far as I am concerned, there's not a lot of integrity in a process


as far as I am concerned, there's where someone says, "I am going to


say what I want to say but you can't use it until I die." I really don't


think that is credible, to be truthful with


think that is credible, to be Once upon a time, inequality,


think that is credible, to be gap between rich and poor was a


touchstone of gap between rich and poor was a


country, but, by the turn of the millennium, attitudes had changed.


Peter Mandelson, one of the architects of new Labour, confessed


he was intensely relaxed about people getting filthy Richard, and


apart from the occasional flourish with mansion taxes, a version of


trickle-down seemed to have held sway. The poor are always with us.


According to that rare commodity, a hugely popular new book on


economics, while inequality reduced in the 20th century, it is now


rising and destined to carry on rising. The situation which the


French author thinks is hugely dangerous. I'll be talking to him


shortly, but first sit back and pay attention to Chris Cook.


When it comes to inequality, Thomas Picketty Capital in th 21st Century


says we should all worry about capital. Not so much incomes and


bonuses. So, what does he an by "capital"? That's anything that can


be owned and that generates an income. That can be housing, land,


stocks, or shares. That idea isn't new. In fact, the link between


capital and incomes is very familiar, not least to readers of


Jane Austen and Balzac. He says 19th century novelists and their readers,


the two ideas were used interchangeably. The book's big


innovation has been to build a massive data set that allows him to


look at patterns in the ownership of stuff going back centuries. His


research found that, in the 18th and 19th centuries, the value of capital


grew faster than the economy at large. So, by 1900, the amount of


wealth had grown to aroundseven times national output in Britain.


And, since that wealth started off being owned by rich people, that


means that the rich pulled away from the rest of us. Now, you can see


that in the way that the proportion of national wealth owned by the top


one per cent rose, and, the top ten per cent, but, in the twentieth


century, things were a little different. First of all, because of


war. Between 1910 and 1950, the world wars and decolonisation


clobbererd the European rich. All that stuff they had accumulated got,


well, blown up, or handed back to other people. Then, after the war,


the recovery was historically unusual, partly because it was all


catch-up growth. The capital stock grew more slowly in the economy at


large and was more heavily taxed. So, owning all that stuff didn't


really help the top one per cent power ahead. The rest actually


caught up a little bit. Since 1980, however, Piketty thinks that things


have reverted to the older pattern. Capital has been growing faster than


the economy at large, and, since the rich start off owning more stuff,


that drives up inequality. So far, so uncontroversial. But Piketty's


thesis is that this trend might well continue. If the rate at which


capital grows remains faster than the economy at large, then the rich


will keep pulling away, and the world could look once again like a


Victorian age. The rich will be rich because of who


their parents are, not who they are, and that's a major public policy


challenge. Piketty's diagnosis might upset people, but his prescription


will make him even more enemies. His proposed solution is a global wealth


tax, a policy that he suggests is pretty unlikely to happen. Still,


Piketty's data collection and analysis is likely to win him a


Nobel Prize, even if his policy suggestions are not taken up.


The book has had Guardian-reading North London Liberals smiling into


their frappuccinos. I sought out Thomas Picketty and asked him why we


should care and inequality. Inequality matters because our


democratic institutions can't work properly if inequality becomes too


extreme. We need inequality for growth to happen to have incentives.


If it is really too extreme, then the unequal voice and unequal access


to political influence - When does it become too extreme? There is no


mathematical formula for that. We have to rely on history. This is an


imperfect guide but this is the best we have. One of the lessons from


history is that, for instance, 19th century inequality wasn't good for


democracy and wasn't good for growth, either. That was useless


inequality, if you wish. There was no middle class then, the wealth was


concentrated prior to World War one in Britain or France, 90 per cent of


the national wealth would belong to the top ten per cent. This was one


of the reasons I think why our parliamentary system was not working


as well as it should have. Some people seem to believe that there is


nothing to learn from this because the future will be different, growth


will be a lot higher. Prior to World War one, this was a time where we


invented the automobiles, the electricity, the radio, so this is


less important than Facebook but still these are important


innovations, so growth and innovation was already there, but


growth was not sufficient to prevent very large wealth concentration from


happening, and I think there is a lot to concern by going back through


time. There are circumstances, are not there, where inequality can be


good for a society? Of course. It is all a matter of degree. Look, let's


be very concrete. In this country, the bottom half of the population


owns about two and three per cent of national wealth. Now, if that was


full equality, it should only 50 per cent. I am not saying it should be


50 per cent. I am just saying that two or three per cent is very small,


and that maybe, you know, it is I think spreading wealth and giving


access to wealth is important for our economy, and for our democracy.


If you take - Speaking out of ideology there, aren't you? I am


talking about poor people who would like to access wealth and become


owners. Everyone would like to access wealth. It is one of the


triggers for capitalism, isn't it? Some inequality, capitalism doesn't


work? Some inequality, but I am telling you that the bottom half of


the population who own three per cent of national wealth, so I am not


saying it should be 50% but maybe we can make it to five or eight or do


you think that three per cent is the maximum that the bottom half can own


in order to make the economy work. Why draw another arbitrary figure?


There is no mathematical certainty about it. Exactly. What we know is


that the share of national wealth going to the middle class has been


shrinking over the past 30 years. In this country, and actually across


Europe and in the US. Why does that matter? It matters because the


question is has it been good for growth? No. Growth over the past few


decades compared to the previous period wasn't better. If these


trends continue, I think it is period wasn't better. If these


benefits to broad segments of period wasn't better. If these


that disproportionate share of the benefits from globalisation and


economic openness accrues only to top income and wealth groups, I


think there is a risk that a passenger part of the population


will turn against that. The latter part of the book, you do propose


some solutions. Now you say people are free to come up with their own


solutions. If there were to be an international wealth tax - well, it


is never going to happen, is it? What I would propose is to transform


this, given tax revenue a progressive tax on net wealth. That


means most people will pay less. If you have ?500,000 property but a


president you have ?500,000 property but a


not rich. You should pay less tax than someone who has inherited from


his property and doesn't have a mortgage. If your net wealth is only


?10,000, then the progressive would be 0, and the progressive tax


would only start with people above ?1 million. You've identified this


as ?1 million. You've identified this


presumably, you believe that ?1 million. You've identified this


people finding shelter somewhere else but they're everywhere, equally


liable to punitive rates of taxation. Who do you want to punish?


You want to punish the rich? Not at all. I want to - You don't want - I


want to help the middle class. When you have 90 per cent of the


population who owns less than 25 per cent of the wealth, I think it would


be crazy to say that we cannot do better than that. I think we can


spread the wealth more. One lesson of the 20th century is that we don't


need 19th century inequality to grow.


need 19th century inequality to we don't need the kind of extreme


concentration of wealth that we had in Britain but also in France and


all over Europe. in Britain but also in France and


now? We still have a middle class. There is one big difference to


now? We still have a middle class. and one century ago. Today, at


least, there is a middle class that owns 20, 25 per cent of the total


wealth. That didn't even exist at the time of the-of-down tonne Abbey;


of down tonne Abbey. You don't want to get back there for economic and


political reasons. Given it to get back there for economic and


you think clearly is necessary - That's not what I said. I told you


the opposite. Yes, but when That's not what I said. I told you


with the problem of disproportionate shares of the national cake, the


only way you can do that is by taxation, isn't it? Okay, you can


have a mansion tax in this country without


have a mansion tax in this country European Union. Number 1. Number 2,


of course, it is even better if you have


of course, it is even better if you can do more in terms of top


of course, it is even better if you progress - is it easy? No. Is it


impossible? No. You know, five years ago, everybody was saying that Swiss


banks will never renounce seeksy. Then the United States came with


sanctions on Swiss banks and told Swiss banks you know, if you keep


not sending us information on our taxpayers and how much you have in


your banks, we will cut your banking licence in the US. Suddenly, things


change in Switzerland. I am not impressed by people who know in


advance who will know or will not happen. I think history is full of


surprises, and I think the European countries have a lot more to lose


than the US from bank secrecy in Switzerland. I think in the future,


it is possible with better and more international co-operation,


particularly involving European countries and the US to move towards


a global registry of financial assets in order to have more


international co-operation in the fiscal domain. That doesn't mean a


global tax, but that means national tax with more global co-operation


between those countries. Thank you very much.


While Mr Piketty's tome has provoked debate, today, Ed Miliband accused


the Prime Minister of presiding over inequality in the UK. Two years ago,


protesters were camped outside St Paul's Cathedral complaining about


the fat tax one per cent. What is going on here? Have or have-not?


Equal or less equal? Forget the concepts. What is


actually happening here? It wasn't so long ago this square


was crammed with protesters, furious at bankers' behaviour and angry


about the gap between rich and poor. Politicians clambered over each


other to look concerned about fat-cat pay, but, through the


recession, overall incomes actually became more equal as George Osborne


now likes to boast. But that only happened because, as pay fell,


benefits continued to rise. That situation is expected to go into


reverse. And the gap in earnings has


stretched uncomfortably. By 2011, FTSE bosses were taking home 139


times as much as their average workers. But the actual UK top one


per cent includes not just bankers or bosses, but the best-paid police,


doctors, even teachers - anyone earning over ?100,000 after tax,


but, in the shadow of St Paul's, arrange is still there. Anger is


still there. It annoys me, there should be people they've worked


their way to the top. The amount of money you've got up there, when


you've got the lowest of the low scrimping and scraping, it is not


right. If people are poor, they should go to work more, shouldn't


they? I just like earning money. We're going to have a very big


social problem because you're going to have all these youngsters that


have worked hard for their education and the salary they get, they won't


be able to afford accommodation for any kind of decent lifestyle. You


think it is as serious as that, we're looking at big social


problems? Yes, I think so. You can't hide it. But it is less and less


about what you earn or not. No matter how the government tinkers


with what you're allowed to keep, it is the influence of what you have or


not, your wealth, that's really changing. The gap between haves and


have-not haven't - have-notes isn't as big as it was when this square


was built, but now inheritance is growing as a share of the whole


country's income. For most of us, that's about access to your own


slice of bricks and mortar. More people buy homes with cash now than


buy for the first time, although Labour and the Lib Dems both vow to


tax property raising inheritance tax, few would dare. The value of


wealth, even of ordinary wealth, let alone top wealth, became much larger


in relation to people's incomes. That makes it very much harder to


move a notch or two up the wealth ladder because you need many more


years of saving, many more years' worth of income to move a number of


rungs up that ladder. That's going to be very difficult for young


people to do just through their own saving, and it makes it much more


important who their parents and grandparents are, and whether they


can help them get on the housing ladder, whether they have a lucky


inheritance and so on. This isn't all just about cold, hard cash.


There are dramatic variations in our health, not just our wealth, and


stubborn gaps in opportunities for our children.


The richest children's grandparents are likely to enjoy nearly20 years


more healthy life than the poorest, and the difference is growing. And


while 40 per cent of children on free school meals get five decent


GCSEs, it is 70 per cent for the rest.


There is enormous variation between and within schools, so in England,


it matters where you're born if you're poor as well addition the


fact that you're born to relative poverty, so there are one in seven


secondary schools, for example, in England with respect the free-school


meal children do better than the national average and those schools


are distributed right across the country in all communities. One of


the big questions is why can't more schools do what those schools are


doing? No-one government can push away or


promote global trends alone. But our politicians' choices can affect


inequality here. It is our own disquiet or acceptance, perhaps,


that dictates how hard they try. With us now are Lord Lamont,


Conservative peer and former Chancellor of the Exchequer; Stella


Creasy, the Labour MP and shadow business minister; and Gillian Tett,


assistant editor at the Financial Times. Telling La Creasy, since --


Stella Creasy, since the French economist seemed to accept that a


degree of inequality was almost necessary, what is undesirable about


it? I don't think he said it was necessary, he said it was


inevitable. I think that's the challenge for all of us looking at


this which is what is the level of inequality which is actually so


damaging and destructive not only to our economy but our society that we


should deal with it. How do you decide that? One of the things that


is interesting about his research is the link between power and the


damage that it does when particularly small groups of power


have disproportionate power in our society. We have to look at what are


the consequences for this kind of inequality in terms of our future.


Are you bothered about growing and inequality? I couldn't envisage


circumstances in which I would. If great disparate tease in wealth


obstruct social mobility, that would worry me a lot. In tackling the


issues, there a two things you ought to consider: the fact that some


people are well think, is that harming other people, causing


poverty? In very few cases do I think is that the case. Secondly,


before you go in for confiscatory taxation, you awed to ask yourselves


the question, would this wealth actually exist if this person who


had it did not exist, i.e., an entrepreneur who has created a huge


n technology empire, if you just tax his wealth out of existence, you


damage an economy, and you damage a lot of people. The point is that


what Piketty is arguing is not so much about inequality of outcome,


the entrepreneur who had the brilliant idea who starts the


company and end up with a lot of money, it is more about equality of


opportunity. There are two questions here: firstly, what degree of


inequality can we live with? Is it about opportunity or outcome? The


really big shift about the focus on capital, inheritance and wealth is


making the point that if you come from a family that starts with


wealth from a family that starts with


worried and R if there's been a break between


worried and R if there's been a receive. I am struck, we saw those


Barclay Shaylerers being rightly angry frankly because they've seen a


32 per cent drop in their angry frankly because they've seen a


bonus pool. That is clearly not linked to performance, so you have


to point. I think, for example, the


remuneration of chief executives in very large companies worldwide is


probably being very overdone, and I think it has


probably being very overdone, and I and the incentive to boost your


share price by buybacks and manipulation of that kind. I think


that is actually pretty unjustified. But that is a different question.


That's a particular example from the issue of is society becoming


That's a particular example from the unequal? I don't think we had a lot


of talk from the Professor about this is incompatible with democracy.


Well, as an American writer once said, if democracy consists of


robbing Peter to pay Paul, Paul will vote for that. We should not just


construct a great vote for that. We should not just


prejudice. Maybe that is a difference between you and I because


I don't want to live in a society where it is the largest waltz or


perhaps the loudest funded by where it is the largest waltz or


largest waltz that determine outcomes. I am not alone in thinking


that. I don't outcomes. I am not alone in thinking


Thatcher but she talked about enfranchising people by giving them


a stake in society. Inequality damages that. I agree with that and


what Gillian said that what we are talking about is equality of


opportunity, but of course equality of opportunity is a very abstract


idea because, unless you were bullish or inheritances, you can't


have true equality of opportunity, so it is only an idea you can move


towards gradually. What is interesting is that it is not just


in the UK that Piketty's book is provoking debate amongst the


Liberals of North London, what is fascinating in America, this book,


which is 557 pages long, it is dense and heavy, is a top-selling book in


America on Amazon in all categories. It is beaten books about Frozen,


Kardashian, sports memoirs, you name it. The reason for that is many


people are saying we came out of this big recession, big financial


crisis. We've got to get growth at all costs, and now they're saying


hang on a second, who benefits? Can I make one point: this one point


about the arithmetic of this that people forget and that is even if


you had a society in which everybody was paid the same income but they


saved a given proportion of it each year, you would end up with a


society in which people over 60 owned 80 per cent of the wealth.


Wealth is concentrated among elderly people, and all these statistics you


get from - I remember this with Professor Titmus a long time ago


when he used to write about inequality, he made that fundamental


arithmetical error that so much wealth is concentrated in older


people. I think the solution to the problem of inequality is to spread


wealth, and I think - I feel like I have to stand up for Professor


Titmus having won his prize, because that's not what he said.


Autoinrolement of pensions will give people the opportunity to save, and


create more distribution of wealth as well. That's not what the


research is telling us. What is fascinating about the research it is


about the accumulation of capital and how that is being passed on, and


one of the challenges of being able to access capital in itself. That is


different from savings. Gillian, in your experience, what is it that


people most get angry about? Income disparatety or angry about the fact


that some people have inherited wealth. Speaking from an American


perspective, there are two things going on. Until now, America had


probably been the Western country most accepting of inequality because


people believed there was equality of opportunity. That was the


American dream. What people are realising is that in America it is


actually no longer that much equality of opportunity, and they're


questioning whether they can live with such unequal outcomes. It is a


recognition that, essentially, what things like quantitative easing has


done is making people who have assets a lot wealthier; what the


globalisation is doing, what the change in industry, the increasing


competition, not just from China but digitisation is hollowing out the


middle class, you have a small minority at the top who have lovely


jobs earning wonderful incomes and many people are struggling. I think


there is force in that. Quantitative easing has altered things. The


sooner we get back to normality, the better. I do think that the


Professor is not on a strong point in predicting that what has happened


in the recent pass will go on. A longer period, over 40 years, LSE


research shows that the share going to incomes in this country, the


share of GDP has remained broadly constant, and the idea that this is


going to diminish I don't think is borne out by the facts. The


proportion of corporate profits being retained and not paid paid out


by employment earnings and at capital is at record levels. Who


benefits from the fact that corporate profits go to capital?


It's basically the shareholders. Who owns the shares? Primarily the rich.


Essentially, what you're seeing time and time again is that workers,


ordinary workers, are being weeded in their slice of the economic pie.


In the recent past, both in this country, Europe, and going on in


Europe, and in the United States, obviously, incomes of ordinary


people haven't risen. That is what has created this problem. That has


been the adjustment to 2007, 2008. The rich have run away with, in, but


we've got a greater challenge, what is the potential we're missing out


on if we live in an equal society because we're not going to tackle


those issues until we have an ability for everyone to create


wealth. What this book shows so well is that this American dream if you


work hard and put your effort it is rewarded is not necessarily true,


and that should challenge all of us of the what potential does that give


us for our children and future that we can create wealth and be a more


prosperous society if we can't do that? You may recall hearing a


couple of weeks ago that more than 200 girls had been abducted in the


middle of the night from their boarding school in Nigeria. There's


not been much coverage since, and indeed there doesn't seem to be much


action to rescue them either. Today, marchers marched to press the


government to do more. The girls are thought to have been taken by the


Islamist group Boko Haram, b with little information where they might


be being held, relatives are left to hope and pray for their daughters'


safe return. Joining us from Abuja is the novelist and journalist


Mbwarde. What is the feeling in Nigeria about the way this mass


abduction - almost unimaginable -- what is the feeling there about the


way it's being dealt with by the government? I think what is most


worrying is the fact that the first few days after the acducks, the


government didn't - there wasn't a flurry of activity in terms of


rescue operation. That was the worrying thing. We of course are


concerned about the fact that - we are concerned about the ability to


do anything and about the fact that no-one was pretending to do anything


and there was some misinformation from the armed forces when we are


told on the second day that the girls had been rescued, and it


turned out to be a lie. There's so much confusion, nobody is sure about


what the government is doing and how much anybody can do. It is all a bit


confusing for people here. Yet, there was this protest march today


which was expected to attract at least many thousands of people, and,


in the end, it was just a few hundred, wasn't it? Yes, it was.


Yes, it was a few hundred. I think that's the disadvantage of a lot of


the activity and social media: people who actually live here, who


get about their business, are not really involved in all that, so it


was mostly a social media thing. Really, the Nigerians on social


Twitter and Facebook are different from everyday Nigerians. It is


almost t different worlds. Most of the organisation was done on social


media, and there are thousands of Nigerians who are not on Twitter,


Facebook, or at least who don't engage as one would expect. A lot of


the Nigerians on Twitter, a number of them are abroad, so we have


situations where a lot of there is so much organisation going on


Twitter and social media, but when it comes to being physically present


to get things done, there are not that many people. I think that's


what happened. Everybody is concerned but I am not sure about


how many people really knew what was going on today and how many people


will be mobilised to come on board. That's what happened, I think.


You've talked about the failure of government and the failure of the


military. The Nigerian military is actually one of the better


militaries in Africa, isn't it? Are you saying that you really need some


outside help here? I think we are facing a situation that we haven't


ever faced before, so it is new terrain. I am not sure how much


training our armed forces have received in this area in terrorism.


We are facing a situation no government, no Nigerian government


has ever faced prior to this president, so it is a completely new


situation. There are lots of things we face in the pass: violence,


religious, but this Boko Haram situation is so peculiar. I don't


think we know exactly how to handle it yet, which is not to say we


can't, but we haven't been trained. Our armed forces in that direction


haven't been trained. It's new. The horrors of Boko Haram are different


from any horror we've witnessed in this country ever before - not even


in the civil war has it been like this, you know? There's just


something different, something more horrifying about this. We don't know


who the enemy is, we don't know who the target is. It is just so


arbitrary, so I think we don't quite know how to handle this kind of


situation, which is why I believe the government should reach out for


help. There are countries that have dealt with this kind of thing for a


long tim We should be asking those people how to go about it. Thank you


very much indeed. Thank you. Now, it's 25 years since Ayatollah


Khomeini the Iranian religious leader pronounced a fatwa to the


effect that anyo murdering Salman Rushdie will be doing God's work.


Rushdie's crime in the eyes of this ancient bearded zealot was to have


written a book The Satanic Verses. The Ayatollah died soon after, but


the if a the with a remained in force. Rushdie was force to live


under police protection for years. It was never just a book: critical


praise quickly turned to controversy. The The Satanic Verses


was banned in many controversy. The The Satanic Verses


burned at protests, including on British streets.


Many demonstrators hadn't read it, British streets.


but the anger and hurt of its depiction of the Muslim Prophet


Mohammed was real. Sir Iqbal Sakarani was one of the main


organisers of the protests. The book was deeply offensive, not only to


Muslims and Britain and overseas but was deeply offensive, not only to


of other faiths as well. The notion of freedom of expression goes with


responsibility. It must also be noted that the protests were carried


out in a dignified and in a responsible manner, and I think we


had to get the very across that the book was


unacceptable. Anger spread. The new ruler of Iran, Ayatollah Khomeini


issuing for a fatwa for ruler of Iran, Ayatollah Khomeini


be killed. Despite, or because of this, sales of the book rocketed.


Although many British Muslims felt offended by the novel, many also


opposed the fatwa. This man took part in some of those protests in


London, but he now thinks the episode ended up giving a negative


image of Muslims. There's no question that verses have affair was


a -- that the versus -- The Satanic Verses affair was a seminal moment.


They wanted, as they saw it to defend the honour of the Prophet


Mohammed. It served as a catalyst for the emergence of a British


Museum identity. However, there were a number of downsides, too, not


least of which was the fact that Islam now came to be seen as having


real issues with the modern world, and it left a very negative


impression on the Western psyche. It was, perhaps, the first


contemporary moment when the liberal values of free speech and Muslim


culture clashed. But it wasn't to be the last. Angry demonstrations


against Danish cartoons mocking the Prophet Mohammed provoked similar


fury. 25 years on, the balance between freedom of expression and


religious sensitivities is perhaps just as tense.


The author Martin Amis was o of Salman Rushdie's inner circle of


friends when the fatwa was declared and he joins us from New York. Was


Mr Rushdie very - Sir Salmon surprised by the reaction to his


book? Yes, he was horrified. Let's not forget that there had already


been violence, protests, and some deaths in Pakistan before the fatwa


was issued. On the two previous days, there had been intensifying


riots in Islamabad and Kashmere, so it was already a nightmare, and the


fatwa made it a nightmare within a nightmare. A writer is horrified if


anything he writes - a novel - takes on a sort of concrete meaning in the


real world. It was never meant to be that. That's not what novels are.


But surely he knew what he was doing, for example, naming


prostitutes after the prophet's wives? Well, I had an interesting


discussion with this with Prince Charles. He said at a small dinner


part, in his usual he did xcathedra way, I am sorry if someone sets out


to - I said the novel comes with a kind of shiver, this is an idea that


I can write a novel about it, nothing else that it appeals to you.


Then you start to spore it, and the only restraints on your treatment


are those self- - explore it, and the only restraints your -- I am


sure Salman like all novelists disappeared into the idea for five


years and never thought about what effect it would have when it crossed


the border and came into the real world.


When he discovered what the effect was, did he regret writing in the


terms he wrote? I don't think one can ever quite do that. I know he


felt gangrenous with horror when the death toll started to climb and


whenties translators - when his translators and pull sifts were


attacked, knifed, and shot. It must have been a terrible helter-skelter


experience of escalation, and he writes about it beautifully in his


memoir Joseph Anton. It is like being on a bucking bronchio. It is -


bronco. It has left your control. In the light of what happened in this


particular case, and in the light of t rows that we have had either over


the Danish cartoons, even these rather anodyne Jesus and MO cartoons


in Britain, are writers thinking differently about what they put pen


to paper about? Well, they should not be, I don't think. The late


Ronald Dworkin said that no-one has the right not to be offended, and


that is a fact of the modern world. You don't have that right. The other


great sort of maxim is that writing is freedom. That's essentially what


it is, an expression of freedom, and once it is hedged, it loses that


indivisibility, and you're really like a hack during the Russian


revolution; you're like Myerkovky or Senin. Both those poets committed


suicide because they had talent that was being resisted by the system.


That's almost it for tonight. Our celebration of Shakespeare's 450th


birthday comes to an end tonight with his last play The Tempest.


Simonal low plays Prospero. Our rebels are ended, and these are


actors as I foretold you, are all spirits that are melted into air -


into thin air. Like the baseless fabric of this vision, the cloud


camped towers, the guard outpalaces, the solemn temples, the great globe


itself, yea, all which it inherits shall dissolve. And, like this


insubstantial pageant faded leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff


as dreams are made on. And our little life is rounded with a sleep.


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