07/05/2014 Newsnight


07/05/2014

A Nigerian minister on the missing schoolgirls. The Pfizer bid. Countdown to election 2015. Venezuela's vertical slum. And Irvine Welsh.


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mass kidnapping of hundreds of girls in nigh gearia, they are still in

:00:09.:00:14.

the hands of their crazed abductors, they been rescued and

:00:15.:00:21.

what hope so long after the crime If we remain silent this will spread

:00:22.:00:24.

and happen more and more and more, if you want to stop it, then we have

:00:25.:00:29.

to speak. I will be talking to the Nigerian Interior Minister. We take

:00:30.:00:35.

rare look at life in a vertical slum in down town Caracas. Irving Welsh,

:00:36.:00:45.

author of Trainspotting, tackles body image and the sex lives of

:00:46.:00:55.

Siamese twins and other things. Before all that and first tonight we

:00:56.:00:59.

don't seem to be much closer to a resolution of the promised or

:01:00.:01:03.

threatened takeover that British pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca,

:01:04.:01:06.

by the massive American firm, Pfizer. Having previously said that

:01:07.:01:13.

the fact that Pfizer wants to spend $100 billion or so in the biggest

:01:14.:01:18.

takeover of our history was a vote of confidence in Britain, today the

:01:19.:01:20.

Prime Minister said he wanted more assurances on jobs and investment to

:01:21.:01:24.

decide if it was in the national interest.

:01:25.:01:28.

Meanwhile Ed Miliband accused Mr Cameron of cheerleading for the bid.

:01:29.:01:31.

We have been looking at what options the parties have. So what have you

:01:32.:01:36.

found out? It is pretty complicated. The reason it is capturing so much

:01:37.:01:41.

attention is it is about big sums of money and big politics. The size of

:01:42.:01:44.

the potential deal is really staggering. They have offered ?63

:01:45.:01:50.

billion, that is about a tenth of everything that the British

:01:51.:01:53.

Government spent last year. Now the American Viagra

:01:54.:01:55.

Government spent last year. Now the its hand on the British company,

:01:56.:01:56.

which we its hand on the British company,

:01:57.:02:01.

more than 40% of AstraZeneca's shareholders are American. Because

:02:02.:02:03.

they want their British knowledge, shareholders are American. Because

:02:04.:02:13.

couple of days ago David Cameron seemed

:02:14.:02:19.

couple of days ago David Cameron company and had robust assurances

:02:20.:02:22.

couple of days ago David Cameron development and jobs in this

:02:23.:02:22.

country. development and jobs in this

:02:23.:02:25.

Questions a bit earlier today, he seemed to have at least tweaked his

:02:26.:02:30.

tune. Let me be absolutely clear, I'm not satisfied, I want more, but

:02:31.:02:34.

the way to get more is to engage, not to stand up and play party

:02:35.:02:40.

politics. Well he set lots of hears running with that. What did he mean

:02:41.:02:49.

by "More", that has led to lots of conversations in white happen. One

:02:50.:02:52.

official put it to me that they are trying to work out what they have in

:02:53.:02:57.

the cupboard that would make Pfizer's promises be binding. That

:02:58.:03:01.

is a difficult question to answer. Getting some sort of guarantee that

:03:02.:03:05.

meant something, unlike previous guarantees in takeovers? Indeed. And

:03:06.:03:11.

the haunting memory here is the deal when Kraft took over Cadburys, and

:03:12.:03:15.

made a whole load of promises to the Labour Government, and within days

:03:16.:03:19.

they tore up. What is being considered by officials is there a

:03:20.:03:22.

way where they can make these promises binding. Can they crank out

:03:23.:03:27.

a promise where five-year assurances on a piece of paper about jobs and

:03:28.:03:32.

research and development expand to ten-years, one suggestion has been

:03:33.:03:36.

put forward by our Conservative MP of a kind of contract between the

:03:37.:03:39.

company and the UK Government, where Pfizer would have to pay a fine if

:03:40.:03:42.

they broke those assurances. But there is no doubt it is extremely

:03:43.:03:48.

tricky for the Government, and one source at the company suggested to

:03:49.:03:51.

me, before an actual deal is on the table, they are very reluctant to

:03:52.:03:55.

make any more promises. It is interesting, what sanction would a

:03:56.:04:01.

Government have if Pfizer gave these undertakings and then simply ignored

:04:02.:04:04.

them? That is exactly the solution the Government is having so much

:04:05.:04:07.

difficulty in coming up with. Are they going to nationalise it? Unless

:04:08.:04:11.

they change the law it is difficult to see how they could come up with

:04:12.:04:15.

anything at all. This is where it gets so interesting a year out from

:04:16.:04:17.

a general election campaign. Labour is doing everything in its power to

:04:18.:04:21.

put pressure on the Government to spell out how they could do

:04:22.:04:25.

something that would have some kind of force? That's why Ed Miliband

:04:26.:04:29.

raised it again at Prime Minister's Questions today. That's why there is

:04:30.:04:33.

a possibility further down the track, and no more than that, but a

:04:34.:04:37.

possibility further down the track that Labour might try to force a

:04:38.:04:40.

vote on this issue to try to sink the deal. But the Government is

:04:41.:04:43.

really in quite a bind. They don't want to be seen to be pushing

:04:44.:04:46.

against foreign investment, that sounds healthy, that sounds like a

:04:47.:04:50.

good idea. Not protecting jobs, but at the same time they do not want to

:04:51.:04:54.

be accused of letting one of our industries go. There is a deadline

:04:55.:04:59.

on all this too. May 26th, the company has to make its mind up by

:05:00.:05:03.

then. If you are looking for a working

:05:04.:05:07.

example of a country in chaos you can't do much better than Venezuela.

:05:08.:05:12.

The country's unusual President, maker of interminable speeches and

:05:13.:05:17.

scourge of imperialists worldwide, Hugo Chavez has been dead for a

:05:18.:05:22.

year. In that time the country has been engulfed by runaway inflation,

:05:23.:05:27.

gun crime, food and housing shortages. This crisis was

:05:28.:05:32.

exsemplified by one building from down town Caracus, familiar to those

:05:33.:05:39.

fans of Homeland, it is a skyscraper that was a no-go zone two months

:05:40.:05:43.

ago, now home to thousands of squatters who have taken matters

:05:44.:05:46.

into their own hands. They police it, renovate its rooms and plum it

:05:47.:05:50.

into the country's electricity and water, and all for peppercorn rent.

:05:51.:05:55.

We have been to the tour and met three of the residents. The elected

:05:56.:06:00.

President of the Tower co-operative, and Miriam, a shopkeeper on the 22nd

:06:01.:06:07.

floor, and a young mum with five children.

:06:08.:20:47.

Now a year today, May seventh 2015 we shall be choosing a new

:20:48.:20:53.

Government. A huge amount can happen in that time. So the outcome is

:20:54.:21:03.

unpredictable, so too is much of the campaign. So much to come, European

:21:04.:21:07.

elections a Scottish referendum and in all likelihood the end of the

:21:08.:21:11.

coalition to mention a few. As we report, all parties have to adjust

:21:12.:21:18.

to some uncomfortable facts. Four years ago at the derelict and

:21:19.:21:24.

half abandoned site of the Battersea Power Station, David Cameron invited

:21:25.:21:26.

us to join the Government of Great Britain. Now the wasteland of 30

:21:27.:21:35.

years being transformed into prime, Riverside real estate. What is

:21:36.:21:39.

happening here is a microcosm of the different ways the electoral map is

:21:40.:21:46.

shifting. The cabbies say a few years ago we wouldn't have dropped

:21:47.:21:51.

you this south of the river. The heart has gone out of Battersea now.

:21:52.:21:58.

The property is so expensive now. Battersea, where David Cameron

:21:59.:22:04.

launched his last election campaign. The MPs that were new in 2010 have

:22:05.:22:09.

bedded in a bit now, but it is also to do with the development, the

:22:10.:22:16.

gentrification and the money coming in here. It has changed the resident

:22:17.:22:21.

vote. In 2010 a Tory won a majority vote. In 2010 a Tory won a majority

:22:22.:22:26.

here, as vote. In 2010 a Tory won a majority

:22:27.:22:31.

booming constituency she stands to gain. Does it feel because the

:22:32.:22:34.

regeneration and the money coming into bat sea now that there is a

:22:35.:22:37.

more natural story voter? into bat sea now that there is a

:22:38.:22:42.

to represent everyone and I focus on that. But there

:22:43.:22:46.

to represent everyone and I focus on there now? I want everyone to vote

:22:47.:22:47.

Conservative because I want them to see what we are doing for the

:22:48.:22:50.

country. One of my big jobs as a member of parliament is to make sure

:22:51.:22:53.

that the investment, things like the tube coming to Battersea, to make

:22:54.:22:57.

sure that all local communities can benefit from that. Newish MPs also

:22:58.:23:00.

feel the benefit of what they call in America the "sophmor surge", more

:23:01.:23:11.

solid majorities. The Conservatives have more of these MPs in marginal

:23:12.:23:14.

seats. It means places like Battersea, Harlow and Ealing are

:23:15.:23:19.

looking more solidly Tory. That is only part of the story, it is a

:23:20.:23:23.

complex picture 12 months away. This is the story of Nick Clegg... . The

:23:24.:23:28.

general election is a year today, a milestone marked by Labour with the

:23:29.:23:33.

launch of a party broadcast. First on the agenda tuition fees... .

:23:34.:23:41.

Class war and Clegg bashing. Labour are just ahead in the polls, but

:23:42.:23:45.

their leader so far seems to have failed to capture the public

:23:46.:23:48.

imagination. His personal ratings are less than half those held by

:23:49.:23:51.

David Cameron at the same time in the last electoral cycle. But duck

:23:52.:23:55.

beneath the surface and you appreciate how little the generic

:23:56.:23:58.

national picture has to do with the way elections are won in this

:23:59.:24:02.

country. The fact of the matter is that there isn't any simple or easy

:24:03.:24:07.

or even fair translation of votes, how many people vote in the country

:24:08.:24:09.

for a particular party and who gets to form a majority in the House of

:24:10.:24:15.

Commons. So particularly for the Conservatives, there are many, many

:24:16.:24:19.

scenarios where they get as many votes as Labour, or just slightly

:24:20.:24:24.

fewer and massively fewer seats. In 2005, Tony Blair won 36% of the

:24:25.:24:29.

vote, 355 seats in the Commons, a majority of 64. In 2010 David

:24:30.:24:37.

Cameron won 37% of the vote, but got 306 seats or 20 seats short of a

:24:38.:24:42.

majority. This time round, if both Labour and the Conservatives get 33%

:24:43.:24:47.

share of the vote, Labour would get 304 seats, the Conservatives would

:24:48.:24:54.

get just 259. There is a massive electoral bias in favour of the

:24:55.:24:58.

Labour Party. I'm not making predictions in terms of vote share,

:24:59.:25:02.

I'm working for victory. I'm just asking you about the electoral bias,

:25:03.:25:05.

do you recognise that? Listen, we're going to have to work in seats

:25:06.:25:08.

across the country if we want to secure a majority. We had the worst

:25:09.:25:15.

result bar one for 60 years in 2010, we came in with only 29% of the

:25:16.:25:19.

vote. There is not a shred of complacency within Labour's ranks,

:25:20.:25:22.

we have to work and to earn the majority Labour Government that I

:25:23.:25:25.

believe we can achieve. Then, of course, the four-letter

:25:26.:25:30.

word you will rarely hear David Cameron utter, UKIP is the unknown

:25:31.:25:32.

factor riding high now, new Cameron utter, UKIP is the unknown

:25:33.:25:37.

candidates given the paparazzi treatment. Will they be is a force

:25:38.:25:42.

12 months down the line, and don't forget the Scottish either, tweaks

:25:43.:25:48.

to the electoral map one thing, but there is another option. All bets

:25:49.:25:52.

are off if Scotland is independent. 2015 will be an odd sort sort of

:25:53.:25:57.

election, and here is why, only twice has a Government increased

:25:58.:26:01.

their share of the vote after two years in office, it doesn't bode

:26:02.:26:04.

well for the Tories. Only three-times has an opposition party

:26:05.:26:08.

come back after just one parliament out of office. That doesn't bode

:26:09.:26:14.

well for Labour. Add to that we have never had two successive hung

:26:15.:26:18.

parliaments and you are really left scratching your head. Nothing will

:26:19.:26:23.

be decided until next May, of course, but a mere 365 days is

:26:24.:26:27.

nothing to the Newsnight political panel who are willing to predict the

:26:28.:26:31.

outcome of the 100 years war as early as 1337. Here they are, Tory

:26:32.:26:42.

Lord fringele Finkelstein, and the man yet to feel the touch of Ermine

:26:43.:26:50.

John McTernan. Just a question of time and loyalty! Is it common

:26:51.:26:56.

ground that whatever happens, whichever party wins the next

:26:57.:26:59.

election it is the end of the road for two other party leaders in the

:27:00.:27:03.

main parties? It is difficult to be sure of that but it is likely. The

:27:04.:27:08.

one about who is most difficult to be sure is Nick Clegg. Partly

:27:09.:27:11.

because the party is very much behind his strategy. If David

:27:12.:27:15.

Cameron lost I think there would be quite a lot of people in the

:27:16.:27:18.

Conservative Party who thought it was the end of the road for

:27:19.:27:21.

modernising, that would certainly be the case for Ed Miliband. Oddly

:27:22.:27:26.

enough, given how far behind the Liberal Democrats are in the polls

:27:27.:27:29.

it might not be the case for Nick Clegg, but he might feel it was the

:27:30.:27:32.

end of the road for him. What do you think for the personal prospects of

:27:33.:27:38.

each leader? Personal prospects of each leader, obviously if there is a

:27:39.:27:42.

general election and kind of the critical win doesn't come, that is a

:27:43.:27:46.

big one for either Ed Miliband or for dam I don't know. But I -- David

:27:47.:27:49.

Cameron. But I think it is right about Nick Clegg, which is that if

:27:50.:27:54.

there is only 1% in it, if there is a lack of clarity about the outcome

:27:55.:27:58.

and the result, the critical success factor is, do you get your party

:27:59.:28:02.

into Government? Now for all the stuff that's chucked at Nick Clegg

:28:03.:28:06.

he has been success envelope that respect. You might also lose so many

:28:07.:28:12.

seats. It is not satirical, but you don't have anybody else. That is a

:28:13.:28:17.

possibility. That is possible. John, your party is in a very interesting

:28:18.:28:23.

position isn't it, where the greatest disadvantages it has are

:28:24.:28:28.

the state of the economy and the Tories appeal, doubtless, not to

:28:29.:28:34.

risk it, but it is improving, and secondly the fact is it has an

:28:35.:28:38.

unattractive leader? I think in the end the thing that Labour has got in

:28:39.:28:44.

the bag at the moment is nearly three years of a consistent poll

:28:45.:28:49.

lead and in parliament pushing through issues which do have a

:28:50.:28:55.

resonance. The issue on new proposals on rents, or issues on

:28:56.:28:59.

energy prices, or a whole range of issues. Ed Miliband is making

:29:00.:29:04.

connection issues with people and actually there is a sellable thing

:29:05.:29:09.

for the doorstep. The party isn't as far ahead as other parties have been

:29:10.:29:13.

at this point in the electoral cycle. That point was made on the

:29:14.:29:17.

package. This is unchartered territory for us, a peacetime

:29:18.:29:20.

coalition, everything is different. I don't think Labour has got much to

:29:21.:29:24.

fear at the moment for the next period. Labour's big hope is we are

:29:25.:29:28.

seeing a big realignment in which the left reunites and the right

:29:29.:29:34.

splits. I think that is right. It was very interesting watching the

:29:35.:29:37.

party political broadcast, I thought it was a complete insult to the

:29:38.:29:41.

intelligence, it wasn't aimed at me, but at base voters and persuading

:29:42.:29:45.

Liberal Democrats to vote Labour. It was saying we are not going to win

:29:46.:29:50.

swing Tory voters, we can afford to be pretty insulting about everyone

:29:51.:29:53.

who voted Conservative and everyone who is a Conservative because we

:29:54.:29:57.

don't need them. That is a bold strategy, let's put it that way. It

:29:58.:30:01.

was Margaret Thatcher persuading centre ground voters and it was Tony

:30:02.:30:07.

Blair persuading centre ground voters that secured their victory.

:30:08.:30:12.

This seems to be possibly insulting quite a lot of people that are

:30:13.:30:19.

beyond the core Labour vote. Margaret Thatcher would not be doing

:30:20.:30:27.

with UKIP what David Cameron is doing with UKIP. Margaret Thatcher

:30:28.:30:32.

looked at, people tended to vote for the National Front in the 1970s, she

:30:33.:30:35.

said I understand your issues but you have to vote Tory. She brought

:30:36.:30:40.

them into her party. David Cameron faces a split on the right with

:30:41.:30:44.

UKIP, every time he is under pressure from UKIP he moves further

:30:45.:30:48.

to the right. There is a strange position where the centre ground is

:30:49.:30:54.

being vacated and all the elections are winning the centre. And the

:30:55.:30:57.

Liberal Democrats have become a centre right party, three parties

:30:58.:31:00.

are righting for the right-wing vote, UKIP, the Tories and the

:31:01.:31:04.

Liberal Democrats, and only party is fighting for the centre left vote.

:31:05.:31:09.

It is a very different kind of politics. I don't think that the

:31:10.:31:13.

election will be fought on an ideolgical spectrum, it will be

:31:14.:31:16.

fought on the economy. By the way if I was advising Ed Miliband I would

:31:17.:31:19.

advise him to change the subject. Almost all the evidence from the

:31:20.:31:25.

United States is, if you are behind terms of the realities on the ground

:31:26.:31:27.

in economics don't fight on economics. So I think he's making

:31:28.:31:32.

two bold decisions, one is don't go after the Tories, just bring the

:31:33.:31:35.

Liberal Democrats over we don't need the swing voters, secondly, he will

:31:36.:31:39.

fight on the economy because he believes people will not feel better

:31:40.:31:42.

off. Actually they are not stupid, those are not stupid risks, I

:31:43.:31:46.

understand why he's following them. They wouldn't be my strategy, I

:31:47.:31:49.

suspect they wouldn't be the Blairite strategy, but Ed Miliband

:31:50.:31:53.

got elected as leader not to pursue that. Now we will see whether it

:31:54.:31:56.

works. It wouldn't be what I do, but I can see his argument. John has

:31:57.:32:01.

mentioned the prospect of UKIP doing well in the European elections and

:32:02.:32:04.

the ramifications that may have. But what are the other things between

:32:05.:32:08.

now and this time next year? That are likely to have a big impact on

:32:09.:32:15.

the election? Again the economy will continue to be, if cost of living

:32:16.:32:21.

shifts, if wages rise, if people start beginning to feel that, if

:32:22.:32:24.

there is a greater sense of optimisim. I think the challenge is

:32:25.:32:29.

then there. But politicians never get rewarded for a good result. What

:32:30.:32:33.

they get a vote for is a vision of what's next. I think what is the

:32:34.:32:39.

real challenge for Labour and evidenced by this party election

:32:40.:32:43.

broadcast today is you know what's the vision? What's the offer? I

:32:44.:32:49.

think as a kind of absence of that, I also think there is a real danger,

:32:50.:32:54.

I hear what you say about the poll lead and 1% is a poll lead, and we

:32:55.:33:00.

count our 1%. I hear you. However, I think there is a real danger for

:33:01.:33:06.

Labour over the next year, of being a little cock-a-hoop about the

:33:07.:33:10.

Labour over the next year, of being outcome. I saw Douglas Alexander

:33:11.:33:12.

trying to play that outcome. I saw Douglas Alexander

:33:13.:33:18.

circles, there is quite a lot of outcome. I saw Douglas Alexander

:33:19.:33:23.

bag. I think that is offer the vision of what is next.

:33:24.:33:27.

One thing the coalition must offer the vision of what is next.

:33:28.:33:36.

are location a lot of people are stretched.

:33:37.:33:48.

are location a lot of people are services with another wave, and that

:33:49.:33:51.

will be important. The services with another wave, and that

:33:52.:33:56.

Labour is with the it is it cuts both ways. It emphasises the

:33:57.:34:07.

Conservative anti-service method, you don't want to be fighting an

:34:08.:34:10.

election being the Conservatives cutting services, that is difficult

:34:11.:34:13.

for the Tories. It is genuinely difficult. Labour would have to cut

:34:14.:34:18.

services too? Jo That is why it is a dilemma for both parties. If they

:34:19.:34:23.

renationalise the railway it will cost a lot of money. You asked the

:34:24.:34:27.

events. I think it is the next round of spending cuts. The referendum on

:34:28.:34:30.

Scotland, supposing Scotland votes of spending cuts. The referendum on

:34:31.:34:40.

rather complacently, of spending cuts. The referendum on

:34:41.:34:49.

it did Cameron would of spending cuts. The referendum on

:34:50.:34:52.

as Prime Minister. You can't of spending cuts. The referendum on

:34:53.:34:58.

a crisis inside the Tories and of spending cuts. The referendum on

:34:59.:35:00.

Government. And Labour would never be in power again. Is it not if the

:35:01.:35:06.

moon was made of green cheese would you eat it. How much Scottish

:35:07.:35:09.

moon was made of green cheese would are there? 40 Labour MPs. They

:35:10.:35:14.

wouldn't be there any more? The problem, Labour could win in the

:35:15.:35:19.

rest of the UK, Labour wins, London wins Wales, Labour wins the north

:35:20.:35:20.

and the cities, the problem wins Wales, Labour wins the north

:35:21.:35:25.

Tories and the current electoral system is not that it is biased to

:35:26.:35:28.

Labour as suggested on the package, it is that the Tory Party

:35:29.:35:32.

Labour as suggested on the package, regional party, the party of

:35:33.:35:34.

regional counties in England. They are no longer a National Party. That

:35:35.:35:38.

is the big crisis for the Tory Party. That is why they couldn't get

:35:39.:35:42.

a majority last time that is why they will struggle to keep the 306

:35:43.:35:45.

seats in the coming election. What is your understanding of how long

:35:46.:35:49.

the coalition can last. It lasted right up to the election does it? I

:35:50.:35:52.

have always believed it would do that. I can't see why it is in the

:35:53.:35:56.

interests of either party, at any point to stop. If you are

:35:57.:36:01.

interests of either party, at any Liberal Democrats you are running

:36:02.:36:05.

really with the idea that coalitions work. If you are the Conservative

:36:06.:36:08.

Party the last thing you want to show is a Government in chaos before

:36:09.:36:12.

an election. There are management issues, the big thing is how to

:36:13.:36:16.

manage Government documents and prevent what happened the other day

:36:17.:36:18.

with the Justice Department and whether or not people are leaking

:36:19.:36:22.

against each other. That is a big issue, I have always argued they

:36:23.:36:26.

need a divorce agreement as comprehensive as the marriage one.

:36:27.:36:29.

There does need to be an arrangement as we get closer. It is a complete

:36:30.:36:34.

fallacy, this fantasy world where suddenly the coalition separates and

:36:35.:36:38.

the Liberal Democrats say, oh we weren't in Government afterall. It

:36:39.:36:41.

is a joke. What the Liberal Democrats need to do is justify why

:36:42.:36:45.

they were there and what they? Did in Government. Things like the tax

:36:46.:36:49.

threshold and the pupil premium, but to suddenly disgoes that we were

:36:50.:36:53.

there in the -- disguise that we were there in the first place, it is

:36:54.:36:57.

ridiculous and the electorate are not that daft. That is the Lib Dem

:36:58.:37:02.

strategy, good money after bad, they will double down on being in

:37:03.:37:04.

Government. The problem is they told one thing in the last election, and

:37:05.:37:08.

there was sincerity, and breaking the promise on tuition fees they

:37:09.:37:13.

break themselves. Tony Blair didn't break promises? He didn't do that.

:37:14.:37:19.

He did on tuition fees. They have to fight seats, and it is a PR

:37:20.:37:23.

strategy, you have to align your 10% with 10% of MPs, brilliant! An

:37:24.:37:27.

investigation by medical researchers was reported today to show that more

:37:28.:37:31.

people are dying as a consequence of being overweight in Britain than

:37:32.:37:35.

anywhere else in Europe. There is no question that owe besity is bad for

:37:36.:37:43.

-- obesity is bad for you. But is thinness next to Godless, Irving

:37:44.:37:51.

Welsh's next novel deals with that. A fitness trainer so fit she's

:37:52.:37:56.

acting like a Nazi. It is full of four-letter words as you would

:37:57.:37:59.

expect from the author of trains spotting, and features many versions

:38:00.:38:08.

of sex since the character is also a receiptry bisexual. What attracted

:38:09.:38:15.

you of the subject? I was interested in sport and art and looking at the

:38:16.:38:20.

false dichotomy between the two that we get spoon fed into. It was

:38:21.:38:25.

happening in Miami and it is a very visual culture, it is all about body

:38:26.:38:31.

image and how people look. You know the thing about the obesity thing

:38:32.:38:38.

and the kind of faddy diets, they are a big American thing. Is it

:38:39.:38:42.

harder or getting harder do you think to write shocking novels?

:38:43.:38:45.

There are scenes in this that are quite shocking? Yeah, I don't think

:38:46.:38:50.

you kind of see it in that way. I don't really set out to shock when I

:38:51.:38:55.

write a novel. I set out to, it all has to be consistent with character

:38:56.:39:00.

and story. If it doesn't, it kind of jumps out. The protaganist in this

:39:01.:39:08.

is a lesbian. You are not! I was working on it. Is that difficult to

:39:09.:39:13.

write? Well, I mean I think it is not really, I think you kind of, one

:39:14.:39:18.

of things about writing about sexuality, it is like anything else

:39:19.:39:23.

you are writing about, so much of it is subconscious, you are not really

:39:24.:39:26.

thinking overtly about, you are not really thinking about gender or

:39:27.:39:31.

sexuality overtly, you are aware of kind of these characters and you

:39:32.:39:35.

just try to make them psychologically consistent. Is it

:39:36.:39:39.

difficult to write about lesbian sex? It wasn't really, it was quite

:39:40.:39:44.

easy to write about lesbian sex. Did I have both hands on the keyboards

:39:45.:39:50.

at all times. But what I did notice is when I came to adapt it for the

:39:51.:39:55.

screenplay that it was much more difficult, because you are actually

:39:56.:39:59.

kind of telling a story in pictures and when I look back the eight pages

:40:00.:40:05.

of lesbian sex to put it into the screenplay I just found that I got

:40:06.:40:14.

all were youedish and felt -- were you prudish and electuring and

:40:15.:40:18.

writing about young women having sex with each other. I didn't feel that

:40:19.:40:25.

when I was writing the book. I condensed it down to uninstruction,

:40:26.:40:32.

"they make love", the director can handle that stuff. Another theme in

:40:33.:40:37.

the book is sex lives of Siamese twins, it is a recurring story in

:40:38.:40:42.

the news about a pair of Siamese twins who have a problem with one of

:40:43.:40:48.

their boyfriends. What are you saying there about the news? It is

:40:49.:40:54.

about that breaking news culture and that kind of thing, it becomes this

:40:55.:40:59.

voyeuristic thing and it becomes about creating celebrity with an on

:41:00.:41:02.

going narrative, rather than reporting news. That's very

:41:03.:41:09.

prevalent in America now. I think it is also about the sort of, you kn,

:41:10.:41:17.

this kind of idea that it is not so much a news story it is almost like

:41:18.:41:24.

a celebritisation of these twins. Is this a consequence of the fact that

:41:25.:41:30.

news is now a 24-hours business that intrudes into people's homes on

:41:31.:41:33.

their televisions all day long. The televisions aren't switched off. Is

:41:34.:41:36.

that what it is or something else? It has also got to the point that I

:41:37.:41:40.

mean, I read somewhere recently that more people know the number now of

:41:41.:41:45.

the local breaking news station than they do of the emergency services.

:41:46.:41:49.

So the news cameras are always, something happens in a community,

:41:50.:41:52.

they tip-off the breaking news people first, the local news channel

:41:53.:41:57.

first. So they are ahead of the emergency services, you know. They

:41:58.:42:03.

know the local news number before 901. Most of this stuff is drivel,

:42:04.:42:08.

what is filling the channels is drivel? Absolute ho nonsense. It is

:42:09.:42:16.

not really news at all. It is cheesy features disguised as news. While

:42:17.:42:19.

you are here because you live in the states most of the time. You must

:42:20.:42:23.

talk to us about the Scottish independence referendum. Which you

:42:24.:42:28.

have taken a very public stance in? Yeah, I basically believe that the

:42:29.:42:35.

long-term prognosis for the union isn't good. I think it is over,

:42:36.:42:38.

basically. I think what actually happens in the referendum isn't

:42:39.:42:42.

really too concerning to me. I think the process has actually

:42:43.:42:46.

begun. I don't think it is going to stop now. Do you think it really is

:42:47.:42:50.

the business of a man who doesn't even live here any longer to take a

:42:51.:42:54.

position in this? Yeah, I mean I think it is not my business to vote

:42:55.:42:59.

and all that. And I do feel a bit kind of sort of presumtious about it

:43:00.:43:07.

sometimes, I think you have to taken a interest in where you have come

:43:08.:43:10.

from and an interest in these islands. When you say the union is

:43:11.:43:14.

just dying, that is because it doesn't mean anything any more? I

:43:15.:43:19.

think the things that were actual fuelling it, industry, empire, the

:43:20.:43:25.

two world wars the welfare state. These things don't exist any more.

:43:26.:43:29.

The welfare state certainly does? Almost. It is hanging on in there.

:43:30.:43:33.

But there is not that much of it left. There won't be much of it left

:43:34.:43:39.

in five years' time if we continue the policies we have for the next 35

:43:40.:43:43.

years that we had for the last 35 years. I think really that in some

:43:44.:43:49.

ways the political centre of gravity is because people in Scotland are

:43:50.:43:55.

feeling more empowered. I think they do feel they have strategies now to

:43:56.:44:01.

progress into get the kind of representation and Government and

:44:02.:44:05.

the country they want. And I also feel the real fear for the British

:44:06.:44:09.

establishment is not to do with Scottish independent, if you get rid

:44:10.:44:14.

of all the people from the Scottish sin Nair urics the House of Lords,

:44:15.:44:22.

the bankers, the public school guys, if all those people have to get a

:44:23.:44:25.

cut before anybody else can have anything, people in England will say

:44:26.:44:30.

we will have some of that. They won't stand by and watch Scotland do

:44:31.:44:35.

this, they will want something as well. It will change the whole

:44:36.:44:40.

political system of the islands. We were going to bring awe report

:44:41.:44:44.

from Nigeria, followed by an interview with a Nigerian Interior

:44:45.:44:50.

Minister but he seems to have got lost on his way to the studio.

:44:51.:44:57.

Much to the annoyance of Michael Gove's Department for Education, it

:44:58.:45:00.

has emerged that a top explanation board is planning to broaden its

:45:01.:45:05.

English A-level to give pupils chance to study among other things

:45:06.:45:14.

dizzy Dizzy Rascal's appearance on this show. Ever since somebody has

:45:15.:45:21.

edited it as a performance, here is part of it and students will be able

:45:22.:45:25.

to study it. Mr Rascal do you feel yourself to be

:45:26.:45:29.

British? Of course I'm British, man, you know me, I'm here man, it is

:45:30.:45:33.

good. I don't think it matter what colour you are, it matters what

:45:34.:45:36.

colour your heart is and your intentions, a black man, a purple

:45:37.:45:41.

man, partial man can run the country, whatever man, as long as he

:45:42.:45:45.

does right for the people. Why don't you run for office? That is a very

:45:46.:45:49.

good idea, I might have to do that one way, dizzy Rascal for Prime

:45:50.:45:56.

Minister. Barack Obama embraced hip hop that is the way he got through

:45:57.:46:01.

to the kids and there was a younger vote than ever and through hip top.

:46:02.:46:05.

A Nigerian minister on the missing schoolgirls. The Pfizer bid. Countdown to election 2015. Venezuela's vertical slum. And we talk to Irvine Welsh.


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