07/05/2014 Newsnight


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

Similar Content

Browse content similar to 07/05/2014. Check below for episodes and series from the same categories and more!



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


the hands of their crazed abductors, they been rescued and


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


threatened takeover that British pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca,


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


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


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


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


decide if it was in the national interest.


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


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


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


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


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


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


Government spent last year. Now the American Viagra


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


which we its hand on the British company,


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


they want their British knowledge, shareholders are American. Because


couple of days ago David Cameron seemed


couple of days ago David Cameron company and had robust assurances


couple of days ago David Cameron development and jobs in this


country. development and jobs in this


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


Government have if Pfizer gave these undertakings and then simply ignored


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


then. If you are looking for a working


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


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


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


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


gun crime, food and housing shortages. This crisis was


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


floor, and a young mum with five children.


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


to represent everyone and I focus on that. But there


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


beneath the surface and you appreciate how little the generic


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


ground that whatever happens, whichever party wins the next


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


lead and in parliament pushing through issues which do have a


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


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


connection issues with people and actually there is a sellable thing


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


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


package. This is unchartered territory for us, a peacetime


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


who voted Conservative and everyone who is a Conservative because we


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


was Margaret Thatcher persuading centre ground voters and it was Tony


Blair persuading centre ground voters that secured their victory.


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


Liberal Democrats have become a centre right party, three parties


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


real challenge for Labour and evidenced by this party election


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


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


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


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


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


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


trying to play that outcome. I saw Douglas Alexander


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


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


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


are location a lot of people are stretched.


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


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


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


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


election being the Conservatives cutting services, that is difficult


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


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


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


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


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


rather complacently, of spending cuts. The referendum on


it did Cameron would of spending cuts. The referendum on


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


manage Government documents and prevent what happened the other day


with the Justice Department and whether or not people are leaking


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


need a divorce agreement as comprehensive as the marriage one.


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


fallacy, this fantasy world where suddenly the coalition separates and


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


investigation by medical researchers was reported today to show that more


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


just try to make them psychologically consistent. Is it


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


voyeuristic thing and it becomes about creating celebrity with an on


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


talk to us about the Scottish independence referendum. Which you


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


progress into get the kind of representation and Government and


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


from Nigeria, followed by an interview with a Nigerian Interior


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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

Download Subtitles