28/05/2014 Newsnight


Liberal Democrats; prejudice poll; housing; cab wars; Maya Angelou; and Stephen Hawking predicts the World Cup. With Laura Kuenssberg.

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How much did Vince Cable know? Did he sail you down the river? A very


bungled coup. Vince Cable's comrade crashes out of the Liberal


Democrats. After his plot was foiled. How much did Dr Cable know?


We'll ask a Lib Dem minister just what is going on. Sorry statistics


suggest a growing number of us say yes to a question that was a taboo.


We will be discussing - are you racist? My life ain't heaven, it


sure ain't hell. I'm not on top, but I call it swell. If I'm able to


work, and get paid right, and have the luck to be black on a Saturday


night. Hey! No question, she knew how to live. Anglesey's celebrated


voice falls silent. Need a lift? Taxi! An uber battle is brewing as


London's drivers take on the new cabs on the block. The ones using


phone apps to catch our ride. Our technology editor tries to work out


what is fare. What more thing tonight. I'm Professor Hawking, on


Newsnight tonight I will reveal my scientific analysis on how to win


the World Cup in Brazil. Good evening. The attempt to get rid of


Nick Clegg might not have been a very good plot, but it was indeed a


plot. Tonight, it's not entirely clear precisely what part was played


by Vince Cable, one of Clegg's most senior colleagues. Even if he wasn't


holding the dagger, he did, at least, know about it. What did he


know? Morning, sir. Polls ordered up by his long time friend, Lord


Oakeshott, tested the waters for a Vince Cable-led Lib Dem party. The


Business Secretary so beloved by activists, perhaps not quite trusted


by colleagues. REPORTER: Mr Cable, did you know


Lord Oakeshott was conducting these polls? He claims tonight, from


China, he only knew part of what his old comrade was up to. Lord


Oakeshott asked my election campaign manager if we wanted a poll done in


my own constituency. We said, yes. It was a private, local poll.


Nothing to do with national leadership. I was aware that he was


conducting other polls around the country. I had absolutely no


knowledge of, certainly not involved in any commissioning of the surveys


done in Sheffield Hallam and Inverness. I criticised them very


severely yesterday. Matthew Oakeshott described to me as a snake


withen an agenda and money. He didn't just explode out of his party


today. He felled up to having ordered polls in key constituency


saying: -- fessed. He claimed Vince Cable


was aware of what he was doing. Vince amended and approved the


questionnaire, he said. At his request I excluded a question on


voting intentions with a change of leader. That poll worried me so


much, that I commissioned four more, in different types of constituency


all over the country. He claims several weeks ago I told Vince the


results of those four polls too. Despite the disruption, the Lib Dem


leadership is far from sorry to see Oakeshott go. I know I won't be in


politics forever, Matthew Oakeshott will be relieved! Well, just three


or four more general elections to go, Matthew. Can they just shrug off


this attempted coup? Even if it has failed, the angst may not just


fizzle out. With us now is Baroness Kramer, Lib Dem Transport Minister,


and former constituency neighbour to Dr Cable. Thank you for coming in.


The first problem we have here is there are two differing versions of


eef vents. Vince Cable says he didn't know about the poll Matthew


Oakeshott commissioned in Nick Clegg's constituency. Matthew


Oakeshott said he did, who do we believe in Vince has been


categorical. They didn't commission the polls. He didn't know about the


polls, he mentioned Sheffield Hallam and Inverness that is good enough


for me. Vince made a categorical statement I'm comfortable with that.


He said that Matthew's behaviour has been inexcusable. I'm sure you will


ask him questions when he comes back from China. He is doing what he


should do in China working for the British economy and trade. Matthew


Oakeshott was evener in the party for many years and you are clear


that his version of events is not the truth? Look. Matthew is someone


I regard as a friend, if I had a personal crisis, I'm sure he will be


there. When he gets a political idea in his head, he is impossible. You


can't debate with him. You can't challenge him. He doesn't listen.


I'm sure he has his own picture of events and what happened. All I can


say is, Vince has been categorical. We in the party need to get on now


with the job we have to do in There is Government. Another important


point. If he is lying about it, did Vince Cable know that Matthew


Oakeshott replaced the questions in the poll about whether or not the


Lib Dems would perform better under Vince Cable's leadership? Looking at


the statement that you described to me, that I looked at from Vince,


when he talked about poll questions, he was talking about a poll in


Twickenham. If somebody came back to me and said back in the days when I


was a Richmond Park MP we would like to run a poll, I would discussion


questions with them. As far as I understand that is where the


discussion was. Vince's statement is good enough - Do you know if Vince


Cable knew that Matthew Oakeshott was asking about him as a potential


Lib Dem leader? I haven't talked to Vince. Knowing Vince, I very much


doubt it. You look at the statements that Vince made before he left for


China. He was very supportive of Nick Clegg. He understands what our


job is for the next year. He has made the same kind of statements


from China. At the very least, though, given Matthew Oakeshott and


Vince Cable's closeness over the years, it tells us rather a lot,


does it not, his close comrade, at times, believed that Vince Cable


would be very interested in knowing whether or not the party would


perform better under his leadership. That tells us a lot about Vince


Cable's ambition, does it not? I am Rae found of Matthew Oakeshott, as


well, they have been friends for many years. As I said earlier,


Matthew Oakeshott has never hidden his dislike of Nick Clegg - Has he


talked to you about wanting to be leader He has never spoke to me


about being leader. He has spoke about the importance of being in


Government. The challenges we face as a party over the next year. This


is precisely the point. Isn't the case that the challenge for the


party is in fact only honestly being confronted by Matthew Oakeshott. The


Lib Dem leadership and ministers are putting their heads in the sand. He


is the one saying - we have to confront this reality? We have to


reflect over the last week, for sure. I mean, we had some very bad


results. We lost some very good people. The main job that we've got


is in this next year we have to make sure we continue to grow the


economy. That is why Liberal Democrats went into coalition. I


will be working on rail infrastructure, that is crucially


important. With Nick Clegg as leader, as many of your activists


believe, as many of your former councillors, former MPs, Matthew


Oakeshott is not the only one who believes this. If no-one will listen


to the case you are trying to make under Nick Clegg, surely Matthew


Oakeshott is right? You can argue we need to make our case better. I


would agree with that. We do need people to know, for example, that on


the face of our manifesto we said we would cut taxes from the bottom. As


a result, 24 million people this year have ?800 in their pockets.


Apprenticeships. Do you think this would have happened without Liberal


Democrats in Government? Will anybody listen to that if Nick Clegg


is still in charge? Isn't what happened today, you shot the mess


injury because you don't like the message? It's a responsibility for


all of us to get the message out. This does not rest on one shoulder.


We a party. We are like a family. Nick Clegg has led us through a


unique time for the Liberal Democrats. It is not the time now to


go all intro spective. We have a job to do in Government and a message to


get out. That is what we need to get on with. Thank you very much for


coming into the studio and giving us your message this evening. You might


expect that a rise in the number of people of different creeds and


colours living in Britain would be matched by a rise in tolerance. Not


so, according to researchers, who have claimed today that Britain is


becoming more racist. Their statistics suggest nearly a third of


people admit they harbour some kind of prejudice. But have attitudes


really hardened in recent years? We've been to Oldham, scene in 2001,


of some of the worst race riots in memory, to see how people there feel


about prejudice now. 10 years ago the National Front were


coming in and causing problems. Gathering up in pubs. Things have


got better, mate. They have got a lot better. I would say, you know,


racism is very, very low. Very low. This area itself is full of Asians.


We have got a lot of different people from different countries


coming here as well. A lot of Romanians coming as well. Yeah,


other than that, it's good. Everyone gets on about colour or race or


religion or everything. Everyone just gets on. Maybe a few years ago,


yeah, there was more racism, but no, we don't say that now. It is like


you said, a mixed community up here. I have been in this country since


2006, and I'm very happy here. I came here with an empty hand. I'm


from Pakistan. I met different people here. I never see any kind of


issue of (inaudible) It's more with the younger kids. The kids have


trouble with orchids, but nothing major. They get chased, name called


and that. Started punching you. Just calling you a "white boy" and that.


Your dad went round to the house. Found out where they lived and went


round to their house. It never happened again. We are Muslim,


that's something we are proud of and we're happy with. We won't change


that for anything. It doesn't matter what colour skin you are or


anything. You can get called names because of the colour of your hair,


don't you? It doesn't matter. The EDL, National Front, whoever they


are, they have to remember, we are British, they can't take that us


away from us. If our country ever went to war here, the UK, we would


fight for our Queen, of course we would. I'm born and bred here. All


my neighbours have been here since I've been born. Never been a


problem. We have always got on. Send them curries around now and then. We


have no problems. They're happy. Here with us now to talk about how


attitudes to race have changed in the past generation are Girish


Mehta, who came to this country in 1972, fleeing the regime of Idi Amin


in Uganda and his daughter, Binita, who was born in Watford and is now a


Conservative Cllr there. -- councillor there. How did people


respond to you when you arrived in the UK? When we landed in Stansted


we went to a refugee camp in Devon where we stayed for six months.


There after we were in Lincolnshire for a few months and went to


Glasgow, aided by a family friend. My earliest memories of Glasgow, we


were in Pollock. My brother and I, we were nonwhite people in the whole


school. You could imagine what a shock it was. There were no familiar


faces, as such. The earliest memories of the school - this wasn't


due to maliciousness, because we were different, we weren't sure how


people would take us on. Was there malice towards you or curiousity or


prejudice? More curiousity. I think it was definitely more curiousity. I


don't think there was maliciousness there at all. In Glasgow, at the


time, it was more sectarian. Protestant and Catholic more than


racism. During then your childhood and then your youth, as you entered


adulthood, did you though experience unpleasantness, racism as we would


call it? There were always instances. We used to run to school


and run back home. Not because of the maliciousness, the fear to see


what would happen. We used to be taunted, that was quite a big thing


at the moment. Taunted with the "B" word as such. As time went on, more


people were actually coming into Scotland. More nonwhite people were


coming in. Binita what was your experience like? You heard your dad


talking about his experiences? Very different. Growing up and being born


in Watford meant I was already going to school with a variety of


different people from different backgrounds and very diverse


environment. So, hearing that from my dad, and seeing his experience


from his perspective, is a world away from mine. Obviously, in the


same country, it's so different. research project which is carried on


for years and years suggest we might be going back that way. Do you not


recognise that? I don't agree with that at all. We are so much more


tolerant in society now than when my dad first came to this country. It


is scary for me to see the people thinking they would be more racist


and I think the data is slightly skewed in that sense because it's


not the reality. Do you think, though, some other nationalities now


arriving in the UK, Romanians, Bulgarians, could be experiencing


the same things? Would it economic climate as it is, and the economic


situation, things changed slightly and I think it's more of the picture


at the time rather than a trend because certain times, certain


circumstances, sometimes it's a snapshot, and gives you a different


picture of what the actual picture actually is in the country. Did you


ever think your daughter would become a counsellor, for one of the


main street that stream parties? Absolutely full to it that on


integration, I don't know what is. When she's out campaigning, I don't


think she actually comes across racism as such. I have never really


come across racism at all in my upbringing especially on the


doorstep. Meeting people when there are fears and concerns about


immigration, it's never directed towards me. Do you think you've had


your family life in Watford, a relatively mixed part of the


country, where there are many people from different creeds and colours


and cultures. Do you think that a patchwork exists in the country and


in other that you chose to have stayed in Scotland, Devon, your


experience could have been different? Yes, as the research


shows, in the inner cities it a different picture whereas a up north


or going to the country, because of ignorance and the fact people are


not more familiar with the so-called non-English people, it becomes a


bigger issue, possibly, I think. Thanks so much for coming in and


talking to us. Thank you. The reassuring thing about bubbles


is that, in the end, they burst. But the Bank of England is currently


trying to decide whether it's better to pop what looks very much


like a property bubble in some parts of the countre on purpose, or let


the madness continue, hoping that As our economics correspondent,


Duncan Weldon reports, it's not an If you, like a lot of people,


enjoy talking about house prices, there is a fancy new phrase you can


drop into the conversation. That's right,


macro prudential regulation. Just rolls off the tongue,


doesn't it? Like a lot in economics,


this is a really complicated way The Bank of England might be


about to make it harder One of the things we learned


in the 2000s was trying to have control of the economy by interest


rates isn't a good idea so if you're trying to calm the housing


market, raising interest rates can So macro prudential regulation tries


to either make it more difficult and expensive for lenders to do risky


lending or they try and control the Since the recession,


the Bank of England has been given a whole new toolkit of policies


so what's in the box? The power to recommend that changes


are made to Help To Buy. The scheme where the government will


help people with small deposits by Or the bank could make it


more expensive for mortgage If this isn't enough, then the


bank can take more direct action. For example,


putting a limit on the size of loans These tools might prove to


be pretty controversial. Especially amongst


those most affected. I don't think there's a need to


restrict mortgage availability here at the moment but if the Bank of


England felt that was appropriate at some point down the line, we'd have


to be very careful that they didn't institute measures


which did restrict housing supply. The government has said there are


deep problems in this country and he was referring to


the low levels of house building. He would be mindful that any


Midwich I got the interest The reason the bank is considering


using its new tools is that in some parts of the country, but by no


means all, house prices are soaring. According to official figures, they


rose by 8% in the year to March. To put that another way, in the last


year, the average London property earned ?6.96 an hour and it worked


24 hours a day seven days a week. To some economists,


that sounds a bit, well, bubbly. The housing market never left


the bubble. Between 97-2007 the level


of house prices tripled. National statistics obscure


as much as they reveal. For regional patterns,


it's much more varied. In London, the average


home now costs ?459,000. But in the north-east,


it's just 148,000. These big differences mean the Bank


of England could take more targeted So, for example, they helped


by guarantee is currently available Cut that to 300,000,


and it would still help people in the north-east but would be far


less effective in London. The big rise


in the capital is often thought of as being driven by what is known


as the prime central London market. Cash buyers, some of them


from overseas, have snapped up places like this currently


on the market for over ?7 million. Through to the kitchen,


under floor heating. New mortgage rules came


into effect in April. Lenders now have to ask much


tougher questions on spending habits to check the borrower can


really afford the payments. Today Nationwide, one of Britain's


biggest loan providers, said there was a slowing down in the


marketplace particularly in London. Prices may well be rising, but


activity, certainly in the last two or three months, mortgage values are


beginning to decline from still a You normally find


in a housing market cycle that London leads so normally price


growth starts in central London because this is the engine of UK


economy and you begin to see that So far, the ripple effect of rising


central London prices haven't really But it can be felt in the suburbs


and the surrounding commuter belt. One example is Walthamstow


in the east of the city. It's not the kind of place that


Russian oligarchs go shopping for a luxury pad but it tasted is


said to have more estate agents than You do get your own entrance door


at the front which is great. This is a two-bedroom


flat that's just sold. This one went under offer


at the weekend, Is that a big move over


the last few years? We sold pretty much back to the same


flat about four years ago in the same road, two-bedroom, first floor


that achieved 165,000. On streets like this,


prices have basically doubled So it's no surprise people


are talking about a bubble. A bubble implies an market


completely detached from reality. The simple fact is, lots of people


want to move to places like this. And housing supply isn't keeping


up with all that demand. Add in low interest rates


and you got all the ingredients That might not be something to


welcome, So if the issue is that


we're not building enough, It's welcome that we have macro


prudential regulation tools. What is unproven anywhere in the


world is that using macro prudential regulation tools like restricting


mortgage availability and so on has sufficient impact on its own


without monetary policy working. Messing


around with mortgage guarantees Macro prudential regulation


might not be the catchiest phrase But it is the new big thing


in central banking. It could take some demand out


of the market but unless a supply picks up, over the longer run,


house prices will keep on rising. Our obsession with house prices


and wealth is one of the reasons why, according to one of the left's


most prominent intellectuals, we are all, more or less,


on the way to hell in a handcart. David Marquand has influenced


politicians from Roy Jenkins to Gordon Brown


over the past few decades. His latest book, Mammon's Kingdom,


paints the UK as a greedy society fixated


on cash that cannot go on as it is. I asked him earlier if we'd learned


anything from the 2008 crash. I thought I had immediately


afterwards but I'm afraid to think no, it didn't. The governor of the


Bank of England is saying the same kind of behaviour patterns that


existed before the crash scene to be coming back. You can tend in the


book that here in Britain we are more ardent worshippers of Mammon


than any other country. Why do you say that? I don't say than any other


country but I say any other big country, big European country. We


are not more ardent worshippers of Mammon than the USA and many other


social ills that come from inequality in Britain are from the


USA, and they are there in much worse form. I'm not saying nobody


worships Mammon in Germany, France, Italy, but I do think we have been


more ardent worshippers of Mammon than other large western


democracies. What do you put that down to? I think it goes back quite


a long way, actually. Indeed, I tried to say this in the book.


There's been a sort of... The state and financial sector are big Siamese


twins almost in this country in a way which is not true of other


countries. Actually since the beginning of the 18th-century, but


right back then, the foundation of the Bank of England at the end of


the 17th century and the foundation of the national debt which is more


or less contemporaneous, actually created a very curious kind of sin


by a Swiss to use another pompous word, between the political elite


and the financial elite. But the success of that sector has also


brought enormous wealth to the country through the payment of tax


revenues, which have been available for successive governments to spend.


You can't really have one without the other. Well, you don't have to


have this degree of the dominance of the financial sector and I think


it's been very unhealthy. Also, it's true that a very large amount of the


wealth that has been treated by the financial sector has been


squirrelled away in tax havens and the avoidance of tax has been pretty


remarkable, so I don't think we should think that we've been the


nation as a whole has necessarily benefited very much from the


dynamism and undoubtedly miss the financial sector. Successive


politicians including from the left, and you are seen as an intellectual


godfather to some on the left, having courage development in the


city. How has that been allowed to happen? At any stage, having told


politicians to stop it? I'm not in any party at the moment. I did have


a curious flirtatious ablation shipped with Gordon Brown but it was


about constitutional reform, not about finance. I think Gordon Brown


was, in this respect, he was a disaster. He actually boasted, he


said not just light touch regulation but unlimited touch regulation, and


we were engaged in the period when Gordon Brown was Chancellor of the


Exchequer, in a kind of competition with America to undercut the


regulations that they had so that we would get a business in the city


from Wall Street. Just briefly, would get a business in the city


may, given your past record, Exchequer, in a kind of competition


Lord Oakeshott someone you would have come across in your career.


What you make of what has happened today? I like him as a person.


Here's a bit of a bull in a china shop, actually. I've seen this


happen before but never like this, and I think he's clearly blown it.


When I was an MP in the 1970s, I thought Harold Wilson was a dreadful


person. I don't now full that I think I was very silly and very


young. I was involved in all sorts of plots to get rid of Harold


Wilson. And it didn't do him any harm at all and it possibly


strengthened him, actually. Thank you very much for talking to us.


Thank you for having me. Now who would take on the London


cabbie or, for that matter, Phone apps that allow minicabs to


scoop up their fares now face a legal challenge to stop them


operating. Newsnight has learned that London's


taxi regulator. Transport For London,


will tomorrow begin seeking the high court's opinion as to whether


a minicab app is legal or illegal. What happens could affect


the trade up and down the country. Here's our technology editor


David Grossman. NEWS REEL:


Minute cabs have begun to invade the streets of London. Taxi drivers


think, blimey, they will be using scooters next! This isn't the first


time that London cabbies have seen their livelihoods under threat from


newcomers. These days, it's something more advance than a


stretched Fiat. What has got the cabbies worried is uber. It's a car


company that runs via a smartphone app. I can just jab a couple of


buttons here and select a cab. I can see who the cab driver is. In this


case, it's Ben. The car he's driving. It 's a Toyota, the


registration number and even how far away he is. He should be getting


here fairly quickly, according to this! Let me just check you look


like your picture. I suppose that is you. Hello, Ben. Hello, David. Can I


get in? London black taxis are an I con of London. I'm a Londoner. I


love black taxis I'm sure they are here to say. -- stay. Transport of


London welcome the use of smartphone apps. The Black Cab drivers were


given two important protections. The first one, taxi! You can only do


this with a Black Cab. If you want a minicab, you have to ring up the


office and they will despatch someone out to you. Protection


number two, that thing up there that you struggle to keep your eyes off,


the meter. Only a licensed taxi is allowed to have a meter, with a


minicab, you have to agree the fare in advance. According to the law, no


minicab shall be equipped with a taxi meter. Which is defined as a


device for calculating the fare to be charged in respect of any journey


by reference to the distance travelled or time elapsed since the


start of the journey, or combination of both. So how does Uber work out


its fares? The driver hits the start button on his iPhone when we go. At


the end he hits stop. When I get my bill for the journey, which is


charged to my credit card, I can see it's based both on the distance


travelled and the time taken. It it is therefore a meter, cry the London


cabbies. It's, therefore, illegal. We haven't got any objections to


Uber what so ever. What we have problems with is Transport for


London not enfortsing the law. It's a meter as far as anyone is


concerned. How can a device that measures, time, distance and


calculates the fare not be a meter. The cabbies are planning a legal


challenge and a protest which will, they say, bring thereoned a


standstill on June 11th. Other cities in the world have had similar


Uber-inspired demonstrations. Uber say this is is matter for


regulators. The roll of Transport for London is to regulate the


industry. That is really a question for them. We very much welcome their


statement a few weeks ago welcoming smartphone apps in the private hire


industry. I think it's important to know the intent behind that


regulation is public safety. That is where Uber goes above and beyond.


Newsnight understands as early as tomorrow Transport for London will


commence legal proceedings to get the High Court to give a binding


judgment as to whether Uber is legal or illegal. The hope being that will


be enough to get the cabbies to call off their protest. Uber isn't the


end of this disruptive technological journey. One of their biggest


shareholders is Google, they announced they will begin building


these driveless cars. If this project works, Uber, or something


like this will power a driverless taxi revolution. Using cars that


look similar to those old minicab Fiats. "My mission in life is not


merely to survive, but to thrive. And to do so some passion, some


compassion, some humour and some style." Anglesey probably described


the way she lived her life bitter than anyone else will in the coming


days as she is mourned. The American author of I Know Why the Caged Bird


Sings died today. Tonight, artists, performers, even Presidents, are


vying to pay tribute. With his, here's Stephen Smith. My life ain't


heaven, but it sure ain't hell. I'm not on top, but I call it swell. If


I'm able to work, and get paid right, and have the luck to be black


on a Saturday night. Hey! They say write what you know. Anglesey had


plenty to draw on. Most of it come by the hard way. Raised by her


grandmother in the south. She was raped by her mother's boyfriend when


still a child. It shocked her into a silence that lasted five years.


During which she read and read. I remember never believing that whites


were really real. White folks couldn't be people because their


feet were too small. Their skin too white and see throughy. She was a


singer and dancer and toured Europe. She had a spell as a journalist and


then came the volumes of autobiography which made her name.


Telling a story America had hardly heard before. By the 90s her work


was heard in a presidential inauguration. History, despite its


renting pain, cannot be unlived, but if faced with courage, need not be


lived again. . I thought. She was eternal. I thought she would always,


always be there. And the second thing was. It hurts so much that I


have no credible, elegant, powerful, even interesting words to say what I


feel about that. Maya Angelou told Jerry Paxman how she overcame her


fear of death. The fear of death visited me so, so real, so palpable,


at a couple of times in my late teens and my early 20s. Then somehow


I lived through it. And came to the condition of admitting that I will


die. Admitting that is incredible. Because it lib rates one.


With us from New York is the novelist and professor of creative


writing Tayari Jones and in the studio the poet and author, Ben


Okri. To you, Tayari Jones, explain her significance, particularly to


African-Americans? You know, Maya Angelou wrote her famous memoir, I


Know Why the Caged Bird Sings in 1969. Keep in mind, in 1945, Richard


White had written Black Boy which was said to be the definitive black,


southern coming age during Jim Crow. 15 years later comes this amazing


memoir of I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. That is a woman's story. Her


story was told in a way in the intro said, "a story that America hadn't


heard" I think for African-Americans, for many ways, it


was a story we had heard, but had not yet read. Even with that just


the recognition of seeing one's self in print. She broke such a taboo in


writing about her rape. Now, lots of people write memoirs and they talk


about rape and sexual violence, but in 1969, she really broke ground.


She opened the door so wide that younger writers, like me, don't even


know necessarily that there was once a door there. I think that's what


happens when trailblazers do their work well. We forget that there was


ever a block there. I think that is one of the real significance of her


legacy, but there are One of many. The big significance is her role in


the civil rights campaign. It wasn't just her writing about her own life,


but her political role? I mean, absolutely. I mean, she was good


friends with Martin Luther King and Malcolm X. She wrote, but lived a


life that was interested in transformation. She was a true


citizen of the world. She lived in Cairo, lived in Ghana. I think her


experiences growing up in the Jim Crow Southmead her curious about a


larger world. She wasn't in exile, the way some of the others were in


exile when they were abroad. She was just Wydening her community.


Bringing others into the fold. All of which enriched her writing. Ben


Okri, in terms of her writing, she wasn't universal popular with all


authors. What do you make of what she achieved as a literary figure? I


think she achieved something very significant. As you heard Tayari


say. She didn't invent the bearing witness memoir, she certainly


transformed it. She enriched it. She wrote a very lyrical, under stated


pros that reflected very, very carefully minutely the details of


African-American life in the early part of the 20th Century. She wrote


carefully. She wrote with passion. And, heretic territory is the


territory of the memoir. Of the autobiographicle writing. It's a


powerful tradition in African-American writing, by the


way. That is an area you have played with in your writing. What did she


mean to your writing? To many of us, throughout Africa, and in England,


she was a very inspiring figure. Because she spoke very eloquently


about survival. Under very difficult circumstances. Survival with grace


and forgiveness and understanding. She reached across in her writing


and as a person to different communities. I remember once a very


beautiful reading she gave, where she was talking about the love


poetry of Lang son Hughes. She was concerned about bridging the gap


across againeders. I think many people that I spoke today, they


called me up, left message on my cell phone saying how deeply touched


they were at her passing. She meant a lot to individuals who were aware


of the difficulty of life. She trance figured this in her writing.


Did she manage, through her writing, to bridge that divide between the


genders? Absolutely. I mean, you may know she was very influential to a


whole generation of even hip-hop stars. Tpau connected with her. She


made a joke and called him Six Pack. She balanced art and commerce. She


kind of felt like everyone's aunt, everyone who provided wise counsel


and also who listened. You meet so many people who are every day


people. Yes, she was friends with the stars, you can meet every day


people at a book event. You say that you are a writer. They may say, do


you know Dr Angelou? I would say, I met her a few times. They would say


- I know her, she has been to my house. She connected with people


across all kind of lines, she was a true citizen of the world. She never


stopped growing, changing and learning. She understood the way we


grow, we change, we learn is through connection with people across any


barrier. OK. Tayari Jones in New York and Ben here with us in the


studio. Thank you for joining us. He has solved some of the greatest


mysteries of the universe. Stephen Hawking's turned his considerable


brain power to one of the biggest unsolved puzzles. Why is the England


football team never quite as good as its fans expect it to be? One of


that benighted number, our reporter Jim Reed, went to hear what the


Professor'S predictions of what will success mean or failure at this


year's tournament. Heartbreak, missed penalties, shattered dreams.


England fans are of course used to it all.


COMMENTATOR: A red card for David Beckham. Now though our best-known


scientists thinks he can help out. -- scientist. Professor Hawking has


analysed every tournament since 1966 for the bookmakers Paddy power, he


says he never bets on sports and has donated his veto charity. As we say


in science... The bad news, England don't stand much of a chance, the


heat will be a problem. Brazil should lift the Cup this summer. It


is of course more complex than that. So we asked one of the world's most


celebrated minds the big important questions you would expect from


Newsnight. scorer this summer? I'm going to


stay -- say Daniel Sturridge. You don't need to be a big


mathematicians to work this out. If the scores once every 108 minutes,


compared to Wayne Rooney, once every 144 minutes, he is in the form of


his life and Wayne Rooney has never scored in the World Cup final.


When you look at penalties, who should be taking England's penalties


from mathematical point of view? A no-brainer. 100% record this season.


Lampard has been consistent from the spot. And Gerard. The fifth spot as


the one I worry about. Neither Wayne Rooney or Daniel Sturridge have good


records despite their otherwise great attacks on goal. What are the


chances of us beating Germany this year? The answer is not great, I'm


afraid. I'm assuming you are referencing the war. We have won


only 33% of games against countries we have officially declared war on,


compared to 58% of those that we haven't. Maybe our opponents.


Germany has more of a history. Professor Hawking was just 24, the


last time England won the World Cup. That second victory still feels a


world away. But then statistics never tell the whole story. Surely


even the top minds get it wrong sometimes. Place your bets now.


That's all we have got time for. Good night.


Liberal Democrats; prejudice poll; housing; cab wars; Maya Angelou; and Stephen Hawking predicts the World Cup.

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