16/06/2014 Newsnight


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

Similar Content

Browse content similar to 16/06/2014. Check below for episodes and series from the same categories and more!



The Islamic fascist forces sweeping through the north of Iraq have to be


stopped, the American Secretary of State said today, since they


threaten the very existence of the country, but how? We have views from


America and Iran and our diplomatic editor is here. With images emerging


of Iraqi prisoners apparently being killed by the insurgents, Iraq falls


deeper into Civil War. Lord Saatchi joins us to argue it is time to


abolish corporation tax. I came out believing it was against God's will


to provide health care or benefits, I was misogynistic because I was


taught women should obey their husbands.


taught women should obey their what goes on behind our private


Christian schools. what goes on behind our private


British women are engaged from what goes on behind our private


land and sea, their mission, to remove Saddam Hussein from power and


disarm Iraq from its weapons of mass destruction. Will our relationship


with Tony Blair ever recover from that moment, or is there some other


reason he makes so many people so angry.


Fighting has continued today between the Iraqi Government and its enemies


in the Sunni militant group ISIS. But while the battlefield seems to


be stablising, the political mercury is risinger, the American Secretary


of State today accused ISIS of massacring huge numbers of captured


Iraqi troops. Disturbing images suggesting this may be happening


have been posted by the Sunni group on its own social media pages. We


have been examining the claims that the Jihadists have been carrying out


executions on a massive scale. When Tikrit fell ISIS captured thousands


of soldiers. There are suggestions they were murdered en masse soon


after the images were taken. It is part of an information strategy,


complete with Twitter and Facebook accounts being run by the Jihadist


group. It is very similar to the kind of videos that we saw from


ISIS's predecessor organisations in the mid-2000s. The style of pictures


and the kinds of executions of so called traitors, Government people.


We have all seen this before. What makes it different are the numbers


of people that are being executed. Still photographs show the men being


herded into trucks and taken to waste ground, there it appears they


were executed by the dozen. It apparently marks an escalation in


the brutality of this conflict. Some have pointed out these are stills


from a video that has not yet appeared. So is this material


genuine? It is very difficult to say with any high degree of certainty,


but certainly from what we know about where the images came from and


what they appear to show and what we know about ISIS already, it is a


pretty fair assumption to make that this is genuine and this happened.


But other footage, believed to show the abuse of Iraqi prisoners also


taken near Tikrit has emerged. Prisoners, bewildered and dehydrated


are taunted and challenged to repeat an ISIS slogan. The man doing this


has a north African accent. You can never be sure for definite, but you


can look at things like the accent of the people in the videos, the


clothes that they are wearing and the environment they are in. These


people appear to be an Iraqi army uniform, the accent spoken by the


people are captured are Iraqi accents for sure, we think the


militants and captors are north African, possibly Libyan or


Tunisian, that is in keeping with ISIS's recruitment, they recruit


from a wide variety of countries. Later the captured Iraqis were


executed, so really any debate is about the scale rather than the fact


that ISIS kills its captives. But why publicise it? I think the


principal audience for this right now are people inside of Iraq. They


want to tell people that there is absolutely no point in trying to


confront ISIS. They want to scare people, they want to terrorise


people, they want to achieving exactly the same effect that we saw


in the taking of Mosul. When seven or eight hundred ISIS people scared


30,000 soldiers so much that they were completely abandoning their


positions and essentially running away. The Iraqi Government has been


blocking certain social media accounts, and tonight there are


reports that they are trying to cut off internet access all together in


the five provinces worst hit by the violence. Volunteers, mostly Shia


have meanwhile been flocking to support the Government. So is the


ISIS strategy designed to terrorise these men, or goad them into


performing their own atrocities in revenge? Social media is the new


battleground in wars around the world, and ISIS is not the only one.


In this conflict the Iraqi Government, or forces, members of


Iraqi forces have also been posting pictures of their atrocities


on-line. Especially Facebook, and we have seen even images of executions


where they are boasting about their crimes. So ISIS is far from the only


player in the game of propaganda on social media. In its professionally


produced videos ISIS boasts that its enemies can expect no mercies. But


its enemies too are multiplying and many no doubt will feel that there


are now scores to be settled. The threat posed by ISIS has caused


such alarm that in keeping with the proverb that the energy of my enemy


is my friend, there are suggestions that the USA might start talking to


Iran in pursuit of a solution to the crisis. Does this mean the United


States is about to join in this fight? Speculation has increased


because of what John Kerry said today. Interestingly rather like the


Syrian crisis, John Kerry, America's chief diplomat has sounded the most


bellicose of the senior official, he said AFSHGs is one -- air strikes


may be one of the options the US is looking at. We know HMS Bush is


getting ready for that type of contingency. As far as I have heard


that this would be regarded as a last resort, the US would prefer to


step up support with more drone flights. Apparently US drones have


been operating in Iraq for the past few months already. They want to


step up that kind of help and intelligence. They want to boost the


performance of the Iraqi army if they possibly can and would only


resort to military action if they felt they absolutely had to. How


does it fit with the biggest picture of American relations with Iran? Of


course people inevitably asked today if we are about to start military


action potentially are we co-operating with Iran, are we tying


this up with them? Fascinatingly the Pentagon said they would not be


co-ordinating with Iran. That is a very specific military term, it


really just says we will not have guys in the same punkers. We are not


going to be the Iranian Revolutionary Guard's air force


hitting the targets they want us to. It would mean that the US and the


Iraqi Armed Forces would be operating and co-ordinating and the


Iranians, potentially, and the Iraqi Armed Forces would be doing the same


thing. So it would mean potentionally they were on the same


side. Now, of course talks have been going on in Vienna on the Iranian


nuclear issue which is a whole other major question coming to a political


juncture, the drive to get a final deal resolving that long-running


international problem. The Americans have been there, William Burns who


ran the back channel with Iran who made the progress on the nuclear


dossier has been there. They have been talking for sure, we think they


have been talking about Iraq too. Here now is the US Ambassador to the


UK, you are not going to say this has nothing to do with the 2003


invasion, are you? I would just build on what Mark said, you heard


from Secretary Kerry and President Obama, he made it clear that he is


weighing all the options about how we can help stop the barbarism that


your opening segment showed. But the President also made the point that


in addition to any immediate things we might do to help that ultimately


the solution is not a military one, the solution is a political one and


called on the people of Iraq to build a unity Government so that


Shia and Kurds and Sunni could all work together to isolate and rid


their country of the terrorist scourge. This was seen to come? The


urgency is to deal with the situation on the ground. The


unarguable fact that Al-Qaeda and equivalent and cohorts were not in


Iraq before the invasion of 2003, were they? Indeed and look President


Obama was very outspoken at the time before he was in federal office and


he ran a presidential campaign very publicly many times saying that he


thought that was a mistake for reasons I won't go through right


now. But once he got into office he said he wanted to responsibly wind


down this effort in Iraq, but we will not disengage, America has to


stay engaged, if we don't we are not safe. That is why we have stayed


engaged and tried to train the troops and remain so. The training


wasn't so effective, they seemed to all run away? Look what the


President said a few days ago is we were very troubled. Think about the


sacrifice that the American troops have made and the investment the


American people have made, say what you will about 2003 massive


investment giving the Iraqi people a chance to seize their own future,


and invested in training it. You saw it was very troubling in Mosul with


thousands of people turning and running from the Armed Forces, that


is not what we trained them to do. We can do a lot as America, the


international community, but we can't do it for them. That political


will and determination to fight, that comes from a trust in the


political system that has to be unified and make people feel part of


a shared solution. That is what has gone wrong, there is no faith in the


politic calm system? Not enough, clearly. Paul Bremmer says you can't


sort this out without troops on the ground, do you agree with that? As a


private citizen he's entitled to his opinions. He knows whereof he


speaks? President Obama said he would keep lots of options on the


table, putting troops on the ground is not one of the options the things


he's considering. We have hard won humility from experiences around the


world about our abilities to affect change inside countries. That is why


we're... What does that mean? We had 167,000 ground troops there. And


couldn't contain certain amounts of violence. So we have learned those


lessons and the lesson is not to retreat as a country, America stays


engaged and stays leading but we have to do it with the Iraqi people


taking own anothership and the Iraqi -- ownership and the Iraqi people


building a system that their forces are not only well equipped and well


trained but they have the will to fight for the Iraqis. These ISIS


people, they are not part of the Iraqi political system, they don't


care what is good for Iraq. How are you going to stay engaged faced with


a catastrophe like this? We are staying engaged right now, we have


been engaged since winding down the troops. We have stayed engaged


through training. We have the biggest embassy in the world in


Baghdad. We are diplomatically engaged, we are engaged with


development, training and intelligence. It doesn't work? It


does work, it isn't perfect and the President and the secretary of state


would be the first to say, but just because of that doesn't mean we


don't stay engaged. It makes it more important. If we pull back and other


parts of the international community pull back look what will fill the


void. What are you able to offer the Iranians as an inducement to


co-operate with you in attempting to address this problem? I wouldn't put


it that way, I don't think we are talking about inducements, certainly


we are engaged with everyone in the neighbourhood so to speak, to say we


all have a stake in it. The people of Iraq are under threat, the


neighbouring countries are under threat, the Secretary of State said


today we're not going to rule out any options for constructive


solutions here. So you are perfectly happy to be an ally of Iran in this


matter are you? I would not put it that way at all. We are open to


constructive ideas and it is not a position for me here to rule out any


of those options. Thank you very much ambassador. We have the Middle


East programme director at the Woodrow Wilson Centre in Washington


and she joins me from there. What is the Iranian interest in all of this


please? I think the main interests of Iran is to have a neighbouring


country that is stable and that is not in a chaotic situation as Iraq


that is has been and continues to be. That is the main interest of


Iran. If the United States approached Iran with a view to some


sort of operation and highly unlikely to be a military


co-operation, what would be the likely response in Tehran, do you


think? Well, there is diversity of views coming out from Tehran. There


are certain members of Government who say they would talk about Iraq


with the United States even in Vienna if the United States


approaches them. The head of the National Security Council in Iran


said that we are not going to talk with the United States, except under


certain conditions. There are others who have even hinted that we should


only talk to the United States if they stop supporting ISIS, which is


amazing, to make that kind of statement. What would sensible


members of the regime in Tehran be seeking from any talks? Well, I


think they would like to see what the United States is planning to do,


that is probably their first question and, secondly, the role of


Iran could be to bring maybe some pressure on Al-Maliki to even at


this stage of the game to try to form a more inclusive Government and


also you know try to influence the Shi'ite militias who have been quite


close to the Revolutionary Guards in, during their stay in Iraq. Thank


you very much indeed. Now, as the great Mark Twain the


difference between a tax collector and taxidermist, is the taxidermist


leaves you with your skin! Political right-wingers have argued for


generations the way to improve the economy is free people from


taxation. Now the Conservative peer Lord Saatchi has produced a plan to


abolish corporation tax, a tax on small firms' profits. Paradoxically


he believes that cutting the tax could slash the deficit faster than


it would levy it. In the first term Margaret Thatcher landed on a policy


that would change the political landscape. Right to buy affected six


minion people. Michael Heseltine remarked that no single piece of


legislation transferred wealth from the state to the people. Now another


senior Tory, with a pedigree to match, thinks he has landed on the


same kind of game-changer. Not popcorn, but a policy some might see


Asimly full of hot air. A move to abolish corporation tax for small


businesses, which this company, going for just three years and


facing their first corporation tax bill believe would make all the


difference. Instead of spending money on corporation tax we could


spend it on employing more pastry chef who make our popcorn, we could


invest more in machinery to help us produce more popcorn across more


amazing flavours as well. Free marketeers will cite the curve, the


relationship between the rate of taxation and resulting levels of


revenue that the Government brings in. They will argue that the lower


the rate of taxation for businesses the greater the overall benefit to


the economy will be. They will be persuasive, but will they be right?


Let's test the claim, Lord Saatchi says the impact of the policy would


be to reduce the deficit faster than predicted by the OBR. In this


instance I would be surprised if in the short run you got more revenue


from something like this, in the long run if it changed the structure


of the economy that might happen. What about the claim it would expand


employment faster than predicted? It might increase employment, wages,


they might just increase the profits or the take-home pay of the


entrepeneurs. Or it would increase competition and cartel capitalism,


the domination of the multinational? It might help change the structure


of the economy, but over the foreseeable future you are not going


to break up capitalism as a result of something like this. It is a


policy that doesn't come cheap, with a static cost of ?10 billion,


roughly what the abolition of stamp duty on homes would cost. Businesses


say corporation tax isn't the biggest worry. Most businesses are


struggling with business rates, in the rented accommodation and rented


kitchens we are here, the biggest challenge is moving from a place


with business rates to our own dedicated facility. The greatest


worry says the IFS and the TUC and others is it would increase the


likelihood of tax avoidance, once you have tasted the no increase in


tax on the company and profits made, the opportunity for getting around


the tax system all together would would be irresistable. Is this what


the Treasury wants to sign up to? Lord Saatchi is here with us now,


how would you pay for this to start with? I will answer the question,


but before I do, as you have given me the honour of being one of your


last interviews on Newsnight. This is going to be embarrassing. What is


this gift? On behalf of all your victims, it is... "The Road To


Serfdom". The first edition in the very important book in the history


of politics. Wasn't this Margaret Thatcher's great text? It is written


by Von Hayer and her mentor in many ways. I'm looking forward to reading


it. Your victims wish you well. On to the question, yes, how would you


pay for this? Can I put it, can I ask that directly, I will put this


into the context, if I may, on Wednesday 900 people are coming to


the Centre for PolicStudies '40th an versery, the Thatcher conference on


liberty. And 31 think tanks from around the world. They are coming


and there is an amazing galaxy to address the question of freedom and


liberty. Our aim in the Centre for Policy Studies, as in the aim of


founding the centre is to enhance freedom. We will be publishing on


Wednesday some research, some polling, which people will find, I


think, very distressing. It asks who do you trust? Big companies or big


Government? It finds that 70% of people distrust big Government and


that 70% distrust big companies. Therefore our aim is to increase


people's freedom and our method of doing that is to say that people who


are starting up new companies, or who are in small companies, that is


companies with less than 50 people, will pay no corporation tax, and by


the way, no capital gains tax when the companies are sold. These


companies pay no corporation tax. Can I ask you the question again


then, how do you pay for that? The cost of doing that is ?11 billion.


So it is around that in the national accounts, it is a significant sum.


So your question will be where will this money come from. That is what


it is? Good. The answer is that following the advice of deep throat


in Watergate, you remember that he said "follow the money", and what


the economist who have produced this policy have done is to follow the


money. That ?11 billion which is in that second lost to the Treasury


were does it go? That's what they have done. It doesn't stay under


people's pillows, that is in nobody's interest. Thanks to the


Treasury, the Treasury has recently published its own report on what


happens when corporation tax is reduced. They find that the money


goes in three directions, it is paid in dividends, which then involves


more income tax, it goes in hiring more people, which means less


welfare payments for the Treasury and more income tax for the Treasury


and it goes in the third direction in further investment which speeds


growth. Therefore we are going to say on Wednesday that this policy


recovers the ?11 billion. And there is the very nice man from the IFS as


he said can reduce the deficit faster than the OBR currently


predicts. It is interesting you should choose this tax as opposed to


the tax that businesses care about more, like business rates and VAT


for example? Why not tackle those? Well you could, one could try to


abolish all tax, if you like. But what we are interested in doing is


abolishing two taxes. Corporation tax only on small companies, with


less than 50 employios, and capital gains -- employees, and capital


gains tax that those who sell shares in small companies don't pay tax. If


those two abolitions don't have a similar effect to the effect of


buying your own council house in terms of cultural affects and social


impact. Wouldn't one effect be, as was suggested earlier, to encourage


people to avoid tax because they would choose, well I don't pay any


corporation tax, I'm a small business, why not just pay myself


through my company as opposed to taking it as income and paying


income tax? The thing is this policy doesn't involve any new legislation


or new definitions of small companies. There are things called


small companies now. There is a small company tax regime. There are


different laws and different rules which apply to small companies as


they exist now this is most certainly going to encourage people


to be small companies. And you honestly believe this could be


afforded at a time of financial stringcy. The cost is ??11 billion.


A lot of money? According to figures by the IFS has looked at, that money


is recovered in four years and the result in terms of the deficit...


The Treasury don't think it would be recovered in four years, they think


it will take 20 years to recover 60% of it? We don't know what the


Treasury is saying about it, they are considering it. The case that


has been put to the Treasury and which the IFS was commenting on is


that we are looking here for more freedom. This is in effect a social


policy. Not an economic policy. It is a social policy, being brought


into effect by economic means. The affect of the social policy we are


looking at is Britain to have a more get-up-and-go dynamic entrepeneurial


culture. If the abolition of the taxes for small companies doesn't


get people out of bed in the morning, nothing will. Thank you


very much and thank you for the book.


Government ministers worrying about what children are taught in schools


have made much in the last couple of weeks of claims that Islamic


fundamentalists were trying to imbue young people with a warped view of


the world. It has led to much concern about British values. But do


these concerns extend also to schools of other faiths which teach


extreme interpretations. Parents are allowed to choose an education for


their children, which fits their religious convictions. But where


does belief end and bigotry begin. We report on what's happening in a


number of Christian schools. When the Trojan horse allegations hit the


headlines, Education Secretary, Michael Gove, declared that no pupil


should be exposed to extremist views on radicalisation while at school.


The Government has made it clear there is no place for religious


extremism in Britain's state schools. But some private schools,


which don't receive Government funding are openly teaching what


could be described as a hardline Christian agenda. Private or


independent schools do not have to teach the National Curriculum. And


at least 30 private schools in the UK, and some home schooling parents,


teach the accelerated Christian education, or ACE curriculum. It is


marketed as a Bible-based curriculum, designed to protect


children from secular lies. In science lessons pupils are taught


that the theory of evolution doesn't stand up, that the earth is just a


few thousand years old this instead of the 4. 5 billion years old that


scientists believe, and the curriculum explicitly states that


even on scientific matters the Bible is the final authority. We spoke to


one ex-pupil who has campaigned against the curriculum. I think that


essentially allowing the ACE curriculum means we are letting


children be lied to. They are telling them things as though they


are facts that are not fact. My parents sent me to an ACE school


when I was 11, they wanted a Christian education. I think the


curriculum was more extreme than they realised. I came out of my ACE


school believing it was against God's will to provide healthcare or


benefits to citizens, I was misogynistic because I was taught


that women should submit and obey their husband, I believed science


could show us that homosexuality was immoral and wrong. The ACE biology


textbook mixes questions on cell division and photo synthies with


statements like a"abortion is murder", "homosexuality is sin" and


"sides is a direct consequence of violating God's laws". Michael Rice


is a professor of science education and Anglican priest. He believes the


ACE curriculum is letting pupils down. The ACE curriculum they are


pretty fundamentalist so they are right at one end of the spectrum.


One of the disappointments to me is the way that some ACE schools are


clearly giving the impression that you can't have a strong religious


faith and accept the mainstream scientific understanding of the


world. What you want is all students, whatever sort of school


they are going to, to realise that the theory of evolution is very,


very widely accepted in the scientific community, but it doesn't


help students from fundamentalist Christian families to leave school


thinking that the theory of evolution is just rubbish. But


currently parents have the right to educate their children in line with


their religious beliefs. The 62 pupils at this Christian school near


Swindon learn the ACE curriculum. We spoke to two senior pupils. The


curriculum is based on an American fundamentalist viewpoint. That's


shipped over to here and the teachers then kind of deliver that


to us in a way that associates critical thinking and other ways of


learning. I guess the influence of God really plays a big part in


science and how we view that and how we a taught that. There are a lot of


people in the school that may not 100% believe in creation or


evolution, but I believe that the world was created and that's just my


opinion, but we all have our own opinion in the school and no-one is


forced to believe certain things. I asked the headteacher why


creationism is taught to pupils in science lessons? We teach them that


there are these two sides to the argument. The ACE programme teaches


that, with a heavy emphasis on the creationism being the Christian


viewpoint. And no, I don't believe that it harms their education at


all, after all, if we are talking about choice in education, then the


choice to believe in any kind of area that one chooses must be open,


presumably. It would be perfectly OK for you to teach your pupils that


the earth was flat? Unless, not if I didn't believe that to be the case,


obviously. So if that was in the Bible, you would teach that, that it


was perfectly OK to hold that as a scientific viewpoint? Not


necessarily. What the world doesn't like about bibically-based views is


there are absolutes in there, and that is not a very well received


kind of concept. Do you subscribe to those absolutes? Yeah, I do. Like


many other ACE schools, Ofsted rated this school as good, and said that


the curriculum was good. But what happens when pupils leave? ACE


pupils don't sit GCSEs and A-levels but instead earn the international


certificate of Christian education. Or ICC E. But unlike mainstream


qualifications, the ICCE is not aid and I credited by the exams


regulator, for that reason some universities won't accept it. In


essence, ACE could be regarded as a fundamentalist curriculum,


delivering a little known qualification, all with Ofsted's


blessing. My guest is the current President of the Association of


Science education and has back add new law to prevent creationism being


taught. And my other guest has attended an ACE school and involved


in promoting it. Why do you think ACE creationism in science classes?


There seems to be some attack on ACE students and saying in some way they


are unable to have a decent academic education. That was not my why. If I


could address this issue first. I'm asking you a straight forward


question why is it taught in science not religion? It is taught in both.


It is a potential answer to a question that all of us must face


which is not only how did we get here but questions like why are we


here? Questions like what meaning does life have and where do we go


when we die? These are fundamental questions that many people ask,


rather than closing down questioning in students and saying we have come


to one understanding of the world, we need to be open to questions. It


is a met at that physical question, not a science question? Why are we


here is a met at that physical question not science question. This


is potentially true. Yet you teach it in science? I don't teach


anything. I'm a former student. It is your organisation? It is not my


organisation. It is an organisation you believe in? Yes I do. May I just


explain why I believe in it. My sister is PhD. Let's Alice Robert


have a go. Alice Roberts is a PhD and understands the importance of


academics, my brother is studying masters, I graduated philosophy and


politics at York, to suggest that they are academically impeded is


nonsense. We saw a couple of very smart young students at the school,


the question is not their education? Was implied in the video. I don't


think it was, clearly there were able students there what is the


problem? The problem is basically that of standards. But you saw


perfectly able students there, going off to Cambridge? But being caught


that evolution and this is from their textbook, being taught that


evolution is scientifically unsound, which is patently not true.


evolution is scientifically unsound, Evolution is a theory? So is the


idea that the earth goes round the sun rather than the other way round,


these are scientific theories. That is a disproven idea? We can


establish that the earth is not flat as was said in the piece, the earth


isn't flat we know it isn't, empierically we know it is round?


Empierically we know evolution has happened. There are numerous lines


of evidence, there is no debate in science about this. And the


Government accepts this. Just because you all choose to believe


the same thing doesn't mean it is true, does it? As a scientist we


constantly test what we think is right against the evidence, and no


evidence has come to light that disproves evolution, despite what


the ACE textbooks say. My main issue is the Government is quite clear


that science should be taught as a comprehensive coherent and


extensively evidenced they are year, that is their own words in their


advice to free school, why one rule for our state-funded schools and


when it comes to independent schools we don't seem to find if science is


taught properly or not. Does it matter if they are not funded by


taught properly or not. Does it state? If they are private schools,


why shouldn't they teach what they like? If that's an argument then


they should be able to teach the earth is flat. They are not teaching


the earth is flat are they? Nobody believes this. Let's be honest. If


people pay for their children to be educated we know there should be


standards, Ofsted visits the schools, there is a view standards


should be achieved, and those standards should include the content


of the curriculum not just the quality of teaching and leadership


in the school which is what Ofsted has done before. Ofsted is being


changed partly in response to the Birmingham schools issue. Ofsted


hopefully there is going to be a tighter inspection regime coming


into play, where they will look at content of curriculum. When you look


at this, this textbook of yours here, it does say that the theory of


evolution is false. You believe literal truth of the Bible do you? I


believe that God is the creator, and do you know. Do you believe the


world was created in six days? You will have to forgive me I'm not


actually a scientist. I'm just asking you what you believe? Then


you will bring it down to a faith question, if I believe it was or


wasn't S How long did it create to create the world? You are asking me


a faith-based question. But you have been taught science in school, what


were you taught in science in school? I was taught the theory of


evolution alongside the theory of creation. The two were presented to


me. And do you know what having twoal ternives enables me to be a


critical thinker. It is notable one of your great lines is that you want


students to be open minded and yet you are going completely against


this in what you are saying, you are saying everybody is open minded in


as much as they agree with me. Not at all. Your own textbooks say that


evolution is a scientifically unsound theory, which is patently


not true. This is a lie which children are being taught. I know


that there is certainly a lot of critque around theory of macro


evolution, and all of these different areas that, again, not


being a scientist, I'm not well placed to comment on. You might look


at Provan John Lennox at Oxford's survey of all of this issue about


whether the earth reveals a creator, in his book God's Undertaker which


surveys the issue very well and is a voice worth hearing. Could have


asked him to be on the programme. I don't think the issue is whether


evolution has happened, whether it is a reality. The issue is whether


the Department for Education and the Government, which holds a view on


this which says evolution should be taught as a comprehensive, coherent


and extensively evidenced theory, whether that should be extended to


independent schools when assessing standards. And indeed to other


theories perhaps? Yeah. Yeah. Thank you very much. The crisis in Iraq


has suddenly breathed new life into one of the great issues of British


domestic politics. Just how much do you dislike Tony Blair? He claims


that the invasion of Iraq, which he so vehemently supported and so much


of the country so vehemently didn't support has nothing to do with the


upsurge of violence there. Instead it is the consequence of not


intervening in Syria. He must be unhinged, says the Mayor of London,


Boris Johnson. Even members of his own party accuse Tony Blair of


acting like a neo-con. Prime Minister, performer, statesman. Tony


Blair you Knighted the left and swept -- united the left and swept


to power on a booming economy and improvement of public services. It


is a single decision most will remember him. All we are asking for


in the second receipts devolution is the clear -- resolution, is the


clear ultimatum that if Saddam carries on not co-operating then


force should be used. Even as the death toll mounted he stood by his


decision. The apology so many people want over Iraq has never been forth


coming. This weekend we had a fresh reminder of how unlikely that is.


Even if you left Saddam in place in 2003 there would have still been a


major problem in Iraq, you can see what happens when you leave the --


Tatar in place, like Assad, it doesn't go away. Mayor Boris Johnson


had a different take? If you say seriously that the invasion of 2003


had absolutely nothing to do with the lawlessness and chaos that then


took place, then I think you need your head examined. And yet when


asked in a poll this weekend which leader would most likely make you


vote Labour, twice as many people said Tony Blair as did Ed Miliband.


So how did the British public view this man that they once embraced. My


guest iskm will you pleasist of the Guardian, and author, and the Times


columnist and proponent of intervention in Iraq in 2003 and


now. Is it Iraq that makes Tony Blair such a powerful figure? I


don't know what you mean by powerful. He excites powerful


responses? He certainly does, absolutely, passionate responses. I


think an overwhelming number of people think he was desperately


wrong about Iraq, and some people think he was a war criminal, I don't


take that view. I think he was disastrously wrong I think he has


had to justify himself and that dreadful decision ever since. I


think it must be very hard to live with. He can't leave it alone. He


can't just be quiet about it. He has to persuade himself, I think, that


all those people didn't die in vain, that the country hasn't been in


turmoil for all these years for no reason. It is Iraq isn't it? I don't


know whether, Iraq is a big part of it, but when I was coming on the


programme I was looking back at some of the things I was writing about


the Iraq War about what I described as Blair hatred. There was a section


of opinion, usually writers and other sort of people like this,


artists, a feeling that Blair was an utterly fraudulent character who had


destroyed some how something important about the way in which


politics in Britain worked. Had diminished it down to focus groups,


and had essentially given way to a sub-Thatcherite he agenda, that is


if you were against Thatcher. And then also there were forces on the


right, take the Daily Mail, which in 2010 did this editorial where you


remember when Blair did his autobiography and gave ?5 million to


armed services charities, they said for once in his lying war mongering


career the former Prime Minister has done something right. That level of


hate ed is not just about Iraq it is about something other. It is about


Tony Blair, accept the terrible phrase as a "change agent". He's


associated with a level of change in this country with a lot of people


found discombobulating and difficult, there are aspects of his


character they don't like either. Because he achieved significant


difference in this country? Because the country changed such a lot while


he was Prime Minister actually, and he stands in, actually in a funny


kind of way as the same way as Polly and I do in a much more diminished


way as being the sorts of people who have brought immigrants in lark


numbers of this country, as the sort of people who like the European


Union, and the sort of people who would have given us


Union, and the sort of people who euro, et cetera, et cetera. He was


the representative of it. I think that is partly true, of course we do


have an 80% right-wing press who detest anything that Labour does and


wish to trash his record. What is interesting about him and why there


is quite so much hatred he is has been such a bad custodian of his own


reputation. First of all he spends his whole time on foreign policy


which is his weakest point, he spent very little time talking about the


good things he did. The definitive survey of his social policies came


out, produced by the LSE, just looking at how much he improved


education, poverty, a million pensioners taken out of poverty,


Sour Start, childcare, huge social reforms, very important, very


successful. You would never guess that from a post-political career


given council to the Government of Kazakhstan. That is what is so


strange. If behaved like Jimmy Carter and gone and done good works


and not made skill squillions of money and not lived in a jet set


with highly unsuitable people. If he had given himself to the things he


did best and emphasise that part of his time in power, I think he would


be seen differently now. Mostly people really care about their


legacy, he seems to have squadered it. I will really disappoint you


here, Polly is right! A lot of these things, when texts turn up from Tony


Blair to Rebekah Brooks that I'm right behind you, there is a cast


loyalty going on here between people who ran things that doesn't look


good to people outside. Even if the vast bulk of the money he has got he


has put into charities, and he has. I don't know about the vast bulk, he


still has a huge lot yet. He has. The relationship with the Murdoches


is toxic, and peculiar, weird, the stories coming out since, and he has


fallen out with Murdoch. Do you think he's unhinged as Boris says? I


think pots Blairex after anybody has been -- I think possibly aft eight


years in politics it is enough. He is hypernormal in a way, that means


he's a bit bonkers, it is a bit odd to have Boris going around telling


people they are unhinged. That is enough for now, that is all we have


time for tonight, good night.


Download Subtitles