07/07/2014 Newsnight


07/07/2014

With Kirsty Wark. The man who brought child abuse allegations to Westminster. Are civil servants too powerful? Plus, Nigerian corruption and does heightism exist?


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Transcript


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Noise around the abuse at Westminster and the role call of

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celebrity accusations has forced there to be an independent inquiry

:00:18.:00:21.

and review. With us is the former child protection professional who

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raised the alarm that politicians were involved in child sex abuse,

:00:25.:00:28.

and who has given his first television interview in 20 years to

:00:29.:00:32.

the BBC today. The Cabinet Secretary from the 1980s

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is here to talk amongst other things about a memo seen by Newsnight who

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suggest it really is the Civil Service in charge of the country.

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This Nigerian politician embeled millions, did he do it using British

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aid money and did parliament know about it. It is aid invested in

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companies alleged to be money laundering fronts for the biggest

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crooks in Nigeria. If you are not going to prosecute that what are you

:01:04.:01:09.

going to prosecute. Is the Speaker of the House of Commons, John

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Bosnian Serbing co-right when -- John Bercow says mocking short

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people is the same as any other discrimination right?

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This is an extraordinary moment in the life of the parliament, and in

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the actions of this Government, the Home Secretary has bowed to a

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prevailing mood in the country in the wake of cases such as Jimmy

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Savile and Rofl Harris, and the dogged determination of a backbench

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Tory MP to announce, against expectation, an independent inquiry

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in the handling of historic child abarks as well as how public

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institutions deal with the issues of child protection. The Prime Minister

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has promised they will leave no stone unturned. Was there a serious

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clean-up needed in parliament. Were some of the most powerful people in

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the country engaged in child abuse as has been suggested? A BBC

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documentary broadcast a decade later included an interview with a

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Conservative whip decribing reasons why the MPs might ask the whips'

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office for help. Anyone who have in trouble would come to the office and

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say I'm in a jam and can you help. It might be debt, it might be

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scandal involving small boys or any kind of scandal. The BLOECHLT has

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previously ruled -- the Government has previously ruled out holding an

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inquiry into historic allegations of child abarks today the Home

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Secretary announced two. Our priority must be finding the people

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behind these disgust be crimes, and wherever the need to prosecute we

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will adopt a presumption of maximum transparency. And where there has

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been failure to protect children from abuse we will expose it and we

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will learn from it. The first inquiry concerns the dossier written

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by this man, the now dead MP, Geoffrey Dickens, which he handed to

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the Home Office and then Home Secretary Lord Brittan. It detailed

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the activities of a Westminster paedophile-ring, which has been lost

:03:29.:03:33.

or destroyed alongside other relevant documents. I felt it was a

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country where children could play happily. Mr Dickens campaigned on

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paedophilia and regularly used parliamentary privilege to make

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accusations. Newsnight has spoken to one person named by Dickens and

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wrongly smeared in the 1980s, he said it ruined his life. Put it

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before parliament that we castrate the buggers. So what do we know

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about the man behind the dossier. Geoffrey Dickens was a serious man,

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but until I actually mentioned the word "paedophile" to him, he had

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never heard of it. And when I told him what was alleged to be going on

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he took it up with great gusto and started creating these dossiers of

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which there has been so much trouble and speculation. Why has all this

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bubbled up now? Well the spiralling revelations about child abuse by the

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likes of Jimmy Savile and Rolf Harris reached fever pitch with

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allegations of what Leon Brittan did with the dossier. Names of alleged

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abusers have been swirling. People need to be careful if we want to

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protect the victims and let them see justice. We must follow a process,

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which I appreciate is annoying, if you have something that is exciting

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and interesting and indeed very important and you want to get it out

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there and make sure something is done about it. But sometimes, just

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being a little bit calm about these things can get a better result in

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the long run than rushing off and saying things in public early on.

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Among the inquiries into historical paedophilia already, Jimmy Savile's

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abuse at the BBC, following the revelations from the NHS last month,

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the Metropolitan Police's post-Savile Operation Yewtree has

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brought more accusations. And the examination of historical

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allegations at Fernbridge, and there is a look at care homes and criminal

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inquiry into alleged paedophile abuse in a residential school in

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Rochdale in the 1980s. Allegations that the abuse of children was

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suppressed by people in power. It can feel like another day another

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abuse scandal, today Theresa May announced a Hillsborough-style

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independent inquiry, investigating how public bodies from the police to

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schools handled child sex abuse allegations. Why has the Home

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Secretary changed her mind and added two new inquiries into the already

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burgeoning numbers of investigations into child sex abuse in Britain.

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What can the new ones achieve. It is where we need to be, so we can move

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on to it and get answers to what went wrong, we can establish who was

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part of the cover-up and identify some of the perpetrators that are

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still walking our streets. Do you want a man to represent or a party

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robot. Cyril Smith's alleged abuse was revealed by Mr Danczuk, but has

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the Government been pushed into taking action. We feel if there is

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not an inquisition into something the politicians aren't doing their

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job properly. There is a real danger we get carried away here. I think

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the politicians back there are getting too carried away. Back then

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it took several years to clean the buildings of Westminster, cleaning

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up what went on there is still on going.

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We have our guest in the studio, the former child protection manager, and

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the first one to raise the question of high-profile politicians being

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involved in child abuse. What is your reaction to the news there will

:07:32.:07:35.

be an inquiry and review today? It is a very positive step forward. I

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wouldn't want people to think that is the end of the story. It is just

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the beginning of a process that needs to start now. What about the

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nature of this inquiry, that people are going to lead it? I think it is

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absolutely crucial that survivors have the biggest say in who should

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be in an inquiry, survivors will only come forward if it is people

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they can trust and people who haven't let them down in the past.

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When I say people I mean institutions, that survivors have

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tried to talk to in the past but either haven't been believed or

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their stories have been seen as not credible because of the size of the

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galeses that they are making and the seriousness of them. In relation to

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the NSPCC have you got concerns? From a number of survivors I have

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spoken to and from a number of witnesses the concerns that they

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have about the NSPCC is it is very much the charity of the

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establishment and has for many, many years had people like Rolf Harris

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and Jimmy Savile associated with the fundraising side of it. What are the

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claims that you are actually making in relation to historic child abuse

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centered around Westminster? Obviously I'm not going to say on

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live television any details that might interfere with any police

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investigations, but for the last 30 years and longer than that, there

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have been a number of allegations made by survivors that people at the

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very top of powerful institutions in this country, which include

:09:09.:09:15.

politicians, judges, senior military figures, and even people who have

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links with the Royal Family, have been involved with the abuse of

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children. What was actually happening, can you give us some idea

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of the seriousness of the allegations? At the most serious

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level we are talking about brutal rape of quite young boys. Did you

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take your concerns to politicians say 20 years ago? After an

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investigation I was involved in was closed down before it had even got

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off the ground. A senior police officer from the Metropolitan Police

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and two very experienced investigative journalists and myself

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had a meeting with a very prominent figure in the opposition party, the

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Labour Party at that time and we essentially gave the details that we

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want to give now but nothing came of it. You seem to be suggesting that

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as far as Westminster is concerned paedophilia was used to create a

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kind of indebtedness, it was used as a weapon? That's the impression you

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would have from the statement Tim Fortesque. I'm saying that

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paedophiles infiltrate every institution, but the more powerful

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the institution it is, the more powerful the abusers are. And

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unfortunately parliament, politicians haven't been immune from

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the I will filtration -- infiltration of paedophiles. You

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can't name any names, and a number of people that you are alleging,

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that your survivors are alleging the perpetrators are dead. Are you

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alleging there are still people in positions of power who were involved

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20-odd years ago? Very much so. But what I must emphasise is this is

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what survivors are saying, and the problem up until now is that it has

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never been tested. There hasn't been the opportunity for survivors to be

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listened to. And what are allegations may or may not be true,

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but the allegations are there, and the allegations are against very

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specific named individuals. The initial impression that I would have

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is that there is a great deal of truth in them and they need to be

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investigated in great detail. Please stay with us, thank you very much.

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So questions both at the heart of the investigations are huge whether

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some senior politicians in the 1980s may turn out to be paedophiles and

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whether public institutions in which we trust may have allowed children

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to be abused. But is this a proportionate response or are we in

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danger of being swept along in a moral panic. We have our guests in

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the studio. First of all, do you think this investigation and indeed

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the review has come at the right time? It seems to me that we are so

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addicted to inquiries and investigations that it is acquiring

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a ritualistic, almost pointless character. We are always told this

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investigation or inquiry will put things right and bring closure, but

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you will find for many, a long, long time now, we have this continuous

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obsess why you desire to rummate with the past. It has almost been a

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psychological displacement strategy that we are losing sight of the fact

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that there are issues we can deal with the here and now. Some people

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can't get on with the here and now as we know with the Harrison and

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Savile case until these things are dealt with probably? These

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ritualistic performances do not bring closure but incite more

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denunciations, they lead to more people becoming the target of

:13:12.:13:16.

investigations. A complete proliferation of investigations

:13:17.:13:20.

going on. Obviously it would be awful if anyone who was innocent

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were accuse of anything of nefarious and terrible as child abuse, but if

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you were a parent of one of these children, would you not wish for a

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thorough investigation, for a public investigation to take place? It

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seems to me that the idea of investigating this historic, these

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historic wrongs and I'm sure a lot were done, retrospectively invites

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as much confusion as solutions. In a different climate if you had the odd

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individuals being investigated that could work. But surely it is

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actually preferable to have these things investigated and then

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discounted than not investigated at all? Exactly, to have a culture of

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secrecy. We have to remember that we weren't going to have this

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investigation even last week, do you think there is a danger here that

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what the Government is doing is responding to a rising hysteria? I

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don't think it is a rising hysteria, I think it is a rising anger. For

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once I think moral indignation and moral outrage are exactly the mood

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of the people and the mood that we should espouse at the moment. But

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that can lead to mistakes? Not always. And could lead to people

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being beaten up that were innocent? I think it could be if one innocent

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people were beaten up, but we want justice? People are not demanding,

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they come from a small section of society. I don't believe that. If

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you talk to normal human beings they don't get up in the morning and say

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we need yet another inquiry and judicial inquest, that is not what

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people are worried about. Is there are a danger of witch-hunts, the man

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burned in Bristol wrongly accused. You have a witch-hunt and a mob? My

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church, the Catholic Church only recently was investigated in this

:15:15.:15:18.

way, and they had to turn themselves inside out and people said, and

:15:19.:15:23.

Catholics said is this a witch-hunt? No. I think it is not. The way it

:15:24.:15:29.

has been found out and dealt with in the Catholic Church was specific. We

:15:30.:15:33.

don't have names or anything, I assume, approaching that kind of

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scale at Westminster? But we are beginning to see a culture of

:15:38.:15:42.

secrecy, and cover-up at Westminster, as there was within the

:15:43.:15:47.

Catholic Church, and I think the same impulses of "we're in power, we

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can abuse the most vulnerable among you", that is there. Let me ask

:15:54.:15:59.

Peter that, without naming names is what Christine is saying right, that

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there is a culture of those in power thinking they can do anything with

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impunity, was that the atmosphere described by some of the survivors?

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That is my experience and my view, yes. I must say I find it

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disappointing that after all these years that the views of Mr Fered

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direction are still being put across in a programme like this, when all

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we are asking for is to look at the evidence, to listen to survivors and

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to discount rumours, false allegations and just concentrate on

:16:31.:16:36.

very clear, solid allegations. And once and for all allow the

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opportunity for survivors to talk about their abuse in a very calm

:16:40.:16:45.

manner to very trusted people. Do you have a concerns about creating a

:16:46.:16:52.

kind of atmosphere where children think particularly of men as sexual

:16:53.:16:57.

predators? I think we already have that, if you look at the way that

:16:58.:17:01.

generational relations are managed in our society, adults, and not just

:17:02.:17:09.

men, but also women have become physically and distanced from

:17:10.:17:13.

children. We have children warned about the danger of strangers to the

:17:14.:17:20.

point of which the spontanity and informality of society no longer

:17:21.:17:24.

exists. I worry about what it causes children. That is a difficult thing

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to counter? It is true and it is a very price for us to pay. But when

:17:30.:17:33.

you look at the Rolf Harris and Jimmy Savile images and you think

:17:34.:17:38.

stranger danger might have been a good lesson for those children

:17:39.:17:42.

learned. I would rather my children went on the street had a bit of

:17:43.:17:48.

freedom and had independence. And pawed by Rolf Harris. We can make

:17:49.:17:53.

them aware of the risks. Thank you very much. The complex and fraud

:17:54.:18:00.

relationships between Government ministers and civil servants have

:18:01.:18:07.

provided endless fodder for satire, but Newsnight has discovered fury at

:18:08.:18:10.

the heart of Government over what amounts to the job specification for

:18:11.:18:15.

permanent secretaries, a job brief which suggests which many have long

:18:16.:18:19.

suspected that their role is not primarily to serve the Government of

:18:20.:18:22.

the day in an impartial way, but rather as it states, to balance the

:18:23.:18:26.

needs of the politicians with the long-term aims of their particular

:18:27.:18:30.

department. Here is our political editor.

:18:31.:18:38.

You just say everything the Civil Service programmes you to say, are

:18:39.:18:45.

you a man or mouth? Very amutesing. It must be hard for a political

:18:46.:18:49.

adviser to understand this, I'm merely a civil servant, I do what

:18:50.:18:53.

I'm instructed by my master. This was fiction in the 1980s, but is it

:18:54.:19:00.

fact now. Does life imitate art, are today's Sir Humphreys dancing to the

:19:01.:19:08.

tune. The minister in charge of the Humphrey its, Francis Maude has

:19:09.:19:11.

circulated to cabinet colleagues, a document, seen by Newsnight, which

:19:12.:19:20.

he says breaches constitutional propriety, a Civil Service coup.

:19:21.:19:26.

What has sparked the row is a job description for permanent

:19:27.:19:29.

secretaries, or the most powerful officials in the land N it they talk

:19:30.:19:33.

about the needs of balancing the immediate demands of ministers with

:19:34.:19:36.

the long-term aims of the department. For insiders that is as

:19:37.:19:40.

close as civil servants have ever got to decribing themselves as

:19:41.:19:44.

important if not more than elected politicians. If that is the case,

:19:45.:19:49.

that is quite a challenge to our democracy. It is a handful of

:19:50.:19:53.

sentences that alarm politician, a Permanent Secretary, the document

:19:54.:19:56.

says, must have the X Factor, being able to tolerate high levels of

:19:57.:20:03.

ambiguity and uncertainty, and at seems irrational political demands.

:20:04.:20:15.

Then the snappily titled strategic interpretation, civil servants have

:20:16.:20:19.

a pivot point, managing expectations versus leading their department. A

:20:20.:20:25.

pivot between serving and leading, but politicis believe civil servants

:20:26.:20:31.

should always serve. There is much sensible stuff about supporting

:20:32.:20:35.

ministers, enbeginedering trust and so on, but in the most incendiary

:20:36.:20:39.

passage it says permanent secretaries should know how to

:20:40.:20:42.

balance ministers immediate needs with the long-term aims of their

:20:43.:20:46.

department. I think this is an extraordinary document. I mean we

:20:47.:20:51.

are used to being amuse bid the idea of Sir Humphrey pursuing objectives

:20:52.:20:55.

that have nothing to do and can be opposed by the Government of the

:20:56.:21:00.

day. But this is beyond a joke. It is real. We can't have a permanent

:21:01.:21:09.

Government deciding it has its own -- a permanent bureaucracy deciding

:21:10.:21:14.

it has its own priorities against an elected Government for obvious

:21:15.:21:18.

reasons. This does go to some of the problems we are seeing in a Civil

:21:19.:21:21.

Service which is sometimes resistant to change, we can see why. Lord

:21:22.:21:29.

Butler disagrees, over a 37-year Civil Service career, he was private

:21:30.:21:32.

secretary or Cabinet Secretary to five prime ministers. Ministers have

:21:33.:21:37.

a political agenda that civil servants can't get into. Although

:21:38.:21:41.

you are working closely together you have to keep some distance. Is there

:21:42.:21:47.

a single bit of the document you disagree with and wouldn't have put

:21:48.:21:52.

down in black and white? No, I think some of it could have been more

:21:53.:21:55.

straight forwardly expressed. No I think it does reflect the borders

:21:56.:21:59.

that permanent secretaries can't cross. But it is that attitude that

:22:00.:22:05.

has enraged cabinet ministers and in another letter, seen by this

:22:06.:22:10.

programme, the minister in charge of Civil Service reform, Francis Maude,

:22:11.:22:14.

writes to his colleagues and sharing the document asks for their help in

:22:15.:22:18.

writing the fresh job description. He says civil servants don't exist

:22:19.:22:21.

to serve the long-term interests of their department, as the document

:22:22.:22:25.

suggests, but instead they need to serve the Government of the day.

:22:26.:22:30.

Ever since Sir Humphrey was in short trousers there were tensions between

:22:31.:22:33.

mandarins and their masters, this is worse now as the coalition unleashes

:22:34.:22:37.

an aggressive programme of Whitehall reform. It is not possible minister.

:22:38.:22:42.

It is. It isn't. It is. It isn't. It is. It isn't. It is, it is, it is,

:22:43.:22:50.

it is. Tonight some think civil servants have been caught

:22:51.:22:53.

overstating their power. A permanent Government, but will Sir Humphrey

:22:54.:22:57.

always be so steady? I'm joined now by the two people you

:22:58.:23:04.

saw in that film, Lord Butler, and Nick Herbert, the former Government

:23:05.:23:07.

minister leading a cross-party project looking at the reform of the

:23:08.:23:12.

Civil Service. This is really the natural order of things, ministers

:23:13.:23:16.

come and go, and are of mixed ability, you need some continuity?

:23:17.:23:21.

Ministers might come and go and be of mixed ability. Some kind of

:23:22.:23:25.

permanent Civil Service, serving the Government of the day, clearly has a

:23:26.:23:29.

role. But the issue here is whether they should have their own agenda

:23:30.:23:34.

and whether it is legitimate for them to have a different view from

:23:35.:23:37.

that of ministers. It is one thing I think for the Civil Service to warn,

:23:38.:23:42.

counsel and advise, and privately disagree. But they can't actually

:23:43.:23:46.

say, as this document suggests that the leaders of the Civil Service

:23:47.:23:49.

can, that it is legitimate for them to have their own agenda that is

:23:50.:23:53.

separate from the elected Government of the day. You heard Lord Butler

:23:54.:23:56.

saying there was nothing in the original memo he would disagree with

:23:57.:24:00.

but he would have put it more plainly? I was astonished by that.

:24:01.:24:06.

The words speak for themselves, the Civil Service can decide when to

:24:07.:24:09.

serve the Government of the day, that should be beyond without. DOURT

:24:10.:24:18.

doubt. And you have to deal with irrational politicians' demands.

:24:19.:24:21.

Have you ever had to deal with that? Nick may be surprised to know I

:24:22.:24:26.

absolutely agree with him. The job of a Permanent Secretary is to

:24:27.:24:29.

loyally try to deliver the policies of the Government of the day. But of

:24:30.:24:34.

course the Permanent Secretary also has another responsibility. He has

:24:35.:24:39.

to be able to lead a department that can serve a different minister, or

:24:40.:24:44.

serve a different Government. So you can't think that politicians and

:24:45.:24:50.

civil servants are exactly the same. But when the minister decides on the

:24:51.:24:56.

policy it is whole hearted lie the duty of the -- whole heartedly the

:24:57.:25:01.

duty of the civil servants to deliver that policy. The original

:25:02.:25:04.

memo, essentially the job description we were talking about it

:25:05.:25:08.

is said is without constitutional propriety, that is a bit of a slap

:25:09.:25:13.

down? I don't think that is right. It is the permanent Civil Service,

:25:14.:25:17.

that has served the country very well. But the Civil Service doesn't

:25:18.:25:22.

have a policy of its own. Let me give you an example, a Department of

:25:23.:25:28.

Pensions may want to do something to reduce the cost of old age pensions

:25:29.:25:34.

in the long run. If the present minister doesn't want to do that,

:25:35.:25:37.

that is the duty of the Civil Service to do what the minister

:25:38.:25:40.

wants. Imposing long-term priorities, that is another of the

:25:41.:25:43.

things? I think if you have a memo that selects for future permanent

:25:44.:25:47.

secretaries on the basis that they are likely to be able to take a

:25:48.:25:50.

different view from the view of ministers, is to invite them to

:25:51.:25:53.

breach the Civil Service code itself. Article 14 of which says

:25:54.:26:00.

that civil servants should serve with complete impartiality. The

:26:01.:26:06.

Government of the day. When did the Civil Service stop being able to do

:26:07.:26:10.

that, and who do they answer to to have an agenda of their own. You

:26:11.:26:14.

can't have a permanent bureaucracy unanswerable to no-one. The

:26:15.:26:19.

legitimacy can only come from elected politician, and it is not

:26:20.:26:23.

just wrong it is potentially dangerous, if you card getting a

:26:24.:26:26.

cadre of people who think they have a right and role to pursue policies

:26:27.:26:31.

that are not democratically set. The danger is in the words as well

:26:32.:26:35.

"long-term aims", you are not really allowed to have long-term aims? I

:26:36.:26:40.

entirely agree with Nick, that the people who rule. That is fantastic,

:26:41.:26:47.

I love the way you are able to say you entirely agree but disagree with

:26:48.:26:53.

him! I agree but things need to be done in the long-term. We need to

:26:54.:26:57.

produce departments that can serve equally loyally Governments of a

:26:58.:27:01.

different party. It looks like this job speck was written by a civil

:27:02.:27:05.

servant because it can mean anything to whoever is reading it? It gets it

:27:06.:27:10.

absolutely right that civil servants must whole heartedly support the

:27:11.:27:15.

elected Government. But they also do have a long-term policy of being

:27:16.:27:20.

able, a long-term duty of being able to lead a department that can

:27:21.:27:23.

support another minister or Government. You are not in favour of

:27:24.:27:27.

moving to a more American-style system, where actually the Civil

:27:28.:27:33.

Service is of a particular political hue along with the politicians in

:27:34.:27:38.

power? No, I'm not. But essentially with Civil Service reform it might

:27:39.:27:42.

end up moving towards this? There might be some who suggest that. At

:27:43.:27:45.

the moment I think the overwhelming view in this country is we should

:27:46.:27:48.

have an impartial Civil Service, that is required under the law. That

:27:49.:27:52.

requires them to be constantly impartial. It does not allow what

:27:53.:27:55.

this memo suggests, which is that they are some how able to balance

:27:56.:28:00.

their own views, who is to be the arbiter of those views. To whom are

:28:01.:28:05.

they to be accountable with those of the elected Government. It is in

:28:06.:28:09.

plain English. That is not what the memo says, it is for future

:28:10.:28:13.

permanent secretaries drawn up by the Civil Service themselves. Have

:28:14.:28:19.

you had an irrational demand by a minister posed to you that you have

:28:20.:28:23.

had to bat off? Not that I have had to bat off. Ministers sometimes have

:28:24.:28:28.

to make decisions for political reasons that a civil servant may not

:28:29.:28:33.

think are very sensible. It is still their duty to carry them out. Do you

:28:34.:28:37.

put your fingers behind your back and cross them? What do you do, do

:28:38.:28:42.

you say minister this is not tenable or do you go away and say to other

:28:43.:28:47.

civil servantses that you have to move on it because it is not

:28:48.:28:50.

tenable? Suppose the minister says we want to reduce immigration by

:28:51.:28:54.

100,000 over the next two years T may be the duty of the Environment

:28:55.:28:59.

Secretary to I is a, minister I don't think -- to say, minister I

:29:00.:29:03.

don't think we can do that it is not practicable. If the minister says do

:29:04.:29:07.

it? We will do our best. Can I move back a bit to talk about the top of

:29:08.:29:11.

the programme and talk about Theresa May's announcement of both an

:29:12.:29:17.

independent review and investigation. You were around very

:29:18.:29:22.

much in the 1980s and a acceptor civil servant in the 1980s, did you

:29:23.:29:31.

have any idea of a Home Office cover-up of paedophile rings? I was

:29:32.:29:35.

principal secretary when Margaret Thatcher was Prime Minister at the

:29:36.:29:38.

relevant time, I never heard anything about it. Is it conceivable

:29:39.:29:42.

as Lord Tebbit says that there was a cover-up? All I know is what I read

:29:43.:29:49.

in the papers. It says there is 114 files, it is difficult to imagine

:29:50.:29:54.

there could be a cover-up with all that without people knowing about

:29:55.:29:58.

it. At the time were you aware of a paedophile-ring or rumours of child

:29:59.:30:01.

abuse within the corridors of power? No. Not at all? No. International

:30:02.:30:08.

aid is one of the Government's key commitment, but now the Serious

:30:09.:30:13.

Fraud Office is accused of turning a blind eye to alleged corruption

:30:14.:30:19.

involving millions of pounds for aid for Africa. An and Newsnight

:30:20.:30:29.

investigation has found that a department has referred itself to

:30:30.:30:34.

investigation. Tens of millions were veg invested in companies linked to

:30:35.:30:37.

some of Africa's most corrupt politicians. The former aid

:30:38.:30:42.

secretary, Andrew Mitchell is accuses of making misleading

:30:43.:30:49.

statements on the matter. One of Africa's most corrupt

:30:50.:30:54.

politicians are serving a 13-year prison sentence. There is evidence

:30:55.:30:58.

that millions of pounds in British Government aid may have been used to

:30:59.:31:03.

lawneder money he looted. The aid department turned a blind eye. The

:31:04.:31:09.

public money, intended for development aid, being invested in

:31:10.:31:13.

companies that are alleged to be money laundering fronts for one of

:31:14.:31:17.

the biggest crooks in Nigeria. If you don't prosecute that what will

:31:18.:31:25.

you. The department under fire, founded in the 1940s, was previously

:31:26.:31:30.

a small branch of Britain's aid effort, investing in the private

:31:31.:31:34.

sector and known as the Commonwealth Development Corporation. Times have

:31:35.:31:40.

changed. It is now plain CDC and booming on the back of private

:31:41.:31:46.

equity funds. With assets of ?3 billion in public money, Andrew

:31:47.:31:49.

Mitchell says it is the future of aid policy. He says the shift of the

:31:50.:31:54.

market is addressing what he calls a deficiency in the Civil Service's

:31:55.:32:00.

DNA. Critics say it is creating a climate where corruption can

:32:01.:32:05.

flourish. The investment in this case, ?23 million, went from CDC to

:32:06.:32:14.

the American private equity fund Emerging capital Partners, ECB, they

:32:15.:32:19.

put it into a fund which invests in a range of African companies, some

:32:20.:32:27.

allegedly linked to James Ebore, the rut politician. The claim is that by

:32:28.:32:31.

mixing his money with development funds from Britain was able to clean

:32:32.:32:36.

up to lawneder millions he looted from the Nigerian state.

:32:37.:32:47.

We heard from an anglo-African businessman of money laundering

:32:48.:32:56.

going into companies by the corrupt politician. The agency responsible

:32:57.:33:01.

for CDC insisted he was wrong. It has now emerged, behind the scenes,

:33:02.:33:11.

that that DYFID weren't so sure. They publicly continued to deny.

:33:12.:33:43.

This view is now backed up by the parliamentary ombudsman. In a report

:33:44.:33:46.

on corruption, he says that the Metropolitan Police actually told

:33:47.:33:52.

DIFID's anticorruption unit there was evidence going back years,

:33:53.:33:56.

linking the bent Nigerian politician to three of his alleged front men.

:33:57.:34:01.

Yet they still maintain the investments were

:34:02.:34:03.

Yet they still maintain the about. They should have allowed a

:34:04.:34:10.

proper and thorough investigation of the allegation, not just simply

:34:11.:34:14.

refer the allegations to the fund manager and accept the fund

:34:15.:34:18.

manager's denials at face value. The people you were making allegations

:34:19.:34:22.

against, they chose to take their word for it? Not only did they

:34:23.:34:26.

choose to take their word for it, but they took their word for it when

:34:27.:34:31.

there was independently available evidence to the contrary. The former

:34:32.:34:41.

development secretary, Andrew Mitchell assured Caroline Lucas that

:34:42.:34:48.

DFID had no evidence of wrongdoing. He makes a big point that he's

:34:49.:34:54.

writing in extreme depth and he underlines things so he has gone

:34:55.:34:56.

through the letter and hand underlined it. And finally his point

:34:57.:35:01.

is he hopes very much this is the end of the affair and essentially

:35:02.:35:04.

you will stop bothering me about it. To give those kinds of assurances

:35:05.:35:10.

means he wasn't taking the issue seriously or he wasn't in possession

:35:11.:35:14.

of all the facts. Either of those two conclusions is not comforting

:35:15.:35:18.

when talking about the Secretary of State in charge of a good deal of

:35:19.:35:24.

tax-payers' money. Since the year 2000, Emerging Capital partners... .

:35:25.:35:31.

We now know Britain's aid was invested blind. The emerging fund

:35:32.:35:36.

merge from ECP didn't have to say what checks it had made before

:35:37.:35:40.

putting money into companies allegedly linked to James Ebore. It

:35:41.:35:45.

seems astonishing that tax-payers' money is being used in a way that

:35:46.:35:50.

has no oversight. The man who raised the alarm says he's shocked

:35:51.:35:55.

supervision was so loose. It appears that at quite an early stage into

:35:56.:36:02.

the investigations, DFID and CDC decided to ignore the serious red

:36:03.:36:06.

flags about the way those investments were being made. Either

:36:07.:36:11.

to protect their reputation or to protect their finances.

:36:12.:36:19.

At the start of this year, five years after these concerns were

:36:20.:36:23.

first raised about British aid money and the private equity fund ECP, the

:36:24.:36:28.

Serious Fraud Office was finally called in. This month the SFO made

:36:29.:36:35.

its contribution to this alphabet soup of a saga by giving its

:36:36.:36:40.

response. There are, they concede, grounds for concern, there may be

:36:41.:36:43.

evidence of malpractice. What are they going to do about it? They will

:36:44.:36:49.

pass the case on it the Americans. Now they will ask the US authorities

:36:50.:36:53.

to investigate. We seem to be in some kind of Kafka-esque story,

:36:54.:36:58.

where nobody will take responsibility and the buck is

:36:59.:37:03.

constantly passed. In an e-mail to the NGO Corner House, they say ECP

:37:04.:37:10.

is US-registered and it does not appear that CDC have lost out

:37:11.:37:17.

financially by engaging with ECP. That is unbelievable, it is like me

:37:18.:37:23.

arguing that, or the police saying they couldn't prosecute me if I

:37:24.:37:26.

tried to murder you because I failed to do so. And you survived and were

:37:27.:37:34.

thriving afterwards. In Nigeria, the cost of corruption is paid by the

:37:35.:37:38.

poor. The people who ought to be benefitting from Britain's aid

:37:39.:37:45.

programme. The critics we have spoken to are ardent supporters of

:37:46.:37:51.

overseas aid, but despair at what they see is the department to

:37:52.:37:55.

account for its mistakes or correct them.

:37:56.:37:59.

CDC, the aid department's private sector arm says in a statement it

:38:00.:38:02.

remains unclear whether the allegations are true or not. They

:38:03.:38:07.

are proud of their systems but no vetting system is perfect. ECP said

:38:08.:38:12.

in their statement that there is still no evidence to support

:38:13.:38:16.

allegations of improper funding, DFID told us they have implemented

:38:17.:38:21.

new procedures and are happy to look at any new information. Andrew

:38:22.:38:26.

Mitchell said he had nothing to add. Should David Cameron have made a

:38:27.:38:31.

joke that referred to John Bercow as one of the seven dwarves, or is

:38:32.:38:37.

height unacceptable as racism. John Bercow said he was never bothered

:38:38.:38:41.

about being short, but in an interview this weekend he questioned

:38:42.:38:47.

why it was acceptable to question someone about their height when

:38:48.:38:52.

jokes about race or sexuality was wrong. Leave the chamber, get out we

:38:53.:39:00.

will manage without you. You are adding nothing, you are subtracting

:39:01.:39:03.

a lot, it is rude, stupid and pompus and it needs to stop. You are

:39:04.:39:08.

yelling across the chamber, be quiet. Quiet. Calm yourself, take up

:39:09.:39:18.

yoga. John Bercow is the referee of the Commons, and not afraid to

:39:19.:39:21.

threaten a red card from time to time. But after being on the

:39:22.:39:27.

receiving end of some of unkind remarks about his statisticture, he

:39:28.:39:31.

says it is wrong for people to play the man not the ball. Where as

:39:32.:39:37.

nobody these days would regard it acceptable to criticise someone on

:39:38.:39:40.

grounds of race, or creed or disability or sexual orientation,

:39:41.:39:44.

some how it seems acceptable to comment on someone's height or lack

:39:45.:39:50.

of it. Mr Bercow was an athlete in his youth, an outstanding tennis

:39:51.:40:03.

player, a perspective Greg Rusezski. He kinds the jibes schoolboyish.

:40:04.:40:10.

When I saw the comments I thought typical Bercow, trying to get

:40:11.:40:12.

publicity and make himself a victim. It is total rubbish. What a dreadful

:40:13.:40:18.

speaker he is. You have to bear in mind that the smallness of a

:40:19.:40:22.

politician or public figure can be interesting. If you have President

:40:23.:40:26.

Sarkozy of France. He was a tiny little fellow. And he had special

:40:27.:40:31.

high heels, he was some how a more interesting figure because of his

:40:32.:40:35.

very smallness. Speaker Bercow is a short chap, and to see him

:40:36.:40:40.

surrounded by the vast chair makes him a more theatrical personality

:40:41.:40:47.

lend him political power. Let's leave personalities out of

:40:48.:40:51.

this for a moment, and feature interesting facts about height. It

:40:52.:40:55.

seems men of five foot four or less can live for up to two years longer

:40:56.:41:00.

than taller contemporaries. But taller people may be more

:41:01.:41:04.

intelligent, thanks to mum and dad. Apparently clever people tend to

:41:05.:41:09.

seek tall partners, and they may earn more. Perhaps because some

:41:10.:41:14.

bosses link height to status. Height traditionally has been seen as a

:41:15.:41:19.

masculine trait, to be a tall man is to be seen traditionally as a more

:41:20.:41:24.

masculine man. I think perhaps by drawing attention to someone's short

:41:25.:41:27.

stature, in a map, particularly, that would be seen as an insult.

:41:28.:41:32.

There is no comfort in a bus or train, his head catches in the

:41:33.:41:39.

luggage rack. It is not all the upside, as Ted Evans can tell you,

:41:40.:41:46.

England's tallest man at seven-and-a-half foot. Great height

:41:47.:41:49.

can lead to cruel or thoughtless remarks. After extensive research at

:41:50.:41:56.

the next set of desks, we found Hugh Pim, six foot seven of him. Most

:41:57.:42:00.

people if they spot me say do you want a game at centre half big man,

:42:01.:42:04.

or what is the weather like up there. It is the height, and I do

:42:05.:42:09.

feel, and other tall people feel the same, that it is a bit of a liberty

:42:10.:42:13.

isn't it walking up and making a comment about somebody being tall

:42:14.:42:16.

when they wouldn't necessarily, in fact rarely if ever would make

:42:17.:42:19.

comments about people's appearance in other areas. But being tall it

:42:20.:42:23.

seems to be fair game. I'm not sure it is fair game. Order, order.

:42:24.:42:31.

Order. Mr Bercow's view that mocking people about their stature is

:42:32.:42:35.

comparable to racism or homophobia is not backed by the Equality and

:42:36.:42:43.

Human Rights Commission. Long story short, height is not a protected

:42:44.:42:46.

characteristic under the law. That is the beginning and the end of the

:42:47.:42:52.

matter. Joining me now to discuss heightism are two men at five foot

:42:53.:42:57.

four are both a clear two inches shorter than the speaker. We have

:42:58.:43:03.

the founder of the website Support for the Short. And our studio guest.

:43:04.:43:11.

Is the website about trying to stop humour about the question of height?

:43:12.:43:18.

It is making the issue of heightism known. It is not something

:43:19.:43:22.

recognised. I was listening very carefully to-to-what they were

:43:23.:43:26.

saying before I came on. We want to educate people, and show people,

:43:27.:43:31.

especially short people that heightism exists. That people who

:43:32.:43:36.

are short are victims of discrimination. I think it is high

:43:37.:43:40.

time that short people started unifying and acting as a group,

:43:41.:43:43.

rather than just a bunch of individuals. So a bit of pressure

:43:44.:43:49.

group fresh, and you as a comedian use your stature for comedy? That is

:43:50.:43:53.

because people think it is funny in many ways. I don't know whether it

:43:54.:44:00.

is just a new "ism". We're not an oppressed bunch. We have never been

:44:01.:44:06.

stopped from getting on a bus or prevented voting. The only thing not

:44:07.:44:10.

allowed on is a rollercoaster, that is fine because of the height

:44:11.:44:16.

measurements. An "ism", you are talking about genetics, you are

:44:17.:44:20.

genetically five foot four, and black, brown and whatever, why is it

:44:21.:44:25.

different from racism. I think there is a debate to be had. Do we then

:44:26.:44:31.

stop making jokes about people with big noses, sticky out ears. Do we go

:44:32.:44:34.

all the way down the line. I don't know that we do, don't we start

:44:35.:44:39.

living in a duller world. Would it be if we didn't talk about people's

:44:40.:44:45.

attributes, be it height or ears or whatever? We're trying to get this

:44:46.:44:50.

away from the individualistic side of T we are looking at it as a

:44:51.:44:55.

collective trait. When you call somebody a derockry name or

:44:56.:44:59.

disparaging name based on their height, it should be viewed on the

:45:00.:45:05.

way other groups see disparaging words affecting them. Is it

:45:06.:45:09.

discussions, jokes about height actually undermine your confidence?

:45:10.:45:14.

Of course it never helps your confidence to be a member of a group

:45:15.:45:19.

that can be easily and wantonly disparaged at a moment's notice. It

:45:20.:45:25.

is always difficult to combat these things, if you happen to be one of

:45:26.:45:29.

the people that want to combat these things, you will find there is

:45:30.:45:34.

tremendous resistance against you. Can humour be a weapon for you? And

:45:35.:45:39.

that five foot four comedian is not helping matters any. You are not

:45:40.:45:42.

helping matters any? I don't think there is a problem to be helped. I

:45:43.:45:50.

think it is, I don't find it, that height is a very different thing to

:45:51.:45:55.

discriminate against. We are not oppressed. I find the line odd. You

:45:56.:46:01.

never feel you are being patronised because of your height? I had a

:46:02.:46:05.

friend at school the same height as me, and in later years went shopping

:46:06.:46:11.

in a well-known supermarket and fell into a freezer chest, I couldn't

:46:12.:46:15.

help but laugh at that. It would be sad if we didn't. Is it different

:46:16.:46:20.

for men who are short stature or women? I don't know that it is. If

:46:21.:46:27.

it is used as a weapon against you, then that is a fair point. But I

:46:28.:46:33.

think in my experience it rarely is. It is not, I don't get abused

:46:34.:46:38.

because of it. Thank you very much. That's all we have time for. Good

:46:39.:46:41.

night.

:46:42.:46:44.

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