07/08/2014 Newsnight


07/08/2014

Exclusive: Civil service consultants on £2,000 a day - who and why? Iraq refugees trapped. Russian sanctions. Whatever happened to the Big Society? With James O'Brien.


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can get it, we found out that Whitehall is paying some people

:00:08.:00:12.

?2,000 a day for advice. Why is the Civil Service secretly now having to

:00:13.:00:16.

blow so much on private consultants? I think there are big questions

:00:17.:00:19.

about whether we are getting value for money from these consultant, not

:00:20.:00:24.

least because there is a severe lack of transparency about what they are

:00:25.:00:26.

actually doing. The Government have to be open and transparent about who

:00:27.:00:30.

is being paid, how much and to do what? Vladimir Putin puts sanctions

:00:31.:00:36.

on us. Should we care? Will we notice? Liam Fox used to be Defence

:00:37.:00:42.

Secretary, he thinks we should send troops to Eastern Europe. And

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remember this... It is time for something different, something bold,

:00:50.:00:52.

the Big Society is something different and bold. Mentioned it 100

:00:53.:00:57.

times in year 1, this year not so much. Why did Big Society get the

:00:58.:01:03.

chop. We are wedded to the old idea of the market is the answer to the

:01:04.:01:07.

problems, but most of the best people in the parties know that is

:01:08.:01:11.

not true and are looking for an alternative. Who are these people?

:01:12.:01:20.

Here's one. Earlier this year Cabinet Office

:01:21.:01:25.

Minister, Francis Maude claimed he had saved billions of tax-payers'

:01:26.:01:30.

money by reducing the size of the Civil Service. The Government has

:01:31.:01:34.

pledged to be transparent about all public servants earning more than

:01:35.:01:39.

?150,000. But Newsnight has learned through a Freedom of Information

:01:40.:01:42.

request that the Government is paying at least 30 people working

:01:43.:01:46.

across different departments up to ?2,000 day. A detail missing from

:01:47.:01:52.

the salary information released to the public. We're supposed to know

:01:53.:02:00.

who earns the big bucks in Westminster. Everyone knows the

:02:01.:02:05.

Prime Minister is on ?142,000. And that the head of MI 6 gets ?165,000.

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But now Newsnight can reveal the hidden existence of an elite, whose

:02:14.:02:19.

time is worth more money than anyone els. . We are not allowed to know

:02:20.:02:27.

who they are and what they do, but we have managed to lift the lid a

:02:28.:02:31.

little on their secret world. It has taken months of wrangling with

:02:32.:02:36.

Whitehall official, but we have discovered there are at least 30

:02:37.:02:40.

consultants, working across five Government departments, who are

:02:41.:02:45.

earning between ?1,000-?2,000 day. How often do they work? We don't

:02:46.:02:48.

know, because the Government won't say. But what I have been told is

:02:49.:02:53.

there are consultants here at the Ministry of Defence who have worked

:02:54.:02:57.

for several years on day rates of near enough ?1,000. That could be

:02:58.:03:04.

?240,000 a year. I think people would be extremely concerned about

:03:05.:03:08.

the number of consultants being paid vast amounts of money for merely a

:03:09.:03:12.

day's work in Government. Government is rightly reducing the head count

:03:13.:03:17.

of the Civil Service, but you can't negate those benefits of that

:03:18.:03:21.

reduction in staffing by then paying huge amounts to consultants instead.

:03:22.:03:25.

Do you think we are getting value for money from these consultants? I

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think there are big questions about whether we are getting value for

:03:30.:03:32.

money from these consultant, not least because there is a severe lack

:03:33.:03:35.

of transparency about what they are actually doing. According to our

:03:36.:03:39.

figures the Department of Transport has ten people earning between

:03:40.:03:44.

?1,000-?2,000 a day. The Ministry of Justice eight, the Department of

:03:45.:03:49.

Energy and climate has five, the Home Office has four, the Treasury 2

:03:50.:03:56.

and the Ministry of Defence 1. But that isn't the only money the

:03:57.:04:02.

MOD has spent, over the last five years it has spent ?1. 1 million for

:04:03.:04:07.

technical support, money that has had to come out of the military's

:04:08.:04:11.

equipment budget. That is the equivalent of one new nuclear

:04:12.:04:17.

submarine or 14 new fighter jets, certainly more than enough to spare

:04:18.:04:21.

the 32,000 jobs that have been lost. No wonder then that the Government

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promised crackdown. Of course there are things we can simply stop doing,

:04:28.:04:33.

advertising, consultant, IT. Despite the claims there are signs that

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consultancy culture across Whitehall is alive and thriving. Take the Home

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Office, last year its bill for consultants and other experts rose

:04:44.:04:50.

from ?65-?90 million. So what is going on? Something like one in five

:04:51.:04:54.

civil servants has left over the past few years, that has caused

:04:55.:04:58.

major problems in terms of operational capacity and resources.

:04:59.:05:02.

And of course cuts are a blunt instrument. So alongside those cuts

:05:03.:05:07.

there has been a very significant erosion of the skills base,

:05:08.:05:12.

exacerbated by the large and growing pay gap with the private sector for

:05:13.:05:16.

key skills, so there is a major recruitment and retention problem in

:05:17.:05:20.

a number of areas, a number of specialist areas across the Civil

:05:21.:05:24.

Service. The Government told Newsnight that spending on

:05:25.:05:29.

consultants has dropped by three-quarters to ?370 million last

:05:30.:05:31.

year. They say they have made good on their pledge. But some people say

:05:32.:05:36.

the picture is a bit more complicated. It is not one single

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line in the accounts which talk about the costs of external

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consultant, rather they could be external consultants, technical

:05:47.:05:49.

support, they could be fee-paid staff, they could be interim

:05:50.:05:54.

managers, in other words the picture is obscure. So there are all kinds

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of pots of money that Government departments can use to pay for

:06:00.:06:02.

consultants to make it difficult for us to know what they are being paid?

:06:03.:06:08.

I believe that is the case, yes. At the Department for Transport they

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are recruiting a Director of Communications. A job for a temp,

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apparently, although a well paid one. The row over consultants isn't

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only about whether the Government should hire them, it is about how

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many there are and how much they are paid. And whether weir entitled to

:06:27.:06:31.

know the details. -- whether we are entitled to know the details. Here

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with me to discuss the consultancy culture are my guests.

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Why do we need any consultants? I think that when you are running

:06:47.:06:50.

public services at times you may need expertise that you need to

:06:51.:06:54.

bring in, you might need to bring that in for a short period of time,

:06:55.:06:57.

so any organisation whether it is in the private or public sector has

:06:58.:07:03.

people that it brings in for that particular time. The thing is with

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the figures shown they are masking two key issues, the Government has

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reduced the size of the Civil Service by 20% but hasn't reduced

:07:16.:07:21.

demands, they are asking more rather than less, and pay has fallen

:07:22.:07:26.

significantly behind levels from the private sector. So they have to

:07:27.:07:29.

bring people in on these sorts of arrangements to mask the problems

:07:30.:07:33.

they have over long-term pay. So protecting the interests of your

:07:34.:07:36.

members you are clearly, why aren't they up to the jobs being done by

:07:37.:07:39.

the consultants? It is not a matter of not being up to the job. Any

:07:40.:07:44.

organisation will promote and recruit people from outside. Most

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organisations, particularly big ones like the Civil Service, have a

:07:48.:07:51.

mixture of staff from outside and inside. Increasingly what the Civil

:07:52.:07:55.

Service is finding is when it goes outside and it tries to recruit, it

:07:56.:07:59.

can't recruit people because it pays a half or a third of what it pays in

:08:00.:08:04.

the private sector. I think it was Margaret Thatcher in 1979 who put

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the ceiling on what civil servants can earn. This Government has been

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very keen not to have any of them earning more than the Prime

:08:11.:08:14.

Minister, that ?150,000 ceiling, that is a compelling case, if you

:08:15.:08:19.

can't pay top dollar you can't get top talent? We don't know if that is

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the case because of the lack of transparency in how the Government

:08:25.:08:27.

is dealing with the issue of bringing in external consultants to

:08:28.:08:31.

do this job. We could say it was good value if the Government could

:08:32.:08:35.

point us to the projects that these external consultants have been

:08:36.:08:41.

brought in to do. Telling us these specific projects have been finished

:08:42.:08:47.

successfully or on track to finish, and that is why we have the

:08:48.:08:50.

consultants in. Government can't do that. Isn't part of the reason why

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the Government is reluctant to do that, if it is revealed that they

:08:56.:09:01.

paid ?300,000 to get a consultant to do this job you would be on the

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phone to Fleet Street with the story? Not if the Government could

:09:05.:09:09.

give us information about successful projects completed because of the

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involvement of those people. At the moment we don't know, we're out of

:09:12.:09:16.

pocket as tax-payers, we don't know where the money is gone and on the

:09:17.:09:18.

other hand the Government is not really able to point us to anything

:09:19.:09:22.

they have done with that money. Neither us nor the Government come

:09:23.:09:27.

out looking good out of this. Are we getting value for money, or is it

:09:28.:09:30.

impossible to say one way or the other? The Government has saved

:09:31.:09:34.

about ?11 billion over the last four years in the Civil Service. The

:09:35.:09:38.

Civil Service continues to provide value for money for the taxpayer, it

:09:39.:09:44.

is reduced by 20% over the last four years without any reduction in

:09:45.:09:49.

demand, I call that good value for money. But the reality of it is, the

:09:50.:09:53.

Government is operating in the market place. When it goes out to

:09:54.:09:56.

recruit or tries to retain staff, people will look at salary level

:09:57.:10:01.

elsewhere, over a decade now it has simply fallen behind the market. We

:10:02.:10:04.

have to spend money to save money effectively? It tough there being a

:10:05.:10:10.

public servant, it is tough managing big public services, and at times I

:10:11.:10:13.

think what that means is you need to make sure that you are retaining and

:10:14.:10:17.

attracting the best talent and with that comes a price tag. That's what

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the Government wheel has to face up to. What departments are doing is

:10:23.:10:26.

simply masking that by this sort of approach around consultants. We

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absolutely agree there should be transparency, this is masking a

:10:31.:10:33.

long-term pay problem that Government is just closing its ears

:10:34.:10:37.

to. That is a very good point brought up there, if the Government

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could tell us we are spending X amount of money per day, almost

:10:42.:10:46.

?2,000 per day on one single person because in the long run it will save

:10:47.:10:50.

us this amount of money, tax-payers would understand and we would know

:10:51.:10:53.

we were getting something for the money we are spending, we are not

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getting that. How much does it cost to audit and produce the figures you

:10:57.:11:02.

are hoping for, it is the hope that every time someone does an hour for

:11:03.:11:05.

the Government it should be made public? It is straight forward, your

:11:06.:11:10.

researchers had to do an FOI to get these figures out, why not make that

:11:11.:11:15.

transparent. How much does it cost to get the information out there.

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Toss the Taxpayers' Alliance would leap on them if it was out they were

:11:20.:11:26.

making these sorts of monies? Is anyone out there in private sector

:11:27.:11:31.

worth these sorts of sums? What every job is going to be worth

:11:32.:11:35.

surely will depend on the job involved. For example a great

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example. In the private sector is anybody worth that sort of money?

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That is up to the shareholders to decide and they will go through that

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process. But in the public sector definitely not? In the public sector

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we are the shareholders, the Government has a responsibility to

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convince us that the salaries being paid are actually worth it, and that

:11:52.:11:54.

is the only thing that we are saying, really. Be tonight, the UN

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Security Council held an emergency meeting on Iraq to discuss the rapid

:12:00.:12:04.

advances made by the Islamist militants ISIS across northern Iraq,

:12:05.:12:10.

which have proved so deadly for religious and ethnic minorities in

:12:11.:12:13.

the region. Now President Obama says the US is considering a range of

:12:14.:12:23.

options to help thousands of beleaguered members of the Yazidis.

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These members of the Yazidi secretary have trapped on a

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mountainside. They explain their desperation. TRANSLATION: They have

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blocked the road to the mountains and the road down the mountains,

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there is no water and people are dying of thirst, children are dying

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and being buried under the rocks. TRANSLATION: They took girls and

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raped them, they said that Yazidis have to convert to Islam, this

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cannot happen. The Yazidis are an ancient sect, the extremists of ISIS

:13:05.:13:11.

consider them devil worshippers. As ISIS has advanced across northern

:13:12.:13:16.

and western Iraq, it has targeted religious and ethnic minorities,

:13:17.:13:21.

some 200,000 Iraqis have been displaced from their homes. In

:13:22.:13:28.

Nineveh, ISIS has purged members of minorities. Last month hundreds of

:13:29.:13:33.

Christians fled moss sell, the major city, after ISIS gave an ultimatum,

:13:34.:13:40.

convert to Islam, pay a special tax or be executed. Thousands of Yazidis

:13:41.:13:45.

have been trapped on a mountainside after fleeing a takeover. Yesterday

:13:46.:13:52.

it was confirmed that ISIS have taken control of Qaraqosh, close to

:13:53.:13:56.

the border of Kurdistan. The US is looking at options to help the

:13:57.:14:01.

Stranded Yazidis, ranging from an air drop of humanitarian supplies to

:14:02.:14:07.

air strikes against the ISIS fighters. This Yazidi is clear what

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about what he wants from the international community.

:14:14.:14:15.

TRANSLATION: We don't want cars, money, donations or food. We want

:14:16.:14:19.

the international community to get water and food to the trapped

:14:20.:14:22.

Yazidis or to get them out. Otherwise it will be a humanitarian

:14:23.:14:29.

disaster. The world is now watching this humanitarian crisis unfold. But

:14:30.:14:35.

will anyone intervene? To discuss the might of Christians

:14:36.:14:40.

and other minorities in Iraq is Canon Andrew White, the cap lane of

:14:41.:14:44.

St George's Anglican Church in Baghdad, who estimates his own flock

:14:45.:14:49.

has reduced by a sixth in the last decade. Flock

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What kinds of people are presenting themselves at the church? Over the

:15:03.:15:09.

years we have actually represented everybody, not just Christians, so

:15:10.:15:16.

we have Yazidis, Shia, Sunni, Mandian, all the minority groups

:15:17.:15:23.

represented, and they come regularly to share in worship and their very

:15:24.:15:31.

substantial relief programme that we organise. We have a clinic, we have

:15:32.:15:40.

a school, and we try to provide a very comprehensive service, but now

:15:41.:15:46.

they are all at risk and they all have nothing. But there is a slight

:15:47.:15:51.

delay in the link, my apologies, and thank you for your patience. So

:15:52.:15:55.

people are arriving with nothing in their pockets and nowhere to go? And

:15:56.:16:12.

that is the challenge to help those who have nothing. Over the last few

:16:13.:16:16.

days we have been up here in the north of Iraq trying to ensure that

:16:17.:16:25.

we are providing holistically for all the people from whatever sect or

:16:26.:16:32.

religion despite us being Christian in orientation. We are there for

:16:33.:16:38.

everybody. Everybody is being massacred, slaughtered and what they

:16:39.:16:44.

experience is worse than you could ever imagine. What should the

:16:45.:16:53.

international community be doing to help? I don't know if you can hear

:16:54.:17:00.

me, what would you like to see the international community doing right

:17:01.:17:05.

now? Well, the international community has got to wake up to the

:17:06.:17:13.

needs of the people. Our people, I mean all of the people, they have

:17:14.:17:19.

nothing, they need to be provided for, they need to be given some

:17:20.:17:26.

future and some hope and the international community needs to

:17:27.:17:32.

take seriously their needs and start meeting their needs. So that they

:17:33.:17:38.

are not just left on the side. Finally Father, can you concede of a

:17:39.:17:43.

moment where you might advise your own congregation to quit Iraq, day

:17:44.:17:46.

when perhaps there would be no Christians left in the country at

:17:47.:17:54.

all? I have always said to our people, I'm not going to leave you,

:17:55.:18:02.

don't you leave me. Now I can't say that any longer. If I tell them not

:18:03.:18:12.

to leave I'm saying you have to be prepared to die for your faith. That

:18:13.:18:19.

is what is happening. We have had people's heads chopped off, we are

:18:20.:18:27.

having people convert, we are even having children slaughtered and cut

:18:28.:18:40.

in half. Yes, we have no bananas, I can't quite see novelty songs like

:18:41.:18:45.

that featuring too highly on a Vladimir Putin playlist. But he

:18:46.:18:48.

might soon be singing it in spirit to the Russian people after today's

:18:49.:18:53.

announcement of retaliatory sanctions designed to halt the

:18:54.:18:56.

import of all food from the west. The idea, of course, is this will

:18:57.:19:00.

hurt the west a lot more than the Russians. But has Putin bitten off

:19:01.:19:05.

more than he can chew. Here is our diplomatic editor.

:19:06.:19:12.

Opinion can be treacherous, one minute a leader can be tried

:19:13.:19:22.

bestride the globe and bag the Olympic, the next it has been

:19:23.:19:28.

horribly complicated. A few weeks ago people were hailing Vladimir

:19:29.:19:32.

Putin as a master strategist for outmanoeuvring the west. Now it

:19:33.:19:36.

seems he has a series of interwoven and intractable problems, with

:19:37.:19:39.

Russian separatist in Ukraine and the population of Crimea, and in

:19:40.:19:42.

particular with the Russian economy and how he gets it to move forward

:19:43.:19:46.

under western sanctions. Obviously he's feeling under a certain amount

:19:47.:19:52.

of strain. He's in an eyeball-to-eyeball confrontation

:19:53.:19:56.

with the west. He's aware that the west is richer and better armed n

:19:57.:19:59.

all sorts of ways it could be dominant. On the other hand he's

:20:00.:20:03.

defending what he views as a vital national interest which is

:20:04.:20:06.

protection of Russian interests in Ukraine. He's not going to back down

:20:07.:20:12.

readily. The first issue, the Ukraine conflict. Fighting has now

:20:13.:20:28.

reached the outskirts of dons of Donestk. Does Putin abandon or

:20:29.:20:37.

invade. The head of NATO was urging the Russians not to go in. Russia

:20:38.:20:44.

has massed large forces on the Ukrainian border, to seal the

:20:45.:20:50.

separatist and to use any pretext to intervene even further. So I call on

:20:51.:21:01.

Russia to step back from the brink. But today on sanctions the Russians

:21:02.:21:06.

under the ante, they banned many western foods, responding to recent

:21:07.:21:11.

sanctions from the west. Polish apple growers have been denied a

:21:12.:21:14.

market and are asking their people to eat them as their patriotic duty.

:21:15.:21:21.

And the Baltic Republics too are likely to suffer. But some argue

:21:22.:21:25.

Russian consumers will be the big losers. Mr Putin judges that they

:21:26.:21:30.

can take the pain. Point about Russia, to understand, is that it is

:21:31.:21:35.

a country which can show fantastic solidarity when facing external

:21:36.:21:38.

threats. Look at the Second World War. That is exactly what has shown

:21:39.:21:42.

newspaper the course of the crisis he has the support of over 80% of

:21:43.:21:46.

the Russian people. He's pretty confident, I think, that the Russian

:21:47.:21:49.

public will put up with a certain amount of economic unhappiness in

:21:50.:21:54.

order to stand up for Mother Russia. But the state of the Russian economy

:21:55.:21:58.

still poses big problems. There is capital flight and the confidence of

:21:59.:22:02.

foreign investors has been shaken. It all threatens deep recession. The

:22:03.:22:06.

bigger picture here is Russia's economy was struggling well before

:22:07.:22:11.

the crisis in Ukraine, growth had slowed markedly and the economy was

:22:12.:22:14.

already on the brink ref session. One of the ways that Russia needs to

:22:15.:22:18.

revive its economy is by attracting foreign investment to really raise

:22:19.:22:23.

the quality of technology and the capital stock, and all of these

:22:24.:22:30.

recent developments go against that. This square at the centre of Kiev

:22:31.:22:35.

where Ukraine's revolution began was the scene of fresh trouble today.

:22:36.:22:39.

The Government, long overdue, is trying to clear is. This crisis has

:22:40.:22:44.

already placed President Putin at the centre of an east-west battle.

:22:45.:22:48.

It could still produce a major war in Europe.

:22:49.:22:53.

Liam Fox is the former Defence Secretary who warned back in 2010 of

:22:54.:22:59.

the threat of state-on-state warfare from Russia. He's here to discuss

:23:00.:23:04.

Putin's latest manoeuvres. Dr Fox, do you feel vindicated by these

:23:05.:23:08.

events? No, but I think a lot of people have been saying for a long

:23:09.:23:12.

time that Putin respects only two things, consistency and strength,

:23:13.:23:15.

and the west has not shown either of them in great measure. We saw the

:23:16.:23:20.

cyber attack on Estonia, a NATO partner, we did nothing. Russia

:23:21.:23:24.

invaded Georgia, we effectively did nothing. And we saw Russia backing

:23:25.:23:30.

Syria, even when Syria used chemical weapons and famously with the red

:23:31.:23:34.

lines drawn by President Obama, we did nogin. That sends a lot of

:23:35.:23:38.

signals to someone like Putin who is effectively a bully and runs a

:23:39.:23:43.

thuggish regime, that the west will not stand up to his actions. You

:23:44.:23:49.

describe an escalation, they are three examples of the same problem,

:23:50.:23:53.

not necessarily an increase in Putin's boldness, or Putin's

:23:54.:23:56.

appetite for a fight? I would disagree. I would think there is an

:23:57.:24:00.

escalation there between a cyber attack on Estonia and the annexation

:24:01.:24:06.

of Crimea. But he went into Georgia? He went into Georgia and he has an

:24:07.:24:10.

occupation force still there. We don't call it an occupation force,

:24:11.:24:13.

but what else do you call it when foreign forces are on your sovereign

:24:14.:24:20.

territory, develop military bases and refuse to leave. He has done an

:24:21.:24:26.

interesting thing, decribing his role and defender of all people of

:24:27.:24:30.

Russian ethnicity that is interesting to the sovereign state

:24:31.:24:36.

description of the world? That is to on absolutely nailing the issue.

:24:37.:24:42.

Putin has two views that incompatible with our view of the

:24:43.:24:44.

world. The first is to say that Russia has a sphere of influence,

:24:45.:24:49.

and we in the west believe that sovereign nations should be the

:24:50.:24:55.

arbiters of their own destiny. That is incompatible. Secondly, he has

:24:56.:24:58.

said that ethnic Russians are not to be protected by the countries they

:24:59.:25:02.

live and the laws and constitutions of their Government, but an external

:25:03.:25:07.

power, for example Russia. That blows a hole in everything we

:25:08.:25:10.

understand in terms of international law and norms since World War II. It

:25:11.:25:16.

plays well at home, it appeals to the nationalistic fervent that gives

:25:17.:25:23.

Railtrackings that only Kim Jong ILL beat in the world. And so perhaps

:25:24.:25:27.

your desire to put troops on the ground in Ukraine would add to the

:25:28.:25:32.

national inks fervour in Moscow and keeping Putin in power? I never said

:25:33.:25:39.

to deploy troops in eastern Ukraine but Eastern Europe where there are

:25:40.:25:43.

ethnic Russians and where the Putin doctrine would say we are free to

:25:44.:25:47.

intervene when we want. I think it is important to understand that the

:25:48.:25:50.

smaller NATO members, particularly the Baltic states, who have in some

:25:51.:25:54.

cases very high numbers of ethnic Russians are very worried about this

:25:55.:25:59.

doctrine being perpetrated on them. We therefore, I think, have a duty

:26:00.:26:03.

to maintain our cohesion as an alliance. I would like to see more

:26:04.:26:07.

NATO exercises in places like Eastern Europe and in the Black Sea.

:26:08.:26:12.

And I would like to see a permanent NATO strength on the ground in the

:26:13.:26:16.

Baltic states. He won't back down, if he does he loses his power base

:26:17.:26:23.

at home which is built on the Russian bear bowing to nobody? That

:26:24.:26:27.

is failing to understand our on doctrine of deterrents which is to

:26:28.:26:30.

say we are having a show of strength here, which is to stop you taking

:26:31.:26:34.

actions we find unacceptable. The trouble is, because of our own lack

:26:35.:26:40.

of understanding and our own unwillingness to apply the concept

:26:41.:26:44.

of deterrents, we have seen what happened in Estonia, Georgia and

:26:45.:26:47.

what happened in the Ukraine. It is time for us to actually show some

:26:48.:26:54.

far greater moral strength than we have shown in the west for some

:26:55.:26:57.

time. Weak leadership from David Cameron and other western leaders.

:26:58.:27:01.

Do you think that applies also to the situation in Gaza at the moment?

:27:02.:27:05.

I think the situation in Ukraine is of far greater importance in terms

:27:06.:27:09.

of our national security. And in the longer term safety of Europe and the

:27:10.:27:13.

NATO alliance. I think in terms of what happens in Gaza the

:27:14.:27:16.

Government's response has been reasonable. And sensible. I think

:27:17.:27:21.

that one of the problems that we have in an rather where the debate

:27:22.:27:25.

is very much media-driven is that we're looking at the symptoms of the

:27:26.:27:29.

conflict rather than the causes. I have a lot of trouble with this word

:27:30.:27:34.

"proportionate", what is a proportionate response. It is

:27:35.:27:41.

interesting you say that, you say reasonable but that is elements of

:27:42.:27:43.

the Government, the Deputy Prime Minister is happy to use the word

:27:44.:27:48.

"disproportionate? The Prime Minister, and the Foreign Secretary

:27:49.:27:51.

are responsible for national security, what will happen in a

:27:52.:27:54.

year's time is another matter. What is clear is we have an underlying

:27:55.:27:57.

problem, the underlying problem is that Israel has a neighbour, Gaza,

:27:58.:28:03.

where Hamas believes that Israel should not exist, and as long as

:28:04.:28:07.

they continue with that belief it is very difficult to see how you can

:28:08.:28:12.

get a political solution. We are receiving reports this evening of

:28:13.:28:15.

American air strikes in northern Iraq, that presumablialies with your

:28:16.:28:20.

desire for a show of strength in these trouble spots. Would you like

:28:21.:28:24.

to see British aircraft and service personnel getting involved in that?

:28:25.:28:27.

There is no case as long as the Americans are taking the lead, given

:28:28.:28:31.

they have far greater military capability. If the United States is

:28:32.:28:35.

involved and trying to deal with the physical capabilities of ISIS, that

:28:36.:28:40.

is a good thing, because what is required is the ability to degrade

:28:41.:28:44.

their military capability to the point that the Governments in the

:28:45.:28:47.

region, particularly the Government of Iraq is able to deal with them,

:28:48.:28:52.

themselves. Those reports are currently unconfirmed and the

:28:53.:28:55.

Pentagon have issued a denial. You sound like man who wants to see more

:28:56.:29:01.

war? No. What I want to see is the containment of those who are

:29:02.:29:04.

slaughtering innocents, as you showed in your previous report, who

:29:05.:29:09.

are using religious persecution as a tool of their political and military

:29:10.:29:15.

doctrine. And we do have a responsibility as people who believe

:29:16.:29:20.

in freedom and security and a rule of law to stand up for those who are

:29:21.:29:24.

being very obviously % cuted in areas where we could make a

:29:25.:29:28.

difference. Let me ask you about a battle that's all together less

:29:29.:29:32.

bloody, a bat shall may unfold at the top of your party, the

:29:33.:29:36.

Conservative Party party, do you think the fuss around Boris

:29:37.:29:39.

Johnson's desire to return to Westminster speaks of a belief that

:29:40.:29:43.

the next election is all right lost, he wants to be the leader of the

:29:44.:29:46.

opposition and in place as early as possible? I doubt if you asked most

:29:47.:29:53.

of my colleagues if their ambition was to be leader of the opposition,

:29:54.:29:55.

no they want to be Prime Minister. It is a question of who succeeds

:29:56.:29:58.

David Cameron as Prime Minister after the next election. It is an

:29:59.:30:02.

interesting battle, but I tell you something it won't be fought out

:30:03.:30:08.

amongst the journalist and the media, and the Conservative MPs.

:30:09.:30:13.

Will you be standing? It is unlikely but I will be voting in it. Some

:30:14.:30:18.

people think you are a May pole around which elements of the party

:30:19.:30:23.

like to dance, an indication? We hear all the reports of Westminster,

:30:24.:30:26.

if you take it over a period there is virtually no-one whose name is

:30:27.:30:29.

not mentioned. Let's get re-elected first and discuss it afterwards.

:30:30.:30:36.

Thank you very much. Do you remember John Major's cones hot-line, how

:30:37.:30:41.

about "hug a hoodie", or Gordon Brown's Government of "all the

:30:42.:30:47.

talents". They must have seemed like brilliant ideas in private, but the

:30:48.:30:52.

public soon rendered them ridiculous and irrelevant, both. We don't have

:30:53.:30:56.

much mention of David Cameron's Big Society these days, do we? We have

:30:57.:31:01.

been finding out if that is because it has quietly joined the

:31:02.:31:05.

embarrassing menagerie of political white elephants.

:31:06.:31:14.

Remember Big Society? So it is time for something different, something

:31:15.:31:18.

bold. Something that don't just pour money down the throat of wasteful

:31:19.:31:22.

top-down Government schemes. The Big Society is that something different

:31:23.:31:29.

and bold. These young people embody David Cameron's vision, though they

:31:30.:31:32.

may not realise it. Can you put your hands up if you

:31:33.:31:38.

have heard of Big Society? They are doing national citizens service, and

:31:39.:31:42.

60,000 will go through the three-week course this year, costing

:31:43.:31:47.

us, the taxpayer, ?1400 a child. It was the Government's big idea in

:31:48.:31:54.

this the manifesto last time round. The Government wants to build a

:31:55.:31:57.

future generation of volunteers. At the last election we were all

:31:58.:32:00.

invited to join the Government of Britain. You don't hear about it

:32:01.:32:09.

much any more. What happened? Big Society may have been dreamt up

:32:10.:32:14.

around a metropolitan dinner table, but it did reach rural Cumbria, one

:32:15.:32:19.

of the first areas to pilot David Cameron's Big Idea.

:32:20.:32:23.

We have come to find out about Big Society. Right. Do you know about

:32:24.:32:27.

it? I have heard of it. Do you think it is happening here? I think it may

:32:28.:32:33.

be. This man is one of several local farmers who was persuaded to allow

:32:34.:32:38.

fibre optic cables to pass through their fields for free so he and his

:32:39.:32:44.

remote community could have high-speed broad band. It is classic

:32:45.:32:52.

Big Society territory, with a local contractor on board BT's costs came

:32:53.:33:00.

down thousands of pounds and it has taken four years and largely unpaid.

:33:01.:33:06.

If you thought you would have to do it for four years one paid, would

:33:07.:33:10.

you still have done it? It has been a long journey. If someone had asked

:33:11.:33:14.

me eight months ago would you recommend it to another community, I

:33:15.:33:19.

would have said absolutely not T has been really challenging, dark days.

:33:20.:33:23.

Now we are getting to the end of the project and we can see how much we

:33:24.:33:26.

have done and how much we have achieved i would say, yeah, we can

:33:27.:33:29.

smell the fibre now. This is worth it. It is something to celebrate and

:33:30.:33:42.

30 or so miles away they can, they Butchers Arms, bought by locals

:33:43.:33:45.

including the MP when it shut down. The volunteers behind the pub buyout

:33:46.:33:50.

have also built 12 affordable homes in the village. As a Big Society

:33:51.:33:55.

pilot area they had support from Whitehall to navigate through red

:33:56.:33:59.

tape, procurement and other pitfalls. Are other communities

:34:00.:34:02.

responding to Big Society in the same way. In fact, 15 neighbourhood

:34:03.:34:09.

plans like this are in train to build 6,200 homes in Britain. 27

:34:10.:34:14.

community pubs have opened nationwide, not many when it is

:34:15.:34:23.

estimated 26 shut every week. As for broadband there are five community

:34:24.:34:27.

projects like Libby's going ahead in the UK. In the end communities are

:34:28.:34:32.

sometimes stepping away. I guess it is maybe they don't feel it is their

:34:33.:34:36.

business, they don't feel they have enough time or sometimes they maybe

:34:37.:34:39.

just don't want it enough. Or maybe they think it is something the

:34:40.:34:43.

Government should be doing for them. I also think Government could help

:34:44.:34:46.

more by just putting these things up in lights and saying, in the end, if

:34:47.:34:53.

Libby can get super-fast broadband for houses, there is no reason why

:34:54.:34:56.

you can't. This is your Government's big idea, why are they not talking

:34:57.:34:59.

about it now. If they are not putting it in lights who is going

:35:00.:35:07.

to? It is a struggle. One of the problems might be that Big Society

:35:08.:35:16.

was always a bit emorphous, one of those behind the pub takeover says

:35:17.:35:21.

they would have done it any way. There is no doubt our community

:35:22.:35:26.

irrespective of Big Society would have bought the pub. What does that

:35:27.:35:30.

say about Big Society? Simply that we didn't need it to manage a

:35:31.:35:34.

project of buying a pub. That is not to say that other groups don't need

:35:35.:35:42.

that support. Liverpool was another area that pilots Big Society after

:35:43.:35:48.

the election. Here it ended badly, the Government accused by the

:35:49.:35:52.

Labour-run Council of Using Big Society to dress up austerity. It

:35:53.:35:55.

pulled out saying it couldn't ask the voluntary sector to do more in

:35:56.:35:59.

the era of cuts. The whole concept of trying to create a society that

:36:00.:36:05.

is just based on volunteers, without any underpinning of that fabric and

:36:06.:36:10.

infrastructure was always doom today failure in my view. I think that's

:36:11.:36:16.

the reason why it has failed and why Liverpool didn't want to play any

:36:17.:36:23.

part of it after we saw. It was like the Emperor's new clothes, somebody

:36:24.:36:27.

needed to stand up and say he has no clothes on. The Government disagrees

:36:28.:36:34.

with Liverpool's assessment, claiming everything from free

:36:35.:36:36.

schools to changes to neighbourhood planning to a 44% increase in

:36:37.:36:42.

library volunteering as big society, the last will have campaigners

:36:43.:36:45.

against library closures spitting. Newsnight has gone through David

:36:46.:36:50.

Cameron's speeches. His buzzword used to get mentioned a lot, there

:36:51.:36:57.

were 100 when it launched and now it is down to five where there is a

:36:58.:37:02.

sustained campaign and his own party put the boot in. When he was still

:37:03.:37:06.

talking about it, it was the Conservative's attempt to mend

:37:07.:37:10.

broken Britain, the fact it hasn't happened is a tragedy says someone

:37:11.:37:17.

of those behind the vision. I think it lost because of battles lost in

:37:18.:37:21.

the Conservative Party. The Conservative Party returned to its

:37:22.:37:29.

standard, kind of 1980s Thatcherite narrative. It was not that the

:37:30.:37:32.

people who opposed it were bad people. It is just they thought the

:37:33.:37:37.

same old mechanisms would deliver the outcomes of prosperity and

:37:38.:37:40.

shared wealth. But they haven't and they never will. You were part of

:37:41.:37:44.

the manifesto last time round. The manifesto said an invitation to join

:37:45.:37:47.

the Government of Britain. Do you think the Conservatives will be

:37:48.:37:50.

going into the next election with that same idea? I think it is dead

:37:51.:37:55.

politically. But do you know what, all the political parties are

:37:56.:37:58.

fighting for majority. And they are not getting it. So why that is, is

:37:59.:38:03.

because all the parties remain captured by their own methods or

:38:04.:38:08.

means of delivery. Labour is still wedded to the state, as the answer

:38:09.:38:12.

to everybody's problems. The Conservative Party is still wedded

:38:13.:38:15.

to the old model of the market, as the answer to everybody's problems.

:38:16.:38:18.

But all the best people in both parties that is not true. And they

:38:19.:38:22.

are all looking for an alternative. The first rule is you respect

:38:23.:38:25.

everybody's right to have a different opinion.

:38:26.:38:30.

Of course Philip Blonde says that alternative is Big Society, still

:38:31.:38:35.

living and breathing here at national Sarns service. But will you

:38:36.:38:39.

be hearing as much about Big Society in the run up to the next election

:38:40.:38:45.

as you did last time. One insider told Newsnight if we don't talk

:38:46.:38:48.

about it the only narrative left for this Government is cuts.

:38:49.:38:53.

Here with me to discuss the legacy of and prospects for the Big Society

:38:54.:38:59.

is the founder of the Magic Breakfast Charity, that gives free

:39:00.:39:03.

breakfasts to poorer schoolchildren, and from Bristol the Conservative

:39:04.:39:11.

MP, Jacob Rees-Mogg. So Big Society has turned into Mrs Racz Chester,

:39:12.:39:17.

leave it in the at particular and hope nobody mentions it? I think the

:39:18.:39:21.

Big Society is alive and kicking, you see it in rural communities like

:39:22.:39:25.

my own seat in north Somerset, where a whole range of activities are

:39:26.:39:30.

undertaken by the community. It is about David Cameron's statement that

:39:31.:39:33.

there is such a thing as society and it is different from the state. That

:39:34.:39:37.

can be put into practice without the state muddling about with it. It is

:39:38.:39:41.

a glorious success in Somerset? It is a glorious success and working

:39:42.:39:45.

brilliantly. This must be the first recorded time in political history

:39:46.:39:48.

that a Prime Minister has done something wonderful and not told the

:39:49.:39:52.

voters about it? The issue there is the success of the Big Society is

:39:53.:39:55.

not because it is led by the Government, but it is led by society

:39:56.:40:02.

itself. On Saturday we will have the flower show which, is long going on,

:40:03.:40:06.

greats event in north-east Somerset, that is about volunteers working

:40:07.:40:09.

hard throughout the year to make something happen for the whole

:40:10.:40:13.

community. That's separate from the Government, that is the success of

:40:14.:40:16.

the Big Society, is allowing these things to happen and flourish,

:40:17.:40:19.

rather than assuming that big Government is the answer to all the

:40:20.:40:25.

problems. So flower shows in north Somerset, it is all blooming

:40:26.:40:28.

marvellous, you are one of the people that Jacob Rees-Mogg refers

:40:29.:40:32.

to, you are leading big society, are you happy with how things are going?

:40:33.:40:39.

From the Magic Breakfast's perfective, we are -- perspective,

:40:40.:40:43.

we are giving food to those children who come to school hungry. We won an

:40:44.:40:49.

award and were big supporters of the Big Society, we want it to lead to

:40:50.:40:52.

more action. Nobody can argue with the fact that bringing more people

:40:53.:40:56.

to do more good things in their communities, helping people to get

:40:57.:41:00.

engaged in all sorts of project, great stuff, but what has happened

:41:01.:41:04.

since then is I think we have been slightly overcome by austerity. What

:41:05.:41:09.

I want is for Big Society to be used to tackle social inequality as well

:41:10.:41:14.

as the beautiful flower displays as well as the running your local pub.

:41:15.:41:18.

We have a big challenge in this country, children arriving at school

:41:19.:41:22.

too hungry to learn is not something that we can leave to just the

:41:23.:41:25.

Government or just the state. We need a combination. And you don't

:41:26.:41:30.

feel that really the state should be stepping in to the sort of

:41:31.:41:32.

circumstances you describe, and people like you shouldn't have to?

:41:33.:41:37.

It is a tragedy that in the sixth-richest economy in the world

:41:38.:41:41.

we have kids arriving at school hungry and half of the teachers in

:41:42.:41:44.

this country are bringing in food. Now I signed up to the Big Society

:41:45.:41:48.

as a great theme, and I think there are some very good things and some

:41:49.:41:52.

very bad things. On the good side, absolutely. It is a boost to it.

:41:53.:41:57.

What does it actually mean, this notion that everybody should be

:41:58.:42:00.

excellent to each other, it is like a Bill and Ted film, in real terms

:42:01.:42:05.

what does it mean? I think it was a reminder that it is very possible to

:42:06.:42:09.

get involved in community projects and make a difference. It always

:42:10.:42:15.

was? It wasn't new, it was acknowledged at the time that this

:42:16.:42:18.

was an emphasis on a part of British culture and society that has always

:42:19.:42:22.

been there, the desire to help each other. This is great and decent

:42:23.:42:27.

country with lots of people who do enormously good community project

:42:28.:42:31.

work already, it wasn't new, but what I liked about it was it was

:42:32.:42:35.

bringing in more social enterprise and more funding and lots of

:42:36.:42:40.

initiatives. For us at Magic Breakfast, it didn't bring in

:42:41.:42:43.

funding but more people are saying people are coming hungry, can we

:42:44.:42:48.

volunteer and come to you. Jacob Rees-Mogg, flower shows not with

:42:49.:42:51.

standing, what would you point to as conclusive evidence that people who

:42:52.:42:54.

need help are getting it from Big Society? You have to to

:42:55.:42:58.

differentiate what is properly the role of the state and what is the

:42:59.:43:01.

role of volunteers. State is there to do what is essential and can't be

:43:02.:43:06.

done by anybody else. Feeding hungry children? I would say that is

:43:07.:43:10.

something the state should view as essential. So this charity is not

:43:11.:43:15.

part of Big Society, but got an award for being so good of it? There

:43:16.:43:20.

are parts that become Big Society, the state has a welfare system to

:43:21.:43:25.

give people funds to buy food and volunteers can be there to help

:43:26.:43:30.

children eat when they get to school in the morning and their parents may

:43:31.:43:34.

have failed to do so because they are so disorganised. The state

:43:35.:43:41.

doesn't provide money for that? The state provides a safety net to

:43:42.:43:45.

provide money to feed children, and not every family is efficient in

:43:46.:43:50.

doing that. With respect, I would say that you know there are an awful

:43:51.:43:56.

lot of children that are going to food banks now. We know that half of

:43:57.:43:59.

teachers in this country are bringing in food. It is not about

:44:00.:44:03.

family disorganisation, it is about poverty. The majority of the

:44:04.:44:06.

children we feed are in homes where their parents are working long hours

:44:07.:44:10.

in low-paid jobs, where the rent has gone up, the fuel has gone up but

:44:11.:44:15.

their wages have not. Now if we are going to get the Big Society to turn

:44:16.:44:19.

into something really meaningful we have to tackle the structural things

:44:20.:44:23.

like that right now. And yet you disagree, you feel the role of the

:44:24.:44:26.

state and the role of the voluntary sector is easily distinguishable,

:44:27.:44:35.

Jacob Rees-Mogg? It is easily distinguishable, there are always

:44:36.:44:42.

fray areas. The -- grey areas. Big Society will provide, as in my own

:44:43.:44:46.

constituency with a temporary road being built by an individual with

:44:47.:44:50.

the support of a landowner. An individual who has invested ?150,000

:44:51.:44:54.

off the top of my head? You are right. That is not quite what we

:44:55.:44:59.

understood Big Society to mean? He's not expecting to make a return but

:45:00.:45:03.

his costs back. That is society coming together to do something that

:45:04.:45:07.

the state cannot manage to do. Thank you for that. Flower shows and road

:45:08.:45:16.

tolles. Let's have a look at the front pages, the sometimes leads

:45:17.:45:19.

with "wars of religion": SNP I'm off back to my usual pond,

:45:20.:45:54.

thank you for having me. We are ending with a shark cam. A quick

:45:55.:46:01.

look at what the really big fish do when they see a camera.

:46:02.:46:20.

? # Big mouth strikes again

:46:21.:46:29.

# Take my place # Big mouth

:46:30.:46:36.

# Strikes again # You have no right to take my place

:46:37.:46:45.

# And now I know # I

:46:46.:46:45.

We will change the script for the end of the week, we lose the

:46:46.:46:56.

sunshine and replace it with heavy rain in the morning. Warnings have

:46:57.:46:59.

been issued as they have been for Northern Ireland. If you start dry

:47:00.:47:08.

you will be not surprised to see showers breaking out. Drying up in

:47:09.:47:10.

the afternoon but with showers. Western Scotland wet through the

:47:11.:47:13.

afternoon, but in eastern Scotland one or two showers dotted around but

:47:14.:47:17.

many place also enjoy a dry afternoon. Into the south and east

:47:18.:47:20.

of Scotland, heavy showers around through the afternoon as they will

:47:21.:47:26.

be in northern England, Thundering, lightning and rain in a

:47:27.:47:27.

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