08/08/2014 Newsnight


08/08/2014

The stories behind the day's headlines with Kirsty Wark. US air strikes in Iraq. Did a London estate really fly the Isis flag? Are there votes in drugs? Plus, loom bands.


Similar Content

Browse content similar to 08/08/2014. Check below for episodes and series from the same categories and more!

Transcript


LineFromTo

American fighter aircraft have been dropping bombs on Islamic State

:00:00.:00:08.

fighters marching on Iraq's Kurdish capital.

:00:09.:00:12.

So what is President Obama's gameplan?

:00:13.:00:16.

A new humanitarian intervention, but familiar dilemmas -

:00:17.:00:20.

once you've started, how long are you willing to keep going?

:00:21.:00:22.

The US State Department's Marie Herth will try to answer that.

:00:23.:00:30.

It was reported in The Guardian this morning that a "jihadist" flag was

:00:31.:00:33.

Newsnight went there to try and find out.

:00:34.:00:39.

And Nick Clegg has come up with a new drugs policy -

:00:40.:00:42.

no prison sentences for possession of drugs for personal use.

:00:43.:00:45.

Is this a half-baked attempt to get the stoner vote?

:00:46.:00:56.

Would drug policy change your vote in the next general election? Yes,

:00:57.:01:03.

it is a human rights issue and a civil rights issue. People are going

:01:04.:01:07.

to prison for absolutely no reason over this.

:01:08.:01:08.

I'll put that to the Justice and Civil Liberties Minister,

:01:09.:01:11.

President Obama assured the American people the US would not be dragged

:01:12.:01:21.

into fighting another war in Iraq, but the bombs began to drop today

:01:22.:01:26.

in the north of the country, as he finally responded to the advance of

:01:27.:01:29.

Islamic State militants, formerly known as ISIS, who now

:01:30.:01:32.

The reasoning the President gave was to prevent

:01:33.:01:37.

a possible act of genocide against minority groups, including

:01:38.:01:41.

Christians and Yazidis, who are stranded, starving and surrounded

:01:42.:01:44.

The US expanded its offensive tonight with air

:01:45.:01:49.

strikes on a seven-vehicle convoy near the Kurdish capital, Irbil.

:01:50.:01:52.

Earlier, I reached the BBC's reporter,

:01:53.:01:56.

who is in a church being used by Christian refugees in the city.

:01:57.:02:00.

Can you describe to me what is happening in Irbil tonight? I am in

:02:01.:02:20.

St Joe Joseph Church in Irbil. Here, hundreds of families, children,

:02:21.:02:25.

elderly people, or in the backyard of the church, lying down, most of

:02:26.:02:31.

them having recently escaped from ISIS. Many of these people are from

:02:32.:02:36.

Mosul as well. A month ago, they ran away from Mosul and found refuge in

:02:37.:02:41.

Qaraqosh. They stayed with their family and relatives, but two days

:02:42.:02:45.

ago, ISIS took over that city as well. There are hundreds of people

:02:46.:02:51.

in this church. Many community centres and schools in the town are

:02:52.:02:59.

packed with Christian refugees. They will know that the Americans have

:03:00.:03:02.

come in with air strikes. What do they want from the United States? I

:03:03.:03:07.

have talked to many people, and they said, we don't want anything, we

:03:08.:03:11.

just want to go back to our homes. It is difficult to live like this. I

:03:12.:03:18.

have seen hundreds of children lying down on the ground in the backyard,

:03:19.:03:24.

sleeping over a blanket. A family of 12 showed me ten loaves of bread.

:03:25.:03:28.

They said, that is all we have had all day. What do they make of the

:03:29.:03:35.

American bombing? I think many of them believe the Americans take

:03:36.:03:40.

action very late. They said, they could have stopped ISIS a long time

:03:41.:03:46.

ago, when they were a small group. Many are angry. They are hoping the

:03:47.:03:50.

Americans will be able to push back ISIS so that these people can go

:03:51.:03:52.

home. So given President Obama's clear

:03:53.:03:55.

reluctance to be the world's policeman since he took office,

:03:56.:03:57.

why is American firepower now once Here's our Diplomatic Editor,

:03:58.:04:00.

Mark Urban. The United States is bombing Iraq

:04:01.:04:12.

once again ma and that is the last thing a president who got American

:04:13.:04:16.

forces out of their three years ago would have wanted. This is a

:04:17.:04:23.

situation that is a difficult challenge, but it cannot be solved

:04:24.:04:27.

by the American military. Support can be provided by the military, but

:04:28.:04:31.

this situation will only be solved by the Iraqi people and a government

:04:32.:04:37.

that reflects the views of Iraq's diverse population. The president

:04:38.:04:40.

comfort with the King of Jordan today as well, trying to form a

:04:41.:04:45.

common front against the ISIS advance and support an Iraqi

:04:46.:04:48.

government widely felt to be the author of its own misfortunes. The

:04:49.:04:52.

stakes have been raised as a result of what ISIS did in June. That means

:04:53.:05:01.

Iraq was facing a word many people use, but correctly in this context,

:05:02.:05:07.

an existential threat. Was it going to hang together as a country? If

:05:08.:05:13.

ISIS establish themselves for any length of time in the north-west of

:05:14.:05:23.

Iraq, in the Sunni Arab areas, the Kurds to go their way would have

:05:24.:05:25.

increased and the country would have cracked. In recent days, ISIS has

:05:26.:05:30.

been pushing outwards on every point of the compass. To the west, they

:05:31.:05:36.

have taken the Yazidis city and Kurdish posts on the Syrian border.

:05:37.:05:41.

To the north, they have hit the curb. Pushing eastwards, Christians

:05:42.:05:45.

have been driven from Qaraqosh, and ISIS fighters have got within 30

:05:46.:05:50.

miles of Irbil. To the south, they have continued to press on Samarra.

:05:51.:05:57.

Now, the response. American supply drops for refugees on Mount Sinjar

:05:58.:06:02.

last night. Then a Kurdish push to force a grand corridor for the

:06:03.:06:07.

Yazidis to escape into Syria. And this afternoon, US planes bombed

:06:08.:06:14.

ISIS artillery close to Irbil. The Iraqi air force also has been

:06:15.:06:17.

delivering aid to the Yazidi refugees. These pictures are sent to

:06:18.:06:20.

show its drop this morning on Mount Sinjar. Further assistance is on its

:06:21.:06:26.

way, and Britain is likely to join in. We welcome what the Americans

:06:27.:06:33.

are doing, in particular to bring humanitarian relief and prevent any

:06:34.:06:36.

further suffering. But our focus is on assisting that humanitarian

:06:37.:06:41.

mission and using our military in support of the Americans in terms of

:06:42.:06:46.

refuelling and surveillance to underpin their mission and add to it

:06:47.:06:49.

with food drops of our own. As for ISIS, they have been preparing for

:06:50.:06:59.

this moment. They understood only too well that if American bombs

:07:00.:07:02.

started falling, the dynamic of their struggle with change.

:07:03.:07:09.

TRANSLATION: Don't be cowards and attack us with drugs. Instead, send

:07:10.:07:13.

your soldiers, the ones we humiliated in Iraq. We will

:07:14.:07:16.

humiliate them everywhere, God willing, and we will raise the frag

:07:17.:07:21.

-- flag of Allah in the White House. Where is all this leading?

:07:22.:07:26.

Well, American boots are already on the ground. Special force is

:07:27.:07:32.

directing those air force tracks around Irbil. They are helping the

:07:33.:07:36.

Kurds at the same time as the Kurds are pulling away from Iraq. What if

:07:37.:07:42.

those Kurdish forces buckled? Well, the Americans seem determined to

:07:43.:07:47.

limit their military commitment. So its effect may also be limited in

:07:48.:07:52.

the military sense, although politically, it is a big change. It

:07:53.:07:57.

is the plight of refugees that finally tipped the scales for this

:07:58.:08:02.

American intervention. In Iraq, it puts them on the same side as Iran

:08:03.:08:07.

and Syria. The politics of the Middle East just got harder still.

:08:08.:08:13.

Earlier this evening, I spoke to Marie Harf of the US State

:08:14.:08:18.

Department. President Obama really does not want

:08:19.:08:23.

to be doing this, does he? He was forced into it. I totally disagree.

:08:24.:08:28.

The president did not hesitate to authorised action to assist in

:08:29.:08:35.

humanitarian terms, but also takes that to protect our people in Irbil.

:08:36.:08:39.

He was also clear that we will not get bogged down in Iraq, but we do

:08:40.:08:44.

have a long-term relationship here. We will help them fight ISIL. But he

:08:45.:08:50.

pledged to get the US out of Iraq, and now a Rubicon has been crossed

:08:51.:08:54.

because you are back in. Isn't this a failure of foreign policy? Not at

:08:55.:09:00.

all. We are back in a different way. The president pledged to bring a

:09:01.:09:04.

large contingent of US troops home, and he did. But he also said we

:09:05.:09:08.

would have a long-term relationship and help Iraq with security

:09:09.:09:12.

challenges. What you have seen is very different from the situation he

:09:13.:09:16.

inherited. It is appropriate to help them fight ISIL, to help the deck

:09:17.:09:20.

our people and to help bring water and food to people starving,

:09:21.:09:25.

potentially a genocide on top of this mountain. But do you keep

:09:26.:09:29.

arming until ISIS is no longer a threat and everyone is safe? There

:09:30.:09:34.

is no long-term US military solution here. Our goal is to stop ISIS's

:09:35.:09:39.

advance towards Irbil. That underpins what we are doing in terms

:09:40.:09:43.

of air strikes to protect our people have there. Longer term, it is to

:09:44.:09:48.

give space for the Iraqi forces to get back on their feet and help them

:09:49.:09:52.

fight this on their own. Ultimately, we cannot be fighting this fight for

:09:53.:09:58.

them. But that is not enough. You have to keep at ISIS because they

:09:59.:10:02.

keep coming back. We know that people in Irbil wish things had

:10:03.:10:08.

happened earlier, because ISIS is 40 kilometres from Irbil. Will there be

:10:09.:10:14.

more military strikes? When this crisis first started in June, we

:10:15.:10:18.

took immediate steps. We created joint operation centres in Irbil and

:10:19.:10:22.

Baghdad to help the Iraqis fight this threat. We also increased our

:10:23.:10:26.

surveillance to get more eyes on the ground. But they could not do it on

:10:27.:10:31.

their own, so you have had to come in. It is a tough challenge here.

:10:32.:10:36.

One reason we have unable to act so quickly over the past 24 hours is

:10:37.:10:41.

because we increased our eyes on the ground. We will continue working

:10:42.:10:44.

with the Iraqis to help them fight this threat. Two things have

:10:45.:10:49.

happened. There was confirmation tonight that ISIS have taken the

:10:50.:10:52.

biggest dam in Iraq and there is a possibility of flooding cities and

:10:53.:10:57.

also cutting electricity. Will you act militarily to get the dam back?

:10:58.:11:02.

I am not going to preview where we take military action. That is not a

:11:03.:11:08.

smart strategic move. But it is very concerning to us that the Mosul Dam

:11:09.:11:12.

appears to have been taken. It is a fluid situation. We will continue

:11:13.:11:17.

working with our partners to see what we can do.

:11:18.:11:19.

In the studio with me now is Sundas Abbas, the High Representative

:11:20.:11:22.

The Turkmens are one of the minority groups who have been

:11:23.:11:26.

targeted by Islamic State militants in Northern Iraq.

:11:27.:11:33.

Are you relieved that the Americans are in militarily? We are definitely

:11:34.:11:43.

relieved that the Americans took steps which should have been taken

:11:44.:11:49.

months ago, when Mosul was taken control of by ISIS. All abilities

:11:50.:11:57.

and towns around Mosul -- the villages and towns around Mosul, the

:11:58.:12:05.

Turkmens fled their towns. Whoever was left was executed by ISIS. Even

:12:06.:12:13.

the other towns and villages around Kirkuk have been under the control

:12:14.:12:20.

of ISIS. One of them has been under siege. So actually already, 250,000

:12:21.:12:26.

Turkmen have been displaced by ISIS, and at that point, the

:12:27.:12:31.

Americans did nothing? That is correct. It was overlooked by all of

:12:32.:12:37.

the international community. It was not acknowledged by them and they

:12:38.:12:41.

have not taken action. Do you feel that the international community

:12:42.:12:44.

thinks that Turkmen do not count? This is what we think. They do not

:12:45.:12:51.

count us as part of Iraq. A month ago, 250,000 people fled the town of

:12:52.:13:02.

Tal Afar. They are losing their children every day. You heard

:13:03.:13:06.

Michael Fallon, the Defence Secretary, saying they would help.

:13:07.:13:11.

What do you want Britain to do? People urgently need help. I would

:13:12.:13:18.

like to highlight what is happening in one place which has been under

:13:19.:13:22.

siege by ISIS for two months now. There is no electricity, no water.

:13:23.:13:30.

There is a lack of health care. That's each must be broken. Do you

:13:31.:13:38.

think that Iraq can exist without tolerance of religious and ethnic

:13:39.:13:42.

minorities? -- with a tolerance of minorities? This is a good question.

:13:43.:13:47.

I think it could, if they believe in it and they get help from the

:13:48.:13:52.

Americans to get over this crisis. And is it worse or better than when

:13:53.:13:56.

Saddam Hussein was in power? This is a very good question. Many people

:13:57.:14:02.

ask me, and I am asking myself as well. Under Saddam Hussein's

:14:03.:14:07.

regime, we suffered a lot, especially Turkmen. But I think we

:14:08.:14:12.

knew who was our enemy. Now, we don't know who is our enemy.

:14:13.:14:23.

where Israel resumed air strikes in Gaza today

:14:24.:14:27.

after Palestinian militants fired rockets into the country following

:14:28.:14:29.

With two wars seemingly without an end in sight,

:14:30.:14:33.

what effects are they having among communities back in the UK?

:14:34.:14:38.

This morning the Guardian newspaper reported from an East London housing

:14:39.:14:42.

estate on what it called the highly provocative raising of a black flag

:14:43.:14:45.

with white writing, similar to those flown by jihadist groups.

:14:46.:14:48.

Guardian journalists who approached Asian youths on the estate said

:14:49.:14:51.

So was this an act of support for Islamic State militants?

:14:52.:14:55.

We sent Secunder Kermani to investigate.

:14:56.:15:04.

This is the predominantly Bangladeshi estate in the East End

:15:05.:15:12.

Borough of Tower Hamlets. Today, it was reported that a black flag had

:15:13.:15:16.

been hung up here amongst various pro-Palestinian messages. It was

:15:17.:15:21.

later taken down. Police told us other reporters had been threatened

:15:22.:15:24.

on the estates. Some of the residents, who did not want to be

:15:25.:15:27.

named, did agree to talk to us and even brought the flag back out.

:15:28.:15:31.

Although controversial nowadays, it is believed to go dance -- go back

:15:32.:15:35.

centuries. They felt angry about being labelled as a jihadist. Do you

:15:36.:15:39.

think, in hindsight, perhaps putting up the flag was a mistake? People

:15:40.:15:44.

have put the wrong spin on it. Not at all. Look, what does that say? Do

:15:45.:15:54.

they know what it is even says? What does it say? One Muslim, one

:15:55.:16:03.

community. It is a declaration of faith. We believe in one God,

:16:04.:16:07.

Mohammed. It is not sake, we are terrorists. If I put a union flag

:16:08.:16:15.

up, would that make me a far right, EDL member will stop I would put it

:16:16.:16:22.

up to show I am a member of the community and I'm supporting the

:16:23.:16:26.

team, and this is the country I grew up in. This is just my faith. Do any

:16:27.:16:31.

of you guys support the Islamic State? Do you think they are a group

:16:32.:16:37.

that you would admire? We are Muslims. They are killing Muslims.

:16:38.:16:42.

Why would we support somebody killing their own brothers and

:16:43.:16:47.

sisters? It doesn't make sense. Like many British Muslims, these men feel

:16:48.:16:49.

passionate about events in Palestine. How many times have the

:16:50.:16:54.

Israelis on children's question of who is questioning it question mark

:16:55.:17:02.

no one. No one. -- who is questioning it? Art British Muslims

:17:03.:17:09.

expressing the passion you feel they are going on about. Are they

:17:10.:17:13.

relaying those views? Trust me, they are not. Have you seen what is going

:17:14.:17:20.

on in the House of Commons? There are like Forum five people sitting

:17:21.:17:25.

there in the House of Commons. -- four or five people. Halal meat

:17:26.:17:30.

though, they want to get on the bandwagon. What is that about?

:17:31.:17:35.

Concern has been growing about support of British Muslims was

:17:36.:17:47.

groups like bashful groups like ISIS. The groups have said tonight

:17:48.:17:53.

that the flag would go up again -- groups like ISIS. They will go up

:17:54.:17:58.

again at some point this evening. Trust me.

:17:59.:18:01.

Cocaine, cannabis, heroin, amphetamines - any drug of choice.

:18:02.:18:04.

Today, the Liberal Democrats have said if it's for personal use nobody

:18:05.:18:07.

should go to prison, and they are trumpeting this as the first step to

:18:08.:18:10.

Roughly 1,000 people in England and Wales were imprisoned for

:18:11.:18:15.

possession for personal use last year and the Deputy Prime Minister

:18:16.:18:17.

So is this really a thought through attempt to tackle

:18:18.:18:25.

drug addiction, or just an attempt to grab some summer headlines?

:18:26.:18:28.

From Central America, through Afghanistan, from Turkey, drugs are

:18:29.:18:41.

a worldwide business, transaction, that in this case, ends here on the

:18:42.:18:46.

streets of London. What the Liberal Democrats are announcing today is

:18:47.:18:50.

not legalisation, it isn't decriminalisation, but it is a move

:18:51.:18:55.

in that direction. We have to take this step-by-step. The first thing

:18:56.:19:00.

we want to end, and we are committing as a party that we will

:19:01.:19:04.

end, is chucking people behind bars they have -- because they have in

:19:05.:19:08.

their possession, for their own personal use, drugs. The only thing

:19:09.:19:15.

negative is people 's perceptions. One in ten have taken an illegal

:19:16.:19:19.

drug in the last year. On a summer night in west London, this group of

:19:20.:19:23.

activists are happy to smoke and show their faces on camera. The

:19:24.:19:28.

question is, how far will the UK go with this over time? In terms of

:19:29.:19:31.

cannabis, that will definitely be legalised in everybody's life time.

:19:32.:19:36.

If I had to be asked, in the next five or ten years in the UK, a

:19:37.:19:40.

legalised market with medical cannabis available. Is it

:19:41.:19:49.

inevitable? It is. Would a change in policy on drugs change your vote in

:19:50.:19:53.

the next election? Yes, absolutely. It would have a massive effect

:19:54.:19:57.

because it is an important issue, a human rights issue, a civil rights

:19:58.:20:01.

issue. There are people going to prison for this and being

:20:02.:20:03.

criminalised for absolutely no reason at all. The number of people

:20:04.:20:09.

locked up after getting caught with a controlled substance has dipped in

:20:10.:20:14.

recent years, but in 2013, more than 1000 ended up with a custodial

:20:15.:20:17.

sentence where possession was the main offence. Interestingly, around

:20:18.:20:23.

half of those were caught with a class B drug, most likely cannabis.

:20:24.:20:28.

But still, the numbers jailed are a tiny fraction of those cautioned at

:20:29.:20:34.

more than 30,000 per year. In the last 15 years we have criminalised

:20:35.:20:39.

1.5 million people for possession of drugs for their own personal use. We

:20:40.:20:43.

cannot overestimate the damage that that does to an individual. We have

:20:44.:20:47.

to remember as well that the majority of those who have been

:20:48.:20:50.

criminalised our young people. We are giving these children criminal

:20:51.:20:54.

records, which affects their choices in terms of education, their

:20:55.:21:00.

employment opportunities. But the Lib Dems in this building behind me

:21:01.:21:03.

are taking a bit of a risk with this policy. For some, it is a let down,

:21:04.:21:10.

not the big announcement on decriminalisation they hoped for.

:21:11.:21:13.

For those on the other side of the debate, it is dangerous and sending

:21:14.:21:16.

out the wrong message at the wrong time. It is basically legalisation

:21:17.:21:21.

by the back door. There is so much with that policy proposal. In the

:21:22.:21:27.

UK, we are seeing the greatest reductions in levels of drug use we

:21:28.:21:31.

have seen for decades. So the suggestion to weaken the criminal

:21:32.:21:34.

justice contribution here risks turning round the decrease in levels

:21:35.:21:37.

of drug use we have seen for decades. So the suggestion to weaken

:21:38.:21:39.

the criminal justice contribution here risks turning round the

:21:40.:21:41.

decreasing drug use and risks escalating drug use. All this comes

:21:42.:21:43.

when there is a clear worldwide shift towards liberalisation.

:21:44.:21:49.

Colorado and Washington in the US have now legalise cannabis.

:21:50.:21:53.

California could follow soon. Other countries from Uruguay to Portugal

:21:54.:21:57.

have changed their laws. In many of those places, the shift has been led

:21:58.:22:01.

by groups of cannabis users getting together to grow and share the drug.

:22:02.:22:06.

We are starting to see that happen in the UK, where 60,000 have joined

:22:07.:22:10.

Internet-based social clubs like this in the last three years. We are

:22:11.:22:15.

not the only country in the world that are going down this social club

:22:16.:22:19.

option. There are 11 countries in Europe that have adopted this, just

:22:20.:22:25.

cannabis consuming citizens who want safer and fairer laws. The misuse of

:22:26.:22:29.

drugs act is there to control cannabis and it is not controlling

:22:30.:22:33.

it by any means, or any drug in this country. Today's Newsnight not make

:22:34.:22:38.

a difference to the people sat around this table, but it's a small

:22:39.:22:44.

part of a wider trend -- today's news might not. But it is part of a

:22:45.:22:47.

larger trend across the world changing drug laws.

:22:48.:22:50.

Here with me is Simon Hughes, the Justice and Civil Liberties

:22:51.:22:53.

This applies to all drugs and is about personal use, but how do you

:22:54.:23:00.

define the amount used for personal use? If somebody gets stopped, the

:23:01.:23:09.

police decide whether it is for personal use or therefore supply.

:23:10.:23:11.

And they charge appropriately, and they would do the same. But people

:23:12.:23:16.

need to know themselves whether what they are carrying would be

:23:17.:23:20.

reasonable for personal use? How can people feel safe and comfortable

:23:21.:23:26.

what they need? The law has been clear that if you are caught with a

:23:27.:23:30.

very small amount, clearly something you are able to use only, and it is

:23:31.:23:35.

regarded for your own use. If you're the law thinks you are carrying a

:23:36.:23:39.

stash. There is no legal definition. That is correct. I'm going to do

:23:40.:23:46.

this, because it is to give people a sense of what this is. Here we have

:23:47.:23:51.

some powder. I'm glad you are producing this and not me. Here is

:23:52.:23:56.

some powder. Let's say this was cocaine. That would be about three

:23:57.:24:03.

or ?400 worth. A tiny amount. That would be regarded as personal use?

:24:04.:24:09.

I'm not the judge or the police officer or the Crown Prosecution

:24:10.:24:15.

Service. Let's put it another way. Let's say you have a great capacity

:24:16.:24:20.

for it, so this is worth ?2500, and it is whatever it is, and it will

:24:21.:24:25.

last you a long time, and you live in a rural area and you want to get

:24:26.:24:30.

enough for a year. Here you are, and you live in rural Cornwall and you

:24:31.:24:34.

want to get a supply every year. This is for personal use. What do

:24:35.:24:39.

you do with that? The police do the same all the time. If they stop

:24:40.:24:43.

somebody in Cornwall with that stash, they would question them, and

:24:44.:24:47.

if the answer was I go to London once a year and collect what I need,

:24:48.:24:51.

and you can check, they have to decide whether they believe what

:24:52.:24:56.

they are being told. But that is disastrous the people. Actually, I

:24:57.:25:00.

will throw half of this over my shoulder, because then it won't be

:25:01.:25:05.

too upsetting for the police. I will come at the issue in another way and

:25:06.:25:10.

I understand what you are asking, and we are not changing the law to

:25:11.:25:15.

make it legal where it is not. But the law is not clear. And if you

:25:16.:25:18.

were being radical, you would change the law. We need a definition of

:25:19.:25:22.

what is actually for personal use and not. The law is clear enough

:25:23.:25:29.

that every year 80,000 people get convicted in this country for drugs

:25:30.:25:31.

for personal use in England and Wales. The law is clear that when

:25:32.:25:37.

they get to the courts, there is a distinction between a caution...

:25:38.:25:41.

This will be such a lot of police time. No, it is the opposite. Only

:25:42.:25:48.

4% of people who are convicted for personal use" link, so actually,

:25:49.:25:53.

this is a fuss about nothing. -- in the clink. My department is a prison

:25:54.:25:59.

service. Last year there were 2000 and more people who went inside for

:26:00.:26:02.

possession and they came out after three months or six months. There

:26:03.:26:07.

are a lot of drugs in prison and the evidence is, counterintuitively,

:26:08.:26:10.

that the reconviction rate for those who go inside for drug possession is

:26:11.:26:15.

higher than those who get dealt with in another way, so we are trying to

:26:16.:26:18.

move this from a law and order, Home Office way. You have been banging on

:26:19.:26:25.

about this since 2002 and you haven't got anywhere. If you are

:26:26.:26:28.

going to get somewhere, wouldn't you say decriminalise and be done with

:26:29.:26:33.

it? That would be the radical way. It would be, and some people

:26:34.:26:40.

supported. Do you support it? No, because the evidence around the

:26:41.:26:43.

world is that if you move it from Loren order to a health issue, the

:26:44.:26:48.

benefit is dealing with drug addicts and give them a better lifestyle at

:26:49.:26:50.

the end of it -- law and order. You can't have an event,

:26:51.:26:54.

or a protest, or a charity these days without

:26:55.:26:56.

a wristband to mark your support - Now there's a new craze

:26:57.:26:59.

for looping multicoloured rubber bands together which are nothing to

:27:00.:27:02.

do with good works, but which has made their inventor ?80 million in

:27:03.:27:06.

three years and spawned warnings of The Pope and the Duchess

:27:07.:27:09.

of Cambridge are both fans but unless you have young children

:27:10.:27:12.

or grandchildren, or nothing to do, loom bands have possibly passed you

:27:13.:27:15.

by. How exactly have tiny multi-coloured

:27:16.:27:16.

rubber bands come to rule the world? As part of Newsnight's commitment to

:27:17.:27:37.

the plastic arts, we have commissioned Rosie Emerson to make a

:27:38.:27:40.

work that could hardly be more provocative and timely. Miss

:27:41.:27:47.

Emerson, who specialises in exposing materials to sunlight is creating a

:27:48.:27:57.

piece inspired by the two. -- loom bands. Deal with that, culture show.

:27:58.:27:59.

Everyone is wearing them it seems. You told us what you wanted, and we

:28:00.:28:14.

were listening. A major Newsnight take on loom bands, this summer's

:28:15.:28:20.

must have bad. They came about when a crash test engineer was enjoying

:28:21.:28:25.

down time with his family. I got the idea for my daughters. They were

:28:26.:28:30.

making bracelets, so I wanted to impress them. That is why I came out

:28:31.:28:39.

with the tool to make great designs, and also one that they can make by

:28:40.:28:45.

hand. The tool of his is now worth millions. He is no dummy. What he

:28:46.:28:50.

dreamt up was essentially a little plastic loom around which deaf

:28:51.:28:57.

fingers can weave coloured rubber bands into various pleasing designs

:28:58.:29:05.

and patterns. And that reminds me, how is the artist getting on with

:29:06.:29:10.

them? As the paper behind them changes colour in the sun, the bands

:29:11.:29:14.

remain stubbornly resistant to the elements, like cockroaches. I have

:29:15.:29:21.

come to meet a group of youngsters in a village just outside Cambridge

:29:22.:29:26.

to show them how to make loom bands. This would be the loom, hence the

:29:27.:29:32.

name, loom bands. Actually, they seem to be doing all right by

:29:33.:29:36.

themselves. Try and make me look good in this, OK?

:29:37.:29:44.

They are involved in a national project to get kids making art in

:29:45.:29:50.

school, using loom bands to create sculptures in praise of summer. At

:29:51.:29:55.

least it keeps them off their phones and computers, sort of. It's like

:29:56.:30:03.

the things we did in the 70s, macram? and French knitting, but

:30:04.:30:09.

they were comparatively boring, but now with the you Tube, they have

:30:10.:30:16.

this sort of inspiration feeding in. It is taking it beyond, I think,

:30:17.:30:20.

what any one person would do in their house and we are all using

:30:21.:30:24.

tablets to get the inspiration. Is it as fun as playing a computer

:30:25.:30:30.

game? I think so. Maybe even better. It is sharing. A shared agenda

:30:31.:30:38.

plaything? My goodness. They shared gender plaything. -- a shared gender

:30:39.:30:46.

plaything. It is easy to sneer at loom bands, but I like the idea it's

:30:47.:30:52.

getting people to do things. At the end of the day, its creator. At the

:30:53.:30:56.

end of the day, it could lead to somebody being a designer. I have

:30:57.:31:00.

seen dresses made out of it. It is aimed primarily at kids, so to get

:31:01.:31:03.

them to become the extras with their fingers, the earlier the better.

:31:04.:31:07.

Bring it on. -- to become dextrous with their fingers. Don't get the

:31:08.:31:12.

idea we are endorsing the product. After all it has been linked to

:31:13.:31:16.

rubber bands in eyes, severely twanged fingers and it is in the

:31:17.:31:22.

greenest thing in the world either. We were caught by surprise that the

:31:23.:31:26.

craft would be that popular. So we are thinking about how to instruct

:31:27.:31:32.

the customer on how to recycle the product. Artist Rosie Emerson is

:31:33.:31:41.

doing her bit for recycling the loom bands. Will LeCras soon be a shadow

:31:42.:31:47.

of itself? -- Will this craze soon be?

:31:48.:31:50.

Somebody needs to give me their bracelets so I can pretend I have

:31:51.:31:58.

made a good one. There. I've just finished that. That's not bad. I'm

:31:59.:32:04.

quite proud of that. Pretend you made them all. Something for the

:32:05.:32:10.

weekend. Have a nice weekend. Good night.

:32:11.:32:12.