12/08/2014 Newsnight


Iraq, refugees and oil. Eddie Izzard and Amanda Palmer on Robin Williams. Amazon and the authors. A pauper's funeral.

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The images of desperate families, thousands of them still stranded on


Mount Sinjar in northern Iraq are beamed around the world. After ten


days only these fortunate few have made it to relative safety. Here


refugees from the mountain have been pouring in all day, tonight the


lucky ones will have found shelter in derelict buildings and schools.


But all are still worried about those they left behind, nobody knows


exactly how many are still stranded on that mountain tonight. We are


sending Tornadoes and Chinooks to support the aid effort. What is


driving the US response, the humanitarian crisis or the black


stuff. They dig graves four deep, one on


top of another, it is cheaper than cremation, this is how we bury the


poorest people in Britain. We are on our way to the cemetery now, we are


due there at two, we are trying to make it as good as we can for him


really. And... Nanu Nanu. His comedic genius


enthralled millions over a decade and the manner of his death has


shocked and saddened us all. Our guests share their memories.


Good evening, the race to save thousands of people stranded and


under siege by Islamic militants in the searing heat of Mount Sinjar


intensified today. With RAF Tornado jets and a small number of British


Chinook helicopters now joining the US military involved in the


humanitarian relief he have Ford, even if the Yazidi are eventually


brought to safety, is there the international will to create a


coalition to help the Iraqi Government to defeat the militants.


Is there any attempt to engage IS militarily. First we go over to


Iraqi Kurdistan. Who has been arriving today. We have stood at the


border today and we saw hundreds and hundreds of Yazidi refugee families


walking across, they carried nothing but their children and a few meagre


supplies. They were the survivors of the mountain. Some have walked for


days, others for hours, getting lifts where they could. They were


brought down from the mountain by PKK fighters, who saved their lives,


getting them past Islamic State checkpoints and finally to relative


safety here in northern Iraq. They came with nothing, driven out of


their homes. We talked of survivors who talked about relatives being


killed, shot or stabbed, and women and children being deliberately


targeted and stabbed. Many of them tonight of course seeking shelter


here. Some in derelict buildings, others on the floors in schools with


very, very meagre ration, all in desperate need of help. From the


stories that you hear from people coming in today, have we any


reliable estimates as to who is actually left on Mount sin area, how


many? Don, on Mount Sinjar, how many? We don't know how many, the UN


has said it is not clear. There is a long mountain range and there are


many thousands we believe. These are the people who are the frailest,


those less able to walk. One man I spoke today said what they needed


were blankets to carry the elderly, the sick and small children who


couldn't walks the distance. They are hoping for more supplies to be


dropped on the mountain. That is difficult, one helicopter carrying


humanitarian aid, bringing refugees out crashed on the mountain killing


the pilot and injuring many. So this is dangerous and they have to fly in


over hostile herry. Many of those helicopters shot as they go with


refugees on board. Whilst the Government here seems to be


increasing its commitment to the humanitarian mission in Iraq with


helicopters on the way, it is still resisting pressure to join in US air


strikes. So why the reluctance? Perhaps the memory of the vote


against military action in Syria when parliament was recalled almost


a year ago loomed large. Our investigations correspondent has


been looking into the calculation being made in Whitehall and is here


now. What is being discussed in Whitehall, and we have a ComRes poll


tonight that suggests a majority of those polled are in favour of


Britain joining America in air strikes? There is some contingency


planning going on at the Ministry of Defence. But at the moment there


just isn't the appetite to extend this beyond the purely humanitarian.


As you said there are Tornadoes in the air, they will be joined by


Chinook helicopters. We can safely assume there are a small number of


British Special Forces on the ground to help co-ordinate the aid effort.


As far as taking it beyond that, I don't think there is the momentum


yet. One source said to me tonight that the idea of British troops on


the ground in Iraq was a complete non-starter. It just won't happen.


Of course history doesn't help us here, because we put boots on the


ground in Iraq and Afghanistan, we didn't in Syria, we had a limited


campaign in Libya. But of course none of these campaigns ended up the


way we wanted. But as these pictures are beamed around the world more, as


a kind of rumble comes at the thought of possible genocide, you


have tornado, supposedly on reconnaissance surveillance and


Chinook, we know they are taking in weapons, delivered by the Americans


for the Kurdish fighters of Peshmerga. What about an unofficial


mission creep? There is certainly that danger. There are three factors


that we have to look out for over the coming days. The first is, will


the situation on the ground change? One source said to me tonight that


if there was another seismic event, another humanitarian catastrophe


then ministers would have to rethink. The second thing as you


said there is a ComRes poll out that shows 45% people are in favour and


37% against air strike, that is not overwhelming but ministers look at


that. The most important thing is the Americans. So far the Americans


have not asked us, so I understand it, to get involved in air strikes.


And of course they haven't asked because they are not sure they will


get the right answer. Because they got the wrong answer over Syria.


Indeed. Thank you very much indeed. Two MPs who joining the call tonight


for parliament to be recalled so this can be properly debated are


Labour's Diane Abbot and David Lee from the Conservatives. First of all


Diane Abbot, why do you want parliament recalled? The region is


involved in crisis you have the Syrian crisis, Gaza and now this. We


need to stiffen the Prime Minister's line on Gaza and the state of


Israel. And we do need to discuss how we can make the most effective


humanitarian intervention in Iraq. We have a situation here where you


might want more humanitarian mission, you might want more


helicopter, you might want more planes, but if, as Caroline Wyatt


says, in order to get to the Yazidis on the mountain, they have to go


through fire, surely any humanitarian mission would have to


be able to defend itself? We need an international military effort.


Including Britain? This has to go to Security Council. This was what was


wrong the original war, I do not believe parliament will vote for


another unilateral American-British strike. You want parliament


recalled, do you want military strikes by Britain? Let's be clear


about what we are facing here. A massive humanitarian crisis millions


of refugees, widespread carnage, we are also facing an ideolgical crisis


here, the spread of Islamist thinking throughout the region and a


regional challenge. We need a strategy actually that approaches


the region as a whole. You voted against intervention in Syria? At


the time the reason I voted against it because I thought we were not


clear about who we were supporting. I was not against intervention, I


was against the intervention that was being suggested because there


was no strategy underpinning it. But here you two are from different


parties coming out tonight. The minority of MPs it says, calling for


the recall of parliament and you don't even have your Prime Minister


on board? I think you will find that increasing numbers of MPs think we


should come back and discuss the situation in the region. Let me say


this, the definition of madness is to keep doing the same thing and


expect a different result. Another unilateral British-American strike


in Iraq will end badly. This has been called genocide, is that a word


you would use? I think there is the potential for this, I think this is


the biggest challenge we have faced in 70 years. This could become a


regional issue and much bigger. I'm under no illusions, we are already


seeing this flag being flown in this country. There are over 500 British


known to be there. I have heard reports of dead ISIS people with


Liverpool Football Club membership cards. Turkey needs to close the


border, the regional powers need to step up. This is a British problem.


There is no British military. We need to challenge. This is a pretty


dangerous role? They need to step up to the responsibility. There is no


British military solution to the issue. We need to go to the UN. That


is what the UN is for. Is an international military solution,


which might include more forces, not in the air, but on the ground, a


possibility, and if it is, do you think British troops should be


involved? I think that the solution to this is going to take longer than


electoral cycle, this is going to take decades, this is going to need


staying power and we need a strategy. Part of which will require


military force, but it will also require putting the biggest brains


in that region together to think about the future they want to have.


The borders concernedly are not being respected. We have to have a


view that the future of this region may have different countries in it.


If you agree that this is genocide, if you don't take action over this


what do you take action over? You go to the UN. People seem to have


forgotten what the United Nations is for. Let's go to the UN and have a


genuine international intervention. Wait a minute are you suggesting for


a minute that the Americans are wrong to take military strikes on


their own? Barack Obama has domestic consideration, I can't speak to what


the Americans are doing. I'm saying we have forgotten the role of


international institutions. This is a serious issue and all the more


reason to go to the UN. They are right for the air strikes to be


taken place, I don't need to be told about the imagery, I have watched it


and seen it. Do you want David Cameron to recall parliament now?


Yes I do, I wanted to him to recall it over MH17 and Gaza. These are


three big issues in the last four-to-six weeks and should be


debated in the House of Commons. Thank you very much indeed. In the


US President Obama has been accused of dithering over air strikes over


Islamic State from amongst others. Hillary Clintoned, who appeared to


castigate the President over the significance of their threat. Why


did he act when he did. There is the might of the Yazidis, but with the


Islamic State 40kms from Irbil, was it American investment and oil-rich


Kurdistan were suddenly in danger? In this town in northern Iraq,


Kurdish fighters prepare for the next battle with the heavily armed


militias of IS. IS took the town a week ago, the Kurds managed to


retake it on Sunday after American air strikes pushed the IS forces


back. The US has begun plying the Kurds with arms and ammunition, but


they say they urgently need more. TRANSLATION: All these weapon, PKCs,


IPCs, snipers, mortars, antitanks, all the weapons the other countries


have, especially with the Americans with its advanced military. The


Kurdish Peshmergas are experienced fighters, they fought back the Sunni


extremists of IS. This is the city that the US and the Kurds are so


desperate to defend. Irbil, the oil-rich capital of the Kurdish


regional Government, where the Americans have a consulate and other


facilities, and many other international companies have


offices. Back in the days when the US was close to Saddam Hussein, and


the Kurds were fighting against him, they complained they were ignored by


the Americans. Even after the chemical attack in 1988. But all


that has completely changed. Last week President Obama stressed his


support for the Kurds. I do think the Kurds used that time that was


given by our troop sacrifices in Iraq, they used that time well. And


they, the Kurdish region is functional, the way we would like to


see it, and it is tolerant of other sects and other religions in a way


that we would like to see elsewhere. So we do think that it is important


to make sure that space is protected. Iraqi Kurdistan is of


course attractive to America because of the oil. It is also a stable,


democratic and tolerant Muslim state. At the moment it is the only


secure, let as say, until recently it was the only secure and I could


say stable region in the Middle East. Iraqi steward Kurdistan is


wealthy, it has massive oil reserves, there is a new oil


pipeline through Turkey, built by the Kurdish government Government,


and production has been averaging 84,000 barrels a day. It is


surrounded by the Kurdish populations of Syria, Iran and


Turkey, giving it strategic importance. Speaking as a military


man and as you know an ex-NATO committee chairman. I would say that


Prague matically speaking if you look at a map of the world and look


at Turkey and Europe, that little bit of Kurdistan is like the end of


a comma. It is pragmatically speaking effectively the new south


eastern border of NATO. It remains to be seen whether the chaos


elsewhere in Iraq and the new arms supplies from make lead to pressures


for full independence for this semiautonomous state. For the at the


moment it is a country that's not quite a country, and the success


story of the chaotic Middle East. But for that success to continue,


the threat from Islamic State has to end.


Foreign affairs expert and Dean of Columbia University and covering


Iraq for the New Yorker joins me now. What would you say is driving


President Obama's intervention? I think he was advised last week that


there was a serious danger that the Islamic State could attack Irbil and


if not conquer it, certainly create a nasty fight in the city. That,


combined with the humanitarian crisis on Mount Sinjar caused him to


react after a long period of being reluctant to do so. Do you think in


a way oil was the driver? I think it was interesting in the clip you


played where President Obama was explaining his decision, no I don't


think oil was the driver. But I thought it was unseemly for the


United States to announce this momentous decision after all the


President came to power promising to end the Iraq War, it is a very


important moment for him to deciding to back to combat. Without


acknowledging that the reason there were thousands of Americans in


Irbil, who had to be protected from the possibility of the Islamic state


entering the city is because Kurdish success and independence, all the


qualities your correspondent described rely on oil production.


The site of about 300,000 barrel days of oil production. The


Americans are there, along with many people around the world to get that


oil out of the ground. And given how poorly we were served by our


political leaders in 2003 as they explained the reasons for going to


washes I just felt it was sort of unseemly not to maintain silence


about the fact that oil is at the centre of the Kurdish dilemma. You


have called it absolutely the oilman's town. Just how disastrous


would it be if IS got their hand on it It is not just Irbil but to the


south in Kirkuk where the oilfields are located and where I think the


Islamic State has design that is are even more ardent than on Irbil,


because that is an area that has historically been disputed between


Iraqi Arabs and Kurds. It may be easier for the Islamic State to


build support in attacking oilfields and capturing some of that oil


production. Isn't it ironic that we have, you know, Barack Obama calling


now for this Government, a new Government of unity in Iraq and


backing the new Prime Minister against the outgoing Nouri


Al-Maliki, at the same time beefing up Iraqi Kurdistan to the point


where quite possibly America's idea that it would become an independent


nation, therefore undermining the whole idea of a united Iraq? This


has been a strain, you are dead right. This has been fault line in


American policy going back to the Bush administration. The premise of


the policy has been to promote unified Iraqi constitutional


Government in Baghdad, multisectarian power sharing,


sharing oil revenue, at the same time American policy has passively


allowed Kurdistan, because it has been successful and stable to build


up independent wealth, independent oil contracts, now they are pursuing


independent sales of oil abroad, and so at the very time when American


policy seeks to stitch Iraq together under great pressure, it is also


supporting Kurdistan, which has been tugging at the seams of Iraqi unity


for some time. Thank you for joining us. Robin Williams was the go-to


comedian and actor for many of us, he lit up any scene with his


unpredictability, Gooch ball stories and air of compassion. His death has


left millions of fan, fellow comedians and the American President


bereft, then tonight we learned the sad news the actor and comic,


suffering from severe depression had hanged himself at his home. The man


who came alive as Mork of Mork and Minutedy, and dazzled as Mrs


Doubtfire, and comic genius and inspired a whole host of stand-ups,


in a moment we will discuss his life. But first here is our


appreciation. Born in Chicago from British stock. He could do it all,


from stand-up to slapstick, to darker, serious roles. Please


welcome Robin Williams. He learned his craft in the early 70, battle it


out on the live circuit. His energy infectious, his audience often in


tears. You are following me, they are after me, they are after me,


they are after me. Siberian mine, here we go. But his big break came


on TV, a small role as a confused alien in Happy Days. I mean you no


harm, Nanu-nanu. That became the sitcom, Mork and Minutedy, a huge


hit at the time. But Williams will be probably best remembered for his


big screen roles. Surprise. From fun Disney block busters to intelligent


drama. Dead Poets Society, and Good Morning Vietnam, brought on the


critics. Good Will Hunting won him an Oscar. You know what occurred to


me. You're just a kid, you don't have the faintest idea of what you


are talking about. Why thank you. Today fans were laying flowers and


leaving messages next to that same bench in potsen to. -- Boston. Since


the start of his career Williams had been open about his struggle with


depression and drugs. Look at you drinking wine, and me just out of


rehab, thank you. It is like having a doughnut in front of a diabetic,


it is OK. You will mind me and Amy Winehouse going


# Trying to get me back to rehab He returned to treatment just weeks


before his death. One of the quickest, most intelligent and


gifted comedians of his generation. He leaves behind three children,


four unfinished films, and an influence that is far reaching and


in ble. To discuss Robin Williams and his


legacy is the comedian and writer Eddie Izzard and Amanda Palmer. You


knew him well, what was the source of his genius? I think he must have


got it through his parents, it is genetic, I think some of these


comedy tends to come through parents and stuff. He had that and nurturing


that and pushed it and made it work. When I was at stand-up workshops,


learning to do stand-up because I only did sketches there were


different types of stand-ups you could be, one was the God-like


genius and that was the Williams. You can get to that, but only if you


are crazy. All through his career he headed back to stand-up all the


time, he loved that immediate engagment with the audience? He did


love it. I wondered, I actually think he could have done it more,


because I think what happens in America if you get successful in


comedy you will go into a television series or film series, that becomes


key, it is a different thing to stand-up. So I feel he did


occasional stand-up tours after taking off into such a huge way. But


not all the time. It was, he was so wonderful at it, I don't actually


know why he didn't come back to it more. What do you think was the


source of his vulnerability, often I think when you see expressions that


are used in lots of films, he looked so kind of sympathetic towards the


other characters, he had this incredible kind of warmth? I mean


that was just Robin, he was a nice guy, when I first met him on a film


he was just very welcoming. And I said can you watch my video and he


watched it immediately, which was very, you would expect a lot of


pullback on that, but he was just, he was just a decent person. For a


lot of us he was right up there and it is too sad. In a strange way he


was nurturing of other people's talent and needed a lot of nurturing


in himself, in the end that is obviously what happened? I don't


want to get into that, but depression it clinical and some


people have it and some people don't. It just is a disease, you


know. He was brilliant and he, it would have been wonderful if he


could have gone on. Amanda Palmer I think I'm right in saying that you


tweeted last night that what you wanted was an emergency screening of


a Robin Williams film for you all, I think it was Good Morning Vietnam?


It was Dead Poets Society. How did you first encounter him, years ago?


I mean it was years ago. It feels like he was one of those people who


raised me in the 80s, because I was stationed in front of television


watching his movies from before I can remember. I think the first one,


I mean there was Mork and Mindy, but the first one was Moscow on the


Hudson. That was absolutely a brilliant film not mentioned much,


and I thought he was wonderful in that? Yeah, I mean it is like he has


been such a permanent part of the landscape, I was so, I was so


shocked to hear that he was gone. Because he's always there. And of


course now of course the Twitter reaction has been phenomenal, and


you are avid on Twitter. You get the sense of just how many people's


lives he touched? Yes, one of those beautiful things happened today


where a lot of people were talking about Dead Poets Society, that was


just one of those films with moments that resonated so deeply with


people, especially because of the suicide in the film. One my fans


sent me a picture of himself standing on a desk with the hashtag


#ohcampaignmycaptain. I sent one back with the one I had. It turned


into this beautiful viral tribute by hundreds of people taking pictures


of themselves standing on desks. You got a sense looking at the comments,


different films really touched and changed people at different times.


One of my fans tweeted about being on the brink of suicide himself when


he saw Dead Poets Society and said that film pulled him back from the


edge. So the profound irony of it all is heavy. You got a sense that


he delighted in some of his roles. Mrs Doubtfire was a role made for


adults as well as children? Yeah, I mean when he was doing comedy he


would do a thing which, I'm not sure if all of us comedians do, he was


making himself laugh. I'm pretty shower he was the first person --


sure he was the first person in his audience. When I did this film with


him, the one I did, Gerard De Pardieu, he was in front of him ad


libbing and I started ad libbing and he was looking at us and I don't


know what he was thinking. Apparently even in Aladdin he was ad


libbing? It is all filmed beforehand, that is what he would


have done, he would have just gone off, the script would have been


there and he would have gone off seven ways to Sunday. What influence


do you think he had on other performers and people like you?


Huge. It was immensely huge, you can't actually try to be someone.


You can't say I want to be that person, you can add little bits on


to your own style. My style was more Woody Allen with Billy Connelly and


Richard Prior mixed in. He hit this God-like genius place of being able


to do anything, it was political, fast, impression, he would run


through the audience, which was more like street performing, which was


unusual for stand-ups to do, they don't usually move off the stage. He


had this ability to take a room and take it to the stars really. You


mentioned Richard Prior and Connelly, where would you rank him


on the pan pantheon? He's right up there, and there should never be


number ones in creative things, but he's in the top ten of all time.


Maybe the top five. It is just, it is rather tragic. I didn't want to


come in here and do this, I thought I was discussing this with Steve


Coogan it looks like everyone jumps on telly and talks about people. I


wanted to say we're going to miss him. Thank you very much.


The battle between the on-line retailing megastore Amazon and the


international publishing house has reached epic and nasty proportion,


Amazon wants the publisher which includes imprints of Little Brown


and others, to drop the price at which it sells e-books and


publishers and authors are resisting. More than 900 authors in


the Sunday Times, many of them not published by the publishing


housemaid their anger claim. In a moment, the best-selling thriller


writer Lee Child who has sold 100 million books will tell us why he's


on the warpath against Amazon. First we have this. Here is a mystery


worthy of Chandler, a search for truth as riddled with conspiracy


theories as a Dan Brown novel. Both sides will say their motive is love


of authors and books in general. Is there something else behind this, is


the real root of this not laugh but that other great human motivator,


money. Amazon, according to some observers is preparing for a world


without publishers, a world where the vast majority of books are made


not of ink and paper but ones and noughts. Amazon wants to position


itself as the publisher of the future. They have a large e-book


sales team, they have their own in-prints, their own brands, they


have plenty of home brew and I guess indie authors on the site. They are


ready to take the next leap and almost bypass these publishers


completely. Hachett is one of the world's biggest publishers with


thousands of different titles, Amazon is trying to get them to cut


the cost of e-book, until they do sales of some titles on Amazon have


been affected. Authors say it is hurting them, 900, including Stephen


King and John Grisham have signed a letter saying they have been


affected by this. This is one of the novelists who signed the letter. The


industry is changing, there are a lot of negotiations to go on between


Amazon, the sellers, and the publisher, that is fair enough. That


they need to have those negotiations. But what Amazon has


done has used authors in this, and to the detriment of writers' sales.


You don't see any e-books on the secondhand book stalls of London's


South Bank, but there is plenty of evidence of a previous publishing


revolution. Amazon's argument is essentially this the e-book is


nothing more than the modern equivalent of the paperback. When it


was brought in, it radically reduced the cost of reading, and brought in


a whole load of new authors and reader, and it was at the time


fiercely resisted by some elements of the publishing industry. In


response to the authors' united letter, Amazon responded with a


website called Readers Unite, on it they say books compete against


mobile games, television movies, Facebook blog, free news sites and


more. If we want a healthy reading culture, they say, we have to work


hard to be sure books are competitive against these other


media, and a big part of that is working hard to make books less


expensive. Amazon say that dropping the price of an e-book from $14. 99


to $9. 99 would give authors a 74% sales boost. That means if an author


sells 100,000 copies at $14. 99, it will be 174,000 at $9. 99, it would


be more money. So says Amazon, everyone wins. But not every author


is buying the logic of those numbers. Amazon's argument is


predicated on the fact that all books will sell the same amount.


Perhaps it is true that a better-selling author will, if you


lower the price below ten dollars for a really Goodselling author they


will earn more. That isn't true of the broad range of the industry. How


does this particular story end? Well it is not clear, like any great tale


it will keep us guessing to the last page.


We asked Amazon to come on, but joining us now is Lee Child, the


best-selling writer. Amazon among others has made you a very rich man,


why are you biting the hand, you are not even a Hachette author? I love


Amazon, I have grown up with Amazon, they started around the same time I


started, I have a lot of good friends there. The point is exactly


that. If you have a good friend who is misbehaving, you don't


immediately shoot him in the head and bury them in the woods. You take


them aside and have a quiet word with them and you say come on pal,


you are out of line, shape up and behave properly. That is what the


authors do, me and the other 900 authors that is what we are saying.


Do you buy the argument that this is just the version of the pre-Second


World War move to paperback? No Amazon sold that sort of stuff,


there is a specialised branch of science you can examine the


propositions with, it is called arithmetic, their numbers about how


many people will buy it at $15 and how many people will buy it at $10,


Amazon does not run two different patrol legal universes selling at


two different price, the best they can be saying is for every 100


people buying at $15, there are 174 at $10. What publishers do is sell


the hundred to the people prepared to pay $15 and those prepared to


sell $10 and make more money than Amazon says they will make. We are


talking about the argument about more people reading the books in a


minute, do you think that am zone is squeezing the author, they may be


squeezing the publishers but are they squeezing the author?


Inevitably by connection. They are squeezing the customer most of all


by depriving the customer of what they want. What does the customer


want? ??FORCEDYELL The customer wants the books she wants to read,


and Amazon is not delivering them at the moment. They are doing a go-slow


on Hachette authors? They came out and said they are taking steps to


reduce the play of Hachette books. So the customer waiting for her


favourite book is not getting it. Very weird for a customer-centric


company. They are using the customers as pawn, you have to ask


what is behind that. If more people read because of e-book, let's take


you, your new book is coming out next month, it is ?20 but on Prime


it is ?so and the kinkedle offer will be -- the kinkedle offer will


be ?8. 03. If people can't afford it at ?20 they can at ?10 you will get


a new reader. I don't think there is a significant number of people who


will say ?8 is better than ?10 having bought the machine. I don't


think that is a significant difference. Is the difference now


that people might not like the Kindle as it stands right now, but


technology moves so fast, times within months and years they will


produce something more akin to the paperback experience but on Kindle?


We already have the paperback, Amazon is fatastically ambitious


they want to change the world and dominate, and the Kindle hasn't


worked as well assam zone wanted it to. -- as Amazon wanted it to


America is two years ahead of the UK market, the Kindle is so 2012, some


people tried it and liked it and some didn't, and most people


completely indifferent. It has settled into a good solid niche,


fine from a business point of view, but not good enough for Amazon, they


want to take over the world. If something comes up that is genuinely


much better than Kindle, you would agree that authors might be a bit


luddite? I don't care how it is delivered, I mean they can hire


Scarlet Johansson to whisper it in your ear, fine, as long as you hear


my story. Books can't get any cheaper than now, it is not feasible


to make them any cheaper, they are extremely cheap right now. In


Charles Dickens' England they were seen as shameful and reserved only


for those suffering extreme destitution, but pawers' funerals


not -- paperes' fume recommends are about, local councils have a duty to


fund them. It is a sign they are on the rise. It is a sign they are


hidden, we have been to Leeds to follow the story of one man's death.


At this cemetery in in Leeds they have just buried man on top two of


others. Eventually there might be four or five people in this one


plot. People who often die alone, without the means to pay for their


own burial. This is what used to be called a pauper's grave, and more


and more are being dug across the country. This man was someone we


wanted to find out about him. There are people who haven't got family or


friends or anyone there is sadness there when you are doing it,


unfortunately it is part of the job, you know you are helping somebody at


the end of the day. Ahead of the funeral, this social worker is


overseeing arrangements. Last year in England alone, local councils


paid for more than 3,000 people to be buried in this way. I wouldn't


like it if somebody I loved or was being buried and nobody else was


there. Local councils must bury people whose relatives are unwilling


or able to afford their funerals. Bilal has found out that Malcolm had


no family and no funds. We know the 64-year-old had lived here and


become increasingly reclusive over time. We have come to meet a


neighbour, Leslie, who worried when she hadn't seen anything of him for


a bit. We know his habits and going to the shop once day, when we hadn't


seen him for a couple of days we investigated to see if he was OK.


The estate agent that has been helping him out came down with a key


and unfortunately we found him dead at the bottom of the cellar stairs.


There is something very poignant about the fact that the social


workers are involved, the fact that probably it will be the Leeds


council who pay for the funeral. Did you hear of any relatives? No. I


have never seen visitors go to Malcolm's house at all. No friends,


no family or anything. So as far as we were aware had he nobody. It


appears Malcolm was an agonisingly shy man. We couldn't find a picture


of him anywhere, we knew he was a printer until he was injured in a


bicycle accident. He lived here first with his parents and then


alone for nearly 40 years after they died, becoming more and more


withdrawn. It seems he left nothing. Leslie and her neighbours have


raised ?45 for a wreath. The kind of funeral that he will probably have


used to be called a paw per's -- pauper's funeral, how do you feel


about that? Everybody goes in a box, the sad thing is not having anybody


at the funeral, that is why a few neighbours have got together and


would like to say goodbye to him. In the past there was a real stigma


attached to pauper's funerals. If relatives could afford a Guinea,


their loved ones got a shared grave with their names listed on a head


stone. But the poorest were wrapped in a sheet, wheeled over from the


work house and buried in communal graves. And the numbers are


astonishing. Here at Leeds Beckett Street cemetery, 180,000 people lie


beneath the grass, many unmarked and unremembered. We are on our way to


the cemetery now. We are due there at 2.00. We are trying to make it as


good as we can for him really. Tim is the local funeral director, he


says he has seen a rise in the number of burials like Malcolm's,


paid for by the council. Sometimes the only people who attend are the


minister and undertakers. But Malcolm's neighbours are looking out


for him. These people who have made the effort, or who will be making


the effort to come along to the service thought something about this


chap. To have made the arrangements. They have put their hands in the


pockets to buy flowers so he didn't go without any flowers, they have


spent time talking to the person who license taking the service, and --


who will be taking the service and giving background information. He's


somebody who has been respected even though he might have been a loner or


someone who liked to keep himself to himself. Pauper's funerals are now


called section 46 funerals. Although it is difficult to obtain figure,


recent research suggests in England the numbers have gone up nearly 40%


in five years. Whilst the state is the last safety net for people like


Malcolm, those who have organised the service still want to send him


off with as much dignity as funds allow. Another familiar sight on the


lane would be Malcolm on his bees Celt, a slim dark-haired man and


always clean shaven, but wearing inconspicuous clothes. The minister


Victoria Carter believes it is her job to make sure everyone is treated


the same in death. We always try our best to try to find out as much


information as we can, to try to make the social services funerals


just as personal as every other funeral. We Raul like all -- all


like to be buried with members of our family, they may have been alone


in life at least they are buried with people like them. We now commit


Malcolm's body to the ground. Earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to


dust. A section 46 funeral costs Leeds council around ?1700. Most


here are buried not cremated because it is cheaper. To him be glory


forever. Amen. In England half of the people given a section 46


funeral are under 65. Three-quarters are men. Goodbye Malcolm, go in


peace. Margaret and Jennifer are sisters who knew Malcolm as a boy.


Do you think there is still a stigma attached to a funeral like this?


There shouldn't be, because you know if you believe in God and we do, it


doesn't matter whether you have a penny or a million pounds. It


doesn't matter to God. What do you think this shy man would have


thought about lots of you turning up for his funeral? I think he would


have been shocked, to be quite honest. He wouldn't have come. No he


wouldn't. He wouldn't have turned up. He wouldn't have come to his own


funeral, he would have been too shy. He wouldn't have turned up! When


this grave is full, there will be a head stone engraved with the names


of all the people inside. For Malcolm Horncastle it will be the


mark of a life lived quietly, something to remember him by.


That's all we have time for tonight, we end the show with a final bit of


home spun wisdom, curtesy of the late, great Robin Williams. Good


night. Mork alling Orson, come in Orson, Mork calling Orson, come in


Orson, yo battle star gigantic ia. What have you got to report? I don't


have much value in this universe, I know a few people are happier than


they would have been without me, as long as I have that I'm as happy as


I can be. I will catch you next week, nanu-nanu. Some showers


through the night and a fresh start to the day.


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