02/09/2014 Newsnight


Analysis of the stories behind the day's headlines, presented by Andrew Neil. America reacts to another ISIS murder. Scotland polls narrow. Old age care. Is Latin pointless?

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Jihadists in Iraq behead a second American journalist. Last week


President Obama said he didn'ted yet have a strategy for dealing with


Islamic State, will this now concentrate his mind. The Islamic


State made Sotloff deliver a message to President Obama direct into the


camera before murdering him. But a stronger American or British


military response may be just what they are trying to provoke. Here in


Iraq the question has been why attack Islamic State here and not


across the border in Syria. Well that question may now be provided


with an answer. The former US Ambassador to NATO will join us.


Those against Scottish independence used to have a lead of 20 points


over the nationalists. Now it is down to six, how did they manage to


throw away such a commanding lead? We ask Better Together's Jim Murphy.


Also tonight: Some other folk maybe have lived a nice life and enjoyed


themselves, spent their money, had holidays, and they still get the


same treatment that my mum gets, but my mum is having to pay for it. A


first look at a major new report into how we should manage care for


the elderly in the 21st century. They did it once by gruesome video,


it was probably only matter of time before they did it again. Two weeks


after beheading James Foley, Islamic State tonight revealed it murdered a


second US journalist, Time Magazine's Sotloff, another barbaric


beheading, another unwatchable video, the same British accent


behind the mask and the knife. He claimed a British hostage will be


murdered next and unless America called off its attack on IS


positions. Gatehouse is in Erbil in Iraq. IS are doing this because they


want America to stop attacks, is it likely that America will widen


attacks into Syria? It is unlikely America will be provoked into any


kneejerk reaction. They knew Sotloff was being held and they knew his


life was in danger. Whilst President Obama said they didn't have a


strategy in place, what he most likely meant by that is they hadn't


decided which strategy to follow yet, and they certainly didn't have


a strategy that they were willing to share publicly yet. I think it is


unlikely they will be provoked into anything rash, there certainly will


be a lot more pressure on President Obama to readdress the balance, as


it were, the balance of his policy of hitting IS here inside Iraq and


not inside Syria. This is effectively now one war. I have seen


on the ground the dramatic effects that US air strikes against IS have


had there. Not only have they held IS away from this city here, Erbil,


which did a few weeks ago look like it might be seriously threatened,


but only yesterday some American air strikes managed to break the siege


around the south from here that was under siege for three months by


Islamic State, and the Americans bombing there, in support of a very


unlikely coalition of not only the Iraqi army and Kurdish Peshmerga,


but also Shia militias that are funded and supported by Iran. Those


air strikes had a very dramatic effect in breaking that siege almost


immediately. So the pressure, I think, to do something similar in


Syria will certainly be on. That could be the explanation for the


latest atrocity from the Islamic State, that the American air strikes


are having a real effect, that they are even losing ground, that they


had gained until the American air strikes came in, backed up by on the


ground forces from local competents? That's certainly true. They have


been losing ground here in Iraq, where they haven't really been


losing ground is across the border in Syria. I was there in


Kurdish-controlled northern Syria last week. I was on the Kurdish


frontlines with IS, and while the Kurdish fighters there are doing a


pretty competent job with the limited resources they have of


keeping Islamic State out of their territory and holding them at bay,


certainly the Kurds don't have the resources to dent Islamic State any


further than that. Commanders there told me they would welcome any


support they could get from the Americans or frankly whoever else,


in their battle with the Islamic State. They have been going at it


for over two years now, and the Kurds and frankly everyone else know


that the Kurd are not going to be able to Islamic State on their own.


All eyes on Washington and London for a response. A


This second message closely follows the pattern of the one released a


fortnight ago, showing the last moments of James Foley. Some topical


references suggest this one was done recently. The hooded man beside the


captive also seems to be the same British accented figure as in the


Foley video. I'm back Obama and I am beak because of your foreign policy


towards the Islamic State, and continuing the bombings. The Obama


administration in Washington reacted swiftly to the second piece of


choreographed horror. We have seen reports of a video that purports to


be the murder of US citizen Sotloff by Islamic State, we will work to


determine the authenticity, if the video is genuine, we are sickened by


this brutal attack taking the life of another American citizen, our


hearts go out to the Sotloff family. The US has mounted 120 aair strikes


against IS. Two-thirds around the Mosul dam. The question now is


whether they will hit the group in Syria. The Foley beheading video was


thought to be filmed south of Raqqa the main Syrian base. The question


of whether to hit targets in Syria is still in the White House and


leaving President Obama adrift. We haven't a strategy yet what I have


seen in some of the news reports suggests that folks are getting a


little further ahead of where we are at than we currently are. Sotloff's


family gathered this evening at their home in Florida where they


were said to be grieving privately. Today's news followed all manner of


pleas for mercy, including those of the journalist's mother, Shirley.


Stephen has no control over the actions of the US Government. He's


an innocent journalist. I have always learned that you can grant


amnesty, I ask you to please release my child. Britain has already


deployed tornadoes to Turkey for operations over Iraq. So far it has


just been reconnaissance missions, will they now drop bombs. Threats


tonight by ISIS against a British hostage makes the Government's


decision even harder. The question always is of course about military


action, are you satisfied that to take military action will leave


things better than before. Can it be proportionate, can you be


sufficiently targeted so as not to cause that terrible euphamism


"collateral damage". Will it be effective. In Iraq there have been


small gains against ISIS this week. The question for Britain and America


is whether expanding their military operations could win further


tactical success, at the expense of giving the Jihadists the battle


against the west they crave. Our reporter Secunder Kermani has been


in touch with a number of British Jihadists fighting with Islamic


State over the past week. What have you been hearing about what they are


saying about the latest video? I have been in touch with two British


members of Islamic State this evening. They both support Islamic


State's actions here. They say the killing of Sotloff was justified


because according to them that America had the opportunity to


negotiate with IS and agree to stop attacking IS positions in Iraq. They


say the killing of Sotloff was justified Islamically, despite under


most interpretations of Islamic law Sotloff as a journalists would have


been considered a non-competent. Do they think by beheading American


journalists they will change American policy? The two men I was


speaking to they seemed to relish the prospect of greater western


military intervention in Iraq. They want to see partitioned American


troops on the ground in the region, because quite frankly they say they


want the opportunity to fight them and kill them. As we heard from


Erbil there, they are also suffering from these American attacks. This


could also be a sign of weakness? Well of course, I mean everything


they say must be treated with a bit of caution. There is inevitably an


element of bravado there. It seems to me that they see this as a sort


of ultimate showdown that is inevitable of a fight between the


west and the Islamic State. They think it is inevitable? And the


British accent again, are we any closer to knowing who this person


is? Apparently it seems it is the same man who appeared in the video


of the murder of James Foley a few weeks back. The British IS members


that I have been speaking to say they don't know who he is. They do


say it is not any of the people who have been named in the British media


so far. But they say his identity is being closely guarded by the


internal Security Services of the Islamic State, the Amniate. They


have their only internal security? They are able to keep a secret, the


British men I spoke to said they hadn't seen the video and were not


aware of it. I'm joined now by Roy Stewart, the Tory MP who chairs the


Commons Defence Select Committee, and we're joined by the former


United States permanent representative to NATO. How should


America respond to this latest atrocity? I think to choose the


words of President Obama we need a strategy. We need to actually think


about what are the appropriate goals that we need to have to wrap up what


is truly an amazingly brutal, evil force in Syria and Iraq that is


destablising the region, threatening allies in the region and a grave


threat to our own societies. I think in order to set a goal of


eliminating ISIS we are going to have to work with a lot of regional


players, especially Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Turkey, Jordan, the Iraqi


forces and Kurdistan, in order to go after ISIS. I think we want to


minimise the degree to which there are direct western boots on the


ground. But it will take a concerted effort, which will require American


leadership to help pull it together. It will require a willingness to put


military force in play. What should the British reaction should be?


Britain needs to follow very, very carefully this American debate. If


President Obama is currently saying that he doesn't have a strategy, we


have to be very cautious. But the key question is this very different


to what we dealt with in 2007/2008. Is the Islamic State fundamentally


different from Al-Qaeda/Iraq? If it isn't what are the options. It looks


like it is, it looks like it will control a bit of territory? Al-Qaeda


were guests in Afghan stance? We pumped in over $100 billion US a


year and hundreds of thousands of troops on the ground and four years


later it is back again. The problem the President is facing is he's


looking at dealing with a bigger threat with fewer resources and


trying to do without boots on the ground. What should the strategy be,


he says he doesn't have one, should he for example extend the bombing,


which actually seems to be quite effective against IS in Iraq. Should


he extend that into Syria where they are also based? I think bombing


alone is not sufficient but a necessary part. I think you need to


have an approach towards supporting a moderate rebellion inside Syria to


try to bring about a change of regime that is going to get Assad


out of power, which is part of what has permented this ISIS -- fermented


this ISIS rebellion. That is Then you need to go after ISIS itself.


The biggest threat at the moment is ISIS, we need to be going after that


on both sides of the border. ISIS doesn't respect any differences of


the border. Assad attacked on the other side of the border, the Iraqi


army is prepared to do its part inside Iraq, but that is a weak


army. They need the additional support. We need the states of the


region, and again I emphasise the key Sunni states that we have worked


with in the past, sometimes called allies, but Saudi Arabia, the UAE,


Turkey, Jordan, in order to create a regional framework for getting


control back over the territories, as Mr Stewart was saying the Sunni


tribes inside Iraq were the key to up ending Al-Qaeda in Iraq before. I


think they will be the key to up ending ISIS as well. They don't


relish being ruled by this medieval group. There is a point resonating


with a lot of people in the west, why aren't those in the region who


have most to fear from IS do more about it? Do we have any evidence


that Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the UAE, Jordan, are going to get involved in


this? This is the big fundamental question. Of course ideally Saudi,


Turkey, Iran, others will be motivated, but so far they haven't


been. The fighters are often moving through Turkey. There is evidence


that some of the funding going into the Islamic State has come out of


the gulf states. We have a hope that they are going to feel that these


people are a danger to themselves. But our experience unfortunately


across the world is regional states often find that difficult to


believe. So they will make proper statement about it but getting them


to do something will be more difficult. The President has been


remarkably reluctant to get involved in this. At every opportunity he has


put one step forward and then tried to take two steps back. But in that


is he perhaps reflecting the mood of the American people? That they don't


want to get involved? It is always hard to judge that. I think the


President is reflecting his own instincts, his political calculus.


He wants to be the President that pulls the US out of wars and doesn't


send the military in as a way of engaging the United States in


conflict. The American people, I think, indeed fatigue bid the wars


in Iraq and Afghanistan, but at the same time terrified by what they see


on television with these beheadings, and the threats to the United States


from all the Islamist groups. Frankly we see a chaotic situation


around the world, whether it is in Russia or in Iraq and Syria that we


are talking about now. It seems to be spring out of control. I think


the Americans are actually also looking for a strategy that they can


believe in that's going to help try to keep the country safe. And the


British people are war weary as well, they hate what is happening


but they have no appetite for deep involvement beyond air strikes if


that? That's true and it is also true, as the ambassador said that we


have a lot of experience in trying to deal with these kinds of


insurgies, but the things that the United States and Britain feel is


necessary, an effective state in Baghdad, a good regional solution,


these things so far doesn't exist. The chances of a caliphate, this


time next year? Effectively what they have set up is pretty much


something close to that in eastern Syria and Iraq. Now just over two


weeks until the referendum in Scotland, the latest poll suggest


the pro-independence campaign may be closing the gap on its rivals. The


latest poll for YouGov suggests once you take out the undecided voters


47% would vote yes, 53% no. The majority for the union but a lot


smaller than it was. Only a month ago, there has been a lot of debate


about how prepared Scotland is for the consequences of a yes vote. What


are the implication force the rest of the UK. Here is the BBC Economics


Editor. Could it be the end of a not always


blissful marriage, divorce. The tearing up of the Union Flag and the


acts of union that have bound Scotland together with the rest of


the UK for more than 300 years. Up until now all the debate, all the


aggro about Scottish independence have been really around what it


moons for Scotland. But -- means for Scotland. But with the polls


narrowing the penny has dropped and actually if Scotland were to


break-away from the rest of the UK, that would have profound implication


force those who live in Northern Ireland, Wales and England. Now it


wasn't just the penny dropping, the pound fell very sharply today, to


its lowest level against the dollar since march. March. The bound fell


because currency markets are the most sensitive to political


uncertainty, it tells you that political uncertainty for the UK has


gone up. As a result the largest mover, the largest UK assets, price


movement today was sterling. It would take months if not years to


difficulty up the assets and liabilities of the UK, what impact


would the uncertainty of all of that have on the economy? I think it


would create uncertainty, because as you say we wouldn't know who would


end up with what, and as a result of that you would probably find some


business investment put on hold during that period, the economy


would be weaker. It would make it much harder for the Bank of England


to hike interest rates just at the point in time when at the moment


they are indicating that is when they would start. So if Scotland


does break-away, how will the assets and liabilities of this country be


divided up? How difficult will it be to reach a settlement?


You are a Cabinet Secretary and head of the Civil Service, if you were


facing the prospect of having to separate Scotland from the rest of


the UK, how would you be feeling today? I would be feeling pretty


daunted and thinking this was a bigger task than I ever had to face.


It is a major exercise trying to unpick a constitutional settlement


built up over 300 years. Alex Salmond hopes and believes the


negotiations on separation would not take more than 18 months, is that


realistic? I very much doubt it. He wants it done in a year-and-a-half,


the rest of the UK Government why should they dance to that deadline.


I'm reminded of the made up Chinese proverb, "he who has the shortest


deadline needs the deepest pocket". What about the thousands and


thousands of civil servants based in Scotland who work for the whole of


the UK, who would happen to them? I don't know the exact number but it


is in tens of thousands, we, for many years ran a programme of


dispersal. You remember the Hardman Report, and we deliberately placed


more, a disproportionate number of civil servants in Scotland, in HMRC,


DWP, all with major operations in Scotland. Way beyond what was needed


to serve Scotland. They would all have to be repatriated. Leaving just


the share that is needed for the 10% of the Scottish population. And what


will be the collateral damage through separation, in Northern


Ireland, Scotland and Wales and politics. If the vote was lost that


would be a massive humiliation, and some Tory MPs have said to me they


fear he would have to stand down. It is not only the Prime Minister who


is anxious about Scots voting to separate. The implications for Ed


Miliband and Labour would be seriously bad. Since the Second


World War Labour and the Tories have won an equal number of general


elections, and according to research done by the BBC, without Scotland


Labour would have won two fewer. The thing is over the past 20 years


Labour in that place has become even more dependant on MPs elected in


Scotland. So without Scotland Labour's ability to win elections in


the rest of the UK would be seriously impaired.


Central London, Westminster, calm waters for now, but if the Scots


decide they have enough of marriage to the rest of the UK, my goodness


there will be mayhem. That was the consequences for the


rest of the UK of Scottish independent. There. There is a


longer version on iPlayer. I spoke to Murphy from the Better --


Jim Murphy from the Better Together campaign, I asked why were the polls


showing in favour of breaking up the union? I would rather be in


discussions about our arguments and our report than the nationalists


that are lagging in the poll. In one poll they have closed the gap but we


are in the lead with the stronger argument. Why is it not cutting


through with your own voters, a lot more Labour voters are saying now


that they would vote for independence than were telling the


pollsters only two or three months ago. Why are you losing the argument


among your own people? We're not losing the argument. The vast


majority of Labour voters are voting no, but we have more work to do. One


of the arguments is the SNP have campaigned for two years and they


have failed to turn patriotic Scots into nationalist Scots. Rather than


convince patriots to become nationalists they have tried to


scare Scots into being yes voters. I have heard you make the argument


many times, but the polls are moving against you, it is not working.


Downing Street has said tonight there is no need to change the


Better Together campaign, do you agree with that? Absolutely. Mitch


Alastair Darling is doing a great job. He is a brilliant job, a lead


of 20 points now down to six, which definition of brilliance would that


cover? Alastair Darling is leading the campaign effectively. He has


brought together a Labour Party, Conservative Party and Liberal


Democrats who normally punch one another in the nose, Mitch Darling's


personality of being a bridge builder or conciliator has been a


great advantage to this campaign. Also other permties such as Gordon


Brown -- personalities and Gordon Brown and John Reid out campaigning


on behalf of the Labour Party and Better Together, I'm confident we


can win, we have a lot of work to do. I would rather be ahead in the


polls than behind like the nationalists. Whatever the poll


rating they welcome it, it is part of nationalism. We are determined


and we can win this. The stakes are especially high for you and your


party. If Scotland goes independent it will be much more difficult for


you to form a Labour Government ever again, not ever again, but more


difficult for you to have an overall majority in England and the rest of


the UK, correct? You won't like me saying that, I don't really care


about that, this is about whether the UK, the most successful of all


union nations in the world has ever known whether it survives and we


stick together. Scotland's place within the UK, a place within the


European Union and the world. You would rather have a United Kingdom


and no Labour not in the rest of the UK, is that what you are saying? Of


course Andrew, that is the type of question that people ask all the


time, they have asked over the past two years of the referendum. That is


not what I'm saying and you know that's not what I'm saying. I'm


saying of course there are implication for all political


parties, political leaders and every politician, but every politician is


temporary, every Government is temporary, independence is forever.


Therefore what happens to the Labour Party, what happens to the Tory


Party, what happens to the Liberal Democrats and all of the others, it


is important but a secondary importance in deciding this historic


outcome as to whether Scotland remains part of the UK. If Scotland


votes for independence on September 18th, will run again as an MP for


your constituency in May? Of course I would. But there is a complication


here which your viewers know which is referendum day is September 18th,


we have a general election next year with Independence Day not scheduled


until March 2016. There is a peculiar arrangement we would have a


House of Commons for a year if that was to happen. You would be an MP


for what would be becoming a foreign country? It would be a peculiar set


of arrangements but those are the rules. We don't have to do that or


take that unusual and unnecessary risk here in Scotland. The fact is


we can stick together. Politicians on all sides up here are much more


worried about what happens to the people who work in financial


service, who rely on the connections across the United Kingdom, sharing a


common currency and I'm doing this interview on the banks of the River


Clyde and I'm more worried about the thousands of shipyard jobs relying


on the Royal Navy contracts in Clyde. We are looking forward to


discussing that between now and referendum day, I'm confident we can


win. It looks from the outside the campaign has turned nasty in recent


week, way beyond the cyber unionist, you have been on the receiving end


of this, why is it turning so nasty? I have been on the receiving end of


it, and most of your viewers won't know about the phenomenon of cyber


nats, intolerant of anyone who disagrees, and rounding on people on


social networks and going on now. After Alastair Darling won in the TV


debate it turned nasty for me on the street. I have been touring in


hundreds of street corner meetings over 100 days, they have been great


and passionate and people from all sides coming up. It took sans at the


turn where there were mobs of yes voters who wouldn't allow anyone


else an opinion. I had to suspend the campaign for three days over the


weekend. I'm glad when I got back to my makeshift stage that whoever had


turned on that noisy mob had quietly over the weekend turned it off


again. You were implying it was one person switching on or off the


nastiness, you are not accusing Alex Salmond of that? No I haven't done


that, wherever I was going the yes Scotland offices co-ordinated


through Facebook and Twitter and all sorts of other ways, and ways of


organising a reception party, people who just wanted to be involved in


these conversations in the political debate, passionate people on both


sides, we worried for their safety. As a consequence we had to postpone


the tour two three days, it is up and running again, I'm looking


forward to getting out and having the great debate out on street


corners in Scotland. Thank you for being with us tonight.


Care homes for old folks don't always have a great reputation, only


a quarter of us would consider moving into one, even if we became


too fragile to look after ourselves in old at age. Paul Burstow has


spent a year looking at what can be done to change that perception. His


work for Demos at a London think-tank looked at how to provide


interstandards of care for -- standards of care for an


increasingly elderly population. We have been hearing from the residents


of care home in Kent. I was on my own at home and I had


heard about these homes and I thought perhaps it is a good thing.


So I inquired, got all the details about it and that's how I happened


to be here. So there is no more to it than that, actually. I have been


here now since the beginning of the year. It is nice to have a bit of


company. Because it gets very lonely when you're on your own, you talk to


yourself. I have a ring round here, that is my granddad. He was a


gymnast. I have heard a lot about some of these homes and this seems


pretty good. The staff are good here. This was taken at Ashdown


Forest. That is you on the motorbike.


Mum is self-funded, rather a lot of money. It is just short of about


?1,000 a week. It was the family home that had to be sold, I feel


sadder because it was sentimental, it was always my home from when I


was born, mum always insisted, as did my father that it would be there


for me and that was her wish. My mum has saved all her life, she has gone


without things like butter to put money aside, some other folk have


lived a nice life and enjoyed themselves, spent their money, had


holidays and they still get the same treatment that my mum gets, but my


mum is having to pay for it. To be honest, I did find that a little


unfair. You are very, very nice. I didn't decide, they sent me here,


the doctor said, I don't know, they just put me here and I woke up and


there I am, away, I ain't been back since. I did have an accident and I


seemed to have lost my memory, I seem to have picked it up now and I


know what they are talking about, but it was hard for a little while.


I don't like it here. It is a bit, I like to get out and mix with a lot


of people, you have to do what you are told. That is all right when you


are a young boy, but when you are getting on a bit, you don't want to


be told what to do, you know what I mean. This is where it happens. Are


you paying for this yourself or the council paying? I'm not paying. They


pay my rent. I'm lucky to be here. I can't hold anything, I can't lift


anything, there's nothing, not a lot I can do. And this is why I need the


care. Otherwise I wouldn't, I would be at home. I looked after my


mother, I wouldn't have her put away and I wouldn't have dreamt of having


her put in a home. So I looked after her and that was it. It was natural.


I wouldn't put my mother in a home when I could look after her. But


under the circumstances there is only me and if it wasn't for here


where would I be? # We travel along


# Singing a song # Side-by-side


The dignified voices of some of our senior citizens, Paul Burstow joins


me now. You say in the report we can no longer accept for others a


standard of care that we wouldn't accept for ourselves. What is wrong


with it? What is wrong with it is in the public mind people associate


residential care with a sense of loss, a loss of home, a loss of


independence, and often they associate it with a fear of neglect


and abuse. Yet the 12 months I have spent on this commission looking at


what great care looks like it is about giving people that ability to


reconnect, to have good relationships, to be able to have a


life they want to lead in that way. And to have some independence as


well? That's right. It is about maintaining the normal rhythms of


normal lie. Not being regimented but doing what you want to do. So there


is some good care in the country? There is a lot of good care in this


country and excellent care around the world, we have looked at both.


There needs to be a spectrum, a continuum of care, housing of care,


rather than this rigid definition of residential care which stifles


things. And gives it a bad reputation in some people's eyes?


Yes. It is a detailed and comprehensive report, I'm sure all


the political parties will be looking at it. What would be the


single biggest change in your view we could make that would improve the


quality of housing with care? One is to change the planning system to


make it easier for the right sort of housing to be provided, so people


can make a choice but be how they want to lead their later lives, and


make a choice about a new home to be living in. And make a difference to


staffing arrangements so there is a license to practice as staff, and


better training standards and paying them better. Better pay and more


professional status, that would make a big difference? It would. As a


society we are getting much older and old people do one thing, they


vote, and they are a bigger part of the demographic than ever before.


The political parties in some way will have to take some notice of


this? They will, and this Government through its care legislation and the


cap on care costs is trying to do its bit in that regard. But also


this report is addressing the needs of working-aged disabled people,


making sure they have these sorts of choices as well. In the end this is


about people being able to maintain their independence wherever they


live. The coalition has just passed the big Care Bill and act, from your


report it is not nearly enough? What I really came out of Government


thinking was that we still needed to do more and we hadn't done enough to


look at the future of residential care. This report really is a


clarion call to all political parties and to those who provide


care. We can do better, good is already there, we can have excellent


if we actually strive to do the sort of things this report is


recommending. Now the newest plant species to be discovered by butt


budding botonists will never sound the same again, the international


cot knee Congress, I'm sure you think of nothing else, in the


language of Aeneid and Homer and the stallwart of the tongue of owes


would no longer be the lingua franca for cataloguing new discoveries. Is


this a sign that learning Latin is not the bedrock of learning English


we thought. Snowdrops, galanthus, N avadus.


Kew Gardens, the Wembley of flowers. It seems we need to wake up and


smell the roses, because behind our backs botonists have changed wait


they describe plants. So was the bard right, "a rose by any other


name would smell as sweet". In the will be arium at Kew, Professor


David Simpson and his colleagues hold seven million plant specimens.


Their job is as far from over. Some 2,000 new samples are identified


every year. This This is a collection made by Charles Darwin.


The great man himself? Yes. This was collected in 1832 from Patagonia,


and this was collected on his trip around South America, as part of his


voyage. He or his cohorts would have written up where they found it,


those key details in Latin. It is certainly Latin was a way that you


could get people in different parts of the world to understand what the


botonist was talking about. This would have what we call a Latin


diagnosis, this is just a short piece of Latin, written in Latin


that gives the key features of the plants. So the main feature that is


would help to identify the plant. So it could be the length, the leaves,


the colour of the flowers. What we do now is we don't have the Latin


description, we have started putting in this journal we put this little


piece called the recognition statement. I think now we need to be


talking to a much wider audience and plants of course are an important


part of conservation in general. We have to get the information we have


in the specimens and plant descriptions over to that larger


scientific community, over the public at large.


Are the men of the her arium being Hearn roar about this, what about --


herbivorian about it, what about the men who went out and covered the


globe and filled the houses here with specimens, would they have been


happy about junking the Latin. It is often attacked for being a dead


language but actually that is great, great advantage, because it is a


dead language its rules are set in stone, there is no wriggle room,


there is no room for development or lack of clarity. We spoke to this


channel's face of gardening, Monty Don. Surely BBC Two is the elitist


challenge, shouldn't we defend Latin and keep the hoi poloi at bay? No


because one of the greatest things about the hoi poloi garden! Long may


that last. If people feel intimidated by that, and that's bad,


and they should be allowed to use English. For classification,


botanical terms you need a common language to all countries and


languages. I think Latin has done pretty well. Final word, in English,


to our professor at Kew. What do you think Darwin would have made of


this? Revolution, sacrilidge perhaps? I think Darwin would


understand that things move on, evolution, this is evolution. I


think he was connected with that? Yeah, yeah. And I think that would,


I think he would have approved. I'm surprised not many of you spotted


tonight's mistake, Homer did not write in Latin or speak Latin,


indeed when he was riding the Iliad he did not exist, it was in ancient


Greek. We're joined by our guests now. Let


me come to you Dr Thomson first, you don't want Latin to have any place


in science, why? Well I think they got it right when they said that


Darwin would have approved really, because Darwin was interested in


scientists being able to talk to each other. And of course in those


days, when he was around, English hadn't quite taken over the world


like it has since then, and Latin really was the lingua franca of


scientist, so scientist could talk to each other in Latin. Nowadays, of


course, no-one can talk to anyone in Latin. And the language of science,


the language that I use is English. So in the interests of good


communication between scientists we should be using English, which we


now can do. Why use a dead language for live, 21st century science Dr


Pawlicki? It is a very good question, and I think the answer to


that has to be well there is no reason to hold on to it just for the


sake of it. I think most classists would agree that we need to be


pragmatic and if Latin is not serving the purpose that botonists


and other scientists need it to do then there is no point keeping on


using it just because it has always been done that way. Do you think


that is the case? If I understand correctly how the new botanical


systems are playing out. Certainly for the lengthier descriptions of


the plants and so on, yes it seems to me sensible that Latin is no


longer going to be the most accessible inclusive way of


communicating that information. The naming I think is probably a


different matter. When we're talking about the specific terms and words


that are used to name these species, then I think holding on to the Latin


words and the Latin words that we have is there. Many English words


have more than one meaning, isn't Latin more specific? Isn't that the


reason why it has lasted for so long, even in the scientific


community? Well, yes. You could say that. But in fact in reality of


course, two things, no-one is suggesting that Latinised names for


plants and animals should be replaced. Although of course they


are not actually Latin. They can be almost any language you care to


think of. They just give endings to make them look like fake Latin. It


is not as though we are actually using Latin for naming plants and


animals any way. You mean we are making it up? Giving everything an


"ium". Is that you nodding? We coin the new, the botonists and


scientists coin new words that fit the forms of Latin that they can


come from English words and actually my understanding is very often they


are Greek in origin but given a Latin form, so it is not as simple


as it seems. Didn't Latin become the language of many things that were


named in science from plants to minerals and so on, because in the


18th or 19th centuries, most educated scientists had a Latin


background. Now, even the most educated scientists probably don't?


Yes, I think what we are dealing with here is very much an indication


of lad tin's history in the modern world, which if we go back to the


Rennaissance certainly and certainly through to the 18th century and a


little bit beyond that, Latin was the language of scholarship, and you


could guarantee that it was a lingua franca be and it is not now, not in


the same way. A little bit sad Dr Thomson so see it go? Not at all,


I'm not sad. I think one thing we all ought to remember is that Botany


isn't exactly cool, is it. We think it is on Newsnight? Maybe you do,


but a lot of people don't. And I think an association with a long


dead language doesn't really help its image. So I think this is a


great step forward. We better leave it there doctors both of you, that's


it for tonight, Laura Kuensberg will be here tomorrow night, for now


In-depth investigation and analysis of the stories behind the day's headlines, presented by Andrew Neil.

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