08/01/2016 Newsnight


08/01/2016

In-depth investigation and analysis of the stories behind the day's headlines with Kirsty Wark.


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Not the new politics of 2016 - in either Cameron's Cabinet,

:00:09.:00:13.

From Trident to Europe, with major policy divisions

:00:14.:00:17.

Also tonight: for better or worse politics.

:00:18.:00:26.

This woman took an abortion pill in the one part

:00:27.:00:28.

of the UK where abortion is still illegal.

:00:29.:00:33.

She says, "Arrest me, charge me, or change the law."

:00:34.:00:36.

We put that to Northern Ireland's Justice Minister.

:00:37.:00:38.

The UK's Chief Medical Adviser says there's no safe level of alcohol.

:00:39.:00:42.

One week I'm tolding drinking red wine will make my heart better. Then

:00:43.:00:58.

I won't. I'm told to take strange drugs one minute and not the next

:00:59.:01:00.

minute. The first week of 2016 has laid bare

:01:01.:01:06.

the new reality of the way politics is being prosecuted

:01:07.:01:10.

by the Government Collective Cabinet responsibility

:01:11.:01:12.

has been all but suspended. Neither David Cameron,

:01:13.:01:18.

nor Jeremy Corbyn is in control of their senior ministers -

:01:19.:01:22.

a far cry from the heyday In the Cabinet and in the Shadow

:01:23.:01:25.

Cabinet there are divisions on the major issues facing this

:01:26.:01:30.

country that are deeper But is this a weakness

:01:31.:01:33.

or a strength? Walter Bagehot described

:01:34.:01:44.

the British Cabinet as the buckle that fastens on legislative part

:01:45.:01:48.

of the state to the executive part. And starting in the 18th century,

:01:49.:01:52.

when Sir Robert Walpole's first modern cabinet adopted a united

:01:53.:01:56.

position to counter the power of the monarch and continuing

:01:57.:02:01.

through the 19th century, as the growth of the state

:02:02.:02:03.

demanded a coherent, unified government,

:02:04.:02:06.

the British Cabinet adopted the convention of

:02:07.:02:09.

collective responsibility. However much they disagree

:02:10.:02:12.

in private, Cabinet ministers are bound to support

:02:13.:02:14.

a united position in public. Any minister who cannot

:02:15.:02:18.

support the agreed policy, has the option to resign,

:02:19.:02:20.

and some have done so. The convention held for the most

:02:21.:02:23.

part throughout the last century, but Liberal members of the national

:02:24.:02:27.

government were allowed to vote And in 1975, facing a huge Cabinet

:02:28.:02:29.

split, Harold Wilson allowed his ministers

:02:30.:02:42.

to campaign on both sides But collective responsibility held

:02:43.:02:44.

strong throughout the 1980s, when Chancellor Nigel Lawson

:02:45.:02:48.

strongly disagreed with the poll tax in Cabinet, but held his tongue

:02:49.:02:51.

publicly and on into the new century when high-profile ministers resigned

:02:52.:02:55.

in protest at the Iraq war. I intend to join those

:02:56.:02:58.

tomorrow night who vote It is for that reason,

:02:59.:03:03.

and that reason alone, and with a heavy heart,

:03:04.:03:07.

that I resign from the government. But public unity hid

:03:08.:03:21.

private dysfunction. And when a new Coalition Government

:03:22.:03:23.

took power, there was no longer even any sense of pretending

:03:24.:03:26.

that the government was united. Even though he no longer needs

:03:27.:03:28.

the Lib Dems to govern, he still has a problem

:03:29.:03:35.

getting his cabinet to back him Like Wilson's Cabinet,

:03:36.:03:37.

they will now be allowed to campaign on both sides in this

:03:38.:03:43.

year's referendum. And Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn

:03:44.:03:45.

is also having trouble enforcing Despite his Shadow Foreign Secretary

:03:46.:03:54.

opposing him in the Syria debate, he stayed in the post

:03:55.:03:59.

in this week's reshuffle. With Cabinet unity faltering

:04:00.:04:03.

on all sides, is a convention of collective responsibility

:04:04.:04:06.

a thing of the past? Well joining me to chew over this

:04:07.:04:10.

constitutional conundrum is Sally Morgan, formerly a top

:04:11.:04:12.

adviser in Tony Blair's Downing Street, Polly McKenzie

:04:13.:04:16.

who was a policy adviser to Nick Clegg and Catherine Haddon,

:04:17.:04:18.

resident historian at the Institute Sally Morgan it has been an

:04:19.:04:31.

extraordinary week. Bizarre. You couldn't make it up, could you? We

:04:32.:04:38.

will deal with the cabinet, but you have a Shadow Cabinet where Jeremy

:04:39.:04:44.

Corbyn does not have authority. He does not have authority over the

:04:45.:04:48.

Parliamentary Labour Party. That is the significant issue and the Shadow

:04:49.:04:53.

Cabinet are a small section of that. Not only that, he has the

:04:54.:04:58.

possibility of further revolt, we know he has talked about Hilary Benn

:04:59.:05:04.

and we know there is many divisions there. Of course he is in an

:05:05.:05:11.

extremely weak position. My guess is he will produce a cabinet more in

:05:12.:05:18.

his own liking, but in the end. He has started to do that? But he is

:05:19.:05:24.

more interested in the party in the country than in Parliament. How

:05:25.:05:31.

important is collective cabinet responsibility for the government to

:05:32.:05:38.

work. It is the way in which a Parliamentary party works in

:05:39.:05:41.

relation to the Parliament and in showing that sort of strength of

:05:42.:05:47.

purpose. Even though we know that in the past and as a historian you

:05:48.:05:52.

know, it has been a pretension. Yes and not just at big moments like

:05:53.:05:58.

1932 and 1975 when they had agreements to differ. But also you

:05:59.:06:04.

see it in different ways. One of the Tennents of it is they won't talk

:06:05.:06:07.

about cabinet meetings, but Ministers leak all the time. There

:06:08.:06:12.

are ways in which ministers find to dissent that go outside the formal

:06:13.:06:17.

practice. Talking of leaking when it came to the coalition there wasn't

:06:18.:06:23.

enough leaking to keep Nick Clegg in the public's good books, or the

:06:24.:06:31.

Liberal Democrat voters' books. Good books, because he turned over on so

:06:32.:06:36.

many things. The period of coalition demonstrated people can disagree and

:06:37.:06:41.

semi privately and the world doesn't end. Maybe if there had been more

:06:42.:06:46.

briefing and more candour about the disagreements, then the Liberal

:06:47.:06:48.

Democrats would haven't suffered so much, I don't know. They did suffer,

:06:49.:06:56.

he did roll over on tuition fees. I wonder if it had been much more...

:06:57.:07:01.

Discussion about that outside cabinet if there had been dissent

:07:02.:07:04.

the Liberal Democrats would not have come such a cropper? I think when

:07:05.:07:09.

explaining the tuition fees debate at the start it was very much

:07:10.:07:13.

sticking to the line of collective responsibility and this is the best

:07:14.:07:18.

policy. It was only over the years that Nick Clegg started about it

:07:19.:07:23.

having to be a compromise and people bought that more, there were for the

:07:24.:07:27.

voters it was too late. What did it look like from your position in the

:07:28.:07:32.

coalition? In a way it made sense, you have two parties in government.

:07:33.:07:36.

And different manifestos. Yes and they brought them together. But at

:07:37.:07:41.

the same time collective cabinet responsibility is partly about party

:07:42.:07:45.

management and in which case you're managing two parties that is what

:07:46.:07:49.

happened in 1932, they didn't want the liberals to leave and the only

:07:50.:07:54.

way to do so was to give them that leeway to talk about their policies.

:07:55.:08:01.

You talk about 1975, there was only a month between the negotiations and

:08:02.:08:05.

the referendum. David Cameron faces a yawning period with some some big

:08:06.:08:13.

beasts campaigning against him. Will that damage him and that whole idea

:08:14.:08:18.

of collective cabinet responsibility for the Conservatives. It is a

:08:19.:08:24.

tricky thing to manage N75 the problems they had were through 74

:08:25.:08:31.

and Tony Benn pushing against that. In 2011 there was a referendum and

:08:32.:08:35.

cabinet ministers were arguing against each other on platforms, on

:08:36.:08:41.

the alternative vote and it was two parties, but the world didn't come

:08:42.:08:45.

to an end, government carries on making decision and some of the time

:08:46.:08:53.

ministers were campaigning. And whether it looks as David Cameron is

:08:54.:08:56.

in charge. The Prime Minister said this was not going to happen and has

:08:57.:09:04.

changed h mind because he can't deliver the cabinet, because several

:09:05.:09:09.

members said they are not starting. That is like Harold Wilson. That was

:09:10.:09:14.

weakness as well. I think it is weakness and not new politics. Going

:09:15.:09:18.

back to your time with Tony Blair there was collective cabinet

:09:19.:09:23.

responsibility, but we know now that it was a disaster inside and

:09:24.:09:28.

actually incredibly corrosive. The public knew that. Wouldn't it have

:09:29.:09:33.

been better if you had aired differences and not had been what

:09:34.:09:41.

was a real diminution of cabinet? People say that, I don't think that

:09:42.:09:45.

is accurate. There were big arguments within cabinet and that is

:09:46.:09:50.

the right place if you're running government, you want to have big

:09:51.:09:54.

rows. I remember big rows on cabinet meetings such as public service

:09:55.:09:58.

reform. Give me an example of where somebody who backed down who was

:09:59.:10:02.

really fighting. There was significant fighting on a range of

:10:03.:10:07.

health and school reforms. But the rows did take place in cabinet and

:10:08.:10:11.

you're right of course there was disagreement and Gordon Brown had a

:10:12.:10:15.

level of disagreement. But cabinet took a decision and packed the

:10:16.:10:19.

policy -- backed the policy clearly and you do need to have those

:10:20.:10:26.

arguments. That worked in coalition. I wonder what the public makes of

:10:27.:10:31.

this. We live in an age where there are leaks from cabinet and there is

:10:32.:10:37.

pressure and people tweet, social media, the voters want honesty don't

:10:38.:10:42.

they? Yes the public know when a politician is spinning them a line.

:10:43.:10:47.

In the long-term within a party it festers the sense that you're only

:10:48.:10:51.

sticking to the party line, because your being bullied by the boss and

:10:52.:10:55.

if David Cameron wants to say the referendum was a fair fight, he has

:10:56.:11:01.

to give the rebels as we assume they will be, the opportunities to

:11:02.:11:06.

campaign. Where does that put the idea of a Jeremy Corbyn Shadow

:11:07.:11:09.

Cabinet at the moment. Because when you say it is about the voters and

:11:10.:11:16.

Diane Abbot said it is about the party people and the party, but

:11:17.:11:19.

actually it I not just about the party, it is about the PLP and

:11:20.:11:26.

members of Shadow Cabinet. I find the situation of the Labour Party

:11:27.:11:32.

alarming, but it is part of a long-term project to slowly build up

:11:33.:11:39.

a Shadow Cabinet that is cohesive. The cabinet, would that work in

:11:40.:11:45.

government? The one he has now, no it would be chaos. The difficulty of

:11:46.:11:49.

saying the public understand, in the end the public want to know what the

:11:50.:11:54.

government is they're electing. One of reasons it did work in coalition

:11:55.:11:59.

you had good arguments but you did reach decisions and stuck to them

:12:00.:12:05.

and went out and... What Jeremy Corbyn and Macdonald said to Hilary

:12:06.:12:10.

Benn is you rebel all you like, but from the backbenches. That is not

:12:11.:12:13.

the new politics. It is very old politics in Labour at the moment.

:12:14.:12:18.

How will this look this period in history? It is difficult to know.

:12:19.:12:28.

These issues will be massive for the parties and it goes back to past

:12:29.:12:33.

examples, the reason why collective responsibility was important, it was

:12:34.:12:36.

about whether the parties would split and reform in different ways

:12:37.:12:42.

as in the 19th century and lot is about party management, rather than

:12:43.:12:48.

the strict constitutional issue. Thank you all very much.

:12:49.:12:52.

That was what one prison officer said of a cell he showed

:12:53.:12:57.

to the Chief Inspector of Prisons for England and Wales -

:12:58.:12:59.

an opinion which found its way into Nick Hardwick's final report

:13:00.:13:02.

He said that prisons had deteriorated to their worst level

:13:03.:13:06.

in at least a decade, with rising violence,

:13:07.:13:08.

overcrowding and a rapid rise in the use of legal highs,

:13:09.:13:10.

and, he warned, it could not go on like this.

:13:11.:13:13.

He declined to apply for another five-year term and leaves his post

:13:14.:13:16.

First, looking back, do you think at the last five years, what has been

:13:17.:13:34.

the most devastating changes? Prisons have got a lot more

:13:35.:13:38.

dangerous. There were more murders in prisons last year than there have

:13:39.:13:43.

been for ten years. More suicides than there have been for two years.

:13:44.:13:49.

There are two suicides a week. There are 550 self-harm Ings harm

:13:50.:13:55.

incidents a week. And these are all much higher than they have been,

:13:56.:14:01.

really since we began to keep recordses. It begs the question you

:14:02.:14:08.

weren't able to make the impact you wanted. Things have started to

:14:09.:14:13.

change, Michael Gove has started to make changes and we can claim some

:14:14.:14:18.

credit that the change in policy came about because of some of the

:14:19.:14:23.

evidence that we presented. But there are things you don't seem to

:14:24.:14:28.

be able to get a grip of, one is legal highs. Legal highs is the most

:14:29.:14:33.

serious problem facing the prison system at the moment. It is not only

:14:34.:14:38.

dangerous for the people taking its, there have been about 20 deaths. But

:14:39.:14:45.

the trade and the debt and the violence that comes about as a

:14:46.:14:49.

result of that trade is destabilising prisons. Even well run

:14:50.:14:56.

prisons are being destabilised by the availability of these

:14:57.:15:00.

substances. And as ever the engeneral youty of how you get them

:15:01.:15:04.

into prison. Yes it depends on the prison you're talking about. In a

:15:05.:15:10.

big prison, where the perimeter maybe a mile, they come over in

:15:11.:15:19.

drones and in cater puts and tennis balls. Prisoners will get themselves

:15:20.:15:26.

recalled to prison stuffed with things in unmentional places. There

:15:27.:15:32.

are other issues, one is also the question of radicalisation. You have

:15:33.:15:34.

real fears about this. You need to take a sophisticated

:15:35.:15:45.

approach to this. There are a small number of dangerous men in prison

:15:46.:15:47.

who are trying to radicalise other. You have to make a distinction

:15:48.:15:51.

between them and those that develop a genuine religious faith, that will

:15:52.:15:56.

reduce the risk of them reoffending and gangs who are Muslims as well.

:15:57.:16:04.

Let's talk about the transgender issue, that is something that has

:16:05.:16:08.

been a much greater feature in the last two or three years. Managing

:16:09.:16:14.

transgender prisoners is difficult. Do you think it has been done

:16:15.:16:19.

properly? I think it needs to be done with a degree of sensitivity.

:16:20.:16:26.

Some of the sea asides -- suicides we have seen reflects the difficulty

:16:27.:16:30.

the prison has with anyone who needs different needs. Anyone, mental

:16:31.:16:38.

issues, transgender. Give me an example? It is about where you put

:16:39.:16:43.

them and recognising particular a when people first come into prison,

:16:44.:16:46.

that is when the risk of suicide is greatest. Getting that decision

:16:47.:16:52.

right, about how you place people, too often you put people where there

:16:53.:16:56.

is a space. You put people in the wrong prison. How do you choose?

:16:57.:17:03.

What the policy should be, you make an individual decision based on the

:17:04.:17:06.

circumstances of that individual. You have been critical about the

:17:07.:17:11.

impact of private providers in prison. We know there have been

:17:12.:17:15.

seven members of staff suspended tonight because there has been a big

:17:16.:17:21.

investigation on Panorama, and the treatment in a youth prison fell far

:17:22.:17:28.

short. I haven't seen the footage for Panorama, but if the account is

:17:29.:17:34.

a true, it is a disgrace. But the lesson we should learn, if you put

:17:35.:17:38.

vulnerable people in a closed institution, they are at risk. And

:17:39.:17:43.

too often the authorities, the systems take their eye off that

:17:44.:17:47.

ball. You may not have known about Medway, but Raines broke, a secure

:17:48.:17:52.

training centre, the contract was taken away from G4S last year. Don't

:17:53.:18:00.

you think you should be looking at that series of contracts much more

:18:01.:18:07.

closely? We did pay attention and we were looking at that very closely. I

:18:08.:18:14.

think... I don't think, what we were saying was contradicted by others. I

:18:15.:18:17.

don't think the right lessons were learned. I don't manage any present,

:18:18.:18:22.

and I think there are questions to be asked about wider lessons from

:18:23.:18:27.

Raines broke, which we set out in diesel, were not learned. I think

:18:28.:18:32.

the accountability for that... Does the government not have enough

:18:33.:18:38.

power? I think there are issues. The directors, as they are called, have

:18:39.:18:42.

the authority to run it. I think there are questions here for the

:18:43.:18:47.

company. Too many private companies in the prison service in England and

:18:48.:18:51.

Wales? I do not think it is a question

:18:52.:18:53.

Wales? I do not think it is a have these problems in the public

:18:54.:18:57.

sector as well. The managers and people in more senior positions need

:18:58.:19:03.

to be accountable for what happens in the places they are responsible

:19:04.:19:09.

for. Thank you for joining us. The panorama programme will be broadcast

:19:10.:19:11.

on BBC One at 8:30pm. In Northern Ireland

:19:12.:19:13.

abortion is illegal. The 1967 Abortion Act does

:19:14.:19:15.

not extend to that part Therefore, anyone who performs

:19:16.:19:17.

an illegal termination could be Last month a High Court judge

:19:18.:19:20.

in Belfast ruled that Northern Ireland's position

:19:21.:19:27.

was incompatible with Human Rights Legislation, and now

:19:28.:19:33.

the onus is on the Stormont Assembly But women in Northern Ireland

:19:34.:19:36.

who wish an abortion have been defying the law by buying pills

:19:37.:19:43.

which are sent to them, to bring on a termination,

:19:44.:19:45.

thus risking prosecution. One such woman, Suzanne Lee

:19:46.:19:50.

is in our Dublin studio. Also joining us is Northern

:19:51.:19:52.

Ireland's Justice Minister David Good evening to you both. First of

:19:53.:20:04.

all, Suzanne Lee, how many women do you think in Northern Ireland have

:20:05.:20:07.

taken the abortion pill question what I know you have been involved

:20:08.:20:11.

in talking to people. What is your estimation? I think it is very hard

:20:12.:20:19.

to gauge how many people have taken it, because where these pills come

:20:20.:20:23.

from, they do not release figures of how many people get them because

:20:24.:20:27.

customs are shut down. For a lot of people it is their only option,

:20:28.:20:31.

their only way of getting an abortion. I know that when I go to

:20:32.:20:38.

meetings or... There's even been times when I have been walking down

:20:39.:20:42.

the street and women will come up to me and tell me that they've ordered

:20:43.:20:46.

pills, that they've had an abortion. I'd say this happens three or four

:20:47.:20:53.

times a month. It was a very difficult decision,

:20:54.:20:57.

I'm sure, for you to go public about this. I just want to take you

:20:58.:21:02.

through what actually happened. You had an abortion pill sent to you in

:21:03.:21:05.

Northern Ireland. Did you actually take it within Northern Ireland?

:21:06.:21:13.

I go to college in the Republic of Ireland, where abortion is also

:21:14.:21:20.

illegal. But you cannot get the abortion pills sent here because

:21:21.:21:24.

customs will seize it. So I ordered it from there. But the law is if you

:21:25.:21:31.

procure noxious substances to induce an abortion, that is what the crime

:21:32.:21:35.

is. So, do you believe you broke the

:21:36.:21:40.

law? You must have known when you took this pill that you might be

:21:41.:21:45.

prosecuted? There is a possibility you would be prosecuted?

:21:46.:21:52.

At the time when I was pregnant it was always in the back of my mind.

:21:53.:21:57.

What I was doing was illegal but I didn't want to be pregnant so much

:21:58.:22:01.

that that just wasn't high up on my list of priorities. Yes, it is

:22:02.:22:08.

illegal, but no, I don't want to be pregnant, I can't afford to be

:22:09.:22:11.

pregnant. It just wasn't the right time. So in a lot of ways, it's the

:22:12.:22:17.

strange double-edged sword where you worried about prosecution but at the

:22:18.:22:21.

same time you're so relieved not to be pregnant.

:22:22.:22:27.

David Forde. Technically presumably Suzanne could still be prosecuted?

:22:28.:22:33.

That is a decision for the police to consider, the Public prosecution

:22:34.:22:38.

service. They are not issues for the ministers to decide. It is a

:22:39.:22:43.

possibility, a legal possibility? I wonder if you have sympathy with

:22:44.:22:47.

Suzanne's plight? One can have sympathy with the

:22:48.:22:52.

plight of an individual, but Minister's roles are to carry out

:22:53.:22:57.

their duties and individual sympathies are an issue. The

:22:58.:23:01.

consultation I conducted last year was around the issue of allowing

:23:02.:23:07.

abortions in the case of fatal abnormality because of the concerns

:23:08.:23:13.

people had for the women stuck with the dreadful diagnosis. That would

:23:14.:23:17.

not necessarily be the case for Suzanne and other women who have

:23:18.:23:21.

taken the abortion pill? I accept that is not the case, but I'm

:23:22.:23:26.

talking about where I have expressed sympathy for individuals, where it

:23:27.:23:30.

showed there was willingness on the part of Minister to say it was a

:23:31.:23:35.

difficult issue. Do you think the Stormont assembly should come up

:23:36.:23:37.

with legislation that changes to come within the parameters of human

:23:38.:23:43.

rights legislation? Is it time for Northern Ireland to move now? I

:23:44.:23:47.

conducted a consultation which began last autumn, over a year ago, on the

:23:48.:23:52.

issue of allowing abortion in the cases of fatal Faizal abnormality,

:23:53.:23:59.

rate, and incest. That is when we should act. I put that in a paper to

:24:00.:24:05.

the executive, because as a minister I have to get executive approval

:24:06.:24:09.

before I can seek to legislate. The suggestion that we should legislate

:24:10.:24:20.

in the case of fatal feet all -- abnormalities in foetuses. I hope I

:24:21.:24:24.

will have a discussion with fellow ministers eventually on the 21st of

:24:25.:24:28.

January, at the next state and executive meeting. On the question

:24:29.:24:33.

of change to the law in Northern Ireland, do you think there is

:24:34.:24:41.

appetite for changing to the 1967 abortion act, which is in place in

:24:42.:24:46.

other parts of the United Kingdom? I think there is very little appetite

:24:47.:24:53.

to change to the 1967 abortion act. I think there could be a sufficient

:24:54.:24:58.

appetite to legislate in case of the issues we're talking about, fatal

:24:59.:25:03.

abnormality in foetuses, where there is no life to protect. In the case,

:25:04.:25:09.

as you heard, of Suzanne, that means that really for people who do not

:25:10.:25:13.

face these different things, which are sexual crime, and fatal

:25:14.:25:24.

abnormality in foetuses, it would hold a heavy prison sentence

:25:25.:25:32.

question mark yes,. But the reality is I can only operate where I get

:25:33.:25:36.

the acceptance of a majority of the members of the executive, and you

:25:37.:25:42.

just had a discussion about difficulties within single party

:25:43.:25:44.

governments and Cabinet ministers disagreeing. I am a minister where

:25:45.:25:53.

there are four different parties with different views. Suzanne,

:25:54.:26:00.

nothing being discussed in terms of human rights legislation will make a

:26:01.:26:04.

difference to many women in Northern Ireland who do take the abortion

:26:05.:26:11.

hill. I wonder what you feel, public opinion... David Forde is talking

:26:12.:26:18.

about the fact they are a multiparty government in Northern Ireland. Do

:26:19.:26:20.

you accept a lot of public opinion will not be on your site in Northern

:26:21.:26:27.

Ireland? I think that outwardly a lot of people in Northern Ireland

:26:28.:26:31.

would say that they don't agree with abortion, but privately they would.

:26:32.:26:38.

I think because abortion is illegal, there is this huge stigma attached

:26:39.:26:43.

to it. It is not easy for people to come out and say I have had an

:26:44.:26:47.

abortion, or I support abortion because the parties in Stormont

:26:48.:26:51.

don't want to address that. Surely the role of the people in Stormont

:26:52.:26:56.

is to represent the people of Northern Ireland. Essentially what

:26:57.:27:00.

they're doing is ignoring half the population, sweeping us under the

:27:01.:27:03.

carpet, hoping they do not have to listen to us and will not have to

:27:04.:27:06.

deal with us. I don't want their sympathy, I want the right to

:27:07.:27:09.

control my own body. They're not going to give that to me. I wonder

:27:10.:27:14.

what that means to you and other women, who are considering this

:27:15.:27:20.

path. You are actually presumably in contravention of the law and know

:27:21.:27:26.

that. What will that mean for you? Because I know what I've done is

:27:27.:27:32.

illegal, and I know that Stormont aren't going to address it, the only

:27:33.:27:39.

way I can see going forward, is for me to make the law on workable. I've

:27:40.:27:47.

done this, it's legal and I continue to provide abortion pills for other

:27:48.:27:51.

people that need them, which is also illegal. I'm tired of hearing bears

:27:52.:27:56.

no appetite for it. Nobody has ever asked me. Thank you both very much

:27:57.:27:59.

indeed. At the start of a new year,

:28:00.:28:02.

when people naturally incline to alcohol abstinance,

:28:03.:28:05.

or at least a reduced intake, after the excesses of the festive

:28:06.:28:07.

season, the news that there is no healthy way to drink alcohol,

:28:08.:28:10.

is like kicking a man or woman 14 units a week is the absolute

:28:11.:28:13.

maximum for all, according to the Chief Medeical Officer

:28:14.:28:17.

for England, but unless you, like Nigel Farage, are contemptuous

:28:18.:28:21.

of what he calls the new "puritannical guidelines," is yet

:28:22.:28:25.

another new health campaign going to curb your enthusiasm

:28:26.:28:27.

for the demon drink? Here's our Temperance

:28:28.:28:29.

Correspondent Stephen Smith. For years and years TV news has had

:28:30.:28:36.

a desperate craving for stories about how much it's safe

:28:37.:28:39.

to drink and smoke. Wait a minute, if we all stop

:28:40.:28:44.

smoking, they'll double You may as well finish that one,

:28:45.:28:46.

it will soothe your nerves. Once upon a time we could just do

:28:47.:28:54.

what Pathe News did, and take the word of detached

:28:55.:28:57.

industry insiders on the risk In my opinion, to single out smoking

:28:58.:29:00.

as a causal agent, is, on the evidence today,

:29:01.:29:06.

completely unjustified. Thank you very much,

:29:07.:29:09.

sir, for your help. Thank you very much for letting me

:29:10.:29:11.

put our views forward. You better have a cigarette

:29:12.:29:14.

before you go. VOICEOVER: The chemicals you inhale

:29:15.:29:16.

cause mutations in your body... But surely the Government's

:29:17.:29:20.

anti-smoking messages have hit home. I think it's helped a bit,

:29:21.:29:24.

I think largely what helped is the fact there was

:29:25.:29:29.

a change in legislation. It became much more expensive,

:29:30.:29:32.

though I think basically the cost People are much more aware

:29:33.:29:34.

of the risks, but also it's If you can't smoke on the train,

:29:35.:29:38.

the plane or the restaurant, then you've got to go and huddle

:29:39.:29:42.

outside, and that's not really So what chance today's new guidance

:29:43.:29:48.

on safer drinking? The Chief Medical Officer says it's

:29:49.:29:52.

been driven by science. Well, that since the first time

:29:53.:29:57.

in over 20 years we've done a significant scientific review,

:29:58.:30:00.

and it's very complex, There are short-term consequences,

:30:01.:30:03.

and preventable mortality. Bringing all of that together,

:30:04.:30:09.

what we now have are guidelines for low risk drinking,

:30:10.:30:14.

which is 14 units in a week, spread over two, three, four days,

:30:15.:30:18.

for both men and women. In the unlikely event that you've

:30:19.:30:28.

been anywhere near a unit of alcohol this evening, you may be grateful

:30:29.:30:31.

for that clarification, One week I'm told that drinking red

:30:32.:30:34.

wine will make my heart better, another time I'm told drinking red

:30:35.:30:42.

wine won't make my heart better. I'm told I should take all sorts

:30:43.:30:45.

of strange drugs one minute, The medical advice is chaotic,

:30:46.:30:48.

all over the place, comes from everywhere, you never know

:30:49.:30:53.

what the credibility I think it's a pity that

:30:54.:30:55.

someone with as big a title as the Chief Medical Officer

:30:56.:31:01.

of Health should say things that are so extreme, that they will

:31:02.:31:03.

immediately make people say "I'm not Mrs Thatcher's former PR guru

:31:04.:31:06.

thinks his successors show little savvy about getting the message

:31:07.:31:11.

right on health. I think it has to be done

:31:12.:31:17.

with particular skill, and I don't think this government,

:31:18.:31:20.

or any other government, particularly not the current

:31:21.:31:23.

Labour Party, has any skill or any belief in the requirement

:31:24.:31:26.

for there to be a decent Now, I'm going to show you three

:31:27.:31:28.

things, and you've got to tell me Well, you seem to know what to do

:31:29.:31:36.

with that one all right. Remember - coughs and

:31:37.:31:43.

sneezes spread diseases. This campaign apparently helped

:31:44.:31:53.

a baffled Britain come to terms with the invention

:31:54.:31:57.

of the handkerchief. When you look back at public health

:31:58.:31:58.

campaigns, there is remarkably little evidence that they

:31:59.:32:03.

make a big difference. The other thing which is very

:32:04.:32:05.

difficult to factor into this is the emotional and psychological,

:32:06.:32:08.

and therefore physical benefits of being with friends

:32:09.:32:14.

and having a good laugh. So, if you kind of banned

:32:15.:32:16.

all alcohol, would you get rid of that entirely or would we go

:32:17.:32:23.

on sipping cups of coffee I don't know, I think that one

:32:24.:32:26.

is very difficult to quantify. That is all we have time for. We are

:32:27.:32:32.

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