11/03/2016 Newsnight


11/03/2016

In-depth investigation and analysis of the stories behind the day's headlines with Kirsty Wark. Are US-UK relations in trouble? Will Self on the EU referendum.


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Transcript


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Tonight a Labour MP speaks out about the shocking intimidation

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designed to frighten them away from political office.

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In recent weeks, when I have spoken up about this issue,

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I felt extremely pressured to be silent on the things that I know

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to be true, the issues I have already raised.

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And, I think, in many ways, it represents the culture

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of our party in some ways that we need to change.

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We talk to some of the women making the allegations.

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Stuff was posted through my letterbox.

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When I opened it, it was a picture of the page three nude

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model and a picture of my head attached.

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suggests David Cameron's a "free rider" over Libya.

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Could this careless talk cost the special relationship?

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Can a dog tell us about why the word "Elite" is becoming the insult most

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So, we think Bertie here is the best creature to help us chew

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through Britain's latest and most troubling

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We'll puncture the semantics of the campaign so far

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musician Thurston Moore looks back at 40 years of punk rock.

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I want to recapture what I've found so fresh and dangerous about punk

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and what lessons we can learn from it today.

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The Labour leadership stands accused tonight of being unwilling to deal

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with claims of systematic misogyny and the "blocking" of Muslim women

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as councillors in some areas by male members of the party

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In a moment, an interview with a Labour MP

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who tells us he's felt pressured to be silent on things

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But first our latest report on this issue.

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Since Newsnight first revealed the intimidation and shaming

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of Muslim women in parts of the Labour Party five weeks ago,

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we have been told that some are actually being threatened

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with violence by sinister elements within their communities.

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by our special correspondent Katie Razzall

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a number of other Muslim women have contacted us,

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often under the cloak of anonymity for fear of reprisals.

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We are talking about really sinister elements.

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I had phone calls to say your son is five, do you want him to be six?

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You're doing this interview anonymously.

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I live in fear for myself and my family.

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Five weeks ago, Newsnight broadcast claims by Muslim women that Muslim

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men from within the Labour Party blocked them from becoming local

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The charity, Muslim Women's Network UK, wrote to the Labour leader,

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Jeremy Corbyn, demanding an inquiry into what it

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A month on, more troubling claims have come to light.

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We're talking about women actually fearing for their lives,

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saying we were getting harassed, threatened with violence.

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They are so scared, they don't want to go to the police,

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and don't even want to come out publicly

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We are calling this Asian woman Zahara.

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A former Labour councillor, she makes pretty startling

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allegations about some of her Pakistani-heritage former

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colleagues, who are still Labour councillors today.

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On one occasion, she claims the police gave councillors sexually

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explicit video footage to watch before making a decision

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about whether a local club should be shut down.

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The decision ultimately should have been to close

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the establishment down because of inappropriate behaviours

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between young white girls and Asian males, that

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were being shown in the video.

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I was clearly told to stop questioning by a hand gesture

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and a nudge by senior male councillors that were Asian,

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It was a very prominent Asian businessmen that supports us.

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I agree, it is very serious, but I think it is

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Zahara also says those same councillors regularly

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persuaded Asian women suffering domestic violence to go back

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They would go to the councillors and they would be told,

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Luckily those women got away because I just persevered.

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Newsnight has spoken to 25 Asian women across the UK.

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All complain of Labour councillors and members of Pakistani heritage

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They say they block vocal independent Asian women

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like Arooj Shah from entering local government,

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or try to get them deselected if they do.

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In some parts of the UK, like in Oldham, where Ms Shah

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is a Labour councillor, the party has taken over

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She says that is because they know, in her predominantly Asian ward,

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there is even resistance from inside the Labour Party

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There are Labour Party members who will support my

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two ward colleagues who are both Asian men.

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When it comes to me, will support anybody but me.

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They are members of the local Labour Party.

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Anyone who tries to sugar-coat it or present it in anyway is just

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Some of them have come up with derogatory

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comments like, she is a Muslim woman, she shouldn't

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Some of us have actually dragged them onside and gone,

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Where in Islam does it say a female cannot represent us?

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Councillor Shah told me, influential local Labour members

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spread rumours that she sleeps around, that she is corrupt,

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a money-launderer, and brief against her to voters.

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The regional party supports but it is

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hard to gather the evidence to push through a successful complaint.

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Stuff was posted through my letterbox.

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When I opened it, it was a picture of a page three nude model

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and a picture of my head attached to that.

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That is a tactic often used to dishonour Muslim women and it has

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You know, pornographic images with my face on.

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Najma Hafeez was the first Muslim woman on Birmingham Council back

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I had phone calls to say, your son is five, do you want him

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Do you know who was making the phone calls?

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It was one of my colleagues, so-called.

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And, unfortunately, a member of my own community.

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The only way we will stop it is by exposing this.

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It is not easy for me to say this against my

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own community but it is bad practice and we must stop it.

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Labour has a better record than other parties on getting

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The women we have spoken to say the party often turns a blind eye

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when Pakistani heritage members influence

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the democratic process by packing individual wards

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One woman said Asian councillors were threatening

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and scaring my family into getting me to step aside.

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Another said, these men were capable of anything.

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In the end, I was deselected, despite all

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Another ex-councillor explained how she was ousted.

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One of the local councillors had been recruiting family and friends

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Zahara claims her deselection was masterminded by some of her fellow

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councillors because she refused to give in to their demands.

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It became very apparent on the night.

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These were people I had never seen before.

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They were told to be there by certain

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senior Asian councillors, and to vote in a certain way.

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It is generations of people who have done this.

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There were two or three young Asian males

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that found the courage to ring me up and tell me and said

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I sent letters of complaint to the regional office and the head

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I was told there was no case to answer.

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Newsnight has seen other complaints from ex-councillors,

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detailing what they claim were election flaws and misogynist

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Most women told us their complaints were not addressed.

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The Labour Party gave us their statement. The Labour Party has

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transformed the representation of women in politics. Any complaints or

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evidence of sexism received by the Labour Party are dealt with fairly,

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according to our procedures and the law.

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Earlier, I spoke to the Labour MP for Luton South, Gavin Shuker.

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I started by asking him about his reaction to Katie's report.

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Katie's film is really shocking. I feel most shopped for the women who

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have had to come out and make this case. They deserve some cover from

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the wider Labour Party. It is clear the stories they were telling ones

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that chime with my own experience, actually. I think we have a real

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problem in getting capable young women from the Asian community

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selected for some it is not good enough to say we are the most

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representative party. We need to uphold values and representation

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procedures. I know you are not just interested in your own constituency,

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but tell us about your constituency. I have worked hard to make sure each

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selection at local Gottman and for the Parliamentary seat have been

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done fairly. The real problem is in broadly South Asian communities and

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constituencies, it is easy to sign up members of your friends and

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family can get them along to meetings. This is called membership

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packing and is expressly outlawed in the rules of the Labour Party. We

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spoke to Najma Hafeez, who was threatened, that her son would not

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reach his sixth birthday. She seemed a rest. Do you think things are

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getting worse? There is a huge upward pressure of people who want

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to be representatives of our party. They are consistently being frozen

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out of selection process is because the other most capable on the most

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threatening. I do not know if it is getting any worse but the situation,

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in my opinion, for those women, could not get any worse. After you

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raise this, what was the response? I raised concerns of membership

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packing and what came from it which is essentially good, capable Asian

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women not being selected. Since I have been a Member of Parliament,

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the things I have put forward were genuinely shocking and still it

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feels like there is no support in terms of tackling these abuses on

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the ground. Katie got a response from the Labour Party that said we

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deal individually with instances, or allegations of instances, of racism

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and sexism with the proper procedures. Is that enough? I have

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sympathy with dealing on a narrow points. What we are talking about is

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a cultural issue that needs to be challenged on every single level.

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That requires elected parliamentarians and politicians

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challenging the cultured day in and day out. You talk about it being a

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cultural issue. In saying that, do you feel worried you will be

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fingered as a racist? I do not, personally. I feel like I am

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representing my Muslim Asian members who say to me consistently we are

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good, capable and frozen out. This is the challenge for the Labour

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Party. It used to be we could rely on blocks and votes from

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communities. I think that is less true. This is an electoral

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imperatives. We cannot carry on treating the Muslim community as

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balls. We need to serve up quake candidates at every level. The

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community knows when abuse is apparent. Have you spoken to MPs

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with large south Asian communities? I have. There is a sense of, if we

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were to pick up a fuss, with anything happen? Someone who has

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kicked up a fuss may be right, actually. Is that not deeply

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depressing? Deeply depressing and brutal that a member of the

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Parliamentary Labour Party has to come up to provide cover for women

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in our community who are suffering as a result of our action. Why do

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you talk about having spoken to the general secretary of the Labour

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Party, what do you want to happen? You'll I have been disappointed with

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the response from the Labour Party and the allegations made by

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Newsnight. I have felt pressured to be silent on the things I know to be

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true, issues I have already raised. I think, in many ways, it represents

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the culture of our party in some ways we need to change. When people

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come forward with legitimate concerns, they should be back, not

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silenced. What you want Jeremy Corbyn to do? You'll I would like

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robust action from the leadership, both from the NEC and the leader of

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the leather party, to say, if there are these practices, we will take

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time to sort them out. -- the Labour Party. We will seek to silence them

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and work with them. That is something Jeremy could do.

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so said Barack Obama in a forthright interview

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in the latest edition of The Atlantic magazine.

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feeling the loosening of the leash no doubt,

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Among the free riders, France and Britain,

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at least as far as the Libya operation was concerned.

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Obama said that some were eager to drag the United States

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into sectarian conflicts that sometimes had little to do

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with American interests, and that his support of the NATO

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military intervention in Libya had been a mistake,

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driven in part by his belief that Britain and France would bear more

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of the burden of the operation than they did.

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VOICEOVER: Right now, the so-called special relationship

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between the UK and the US

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does not seem quite as special as it did back then.

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Alas, I cannot imitate this wonderful American-English accent.

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when the relationship has been bumpier.

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This time, the bump in the road has been caused by Obama's frustration

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in Europe's tendency to push the US to act,

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and then showing an unwillingness to put any skin in the game.

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became distracted by a range of other things,

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The White House has been backpedalling today.

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saying the President did not mean to be critical of David Cameron.

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It has said that the US is also to blame for the chaos in Libya.

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changes in tone depending on who is in office,

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A President soon to be off the leash or a new

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hard headed approach to the US's junior partner across the water.

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STUDIO: Joining me now from Stanford University

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former Under Secretary of State under

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George W Bush and former US ambassador to NATO.

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We know that Barack Obama has rowed back but were you surprised by the

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tone of his responses in the magazine? I was, I have great

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respect for Barack Obama, what he was trying to articulate is a

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sentiment shared by a lot of Americans across both parties, the

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weakening of the French military, and the cutting of the military

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budget. They weakening of the military when the arable resolutions

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were breaking out in 2011 and 2012 but to somehow suggest that Britain

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and France let us down, I think it in another way, I think the US

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should have played a bigger role in the Libya operation in 2011. There

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was a clear view minute imperative to save the people of Benghazi from

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colonel Gaddafi and his army, the fact the United States took a step

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back was a mistake in a Nato operation. We are in this together,

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we have always fought with Britain and France, we could have done

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better. I know that you support Barack Obama, would you say that in

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a way, this unloading was a defensive mechanism? It was part of

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an extraordinary interview that he gave to the magazine, The Atlantic.

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Probably the most sophisticated expression of his views on the use

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of power, he went into great detail about his refusal to act in Syria.

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This was the context of the remarks. My own opinion is that on both sides

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of the Atlantic we are only as strong as our commitment to each

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other. It is true that the United States accounts for 75% of the

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defence spending of all of the Nato allies, and so to in the opinion of

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Barack Obama, take them out, have them play a second role, it was not

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workable. -- secondary role. If we are looking to account for the

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failure of Libya, we should have stayed in, having gone in, we should

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have tried to help them put their civil is Asian back together, and

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neither United States nor the United Kingdom did that. Do you think that

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his relationship with David Cameron is a close one, inasmuch as Barack

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Obama is close to any otherworldly do? It has been said by many people

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that Barack Obama does not have a lot of close relationships with

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world leaders. My sense, I am an outsider, I think they have great

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respect for each other, that Britain has been a great friend to the

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United States in many ways. I hope the reverse is true, I hope the

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British people feel the same way, about the United States. They tend

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to work well together. This particular article came out of the

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blue, it was surprising for a lot of people, if anything, who should we

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blame for the problems of the Middle East? Iran, the Islamic State, the

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jihadi groups that are wreaking havoc, but we should not blame our

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greatest ally in the world. I think there is a special relationship and

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Britain is still the closest friend the United States has. Thank you

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very much. When Tony Blair dived into the EU

:20:25.:20:28.

Referendum debate this morning calling for more passion

:20:29.:20:31.

from the Pro-EU side, he also deplored

:20:32.:20:33.

the use of the E word. He challenged the idea,

:20:34.:20:35.

put about by many who want a Brexit, that backing Britain's membership

:20:36.:20:39.

of the EU was the choice of

:20:40.:20:41.

the political elite, opining that there are plenty

:20:42.:20:42.

of elites on the other side too. and when did it become such

:20:43.:20:49.

loaded dirty word? In a moment we'll be

:20:50.:20:52.

discussing that, and whether the whole debate over

:20:53.:20:54.

the referendum needs broadening, but first: here's our resident

:20:55.:20:56.

etymologist John Sweeney. VOICEOVER: Britain's never-ending

:20:57.:21:10.

class war has spawned a new mutation in the last few weeks. The elites

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Are under attack. Who are these elites, of whom they speak, well, to

:21:23.:21:26.

find out more, there is no better a creature than dirty, he is half a

:21:27.:21:33.

toy poodle, and half a whippet, he has a poor in both camps, so to

:21:34.:21:39.

speak, so we think he is the best creature to help us choose through

:21:40.:21:43.

Britain's latest and most troubling social dilemma. Battle commenced

:21:44.:21:47.

from Newsnight one month ago. What is very clear about the 75 year, in

:21:48.:21:52.

this referendum, it is exactly the same, the establishment and the

:21:53.:21:56.

elites, including this great corporation of which Devon is a

:21:57.:22:02.

member... Are you a savage men? -- Evan Are you a lead? -- are you

:22:03.:22:11.

establishment? Others will judge. And I do. The one-time British king,

:22:12.:22:18.

what the Mayor of London calls wiff-waff. Two components, that the

:22:19.:22:24.

people who got to the top did so in a rigged game, that they have the

:22:25.:22:29.

connections rather than having the ability and working hard. Also, once

:22:30.:22:33.

they got there are, they want to self perpetuate, give it to other

:22:34.:22:37.

people that they know rather than the public, so there is a distance

:22:38.:22:40.

between the elite and those who elect them. As the Euro referendum

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hits fever pitch, or at least, a host of golden daffodils, Bertie and

:22:48.:22:55.

I went in search of the elite. I asked the owner of the British

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bulldog whether he was a member of the elite. It depends upon what you

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are classing as an elite, there is an elite in all sorts of things.

:23:06.:23:12.

Don't need the microphone, Bentley, please! LAUGHTER

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Would you say that Bentley is a member of an elite? In the dock

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while, I would say, yes. Are you a member of the elite? Certainly not!

:23:29.:23:37.

-- in the dog world. Those who are arguing in favour of the exit are

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not elite and those that want to stay our elite, what do you think?

:23:46.:23:49.

I'm interested in remaining, it is nothing to do with economics, iron

:23:50.:23:55.

just post-war, and somehow the idea of a united Europe attracts me more

:23:56.:23:59.

than the idea of a fragmented Europe. We have always bred old

:24:00.:24:04.

English sheepdog, we had the 1990 winner at Crufts. Is your dog a

:24:05.:24:10.

member of the elite? No, he's just a pet, and me, not really. All the

:24:11.:24:15.

people you talk to that want to stay in are getting something out of it,

:24:16.:24:19.

I am getting nothing out of it but I do and see the point of being ruled

:24:20.:24:25.

by Brussels. If you want to do something even in the park you have

:24:26.:24:30.

got to get permission. Unbelievable. The ping-pong man told me that he

:24:31.:24:40.

went to a comprehensive. Have you had elocution lessons? I have never

:24:41.:24:47.

had elocution lessons, I would love a society where it did not matter

:24:48.:24:52.

what kind of a jacket you walk, even if it was as hideous as that one. It

:24:53.:24:58.

would only matter, your ability and your work ethic, not your accent,

:24:59.:25:05.

not anything else. Bertie, give me back the microphone! Whether you are

:25:06.:25:11.

for leave all remain, class still dogs our society. As they say, never

:25:12.:25:13.

work with children or animals. STUDIO: Joining me to debate the

:25:14.:25:25.

debate about Europe are the writer Will Self, and Munira Mirza,

:25:26.:25:27.

London's Deputy Mayor for Education and Culture. We will go on to talk

:25:28.:25:31.

about the broader Topix, in terms of the tenor of the campaign, but your

:25:32.:25:35.

thought, leaving the EU, why do you think that calling those in the

:25:36.:25:39.

Remain campaign the elite is an effective tool?

:25:40.:25:44.

It reflects the way in which a lot of people feel about the EU, as

:25:45.:25:53.

being so far removed from their lives, the decision-making is very

:25:54.:25:56.

remote, they think it is anti-democratic. That sense that the

:25:57.:26:01.

elite is not thinking about their interests, that is quite a potent

:26:02.:26:08.

one. Would you use language like that? In your everyday discourse, on

:26:09.:26:16.

the campaign, would you agree with using those sentiments? Talking

:26:17.:26:21.

about an elite? Which wants to remain, and, as you say, having the

:26:22.:26:27.

reins of power. You do not have the reins of power, you want to leave.

:26:28.:26:31.

The amazing thing about the referendum is that people are being

:26:32.:26:35.

given a choice, so fundamental to our democracy, about how we are

:26:36.:26:38.

governed, the democracy, where we put money, borders. The idea that...

:26:39.:26:49.

And another unelected elite may make those decisions in Brussels, the

:26:50.:26:54.

idea that you may be able to overturned that and take control

:26:55.:27:00.

back, that is exciting. It is becoming a bit of a catch all, this

:27:01.:27:04.

term, it is a way of people registering... I agree to an extent,

:27:05.:27:09.

it is a registration of a disconnection from the political

:27:10.:27:13.

class. By pushing it further and further away, to Brussels, we can

:27:14.:27:17.

ignore what is on the end of the fork rather than domestic league, a

:27:18.:27:20.

disconnection within existing politics. That is why semantically

:27:21.:27:26.

it becomes very fluid and slippery, it can be applied anywhere. The idea

:27:27.:27:35.

of people troughing on the Brussels gravy train, that is true, I can

:27:36.:27:38.

think of some very egregious examples in the political class,

:27:39.:27:42.

Neil Kinnock, for example, corruption Commissioner in Brussels,

:27:43.:27:49.

for seven years, and picked up a very generous salary, and that kind

:27:50.:27:57.

of thing. People are angry about it. It was focused on MPs in Westminster

:27:58.:28:02.

if you years ago. It is a free-floating dissatisfaction. You

:28:03.:28:06.

work for Boris, he sent you an e-mail saying, signed up to the

:28:07.:28:12.

campaign or get sacked. Nobody has been sacked, that is worth

:28:13.:28:15.

mentioning, he said it was a mistake, able offering to speak

:28:16.:28:18.

their mind. Look at what has happened to them overnight, he has

:28:19.:28:22.

come out, and instantly, his rhetoric has become a apocalyptic,

:28:23.:28:33.

in true Borisian style, he is talking about dictators and all of

:28:34.:28:39.

this. This is a general sentiment, we can recognise, many people around

:28:40.:28:43.

the world, not just the UK, very disengaged in politics, that is why

:28:44.:28:47.

we see the rise of things like Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders. If

:28:48.:28:53.

you say you disengaged from Westminster, they say yes, if you

:28:54.:28:59.

say disengaged from Brussels, they say yes, they would even disengage

:29:00.:29:04.

from some little constituency. What we are missing in the debate is an

:29:05.:29:08.

understanding of what the issues are, it is in the interest of

:29:09.:29:11.

neither side is to discuss the truth, it doesn't matter if you have

:29:12.:29:16.

a vote to leave all remain, the fundamental issues of the control,

:29:17.:29:20.

the borders, for example, and over the people control of fundamental

:29:21.:29:25.

issues of government, will not be improved in either way. More people

:29:26.:29:31.

in this country know the names of their MPs than their MEPs, and it is

:29:32.:29:36.

true that British exit will not solve overnight the centre

:29:37.:29:40.

disengagement, all the problems of democracy, but it is an important

:29:41.:29:44.

moment, giving people the choice over some very real issues in our

:29:45.:29:48.

society, about the money that we send over, who makes decisions about

:29:49.:29:53.

what border should be, who prioritises... It is more to do with

:29:54.:29:57.

the political class trying to reinvigorate its sense of purpose,

:29:58.:30:00.

we are living in a more free trial than ever that we are living in a

:30:01.:30:07.

world which is more febrile than ever. It is not about beliefs and

:30:08.:30:11.

fear mongering. It is important that we have these arguments. If they are

:30:12.:30:16.

about the right thing. People will get a chance to hear different

:30:17.:30:21.

arguments, that is why the BBC are doing a televised debate. The think

:30:22.:30:25.

find rather worrying, there is a lazy assumption that all the people

:30:26.:30:28.

who want to leave our little Englanders, xenophobic, acolytes of

:30:29.:30:33.

Nigel Farage. -- the thing that I find rather worrying. So that if you

:30:34.:30:38.

are right thinking, you must want to remain. There is a laziness in that

:30:39.:30:42.

thinking, there is some very good internationalist arguments,

:30:43.:30:45.

regressive arguments for wanting to leave. I have not heard any, all I

:30:46.:30:56.

have heard is Tory MPs action saying that he is in favour of which is

:30:57.:31:01.

exit and his headline argument is money, money in your pocket, he is

:31:02.:31:05.

of Ghanaian origin, but what tipped him was the issue of people from

:31:06.:31:10.

outside the European Union being discriminated against in terms of

:31:11.:31:14.

it. I'm afraid we have got to wrap this up, I'm sure that we will come

:31:15.:31:18.

back to it several times over the course of the vote.

:31:19.:31:22.

Now Artsnight, where this week's guest Editor is Thurston Moore,

:31:23.:31:26.

THIS PROGRAMME CONTAINS SOME STRONG LANGUAGE

:31:27.:31:31.

40 years ago, I was an out-of-place teenager

:31:32.:31:33.

inspired to move to Manhattan to join in the punk revolution.

:31:34.:31:39.

Musicians like Patti Smith and the Ramones

:31:40.:31:43.

A Labour MP says he was silenced by the party when he complained about the treatment of Muslim women. Plus, are US-UK relations in trouble? And Will Self on the EU referendum.


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