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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Tonight a Labour MP speaks out about the shocking intimidation
designed to frighten them away from political office.
In recent weeks, when I have spoken up about this issue,
I felt extremely pressured to be silent on the things that I know
to be true, the issues I have already raised.
And, I think, in many ways, it represents the culture
of our party in some ways that we need to change.
We talk to some of the women making the allegations.
Stuff was posted through my letterbox.
When I opened it, it was a picture of the page three nude
model and a picture of my head attached.
suggests David Cameron's a "free rider" over Libya.
Could this careless talk cost the special relationship?
Can a dog tell us about why the word "Elite" is becoming the insult most
So, we think Bertie here is the best creature to help us chew
through Britain's latest and most troubling
We'll puncture the semantics of the campaign so far
musician Thurston Moore looks back at 40 years of punk rock.
I want to recapture what I've found so fresh and dangerous about punk
and what lessons we can learn from it today.
The Labour leadership stands accused tonight of being unwilling to deal
with claims of systematic misogyny and the "blocking" of Muslim women
as councillors in some areas by male members of the party
In a moment, an interview with a Labour MP
who tells us he's felt pressured to be silent on things
But first our latest report on this issue.
Since Newsnight first revealed the intimidation and shaming
of Muslim women in parts of the Labour Party five weeks ago,
we have been told that some are actually being threatened
with violence by sinister elements within their communities.
by our special correspondent Katie Razzall
a number of other Muslim women have contacted us,
often under the cloak of anonymity for fear of reprisals.
We are talking about really sinister elements.
I had phone calls to say your son is five, do you want him to be six?
You're doing this interview anonymously.
I live in fear for myself and my family.
Five weeks ago, Newsnight broadcast claims by Muslim women that Muslim
men from within the Labour Party blocked them from becoming local
The charity, Muslim Women's Network UK, wrote to the Labour leader,
Jeremy Corbyn, demanding an inquiry into what it
A month on, more troubling claims have come to light.
We're talking about women actually fearing for their lives,
saying we were getting harassed, threatened with violence.
They are so scared, they don't want to go to the police,
and don't even want to come out publicly
We are calling this Asian woman Zahara.
A former Labour councillor, she makes pretty startling
allegations about some of her Pakistani-heritage former
colleagues, who are still Labour councillors today.
On one occasion, she claims the police gave councillors sexually
explicit video footage to watch before making a decision
about whether a local club should be shut down.
The decision ultimately should have been to close
the establishment down because of inappropriate behaviours
between young white girls and Asian males, that
were being shown in the video.
I was clearly told to stop questioning by a hand gesture
and a nudge by senior male councillors that were Asian,
It was a very prominent Asian businessmen that supports us.
I agree, it is very serious, but I think it is
Zahara also says those same councillors regularly
persuaded Asian women suffering domestic violence to go back
They would go to the councillors and they would be told,
Luckily those women got away because I just persevered.
Newsnight has spoken to 25 Asian women across the UK.
All complain of Labour councillors and members of Pakistani heritage
They say they block vocal independent Asian women
like Arooj Shah from entering local government,
or try to get them deselected if they do.
In some parts of the UK, like in Oldham, where Ms Shah
is a Labour councillor, the party has taken over
She says that is because they know, in her predominantly Asian ward,
there is even resistance from inside the Labour Party
There are Labour Party members who will support my
two ward colleagues who are both Asian men.
When it comes to me, will support anybody but me.
They are members of the local Labour Party.
Anyone who tries to sugar-coat it or present it in anyway is just
Some of them have come up with derogatory
comments like, she is a Muslim woman, she shouldn't
Some of us have actually dragged them onside and gone,
Where in Islam does it say a female cannot represent us?
Councillor Shah told me, influential local Labour members
spread rumours that she sleeps around, that she is corrupt,
a money-launderer, and brief against her to voters.
The regional party supports but it is
hard to gather the evidence to push through a successful complaint.
Stuff was posted through my letterbox.
When I opened it, it was a picture of a page three nude model
and a picture of my head attached to that.
That is a tactic often used to dishonour Muslim women and it has
You know, pornographic images with my face on.
Najma Hafeez was the first Muslim woman on Birmingham Council back
I had phone calls to say, your son is five, do you want him
Do you know who was making the phone calls?
It was one of my colleagues, so-called.
And, unfortunately, a member of my own community.
The only way we will stop it is by exposing this.
It is not easy for me to say this against my
own community but it is bad practice and we must stop it.
Labour has a better record than other parties on getting
The women we have spoken to say the party often turns a blind eye
when Pakistani heritage members influence
the democratic process by packing individual wards
One woman said Asian councillors were threatening
and scaring my family into getting me to step aside.
Another said, these men were capable of anything.
In the end, I was deselected, despite all
Another ex-councillor explained how she was ousted.
One of the local councillors had been recruiting family and friends
Zahara claims her deselection was masterminded by some of her fellow
councillors because she refused to give in to their demands.
It became very apparent on the night.
These were people I had never seen before.
They were told to be there by certain
senior Asian councillors, and to vote in a certain way.
It is generations of people who have done this.
There were two or three young Asian males
that found the courage to ring me up and tell me and said
I sent letters of complaint to the regional office and the head
I was told there was no case to answer.
Newsnight has seen other complaints from ex-councillors,
detailing what they claim were election flaws and misogynist
Most women told us their complaints were not addressed.
The Labour Party gave us their statement. The Labour Party has
transformed the representation of women in politics. Any complaints or
evidence of sexism received by the Labour Party are dealt with fairly,
according to our procedures and the law.
Earlier, I spoke to the Labour MP for Luton South, Gavin Shuker.
I started by asking him about his reaction to Katie's report.
Katie's film is really shocking. I feel most shopped for the women who
have had to come out and make this case. They deserve some cover from
the wider Labour Party. It is clear the stories they were telling ones
that chime with my own experience, actually. I think we have a real
problem in getting capable young women from the Asian community
selected for some it is not good enough to say we are the most
representative party. We need to uphold values and representation
procedures. I know you are not just interested in your own constituency,
but tell us about your constituency. I have worked hard to make sure each
selection at local Gottman and for the Parliamentary seat have been
done fairly. The real problem is in broadly South Asian communities and
constituencies, it is easy to sign up members of your friends and
family can get them along to meetings. This is called membership
packing and is expressly outlawed in the rules of the Labour Party. We
spoke to Najma Hafeez, who was threatened, that her son would not
reach his sixth birthday. She seemed a rest. Do you think things are
getting worse? There is a huge upward pressure of people who want
to be representatives of our party. They are consistently being frozen
out of selection process is because the other most capable on the most
threatening. I do not know if it is getting any worse but the situation,
in my opinion, for those women, could not get any worse. After you
raise this, what was the response? I raised concerns of membership
packing and what came from it which is essentially good, capable Asian
women not being selected. Since I have been a Member of Parliament,
the things I have put forward were genuinely shocking and still it
feels like there is no support in terms of tackling these abuses on
the ground. Katie got a response from the Labour Party that said we
deal individually with instances, or allegations of instances, of racism
and sexism with the proper procedures. Is that enough? I have
sympathy with dealing on a narrow points. What we are talking about is
a cultural issue that needs to be challenged on every single level.
That requires elected parliamentarians and politicians
challenging the cultured day in and day out. You talk about it being a
cultural issue. In saying that, do you feel worried you will be
fingered as a racist? I do not, personally. I feel like I am
representing my Muslim Asian members who say to me consistently we are
good, capable and frozen out. This is the challenge for the Labour
Party. It used to be we could rely on blocks and votes from
communities. I think that is less true. This is an electoral
imperatives. We cannot carry on treating the Muslim community as
balls. We need to serve up quake candidates at every level. The
community knows when abuse is apparent. Have you spoken to MPs
with large south Asian communities? I have. There is a sense of, if we
were to pick up a fuss, with anything happen? Someone who has
kicked up a fuss may be right, actually. Is that not deeply
depressing? Deeply depressing and brutal that a member of the
Parliamentary Labour Party has to come up to provide cover for women
in our community who are suffering as a result of our action. Why do
you talk about having spoken to the general secretary of the Labour
Party, what do you want to happen? You'll I have been disappointed with
the response from the Labour Party and the allegations made by
Newsnight. I have felt pressured to be silent on the things I know to be
true, issues I have already raised. I think, in many ways, it represents
the culture of our party in some ways we need to change. When people
come forward with legitimate concerns, they should be back, not
silenced. What you want Jeremy Corbyn to do? You'll I would like
robust action from the leadership, both from the NEC and the leader of
the leather party, to say, if there are these practices, we will take
time to sort them out. -- the Labour Party. We will seek to silence them
and work with them. That is something Jeremy could do.
so said Barack Obama in a forthright interview
in the latest edition of The Atlantic magazine.
feeling the loosening of the leash no doubt,
Among the free riders, France and Britain,
at least as far as the Libya operation was concerned.
Obama said that some were eager to drag the United States
into sectarian conflicts that sometimes had little to do
with American interests, and that his support of the NATO
military intervention in Libya had been a mistake,
driven in part by his belief that Britain and France would bear more
of the burden of the operation than they did.
VOICEOVER: Right now, the so-called special relationship
between the UK and the US
does not seem quite as special as it did back then.
Alas, I cannot imitate this wonderful American-English accent.
when the relationship has been bumpier.
This time, the bump in the road has been caused by Obama's frustration
in Europe's tendency to push the US to act,
and then showing an unwillingness to put any skin in the game.
became distracted by a range of other things,
The White House has been backpedalling today.
saying the President did not mean to be critical of David Cameron.
It has said that the US is also to blame for the chaos in Libya.
changes in tone depending on who is in office,
A President soon to be off the leash or a new
hard headed approach to the US's junior partner across the water.
STUDIO: Joining me now from Stanford University
former Under Secretary of State under
George W Bush and former US ambassador to NATO.
We know that Barack Obama has rowed back but were you surprised by the
tone of his responses in the magazine? I was, I have great
respect for Barack Obama, what he was trying to articulate is a
sentiment shared by a lot of Americans across both parties, the
weakening of the French military, and the cutting of the military
budget. They weakening of the military when the arable resolutions
were breaking out in 2011 and 2012 but to somehow suggest that Britain
and France let us down, I think it in another way, I think the US
should have played a bigger role in the Libya operation in 2011. There
was a clear view minute imperative to save the people of Benghazi from
colonel Gaddafi and his army, the fact the United States took a step
back was a mistake in a Nato operation. We are in this together,
we have always fought with Britain and France, we could have done
better. I know that you support Barack Obama, would you say that in
a way, this unloading was a defensive mechanism? It was part of
an extraordinary interview that he gave to the magazine, The Atlantic.
Probably the most sophisticated expression of his views on the use
of power, he went into great detail about his refusal to act in Syria.
This was the context of the remarks. My own opinion is that on both sides
of the Atlantic we are only as strong as our commitment to each
other. It is true that the United States accounts for 75% of the
defence spending of all of the Nato allies, and so to in the opinion of
Barack Obama, take them out, have them play a second role, it was not
workable. -- secondary role. If we are looking to account for the
failure of Libya, we should have stayed in, having gone in, we should
have tried to help them put their civil is Asian back together, and
neither United States nor the United Kingdom did that. Do you think that
his relationship with David Cameron is a close one, inasmuch as Barack
Obama is close to any otherworldly do? It has been said by many people
that Barack Obama does not have a lot of close relationships with
world leaders. My sense, I am an outsider, I think they have great
respect for each other, that Britain has been a great friend to the
United States in many ways. I hope the reverse is true, I hope the
British people feel the same way, about the United States. They tend
to work well together. This particular article came out of the
blue, it was surprising for a lot of people, if anything, who should we
blame for the problems of the Middle East? Iran, the Islamic State, the
jihadi groups that are wreaking havoc, but we should not blame our
greatest ally in the world. I think there is a special relationship and
Britain is still the closest friend the United States has. Thank you
very much. When Tony Blair dived into the EU
Referendum debate this morning calling for more passion
from the Pro-EU side, he also deplored
the use of the E word. He challenged the idea,
put about by many who want a Brexit, that backing Britain's membership
of the EU was the choice of
the political elite, opining that there are plenty
of elites on the other side too. and when did it become such
loaded dirty word? In a moment we'll be
discussing that, and whether the whole debate over
the referendum needs broadening, but first: here's our resident
etymologist John Sweeney. VOICEOVER: Britain's never-ending
class war has spawned a new mutation in the last few weeks. The elites
Are under attack. Who are these elites, of whom they speak, well, to
find out more, there is no better a creature than dirty, he is half a
toy poodle, and half a whippet, he has a poor in both camps, so to
speak, so we think he is the best creature to help us choose through
Britain's latest and most troubling social dilemma. Battle commenced
from Newsnight one month ago. What is very clear about the 75 year, in
this referendum, it is exactly the same, the establishment and the
elites, including this great corporation of which Devon is a
member... Are you a savage men? -- Evan Are you a lead? -- are you
establishment? Others will judge. And I do. The one-time British king,
what the Mayor of London calls wiff-waff. Two components, that the
people who got to the top did so in a rigged game, that they have the
connections rather than having the ability and working hard. Also, once
they got there are, they want to self perpetuate, give it to other
people that they know rather than the public, so there is a distance
between the elite and those who elect them. As the Euro referendum
hits fever pitch, or at least, a host of golden daffodils, Bertie and
I went in search of the elite. I asked the owner of the British
bulldog whether he was a member of the elite. It depends upon what you
are classing as an elite, there is an elite in all sorts of things.
Don't need the microphone, Bentley, please! LAUGHTER
Would you say that Bentley is a member of an elite? In the dock
while, I would say, yes. Are you a member of the elite? Certainly not!
-- in the dog world. Those who are arguing in favour of the exit are
not elite and those that want to stay our elite, what do you think?
I'm interested in remaining, it is nothing to do with economics, iron
just post-war, and somehow the idea of a united Europe attracts me more
than the idea of a fragmented Europe. We have always bred old
English sheepdog, we had the 1990 winner at Crufts. Is your dog a
member of the elite? No, he's just a pet, and me, not really. All the
people you talk to that want to stay in are getting something out of it,
I am getting nothing out of it but I do and see the point of being ruled
by Brussels. If you want to do something even in the park you have
got to get permission. Unbelievable. The ping-pong man told me that he
went to a comprehensive. Have you had elocution lessons? I have never
had elocution lessons, I would love a society where it did not matter
what kind of a jacket you walk, even if it was as hideous as that one. It
would only matter, your ability and your work ethic, not your accent,
not anything else. Bertie, give me back the microphone! Whether you are
for leave all remain, class still dogs our society. As they say, never
work with children or animals. STUDIO: Joining me to debate the
debate about Europe are the writer Will Self, and Munira Mirza,
London's Deputy Mayor for Education and Culture. We will go on to talk
about the broader Topix, in terms of the tenor of the campaign, but your
thought, leaving the EU, why do you think that calling those in the
Remain campaign the elite is an effective tool?
It reflects the way in which a lot of people feel about the EU, as
being so far removed from their lives, the decision-making is very
remote, they think it is anti-democratic. That sense that the
elite is not thinking about their interests, that is quite a potent
one. Would you use language like that? In your everyday discourse, on
the campaign, would you agree with using those sentiments? Talking
about an elite? Which wants to remain, and, as you say, having the
reins of power. You do not have the reins of power, you want to leave.
The amazing thing about the referendum is that people are being
given a choice, so fundamental to our democracy, about how we are
governed, the democracy, where we put money, borders. The idea that...
And another unelected elite may make those decisions in Brussels, the
idea that you may be able to overturned that and take control
back, that is exciting. It is becoming a bit of a catch all, this
term, it is a way of people registering... I agree to an extent,
it is a registration of a disconnection from the political
class. By pushing it further and further away, to Brussels, we can
ignore what is on the end of the fork rather than domestic league, a
disconnection within existing politics. That is why semantically
it becomes very fluid and slippery, it can be applied anywhere. The idea
of people troughing on the Brussels gravy train, that is true, I can
think of some very egregious examples in the political class,
Neil Kinnock, for example, corruption Commissioner in Brussels,
for seven years, and picked up a very generous salary, and that kind
of thing. People are angry about it. It was focused on MPs in Westminster
if you years ago. It is a free-floating dissatisfaction. You
work for Boris, he sent you an e-mail saying, signed up to the
campaign or get sacked. Nobody has been sacked, that is worth
mentioning, he said it was a mistake, able offering to speak
their mind. Look at what has happened to them overnight, he has
come out, and instantly, his rhetoric has become a apocalyptic,
in true Borisian style, he is talking about dictators and all of
this. This is a general sentiment, we can recognise, many people around
the world, not just the UK, very disengaged in politics, that is why
we see the rise of things like Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders. If
you say you disengaged from Westminster, they say yes, if you
say disengaged from Brussels, they say yes, they would even disengage
from some little constituency. What we are missing in the debate is an
understanding of what the issues are, it is in the interest of
neither side is to discuss the truth, it doesn't matter if you have
a vote to leave all remain, the fundamental issues of the control,
the borders, for example, and over the people control of fundamental
issues of government, will not be improved in either way. More people
in this country know the names of their MPs than their MEPs, and it is
true that British exit will not solve overnight the centre
disengagement, all the problems of democracy, but it is an important
moment, giving people the choice over some very real issues in our
society, about the money that we send over, who makes decisions about
what border should be, who prioritises... It is more to do with
the political class trying to reinvigorate its sense of purpose,
we are living in a more free trial than ever that we are living in a
world which is more febrile than ever. It is not about beliefs and
fear mongering. It is important that we have these arguments. If they are
about the right thing. People will get a chance to hear different
arguments, that is why the BBC are doing a televised debate. The think
find rather worrying, there is a lazy assumption that all the people
who want to leave our little Englanders, xenophobic, acolytes of
Nigel Farage. -- the thing that I find rather worrying. So that if you
are right thinking, you must want to remain. There is a laziness in that
thinking, there is some very good internationalist arguments,
regressive arguments for wanting to leave. I have not heard any, all I
have heard is Tory MPs action saying that he is in favour of which is
exit and his headline argument is money, money in your pocket, he is
of Ghanaian origin, but what tipped him was the issue of people from
outside the European Union being discriminated against in terms of
it. I'm afraid we have got to wrap this up, I'm sure that we will come
back to it several times over the course of the vote.
Now Artsnight, where this week's guest Editor is Thurston Moore,
THIS PROGRAMME CONTAINS SOME STRONG LANGUAGE
40 years ago, I was an out-of-place teenager
inspired to move to Manhattan to join in the punk revolution.
Musicians like Patti Smith and the Ramones
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.