15/03/2016 Newsnight


15/03/2016

Is the war in Syria any nearer to ending? Has Islamic State peaked or paused? Plus, a look at Brexit, academy schools and the papers, while Harriet Walter performs live.


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Transcript


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No-one's celebrating but it's five years today,

:00:00.:00:08.

Countless misjudgements by all involved.

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It was a strategic opportunity which was missed. It got missed and that

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is a terrible mistake to make. We'll ask whether actually,

:00:27.:00:30.

in this case earlier military intervention would have

:00:31.:00:37.

made a difference? The grey blob showing

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Islamic State's territory in Syria and Iraq has grown with frightening

:00:40.:00:41.

speed in the last three years. Have they now peaked,

:00:42.:00:44.

or just paused? We'll ask if the media is playing

:00:45.:00:45.

fair on the Brexit debate, with Alastair Campbell

:00:46.:00:50.

and the Sun's Trevor Kavanagh. And who is the mysterious Italian

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author whose pen name is Elana She had shown me, not only

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that she knew how to wound with words, but that she would kill

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without hesitation. For anyone with a simple theory

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as to who runs the world, the five years of Syrian civil war,

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have been a challenge. Some think the US calls the shots,

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a monopoly superpower. A few - probably insane -

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people think the UN is some kind of all-powerful world government,

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and others think everything comes down to great battle of the century,

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between Islam and the rest All these accounts are belied

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by the messy complexity of that painful civil war in one

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medium-sized country. The sad fact is, no-one

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has been in control. The different powers

:01:50.:01:52.

of the world all agree it's bad, And when the big powers can't agree,

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painful paralysis is the result. The neo-imperialists,

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storming around using military force to impose its will on the world,

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that's hardly a description Smarting from the disaster of Iraq,

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it's shied away from so-called liberal intervention in most

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of Syria - but it is a country where chemical weapons have been

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used, and where millions have been displaced,

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many on to our own shores. All in all, for us, it's been a five

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year reminder that we don't always I have a very clear message for

:02:27.:02:51.

president Assad, it is time for him to go.

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We will double non-lethal support to the Syrian opposition in the coming

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year. The deadline for us, if we start seeing a bunch of chemical

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weapons being moved around. We have concluded that the Syrian

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government has carried this out, and if so, there needs to be

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international consequences. The ayes day only language understood by

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killers like this, that is the language of force. -- the only

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language. We must not and will not be confused

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in our fight against Isil with support for Assad.

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TRANSLATION: The task put before the Ministry of Defence and the Armed

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Forces is largely complete. A look back there, at the evolving

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Western narrative on Syria over The West has been clear

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in what it wants: Assad out, a peaceful democracy

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to flourish in his place. But in the absence of all that,

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it's never been clear what the second or third

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choice options are. Russia on the other hand has had

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more strategic focus - and has never exhibited any

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self-doubt: for example, the Russian Air Force's top

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commander in Syria has said the force never missed the target

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during its operation Let's talk to Lyce Doucet, the BBC's

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Chief International Correspondent In the history of this war, we have

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had this momentous development, Russia has said it is pulling out.

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What has been the reaction in Damascus? It is not completely

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pulling out, it will maintain a significant military presence, this

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is part of a bigger strategic goal for President Putin and so

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significant is the Russian role in Syria, you're getting reaction from

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government-controlled areas like Damascus and also from rebel held

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areas. In Damascus government supporters have said how relieved

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they were that Russia finally got involved in a much more significant

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way militarily and politically in Syria, Russia's involvement brought

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President Assad's forces back from the brink, they were close to

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collapse on some key front lines, and his supporters are now

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wondering, what if it goes wrong again? Will Russia support them?

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Russia has made clear that it will, but if the military objectives have

:06:31.:06:32.

been achieved, what is the political plan? Will this include President

:06:33.:06:38.

Assad and will this bring Syria closer to peace and what will be

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their own future? In rebel held areas, you also hear a welcome

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regarding Russia pulling out its forces, but we have heard from

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opposition spokespeople, saying, is Russia going to lose its leverage

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with President Assad? There is a broad welcome, but many questions,

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as well. Thanks for joining us. One person who has been close

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to the centre of the international She was a one time development

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secretary for Tony Blair, but went on to become UN emergency

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relief co-ordinator for most I spoke to her yesterday,

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about some of the mistakes that In 2014 she called the impact

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of the Syrian war a stain And I think that we really have

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to think about how in the last five years we allowed Syria to slide

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into this situation. And the impact that it has

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had on ordinary Syrians Is there any point in the last five

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years, do you think, where the West could have made

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a different decision, that would have made

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a really material difference I think there have been various

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points at which considerably more pressure could have been put

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on Syria, if, for example, the permanent members

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of the Security Council had shared the same analysis of

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what was happening in Syria. 2012, Russia appeared to have a view

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that Assad should move aside. And the West didn't buy

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in to that Russian plan then. Looking back doors that not look

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like the most tragic error of this entire conflict on

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the part of the West? Well, I have always thought that

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a strategy whose starting point was "Assad must go" was a strategy

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which would be incredibly Because if you are starting

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negotiating position is one that sees absolutely no room

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for movement, then it is hard to see how you're going to negotiate your

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way out of that. And I think the result of that has

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been that countries have had to almost backtrack

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to where we ended up at the end of last year and this year,

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where the there is some wriggle room being looked for in terms of saying

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well, we need to start a negotiation, there has to be

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a transition and yes, of course our ultimate goal is that

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aside must go. But the Russians said,

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Assad will go. It was a strategic opportunity

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which was missed. And it got missed because countries

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just got locked into these And that is a terrible

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mistake to make when you're to negotiate your way

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through the kind of complexity Now there may have been a feeling,

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and I think that there was from some, that this

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was not a genuine offer. 2013 of course was a point

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at which there were, there was a big decision to be made

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about military intervention and whether the West should take

:10:48.:10:50.

a military role. And the UK Parliament voted not

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to do that. Do you think, looking back,

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that was a mistake, or not? It is hard to say that it was

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a mistake because I think that if you look at the situation

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in Syria at the time, and if you just think

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about historically, the military interventions that have been made

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and the impact that they have had on the region, you cannot exactly

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say that we have covered herself No, my thought actually is we have

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had several that have been disastrous and then say OK,

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we had better not have this one. And this one might just have been

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the one where you would actually say So my approach has always been

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in relation to military action, that it has to be, or it can be,

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if you're going down that road, There has never been a sense

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in which we can say that strategically, looking

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at the political elements, looking at the broader potential

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for military action, looking at the longer term

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development of Syria. This has had a huge

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impact on the country. Looking at the humanitarian

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consequences, looking at how So just focusing on one

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element of it, in my view Joining me now in the studio

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is Paddy Ashdown, former Lib Dem leader who was International High

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Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina, and

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Labour's Mary Creagh, who voted against military

:11:54.:11:55.

intervention in Syria in 2013. Down the line from Florida we're

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joined by Paul Wolfowitz who was the US Deputy Secretary

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of Defence under President George W. Bush, and in Geneva as part

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of the women's advisory board for the Syrian peace

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talks is Reem Turkmani. Mary, you had a vote in the British

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Parliament and you voted against. That is the vote I regret the most

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in my 11 years as a Labour MP, it was a failure of David Cameron and

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Nick Clegg to convince enough of their MPs to back them and also a

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failure of the Labour Party and it was a grave misjudgement and the

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Syrian people have paid the consequences, because we essentially

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told a dictator that he had impunity to murder his own people with barrel

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bombs and chemical weapons, through siege and starvation. Do many of

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your colleagues feel that way? There is a number of us who change their

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mind and voted in favour of air strikes in December, because we

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realise that the Syrian people had paid for that decision with their

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lives in many cases. Reem, what you feel when you hear that? From Mary.

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First let me start by saying that I'm speaking in my personal

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capacity, not as a member of the advisory board. The debate about

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military intervention in 2013 was within the context of a political

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plan which does not aim to change the regime or ends the regime, the

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Americans stated it Jerry Kelly, they were there to hurt the regime,

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but not to overthrow the regime -- stated it very clearly. In 2015, the

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debate which was just refer to, that was about something completely

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different, it was against Isis and not against the regime, and the

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British American warplanes are in Syria and they don't even attempt to

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fire at any territories that are held by the regime. They are clearly

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not messing up with any land that had a Russian flags on it. Just

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Syrian flags. We have to be clear about that. In two sentences, can

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you say why intervention would have been worse and would have done more

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damage than good? No intervention would have settled

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the war and led to a victory for either side. We needed international

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consensus on the solution. This is the only thing that changes

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dynamics. It is the American, Russian process, when they sat in on

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a meeting about a ceasefire, there was a ceasefire. That is what we

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needed and the opportunity that we missed in 2012. Paul, take us

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through whether you think intervention should have been

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carried out, and when? We talk a lot about the past and no question

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people make a lot of policy based on what happened in 2003. If we are

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looking for some local examples of how things do and do not work it is

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useful to go back 25 years to 1991 when we had the ceasefire after the

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first Gulf War. There were uprising in northern and southern Iraq. The

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Shia were abandoned with terrible consequences and were also living

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with the consequences today. The Kurds were rescued belatedly and

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created what is probably the most viable part of Iraq today. I think

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what we're seeing in the Russian intervention is if you limit your

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object gives and it seems the Russians are trying to do that, you

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can accomplish a lot more. I think whatever is done, I agree with the

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earlier speaker, needs to any strategic context. I think that has

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to recognise that there are a group of Syrians who may not like Assad

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but feel more endangered by the triumph of the Sunni Muslim

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majority. And then the Sunni Muslim majority feel oppressed by Assad.

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Talking about Assad must go, that is not a strategic description of where

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we need to end up. And focusing exclusively on Isis is not strategic

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either. When you look at the interventions going back to the

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first Iraq War, the Bosnian war, because of an adventure, the second

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Iraq War, all the interventions, what do you think the success rate

:16:35.:16:40.

is, that's got to Libya, what is the success rate in your assessment? We

:16:41.:16:46.

could go all the way back to the Korean War 60 years ago which of the

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time was seen as a disaster and cost 40,000 American lives. The country

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was in horrible shape afterwards and 60 years later it is a modern

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miracle. What sport would you give it, you think we get it right half

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the time, 90%, 20%? I've not tried to do a box score on that and I'm

:17:11.:17:15.

not sure that is useful as a way to think about that. There are things

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that we have done right, things we have done wrong and that is how to

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think about it. Lord Ashdown, there are plenty of successful and

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unsuccessful ones, what would characterise them? The successful

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ones are the ones you recognise that military action has been taken to

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achieve a political end. War is the continuation of diplomacy by other

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means as has been said. We have forgotten the diplomacy and

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strategy. Putin does nothing unless it has political effect. He

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intervened in Syria with the aim of supporting his man in theory, asset,

:17:54.:17:58.

and playing himself back into the Middle East and international

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affairs. He is leaving Syria to send a message to asset, that is why he's

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going, which is you relied on the to survive you had better do what I say

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now or we will not come back to help you. That gives him the bridge in

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the peace talks. What Putin does and where he wins every time, he makes

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sure the action he takes has a political effect. We believe, we see

:18:20.:18:24.

a problem in the world and we want to vomit. We remember the war but we

:18:25.:18:30.

forget the diplomacy. And that is where Putin wins and where we lose.

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Talking about about the diplomacy. Mary Craig do you feel that Western

:18:37.:18:44.

policy has been too inflexible? We have had red lines, we turned down

:18:45.:18:48.

early deals with the Russians. That vote in 2013 created a chain

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reaction, we created two spaces, a political space into which the male

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Putin moved because he became the person that then oversaw the

:18:59.:19:01.

dismantling of the Assad chemical weapons and it created a

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geographical, ungoverned space in the east of Syria allowing Isis to

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move in and destabilise Benteke, northern Iraq. So there were two

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spaces created by that. When we talk about these abstract concepts of

:19:16.:19:20.

strategy, you must not forget the human cost paid. Europe is not

:19:21.:19:25.

focused on the refugee crisis, we have been distracted by a war in

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Ukraine, this country has been distracted by a referendum on the

:19:29.:19:33.

EU. And on our borders, 4000 people have drowned trying to reach Europe

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in boats. Because our countries together cannot work out safe, legal

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and compassionate routes for them to flee. Let us not misunderstand the

:19:47.:19:55.

2000 test 2013 vote, it was not about military intervention at about

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upholding international law. We had the chance to build a coalition and

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did not take it. Because of that Putin had a political strategy for

:20:08.:20:12.

military action, we never had. Do you agree that the biggest single

:20:13.:20:19.

mistake has been the West and their red lines which made a deal with

:20:20.:20:25.

Putin almost impossible? They raised the bar too high, they locked

:20:26.:20:31.

themselves in the position of regime change only a few months after the

:20:32.:20:36.

beginning of the revolution. When Syria, I'm in the Russians were

:20:37.:20:42.

already in Syria. They equip the Syrian army, help to build it. So to

:20:43.:20:47.

go to a country with a strong Russian presence and say you want

:20:48.:20:52.

regime change when the Russians made it clear after Libya that they would

:20:53.:20:56.

not allow such an agenda to take place any more, that was an obvious

:20:57.:21:00.

mistake. And in 2012 when the opportunity came in and the Russian

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said OK, we agree that he leaves, that Assad leaves at the end of his

:21:07.:21:10.

term in 2014, when they renew presidential elections coming, so

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you just should accept that he stayed until 2014. Both the Syrian

:21:16.:21:21.

opposition and the West rejected that and look at where we are now.

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2016 and he is still in power. And still a lot of people dying. Paul,

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you are a guy everyone thinks is the person who believes in shock and all

:21:33.:21:36.

and just wants to bomb when you see a problem. What you now think about

:21:37.:21:44.

the diplomacy of the West, do not think the biggest mistake in Syria

:21:45.:21:48.

was the failure of the West to come to a deal with the Russians that

:21:49.:21:53.

might have allowed Assad to stay for a couple of years or a year or two.

:21:54.:21:58.

I do not know what the evidence is that suggests the Russians would

:21:59.:22:02.

have agreed on something that would have brought an end to the war. I do

:22:03.:22:05.

think the burden of proof is on anyone who says we could not have

:22:06.:22:10.

done anything to relieve the humanitarian disaster. Creating safe

:22:11.:22:14.

zones along the Jordanian and Turkish border for example. If we

:22:15.:22:19.

had an overall strategy that might have included -- included negotiated

:22:20.:22:23.

with the Russians, that would have fitted into it. One problem is we

:22:24.:22:28.

step into negotiation with basically no alternative to negotiating. But

:22:29.:22:32.

the Russians, it is the other arm of a more active diplomacy, even a

:22:33.:22:37.

military diplomacy. They just demonstrated that recently, there

:22:38.:22:42.

are now in a strong position if they want to negotiate and we are not.

:22:43.:22:50.

The point for Mrs is the Russians have a bigger dog in this fight. We

:22:51.:22:55.

are coping with jihadis returning from the battlefield. Chechnya is

:22:56.:23:02.

the battlefield, so it was in their interests. We lost an opportunity.

:23:03.:23:05.

One of the biggest surprises of the five year conflict

:23:06.:23:11.

was the sudden rise of Isis, Isil, so-called Islamic State,

:23:12.:23:13.

It has variously looked unassailable, and yet also

:23:14.:23:17.

Richard Watson has pulled together some of the evidence.

:23:18.:23:23.

Some new information looking at the map as to their territory, there to

:23:24.:23:31.

rain. We have worked with data analysis company and working on a

:23:32.:23:36.

map of Syria and Iraq looking at territory. We can see that now. If

:23:37.:23:42.

you look at that area, that is the position on January year ago. Quite

:23:43.:23:52.

extensive territory held by Islamic then. We asked scientists

:23:53.:23:57.

recalculate the tighter to the 14th of March, just this weekend. That is

:23:58.:24:04.

the new position, they lost quite a lot of territory. 22% of their

:24:05.:24:09.

territory in about 14 months. So it looks as if there are on the back

:24:10.:24:14.

foot. They made some limited gains however put up but those gains are

:24:15.:24:19.

in the colour red. Around the ancient site of bomb era. Far

:24:20.:24:23.

outweighed by losses elsewhere many Kurdish areas. What about the

:24:24.:24:28.

foreign fighters, the attractiveness of Isis? It has been significant,

:24:29.:24:34.

the foreign fighters, one of the most obvious reasons is that the

:24:35.:24:41.

Kurds control the Syrian Turkish border area and so it is harder to

:24:42.:24:48.

get in foreign fighters to the territory. And if you have a

:24:49.:24:51.

shrinking caliphate, you are no longer a winning team and so the

:24:52.:24:55.

attraction is lower than it was 18 months ago. Do we know much about

:24:56.:25:01.

the number of British fighters going out there, before Christmas last

:25:02.:25:06.

year it is all we were talking about. I spoke to security sources

:25:07.:25:12.

and they see that the flow of British jihadists peaked about 18

:25:13.:25:14.

months ago. They told me something interesting, that the rate of flow

:25:15.:25:20.

has now slowed down. It has not stopped, people are still going out

:25:21.:25:23.

there, total numbers are interesting. British fighters out

:25:24.:25:29.

there, 800 so have gone out. Around 100 have been killed in Syria, and

:25:30.:25:34.

about 350 are back in the UK. Thank you very much.

:25:35.:25:35.

In this country, we have a famously robust and campaigning press -

:25:36.:25:38.

But when it comes to the EU referendum, does the desire by some

:25:39.:25:43.

newspapers to campaign, get in the way of public understanding?

:25:44.:25:54.

Alistair Campbell, formerly Tony Blair's communications chief

:25:55.:25:56.

has written an excoriating criticism of the press's behaviour

:25:57.:26:01.

Spinnaker --. Has coverage of Brexit been unfair? Two claims about the

:26:02.:26:28.

monarchy, has coverage moved to report urged to political interests?

:26:29.:26:47.

Do you think it is the job of newspaper to present information

:26:48.:26:52.

about the EU and its workings in such a way as will help readers make

:26:53.:26:58.

up their minds? Absolutely. Why not do it! We do! Give us an example of

:26:59.:27:04.

some things you think they have done which does not help the reader make

:27:05.:27:07.

up their minds. They present only one side of the story. For example a

:27:08.:27:12.

series economic figure like Mark Carney, Governor of the Bank of

:27:13.:27:16.

England, goes to a committee of MPs and at last question is, says what

:27:17.:27:21.

he thinks. The Archbishop of Canterbury makes the football

:27:22.:27:23.

statement, both of those occasions, most of the papers -- thoughtful

:27:24.:27:28.

statement. The right-wing papers, the Sun, the Times, express, the

:27:29.:27:38.

star, and the Daily Mail probably is the worst. What they do they spin

:27:39.:27:43.

the whole thing in one direction. Mark Carney is part of project fear.

:27:44.:27:50.

The Archbishop of Canterbury is saying because he did say he is not

:27:51.:27:54.

-- it is not racist to worry about immigration, they presented that as

:27:55.:27:57.

he was somehow whacking the case. And they tell lies, write stories

:27:58.:28:04.

that totally untrue. Let me ask you, as the European Union banned

:28:05.:28:08.

hairdressers from wearing high heels? As the European Union... Have

:28:09.:28:15.

we said that? You said they were going to. Has the European Union

:28:16.:28:20.

force does to call Christmas a winter festival to mark? The Sun has

:28:21.:28:32.

been running this kind of story for decades. The thing about Alistair,

:28:33.:28:38.

he forgets that we had known each other a long time. He probably

:28:39.:28:42.

forgets a conversation we had, which I noted in my diary at the time, he

:28:43.:28:48.

has told me that in his view he has never been a journalist but a

:28:49.:28:53.

propagandist. At least I admit it. Let him finish. I also suspect he is

:28:54.:28:59.

a Eurosceptic. He's peddling the line because he is a propagandist.

:29:00.:29:02.

We believe in what we're saying. We always have had the same stance, we

:29:03.:29:08.

are newspaper and entitled to have a view, and editorial view the top we

:29:09.:29:12.

always stood out against the European constitution, the single

:29:13.:29:16.

currency, and against mass uncontrolled immigration. That is

:29:17.:29:24.

the position from which... Two minutes ago you said your job was to

:29:25.:29:27.

give people information on which to base a decision. We have carried

:29:28.:29:31.

many opinion paces by people for the European Union. -- opinion pieces.

:29:32.:29:39.

They do carry pieces on both sides of the argument. They do not present

:29:40.:29:43.

two sides to an argument. We do. You do not. Let me just say, I admit I

:29:44.:29:54.

have a bias. I admit it. I admit it. What I do not do, and never did as a

:29:55.:30:00.

journalist, is to make up stories and I believe that your paper, the

:30:01.:30:06.

Daily Mail and the other papers, express for example. That is a bit

:30:07.:30:15.

rich, actually. That you never made up stories. Trevor has had less say

:30:16.:30:27.

so I will let him speak. He has not said anything. Repeat your point

:30:28.:30:33.

about his critique. We believe that the European Union

:30:34.:30:45.

lacks a democratic accountability. Are you giving your readers the

:30:46.:30:50.

information to make a decision? We are telling them that Brexit was a

:30:51.:30:53.

catastrophic failure, which is supported. Brexit? The European

:30:54.:31:00.

signal currency, it was a dismal failure, you supported it from the

:31:01.:31:06.

very beginning, you propagandised... When you work in government, did you

:31:07.:31:11.

selectively pick evidence in order to promote the case? Yes, you did.

:31:12.:31:19.

With government policy we would have a position and we would promote it.

:31:20.:31:25.

To be fair to Trevor, not Trevor, but papers like the Daily Mail, they

:31:26.:31:31.

were very careful not to call us liars, but I'm making the point, I

:31:32.:31:36.

gave you a few trivial examples. The sun newspaper has reported in the

:31:37.:31:40.

past that because of Europe we are going to get rid of Christmas. You

:31:41.:31:49.

have said that, Trevor. Oh come on. We are talking about big issues, and

:31:50.:31:55.

my issue is that you are not giving the public fair, balanced coverage

:31:56.:31:59.

about these issues. Were you as critical when the papers were on

:32:00.:32:02.

your side of the argument? Probably not. When they were making fun of

:32:03.:32:10.

William Hague. The Scottish independence referendum. What they

:32:11.:32:16.

should not do is make up stories. Their media view another example.

:32:17.:32:23.

Brexit and the Queen. -- let media view another example. He is on the

:32:24.:32:28.

board of it so which is investigating it. Your editor, Tony

:32:29.:32:37.

Gallagher, he said they did audience research of what the audience

:32:38.:32:40.

believed and that guided them in terms of how they are covering the

:32:41.:32:43.

vote, this is the most interesting thing. Almost as though you think

:32:44.:32:47.

the readers are telling you what to write. For the last 35 years, I

:32:48.:32:53.

became political editor in 1983, from that moment and before, we have

:32:54.:32:59.

had a sceptical view and a very strong sceptical view and we have

:33:00.:33:04.

been proven right on every single count, and the constitution and the

:33:05.:33:12.

euro and the control of the borders and uncontrolled immigration, and

:33:13.:33:14.

frankly we are the ones who have been proven right, and the

:33:15.:33:17.

propagandist in the hands of Alistair Campbell here,

:33:18.:33:24.

self-professed publicist like Alistair Campbell, he is singing a

:33:25.:33:27.

tune because he works for a PR company. Trevor, if I may say so, I

:33:28.:33:35.

believe... You are accusing me of all sorts. I have no vested interest

:33:36.:33:44.

in this apart from my own personal opinion. You talk about fair and

:33:45.:33:48.

balanced opinion, how much coverage did you give to the IMF,

:33:49.:33:55.

Rolls-Royce, Morgan Stanley, Vauxhall, Centrica, Nato, they'll

:33:56.:33:59.

say stay in Europe, but some bloke from the bridges, -- bridges, --

:34:00.:34:14.

British Chambers of commerce? We did give some focus on Vauxhall. You

:34:15.:34:28.

have not made up your mind on how the Sun is going to vote. You have

:34:29.:34:36.

raised your eyes at that. We cannot give our verdict until we have

:34:37.:34:43.

weighed up the evidence. LAUGHTER You are being ironic? In the sense

:34:44.:34:49.

that firstly there is no argument, I think. Europe is a busted flush. And

:34:50.:34:57.

because you think that, your readers should not be given both sides of

:34:58.:35:01.

the story. Who is going to make the decision for the Sun? Rupert

:35:02.:35:10.

Murdoch. You say you are going to put other people... You are boring,

:35:11.:35:12.

I'm sorry. Thanks for joining us. "If the book is worth something,

:35:13.:35:16.

it should be enough", is her philosophy -

:35:17.:35:18.

which is why nobody - except her publisher

:35:19.:35:20.

and a very select few - know the true identity

:35:21.:35:22.

of Elena Ferrante. The Italian author of nine novels,

:35:23.:35:24.

it's her so-called Neapolitan novels that have made her the talk

:35:25.:35:27.

of many a household - the last of which,

:35:28.:35:29.

The Story Of The Lost Child, was recently longlisted

:35:30.:35:32.

for the Man Booker International An Italian professor has come up

:35:33.:35:34.

with the latest theory on who the real Elena Ferrante

:35:35.:35:37.

is but the mystery goes on. In the absence of an interview

:35:38.:35:40.

with the author, Katie Razzall went to the woman who's become the face

:35:41.:35:46.

of the Ferrante novels in the English-speaking world -

:35:47.:35:49.

translator, Ann Goldstein - to find out what all

:35:50.:35:51.

the fuss is about. My friendship with Leila began

:35:52.:35:59.

the day we decided to go upstairs, step after step, flight

:36:00.:36:01.

after flight, to the door Unmasking Elena Ferrante has become

:36:02.:36:06.

an Italian parlour game. This, in some secret place

:36:07.:36:12.

in myself, I still thought. She had shown me not only

:36:13.:36:23.

that she knew how to wound with words, but that she would kill

:36:24.:36:25.

without hesitation. Ferrante's Neapolitan quartet

:36:26.:36:28.

catapulted the Italian novelist The story of a friendship

:36:29.:36:29.

between two women growing up in poverty in Naples in

:36:30.:36:37.

the second half of the 20th century. But with the author doing only

:36:38.:36:40.

the odd interview by e-mail, her translator often

:36:41.:36:44.

speaks in her place. Her novels are about

:36:45.:36:49.

a place and time that you might not be

:36:50.:36:51.

specifically familiar with. The relationships she describes

:36:52.:36:53.

and the struggles, especially of women,

:36:54.:36:56.

that she describes, are very compelling and universal,

:36:57.:36:59.

I should say. She talks herself about

:37:00.:37:04.

how she wants to get at the truth of emotions

:37:05.:37:09.

and she says somewhere that anonymity helps her to get

:37:10.:37:12.

to the truth of an emotion. I heard of some man

:37:13.:37:15.

who said after reading it, he said he understood his family,

:37:16.:37:17.

meaning, I guess, the women But the identity of the author

:37:18.:37:20.

of books also has readers It has become an Italian

:37:21.:37:26.

detective story. The BBC drama had Rufus Sewell

:37:27.:37:39.

in the title role of Zen, but when it comes to Elena Ferrante,

:37:40.:37:42.

Italy has this man, a professor and writer, seen with a journalist

:37:43.:37:45.

from the Italian newspaper that carried

:37:46.:37:47.

his big reveal, from a detailed study of references in one

:37:48.:37:49.

of the novels, the name in the frame is Marcella Marmo, a professor

:37:50.:38:01.

at Naples university who studied at the same prestigious school

:38:02.:38:03.

as Elena Ferrante's narrator. I did not think it was necessarily

:38:04.:38:05.

right, but I have no idea. Yes, she did, but that

:38:06.:38:10.

is what they all say, The likes of the Bronte sisters

:38:11.:38:14.

knew about anonymity, but that is when women

:38:15.:38:18.

were not supposed More recently Joe Klein

:38:19.:38:20.

tried but failed to hide his identity

:38:21.:38:25.

as the author of Primary Colours, and even JK Rowling was outed

:38:26.:38:28.

when she tried to move secretly When it comes to Ferrante,

:38:29.:38:30.

even the woman who has translated all her work does not get

:38:31.:38:35.

to communicate directly. When I have questions,

:38:36.:38:40.

I write to the editors and they write to her,

:38:41.:38:50.

if I can't answer the question, and then she writes to them

:38:51.:38:52.

and they write to me. I have a very close relationship

:38:53.:38:55.

with the person that writes the books but I don't

:38:56.:39:02.

need to know who she is, and I don't

:39:03.:39:04.

want to know who she is. I feel a nostalgia

:39:05.:39:07.

for our childhood. She may not want to know,

:39:08.:39:10.

but can Ann Goldstein offer any I get the sense that she is very

:39:11.:39:17.

well read and educated, a woman in her mid-60s who is very

:39:18.:39:27.

intelligent and has had The Brexit debate may have

:39:28.:39:30.

suppressed some of the Chancellor's Our policy editor

:39:31.:39:51.

Chris Cook is with me. This is about schools. A few things

:39:52.:40:07.

which will be in the budget, there is about 1,000,000,000 and a half

:40:08.:40:11.

pounds, which is not much, but a year of the cuts going into schools

:40:12.:40:13.

this Parliament. Some of the money will be a mark to encourage schools

:40:14.:40:21.

to stay open the beyond 330, and the other thing, the really big thing,

:40:22.:40:27.

the Prime Minister would like all schools to be academies by 2022. If

:40:28.:40:34.

they are not in 2020 already academies, they need to have a plan

:40:35.:40:37.

in place so they are there by the middle of next Parliament and that

:40:38.:40:40.

is potentially an absolutely enormous change. No local government

:40:41.:40:47.

schools in England. Basically. The local authority schools are those

:40:48.:40:51.

which are funded through the local authority and the government gives

:40:52.:40:54.

them money and they give the money to the local authority and they do

:40:55.:40:59.

not run local authority schools, they supervise them and they give

:41:00.:41:06.

them support. Academies are run directly and supervised by central

:41:07.:41:10.

government, given money by central government, and the people that run

:41:11.:41:14.

them are third-party charities. Rather than having your school

:41:15.:41:18.

answerable to your local councillor, it is answerable to a charity and

:41:19.:41:22.

then to the Secretary of State for Education. How much difference is

:41:23.:41:25.

this going to make two schools in England? There's no evidence to

:41:26.:41:32.

suggest this will standards. -- this will improve standards. It is an

:41:33.:41:37.

evidence -based light area and we know that early academies, they did

:41:38.:41:45.

work, but we are talking about turning around schools and schools

:41:46.:41:53.

which fostered think are fine, and we have no idea if this is going to

:41:54.:41:57.

work -- which Ofsted things are fine. Every school is facing a

:41:58.:42:03.

change to the funding for Miller, some will face stringent cuts, and

:42:04.:42:08.

there are cuts coming down the line -- funding formula. Chris, thanks

:42:09.:42:12.

for joining us. We leave you with news that the last

:42:13.:42:15.

remaining script hand written by William Shakespeare is to be put

:42:16.:42:22.

online by the British Library. And topically, it's a speech

:42:23.:42:25.

about refugees delivered But we all know Shakespeare

:42:26.:42:26.

should be heard, not read, and so we leave you with

:42:27.:42:32.

Dame Harriet Walter. You'll put down strangers,

:42:33.:42:35.

Kill them, cut their throats, possess their houses,

:42:36.:42:43.

And lead the majesty of law in line, Say now the king (As he is clement,

:42:44.:42:46.

if th' offender mourn) Should so much come to short

:42:47.:42:55.

of your great trespass As but to banish you,

:42:56.:42:57.

whether would you go? What country, by the

:42:58.:43:00.

nature of your error, Go you to France or Flanders,

:43:01.:43:03.

To any German province, to Spain or Portugal, Nay,

:43:04.:43:08.

any where that not adheres to England - Why, you must

:43:09.:43:11.

needs be strangers. Would you be pleased to find

:43:12.:43:18.

a nation of such barbarous temper, That, breaking out

:43:19.:43:21.

in hideous violence, Would not afford you

:43:22.:43:24.

an abode on earth, Whet their detested knives

:43:25.:43:26.

against your throats, Spurn you like dogs,

:43:27.:43:29.

and like as if that God Owed not nor made not you,

:43:30.:43:33.

nor that the claimants Were not all appropriate

:43:34.:43:37.

to your comforts, But chartered unto them,

:43:38.:43:39.

what would you think This is the strangers' case;

:43:40.:43:41.

And this your mountanish inhumanity. There might be a few spots of rain

:43:42.:44:09.

and drizzle in parts of England and Wales tonight and tomorrow

:44:10.:44:10.

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