18/03/2016 Newsnight


With Evan Davis. Paris terror suspect arrested in Belgium. Political turmoil in Brazil and just how bad a week has it been for the chancellor and his budget?

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Ian Duncan Smith has resigned from the government this evening,


over benefit cuts, the end of his six years reign as work


At the last Budget he'd cheered government policy


So, is his exit a full-blown crisis for the government,


Five arrested in Brussels - Paris attacker Salah Abdeslam among


We'll piece together today's events, and ask whether the authorities can


And on tonight's Artsnight - artist Ryan Gander explores the art


Art isn't a stronghold of the elite, it's everywhere. It surrounds us.


It was at 9:00pm this evening, the news dropped without warning.


Iain Duncan Smith has resigned from the cabinet.


His resignation letter stuck the knife into George Osborne,


and indeed, twisted it around a bit too.


Now it had obviously been a fraught day,


earlier in the evening, there had been signs


of a significant U-turn on those unpopular cuts to benefits


for people with disabilities - the personal independence


The cuts were meant to make a ?1.3 billion saving.


But according to Mr Duncan Smith's resignation letter,


He didn't like them, and didn't like them even more


for the fact they were accompanied by tax cuts for the better off.


That have a brief chat to BBC political editor Laura Kuenssberg,


who is in Downing Street. Take us through the letter, what you make of


it, the substance and tone. Well, it's an absolute zinger of a


resignation letter. He believed very strongly in the changes being made


in welfare under his leadership at the DWP over the last six years, but


in his view, these latest proposed cuts to the payments for many


disabled people were simply a step too far. They were, in his view, the


wrong balance, striking the wrong balance. He makes a very interesting


point. Politically this will hurt. He suggests the government now has


the balance of cuts the wrong way round, they are looking in the wrong


places and hitting the wrong people. He dares the government to explain


why they've been hitting people at the bottom end and the younger


generation instead, protecting pensioners at the top end. The most


striking and damaging line of all in this letter is saved for the very,


very end. He casts doubt on the government's main assertion they've


made time and time again since they've been in charge in 2010, he


questions whether or not we are really all in this together. That is


a senior figure in government walking out in protest and,


essentially, questioning the government's main motivation. Every


line is almost full of some bitterness. There has been bad blood


between him and George Osborne for some time now. Very briefly, that is


what he said, is there anything unsaid that is going on tonight?


Naz of course there always is in politics. In this case there is


something glaringly missing from the resignation letter. Iain Duncan


Smith is one of the most prominent Eurosceptics, he has a big role in


obtaining for us to leave the European Union. For some people


inside government, they are pointing very much to that as part of his


motivation. This will pour fuel on the already fiery debate inside the


Conservative Party over whether or not we should stay or leave the EU.


Senior MPs I've spoken to close to Iain Duncan Smith say, however, it's


just not the case. He feels he was forced into these reforms he was


then feeling he was being forced to defend them. When it emerged today


the government was going to jump the reforms altogether, you felt it was


a step too far. This will make a difference to the bad blood already


there over the EU. That think that anger, that's David Cameron has been


struggling to contain inside his party. No question, the timing of


the debate around the EU referendum is absolutely part of this, too.


Well to discuss all of this is Tim Montgomerie, from the Times


newspaper, who was a speech writer for Iain Duncan Smith and founded


the Centre for Social Justice with him, and also Jonathan


Freedland, columnist from the Guardian, and Anne McElvoy


Good evening to you all. Tim, what is going through his mind tonight? I


think you have to judge it by the content of the letter that he wrote


to the Prime Minister. He has been struggling for a long time with an


imbalance of cuts that he's being asked to make. Huge part of the


welfare budget, particularly for pensioners, said in universal


benefits like child benefit have been ruled out of being touched by


the Prime Minister and by the Chancellor. I think Iain Duncan


Smith has, as he says, been a team player, tried to make cuts on the


working poor and younger families. He feels it has gone on too far.


It's one thing to make cuts for deficit reduction, but as his letter


said, it's completely different if you are making those cuts to fund


tax cuts for the better off or capital gains tax. You are taking


the letter at face value. I think we have to, there may be other reasons,


but there is a lot of moral force to this letter and it chimes with a lot


of people who feel, to quote the letter, the promise was, we are all


in this together. And, actually, it is working age families at the


bottom of the pile who are yet again been asked to bear the brunt of


posterity. It's interesting, a lot of critics to the left, who've grown


to not like him very much over the last six years of his reign there,


they will say, why are you going this way? There's been a lot of this


over the last six years and you suddenly popped out, particularly


just in the run-up to an EU referendum, which will make them


suspicious if something about Brexit. You could easily make the


argument he could have gone over other cuts, over tax credits last


year. I think that the difference is the use of these cuts to help fund


cuts for better off people. That really is a step too far. The others


like detail is this is the day the policy he is resigning over was


going to be junked. It's very odd to resign over policy the government


has abandoned. The timing perhaps wasn't completely ideal in that


respect. But I think the wider point of the letter, that cuts are still


coming down the pipeline and are focused on the working age, young


families, that is still very resonant. IQ taking the letter at


face value or do you think there is something else going on? -- are you


taking. It's what Iain Duncan Smith really believes, I don't think there


is any sort of hokum, trying to cover something up. There is a


permissive environment in the Conservative Party as a result of


the referendum and a deep split in the Conservative Party which goes


back... Pretty much forever... But Iain Duncan Smith is one of those


people from the 90s onwards who has been a great Eurosceptic. This is


their moment in the run-up to a possible Brexit. All sorts of things


that maybe would have just about held together, got patched together,


like those family rows. Once you start one, the others tend to come


up. That's really what is going on here. People say what he's trying to


do... The letter is so barbed comment doesn't mention George


Osborne particularly, but it's so obviously aimed at him. People say


he's trying to betray himself as the nice guy, for exit, the Chancellor,


who wants to remain, as the evil... People will find it rich of Iain


Duncan Smith to criticise Osborne from the left. They will say, you


are the person who has been implementing these cuts, some of


them very severe. The test of fitness to work imposed on the


disabled. He's been seen as extremely harsh by disability


groups. They find that now of all times he discovers it's too much for


him. He is shocked to discover there is this harsh policy from the


government and he's quitting just as it's dropped. Of course people are


going to be sceptical and ask that because Dean you always ask in


politics, why now? Is tolerated lots before now. Now three months ahead


of the referendum he feels it's time to really launch an exit at the man


who is leading the outcome pain. Is this full-blown crisis or


containable to one policy over this benefit cut, which has been junked?


And one man? It feels like, judging from the tweets of all the people


coming out in support of him, the usual suspects on the Brexit side of


the party, it feels like it's igniting something, is that right?


This is an historic time for the Conservative Party. I don't want to


make a prediction in a world where Donald Trump could be the next


president, it's a world full of surprises. I think the Conservative


Party could easily split over this Brexit bait, not just because of the


nature of the huge divide it represents philosophically, but the


way it is being fought. -- Brexit debate. There is unhappiness on both


sides at the emphasis the Prime Minister is putting on fear, for


example. Other people on the site that supports staying in the EU


worries about the tactics of some of the people wanting to come out.


There is also a sense, this is why this letter is imported, the


weakness of the leading party means the Conservative Party could be in


government for a long time. -- weakness of the Labour Party. Iain


Duncan Smith says unless the Conservative Party is a truly one


nation party that balances the cuts and tax policy so they are fair to


everyone in society, it risks squandering that opportunity to be


the natural party of government again. The difficulty with that is,


it's such a complex landscape within the Conservative Party. When Iain


Duncan Smith says, in the letter, he could just about have gone along


with this if it hadn't been for the fact he thought the budget was too


nice to high earners... This is someone on the right of the party.


Where are we? That's another question. We've gone through the


looking Glass of it. It's going to be a bit of a problem. I feel you


should put in some word of defence for George Osborne here. It's easy


on a night like this to say, you see what happens, you put on these


disability cuts, now look. We've heard a rising bill on this.


Governments, going back to new Labour... Disability benefit cuts to


fund tax cuts for the well of. It was because for the top rate of tax


to come down from 50p to 45 D. E tolerated that before. We've got a


figure on the right attacking the figure associated with compassionate


conservatism and modernisation, saying, this is too much for me.


That is why you feel it's about Brexit. You've got this odd thing


going on, partly to do with the weakness of labour. Government and


opposition are happening within the Conservative Party. It's the sort of


thing George Osborne could have got away with before but half the people


behind him as he gave the budget wanted him to fail, wanted him to


trip up, because he is the leader of In. Is this schism in the party at


the end of the road is it repairable the referendum... Is, David


Cameron's departure date will have to come forward, is not in the


position, if it is likely he wins the Brexit election, he will not be


able to heal this. The Chancellor is toxic on lots of these issues. I


think a new leader will be necessary to heal divisions. Inside of the


party? Early in the parliament. Polls suggest it wouldn't be risk he


couldn't do a healing role. Cameron has allowed Osborne to be the


lightning rod and hate figure of In. Cameron isn't even here, playing the


statesman figure. This attack goes to Cameron as well as Osborne. I


mean, he's put up his hands and said, there are a lot of people.


They recently have want to do continue with the Cameron- Osborne


duo at the top of the Conservative Party. This is an extremely


significant moment for them. Geoffrey Howe, the attack on


Margaret Thatcher, these things come round, teams to be an eternal


recurrence. It begins to look like the beginning of an endgame, doesn't


it? Osborne has had the most appalling week. This has to be worse


than omnishambles. He was going to be all right after the budget! And


now look. Again, is it what you would call the tin ear, he doesn't


get 1 billion pounds from disabled people is a lot of money. It's like


the disabled tax credit row from last, the fact he has repeated it


with an even more vulnerable group. People feel the disabled are the one


group, most of all, that deserve help from the welfare state. Taking


from the poor to give to the rich is one thing, but even the Sheriff of


Nottingham didn't take from the disabled and sick to give to the


rich. Capital gains tax sounded so bad. People were selling their


shares in Osborne as soon as he sat down on Wednesday. It's got much


worse. You can't keep making mistakes like this. If you are the


great strategic genius as he presenting cells politically, his


image has been, I may not look like that popular figure on TV but I am a


strategic wizard. Yet he's done the tax credit reversal, similar to...


Praising the Google tax deal, another humiliation. He's running


out of lives. Your luck does run out as Chancellor. Remember, he's been


an absolutely commanding figure in this period, an architect of the


Tory election victory. Your luck does run out as Chancellor. It


hinges on the Office for Budget Responsibility. When it goes well


his stock rises. Not only that, the OBE are as a life of its own in


national politics. -- the OBR. Tim was reflecting, that absolutely


driven feeling Osborne has that he has to at least prove he is right in


the long run, it's now beginning to trip him up. Does it make any


difference to the referendum itself? Does it bolster the leave camp,


possibly even the remain camp? It does matter how much standing


David Cameron has in the country. He is the lead person selling EU


membership to the people. If this makes a difference, every time he


tries to sell the EU, people look at him slightly differently. It is not


helpful... I think the damage is around George Osborne. He is the


toxic figure, the hard-faced man. He was booed at the Paralympics, he is


having another go at this table people now. I don't think much of


that rubs off on Cameron. That is all we have time for. Thank you.


Just over four months since the Paris attacks,


Salah Abdesalm Europe's most wanted man, for his role in those


Along with an accomplice, and three people in a family who had


Right in a flat in Molenbeek, Abdesalm's home


Secunder Kermani has been in Molenbeek in recent days,


Dramatic scenes on the streets of Molenbeek in Brussels,


as authorities closed in on one of Europe's's most wanted men.


as authorities closed in on one of Europe's most wanted men.


Salah Abdeslam was reportedly shot in the leg and arrested along


with an alleged accomplice and three members


Police had been searching for him ever since the attacks in Paris last


November and he is now likely to be extradited to France.


In the past, some there had accused Belgian


security services of intelligence failures.


This evening the French president praised their work


TRANSLATION: I have a special thought for the victims


of the attacks on the 13th of November in Paris.


Because Salah Abdeslam is directly connected to the preparation,


organisation and, I have to say, the perpetration of these attacks.


I also think of the families who have been looking


Salah Abdeslam was a former petty criminal from the Brussels district


He drove the attackers to Paris and, according to some reports,


took an active part in what had happened there.


His brother was one of those firing at people in the bars and cafes


He was picked up by two friends, who drove


Incredibly, they were stopped three times at police


checkpoints, but were allowed to continue.


The next day, those two friends who had picked him up were arrested


in dramatic fashion, despite an international manhunt


Until a raid earlier this week in Brussels


suburb where police found his fingerprints.


One man was killed, two others escaped.


One may have been Salah, but today he was finally


Clearly, catching someone like this alive,


who was involved in the plot against Paris, who was probably


meant to die giving that attack, which means he was really a key part


of the fabric of the operation means he will have


a real insight into the broader networks around them,


into the people who supplied them with


weapons, the people who helped them make the bombs,


From an intelligence perspective, this is a huge victory.


Salah had been a childhood friend of the organiser of the Paris


Who else in IS, whether in Europe or Syria, was involved


in the attacks, will be a key question to explore.


As will the network who helped Salah hideout for so long.


Molenbeek where he grew up and where he was captured has gained


what many residents see as an unfair reputation as a centre of extremism.


This man runs one of the oldest youth centres. He said with a Distin


fries population, it is the perfect place to hide. You should know that


there is a high density population. 8000 new inhabitants every year. And


8000 leaving. There were tense scenes in Molenbeek to light. Most


oppose extremism, but also many have a troubled relationship with the


police. These raids were a success for the Belgian authorities, but as


they discover more behind the Paris attacks, they will be looking to


prevent other attacks happening. What was his role on November the


13th? I have spent quite a bit of time in Molenbeek and I have met


many of Salah Abdesalm's friends. They cannot comprehend his role in


the attacks. His brother said he had seen him watching jihad videos. But


his friends, it had been a shock to them. They would say the fact he


didn't end up dead on the night of the attack shows he had second


thoughts about his involvement. But he played a key role in the


logistics, he rented cars, rented one of the safe houses that was used


to manufacture the suicide belts that were detonated. One of the most


interesting aspects is the anger in Molenbeek tonight. Interpret that,


it is not complicit with Isis, what is going on? Molenbeek has a high


Muslim population. They resent the presence of the international media


been camped out there portraying it as the Jihadi capital of Europe.


That is what explains that. To discuss the wider


implications of today's events, we're joined by Professor Peter


Neumann from King's College's Centre for the study of Radicalisation


and Political Violence. To what extent does capturing him


alive help the authorities? Potentially he might talk, but we


don't know that yet. There is a potential disadvantage because of


course, Isis has an incentive to perhaps even try to blackmail


Belgium to release him. It is absolutely unpredictable what will


happen in the next days and weeks. If he talks, it will be a huge


opportunity, but there is no guarantee he will. What does this


say about ice is that he was in Molenbeek. He could have gone to


Syria, the big network, but he hadn't? It is interesting, because


his brother died in the attacks. One of his school friends was the


mastermind of the attacks. Despite this being such a transnational


phenomenon, it is also a very small local phenomenon. A lot of people


are closely related to each other. The fact he stayed in that place for


four months. If you were the most wanted man in Europe, maybe you


would enqueue shouldn't be in the obvious place. The fact he stayed


there proves how provincial and local some of this movement can be.


The fact he was under their noses, what does that tell us about the


authorities? Was it a success they got him, but a failure because he


was always in Molenbeek? It is a success. Well Jim is the most effect


that country relative to population size in Europe. Its security


agencies were not built for the numbers of people they now have to


deal with. Second point, this was a part of Brussels that had been


abandoned by the state, by the Muslim communities and it is clear


that the authorities did not penetrate that part of their own


city at all. What about the European authorities, are they working


together a love? Are they able to deal with what is going on? After


Paris, something 's happened. But there are still some big things that


need to be fixed. To this day there isn't a single database accessible


to every European country that contains the names of every foreign


fighter, every potential terrorist. It is still possible, even after


Paris, for people to come back from Syria, returned to their own


countries are via other countries, because their countries don't have a


proper way of exchanging information. Peter, thank you very


much. Latin America is having


an extraordinary year - socialism in that continent has


been in the ascendancy, Venezuela in economic crisis,


Socialist Cuba coming And, a socialist government


in Brazil in the midst The Brazil crisis is the one


that is reaching fever Demonstrations and


counter-demonstrations, The scandal concerns construction


company bribes paid to the state oil company, finding their way


to senior political figures. It's now ensnared the revered former


President, Lula da Silva. An extraordinary tale -


Gabriel Gatehouse reports. Lula da Silva, seventh son of a


literate farm workers, a former shoeshine boy turned president.


Credited with lifting millions of people out of poverty. He left


office five years ago with an approval rating of 90%. In Brazil


Lula said in the 1980s, when up for man steals, he goes to jail. When a


rich man steals, he becomes a minister. Now, the man himself


stands accused of doing exactly that, falling foul of his own savage


critique of the system. Last Sunday, more than a million people across


Brazil came out onto the streets to demonstrate against the government


of Lula successor. At the heart of this story is a giant corruption


scandal. Allegations of billions of dollars of Ribes involving senior


officials and politicians. Now, Lula himself has been implicated. He has


denied charges of money-laundering and fraud, but the allegations have


set off a chain reaction. Secretly taped phone calls released to the


media, appeared to show the president offering Lula a


ministerial post which would shield him from prosecution.


The appointment was announced and Lula was sworn in yesterday. The


president herself is facing impeachment over allegations she


misused public fronts to boost spending during an election


campaign, warned of attempts to overthrow her government.


TRANSLATION: Convulsing Brazilian society with lies and reprehensible


practices, violates constitutional rights and the rights of citizens.


It sets serious precedents. Kuwas begin this way. Under President


Lula, Brazil was on the up. Bids to host the World Cup and the 2016 Rio


Paralympics. In 2010, the economy grew by 7.5%, but since then things


have gone wrong. Last year, GDP fell by 3.8%, leading to perhaps the


worst recession since records began. There are all sorts of reasons for


Brazil's economic woes, not all of them the government's fault.


Constant stories in the media about waste and corruption surrounding the


World Cup and the Olympics have feel the anger, especially among


middle-class voters. The upper middle class has suffered a very


significant, economic and political losses in the period of


Administration in the past 13, 14 years. On the economic side, jobs


for the other middle-class, paying between the minimum wages have


declined by 4.5 million in this period. It is very difficult for


children to do better than their parents did. The government does


have its supporters, drawn chiefly from the working class. Today, they


came out in force to save they are backing Lula and the president.


TRANSLATION: For the first time workers have rights and benefits and


the elite don't like this because they no longer have a cheap labour


force and slaves. The anti-government protests might have


begun as a middle-class movement. One of its leaders is a former hedge


front manager. Today he told us their appeal is broadening. Over the


last few days you could see absolutely everyone coming to the


streets, because the outrage is penetrating all of society. It


doesn't matter the social or economic level. Barack Obama once


called Lula the most popular politician on earth. Now


demonstrators are willing to face water canons to demand he go on


trial and his hand-picked successor stand out. Brazilians are coming to


the conclusion their political culture is rotten. So rotten, even


their most revered heroes seem not to be immune.


That's it from Newsnight, but now for Artsnight.


In the last episode in this run of the series, artist Ryan Gander


looks at the links between everyday life and creativity,


and travels to Berlin to meet Olafur Eliasson,


who famously created a giant sun in Tate Modern's Turbine Hall.


Everyone has the capacity to be creative.


We all do things in our lives that are artistic, whether we realise


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