05/04/2016 Newsnight


05/04/2016

With Kirsty Wark. Should the UK impose direct rule on overseas tax havens? The latest on the steel crisis. And why Justin Bieber is accused of offending African cultural heritage.


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Iceland's Prime Minister quits

:00:00.:00:09.

after revelations in the Panama Papers.

:00:10.:00:12.

Our Prime minister insists he's tough on corruption,

:00:13.:00:16.

so is it time to impose direct rule

:00:17.:00:18.

on the tax havens who answer to Britain?

:00:19.:00:22.

As trouble brews in paradise, we'll put that

:00:23.:00:24.

Companies in Bermuda pay taxes, I am the taxman, I am the finance

:00:25.:00:33.

minister, I can tell you, that we pay taxes.

:00:34.:00:36.

And the former foreign office minister who took

:00:37.:00:38.

back control of the Turks and Caicos tells us how he would do it now.

:00:39.:00:52.

One week on from news that Port Talbot is up for sale, ministers are

:00:53.:00:56.

to consider loaning money for a new power plant to bring down its huge

:00:57.:00:58.

energy bills. How much our energy costs and the government energy

:00:59.:01:01.

policy really to blame for the problems. And will anyone pay up for

:01:02.:01:04.

its multi-billion pound pension burden? We will ask the former

:01:05.:01:06.

pensions Minister for his view. the new prince of pop is under

:01:07.:01:13.

attack for his hair style. Are Justin Bieber's white

:01:14.:01:18.

dreadlocks an insult The Panama Papers have

:01:19.:01:19.

claimed their first scalp. A big one, the Prime Minister

:01:20.:01:40.

of Iceland, Sigmundur Gunnauggson, who, the papers revealed,

:01:41.:01:42.

set up a company in the British Virgin Islands

:01:43.:01:44.

with his wife and then, when he entered parliament,

:01:45.:01:47.

failed to declare it. Our own Prime minister who had been

:01:48.:01:49.

under pressure over the revelation of his late father's involvement

:01:50.:01:52.

in a Panama based fund for investors, today insisted he had

:01:53.:01:55.

no shares, no offshore trusts

:01:56.:01:57.

and no offshore funds. It is the central role which British

:01:58.:01:58.

dependencies have played in what Jeremy Corbyn today called

:01:59.:02:01.

the encouragement of tax avoidance on an industrial scale that led him

:02:02.:02:03.

to echo the call made by the former Business Secretary Vince Cable

:02:04.:02:07.

on Newsnight last night for the imposition of direct rule

:02:08.:02:09.

on British overseas territories VOICEOVER: The Panama papers have

:02:10.:02:28.

claimed their first big scalp. CHEERING

:02:29.:02:34.

A crowd here in Reykjavik have been demanding the resignation of

:02:35.:02:36.

Sigmundur Gunnlaugsson, the prime on a stir of Iceland, if you days ago

:02:37.:02:40.

he was dismissing claims that he had hidden wealth offshore in Panama and

:02:41.:02:47.

today he quit over the scandal, his finance minister also implicated is

:02:48.:02:51.

still hanging on. David Cameron has come in for some heat as well, his

:02:52.:02:56.

late father, who worked in finance, used Panama as well. I own no

:02:57.:03:02.

shares, I have a salary as Prime Minister, and I have some savings,

:03:03.:03:06.

which I get some interest from, and I have a house which we used to live

:03:07.:03:11.

in, which we now let out while we are living in Downing Street, that

:03:12.:03:16.

is all I have. No shares, no offshore trust, no offshore funds,

:03:17.:03:20.

nothing like that. The Labour leader focused today not an Panama but on

:03:21.:03:25.

some of the British Overseas Territories, 14 of them, former

:03:26.:03:28.

crown Colonies, still dependent on the UK. Many, like Montserrat and

:03:29.:03:34.

the Falklands, have not become financial centres, others, have made

:03:35.:03:38.

their way onto lists of tax havens. There is particular attention on bee

:03:39.:03:42.

media, in the Atlantic, the British Virgin Islands and the Cayman

:03:43.:03:46.

Islands in the Caribbean, and Gibraltar, in Europe. These

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territories are accused of enabling excessive secrecy, of the sort that

:03:51.:03:52.

allow the Icelandic Prime Minister to keep his investments hidden in

:03:53.:03:58.

Panama. You can go through the British Virgin Islands, classic

:03:59.:04:01.

case, you can incorporate a company very cheaply there, and then you

:04:02.:04:07.

can, that company can own assets, and even though you, the rich

:04:08.:04:10.

person, are the beneficial owner of the company, you can put nominees in

:04:11.:04:15.

the way. If you go to the British Virgin Islands and try to find out

:04:16.:04:18.

more about the company, and I have done that myself, you bang your head

:04:19.:04:22.

against a brick wall. To give you a sense of what this secrecy means on

:04:23.:04:25.

the ground, this is a company filing from the British Virgin Islands, LW

:04:26.:04:32.

group Limited, 350578. It tells you the number of the lawyers who set up

:04:33.:04:36.

the company and their address, the company current lawyers, and their

:04:37.:04:40.

address. What it does not tell you is that this company is the owner of

:04:41.:04:45.

a number of large British companies, namely, yodel, the delivery company,

:04:46.:04:50.

and Littlewoods, the shop, it is not tell you who the shareholders are,

:04:51.:04:53.

it is the Barclay brothers in this case. We can work out from filings

:04:54.:04:57.

elsewhere what the Barclay brothers company is but other owners have

:04:58.:05:00.

stayed off the radar. What can the Foreign Office do? Jeremy Corbyn

:05:01.:05:06.

alluded to the fact that in 2009, London imposed a wrecked role on the

:05:07.:05:11.

Turks and Caicos Islands because of local corruption, he suggested the

:05:12.:05:14.

Foreign Office to do the same for overseas Territories who do not play

:05:15.:05:18.

ball on secrecy. Actually it is more likely they would use another power.

:05:19.:05:22.

The Foreign Office's final big lever is legal, it can pass laws or order

:05:23.:05:29.

council through the Privy Council Office the territories into line,

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that relies upon the overseas territories doing as they are told,

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and not declaring independence. Some of the bigger overseas territories,

:05:38.:05:40.

like Bermuda, may be tempted by that path. The Foreign Office considers

:05:41.:05:45.

this a nuclear option, they would prefer to chivvy and encourage but

:05:46.:05:51.

use little bargaining chips. The dramatic pressure is there preferred

:05:52.:05:58.

weapon. It is seen as a bunch of banana republics, people can dismiss

:05:59.:06:02.

that, what we are intimately involved in this issue, in this

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problem, we in Britain, and in Europe. European tax savings, the

:06:06.:06:10.

United States as well, the rich world is part of the problem, that

:06:11.:06:14.

is where the tax havens are, you are not going to stash money into

:06:15.:06:18.

Nigeria, you will stash it somewhere rich and developed. One thing has

:06:19.:06:22.

become clear, Ireland's tax havens are only one corner of the

:06:23.:06:24.

controversy around tax. -- island. STUDIO: Earlier I spoke

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to the Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister

:06:37.:06:39.

of Bermuda Bob Richards and asked him what he says

:06:40.:06:40.

to Jeremy Corbyn's suggestion that places like Bermuda should be

:06:41.:06:43.

brought under direct rule. I would say that the need is a

:06:44.:06:48.

country that has its own constitution.

:06:49.:06:52.

We have a democratically elected government that operates under the

:06:53.:06:57.

rule of law under the Constitution, and the Constitution is an agreed

:06:58.:07:00.

document with the United Kingdom government. We would not expect the

:07:01.:07:08.

United Kingdom, a government that has great respect for the rule of

:07:09.:07:16.

law, to breach their own covenants. How do you justify to British

:07:17.:07:21.

taxpayers that you provide a place for people to hide the they are due

:07:22.:07:25.

to pay in the countries where they are based? That is a question based

:07:26.:07:33.

on a full is assumption. We have our own laws, our own taxes. Every

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company that incorporates in Bermuda has two provide the government

:07:39.:07:45.

agency, the bemused and monetary authority, the names of the

:07:46.:07:49.

beneficial owners of those companies. -- the Bermudan monetary

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authority. That includes trusts. It is a beneficial ownership register.

:07:58.:08:00.

You provide the information but you do not deny that they are not paying

:08:01.:08:04.

the taxes they are due to pay in their own country, for example,

:08:05.:08:10.

Britain. If the British authorities think that some Britain has a

:08:11.:08:13.

company in Bermuda, and they are not paying their taxes, we will assist

:08:14.:08:19.

the UK Government, your government's laws around taxes, are for them.

:08:20.:08:25.

Anything that we can do, the only thing we can do, is cooperate and

:08:26.:08:29.

assist with you when asked through the proper channels. Why do you

:08:30.:08:34.

think that in 2013, David Cameron said to Bermuda that you had to get

:08:35.:08:41.

your house in order? I think that he misspoke, quite frankly, because

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insofar as a business concern, the United Kingdom is planning to

:08:48.:08:53.

construct a beneficial ownership registry. So that you know that. --

:08:54.:08:58.

I'm sure that you know that. The media has had such a registry for 70

:08:59.:09:04.

years, 70... It does not mean that you are not a tax haven. Yes it

:09:05.:09:12.

does? Yes, it does, the people of Bermuda pay taxes, companies pay

:09:13.:09:15.

taxes, I am the taxman, I am the finance minister, I can tell you,

:09:16.:09:20.

the taxes come to about 18% of GDP. We pay taxes. Every time I put up

:09:21.:09:27.

taxes I get howls of from residents, as I did in this budget session. The

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notion that we can run a country, run a government, without taxes, is

:09:33.:09:36.

not really realistic. Do you put yourself in a different bracket from

:09:37.:09:41.

the Cayman Islands and the British Virgin Islands? I'm not going to

:09:42.:09:45.

comment on overseas territories, the only thing I can say to you is this:

:09:46.:09:52.

there seems to be a tendency on the part of not just the UK but the UK

:09:53.:09:56.

included and other countries to treat all overseas territories the

:09:57.:10:02.

same. One size fits all. I continue categorically, one size does not fit

:10:03.:10:07.

all. The constitutions of those islands that you mention are

:10:08.:10:12.

different from Bermuda, we have a higher level of self-government,

:10:13.:10:16.

than they do. From the beginning, from 1947, our forebears had the

:10:17.:10:22.

notion that we did not want just anybody doing business in Bermuda,

:10:23.:10:26.

we would screen them and we would approve them, and discard the ones

:10:27.:10:31.

that did not meet our standards. That is the reason that you do not

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see the new dimensions in those Panama papers. By the way, I must

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remind you, the UK is mentioned in the Panama papers! But, not Bermuda.

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Thank you for joining us. STUDIO: Joining me now from Cardiff

:10:44.:10:50.

is Chris Bryant Labour MP who was the minister responsible

:10:51.:10:53.

for the last time we took powers imposed direct rule on the Turks

:10:54.:10:56.

and Caicos Islands in March 2009, though in that instance it was to do

:10:57.:11:01.

with a corruption scandal. Wait a minute, what a load of

:11:02.:11:09.

baloney you have heard, Bermuda certainly has no income tax, no

:11:10.:11:14.

property tax, no sales tax, no inheritance tax! It is a tax haven!

:11:15.:11:20.

The whole point of the way some overseas territories have

:11:21.:11:22.

constructed their tax regime is not just to be competitive, but is to

:11:23.:11:28.

attract people to try to hide their international assets there. Do you

:11:29.:11:34.

agree with Jeremy Corbyn that direct rule should be imposed on the

:11:35.:11:37.

territories and dependencies? The one thing that was said that was

:11:38.:11:41.

right, we should not treat them all exactly the same way. You have

:11:42.:11:45.

criticised Bermuda, could there be direct rule? Not tomorrow, no there

:11:46.:11:50.

should not, there are plenty of other powers that the UK Government

:11:51.:11:55.

already has, which it has, for some reason for the last six years it has

:11:56.:11:59.

been choosing not to exercise. Sorry to enter, let me clarify the

:12:00.:12:03.

position, is Jeremy Corbyn wrong to lump them together? He has not lump

:12:04.:12:08.

them together, we are not saying that we should suddenly install

:12:09.:12:12.

direct rule over the Falkland Islands, Pitcairn, the British

:12:13.:12:16.

Indian Ocean Territory! The point is really important, in Turks and

:12:17.:12:21.

Caicos, the cavernous is still chaired by the British governor. --

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the cabinet. All legislation must receive Royal assent, because they

:12:27.:12:29.

are part of the British Crown. There are plenty of powers that the

:12:30.:12:33.

government has. Let me give you one instance, when I was Foreign Office

:12:34.:12:39.

minister, in 2009/10, several of the financial services overseas

:12:40.:12:41.

territories, which Jeremy Peace writes 2.2, they were insignificant

:12:42.:12:45.

financial problems and they needed to borrow a lot of money. -- which

:12:46.:12:56.

is right to point to. I refuse to allow them to borrow more money,

:12:57.:13:01.

until such time as they brought in some broader tax basis, because it

:13:02.:13:06.

is one thing to try to have a competitive tax regime, I understand

:13:07.:13:10.

that, but it is another to have a set of rules which means that you

:13:11.:13:15.

can hide the beneficial ownership of significant assets from the rest of

:13:16.:13:18.

the world. It is worth bearing in mind that 8% of the worlds wealth is

:13:19.:13:23.

hidden. Let's be clear, a lot of what is being revealed and will

:13:24.:13:29.

still be revealed and is yet to be revealed was during Labour's watch.

:13:30.:13:36.

This is a long-standing problem. I agree.

:13:37.:13:40.

It is not one-sided fits all but is there an argument for taking Turks

:13:41.:13:50.

and Caicos under direct control and how would you do it? You would have

:13:51.:13:57.

two order in Council, a pretty straightforward process. But it is

:13:58.:14:02.

the implications of it. Of doing that, what would they be? They would

:14:03.:14:07.

be dramatic. That would be the nuclear option. I would say you need

:14:08.:14:13.

to use all the other powers and I'm mystified why why the Conservative

:14:14.:14:16.

government in 2010 or Coalition Government, decided to allow all bad

:14:17.:14:22.

are linked to go forward for all those other countries without

:14:23.:14:25.

requiring them to move forward on transparency. The one point in

:14:26.:14:30.

relation to Bermuda, which is key, it is all very well to gather

:14:31.:14:34.

information within Bermuda, on beneficial ownership, but you need

:14:35.:14:38.

to share that between all the different dependencies, overseas

:14:39.:14:44.

territories and the UK Government, to make sure you're doing it

:14:45.:14:49.

properly. And in the end, my constituents spit with fury when

:14:50.:14:53.

they hear that there is one set of rules for the ultra rich and another

:14:54.:14:57.

set of rules for everyone else. Everyone else has got to pay their

:14:58.:15:01.

fair share of tax and why should these big corporations not. Why

:15:02.:15:07.

should wash and go or kitten able to hide ownership of properties through

:15:08.:15:13.

companies in BBI or why should we in the UK not be able to know that the

:15:14.:15:17.

president of the United Arab Emirates owns vast chunks of the

:15:18.:15:22.

London property market. Thank you very much for that, Chris Bryant.

:15:23.:15:24.

There are two big imepdiments to a potential sale of Tata Steel,

:15:25.:15:27.

we'll deal with the massive pension burden in a moment,

:15:28.:15:29.

but the other is the cost of energy, twice what Germany pays.

:15:30.:15:34.

Industry, and not just the steel industry,

:15:35.:15:36.

But is there an inventive way to tempt a buyer in,

:15:37.:15:40.

through an energy deal, or is energy a red herring?

:15:41.:15:45.

Here's the FT's energy correspondent Kiran Stacey,

:15:46.:15:47.

who we asked to shed some light on the issue.

:15:48.:15:56.

Among the attempts to save steel-making at Port Talbot,

:15:57.:15:59.

one intriguing idea sits on the table.

:16:00.:16:02.

Supposing the government could lend the money

:16:03.:16:09.

for a buyer to build their own gas power station

:16:10.:16:11.

The cripplingly high energy costs, about which Tata has

:16:12.:16:14.

repeatedly complained, would no longer be an impediment.

:16:15.:16:16.

But how much are energy costs and the government energy

:16:17.:16:24.

policy really to blame for the company's problems?

:16:25.:16:26.

When steel companies are put under pressure and profit

:16:27.:16:31.

margins are squeezed, or even wiped out completely,

:16:32.:16:35.

those fixed costs and costs with reasonable variations,

:16:36.:16:38.

like electricity, become a much bigger issue.

:16:39.:16:40.

And that is what we have seen over the last two or three years.

:16:41.:16:44.

There is no question that electricity prices for heavy

:16:45.:16:46.

Higher in fact than any other country in the EU.

:16:47.:16:50.

One explanation is the subsidies given to renewables such as wind

:16:51.:16:57.

Like us, their subsidies are paid for by putting levies

:16:58.:17:05.

But unlike us, the German government has given large industrial users

:17:06.:17:09.

9 billion euros back on their bills since 2013.

:17:10.:17:14.

In that time the UK has paid out just ?160 million.

:17:15.:17:22.

Melting steel at temperatures of almost 1300 Celsius

:17:23.:17:24.

But how much of an impact do energy prices and green subsidies actually

:17:25.:17:30.

Of that 9.5p per kilowatt hour of electricity that UK heavy

:17:31.:17:37.

industry paid in 2014, this is how it broke down.

:17:38.:17:41.

The raw electricity accounts for 55% of the cost.

:17:42.:17:46.

Delivering it accounts for another 27%.

:17:47.:17:49.

And energy and climate change policies account for 15%.

:17:50.:17:58.

Of the overall costs of running a blast furnace such

:17:59.:18:00.

as those at Port Talbot, electricity accounts for about 6%.

:18:01.:18:05.

Altogether therefore, green policy accounts for around 1%

:18:06.:18:08.

of what it costs to melt steel at the South Wales site.

:18:09.:18:12.

The figures you have seen are about electricity.

:18:13.:18:17.

We are talking in Port Talbot largely about gas.

:18:18.:18:20.

And gas is not affected by this at all.

:18:21.:18:25.

And British Gas prices are about medium for the whole of Europe.

:18:26.:18:34.

So it cannot be this, i.e., green taxes, which has affected

:18:35.:18:37.

the closure or the threat of closure of Port Talbot.

:18:38.:18:39.

There are lots of other things that could have done it, but above all,

:18:40.:18:43.

it is the international price of steel which has

:18:44.:18:45.

The government could of course remove green levies altogether.

:18:46.:18:52.

It could, in the words attributed to David Cameron,

:18:53.:18:54.

That would give you your one, maybe 2% saving on the cost

:18:55.:18:59.

But compared to the 30% drop in the price of some steel products

:19:00.:19:05.

worldwide in the last year, I'm not sure that that is going

:19:06.:19:08.

to make the difference needed to save the British steel industry.

:19:09.:19:18.

It is possible that generous government subsidies could pull

:19:19.:19:21.

companies on the cusp of going under back from the brink.

:19:22.:19:23.

But it seems that in the case of Tata, their problems

:19:24.:19:26.

The other huge issue surrounding Tata or any other potential buyer is

:19:27.:19:37.

pensions. With me now in the studio

:19:38.:19:38.

is Steve Webb, who was Pensions Minister for the five years

:19:39.:19:41.

of the coalition government. In your view is any potential buyer

:19:42.:19:49.

going to take on the pension burden? It looks pretty toxic to me. You

:19:50.:19:54.

have enough trouble making money selling steel but if you're worried

:19:55.:19:57.

also about the cost of pension promises already made but the fact

:19:58.:20:01.

that the pension deficit could blow up again in the future, you just

:20:02.:20:08.

never knew a pension fund deficit and any purchaser would not want

:20:09.:20:11.

that level of uncertainty. What would the most likely outcome be

:20:12.:20:14.

question mark in a normal situation, if a business is running and become

:20:15.:20:20.

insolvent, the pension fund if it is short of money as this is, and it

:20:21.:20:28.

changes by the day. Potentially it runs into billions by some measures.

:20:29.:20:35.

140,000 people involved, not just the workers working for Tata at the

:20:36.:20:38.

moment. Yes, the people actively working, and another 30,000 who have

:20:39.:20:43.

not yet retired, a round 80,000 to have retired. If the money goes into

:20:44.:20:48.

the Pension Protection Fund, would you think is most likely, they will

:20:49.:20:57.

not get 100% of their action. -- pension. It will not replace every

:20:58.:21:01.

penny of the pension you're going to get. So men and women would lose

:21:02.:21:06.

their pension. And the hardest-hit would be the longest serving. Just

:21:07.:21:14.

explain why that is. No one is getting a full pay-out. If you have

:21:15.:21:17.

not yet reached pension age you get 90% of something, that something is

:21:18.:21:22.

capped. If you've worked in the industry man and boy all your life,

:21:23.:21:26.

you could build up a pension or perhaps 60,000 a year but the cap

:21:27.:21:31.

would take you down to around 30. You could lose potentially up to

:21:32.:21:35.

half your pension. There is also an issue over whether it was index

:21:36.:21:42.

linked. Again that would be the long serving workers who lose out. You

:21:43.:21:46.

have brought in something to try to amend this, but it was not passed. I

:21:47.:21:54.

thought it was wrong to cap long-term workers. If you have a

:21:55.:21:57.

decent pension because you worked in a scheme of your life, it is not

:21:58.:22:02.

their that it is capped so hard. So last year, I legislated for a bigger

:22:03.:22:08.

cap for longer workers but that has not been implemented. It is that cap

:22:09.:22:13.

plus 3%. And why has it not been implemented? I guess it has not been

:22:14.:22:18.

a priority, to be fair to the new government, they have been doing

:22:19.:22:22.

other things, but it ought to be a priority. Long serving workers need

:22:23.:22:27.

this. And there is no impediment to David Cameron for example doing this

:22:28.:22:31.

tomorrow. Detailed regulations could be done in a matter of months. So

:22:32.:22:37.

before all this happens, it could be done. One of the other ideas being

:22:38.:22:42.

floated is the idea that the government as it did with Royal

:22:43.:22:45.

Mail, would take on the pension burden. And you rules would preclude

:22:46.:22:51.

that, do you think, or not? It would be challenging to say the industry

:22:52.:22:58.

is a special case. And the government would be worried that the

:22:59.:23:03.

car industry, defence, aerospace, they would be worried about the

:23:04.:23:06.

president. Not that they could not afford to, today they would not be a

:23:07.:23:11.

problem but promises would need to be kept for decades to come. I think

:23:12.:23:14.

the worried would be the president. Anti-EU? You're not allowed to

:23:15.:23:18.

subsidise your own industries where the complete with other people. So

:23:19.:23:24.

the EU takes the view there is too much steel capacity so that is hard

:23:25.:23:27.

to see that working for the government.

:23:28.:23:28.

The Canadian singer songwriter Justin Bieber has been accused

:23:29.:23:30.

of cultural appropriation for wearing his blond

:23:31.:23:32.

As someone who in the past defended US reality TV star Kylie Jenner's

:23:33.:23:37.

right to style her hair in corn rows,

:23:38.:23:40.

he is not unaware of the implications of his new hairstyle.

:23:41.:23:43.

But are the Rolling Stones guilty because they appropriated soul blues

:23:44.:23:46.

What is cultural appropriation and what is cultural appreciation?

:23:47.:23:51.

This programme, the proud boast would be meaningless first with

:23:52.:24:10.

Justin Bieber news if we were not all over his latest hairstyle.

:24:11.:24:16.

The Canadian pop star has been dividing opinion with his new

:24:17.:24:20.

hairdo. Are these dreadlocks and if so is it cultural appropriation as

:24:21.:24:25.

some have claimed? Another man got into trouble on a San Francisco

:24:26.:24:31.

campus for his haircut. You say I cannot have the hairstyle because of

:24:32.:24:43.

your culture? Are you Egyptian? I have certainly been told, made aware

:24:44.:24:49.

in no uncertain terms that the hairstyle I have had have been

:24:50.:24:53.

deemed too black or not appropriate for that situation. So again of

:24:54.:24:58.

white person is able to just kind of experiment with these hairstyles as

:24:59.:25:02.

though there some of costume and is not subject to any of the same

:25:03.:25:08.

stigma that a black person might be. It is frustrating.

:25:09.:25:17.

At this busy mixed barbershop in London this evening the reaction to

:25:18.:25:23.

the Justin Bieber Barnet Fair Rory seemed to be, keep your hair on. I

:25:24.:25:29.

wish I had that amount of hair! Why not. If you've got the hair, you can

:25:30.:25:35.

do whatever you want with it. I think they look nice. I do. The

:25:36.:25:44.

crossover between cultures, it is predominately known as an

:25:45.:25:51.

Afro-Caribbean type of thing. It looks a bit like punk. Not raster or

:25:52.:26:02.

anything. That does not look very good! He is copying the black spiral

:26:03.:26:08.

of dreadlocks I suppose. But he has changed it up a bit. It is like Mick

:26:09.:26:14.

Hucknall and boy George, they tried to do something like that. If he had

:26:15.:26:19.

come to you what would you have said this remark he would be in the chair

:26:20.:26:23.

right there! I would ask one customer to get up and get him

:26:24.:26:26.

straight in the chair, Justin Bieber!

:26:27.:26:28.

Joining me in the studio to discuss this further is Ian Dunt the Editor

:26:29.:26:31.

of "politics.co.uk", Emma Dabri an academic and writer.

:26:32.:26:33.

And from our BBC studios in New York writer Chimene Suleyman.

:26:34.:26:37.

Good evening. It is a particular debate in the United States. Do you

:26:38.:26:44.

think that Justin Bieber has done something wrong? I think we should

:26:45.:26:51.

not necessarily hold celebrities to a higher status than the rest of us.

:26:52.:27:01.

The issue really, he is allowed to do what he wants to do with his own

:27:02.:27:04.

hairstyle. But we have a responsibility to each other and

:27:05.:27:08.

responsibility to marginalised communities to listen to why this

:27:09.:27:13.

had them or if there is something we are doing is harmful. What might be

:27:14.:27:19.

harmful about that. And then make an informed decision. In your opinion

:27:20.:27:22.

what is harmful? I think there is a fine line between cultural

:27:23.:27:26.

appropriation and cultural appreciation. It is a fine line. But

:27:27.:27:33.

a line nonetheless. Appropriation I think, there has been a lot of

:27:34.:27:36.

miscommunication about what the word means. It is not about necessarily

:27:37.:27:42.

enjoying someone else's cultural aesthetic. It is about taking an

:27:43.:27:48.

aspect of something that belongs to someone else, without their

:27:49.:27:52.

permission, and profiting from it. Let me put that to Ian Durrant. It

:27:53.:27:58.

is someone taking something from another culture, taking advantage

:27:59.:28:05.

for example of a marginalised culture. Like chicken tikka masala

:28:06.:28:11.

or Elvis Presley and the blues, which basically created rock 'n'

:28:12.:28:16.

roll. Exactly that. We are people, we mix cultures and we mix

:28:17.:28:20.

artistically. And bank god we do because if we do not we are

:28:21.:28:24.

functioning in an almost identical way to the way the far right has

:28:25.:28:27.

always asked us to in our little identity ghettos. That seems more

:28:28.:28:32.

severe than the haircut of Justin Bieber. Does it matter? I think

:28:33.:28:38.

saying that Elvis began rock 'n' roll is typical of what happens when

:28:39.:28:43.

we see cultural appropriation at its finest. One generally of white

:28:44.:28:48.

artist discredited and history will credit this person as being

:28:49.:28:52.

responsible for something that has been born often out of black

:28:53.:28:58.

struggle. You say that about the Rolling Stones as well? If you are

:28:59.:29:02.

going to save the invented rock 'n' roll, that is a problem. Two said

:29:03.:29:08.

they invented it, it is spurious. It is inaccurate. And it is crucial as

:29:09.:29:14.

well the idea that the question was, is it an insult to African culture.

:29:15.:29:21.

I think when we live in a time when African culture is diverse, is it

:29:22.:29:27.

still routinely stigmatised and presented as letter, as primitive

:29:28.:29:34.

and underdeveloped. But at the same time there is a systematic

:29:35.:29:36.

extraction of African resources, physical, material and cultural.

:29:37.:29:42.

That is when it gets into appropriation. It is not

:29:43.:29:46.

appreciation, we do not actually appreciate African culture when

:29:47.:29:48.

black people are participating in that. But only when a white person

:29:49.:29:51.

starts to take ownership. Was Elvis taking the blues and doing

:29:52.:30:06.

something with it, was that an act of cultural appropriation? The fact

:30:07.:30:09.

that he is now known as the king of rock and roll... It speaks to the

:30:10.:30:14.

fact that a white person will always end up with being predicted with an

:30:15.:30:20.

innovation that has come from black struggle and creativity. So that was

:30:21.:30:24.

a bad thing, most people would say that started a rich cultural

:30:25.:30:33.

heritage we have all enjoyed. Often when something is taken, in the

:30:34.:30:41.

past, they get the credit for it? And we live in a racist society,

:30:42.:30:46.

unfair, but this is not a sensible way of dealing with that.

:30:47.:31:00.

What would you regard as being an act of cultural appreciation? It

:31:01.:31:06.

tends to happen more organically, I grew up in London, there is a

:31:07.:31:11.

diverse community there, often what happens is that subcultures are

:31:12.:31:15.

formed through that process. It has the be an organic thing. To go back

:31:16.:31:21.

to what has been said about erasure, in the last week, with the debate

:31:22.:31:23.

that was happening around Rory Goldstein, who was wearing

:31:24.:31:28.

dreadlocks at a San Francisco University, there was a lot of real

:31:29.:31:33.

commitment to the history behind the dreadlocks, how may people wanted to

:31:34.:31:36.

mention that the Celts also wore dreadlocks. And Vikings. What

:31:37.:31:42.

happened in that conversation, even in that debate was that the

:31:43.:31:46.

African-American community, the black community, the Rastafarian

:31:47.:31:49.

community, were deleted from the discussion. -- Corey Goldstein. To

:31:50.:31:53.

favour a group of people that has not existed for the last thousand

:31:54.:31:58.

years. It is... It is this level of erasure that we are talking about. A

:31:59.:32:02.

different type of erasure, as you might call it, if you look at John

:32:03.:32:09.

Cena walls, who got a lot of flak for taking a Bollywood theme in

:32:10.:32:12.

India as part of a cold play music video. Was she guilty of cultural

:32:13.:32:18.

appropriation? -- Beyonce Knowles. Cultural appropriation is not just

:32:19.:32:22.

about taking the signifiers of a different cultural group and wearing

:32:23.:32:28.

them and using them, it is about power dynamics, as far as I'm aware,

:32:29.:32:32.

there is not such a discrepancy of power dynamics between

:32:33.:32:35.

African-Americans and Indians, there is not a systematic use of Indian

:32:36.:32:42.

culture by African-Americans for their own material and cultural

:32:43.:32:47.

gain, in the same way that global popular culture takes and takes and

:32:48.:32:51.

takes from black culture, lack people are rarely credited. Do you

:32:52.:32:58.

accept the difference, Ian, that if Beyonce Knowles, for instance,

:32:59.:33:04.

because there is similarity in terms of power, between African-American

:33:05.:33:09.

culture and England's culture, is it OK for her to wear dreadlocks? --

:33:10.:33:15.

and Indian culture. You are saying there is a difference, yes. Power

:33:16.:33:21.

dynamic start important that does not mean that one thing is immoral

:33:22.:33:28.

one and moral another, we should not do some assessment of relative

:33:29.:33:32.

levels of the scrum and nation. Is there a danger that this will lead

:33:33.:33:36.

to more division, the more this has been emphasised. I think that there

:33:37.:33:42.

is an organic exchange of cultures that happen, that kind of

:33:43.:33:46.

contributes to London culture and too many manifestations of

:33:47.:33:51.

contemporary culture. There is actually a far more... There is a

:33:52.:33:54.

far more raw and cynical use of, within popular culture, really of

:33:55.:33:59.

things that come from blackness, bearing in mind, blackness and

:34:00.:34:05.

African this is still routinely subjected to this concept of being

:34:06.:34:12.

inferior and lesser. And yet at the same time every blue seems to be

:34:13.:34:14.

obsessed with the cultural output. -- Africaness. The calculation on

:34:15.:34:20.

this, when I look at someone, I need to look at the race when I make an

:34:21.:34:24.

evaluation of whether they are culturally appropriating or not...

:34:25.:34:27.

Anti-racist teaching has been to look at what some things rather than

:34:28.:34:30.

how they look, this runs against that. Thank you all very much

:34:31.:34:34.

indeed. Riad Sattouf is a Franco-Syrian

:34:35.:34:42.

graphic novelist who worked on Charlie Hebdo for a decade,

:34:43.:34:44.

before the attack, won a Cesar for his first film and has now

:34:45.:34:47.

put his own nomadic childhood between France, Libya and Syria

:34:48.:34:50.

into a graphic novel memoir. It's a best seller in France,

:34:51.:34:53.

has been translated into 15 languages,

:34:54.:34:55.

and is about to be published here. The title of the memoir,

:34:56.:34:57.

The Arab of the Future, refers to his father's belief that

:34:58.:35:00.

Arab nationalism, as evinced by Colonel Muammar Gaddafi,

:35:01.:35:02.

would transform the Arab world. And so in 1980 he takes his French

:35:03.:35:06.

wife, whom he met at the Sorbonne in Paris, and toddler Riad off,

:35:07.:35:11.

first to Libya and then to his family village near Homs

:35:12.:35:14.

in Syria where comically nothing ever appears to go right for this

:35:15.:35:17.

idealist bombastic man. We witness all this

:35:18.:35:21.

through the the sensory the urine smell from

:35:22.:35:24.

Libyan men and the sharp

:35:25.:35:31.

and spicy air in France. But the book doesn't shy away

:35:32.:35:33.

from his Syrian family's First of all, why have you begun

:35:34.:35:45.

this odyssey, this is only the first part of what will eventually be your

:35:46.:35:51.

life in the graphic novel. In 2011I had to help a part of my family that

:35:52.:35:59.

were still living in Homs to come to France and I had difficulty

:36:00.:36:01.

obtaining authorisation in France for them. So I wanted to tell, buy

:36:02.:36:08.

comics, what was happening in the French administration. To tell the

:36:09.:36:13.

story, I had to tell it from the beginning. So I started this

:36:14.:36:20.

project. Early on the cartoon, you allude to your own ability as a

:36:21.:36:24.

draw. -- in the cartoon. When other kids are drawing pictures, you are

:36:25.:36:28.

drawing pictures of the French president! I tell the story of my

:36:29.:36:34.

future, with my father, who was Syrian, my mother, French, I tell

:36:35.:36:45.

the story, the birth of the ambition to become a cartoonist. Sometimes

:36:46.:36:51.

people say that you are gifted to music, to drawing, I was very

:36:52.:36:55.

interested to show that I think it does not exist! For me, for example,

:36:56.:37:00.

one day, I had drawn a character like that, my grandmother, she

:37:01.:37:07.

thought that it was the president, Pompidou, so in her eyes, I was a

:37:08.:37:13.

genius. But then, you scribble, and you are rude and so forth, it is

:37:14.:37:19.

more that you are controversial, as you are as a cartoonist. I was very

:37:20.:37:26.

good at drawing when I was a child. To be like other people, I faked it!

:37:27.:37:34.

One of your earliest memories is seeing Colonel Gaddafi, when you go

:37:35.:37:38.

to Libya, your father idealises what he stands for, you see him

:37:39.:37:42.

everywhere, you see him in the school, on the billboards. This idea

:37:43.:37:47.

that dictators, early on in your life, become a very big thing for

:37:48.:37:52.

you. My father was an educated man but from a very poor family, he was

:37:53.:37:58.

for education, modernity, he was against religion. He had very strong

:37:59.:38:04.

paradox, for example, he was admiring Colonel Gaddafi, he was

:38:05.:38:07.

admiring Bashar al-Assad, he was dreaming of making one day a coup.

:38:08.:38:13.

He wanted to execute everybody! He was obsessed... He wanted to become

:38:14.:38:21.

somebody powerful. As a boy, it is what I am telling in the book, I

:38:22.:38:25.

admired my father, and I thought that everything he was telling me

:38:26.:38:32.

was the truth. Actually, difficult and dark elements in the book, what

:38:33.:38:35.

happens when you go to the village, near Homs, where your father was

:38:36.:38:41.

raised, you meet, first of all, children that you play with and your

:38:42.:38:44.

cousins. Children are playing with plastic soldiers, and saying that

:38:45.:38:48.

these are is really soldiers, cut off their heads, they are Jewish. My

:38:49.:38:54.

father was from a Syrian family, he became a doctor. He had been offered

:38:55.:39:02.

to become a teacher at Oxford. He preferred to go back to the Arabic

:39:03.:39:09.

world and Syria, we went to live in his village, to this small peasant

:39:10.:39:14.

village. Near Homs. In the village, a very rude life. Syria was obsessed

:39:15.:39:20.

with Israel, all of the children... You were inculcated at an early age,

:39:21.:39:24.

your cousins thought you looked Jewish, they beat you up. They did

:39:25.:39:28.

not think I looked Jewish, but it was because I was French origin, so

:39:29.:39:34.

when you are from foreign origin, it was analysed that France was an ally

:39:35.:39:38.

of the United States, the United States is an ally of Israel! When

:39:39.:39:42.

you were French, you were Israelis! LAUGHTER

:39:43.:39:47.

They were telling me that I was a Jewish! The first Arabic word I

:39:48.:39:53.

heard was the word who Jewish. You produced this book am which has been

:39:54.:39:58.

fated by both the left and the right in France, very good response to it.

:39:59.:40:04.

-- feted. I wonder if some in the Arabic world think you have been

:40:05.:40:08.

disrespectful, you are very funny about what you see as a medieval

:40:09.:40:12.

view, actually... LAUGHTER ... Of the village near Homs, you

:40:13.:40:18.

would presumably say on the other side, your grandmother was French. I

:40:19.:40:22.

am telling the story of my family and my life. My family in Syria,

:40:23.:40:27.

some of them read that there was a book, they said, it was like that.

:40:28.:40:35.

It is very known. I'm just telling the point of view of the children in

:40:36.:40:42.

a small village, near Homs, and I let the reader make their own

:40:43.:40:46.

judgment on it. Thank you very much for joining us.

:40:47.:40:50.

Before we go, let's take a look out of the windows.

:40:51.:40:53.

Well, this studio doesn't have any, but the artist Gillian Wearing,

:40:54.:40:55.

in a collaborative project with people all round the world,

:40:56.:40:58.

has created a new artwork that celebrates the very different

:40:59.:41:00.

views that people enjoy from their windows.

:41:01.:41:02.

Your Views will premiere at the University of Brighton Gallery

:41:03.:41:04.

from 30 April to 29 May as part of the 50th anniversary edition

:41:05.:41:07.

of Brighton Festival and HOUSE festival.

:41:08.:41:12.

Here are a few windows. Goodnight.

:41:13.:42:08.

Good evening to you, looks like the weather is going to be very

:42:09.:42:15.

changeable across the UK during Wednesday, and so from our two hour

:42:16.:42:16.

With Kirsty Wark. Should the UK impose direct rule on overseas tax havens? The latest on the steel crisis. Graphic novelist Riad Sattouf. And why Justin Bieber is accused of offending African cultural heritage.


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