08/04/2016 Newsnight


08/04/2016

In-depth analysis of the stories behind the day's headlines with Evan Davis. What do the public think of the prime minister's tax affairs? Plus Conrad Black on Donald Trump.


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at the end of a couple of rough months.

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Where does the Prime Minister stand with his people?

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Cameron, the competent Prime Minister who looks the part, and

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Cameron the posh boy out of touch. The posh boy who was out of touch, I

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agree. Eton posh boy. We'll give you the longer

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version of the view And take stock of the

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Prime Minister's stock. He's not a far-right candidate

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in any sense, he's not pitching it

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to the skinheads or the Klan He's an Alf Garnett

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cheering on his football team. Working in a central London office

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for many years, I became incredibly frustrated with the lack of access

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I had to the natural world. One lunch break, I took a sandwich,

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stepped into the park next to the office

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and shimmied up a tree. But is this man right?

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Are we overthinking our happiness? So the hashtag #CameronResign

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has been trending all day. Ken Livingstone even

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tentatively suggested It's not been the kind of attention

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a Prime Minister wants, but we do know that neither Twitter

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or Ken Livingstone are entirely representative

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of broad public opinion. So what, actually, do the public

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think about the Blairmore affair? The headline writers

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got the first say, So two questions

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on what we've learned about the Prime

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Minister this week. One, how does it play,

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what do people think about it? And two, do they think

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that about him anyway? Has it actually changed

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anybody's mind? Well, where better to test public

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opinion in an unscientific way So, look, we've got these

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two pictures of David Cameron, help me out with this one,

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and put this one there. So what do we think

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of the Cameron on the left, Character, if anything.

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Character? I think he looks slightly out

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of touch, power. Out of touch.

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Yeah. What about the one on the right?

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What's the one on the right? That is kind of, I think,

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how he would like you do think of him.

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Authoritative. Leader. Which of these two is the more...

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Which is the real Cameron? or the Prime Minister looking

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policy man on the right? I think more the posh

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boy, the Eton lad. Yeah, the one on the

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left is more Cameron. Has the story this week

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in any way changed your view? and he shouldn't necessarily be

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punished just for being privileged. He's that position, and it's

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an opportunity that a lot of people would like to be in.

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I don't hold it against him. What about you?

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Has your view changed? You've read about these

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Panama Papers, shares offshore. I think, given what he's supposed

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to stand for, what the Tories are supposed to stand for,

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I think it's slightly hypocritical. I think he should have closed them

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prior to the Panama Papers, because we've talked about that,

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we need a fair economy, one society, and we are trying to crack down

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on people evading taxes. I really wished he'd

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disclosed it sooner, rather than waiting for it

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to be out in the open, put in a corner now that he

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has to say something about it. Joe? A lot of people jump

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on people's backs Perhaps he could have

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admitted it earlier. Could have handled it better.

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Could have handled it differently. You are, I think, the one who has

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the least favourable view of David Cameron,

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would you take it You put me in a very difficult

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position. Be honest! You think you could make

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a little bit of money. If I think about the financial

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situation I am in now, I think yeah. That is another side

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of it, but financially, From the King and Queen pub

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to the king of public opinion, In general, he is viewed

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as a competent, safe pair of hands, Perhaps he is viewed

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as a strong leader. In general, over the last few

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months, there has been a bit It seems to have been more among

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Conservatives and Ukip voters, which would suggest that it may be

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a case of the referendum and all of the events around

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that impacting on his ratings. It's only an scientific snapshot

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of public opinion that we have right now on the specifics

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of the Cameron admission, but the evidence generally

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is that it has been a fraught few One YouGov poll did put

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Jeremy Corbyn's approval rating That was actually this week

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rather than since last night. Significant?

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A real change occurring? Let's talk to Ayesha Hazarika,

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the former Labour advisor. and Mail on Sunday columunist

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Rachel Johnson. Let's just start on public opinion,

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how do you think it is playing? Well, I think people have priced it

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into how they view Cameron. I think most people do think he is quite

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true to the Nadine Dorries, posh boy that does not know the price of

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milk. I think they are not surprised at the fact that his father was very

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wealthy, they are not surprised that his father's name came up in those

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papers, and they are not really surprised that this has happened. I

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think people have been surprised by the incompetence with which Cameron

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has handled this. As a former PR specialist, to have denied something

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four or five times and then had to admitted... Or evaded it. A lot of

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the public and people I have spoken to who have been running focus

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groups, it ties up with what your own we focus group found out. The

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public think it is not great, but they have priced it into their

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overall impression of Cameron. I think this is playing extremely

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badly with the public, but that is because it is entirely of his own

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making. Why didn't he come clean at the beginning of the week and

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admitted had this ?30,000, instead of saying it is a private matter?

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And then saying he has had no shares in the future. And then backtracking

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on that, and then getting aggressive, saying put up or shut

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up, then having to come clean. As you say, a terrible PR move. Let's

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separate the PR from it for a moment, the essence of the issue,

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Rachel, mountain or molehill? It is definitely a molehill that has been

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turned into a mountain, but David Cameron has mounted the foothills

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himself. As you say, not getting all the bad news out, and then quickly

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moving on. How did this happen? What went wrong? He is a PR guy. One of

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the big mistakes they have made as well, all the things that Suzanne

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said, but it is very hurtful for his family and very upsetting for his

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father and all, but he did not take the same approach with Ed Miliband.

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With his brother, his father, anyone who had met Ed was fair game. There

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is a sort of double standard, his PR handling, and also the cover-up, it

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seems worse than what is happening. I don't actually agree. I think the

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fact that the pictures of Ian Cameron have been displayed

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alongside pictures of Putin and Poroshenko and Gaddafi, every

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kleptocratic and mention, has actually, I think the public find

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that rather distressing... Do you find it distressing? I think the

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public and stand that he does, and the reason that he, for the wrong

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reasons, killed the story, because he could not bear his father's name

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being dragged through the mud. Suzanne. He didn't kill the story,

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he it running. Can I make a point? Some newspaper said that Ed

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Miliband's dad hated Britain, so I think there are double standards. Do

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you think this is game changing in terms of the perceptions of the

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party? Is it going to be big? Another occasions people might have

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thought something big was going to happen. We experienced something

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with the phone hacking in the Labour Party, when this happens, you can

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have the feeling that this will be game changing, and I think it will

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have a profound effect on the local elections, on the London elections,

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and possibly for the EU referendum. Fast forward to 2020, will it be an

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issue that moves the needle? I don't think it will. I think it will move

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the needle on the Brexit campaign, because towards the end of the week

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what happened was an attempt to deflect personal attention away from

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him, but we get this announcement of this piece of EU propaganda, this

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leaflet that the Government, having said it will not

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