20/09/2016 Newsnight


20/09/2016

In-depth investigation and analysis with Evan Davis. When will the Syrian war end? Plus a look at Hungary and migrants, shadow cabinet elections and the Optic Cloak.


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Transcript


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No aid, no ceasefire, no end to the war, now or in sight.

:00:00.:00:09.

Syria's stalemated civil war defies all attempts at resolution,

:00:10.:00:14.

and punishes those trying to ease civilian pain.

:00:15.:00:16.

When both sides realise they're not going to win militarily

:00:17.:00:22.

and the people are just suffering unnecessarily, that's when you get

:00:23.:00:25.

to the stage where you can try and end the war.

:00:26.:00:28.

In Syria I feel we are still some way off that.

:00:29.:00:43.

The US State Department will tell us if there is any way out.

:00:44.:00:46.

Lib Dem leader Tim Farron gives his big conference speech.

:00:47.:00:49.

There is a hole in the centre of British politics right now,

:00:50.:00:52.

for a rallying point for people who believe in the politics of

:00:53.:00:55.

We'll ask whether the political centre is flourishing or withering?

:00:56.:01:00.

I was competing against other artists to try and respond to this

:01:01.:01:07.

quite minimal kind of strange massing that was a requirement of

:01:08.:01:10.

planning, but which had to cover these flues.

:01:11.:01:15.

How to dress up a chimney, the new work from Conrad Shawcross.

:01:16.:01:27.

First, somebody bombed an aid convoy yesterday,

:01:28.:01:31.

There is little doubt as to what happened -

:01:32.:01:36.

this relief worker told Newsnight what he saw.

:01:37.:01:50.

TRANSLATION: What happened is almost two hours before the bombing we

:01:51.:01:57.

heard and we saw a drone. As soon as the regime announced the end of the

:01:58.:02:01.

ceasefire, I had concerns it would start bombing because it flew over

:02:02.:02:06.

us for a long time. After two hours the helicopter came and dropped the

:02:07.:02:09.

first barrel bomb. After half a minute had dropped to barrel bombs

:02:10.:02:13.

together and afterwards six air strikes by the military jet. Then

:02:14.:02:19.

the Jets with guns launched an attack. Afterwards helicopters came

:02:20.:02:23.

back to drop barrel bombs and the jet with gunners came back and

:02:24.:02:24.

started firing. That was last night, tonight there's

:02:25.:02:25.

news of another attack - the US charity UOSSM say five

:02:26.:02:28.

of its aid workers have been killed at the Khan Touman emergency

:02:29.:02:31.

point in southern Aleppo. Of course, everyone's

:02:32.:02:35.

looking at the Syrian government or the Russians,

:02:36.:02:37.

but what we know is that there's not much left

:02:38.:02:40.

of the latest ceasefire in Syria. The protracted horror

:02:41.:02:43.

continues, the conflict Now, research shows the average

:02:44.:02:45.

civil war last a decade or so, but in Syria, the conditions

:02:46.:02:51.

are there for it to be unceasing. Neither side will ever run out

:02:52.:02:54.

of weapons, with a queue of foreign powers ready to re-arm them

:02:55.:02:57.

if they appear in danger of losing. Our diplomatic editor Mark Urban

:02:58.:03:01.

looks at the ghastly kinetics It's a conflict in which taboos and

:03:02.:03:03.

limitations have been broken. Neighbourhoods have been

:03:04.:03:21.

starved, millions driven overseas, aid convoys bombed

:03:22.:03:23.

and the beheading or mistreatment of prisoners elevated

:03:24.:03:26.

into public spectacle. History has recorded quite a few

:03:27.:03:42.

brutal civil war is but this one has reached a particularly grim pitch of

:03:43.:03:48.

murderous intensity. It fits against one another and an array of forces,

:03:49.:03:53.

on the far end of which are President Assad and those around him

:03:54.:03:57.

who believe they will be physically eliminated if they lose, and the

:03:58.:04:01.

jihadist enemy who think they are divinely ordained in their

:04:02.:04:05.

slaughter. It has become much more brutal than

:04:06.:04:12.

Bosnia which I saw at first hand. It became brutal quite quickly in 2012

:04:13.:04:17.

but the arrival of ices and the way Isis went about fighting and

:04:18.:04:24.

imposing their rule and particularly treating their captives, whichever

:04:25.:04:28.

captives they took including Syrian government soldiers, added an extra

:04:29.:04:31.

dimension of brutality which has been truly shocking.

:04:32.:04:38.

Some of Syria's larger cities have been pounded to the point where the

:04:39.:04:43.

ruins stretch for miles. Catalogued by these Russian journalists. More

:04:44.:04:49.

than half of the country's population has fled its homes while

:04:50.:04:53.

mediators have told the warring parties they cannot win, they have

:04:54.:04:59.

not despite all of this, reached a point where exhaustion leads them to

:05:00.:05:05.

abandon the war. If you look at other civil wars

:05:06.:05:08.

around the world and how they ended generally speaking if they are

:05:09.:05:12.

turned by negotiation the end when you reach something the academics

:05:13.:05:17.

call a mutually heading stalemate. When I went to Libya as special

:05:18.:05:20.

envoy I thought we have got a stalemate but we did not have a

:05:21.:05:24.

mutually hurting stalemate, both sides could still advance, game or

:05:25.:05:29.

territory or money. It is when both sides realise they're not going to

:05:30.:05:33.

win militarily and both sides are suffering, that is when you get to a

:05:34.:05:38.

stage where you can end the war. Will the Syrian war simply carry on

:05:39.:05:42.

until one or both sides have fought to exhaustion? It is more

:05:43.:05:46.

complicated than that, that in a way has already happened with the forces

:05:47.:05:50.

of President Assad plagued by desertion and barely capable on

:05:51.:05:55.

their own of offensive action. And of course they have had thousands of

:05:56.:06:00.

fighters join them from Hezbollah, from Iraq, Iran and indeed from

:06:01.:06:05.

Russia. And that has kept them fighting, highlighting the key role

:06:06.:06:13.

now of outside intervention. With a dozen air forces operating

:06:14.:06:17.

over the country and arms pouring in for years only China amongst the UN

:06:18.:06:23.

big five has not become directly involved. And that along with Iran,

:06:24.:06:28.

Saudi and Turkish policies, has stymied the search for any

:06:29.:06:32.

international solution. Huge divisions between the US, Russia,

:06:33.:06:37.

the Saudis and Iran and the future of Assad, until that is resolved and

:06:38.:06:43.

the troops on the ground issue was resolved, you will have continued

:06:44.:06:48.

casualties. 75,000 people are now at risk, the manager convoys are not

:06:49.:06:53.

getting through, Syrians are bombing convoys, the US bombing Syrians, it

:06:54.:06:58.

is a disaster. But few outside powers have the appetite for a

:06:59.:07:03.

completely open-ended intervention. And even Russia and Iran have

:07:04.:07:07.

suggested limits on their willingness to support the Assad

:07:08.:07:11.

regime. Eventually that could weigh on the warring parties. I hope it

:07:12.:07:17.

ends soon but I fear it may take some time. I think as in most other

:07:18.:07:21.

conflicts in the past at some stage there will be a mutually hurting

:07:22.:07:25.

stalemate, the rebels will do better at militarily, Assad will be on the

:07:26.:07:28.

back foot, the Russians will have other reasons to get out of Syria

:07:29.:07:33.

was protecting the interest. Then I think you could begin serious

:07:34.:07:37.

negotiations but I do not think the conflict will end or the fight

:07:38.:07:41.

against ices, until Assad is gone. How long could the Syrian war now in

:07:42.:07:51.

its sixth year go on? The Bosnian conflict was brought to an end by

:07:52.:07:53.

foreign intervention on one side with the aim of coercing a halt to

:07:54.:07:56.

the whole business. Perhaps the closest example we can seek to Syria

:07:57.:08:02.

is the war in Lebanon. And many of the same groups and the same

:08:03.:08:06.

outsiders were involved. And which in one form or another continued for

:08:07.:08:09.

15 years. Joining us from the UN in New York

:08:10.:08:13.

is Mark Toner Deputy Spokesperson Good evening and thank you for

:08:14.:08:26.

joining us. On that attack on the aid convoy yesterday, you're sure it

:08:27.:08:35.

is the Russians, 99%, 100% sure? What I can say categorically is it

:08:36.:08:41.

was not coalition forces. We were not operating in that space. It was

:08:42.:08:46.

either Russia or the regime. And in either case really it is the

:08:47.:08:49.

responsibility of Russia to exert its influence on the regime's Edfors

:08:50.:08:55.

so it bears ultimate responsibility for carrying out what was a

:08:56.:09:01.

horrendous attack. Is the ceasefire, a ceasefire in all but name, is that

:09:02.:09:06.

worth preserving at this point, West for giving Russia for what has

:09:07.:09:11.

happened and saying, let's start again, or not? There was a meeting

:09:12.:09:16.

earlier today in New York with the international Syria support group

:09:17.:09:20.

and it was a very candid exchange as you can imagine. I think everyone

:09:21.:09:25.

came out of that room, all the stakeholders, with the realisation

:09:26.:09:29.

that we needed to stick with the arrangement we reached with Russia a

:09:30.:09:34.

week ago in Geneva. Because it offers the best opportunity to get

:09:35.:09:40.

this critical negotiation back on track and bring an end to the

:09:41.:09:44.

conflict, the daily suffering and fighting of the Syrian people. You

:09:45.:09:51.

spoke of this cycle of violence and complexity of the battle space in

:09:52.:09:56.

Syria. And we need that is the idea behind this Syria support group,

:09:57.:10:00.

bringing together all the stakeholders, ultimately with the

:10:01.:10:03.

idea that if we can get them around the table, they can exert influence

:10:04.:10:07.

is on the parties on the ground. To really make a change. Do you think

:10:08.:10:15.

that what happened on Saturday when coalition forces, when the US and

:10:16.:10:22.

indeed the UK killed 62 Syrian troops, accidentally, do you think

:10:23.:10:27.

that had anything to do with what happened last night? It is hard for

:10:28.:10:31.

me to say, I cannot speak to the motivations for the terrible actions

:10:32.:10:39.

yesterday. We have said it publicly, acknowledged it almost immediately,

:10:40.:10:42.

that the air strike on Saturday that hit regime forces was in error. We

:10:43.:10:47.

thought we were hitting Isil, Daesh, forces. And we acknowledge that and

:10:48.:10:52.

we owned it. We are conducting an investigation into what went wrong.

:10:53.:10:55.

More broadly fixed to the fact that we need to get to a point and we're

:10:56.:11:00.

not there yet, where we can coordinate possibly with Russia on

:11:01.:11:04.

air strikes against al-Nusra and Daesh. They claim to want that as

:11:05.:11:09.

well but we cannot get there. Let's talk about the longer term, supposed

:11:10.:11:13.

I told you this would be a leaden uncivil war going on for another ten

:11:14.:11:17.

years, only a third of the way through. I gave you that has a

:11:18.:11:22.

choice or you given, Assad is going to be in power, and he prevails.

:11:23.:11:29.

Surely that would be better for the Syrian people, Assad winning rather

:11:30.:11:34.

than continuing this conflict? Not at all. That is a false choice in my

:11:35.:11:40.

view. Assad has really been the instigator of all the terrible

:11:41.:11:48.

conflict that exists today in Syria whether it is terrible attacks, Bal

:11:49.:11:53.

bombing, gassing of his own people, he has created the environment that

:11:54.:11:58.

we find Syria in today will you have a moderate opposition driven into

:11:59.:12:03.

the arms of some of the extremist groups like al-Nusra because they

:12:04.:12:06.

are defending themselves against the regime backed by Russian air forces.

:12:07.:12:12.

And you have got an environment where a group like Daesh, Isil, can

:12:13.:12:18.

inhabit ungoverned spaces. Really this is the reality of Assad's

:12:19.:12:25.

creation and he is in no way part of the solution. This has got to be a

:12:26.:12:29.

political process ultimately. But you would agree that foreign

:12:30.:12:33.

intervention, that effectively just keep each of these two sides, more

:12:34.:12:39.

than the two sides, all the sides in this conflict going, it will keep

:12:40.:12:44.

them going endlessly, basically foreign intervention is prolonging

:12:45.:12:51.

the war, correct? That is the idea behind the international Syria

:12:52.:12:55.

support group. Secretary Kerry and others brought this group together

:12:56.:12:59.

with the idea that if we could get all the stakeholders, and Iran and

:13:00.:13:05.

Russia are part of this, get them in a room and said look there is no

:13:06.:13:09.

military solution to this, it can only go from bad to worse and we all

:13:10.:13:13.

acknowledge that. And secretary Kerry spoke of this but the

:13:14.:13:17.

arrangement if it falls apart, we could see even more violence, even

:13:18.:13:22.

worse warfare and greater conflict for the Syrian people. This hinges

:13:23.:13:26.

on the ability of the stakeholders to influence all the parties on the

:13:27.:13:30.

ground to adhere to a cessation of hostilities and we're not yet bear.

:13:31.:13:35.

We recognise that. Let's hope we get there soon.

:13:36.:13:38.

The National Executive talking about important rule changes

:13:39.:13:42.

on how the Shadow Cabinet should be selected.

:13:43.:13:44.

that split the party on Corbyn/anti-Corbyn lines.

:13:45.:13:49.

Our political editor Nick Watt is with me.

:13:50.:13:56.

What news from Rome? It was long at eight and a half hours at least, and

:13:57.:14:02.

superficially it was friendly, Jeremy Corbyn shed shortbread and

:14:03.:14:07.

biscuits with Tom Watson, but make no mistake, this is a battle for

:14:08.:14:11.

control of the Labour Party, and on the crucial issue of whether MPs

:14:12.:14:15.

should elect the Shadow Cabinet, there is deadlock. Each side was

:14:16.:14:20.

able to claim a little victory, so the non-Corbyn side were happy

:14:21.:14:23.

because it was agreed that the leaders of the Scottish and Welsh

:14:24.:14:28.

Labour Party microbe will be able to nominate members for the NEC. Jeremy

:14:29.:14:34.

Corbyn's side were happy, because they were able to prolong

:14:35.:14:38.

discussions on the elections to the Shadow Cabinet. They saw off a

:14:39.:14:42.

guillotine to force a vote one that at Saturday's meeting of the NEC.

:14:43.:14:48.

Tom Watson looked quite happy, they said they did not reject the plan,

:14:49.:14:53.

but it feels to me that Jeremy Corbyn is slightly ahead, and he is

:14:54.:14:56.

hoping that if he wins the election on Saturday, later that day there

:14:57.:15:01.

will be a meeting of the NEC and he will hope that he can say to them,

:15:02.:15:09.

we need more time to discuss this proposal, widen the franchise, and

:15:10.:15:13.

at the end of the conference the new NEC takes over, and they are more

:15:14.:15:18.

favourable to him. Where does this leave us in terms of Jeremy Corbyn

:15:19.:15:21.

winning on Saturday, where the battle goes next year? There is

:15:22.:15:26.

going to be a continuing and bitter battle for control of the party, but

:15:27.:15:30.

in phase two it will be different. Phase one was about most of the PLP

:15:31.:15:36.

taking potshots at Jeremy Corbyn, that will be more difficult if he

:15:37.:15:40.

wins the election. Phase two will be about the battle for who runs this

:15:41.:15:45.

party, and in a way it will be back to the 1980s, where you will see

:15:46.:15:49.

Jeremy Corbyn seeking to fulfil the vision of his hero, Tony Benn, which

:15:50.:15:53.

is you diminish the role of the Parliamentary Labour Party and boost

:15:54.:15:57.

the role of the party membership, and people like Tom Watson will save

:15:58.:16:02.

no, we are governed by clause one of the constitution which says it is

:16:03.:16:06.

our duty to sustain a covenant, which means the PLP must be the

:16:07.:16:10.

premier body of the party. Nick, thanks.

:16:11.:16:12.

A week ago, the foreign minister of Luxembourg suggested that Hungary

:16:13.:16:15.

should be expelled from the EU, over its treatment of asylum seekers

:16:16.:16:18.

and violations of press freedom and judicial independence,

:16:19.:16:22.

It was a short but vitriolic spat, and it put into the open

:16:23.:16:25.

the concerns of many west Europeans at the direction Hungary is taking

:16:26.:16:28.

under its populist prime minister, Viktor Orban,

:16:29.:16:30.

a man who talks about foreigners in language that other

:16:31.:16:32.

At the moment Hungary is preparing to vote on whether to reject

:16:33.:16:37.

an EU quota plan for migrants that would place refugees in the country.

:16:38.:16:40.

is that that will endanger Hungary's culture and traditions.

:16:41.:16:44.

Well, the Hungarian foreign minister, Pater Szijjarto,

:16:45.:16:47.

is in New York for the UN General Assembly.

:16:48.:16:51.

I spoke to him a little earlier and before we discussed his

:16:52.:16:54.

government's attitude to refugees, I asked him about

:16:55.:16:56.

what Hungary would accept in any post-Brexit trade talks.

:16:57.:17:00.

We understand that the negotiations will be tough.

:17:01.:17:04.

We understand the UK has very strong interest.

:17:05.:17:07.

Of course, the more open the labour market in the UK stays

:17:08.:17:13.

And if Britain says, look, we'd like to be in the single market

:17:14.:17:18.

but we can't have free movement, is that possible, do you think?

:17:19.:17:21.

Well, you know, I think it's not likely to happen,

:17:22.:17:23.

because if you would like to have total access to free markets,

:17:24.:17:30.

you have to give something on the other hand.

:17:31.:17:33.

So being a member of the European Union means that

:17:34.:17:36.

you are a member of the single market and you provide

:17:37.:17:38.

the others with an approach to your labour markets.

:17:39.:17:41.

Well, look, Hungary is a country that has its own reservations

:17:42.:17:44.

You're having a referendum on the quota deal

:17:45.:17:49.

for the refugees and migrants that are being resettled,

:17:50.:17:52.

How many have you been asked to take, as it happens?

:17:53.:17:58.

Well, under the current circumstances,

:17:59.:18:00.

But, you know, this is not about figures.

:18:01.:18:09.

This is about the overall approach to the migration issue.

:18:10.:18:15.

Our position is that we have to give up policies which inspire

:18:16.:18:18.

people to take the life hazard and come to Europe.

:18:19.:18:21.

Our approach is that we have to bring the help

:18:22.:18:23.

It sounds like you like some European laws, like free movement

:18:24.:18:29.

for your people to emigrate to the UK, which has caused

:18:30.:18:31.

a lot of disruption in the UK, some people would say.

:18:32.:18:35.

But you don't like other European laws

:18:36.:18:39.

which mean people can emigrate to your country.

:18:40.:18:40.

No, no, you must not confuse these two things.

:18:41.:18:47.

Because free movement of people means that citizens

:18:48.:18:50.

of the European Union can move freely

:18:51.:18:52.

What we don't accept is that there are people

:18:53.:18:58.

who would like to violate our borders, you know.

:18:59.:19:01.

There are European and international regulations how you can cross

:19:02.:19:04.

borders between countries, and during the recent year

:19:05.:19:08.

there were 400,000 people who violated our border.

:19:09.:19:10.

Coming from a peaceful country, from Serbia or from Croatia.

:19:11.:19:13.

This is something we're not going to accept.

:19:14.:19:16.

OK, well, many would say rules are rules and you have to take

:19:17.:19:19.

all the rules, or you don't take the rules.

:19:20.:19:21.

But let me just ask you one last one.

:19:22.:19:23.

There's a leaflet in your referendum campaign, a government leaflet,

:19:24.:19:27.

and it tells the Hungarian people in advocating less migration

:19:28.:19:32.

that there are hundreds, several hundred no-go areas in Europe

:19:33.:19:36.

where migrants have taken over and people can get.

:19:37.:19:39.

I think there are about a dozen, you say, in the UK.

:19:40.:19:44.

Well, actually, we based these informations

:19:45.:19:49.

on open reports, on official reports

:19:50.:19:53.

given by the police of respective countries.

:19:54.:19:57.

From the news and from official reports of the police.

:19:58.:19:59.

and we don't want no-go zones in Hungary, for sure.

:20:00.:20:06.

So you think that there are no-go zones,

:20:07.:20:09.

migrant no-go zones in the UK, a dozen of them?

:20:10.:20:13.

Because you marked them, I think, in Peterborough,

:20:14.:20:15.

I mean, you've been to London, haven't you?

:20:16.:20:20.

Yes, of course, I like London a lot, no problem.

:20:21.:20:23.

And you still believe there are no-go areas in London

:20:24.:20:26.

where you can't go because the migrants have taken over?

:20:27.:20:28.

Yes, this is something we based on official reports.

:20:29.:20:31.

You can use your eyes, it's just ridiculous.

:20:32.:20:38.

Of course I can. Of course I can.

:20:39.:20:40.

But did you talk to the British Government

:20:41.:20:44.

before you published this about the United Kingdom?

:20:45.:20:46.

It's a slur on the United Kingdom, by the way an inaccurate slur

:20:47.:20:52.

on the United Kingdom - did you talk to the British Government

:20:53.:20:54.

or even your embassy in London before you published this

:20:55.:20:57.

Yes, of course we did talk to our embassy in London.

:20:58.:21:01.

We have looked through very carefully the official report.

:21:02.:21:04.

And to be very honest after we published this leaflet,

:21:05.:21:08.

your ambassador serving in Budapest has come to my ministry to

:21:09.:21:11.

Let's finish, Hungary is basically annoying

:21:12.:21:18.

voices the idea that you should be kicked out of the European Union.

:21:19.:21:24.

When you see things like this, distributing literature

:21:25.:21:26.

that is false and defamatory of a nation, lots of nations,

:21:27.:21:30.

actually, you can see why other governments just say,

:21:31.:21:33.

this country is not playing by the rules that it signed up

:21:34.:21:36.

That is why I think we are under attack, because we play according

:21:37.:21:48.

to the rules of showing, we play according to the rules of Dublin.

:21:49.:21:52.

These two rules have been violated by many people, many times,

:21:53.:21:55.

we have been under attack because of playing according to these rules.

:21:56.:22:03.

We have protected our external Schengen border with

:22:04.:22:09.

a fence that took a lot of money, a lot of human resources,

:22:10.:22:12.

but this is the way how you protect the Schengen zone.

:22:13.:22:15.

We registered the migrants in Hungary

:22:16.:22:16.

according to Dublin regulations, but they left before

:22:17.:22:18.

their asylum procedures would have been carried out.

:22:19.:22:20.

They were the ones to break these regulations.

:22:21.:22:24.

So it is Hungary who plays according to European regulations,

:22:25.:22:26.

And I totally subscribe to those who say we have to accept

:22:27.:22:31.

these regulations and we have to respect them.

:22:32.:22:34.

Pater Szijjarto, thank you very much for talking to us.

:22:35.:22:42.

One of the great paradoxes of politics in the UK at the moment

:22:43.:22:45.

is this, polling shows that getting on for half of the population

:22:46.:22:48.

identify as centrist, and yet the party that is centrist,

:22:49.:22:54.

the Lib Dems, languishes at 8% in the polls.

:22:55.:22:57.

Well, Tim Farron gave his address to the Lib Dem

:22:58.:22:59.

conference today, bad day to get attention,

:23:00.:23:01.

with the Brangelina split story competing.

:23:02.:23:02.

But Mr Farron said, "There is a hole in the centre of British politics

:23:03.:23:06.

right now that is crying out to be filled by a real opposition,"

:23:07.:23:09.

so it is interesting to ask whether the Lib Dems

:23:10.:23:11.

are going to fill the hole, or sink through it?

:23:12.:23:14.

They got almost seven million votes in 2010 but lost more

:23:15.:23:16.

so I guess those four million should be first on the target list.

:23:17.:23:21.

at whether those voters are disposed to think Lib Dem again.

:23:22.:23:29.

On his way for his big conference speech.

:23:30.:23:31.

Lib Dem leader Tim Farron waiting for the lights to change.

:23:32.:23:36.

For his party, though, the electoral Green Man

:23:37.:23:38.

could quite possibly never light up again.

:23:39.:23:43.

On the local level they are very cheered up by winning

:23:44.:23:45.

and they've had a large influx of new members into the party.

:23:46.:23:55.

And clearly they see there is an opportunity for them

:23:56.:23:59.

because Corbyn has taken the Labour Party way off to the left.

:24:00.:24:02.

Unfortunately of course, the national picture remains

:24:03.:24:05.

unchanged since before the last disastrous

:24:06.:24:06.

general election result, which is the national polls

:24:07.:24:08.

are still stuck way, way down in single figures.

:24:09.:24:10.

These people have clearly stuck with the party,

:24:11.:24:14.

the 4.4 million voters who voted for them in 2010

:24:15.:24:18.

In some exclusive polling for Newsnight,

:24:19.:24:22.

What they found should worry the Lib Dem leadership.

:24:23.:24:29.

When asked whether they would consider voting Lib Dem again,

:24:30.:24:35.

75% said they might, with varying degrees of commitment.

:24:36.:24:37.

So it seems the lost Lib Dems might one day be recovered.

:24:38.:24:46.

But when YouGov asked those same people

:24:47.:24:47.

how much they felt they knew about what the Lib Dems

:24:48.:24:50.

stand for these days, a staggering 70% said

:24:51.:24:52.

they were either uncertain or very uncertain.

:24:53.:24:58.

Johnny Oates was Nick Clegg's chief of staff

:24:59.:25:00.

I think this really goes back to our pre-coalition days, to be honest,

:25:01.:25:12.

where we always fought to get attention.

:25:13.:25:14.

It's harder now because of the Scottish National Party

:25:15.:25:16.

position, but it was always hard back then, and I think what we need

:25:17.:25:20.

Probably a Parliamentary by-election that we can win

:25:21.:25:23.

and, you know, there isn't one immediately on the horizon.

:25:24.:25:26.

But that has often been the way that we have cut

:25:27.:25:29.

through back to public attention because then the media

:25:30.:25:31.

have to hear from us and they have to sit up and take notice.

:25:32.:25:34.

Until the media thinks we are relevant,

:25:35.:25:36.

we're not going to get our message across to the wider public.

:25:37.:25:39.

Since the SNP became the third largest party in the comments,

:25:40.:25:43.

the Lib Dems have had to forage for Parliamentary scraps.

:25:44.:25:49.

However irritating the honourable gentleman...

:25:50.:25:54.

Whilst his predecessors had two questions a week, Tim Farron

:25:55.:25:58.

has only had six questions in the 34 PMQs since he became leader.

:25:59.:26:03.

And he will be heard - Mr Tim Farron!

:26:04.:26:06.

I am fantastically grateful to you, Mr Speaker.

:26:07.:26:12.

In today's world, the world of social media, the world of

:26:13.:26:17.

24-hour news, leaders are so important,

:26:18.:26:19.

you see a leader who among the electorate, two thirds of the

:26:20.:26:26.

people don't know whether he's doing well or badly.

:26:27.:26:29.

Half of people that voted for the Lib Dems

:26:30.:26:31.

at the last election don't know whether he is doing well or badly.

:26:32.:26:34.

And among his own supporters, those people who

:26:35.:26:38.

support the Lib Dems at the moment, just under a third don't know

:26:39.:26:41.

That's a really bad position to be in.

:26:42.:26:44.

But no-one can say that Tim Farron isn't ambitious.

:26:45.:26:47.

Today he told his conference he wants to be like this man.

:26:48.:26:52.

the rock star like Liberal Prime Minister of Canada.

:26:53.:27:00.

Trudeau's liberals leapt over an inadequate official opposition

:27:01.:27:02.

to defeat a right-wing Conservative government.

:27:03.:27:05.

Do you fancy doing that? Because I do.

:27:06.:27:08.

In a direct appeal to centrist Labour supporters,

:27:09.:27:11.

Tony Blair's government gave us the national minimum wage.

:27:12.:27:21.

and a massive school building programme.

:27:22.:27:28.

but I will not criticise him for those things.

:27:29.:27:36.

I think Tim Farron was absolutely right to make this pitch

:27:37.:27:40.

for those disenfranchised moderate Labour voters

:27:41.:27:43.

who now feel they have no-one to represent their views.

:27:44.:27:45.

And indeed their worldview, which is essentially a liberal one.

:27:46.:27:48.

The problem is both the Lib Dems and for

:27:49.:27:50.

the moderate Labour Party, there is a gaping hole,

:27:51.:27:52.

not just this tactical hole that Tim Farron was talking

:27:53.:27:55.

about today, but a hole in terms of ideas and vision

:27:56.:27:58.

And until the Lib Dems and the moderate Labour Party

:27:59.:28:05.

or the moderate wing of the Labour Party

:28:06.:28:07.

actually sort that out, what is it that they're actually

:28:08.:28:09.

offering the voters as an alternative

:28:10.:28:11.

One big policy that unites the centrists is staying in the EU,

:28:12.:28:18.

The idea of the Lib Dems concentrating on staying part of the

:28:19.:28:25.

EU is popular with about one in ten of the electorate

:28:26.:28:27.

and about a quarter of their current supporters.

:28:28.:28:29.

That is enough to put it at the top of the list of priorities.

:28:30.:28:33.

But it is by no means overwhelmingly the case

:28:34.:28:35.

thinks yes, that is what they should be doing.

:28:36.:28:39.

These are not easy political times for any leader,

:28:40.:28:41.

we are in a state of realignment and flux.

:28:42.:28:43.

Tim Farron's party has arguably the most to gain.

:28:44.:28:47.

But also perhaps the biggest challenge.

:28:48.:28:53.

Joining me now in the studio is former policy advisor

:28:54.:29:00.

to the Blair and Brown governments, Patrick Diamond, who is now based

:29:01.:29:03.

And senior editor of The Economist Anne McElvoy.

:29:04.:29:10.

Patrick, you are a Labour person. You would not vote Lib Dem even

:29:11.:29:16.

though you're quite centrists. That is part of the problem in a way for

:29:17.:29:21.

the Lib Dems, you are still tribally tied to Labour. Of course the Lib

:29:22.:29:26.

Dems are tied to liberalism which has problems in the world today, not

:29:27.:29:30.

least failing to react to the economic crisis of 2008. And also

:29:31.:29:36.

Liberal politics is in crisis, people are dissatisfied with the

:29:37.:29:40.

state of democracy. That is one issue. In addition the Lib Dems are

:29:41.:29:45.

associated with the period of coalition government. They relied on

:29:46.:29:51.

some historic promises like tuition fees. So now the position is

:29:52.:29:58.

weakened. Taking the bigger picture, 45% of people say they are centrist,

:29:59.:30:06.

the Lib Dems have eight, the two big parties, the Tories still jostling

:30:07.:30:12.

for position, is happening? Most people would identify as centrists

:30:13.:30:19.

but they mean many things by that. Then you have a fragmentation on the

:30:20.:30:25.

left, the Corbin Labour Party, moving further to the left than in

:30:26.:30:32.

living memory. So new Labour is ill-defined and on the right you can

:30:33.:30:36.

see the potential, Theresa May trying to glue together the right of

:30:37.:30:42.

her party and more progressive, liberal part of the party. George

:30:43.:30:48.

Osborne went out and used the word liberal as much as the word

:30:49.:30:52.

Conservative. That is where the fight is that hole in the middle and

:30:53.:30:58.

perhaps the Liberal Democrats are too associated with recently being

:30:59.:31:01.

in government and suffering that backwash. They have lost a lot of

:31:02.:31:06.

body mass. Patrick, it was the financial crash, that funded to the

:31:07.:31:15.

system and the people in the middle, it is also the right of the Labour

:31:16.:31:19.

Party, the leadership election last year, Yvette Cooper and Andy Burnham

:31:20.:31:24.

did not quite have a convincing story. There is a crisis of ideas

:31:25.:31:29.

and it feels as if the whole of the centre-left does not have a story

:31:30.:31:33.

about Word wants to take the economy or politics. That is the real

:31:34.:31:39.

vacuum. You can talk about leadership, the structure of

:31:40.:31:44.

political parties, but also ideas. And the financial crash was so

:31:45.:31:48.

tumultuous, it shook up the liberal capitalist market order and the

:31:49.:31:53.

centrists were saying we just need to tweak this. We did not need

:31:54.:31:58.

tweaks but radicalism, the bankers to be brought to heel. And the

:31:59.:32:03.

Liberals seem too cautious. When we look at this crisis of liberalism,

:32:04.:32:09.

we are in danger of presenting the kind of SA as to what is wrong. If

:32:10.:32:15.

you look across Europe, in some places you get the left coming in,

:32:16.:32:22.

in Spain for example, but also in many places the response is to go to

:32:23.:32:28.

the right. Saint liberalism does not have a narrative, centrist parties

:32:29.:32:31.

have often just said come with me, trust me. We will be able to answer

:32:32.:32:37.

difficult questions by our disposition. Tony Blair said, I have

:32:38.:32:46.

the answer to everything. It was so vague, the third way, basically it

:32:47.:32:53.

is saying trust me because the Liberals have the better answers

:32:54.:32:56.

overall. That is the confidence that is now lacking. You said they do not

:32:57.:33:03.

have a good story and they do not have a charismatic leader, a person

:33:04.:33:06.

who sounds like they have got a grip. I'm a bit worried when

:33:07.:33:13.

everyone says, almost as if listening to some people in your

:33:14.:33:16.

film, if you have a policy forum that it would emerge, a genie

:33:17.:33:23.

emerging from a body to lead. -- from a bottle. Tony Blair to evoke

:33:24.:33:32.

him, as a charismatic leader, if you lead they will follow. He was

:33:33.:33:37.

trusted even in difficult times. Then Christian democracy follows, if

:33:38.:33:43.

you have a Tony Blair then new Labour follows but for the Liberals,

:33:44.:33:47.

I suppose you have to go to Canada and Justin Trudeau. It is

:33:48.:33:52.

interesting, when arguably the liberal disposition could be

:33:53.:33:56.

powerful, if you think of the questions dominating politics today,

:33:57.:34:00.

the relationship between the individual and the state, between

:34:01.:34:04.

central government and devolution, there are questions about future

:34:05.:34:09.

relations with Europe and internationalism. These are

:34:10.:34:13.

questions where liberals should have some things to say. So I do not

:34:14.:34:18.

think it has run aground and is no longer relevant, but it is

:34:19.:34:22.

struggling I think in the UK context to apply its values and connect with

:34:23.:34:29.

people politically. Certainly around the world, and Justin Trudeau is a

:34:30.:34:34.

good example, that charismatic leader, they are there. But we are

:34:35.:34:37.

living through circumstances in which the extremes, but populist

:34:38.:34:41.

left and right, seem to be gaining political ascendancy. Thank you very

:34:42.:34:43.

much. If you like to think that modern art

:34:44.:34:44.

is a lot of hot air, you'll like the new work

:34:45.:34:48.

by the wunderkind British artist We're not talking a duct

:34:49.:34:50.

for a new shower stall here, this is a shimmering aluminium tower

:34:51.:34:55.

50 metres high, and it's You can admire it on the Greenwich

:34:56.:34:57.

Peninsula not far from the O2. Our man Stephen Smith

:34:58.:35:02.

went to see it. It's more like One Flew Over The

:35:03.:35:06.

Cuckoo's Nest. It feels amazing, it's such

:35:07.:35:28.

a sort of huge thing. It has fire escapes inside,

:35:29.:35:42.

it has chimneys inside, it has flues inside,

:35:43.:35:44.

it has gantry cranes. And there are all these fire

:35:45.:35:47.

exits, all these things So it really is an

:35:48.:35:52.

architectural response. And am I right in saying this

:35:53.:35:55.

might be a door here? Yeah, this will be the way that

:35:56.:35:58.

you access the towers if any of the flues need servicing

:35:59.:36:01.

or the lights need changing. This sort of strange triangular

:36:02.:36:06.

door that the workers Or Spider-Man could live

:36:07.:36:08.

here, one of the other. Until now, your best

:36:09.:36:14.

chance of seeing the work of Conrad Shawcross

:36:15.:36:25.

was at an art gallery. Where his chunky, kinetic pieces

:36:26.:36:28.

have a pleasing heft and twang. For his next trick, Shawcross

:36:29.:36:38.

was invited to design a chimney for an industrial plant supplying

:36:39.:36:45.

hot water to 15,000 homes here. I was approached a few years ago

:36:46.:36:51.

and I entered into a competition, so I was competing

:36:52.:36:58.

against other artists. This was such a different thing

:36:59.:37:04.

for me and I kind of almost wrote this e-mail saying, I'm sorry,

:37:05.:37:07.

I cant come up with an idea, Then I was like, no,

:37:08.:37:10.

I've got to try and do this. This is a way I can really

:37:11.:37:14.

prove my mettle, to see if I can It was all actually done

:37:15.:37:18.

with pieces of paper. So it was actually quite simple,

:37:19.:37:23.

just placing a piece of spare paper and creating in a very analog way

:37:24.:37:27.

a kind of sculpted surface. One of the things in the brief

:37:28.:37:37.

that they talked about was trying to transform this flue

:37:38.:37:40.

into something else. So there was this sort of element

:37:41.:37:41.

of disguise or cloaking, this idea of something pretending

:37:42.:37:44.

to be something else. It took me down the road

:37:45.:37:47.

of camouflage and the way things But then that took me down looking

:37:48.:37:50.

at dazzle camouflage in the First World War

:37:51.:37:55.

and camouflage in general. Then into things like

:37:56.:37:59.

Cubism and David Bamberg. The gasometer that is just behind

:38:00.:38:06.

us, the interference pattern at the front and back,

:38:07.:38:08.

trying to create a skin that would somehow make it more

:38:09.:38:11.

arresting, but yet disappear. I imagine there's always a slightly

:38:12.:38:17.

heart in mouth moment when, as the architect,

:38:18.:38:20.

you show your plans to the guys There was a lot of stuff that didn't

:38:21.:38:24.

make a lot of sense to them. And there were a lot of meetings

:38:25.:38:30.

with just sort of 20 blue-collar guys just sitting round a table

:38:31.:38:33.

with me trying to explain this sort of optic effect to people

:38:34.:38:39.

and how important it was. Did you hear what

:38:40.:38:41.

they were muttering? There must've some people who didn't

:38:42.:38:44.

get it, but hopefully now I don't know whether you would

:38:45.:38:49.

consider this public art, but it's come in for a bit

:38:50.:38:55.

of a bashing recently. I don't describe

:38:56.:38:59.

this as an artwork. I think it's an architectural

:39:00.:39:01.

response. I think public art is a very

:39:02.:39:03.

difficult thing to get right. You do have to swallow your ego

:39:04.:39:06.

a bit and really respond to both space, concept, history,

:39:07.:39:09.

and all of those things. This will look really powerful

:39:10.:39:15.

when someone is doing the washing up each night,

:39:16.:39:17.

they will see the sun set behind it. And you'll get this very

:39:18.:39:20.

interesting, alive kind of effect, where you just move your head

:39:21.:39:23.

slightly from side to side and it creates all these different

:39:24.:39:26.

sort of patterns. Have you tested it, so it

:39:27.:39:28.

won't set cars alight? The panels are all completely flat,

:39:29.:39:37.

so there's no kind of concave So we haven't looked into that,

:39:38.:39:40.

but it doesn't seem to be an issue because there

:39:41.:39:44.

is no lens effect. So we have your word,

:39:45.:39:46.

really, don't we? He's used to people seeing

:39:47.:39:49.

his work in galleries, but now you can clock it

:39:50.:40:04.

from the Blackwall Tunnel approach. It's out of the frying pan

:40:05.:40:07.

into the fire for Shawcross as his chimney puts its mark

:40:08.:40:09.

on the skyline of the big smoke. All over the world, sober media

:40:10.:40:14.

outlets have been pondering today on how to justify their coverage

:40:15.:40:20.

of the break-up of Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt by trying to find some

:40:21.:40:23.

serious theme to connect to it. I'm not going to deny, we've had

:40:24.:40:27.

that discussion ourselves. But we did find this

:40:28.:40:30.

particularly moving. Angelina Jolie speaking

:40:31.:40:33.

about her marriage in November on NBC's Today show,

:40:34.:40:36.

after the release of the movie, In the Sea, which she wrote,

:40:37.:40:40.

directed and starred in along It's about a disintegrating

:40:41.:40:42.

marriage. Well, I think, one, I'm counting

:40:43.:40:53.

on the audience to know that if it was close to us at all,

:40:54.:40:56.

we could never make this film. It's because we're actually

:40:57.:41:01.

very, very stable. I think we have more

:41:02.:41:05.

moments where I say, Just know what you're good at,

:41:06.:41:07.

know what you're not. So yeah, I do have my like, no,

:41:08.:41:17.

no, I'm going to get

:41:18.:41:21.

In-depth investigation and analysis of the stories behind the day's headlines with Evan Davis. When will the Syrian war end? What next for the Liberal Democrats? Plus a look at Hungary and migrants, shadow cabinet elections and the Optic Cloak.


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