14/10/2016 Newsnight


In-depth investigation and analysis of the stories behind the day's headlines with Evan Davis.

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EVAN DAVIS ON TANNOY: With no apologies for any


inconvenience caused, the delayed arrival of a Government


decision on Heathrow is at last due any day now.


The signs appear to suggest that Heathrow will get


But that could be the beginning of an argument, not the end of one.


If we go down the Heathrow route, it won't be delivered.


There are four very powerful councils, joined by a number


of others, I understand, today, who are going to put a lot


of resources into taking the government to court on noise


There are planning risks which are unique to Heathrow.


Also tonight: Footballer Ched Evans walks from court acquitted of rape,


but apologising to anyone affected by his actions on that


We'll ask what sort of strange culture it is that gets young


footballers into such trouble with sex and alcohol.


And have a look at this cute little courier bot.


A breakthrough in home delivery, or a machine to destroy jobs?


I think we should think on taxing robots.


Because someone has to pay for our normal life,


for the infrastructures, for the services that governments


If you think Brexit is controversial, there's one other


national issue that has been paralysingly divisive for years -


For that long, we've been dodging a decision on where to build extra


But any day now, it seems a decision will come.


The mood music suggests Heathrow will get a third runway.


The Airports Commission supported that option last year,


and Brexit has added a certain energy to some of the arguments.


You see, it's all about infrastructure now,


and reaching out to the world, as Adam Parsons reports.


1968, and Britain's love affair with air travel is blooming. So much so


that an inquiry is setup to decide where to build a third London


airport. 48 years later, we still haven't decided where an extra


runway might go. But we do have lots of protesters. But while we struggle


Well, runway while we struggle with where to put one runway,


China is currently building 30 new airports and


But maybe it's not fair to just look at China.


Major global transport projects always take a long time to get off


The world's longest cable bridge, AVE - Spain's railway network,


Portman Bridge in Vancouver, Copenhagen Metro, the Milan-Bologna


high-speed railway - just a few extremely large


construction projects that appear to have been finished in the time


we've been wringing our hands about an airport runway.


so, why have we spent decades debating runways that never get


built? This is where it all began, the picturesque Buckinghamshire


village of Stukeley. Back in 1987 after two years of deliberation, the


inquiry decided that Britain's new mega airport should be built right


here. Well, this is the original paperwork for the airport. It is in


the red box there. You can see more detail on this plan. There no fewer


than four different runways were proposed, including the demolition


of three different villagers. Including this one, Stukeley and its


Norman church. This whole plan caved in under huge pressure in the early


70s. And 45 years later, we're still waiting for one let alone four. This


is the memorial .my the airport plan foundered on the back of fierce


local protests. They planted a wood and built a on court shaped memorial


-- a Concorde shape the memorial. In a parallel universe we have been in


the middle of Britain's biggest airport, but we are not, we won the


campaign. When you threaten peoples homes and way of life, they are


looking to how they can defend that, they use every method possible. They


use the law to start with an public enquiries. The use getting public


opinion behind them, and then as a last ditch they need to protect


their homes themselves, and they would have done it. With what? Well,


the leaflets going round were about petrol bombs and bows and arrows.


Tempers have calm, runways remain on built. But there are clues the


Government wants to start spending on these huge bits of


infrastructure. To build an economy which works for everyone, we must


also invest in the things that matter, the things with a longer


term return. That is how we will address the weaknesses in our


economy, improve our productivity, increase economic growth and ensure


everyone gets a fair share. So, if we are going to spend billions on a


runway, who gets it? It is down to Heathrow or Gatwick, with a decision


expected shortly and supporters divided. Thousands of people had


their lives shortened every year because of poor air quality.


Heathrow cannot comply with those limits to which we are legally


bound. That is one of the reasons why this will be tied up in the


courts for years, whereas you just don't get those thing kind of


problems with air quality and noise all with the practicalities of


delivering the project, you don't get those with Gatwick. The question


is, why try to build a new runway at Heathrow where you could build one


at Gatwick in half the time with half the cost and tiny fraction of


the environmental impact? Are you still convinced that Heathrow is the


right place? I'm convinced, I've always been convinced. As we finally


go away in a new global landscape, we need an international hub that


can really boost and provide that impetus that this city the country


needs. There is no better time. There's been lots of good times, but


it to happen now, it has to be Heathrow. But Heathrow is surrounded


by the constituencies of high profile Conservatives, including the


Prime Minister, the Chancellor and the Foreign Secretary. Local


politics affecting a huge national issue, they have heard that one in


Stukeley. In Tory heartland, Heathrow is probably in Tory


heartland as well. But I can't think how a Tory government would have put


a major airport like that in the middle of their heartland. This


field was once earmarked to be a runway. The airport that never was.


A long way off jet speed. Adam Parsons reporting.


Earlier this evening, I went down to the constituency


office of Tory MP Zac Goldsmith, a recent candidate for the Mayor


of London, and also one of the most trenchant critics of a proposed


Does he think Heathrow's third runway is now a done deal?


I wouldn't be talking to you if I thought it was a done deal.


I think that Heathrow has always been the default


position for government, not just this government


but the last government and the one before.


I think the reason for that is that is it was a monopoly


for a very long time, the relationship between Heathrow


and Government is really very close, to the point of being unhealthy.


I remember last year, I was lobbying the Infrastructure Minister,


a few months later he became the chairman of Heathrow.


You had the head of the Department of Transport who went over to become


The head of comms at Heathrow became the head of comms


It is hard to know where Heathrow ends and government begins


And that is why I think there has always been this lazy default


But I think the advantage we have today, I really believe this,


is that the Prime Minister has actually called herself


a bloody difficult woman, and that is what we need.


We need someone who is not just going to be spoon-fed her position


by entrenched officials, somebody who is actually


going to do the thinking, look at the evidence.


And I think we have that in Theresa May.


I think we have everything to play for.


They have certainly let this Heathrow hare get


quite a long way away, if they are going to


I'm not going to pretend I would bet my house


on the right outcome on Tuesday, whatever the decision is.


Certainly, we have time to make the case.


I don't expect people in Parliament to care that much about the noise


I would love them to but I'm not holding my breath on that.


They should care about deliverability but if we cannot


deliver this project we are going to be entering


the next election and we're going to squabbling


You were prominent on the Brexit debate.


You got the result you wanted on that.


Many people say that actually, that vote tilts the argument,


finely balanced as it was when the commission reported,


tilts the argument in favour of Heathrow because it is a symbol


of outwardness and, if you like, not a metaphor for Britain's


hub role in the world but having a big hub airport.


That, for me, is an argument in favour of going for


Because Gatwick can happen almost immediately.


No need for public subsidy, very few controversies surrounding it.


If we go for Heathrow, and I am not convinced this


is the perfect choice to begin with, but the choice to begin


If we go down the Heathrow route, it won't be delivered.


There are four very powerful councils joined by a number


of others, I understand, today who are going to put a lot


of resources into taking the government to court on noise


There are planning risks which are unique to Heathrow,


there are finance risks and there are cost issues.


Heathrow's biggest customer, BA, has said this is undeliverable


There is another post-Brexit argument, which is around


the relationship between London and the rest of the country.


If we're going to have an airport, a bigger airport, extra capacity,


that suits the people of Birmingham or potentially


the people of Manchester, the shape of Britain makes more


sense when the airport is to the north of London rather


When it is potentially on a high-speed railway line


going to Birmingham or Manchester rather


It just makes more sense, doesn't it?


I don't disagree with that but then I don't buy into the argument


We need a competitive competition sector.


Gatwick was liberated seven years ago from the monopoly and no one


can pretend it isn't a better airport today.


It announced 20 long-haul routes this year, it will announce more


For me, the argument of airport hubs is almost obsolete,


it is about whether or not you want a hub and I don't think you do,


Have you spoken to Boris Johnson about it recently?


Because it seems as though the really big news for Heathrow


in the last three months has been Boris Johnson is not


going to be Prime Minister, because he would certainly have


not gone for Heathrow, and he is in the Cabinet


and he will shut up and be a loyal member and will not lie down


I can make a prediction that Boris, under no circumstances,


would ever vote for Heathrow expansion, nor would


Both of them are very senior, very valued members of the Cabinet.


I speak to both of them regularly, I spoke to Boris


There is no wavering in his position and there is no wavering


They may not be doing the media rounds, they probably won't be


But their positions remain absolutely unchanged.


If we get the decision on Tuesday, are you going to resign your


You pledged to resign your seat and have a by-election,


If there is a green light from Government, I will trigger


The process of that, I would rather not go into now


because it is not the story, the story is that we have two


or three days left to try to kill this threat once and for all and get


the Government to see sense, and that has to be my priority.


The footballer Ched Evans has been found not guilty of rape


in a retrial that ended today with a unanimous verdict


It was a huge relief to him and his fans, and his fiancee.


But a huge disappointment to many others, who thought the retrial


was flawed in that evidence on the victim's character


and behaviour was allowed to be submitted.


But although he was acquitted, the events of that fateful night


at a Premier Inn in North Wales were described in lurid


detail in the trial, giving the court a window


on an unseemly world in which some young footballers reside.


It was conspicuous that in his statement after the trial,


read by his lawyer, Ched Evans did feel it appropriate to apologise.


Thanks go too to my friends and family.


Who chose, perhaps incredibly, to support me in my darkest hour.


Whilst my innocence has now been established, I wish to make it clear


that I wholeheartedly apologise to anyone who might have been


affected by the events of the night in question.


Someone who knows a thing or two about the temptations and excesses


of footballers is the the actress, EastEnders star, singer


and author Michelle Gayle, who was married to footballer


Mark Bright for ten years and who has written on this


subject in her book, Pride And Premiership.


The evening. You had a kind of window onto the culture that Ched


Evans was living in with his mates. Did you recognise that culture?


Absolutely recognise it. It's hard to explain what it's like as a


female, a very pro-female person, to have been going out with a


footballer on a night out, and see behaviour of females that you find


disconcerting. And it's something that made me write the book, in


fact, because I was told when I was inspired to write the book that one


year in careers advice meetings, 60% of girls said that they wanted to


beat a Wag. When you go -- but they wanted to be a Wag. There are


certain number of girls who basically make themselves very


readily available. I think it will warp the view of women for those


footballers. And this is the culture that is manifesting itself here and


now. They get confused? They have a very


warped view of females and what females want from them.


Consequently, because I have known so many footballers, a lot of them


end up marrying their childhood sweetheart who knew them when they


were nothing because they cannot trust... Are you using this as an


excuse for the footballers and their behaviour? Or an explanation of this


contorted world? It is not an excuse, it is just the reality and


people can judge this however they want but that is a reality. What are


girls getting out of this? Are they wanting one night were getting


married or the money? What? I can tell you right now there are groups


of footballers who say if you get these girls in this town, all they


need is a pair of shoes. Groups tell footballers which girls to call when


they go to certain times because you only need to buy them a pair of


shoes, which is nothing for a footballer, and does disgust me?


Absolutely yes. But we need to educate both sides of the fence. Is


this unique to football? You have worked in show business, rock stars


have had groupies throwing themselves at them. Absolutely. With


footballers, it is unique because they usually becomes signed at such


a young age, 16 or 18, there is a lot of arrested development because


once they are signed up, literally it is very hard for them to evolve,


they tend to stick to the friends they knew before they signed because


they feel that as a safe haven so even if they travel the world, which


should lead to evolving as a person, they literally stay 18 for a large


portion of their life. And they have all the pleasures of teenage... And


the same friends are perhaps have not travelled or had the opportunity


to evolve and they keep with this very narrow warped sense of what the


world is. What can we do? One would suggest that these are teenage lads,


women throwing themselves at them and they have a lot of money, it is


quite hard if discipline is not instilled to resist these


temptations? Is adopted the clubs to say, you have to behave? It is


absolutely up to the clubs to educate men. And it is also up to


all of us to educate females that there is this massive grey area when


it comes to sex and a lot of us do not want to discuss this, we want to


make things black-and-white and this case is a prime example of a grey


area. She is not a liar, is he totally innocent? Who knows? Can you


prove 100% record was guilty? The jury could not. And he was found not


guilty. Thank you. One way you can tell


whether you are an optimist or a pessimist is to ask


whether you think robots are going to make us all rich


or rob us all of work. The technology of artificial


intelligence is advancing, which means robots can do


more complex jobs. For decades, of course,


they've performed manual tasks But the white collar work


in the offices upstairs This week, the Commons Science


and Technology Committee told the Government to reboot


its strategy for dealing Could we even have to contemplate


making robots pay tax? Here's our Technology


Editor, David Grossman. Little robots taking parcels


and groceries to the front door. Due to start in Greenwich,


London, next year. Up until now, the unpredictable


complexity of the real world with its infinite variety of hazards


and obstacles meant that the last It's us waiting around at home


in a five-hour delivery window. It's so time-consuming


and such a waste. Robotics and technology


in the current day right now can There's no doubt that this


coming wave of automation, of artificial intelligence


and robots like this one, is going to deliver huge


advantages to society. It's going to transform our lives,


make them more convenient. But the question is,


is it also going to bring us some problems that society


is going to struggle to cope with? With delivery bots, driverless vans,


warehouse robots and online retailing, it's possible for a tiny


number of people to sew up an entire market that once employed hundreds


of thousands or even millions. In previous eras of job destruction,


when mechanisation chased farm workers off the land,


it also created new and better paid And when muscle work disappeared,


we moved in brainwork. But soon, the machines will not only


be stronger than us, These are robot handlers,


ready to take control if one of the delivery robots


gets into trouble. The real worry is about how


many of these new jobs One study estimates that 35% of UK


jobs will be automated away in ten to 20 years' time,


and the jobs that pay under ?30,000 per year are five times more at risk


from automation than jobs that Research by McKinsey has warned


that this transformation is happening ten times faster


and at 300 times the scale Or, in other words, with 3000 times


the impact of the changes that These sculptures are perhaps a good


metaphor for how most politicians have reacted


to the challenge, until now. One idea they're going to be


debating here in the European Parliament next month is this -


if job-destroying robots are replacing taxpaying humans,


well, perhaps we need My proposal is that we monitor


exactly what is happening on the job And if robots are taking over more


jobs than new jobs are created, we will be, or most of the member


states and the governors, will be in a difficult position


to collect enough money to finance So, if this is the case,


I think we should think Because somebody has to pay


for our normal life - for the infrastructures,


for the services that governments A company replacing workers


with a robot like Baxter here would be relatively


straightforward to tax. But this wave of innovation is not


all about the physical world. Much of this revolution, though,


is taking place out of sight - inside reassuringly familiar-looking


computer cases and server racks. But these new machines


are learning and thinking. And learning and thinking


is currently how much of humanity This Berlin-based start-up has


harnessed artificial intelligence to revolutionise the boring


old accountancy profession. Clients of the service


will scan their invoices But inside, the software


is doing something extraordinary. Instead of human accountants


looking at the documents, the computer is figuring


out the figures. But then you have to interpret


the tax and the system has to know, And where is the tax information


on the receipt? And that's interpreting


the information, and that's really in many, many areas


a revolution that we're seeing. Is that a person crossing the street


or is it just water on the street Can I go on driving,


or do I have to stop? That's understanding,


interpretation work. And that's also the work


that has to be done here The system really needs to do


the interpretation. At Smacc, they say this


will lead to less mundane, more interesting work


for human accountants. But again, the question


is, how many of these We are progressing very,


very quickly in terms of innovation. But we have no idea where


we are heading, and And I fear that at present,


both governments and the private sector are quite happy to rely


on neo-liberalism and market forces and allow them to decide


the direction of innovation Want to know where we could be


heading as a species? Have a look at our


friend Oliver here. Just a century ago,


millions of horses in the UK could earn their keep


in agriculture, in the mines, The fact is that for almost every


job that horses once monopolised, today they are not worth


their food and stabling. They couldn't give their labour


away at any price. We can only hope that the robots


are a little more sympathetic to us David Grossman. I'm sure all of


these robots will need secretaries! You have to hand it


to the well-known environmental activist and Guardian writer


George Monbiot - he has always been He risked the wrath of green allies


by turning from opposing nuclear power to supporting


it, for example. Or more memorably, on this very


programme he demonstrated how to cook a dead squirrel,


one that had been hit by a car. Well, in his latest circumvolution


he has devoted himself to a musical He's produced an album with folk


singer Ewan McLennan called Breaking Actually, Ewan McLennan has done


most of the music side of things and we'll hear a bit


of that shortly. But first, George Monbiot


is with me. It started because he wrote a piece


in the Guardian on loneliness and it had more impact than you realised?


It went viral and I had publishers saying, would you write a book?


Great! I spent three years sitting in socialisation writing about


social isolation! And then it struck me, I want to do something about it


on something which engages before and brings them together rather than


the solitary pursuit of reading and music does that better than almost


anything. Is loneliness trending? Is more than there ever was? Is


evidence? The data is poor quality because we have not used the same


metrics across the past 50 years but the spotlight figures suggest yes,


there is a massive problem and certainly in some age groups it


seems to be escalating. It is accompanied by a huge amount of


mental health disorders. Your theory as to what has caused that is to do


with our economy and neoliberalism. To do with an individualistic


economic ethos? That is part of it, technology has made big differences


but we have dominant ideology which says, you are individuals, go your


own way, be self starters, sole traders, self-made men and women,


you don't owe anything to others around you, competition is the


defining characteristic of humanity. That is how we should see ourselves,


we are fundamentally quite selfish and other people are just a threat.


These are things you have always criticised. Some other theories...


The family is not what it used to be, the 1960s came along and we


became permissive and consumer mistake. Do you attach any way to


that? It is a mesh, these are not exclusive explanations. Those ones


you mention reinforce the trends I am talking about and the push


towards individualism. But whatever the underlying or major reasons


might be for it, this is a huge problem which is greatly under


disgust. While you could just be overestimating the problem because


you are thinking about loneliness as going bowling together but they


don't do that any more, they do other things, they are on what's up,


the world has changed. Perhaps social relationships have changed?


There is a difference between being physically isolated and being


lonely, some people are perfectly happy on a desert island, it suits


them. What loneliness it is a feeling of emotional pain that you


get from being cut off from others so when people are surveyed about


this, you see this very high proportion of the population that is


lonely and that is a really big problem, emotional pain is so great


for many people that they would much rather have physical pain. Hence the


project. Thank you very much. I'll be back on Monday -


but let us get Ewan McLennan to play us out with one of the songs


from the Breaking the Spell of Loneliness album,


co-written by George. This one is called


Such A Thing As Society. # If I am to win then


you have to fail. # It's each for himself,


they've spun is the tale. # If I am to live


then you have to die. # This, my friend,


is the time-honoured life. # This, my friend,


is the time-honoured lie. # It's working and living


and laughing together. # In the glitter, the gold,


the silver charade. # We see ourselves in


the image they've made. # Have we fought for the scraps


since the very first day? # Do we really believe


there's no other way? # It's working and living


and laughing together. # It's not who we are,


it's not how we live. # In the depths of disaster


be huddle together. # We lend our hand to


strangers with needs. # We go without so


that others can eat.


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