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.