Analysis of the stories behind the day's headlines with Evan Davis. As Trump claws back, what next? Plus, child abuse inquiry, benefits reform, trans children, and Brian Cranston.
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Last week, on this programme we implied that Hillary Clinton
The polls may have Donald Trump behind but in this area of rural
North Carolina, excitement about this event and being here leads them
to be suspicious of those polls and suspicious of Hillary Clinton.
They've got the money to do whatever it takes.
If she wins it's probably going to be ugly.
We'll ask a veteran of three administrations if America is now
My mum supported me when I did a PowerPoint presentation
to my class about transitioning, that I wasn't
going to go to school wearing boy's clothes any more.
Is it helpful to teach children about what it is
It's an issue that generates a lot of tabloid heat.
From Malcolm in the Middle to Walter White to Heisenberg
to Donald Trump, we're Breaking Bad with Brian Cranston.
I'm fascinated by Trump because he is the classic tragic
He also doesn't present any solutions.
"It's gonna be great, great, great, great,
huge, problem, problem, problem, great, great,
great" and you go, "He's saying nothing!".
In an hour and a half, it'll be November and officially,
there can be no more October Surprises in this
But one is enough and that was lobbed into the campaign
on Friday; since then, the contest has seemed more open
So where do the chances of the two candidates stand now?
When we looked at this last Wednesday, we quoted you one
Their model put an 85% chance on Hillary winning.
Today, that same outfit has Hillary's chance down
Still comfortably the favourite, but have the polls fully
Our diplomatic editor Mark Urban is in Washington.
What's your sense about where this election stands now and where the
mood is of everybody in each of the two camps? The e-mails story did
produce a partisan firestorm over the weekend. The Clinton campaign
demanding that the FBI get this stuff out there. There are 680,000
e-mails apparently on this computer owned by Anthony Wiener. The FBI can
do some of the things that you and I might do, though it is from, who it
is too, some keyword searches but even if they get it down to some
smaller surges, delicate judgments about whether this is relevant to
the cases previously looked at with Hillary Clinton and whether she was
putting secrets in, we can't really expect any details on that before
the election. As for the effect on the election polls, the one you
mentioned, 539, the poll of polls, showing a fall from 5.7%, to 4.7%
over the last few days, continuing a trend since the last presidential
debate when she was way out in front with most of the poll of poll
exercises showing a narrowing of the lead but still a lead of even a few
percentage points in the American system can be considered pretty
commanding. It has been an astonishingly angry election. This
e-mails and isn't going to be resolved in the next few days. How
does this leave the post-election period? How does it all go for
either of the leading candidates, having to put Humpty Dumpty back
together again having smashed the country apart, so to speak? One
thing that people in the UK may forget is that this is not simply
between Trump and Clinton. In every state there are other people on the
ballot and critically, the Senate and the house of representatives. In
the American system you have got to get along with them otherwise you
will produce nothing. So often in the second term of President Obama
he couldn't achieve anything. Many people feel that these e-mail
revelations will be more helpful to the Republicans in the house and
Senate reasons for various reasons. That means that if Hillary Clinton
wins, she's likely still to a very difficult partisan gridlock, if you
like come on the Hill and even if you flip it around and Donald Trump
wins, he could face a very difficult situation trying to get anything in
acted. That's caused many people to wonder, well, how can any winner in
this so-called election put together a programme for government after
such an acrimonious campaign. We went in search of that question,
starting in North Carolina. When Trump flew to Kinston,
North Carolina big crowds thronged. The message, as in so many of his
stops, bold, uncompromising and highly personal,
in taunting his opponent, attacking the current president
and promising to nullify his legacy. Can we live another four
years with another Obama? But while Trump's outspoken rhetoric
has made the weather on many a quiet news day, it hasn't turned the polls
around, even after the latest The polls may have Donald Trump many
points behind but in this area of rural North Carolina,
thousands of people have turned And their excitement about this
event and being here leads them to be suspicious of those polls,
suspicious of Hillary Clinton, especially when their candidate
is saying the whole In some places in North Carolina,
some of the voting machines are already changing's people's
ballots, like if they vote Republican it changes
it to a Democrat. So I guess you've got to be
vigilant and pay attention She's a criminal and she'll
do whatever it takes. They've got the money to do
whatever it takes. It's a shame that we've come
to this, but if she wins it's probably
going to be ugly. And what is your
attitude to Hillary? The seeds of America's
division were sown early. This is Monticello, home
of Thomas Jefferson. He designed it as he designed the US
Constitution, striving The separation of powers
between Congress and President required them to cooperate,
yet 22 years after declaring independence, Jefferson
wrote from the Capitol, "Politics and party hatred destroy
the happiness of every being here." If getting into heaven required
belonging to a political party, then, Jefferson wrote,
"I will gladly not go." America's gun owners look back
to the revolution and the oft cited Now, facing the prospect
of a Hillary Clinton victory, Paul Valone and Don Pomeroy
of the advocacy group Grass Roots North Carolina
are in uncompromising mood. For our political action committee
to raise money to elect or defeat candidates,
we've been running a raffle, raffling off an AR15,
1000 rounds of ammunition The fact is that Hillary Clinton,
if elected, will be the salesperson Here they are proud to have
frustrated President Obama's attempts at gun control
during his eight years in office and campaign
actively against Hillary, seeing her as a threat to much more
than their firearms. We are becoming involved
in particular in this election because the
Supreme Court is at stake. If Hillary Clinton makes
an appointment, a 5-4 conservative court will become four-five
and frankly, all bets are off. In many states, voting
has already started. Arriving at his polling
station, Alex Bodyfort runs The ballot paper in his state has
more than two dozen different votes on it including for the Senate and
House of Representatives members. And given the Republican commitment
to repealing many of those measures President Obama
actually got through, he was clear which way
he wanted to vote. Whatever progress we made
from the previous regime seems fitting left behind as opposed
to being built upon, so it's like hitting a reset
button every election. It doesn't make a whole
bunch of science. You would think, whatever positive
stuff we had going on, we could use some of that and build
on it as opposed to blowing the whole thing
up and starting over. But having fights between
a president and Congress come and gone as regularly as the seasons
or the harvests in this country. But blocked by partisan politics,
the last Congress passed one third as many laws as one
mocked in the late 1940s Many people think this is something
that's only developed in the last few years but actually this has been
developing very steadily and relentlessly, beginning in
the early 1980s in the United States and getting worse,
every election cycle. To a point now where it's extremely
visible to everybody. The ability of Congress to legislate
on the issues the public identifies as the major issues
of the day has dramatically diminished in this period
of extreme partisan polarisation. And the polarisation
or fragmentation of American politics is not just driven
by the right. This contest has seen the emergence
of a left-wing insurgency within the Democratic party
and Senator Liz Warren is one of its standardbearers
with a message that plays on gender I've got news for Donald Trump
and Richard Perle. And that is, nasty women
vote in North Carolina. Are you ready to get
these men out of our And for this audience,
at a women's college in North Carolina there was plenty
of support for her In the wake of the economic crises,
political machines have kept rumbling onwards, with messages
targeting their constituencies. On one side of the tracks,
gun owners, blue-collar On the other, women,
ethnic and gay voters. And on each side, the electoral
battle is now painted as one for a way of life
and hard-earned rights. This is Stanton, Virginia,
where Woodrow Wilson was born. He was the only professional
political scientist to have Frustrated by the constitution,
Wilson wrote he would prefer England's parliamentary system
instead of "this miserable Wilson fought many battles
with Congress, so what would he make of today's
polarisation and gridlock? I believe it is objectively worse
today. I don't see it getting any better
any time soon. We do not have a unifying person
who is coming up as president, regardless of who is the president
and who is elected on November 9th. Polls consistently show
that their likeability rating I think we are going to see a lot
more of that gridlock happening, unfortunately
in the next four years. Extreme partisanship is not
a new thing, Woodrow Wilson would recognise it all too well,
but what has happened recently is that it has reached a point
where a president has very little chance of enacting the platform
that they were elected upon. And if that's the case,
it poses basic questions Where will the strain of polarised
messages and undeliverable It's already produced incitement
and in isolated cases, violence. In Orange County North Carolina,
the local Republican party This is not I think a party thing,
this is political terrorism. Nearby, a wall was daubed,
"Nazi Republicans Condemned by Democrats,
some of whom even offered money to rebuild the office,
this was an unusual incident, but not, perhaps, an unexpected
one, given the heated In the end, whoever wins
the presidency will find themselves After the Obama years of gridlock
and strife on the Hill, there is every sign that things
could be about to get even worse. In Washington is Stuart Gerson,
a lawyer who was an advisor to both Bush administrations and served
as Acting Attorney General Good evening. You, I think, have
been a critic of what the FBI did by dropping this letter into the
campaign. What do you think he did wrong? He did wrong for two reasons
and he did it twice. This is not about favouring one candidate over
the other. The FBI investigating it is not a determiner of whether a
prosecution should take place. But what he did in assigning to himself
a super oversight role was to buy late two tenets of long-standing and
merit. The first is not to comment on pending investigations. They tend
to be ambiguous and involve the rights of the subjects of the
investigations, things change very much so, and the integrity of the
process is benefited by keeping your mouth shut unless and until you have
a case. That is what the prosecutor ought to be doing. The second tenet
is making statements or disclosures that affect the political process.
That is not what a prosecutor ought to be doing. There are precedents to
show how deleterious this can be and this has not been helpful in this
case were all it has done is inject confusion into the campaign. Sorry
to interrupts, but you must be able to see that if something emerged
after the election, that the FBI had seemed there was a stash of e-mails
they were going to look at, if it emerges after the election that that
was going to happen and he had not mention it, there would have been
such an uprising particularly at a time when there is so much talk of
conspiracy and anger. If you want to have government that is durable, it
ought to do the right thing all the time, irrespective of the
consequences you describe. The Department of Justice act a lot
better when it acts consistently and ethically. The fact of the matter is
these disclosures have been made, they are ambiguous, the matter will
not be resolved before the election and it is not moving a lot of votes
and somebody will have to deal with it, perhaps President Clinton after
the election. It does not clear a lot and the Department should have
acted in a better way. I am sure you would agree that being a public
official and trying to do the right thing and trying to be neutral at a
time when there is such as the bra and divided America is very hard.
Half the country who are new to say, you are on the other side, what are
you up to? It must be harder than in your day. I do not agree with you. I
was the Attorney General during the first World Trade Center bombing and
there was a great deal of division and controversy about that. That is
always there. Do not underrate gridlock. It is often at times very
helpful and Spurs better discussion and leads to a passage of only those
things that are necessary. We are highly regulated in the United
States, a lot of what we do is not intelligent. We should strip down
government and get it more towards its essentials. If the Clinton
Administration has a more bipartisan view from the beginning, rather than
a confrontational one, there is no reason why it should not.
Last week, we reported on new problems at the inquiry
of sexual assault by the inquiry's most senior lawyer,
which some believe the inquiry has not dealt with properly.
Jake Morris has been following this inquiry for us and
News of another departure. When I've have left this enquiry, but news of
another one today. I have learnt today one of the key lawyers in the
enquiry, a barrister called Toby Fisher, because he has concerns over
the progress and direction of the enquiry. He took his decision about
six weeks ago in mid August, long before anything we broadcast last
week, after Lowell Goddard had resigned. He said he would be
finishing his work very shortly. He is quite a key figure in the
enquiry, he is one of the three core councils and more recently he has
been working on two of the most high-profile investigations that the
enquiry has undertaken, those into the late Lord Jana and into what is
just called Westminster, which is quite interesting. I put this to the
enquiry tonight and they told me he remains instructed and that is a
technical truth in that he cannot talk about any work he has done.
There are a large number of June solicitors and counsels that come
and go, but in this case it is clear there are deep concerns about the
progress and the direction of the enquiry and I do not think he is the
only person who thinks that. Allegations of sexual assault that
have not been followed up correctly, what follow-ups either to that
revelation? Today the Labour MP Leeza Nandi raised the issue in the
House of Commons and this is what the Home Secretary Amber Rudd had to
It is essential for the authenticity of this enquiry that it is held
as independent, it is not run by the Home Office as an essential
part of its integrity, and I would urge her to stop
knocking the inquiry and get behind it.
We have also learned that matrix Chambers has launched an
investigation into what has been claimed and my understanding is that
this investigation will be carried out by an external figure.
Listen carefully to the the Work and Pensions secretary,
Damian Green, and you might discern a different tone when it comes
to welfare, to the one we've been familiar with.
Today, there was a green paper on disability benefits that seemed
to be talking more about support to help the disabled into work,
And the government is reviewing the deeply unpopular work
So does this mark a significant change of direction?
A retreat from an era of money-saving reforms
Nick Watt has been trying to find out.
Welfare is a perennial tricky area for any government
If you put in charge a one nation Tory, the wets to Margaret Thatcher,
Of course the health and welfare systems must support those that
It should offer the opportunity of work for all those who can
provide help for those who could and care
Damian Green hopes to usher in a new era after David Cameron's
troubled legacy but he has a major headache.
Philip Hammond will make clear in his Autumn Statement
later this month that money is
and government is locked inbto an expensive commitment
on the biggest area of welfare spending.
It will stand by its manifesto pledge
to ensure that pensions rise by at least 2.5%
2.5% or by the average of
earnings or prices, if they are higher.
I am absolutely a champion for pensioners.
Pensioners in society have to be protected and we
have to have a decent state pension and level of support.
However in the broader societal scheme of things,
to come up with some made up number of 2.5% which has no relationship
whatsoever to anything that may be going on in the economy at the time,
Politically it is something you can point to, but are we making policy
for the politicians or are we making policy for the people of this
Number ten's determination to uphold the pensions triple lock
during the lifetime of this parliament means there is little
room for manoeuvre on welfare spending.
Newsnight understands there is some sympathy at senior
levels in Whitehall for one key Tory backbench demands, that is to ensure
that George Osborne's reversal of tax credit cuts applies to the
But tight public finances means that isn't on
the cards at the moment, guaranteeing a bumpy ride in
Heidi Allen has crafted a modest proposal
to soften the impact of Universal Credit
I would like to focus on those most severely
affected, single parents, which would cost ?500 billion.
A lot of money but if we can keep those
people in work it keeps the economy turning, which is vital.
She is supportive of the main principle of
Universal Credit, to increase incentives to work.
The reforms have been repeatedly delayed but
ministers believe they are finally on track for a full roll-out by
Bedtime reading at senior levels of Whitehall is a pamphlet by
Universal Credit, From Disaster To Recovery.
We have seen too often when governments put systems in too
quickly, people shouldn't go through the sausage machine,
they should be treated as individuals and if they
take longer to get it right, that's fine by me.
The former pensions minister is less convinced.
We are slowly getting there, we are told, but
unfortunately I don't think anybody can totally and confidently predict
when exactly this will all be rolled out, how
it will be rolled out, and
what the cost implications truly are.
The government knows that
welfare can quickly become a highly toxic issue,
not least when money is
If a magic wand could be waived in Whitehall, assuming an
extra 2 billion could be found down the back
of the sofa, benefits would
be cut off at a slower rate as low paid workers increased their hours.
It slightly has the air of a concocted media row,
the sort of one where a newspaper extracts an angry remark
from a shocked parent and an indignant backbench
But in this case, if it is blown up out of proportion, it at least
The row concerns a transgender themed BBC video aimed
It's a video diary of an eleven-year-old called
To my old friends, I'm Amy, who used to be Ben.
My worry is that one of the new kids finds out that I am transgender,
makes a big deal of it, tells everybody and freaks
All I want to do at my new school is fit in,
like all the other new girls, not to be picked on or bullied out
Hmm, let me think for a minute.
The question is simple: How helpful is it to introduce very young people
Some worry that it will simply confuse, planting ideas
into children who may be different but not trans.
Let's talk about this to Stephanie Davis-Arai
from Transgender Trend, which is a group of parents
who are concerned about the current trend to diagnose "gender
non-conforming" children as transgender and Susie Green
from Mermaids, which is charity that campaigns for the recognition
Tell us about your daughter's experience. At what age did she
broached the subject? I noticed she did not fit in with what I expected
from a typical little boy, from when she was 18 months to about three
years, but to be honest I thought I had a very sensitive little boy who
would grow up to be gay. It was when she was four and we were watching TV
one day and I don't know where it came from, but she said, money and
need to tell you something. She said, God has made a mistake and I
should have been a girl. That young? Four. Did she ever waver after that?
No, she was bullied incessantly and she was told by me constantly from
when she came out with that first statement to when she reiterated it
time and time again that it was fine for boys to like girl things and she
did not have to be a girl and her response to that was, that is not
it. You object to the idea that a young person would be suggested into
taking up an idea? I do not see that gender is that fragile that you can
make a child reform by presenting them with that possibility that it
is a suggestion. And she will not reform now? Definitely not, no. Why
would you not just accept a child? I do not want to comment on
individuals, but I want to talk about what we are teaching children
and children at the age of four who have no idea what we mean about
changing gender. It is not possible to change from male to female, that
is a biological impossibility. You cannot change your reproductive
system, but you can express yourself. Gender means a socially
constructive idea of what boys should be doing and how they should
behave and dress. That is fluid and we should encourage boys to wear
dresses and girls can like gay men. What is your point? What we are
teaching children, and the BBC film shows that clearly, is you can
change from boy to girl. We are calling it gender and we are not
being honest with the children. When we give children information, we
need to make sure that information is accurate.
Are you rejecting the idea of transgender in saying that? No, we
need great caution in how we apply this theory to children. In the past
we called it transsexual, which is I think a more honest word. If we are
calling children transgender, the treatment pathway is the same as
transsexual. It these two children being sterilised and on medication
for life in order to be there or think Dick selves. Is that correct?
-- in order to be their authentic selves. Lie, people are very
carefully assessed before any medical intervention is offered --
no, people are very carefully assessed. The fact is, we know that,
version therapy, the therapy to try and teach young people to be happy
and to accept their birth gender we know does not work. There must be
some empirical answer to the question, how many people start down
the path that your daughter did and then say it was the wrong thing for
them to do? You had experience in this area, is it a large number? I
would say, we have over 800 parents in the group and about 200 people.
And? With the parents who have children who have gender dysphoria,
not those who are cross playing, that is something different... How
many regret it? I would say six. The figure from medical studies is
around 80%. That is an old study. That is including all of the studies
and some of those include gender nonconforming children but we don't
know which children will desist and which will persist, even the most
extreme cases. Excuse me, we know that with very careful treatment
schedules, we are careful in assessing and careful blocking
medication to pause puberty and that is reversible. The young people who
go through it and they are better socially functioning, less
depression and anxiety and we know that they have far better outcomes
in adult life. We have no long-term research. The Dutch do. No
long-term. People in their 20s and 30s. These are factual questions
that should be answered. It is not evidence -based treatment for
children. We must leave it there. Breaking Bad's creator
Vince Gilligan said he always planned to transform his main
character Walter White On screen it was the actor
Bryan Cranston who we watched evolve from a mild mannered chemistry
teacher to a murderer and drug lord. The role won him a number
of awards in the process. Now, I suspect most of us had never
heard of Mr Cranston before Breaking Bad,
but he had had quite a number of roles, in Saving Private Ryan
and Seinfeld among others. And now, he's published his memoir,
A Life in Parts. It's story time with Bryan Cranston,
an acting masterclass. "She was choking, I instinctively
reached to turn her over, And then somehow as she was fading,
she wasn't herself any more. I wasn't looking at Jane
or Jesse's girlfriend, I was looking at Taylor,
my daughter, my real daughter. I wasn't Walter White any more,
I was Bryan Cranston Family crops up a lot in his book,
not just his daughter, but his parents who we learnt badly
let down the young Bryan I have had a very
challenging childhood. There was abandonment,
there was alcoholism, so there was resentment and anger
and my job affords me the avenue to be able to channel those
feelings into my work. And the jealousy and resentment,
anger and hatred and any of those aspects that you've ever felt
in your life need to be able So that's how he pulled off one
of the greatest roles in TV history. His mother was the alcoholic,
his father the abandoner when Cranston was 11 and much later,
after his dad died, In his own shaky handwriting
he said, "The best part of my life or best time of my life
was when my children forgave me I can't go home smelling
like a meth lab. Those, wow, you are
keeping those on, right? They have been integral
to your career in a sense. The tightie whities to me
represented a maturity that When I met with Vince he told me
he wanted to turn the dial on him, so the character we met
in the beginning, that Walter White, would cease to exist
by the end of the series. He would be a completely
different person. I was fascinated by that
and I wanted in desperately. In the history of television that
construct had never been done. Here's this character,
I get it, and once you sympathise with him and you follow him
and you root for him, then we are going to turn the dial
and have him completely change and you are coming along with us
because they planted Before Walter White,
his most significant father in Malcolm In The Middle,
often humming or whistling a tune. I got a call from the music
coordinator from the network and they said while you are
whistling and humming on the show, it is your own orchestration,
you are not whistling Every time I got a cheque I would
bring it into my crew and say, "Look, I've got more money,"
and so I'd have a party. The crew started thinking,
"This is great, every time he gets So they would come up with ideas,
as he is fixing the garbage disposal, it seems like he could be
whistling and I would go, "Hey, And there is two seconds -
they'd just bought themselves With Breaking Bad Emmys under his
belt the offers have flooded in. Often historical characters,
the likes of Dalton Trumbo, a screenwriter blacklisted under
McCarthy for being a Communist. Obviously that's a time
when America was so polarised. Do you think you are
as divided now politically? I think there are periods in time
when people feel disenfranchised I think the presence of Donald Trump
is actually in the long run a good thing because it could be
a wake-up call to what could Yes, I'm fascinated by Trump
because he is a classic, What's so amazing about
Donald Trump is that he is He talks about issues and problems
and if you listen to that, you would think that everything
He also doesn't present any solutions.
"I'm just going to make it great, it'll be great again, I can
We're going to make great deals, it is going to be fantastic,
everything is going to be huge, it's going to be great.
Problem, problem, problem, great, great, great."
He has no ideas, that's why he's so Shakespearean because he's just
so unlike anyone we've ever seen in that realm.
It's not real to me that he could win.
It would be just the most bizarre thing imaginable.
I hope that when he loses, he would do everyone a favour
Before he started making money out of acting,
I met a guy named Reverend Bob who was a very friendly guy
and he said, "I need your help one day."
He said, "I accidentally booked two weddings,
same day, same time, but different locations.
All of sudden I'm an ordained minister and it did occur to me
after the success of Malcolm In The Middle
or Breaking Bad that someone might be watching at some point
and go, "Honey, I think Walter White married us."
"Since I became famous," you wrote in this book, "My
One thing you don't train for, you don't know when you become
an actor, is what to do if you become famous.
There is no school for that, there is no class for that.
At one time you could go to a store and nobody knows who you are
I'm no longer treated on an even keel with everyone else.
What I lost also, one of the things I love to do
and it is an actor's obligation and interest, is to study
human behaviour, but once you are being studied
yourself, their behaviour has changed and they are no
And the conversation, too, when you meet people,
they want to talk about me, that's all they want
Quite frankly I want to expand beyond that.
I have a tendency now to be more secluded.
He looks like a completely different person in all of the roles he plays.
Good evening, tomorrow is the 1st of November, a change of month and a
change of feel to the weather. After a foggy start, it will lift to
low-grade cloud. The best sunshine further north and west but the
temperatures are going
In-depth investigation and analysis of the stories behind the day's headlines with Evan Davis.
As Trump claws back, what next? Plus, child abuse inquiry, benefits reform, trans children, and Breaking Bad's Brian Cranston.