Review of 2016 Newsnight

Review of 2016

Kirsty Wark presents a review of 2016. Ian Katz interviews David Remnick, editor of the New Yorker.

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Good evening and welcome to our final show of the year.


Tonight Newsnight says goodbye to 2016, the year


I think the majority want to stay in a reformed European Union. I happen


to believe that the people in this country don't want to pull


drawbridges up. At 20 minutes to five we can now say... The people of


the UK have voted to leave the European Union. Have got my country


back, I won't be here for long but what I've got I want to keep. About


ten o'clock would be about right. I do not think it would be right for


me to try to be the captain that steers our country to its next


destination. We did it! Everybody woke up in time! Everybody listened!


I'm sorry, we've just been through three months of agony on the issue


of immigration and the public have been led to believe that what they


have voted for is an end to it. We live in a besieged area. We haven't


had anything to eat since the beginning of the siege. We believe


this is a world first, selfies stick being used to transport an eminent


London surgeon into a basement hospital in a besieged city.


The truth is the question of belief. We have our special Russian troops


that you need to accept as something that maybe is not your truth. It


does feel, maybe you don't feel but you are not free to express your


opinion, because you are a racist, bigoted, you are


homophobic. What would you do on your first day in the White House?


So many things you wouldn't even believe it. Thank you. This is the


most important thing about Donald Trump. He was sociopathic in the


classic sense. We could spend all day talking about him but it's


Hillary Clinton who is likely to be the next president. There has been


quite a shift in the last hour. To the names of Jefferson, Washington


and Adams, we can now add Trump. Taste it, roll it around your


tongue. America's President-elect is Donald J Trump. It's not true, he


hasn't been racist. Text textbook racism was the phrase. Is a white


man you don't get to define what racism is. Simon, calm down dear.


Don't patronise me. It is not a moment for calm. It is a moment for


contesting what seems to be a very dangerous point in American history.


This has been a year of seismic shifts in power.


Britain voted to wrest back power from the EU.


In America the old establishment elites lost power to


In Russia, Putin has deployed everything from war planes


to the web to wield power thousands of miles from Moscow.


Tonight we have convened a group of guests to work out what brought


about such momentous change, who has benefited most as a result,


who have suffered the greatest, and what it will presage for 2017.


And joined by senior Ukip figure Suzanne Evans,


the commentator and columnist Peter Hitchens, Paris Lees,


the commentator and columnist Peter Hitchens.


harrowing, you may wish to look away, tell us why you chose this. On


the fringes of Europe people are dying, more than last year and I


think that we have convinced ourselves that it is to do with


illegal people trafficking, an industry that does exist and we have


convinced ourselves that it is only to do with the wars in the Middle


East although it is also to do with climate change. These Africans


escaping the effects of climate change. Trying to escape the effect


of desertification. This is not a crisis. A crisis is something that


can be solved. This is what the early 21st century is going to look


like. But there are more people crossing the Mediterranean this year


than last year and yet in terms of the news coverage of it we seem to


be slightly desensitised. Is it because you think we are distancing


ourselves from it? The reason we are here talking about 2016, so much has


happened, we have had more enormous stories in 2016 than any year I can


remember. It is a dreadful image, and not the only one.


You sift through newspapers, we don't see how the images. The


question is interpretation. My interpretation would be completely


different from yours. How would you interpret it? As the consequence


largely of the crazy intervention which we in France partially made in


Libya, the main reason for this particular event. An astonishing


diplomatic and military mistake, as bad as Iraq but somehow never dwelt


upon, analysed, its culprits never properly excoriated and punished. An


astonishing thing done largely with public support and a great deal of


cross media, something must be done... People from Mali, and the


Nigerians... The forces drawing them to Europe were there before we


destroyed Libya. The destruction of Libya brought the Muslims...


Suzanne, tell me what image you have chosen.


I've chosen an image, I felt I had to choose something from the


referendum campaign and I have chosen this one because I think in a


sense it sums it up. We have a bunch of multimillionaire luvvies and rich


kids on a boat being terribly rude to


some fishermen who are trying to protest about the Common fisheries


policy of the EU which has destroyed their livelihoods. So for me this


was an iconic image. Also it is not a thing about the smug liberal elite


that we will talk about later. After a referendum, you feel somehow that


it caught arises the wound and then there's a rapprochement to the


country gets back together. It hasn't happened this time. I think


so because the people who voted Remain are saying, the world


has not fallen apart and the economy will be fine. Things seem to be


absolutely OK. Let's just get on with it. I think the latest polling


I have seen suggests that 68% of people would vote Leave today. Was


the polling counter-productive? I think the thing about a referendum


is that it caught arises and heels when


it is divisive, and we have had to in this country which have come out


around 50-50. Everyone I spoke to in Scotland before the Brexit vote said


that the experience of the Scottish referendum was of families torn


apart and friendships broken. They warned me this would happen and they


were right. Let's move on, Peter, to your image. You have chosen a


domestic political image. Seuk-hyun Baek I love a good gloat. And for me


this has been a great year for gloating. In some ways this is my


favourite cloud, the total failure of the Blairites to overthrow Jeremy


Corbyn on a second attempt, something I could have told them.


Their total misunderstanding which led to the failure of what is going


on in politics that they themselves had been


replaced by the Conservative Party, and that there is absolutely nowhere


left to the Labour Party to go. Do you think Jeremy Corbyn is a good


thing for British politics? Enormously. For so long people have


said, we are sick of all the political parties being the same as


each other and we finally get a situation where they are not and


Labour is led by a socialist and people are saying, this is terrible.


I think it would be terrific if the Conservative Party could be led by a


conservative although that is a bigger demand. Is Jeremy Corbyn good


for British politics? He's very good for Ukip! Not the same. Former


Labour voters are coming to Ukip because of Jeremy Corbyn who shows a


lack of patriotism, as do most of his Shadow Cabinet and our new


leader Paul Nuttall is determined to get into the Labour heartlands and


look at the issues which affect working people which Jeremy Corbyn


is ignoring. Let's pause there because we will come back for a


discussion in a moment. It's been a bad year


for the much-derided On the night of November 8th,


as the seismic result of the US Presidential race came into focus,


New Yorker editor David Remnick, someone who, if such an elite does


exist could perhaps be regarded as its High Priest, wrote


an immediate hugely emotional response for the magazine: calling


Donald Trump's victory "an American tragedy" and "a sickening


event in the history It made Remnick a visceral


voice for many in liberal America and beyond,


and a symbol to many of Trump's supporters of that out-of-touch


smug liberal elite. Our editor, Ian Katz,


has been talking to him. Let's talk about that extraordinary


piece that you wrote It went around the world,


I think, within hours. You talked about it being a tragedy


for the American public, a tragedy for the constitution,


a sickening event in the history of the United States


and liberal democracy. I am sure some people saw me


as someone who didn't get it, who can't reconcile himself


to a new President, you should Or maybe that it was just


a little hyper-ventilating. Some people on the left


actually thought that it was I don't deny it, but also I don't


rescind it one iota. I would be delighted if the evidence


since election night told me, Sometimes Conservatives win


and the Liberals lose. It tumbled and then


the reverse happened. I know that it is at


a volume of alarm that I don't normally sound,


maybe I should sound it more often and God knows we have had historical


chapters that deserved it. But I've seen nothing


between November 8th and now, we are a goodly month later,


that makes me feel, ah! Don't get so hot and bothered,


we had Nixon, we had... well, take your pick of presidents


you don't approve of. It's not that, it's something


much more alarming. A friend of mine here at the office


said, it's like you have been tossed out of an aeroplane and you feel


the sense of alarm, fear, you feel that freezing wind


around you but you have And on the other hand, no parachute


has opened, no sense of, this is a normal event in the turn


between the back and forth between the liberal


and the Conservative There is not that sense,


at least not for me. But there is that impulse to make it


such, I see it all around me. You warned against that


in your piece didn't you? Has it been turned into another sort


of turn of the democratic wheel... It is a very human impulse,


always to normalise a situation so that you are not in a state


of constant alarm or fear I hope all of the bad things that


I have predicted, I really do, I hope they are completely


and utterly wrong. We have a President who seems


to think that the normal business of conflicts of interest do not


apply to him. His children are going to run


a gigantic business and yet also participate in the decision-making


of the White House. He has investments all over


the world that depend He doesn't seem to care


about this one iota. His temperament, which is a very


important thing in a President, is completely opposite


of the temperament you would He trafficks in hatred,


in petulance, in resentment, Here's the thing, I love my


country, I understand, completely and utterly,


that this is a divided country, ideologically


and in many other ways. I know that people of my political


ilk will not win every election, to not reconcile yourself


to that is to be a child. This is not Mitt Romney winning


in 2012 or John McCain in 2008... I want to say one other thing,


it is part of a larger current in the world that I find


equally troubling, It has justifiable beefs


with the results of globalisation, There all kinds of people


in the North of England, in the South and in the rust belt


of the United States and throughout Europe who are made uneasy by,


and who have suffered I just don't think that the results,


the political results, people in office that we're seeing


in many of these countries, is In that piece that you wrote


on the night of the election and you said, we're not heading


for fascism because this country wouldn't allow it,


but the conditions are there and you said that this


is maybe how this starts... I think a lot of countries have had


this circumstance, of believing it And it happens slowly, slowly,


and then all at once. Part of my alarmism ,if you want


to call it that, was to, in my own small way,


to be part of the sounding of an alarm, self-awareness


that we are not going I don't think anyone thinks that


a funny man is going to come out with the little moustache


and an armband. No, we have a reality television


billionaire, but who has adopted certain ideological and character


illogical things that are not for the better of this


country, in my view. And taken to its logical conclusion,


yeah, I think that a form of American authoritarianism


is at stake. I think it is an alarm


worth sounding. That is what resisting


it is all about, is to make sure that the alarm is not realised


as a reality. I think it is an absolute civic


and journalistic necessity. And you can read a longer


version of that interview We are joined by her journalists.


Suzanne, picking up on what David Remnick seems to be saying, it is


not the normal balance of whether it is Democrat or Republican even if it


is that there are neither side, there is a sense of not restoring


equilibria, this is different. What an astonishing interview. Chest


beating, wailing, gnashing of teeth, he does not hope he is wrong, he


hopes he is absolutely right! Here's hoping that President elect Trump


screws it all up. It is astonishing. Trump, I was no great fan of his,


but I have spoken to people who do know him, they say he is great at


problem solving, he has lots of positive features and they have done


psychological assessments and he came out very well and has children


seem well balanced, he was voted for by the people.


To try and condemn him before he has taken office and say he will be a


disaster, we need to wait and see. It is not as though the current


world order has done such a good job. Do you think there is this


liberal chest beating? I'm not sure I quite agree. I think a lot of


younger people are quite worried and are thinking, have we been here


before? I asked a lot of my older friends, this stability that we


enjoy at the moment, is that just a recent thing? Things have been


unstable in the past and what I am hearing is that people feel like it


is something new and it is not business or politics as usual and


there is a lot of fear and uncertainty. To second-guess the


motives of someone, I hope he is wrong. What stability do you have at


the moment? This is possibly one of the most troubled times I remember


and you talk about stability, we do not have stability. Give me an


example. Leaving the European Union. We need to secure our country. The


European Union... I think we should talk... Let's just talk about Trump


and David Remnick. He concedes Trump been elected, that there are serious


groups of unrepresented people with genuine grievances. He talked about


the British North and the American South, quite correctly. Where did


you hear David Remnick or people like him at all concerned about


those people before the emergence of Donald Trump for decades? This has


been waiting to happen and they paid no attention at all. Two and see


your point, we are looking for the parachute, the point is we can


revisit the campaign and we know Hillary Clinton did not pay enough


attention to the rust belt, it has just come upon them as if they did


not think it was coming. I think Peter has a point. It is not enough


to get that people are suffering and that there is discontent with


globalisation, we need to do something about it. Hillary Clinton


lost the election as well as Donald Trump winning it. The failure of the


consensus politics, in some ways Donald Trump as won the presidency


but the Republican party did not. They did everything they could to


try and stop him but they did when Congress. When do you think all this


started, we look back to 2008, Barack Obama is elected, I knew


Russian President, when did all this start, when did all this


development. When I was living in the US in the early 1990s, it was


under way on one of the major features is something that is now


mirrored in Europe in a strange way, which is the huge amount of


immigration, much of it illegal, coming across the Mexican border


which is something that Trump sort of addressed in a very belated and


not very intelligent way. That changed things hugely and the


American Republican movement, Conservative journalism, were riven


during that period about what to do about it and the Democrats did


absolutely nothing except say it was fine. It has more to do with jobs


going than immigrants coming. It is also to do with Nafta. Just on the


question of what the trajectory has been in terms of tolerance, from the


1960s onwards, this was always going to be, new laws, in America,


homosexuality was not illegal, we had birth control and lots of


different things happening here... And there was a tolerance, you feel


that tolerance again has been a blip and we are becoming intolerant


towards difference again. A little bit. I think a lot of this is


connected to social media and people getting their voices heard and


sometimes that is things that we want to hear, people


who did not have a voice, having a voice, sometimes it is people


spreading hate and it surprised me when I started seeing comments under


YouTube videos and seeing words I had not heard in public for years.


Really racist terms. It annoys me this characterisation of a response


to political correctness gone mad, I think what we are seeing is


traditional sexism and racism recalibrating itself. If you're


hearing and seeing that, what is given a licence? I think it is


cynical politicians from your party exploiting people and you rear is a


really good point about working-class people and the left


not being interested. I am from one of those towns that voted for Brexit


and I think it is interesting that nobody is interested in speaking to


us when we want to talk about housing or schools or jobs but


suddenly when people have got racist concerns, everyone wants to listen


and it is really important. Let's is an comeback on that. That is


precisely the problem. Can I speak? People like you have for years


actually said, we don't want to talk about these issues, we don't want to


talk about immigration and you have refused to let people talk about it.


Hang on... I presented a documentary on radio 12 years ago in which we


explored prejudices and I went to meet a woman who wore a hedge out


because that was one of my prejudices we all have ideas like


that -- macro hijab. Let me just make this simple point, for a very


long time, people who held perfectly reads -- reasonable views about


marriage to immigration, were characterised as having something


wrong with them and a phobia... Was a particularly left-wing tactic. If


you held... If you held a legitimate view about for instance, I mentioned


it simply, the level of immigration, there were people who felt no


compunction in smearing you as racist. This happened all the time


and there was an unwillingness to debate rationally. You cannot say


that and there is something wrong with you. This is recompense for


that. We have instantly gone on to social culture. We were talking a


moment ago about towns in the North of England and their economic


decline and the flight of jobs and now we are talking about social


issues. This is the right and the left failing to talk about exactly


those issues. Let's talk about the economic soffit and the rust belt.


Mexican immigrants have not... You either take a position for looking


ahead to 2017, this year has been a disaster and we need to fight back


or this has been a great year and had only consolidated. Let's go with


the former. It has been a disaster and should be a fightback. What do


you think will happen? What has to happen next year for you to feel


better? In 2016, lots of forces were released. Irrespective of what you


think about Brexit or Trump, positive or negative, forces have


been raised, theories have been unleashed, I do not know if Donald


Trump has a plan for what happens when people discovery he cannot do


all the things he said on the campaign trail. I don't know what


the plan is for Brexit when we don't perhaps get the deal that we


confidently said that we could. We are already dealing with


disappointment that there is and that money for the NHS. I agree that


expectations have been raised by largely irresponsible people who


came to prominence because proper responsible politicians refuse to


deal with that. Would this be Ukip? I have always regarded Ukip as a


marginal party and I don't think it ever had any serious possibility of


reaching power and that made it subject to the struggles are always


most vicious when this price is so small. Do you think it has been a


great year? So many people will be disappointed with the nature of how


Brexit will play out in the nature of how Donald Trump will be in the


White House. You're making huge conclusions, or that we will not get


a good deal. I absolutely see that we hold all the Cards in this


country, we have the biggest trade deficit with the European Union,


they need us far more than we need them and there is every opportunity


to get a good deal and to go back to my picture right at the beginning,


just if we can reinvigorate our fishing industry by getting control,


that would be wonderful. We can talk about it in relation to your


photograph and how the EU... What needs to happen for next year? I am


pretty pessimistic. I think there is a lot of provocation going on and it


is very interesting, can we not just have a debate about immigration,


turning into Polish centres being vandalised and rising hate crimes. A


lot of people from marginalised backgrounds are worried. It will not


affect you. Nobody is going to come up to you in the straight and abuse


you. People abuse me because I am Ukip all the time! That is a


political persuasion. No one is going to attack you based on the


colour of your skin and who you are. This is an academic debate. People


will be organising and I think that we will see some interesting


activists. Very quickly, one big thing about 2016 was Andy Murray


been declared number one, one good thing from 2016. I love that moment.


I campaign of any good things apart from the opportunity to gloat at the


discomfiture of my foes. Madonna as a clown. What is going on? The


Olympics. This has also been a year


in which we lost some towering figures and our cultural landscape


became a little less technicolour. For whatsoever from


one place doth fall. Is with the tide unto


an other brought. Hello. Quite a lot of variety across


the UK this


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