With Emily Maitlis. Includes an interview with Geert Wilders. Plus the global populist movement, German car-makers and Brexit, and a probe into abuse in Iraq is dropped.
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Tonight, a Newsnight exclusive with the man who could send
Some people say that you are a bit of a fascist.
Geert Wilders leads the polls in The Netherlands -
Could a win for Wilders embolden populists throughout Europe?
We ask our guests if Liberal Democracy is in permanent decline.
After five years and over ?30 million, the government calls
Not a single prosecution of military personnel was secured,
They told us it was all going to be fine...
Do you seriously suppose that they are going to be so insane as to
allow tariffs to be imposed between Britain and Germany?
So are German car manufacturers as relaxed about Brexit as he was?
Populist parties are growing in strength across Europe,
There's Marine le Pen and the National Front
But there's a critical election before that -
Geert Wilders, who leads the anti-Muslim Freedom Party
He wants to take them out of the EU, and to "de-Islamise the Netherlands"
with a ban on immigration from Muslim countries.
In 2016 he was convicted of inciting discrimination.
The Dutch coalition system means it's unlikely Wilders will be
But he could end up leading the largest party which would chill
European centrists and boost other populist movements
We sent our bear in a duffle coat, John Sweeney, in pursuit.
This is the election campaign video of the Far Right
Unsurprisingly, they believe in freedom,
On Brexit, they say the British did it and the Americans did it too.
Here is the party's leader and sole member, Geert Wilders.
Borrowed perhaps from Dad's Army, suggests that by the end
of the century there will be 4 billion Africans and many will
Wilders links refugees, especially Muslim ones,
"Go and vote" he concludes, "and make the Netherlands ours again".
Wilders is a hard man to track down, but if you go down to the Dutch
parliament, you might be in for a big surprise.
The great man is going to come down those stairs, through here,
into the chamber and that is our one chance to have an natter with him.
into the chamber and that is our one chance to have a natter with him.
Are you going to do to Holland what Mr Trump is doing to America?
I am not Mr Trump, I am my own man, in my own party, in my own country.
But indeed, there is what I call a patriotic spring going on.
We saw the beginning of it with Brexit, that even though
the political elite was making sure the people were afraid to vote
in favour of leaving the European Union, the people
We saw in the United States that despite all the rhetoric
of the elite, Mr Trump won the election.
I hope I can repeat the same thing, because once again the people
It's not only America first, it's also Holland first, and that's
Some people say you are a bit of a fascist though?
Some of them, but it is totally untrue.
Wilders' hostility to Islam has led to death threats, so he is guarded
But his message strikes a chord here.
Around one in five Dutch voters are expected to plump
for the Freedom Party on March the 15th.
In The Hague, I hit the pedals to find out why.
The Valentine's Day tat was out, but love was in short supply.
Geert Wilders, you going to vote for him?
Because I am fed up with all this mumbo jumbo talking
They say, look what we have done, what we have done.
There's a lot of people who have another mind to get out.
When I was young, Holland was the most open and tolerant society.
Because we are a small country and there's an explosion
of people, too many children, too many people...
They have to help them, but it's full, we are fall.
They have to help them, but it's full, we are full.
He is looking what the people are angry about and is saying
Because he is saying things like all people have
He is saying something, but he's not going to do it
because the only thing he's doing is talking bad about
the Muslims and then give them the blame for everything.
But most people don't trust other politics,
so they want to trust him to see what he's going to do.
Wilders must have liked my robust approach, because I get a phone call
Geert Wilders, when did you last go for a walk on your own?
Well, that's something like 12, 13 years ago.
All on my own, drive a car, go and do some shopping,
empty my own mailbox at home, being at my own home is more than 12
I am on a death list from Al-Qaeda, the Taliban, many of that
What's the biggest cause by terror of a loss of Dutch lives
Well, we were lucky to not have the kind of attacks
for instance Germany, Belgium, France and even
the United Kingdom with the London attacks had.
They are entirely innocent in a civilian airliner,
shot down and the prime suspects is Putin's Russia?
I am sure it has to be cleared, I would not bet Russia had
nothing to do with that, but still let's wait
I could be right, the Russians say it's the Ukrainians.
Either way, 193 people died, they're Dutch and it has got nothing
So why aren't you concerned about that as well because there
are other dangers in the world out there, North Korea,
Putin's Russia and there is Islamists extremists,
Islamist fascists, so aren't you a bit obsessed with just one
element of the spectrum here, which is the Muslim spectrum,
while ignoring perhaps, Russian fascists?
The more that we import Islam, I'm not talking about all the people,
I'm not saying once again that all the people are extremist
people, but the ideology and freedom are incompatible.
So we are facing an existential problem here.
If we allow to open our borders, if we allowe to ignore the problems
that we are facing today, let alone later in the century
with the demographic situation in Africa,
Our values, our identity will not be taken away
by the European Union, only but by the Islamistation
So Trump has pushed America first, you have the Netherlands first,
America first, Germany first, Russia first, don't
I think that is a fear some politicians put into our heads,
but they forget telling us that we made a kind of other
totalitarian organisation dominance, which is called the European Union.
You speak your mind in China and in Russia,
you may end up dead, not in Brussels...
I am not saying it is totalitarian to all the citizens
of the European Union, but is totalitarian
You believe in the politics of identity, don't you?
I suppose the people who believe in liberal democracy,
the idea that everybody is equal under the law, it is a different way
People are equal, ideologies, values are not equal.
What I told you before, the cultural relativist,
people who believe all cultures are equal are the proof
of the biggest disease Europe faced in the last decade.
Cultural relativists who say the Islamic culture
is the same as Christianity, and allow them and don't demand from
This is the worst thing that has happened to us.
Many Dutch find his views not just repellents, but dangerous.
So will Geert Wilders take power on March the 15th?
Probably not, as the mainstream parties will do their
But there's no doubting this man is changing what was once the most
liberal country in Europe into something quite different.
So is the talk of populist revolution in Europe overblown?
Or are we mad to ignore the warning signals?
At the moment Geert Wilders is leading the opinion polls
in the Netherlands with 19% of the vote, three points ahead
And in France, Le Pen is also expected to be ahead in the first
round of the Presidential election, on 26%.
So do these parties really have a chance of winning power?
And critically, what is their presence doing
Joining me now, Times Columnist David Aronovitch, Sara Hobolt,
professor of European politics at LSE and Yascha Mount,
Very nice to have you here. I want to put this in context, we have
played around with some of the numbers from the polls, but how
close to power do you believe Geert Wilders is right now? It depends on
what you mean by power? He is close to being the largest party in the
Netherlands, but that does not mean he will win a majority, but it does
mean he will be a power to be reckoned with when it comes to
coalition formation. He cannot be Prime Minister, as it were, on his
own? No party in the Netherlands will win a majority, there will have
to be a coalition. It might be he is the first person to be asked form
back coalition. The other parties have said we do not want to go into
government with you. It doesn't roll out there could be another
centre-right minority government where he is the main supporting
party. We have seen that before between 2010 and 2012 in the
Netherlands where his party was providing the Parliamentary support
and gaining concessions like that. David, you said nothing to worry
about? My concern is a different one. And that is we have managed to
paint what has happened and what is happening in Europe, Britain and to
some extent in America as well, as the revolt of the majority. We talk
about it as if what you have is akin to a revolutionary situation with
the masses coming down the street... Because we call it populism. But
when you look at the continuing demographics of the people who are
supporting these parties, they tend to be declining demographics. They
are older, they tend to have jobs in industries that are declining and so
on. That is the first point. That doesn't mean you should not worry
about it, but you should worry about it for the reasons I suspect my
colleagues will say you should worry about it, and that is the influence
they can have on other parties. I cannot rule out the possibility that
Marine Le Pen will win, but they are pretty much blocked out at about
25%. In some places we get very uptight about that, like in Germany.
We are talking about a party that never gets above 12% in the polls.
That will give them representation, but it will give them any more
representation than the left party had in the last election, and we
never even noticed it. They might be influencing of the mainstream
parties, but be in themselves are not a threat, do you buy that? We
see that reflected in European politics. I worry about them being
able to win majorities. Everybody said Brexit would that happen, but
it did. Everybody said Donald Trump could not be elected, but he did. In
countries like Sweden and Germany, five or ten years ago we had no
populist parties strong in the system. Now the third biggest party
in the polls. You see they do represent the majority of the
population on many questions. For example, most Europeans in every
country that was polled a couple of days ago, believed we should have no
further immigration from the Muslim majority countries whatsoever. Are
we crazy to miss those signals? I understand what he's saying, but
there is a danger in saying we got it badly wrong over Brexit, we were
bruised over Brexit, bruised over Donald Trump. In order not to get
bruised again, we will talk up these other parties. One of the problems I
have is, we had a good interview with Geert Wilders. Yesterday the
today programme we had an interview with Marine Le Pen. I bet some of
the British population cannot name any other politician in France apart
from Francois Hollande and especially in Holland. The Prime
Minister's party might lead Geert Wilders in the party. This party of
Geert Wilders was at this place in the polls in 2013. Do you think the
polls do relate to the coverage these politicians are getting?
I do not believe that Brexit is protected by Eddie one, this was a
close race. Everybody knew that it was close, it is not to say that
nobody knew this was in the balance but in terms of getting coverage,
what we are seeing after the financial crisis is there has always
been populist parties on the right but there has been a step change in
just how popular they are and we're not talking about pluralities but no
party will win an outright majority and been influential, in terms of
setting the agenda and the agenda has shifted in European politics
towards anti-immigration and Euro scepticism but also inside. Our
liberal democracies in Europe actually in permanent decline? There
was a time when that question seemed unthinkable and it not seem long
ago. Do you think so? For a long time people believed that once
relatively wealthy, you have had changes of government, democracy is
safe, the only game in town. I looked at this question. What does
it mean for democracy to be the only game in town? It means most citizens
give great importance to living in democracy, and they don't foot for
people who criticise democracy in a deep way. What that survey shows
that that is not true, in Western Europe and North America. The number
of people who say, democracy, take it or leave it, has gone up very
rapidly... And these are young people. How does that tight end but
the idea that people are in decline who vote for these radical parties?
And from what to watch? One of the key sets of social attitudes in this
country is measurable by, would you mind if your child married somebody
of another race? For years and years you would see a majority in this
country would say no to that. And a majority now say they are not
bothered and it is not because old people change their minds, it is
because younger people never lost that attitude. Does this go back to
the question asked Wilders, that nationalism has become so much in
the body because for years people lived with the idea of a sovereign
nation state and we then start talking in these bodies? That,
again, is a generational question. In a lot of countries. And by and
large again, younger people do tend to see themselves as more
interdependent. Hardly surprising. I think that younger people are much
more polarised so more young people are very used to multiethnic
democracies and interacting with people from different origins but
also young people who fervently reject that so if you look at France
from Marine Le Pen's party and the support for Deutschland, among young
people they are strong and this is a matter of a long-term transition but
many European democracies where divided as monocultural countries
and they have had become multiethnic because of immigration and so on. A
big proportion of the population has made their peace with that and
celebrates that but there is also a big proportion of the population
that says no, what it means to be Dutch as you are descended from
Dutch people and everything else does not quite so the big question
the next 30 years is whether we can get people to broaden their sense of
identity and there is no historical precedent that this can be done.
Does it feel like this is still a protest voice or is there something
able to transform the landscape of Europe? It is clear that the party
system in Europe is under some kind of transformation and that has been
going on for some time because we have seen this loosening of ties
between established left-wing parties and right-wing parties that
had support and we have a much more volatile electoral landscape where
people pick and choose and it is also there for about parties like
those of Wilders can shape the discourse and narrative and appeal
to a broader range of people because they do not have his close ties any
more to the Labour movement or a Christian Democratic movement. Thank
you all for coming in. "If Britain leaves
the European Union then will make Angela Merkel give us
a good deal". That claim was made time
and time again during last The Leave campaign was very
confident that Europe's most powerful political leader
would listen to her most important So are the likes of BMW and Porsche
pushing the German Chancellor Naga Munchetty has been
to Leipzig to find out. The Germans wouldn't want to put up
trade barriers because that would mean that German car workers
would be out of a job. Do you seriously suppose
that they are going to be so insane as to allow tariffs to be imposed
between Britain and Germany? Germany needs us, we
are their biggest market. But now, here in Germany,
the feeling is very different. The automotive sector is concerned
about Theresa May's approach in Brexit negotiations
and their financial impact. Priority number one is keep
the internal market Most of the cars we export,
we export to the European Union, the 27 countries, to Italy
and France, to many parts And the second priority
is our exports to Britain. A hard Brexit but definitely not be
a good solution for both sides. Why is this relationship
so important? The German auto industry has
a lot invested in the UK. It runs 100 production sites,
employing around 9000 people. More than half of all
new cars we sell are built We bought 30 billion euros' worth
of their vehicles last year. That is nearly a fifth
of Germany's automobile exports. There are concerns that the length
of time Theresa May needs to negotiate us out of the EU has
been underestimated Two years for the complex
negotiations of more than 100 parts You could do it in two years
if you take, for example, Stay in the internal market,
stay in the Customs Union, Which the Prime Minister
has rejected. Therefore, as long as these existing
models are rejected, And when it comes to what is most
in Germany's interests, this long-time ally of Angela Merkel
sings from the same hymn sheet Everyone who has a production site
at the very moment in Britain is concerned about the developments
which say that you If the doors to Europe would be
in one or another way partly closed, then production
in Britain would suffer. But while this remains
Theresa May's stance, uncertainty is still
the buzzword among business. Something the auto industry
is getting used to. All of Porsche's car plants,
like this one in Leipzig, However, the UK is its biggest
export market in Europe. So companies like this cannot afford
to ignore Brexit and are mindful Because time creates uncertainty
and uncertainty can affect business. If time is too long until
the negotiations are completed, It is something that many industry
bosses are preoccupied with. It will be a little bit more
difficult seeing exactly what changes will affect the market,
what changes will affect the exchange of persons,
the exchange of goods. But the relationship itself
will be as good as before. However, we have been told
that the bond can be broken. There are alternative manufacturing
hubs vying for a service Eastern Europe is proving
competitive, in places like Hungary, It is not given that
any of our countries, Germany not, Britain not,
will produce in five or ten years as many cars
at home as it does today. And the political precondition,
the trade precondition, is so important and one should
always reflect that if one What consequence does my
decision have on production Theresa May says the UK
economy is a priority. But a UK outside the EU single
market and Customs Union could, it seems, face the very real
prospect of moving down the pecking order when it comes to Germany's
favoured trading partners. Six years ago the Ministry
of Defence set up the Iraq Historic Allegations Team to investigate
allegations of human rights abuse It had a staff of 145 and looked
at well over 3,000 cases. A week ago the lawyer
who represented many of the claimants, Phil
Shiner, was struck off for misconduct and today
the Defence Select Committee published a damning report saying
the inquiry had become "a seemingly unstoppable self-perpetuating
machine, deaf to the concerns of the armed forces,
blind to their needs and profligate Within a couple of hours the MoD
confirmed they were all Colonel Bob Stewart
is a Conservative MP and member Thank you for joining us. You ever
in favour of this investigation? Back from the start, we heard people
like myself, the heard serious complaints about the way they were
being harassed by the Iraq Historic Allegations Team. They sent lawyers
on the ground, they were hassled at home and MPs like myself and now
Johnny Mercer, who did a superb job on the subcommittee, has taken this
up and we have a result. Has this ever been attempted? I think the MoD
made a mistake in the way it was set up. And the Ministry of Defence have
put this right, except, can I say, for those poor devils who harassed
for many years and months. How can we compensate for the anguish they
went through? What should happen? A huge apology to them. And possibly
we should consider some form of compensation. The trouble with this
is there will be many who say that if there are allegations, these
questions, they must be investigated independently? Absolutely. Whenever
we get involved in a firefight with normal fatalities, either in
Northern Ireland or Iraq or Afghanistan, there is an
investigation and if there is something wrong, if there was
investigating, normally military, if they feel there is something wrong,
they are no friends to soldiers who they think have done wrong. Don't
you find that Lord? The military is still investigating itself? The
police have an independent body to investigate allegations. Why is
everything in-house with the military? These people are separated
and there is something else... The people who investigate understand
the circumstances better than civilian policemen, perhaps. His
military investigators and I repeat, if there is something wrong, they
will reveal it. When you have these cases and we know there is a law
firm who still have 80 Afghan citizens who allege abuse and
illegal detainment, what should happen? The Ihat has been closed
down and investigations have been given to the Royal Navy military
personnel to police and check the site. I am not saying that all
soldiers are innocent and we must investigate, I am saying there has
been a lot of harassment of innocent soldiers and that has got to stop.
It has been hugely stuck by the fact that Mr Shiner's company has been
closed. In Northern Ireland with something similar going on. They
have become mixed, judicial as well. Are they right to carry on? This is
clearly what dates to happen in Northern Ireland. What is happening
in Northern Ireland is 10% of the fatality killings involved the
security services. 90% of the investigation is put onto those 10%
and 90% of the killings involved terrorists and only 10% of the
effort is being put into the investigation. That is wrong.
Absolutely wrong. A lot of MPs, including myself, are up in arms. It
will not follow the Way of this one? I hope so because at the moment, the
armed Forces are pretty annoyed, it has to follow. If necessary, we will
have to bring politics into this. We have brought politics into Northern
Ireland before and politics, by that, we have allowed on the run
terrorists to have a passport out of their crimes. And I think, please do
not believe that the Armed Forces need some sort of Amnesty, they have
done nothing wrong. They want to make sure that people who have been
involved in fatalities shootings in Northern Ireland, and I have had
some of my men in that situation, those people who have had an
investigation sometimes they have gone into court and it happened with
two of my men in 78, they have proven they are innocent. Don't
bring this back again. Thank you. Before we go, in these extraordinary
times it somehow seems appropriate and portentous that last night more
than 400 pilot whales washed up on a New Zealand beach
called Farewell Spit. It's the largest mass beaching
in New Zealand for over 30 years. Many of the whales died but hundreds
of volunteers are there attempting Some of them have now successfully
been returned to the water. Just off to bed wondering what is in
store for the weekend? You could be waking up this seems like this
potentially in the morning if you live to the east of
In-depth investigation and analysis of the stories behind the day's headlines with Emily Maitlis, including an interview with Geert Wilders.
Plus the global populist movement, German car-makers and Brexit, and a probe into abuse in Iraq is dropped.