13/02/2017 Newsnight


13/02/2017

Have the baby-boomers eaten all the pie? Plus the Stoke by-election and satire and Donald Trump.


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Transcript


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Will the generations go to war for a pension, a house, a job?

:00:07.:00:10.

Is young versus old the prize fight of the century?

:00:11.:00:26.

Your generation - is it the one that has never had it so good?

:00:27.:00:30.

Or the one that has worked its socks off to get Britain

:00:31.:00:33.

Tonight, have the older generation taken more than their share,

:00:34.:00:37.

and should the young feel aggrieved?

:00:38.:00:40.

With our guests in the studio, we'll work out how far your age

:00:41.:00:43.

It is nice living in Stoke, it's just poor, really.

:00:44.:01:02.

Ten days to the Stoke Central by-election -

:01:03.:01:03.

we don't hear from the candidates - we talk to the voters.

:01:04.:01:11.

It was tradition, they used to say if you put a monkey up for Labour

:01:12.:01:17.

people would vote for it. They have lost the common touch.

:01:18.:01:19.

President Obama said America would accept 1200 refugees. No, prepare to

:01:20.:01:36.

go to war. Is satire now the effective

:01:37.:01:40.

opposition to President Trump? We'll ask erstwhile

:01:41.:01:43.

American Ruby Wax. Have the baby boomers robbed

:01:44.:01:48.

the millennials of their future? Probably not, but research out this

:01:49.:01:53.

morning DID suggest something extraordinary is happening in terms

:01:54.:01:56.

of intergenerational incomes. The Resolution Foundation says that

:01:57.:01:59.

typical pensioner incomes - after housing costs -

:02:00.:02:03.

are now higher than those I can't overstate how unusual

:02:04.:02:05.

that is - in the old days we tended But a lot has happened

:02:06.:02:11.

in the last few decades. For one, the old have

:02:12.:02:16.

carried on working. A fifth of pensioner households

:02:17.:02:19.

have a wage earner in them. And of course they are enjoying

:02:20.:02:23.

the fruits of the heyday of the old final salary pension

:02:24.:02:26.

schemes - Add the way the housing market has

:02:27.:02:29.

worked in their favour... And politicians dumping the burden

:02:30.:02:35.

of austerity on the young... And for all the difficult decisions

:02:36.:02:43.

we've made over the past five years, we have said all along that

:02:44.:02:46.

dignity for older people And over the next five years,

:02:47.:02:48.

that should be the case again. And you can see why those

:02:49.:02:54.

starting out feel the cards So does it make sense

:02:55.:02:57.

to look at our economy through intergenerational eyes,

:02:58.:03:00.

given that society can be divided A lot of pensioners aren't well off,

:03:01.:03:03.

and don't understand why The income figures for the elderly

:03:04.:03:09.

are flattered by more recent, And anyway, there are plenty

:03:10.:03:14.

of well off youngsters. Many of them by the way, given

:03:15.:03:19.

a helping hand by their parents. So maybe the issue is inequalities

:03:20.:03:22.

within the generations that matter. Or is it a north south divide,

:03:23.:03:25.

driving house prices? Lots to think about,

:03:26.:03:28.

so let's start with some intergenerational facts

:03:29.:03:30.

from our policy editor Chris Cook. The road to a steady family life

:03:31.:03:35.

is longer than it used to be. Even for people who start off well,

:03:36.:03:39.

say by getting a degree. In 2016 the average person starting

:03:40.:03:44.

to repay a student loan in England Even in fee-free

:03:45.:03:47.

Scotland it was ?10,500. Now a large minority of young people

:03:48.:03:57.

have to service such debts. But wages for young workers

:03:58.:04:01.

overall dropped by around Wages have done a bit better

:04:02.:04:05.

for slightly older workers but the 60 pluses have done best

:04:06.:04:12.

of all, seeing real The median first-time buyer

:04:13.:04:14.

now is 30 years old. In 2017 first-time buyers borrowed

:04:15.:04:24.

3.5 times their annual earnings. And it's all money,

:04:25.:04:33.

of course that largely goes to existing homeowners,

:04:34.:04:43.

which is to say, older people. Some of this money heading up

:04:44.:04:47.

to older people will of course Of those born in the 1970s, 75% have

:04:48.:04:49.

received or expect to receive The equivalent number

:04:50.:04:57.

is just 40% for those But that effect means the wealth

:04:58.:05:03.

of younger generations will depend more on who their parents are then

:05:04.:05:09.

was the case for older generations. A study has also found that a 10%

:05:10.:05:15.

increase on house prices feeds through to a 2-4% drop

:05:16.:05:18.

in the likelihood of having a baby, And that effect persists so it's

:05:19.:05:22.

likely to mean young people who cannot get on the housing ladder

:05:23.:05:27.

end up with smaller families. Older people are also much more

:05:28.:05:32.

likely than younger people to be members of so-called defined

:05:33.:05:35.

benefits pension schemes. These are pensions where in effect,

:05:36.:05:39.

your employer guarantees a certain And young people are hit by that

:05:40.:05:42.

in two important ways. First of all, they just don't have

:05:43.:05:48.

that level of security. Their pensions ride

:05:49.:05:51.

on the stock market. And secondly, they manage

:05:52.:05:54.

to find their own wages, while they are employed,

:05:55.:05:57.

suppressed by their employers who have to bail out

:05:58.:06:00.

their old employees' pension funds. There are big inequalities

:06:01.:06:04.

within age bands. Poor young people and pensioners

:06:05.:06:08.

mustn't be forgotten. But there are big problems for young

:06:09.:06:11.

people's ability to navigate the path into adulthood,

:06:12.:06:14.

and through it. We're now joined by Laura Gardiner

:06:15.:06:23.

from the Resolution Foundation whose report prompted today's talk

:06:24.:06:26.

on this, Dame Esther Rantzen the founder of The Silver Line -

:06:27.:06:28.

a helpline for older people, Shiv Malik, author of the book

:06:29.:06:32.

Jilted Generation - referring to his generation

:06:33.:06:34.

as jilted, and Sean O'Grady Do the young complain too much? They

:06:35.:06:54.

do. Like the title of the book Jilted Generation there is nothing

:06:55.:06:57.

jilted about this generation, no sense in which we in my generation

:06:58.:07:04.

have eaten our lunch, we made their dodge ball them. There was an idea

:07:05.:07:06.

abroad that everything was easy in the old days, it was a kind of

:07:07.:07:13.

nirvana of economics but it was not. The 1970s and 1980s where an Origi

:07:14.:07:20.

of high inflation, mega high interest rates, negative equity when

:07:21.:07:26.

we had housing crashes. Rising unemployment, public services

:07:27.:07:29.

continually under strain. The economy went bust in 1976. These

:07:30.:07:35.

were terrible years and we lived through them, we built the country

:07:36.:07:40.

we have now today. By seeing that through, by reducing union power,

:07:41.:07:44.

reforming the economy and making all the changes that made all the

:07:45.:07:49.

wonderful things, wonderful new building here at the BBC, all these

:07:50.:07:55.

things possible. The only good thing about the 1970s was television was

:07:56.:08:00.

better. That is the truth of the matter. You get this idea everything

:08:01.:08:06.

was wonderful in my day and terrible today and that is not right. Would

:08:07.:08:11.

you rather have been born 15 years earlier than you were born, do you

:08:12.:08:18.

think in material terms... Yes, that is the existential problem facing

:08:19.:08:23.

the country. Also America and many other developing nations. That could

:08:24.:08:28.

explain why politics seems to be in turmoil as well. When the boomer

:08:29.:08:32.

generation cannot replicate what every other generation has done,

:08:33.:08:37.

make the next generation which, this is truly the legacy. And you think I

:08:38.:08:43.

wish I was born earlier, I would have been any more and had a better

:08:44.:08:47.

standard of living, more able to have a house and family, be able to

:08:48.:09:01.

own my own home. Would he have been worse off born 20 years before or

:09:02.:09:05.

about the same or a little better off but it feels worse off because

:09:06.:09:10.

he's not as much better than he wants to be? In terms of income, the

:09:11.:09:15.

best measure of current living standards, after housing costs we

:09:16.:09:21.

look to bat and every generation since 1881, and we only begin then

:09:22.:09:25.

because it is the first week of measure, has done better than the

:09:26.:09:29.

last at each stage of their lives. So it went a goal now should be

:09:30.:09:33.

better off? That is what we have come to expect in the 20th century

:09:34.:09:39.

and before but so far, and not all of them have got the way through yet

:09:40.:09:45.

but the millennial 's, born between 1981 and 2000 have failed to achieve

:09:46.:09:49.

those living standard improvements of the generation before. So this

:09:50.:09:53.

looks like a threat to the very core that has underpinned the social

:09:54.:09:58.

contract that generations improve on the previous one. So it is not that

:09:59.:10:02.

expectations have been richer than his parents, but he's a little bit

:10:03.:10:07.

behind where they wear? Slightly above, slightly below but compared

:10:08.:10:13.

to the generation just before, largely the same, those large

:10:14.:10:19.

improvements and disappear. Because the recession and pay squeezes but

:10:20.:10:23.

other trends as well. And with that start in life we should be worried

:10:24.:10:31.

about future of the millennial. Is your heartbreaking for the younger

:10:32.:10:36.

people? There is some self-pity going on which is interesting. I'm

:10:37.:10:40.

sorry your youth was so miserable and you feel you have lost out to be

:10:41.:10:45.

rich fat cats of the older generation. I was talking to a

:10:46.:10:50.

family, the mother, all her savings had gone to pay for her care and

:10:51.:10:56.

that of her husband, so her husband was left unburied for seven weeks

:10:57.:10:59.

because she could not afford his funeral. So you're right that some

:11:00.:11:05.

people are better off than others. There is still a great deal of

:11:06.:11:10.

poverty in old age but I am 76 years old, as I believe you are announcing

:11:11.:11:17.

to your viewers! That is OK I'm not ashamed. Let me just say that wealth

:11:18.:11:20.

and happiness are not the same thing. I worry about the millennial

:11:21.:11:26.

generation and younger, I worry about all kinds of dangers facing

:11:27.:11:30.

them. I worry about my own future because I do not want to be a burden

:11:31.:11:35.

on my children. So I have to have enough in my savings to pay for my

:11:36.:11:40.

own care, that is my big worry. But in the meantime stop being so

:11:41.:11:45.

envious of previous generations and little old people like us. Get on

:11:46.:11:51.

with it, enjoy your life. You have health and strength, you look fit. I

:11:52.:11:55.

always hate this condescension which I always receive from Esther. Every

:11:56.:12:01.

time we have this conversation. It is simple, people in my generation

:12:02.:12:07.

need simple things, housing, the ability to have an raise a family.

:12:08.:12:13.

And they need to be able to get on in life and know their future will

:12:14.:12:16.

be better. If that doesn't happen for our generation it will mean the

:12:17.:12:19.

entire country eventually will go bust. Better in which way? A bigger

:12:20.:12:30.

television? This is really serious. It is an existential threat to the

:12:31.:12:36.

country. It is very simple. It is the ability to own a home or be able

:12:37.:12:41.

to read in a place where you can raise a family. Anyone under 35

:12:42.:12:46.

knows what I'm talking about. It is definitely harder for this

:12:47.:12:52.

generation? There's no sense of perspective in this. If you record

:12:53.:12:59.

start in 1881, that is yesterday basically in human existence. For

:13:00.:13:02.

most of human life your parents or grandparents, they had the same

:13:03.:13:08.

standard of living. This is a relatively recent thing. There is no

:13:09.:13:13.

God-given right to have a higher or same standard of living for the

:13:14.:13:18.

fifth generation as for the previous one. The second thing, it is all

:13:19.:13:25.

about money with you young folk. It is OK for the people to say that

:13:26.:13:30.

having taken all the money! Let's look health, today and I am a

:13:31.:13:36.

beneficiary, there are treatments and drugs and machines and things

:13:37.:13:40.

like stem cell research that will mean that a child born today will

:13:41.:13:46.

never have any of the diseases that are so commonplace and hit people so

:13:47.:13:50.

hard today. They will not have so many strokes or cancers, all the

:13:51.:13:55.

other things that can go wrong. Not something that shows up in income

:13:56.:14:01.

numbers or house prices but it is a real boon. There is something in

:14:02.:14:07.

that. And you have a Spotify, smartphones, Facebook, lots of

:14:08.:14:13.

things. This kind of living standard versus the weekly income?

:14:14.:14:21.

The health care benefits are a benefit in itself and a measure of

:14:22.:14:29.

progress but it highlights longer retirements in which people need to

:14:30.:14:33.

raise more assets and wealth to live through them securely. You are right

:14:34.:14:40.

to highlight, it isn't just about incomes. The big ticket items, a

:14:41.:14:47.

pension and a house that you own to provide security in retirement, the

:14:48.:14:51.

reason we've highlighted a lot of the current pensioners in today's

:14:52.:14:56.

statistics is not pensioner bashing, it is not generational war, it is

:14:57.:15:00.

because our concern that this welcome performance in current

:15:01.:15:04.

pensioner living standards is going to be a one generation blip with

:15:05.:15:07.

those generations behind without those assets are unable to secure

:15:08.:15:12.

those living standards. It is a blip because the pensions you were

:15:13.:15:16.

promised, which you didn't give your parents, which you are now getting,

:15:17.:15:19.

have been much more expensive than anyone anticipated because life

:15:20.:15:26.

expectancy shot up for your generation. What are we doing with

:15:27.:15:30.

our money? Most of the people I know are helping to finance people of

:15:31.:15:35.

their children's generation and grandchildren. We are aware of that,

:15:36.:15:40.

we don't want to have money lying idle in the bank if we can improve

:15:41.:15:44.

the quality of life and give you the house you dream about. This is such

:15:45.:15:50.

rubbish. If you run a candidate based on that kind of thinking, you

:15:51.:15:55.

end up with a patronage society when families that are wealthy and those

:15:56.:15:59.

who are not wealthy don't get ahead. There is no collective investment. I

:16:00.:16:05.

would put it differently, it is welcome that parents and

:16:06.:16:08.

grandparents are supporting their children and that is a big trend,

:16:09.:16:12.

half of first-time buyers are getting help from family. The

:16:13.:16:18.

concern is that inheritance was mentioned in the package, if we rely

:16:19.:16:23.

on greater levels of inheritance to fund asset building for the younger

:16:24.:16:29.

generations, we know that younger people with higher lifetime incomes

:16:30.:16:32.

tend to get those inheritances, we are staring down the barrel of

:16:33.:16:37.

greater inequality in the future. Inequality, I think your report

:16:38.:16:40.

said, among his generation is worse than it is amongst the old

:16:41.:16:44.

generation, so you are cascading down inequality. When you argue

:16:45.:16:49.

about whether we should be focusing on intergenerational differences,

:16:50.:16:55.

class, the North and south, the things you mentioned, it's right to

:16:56.:16:58.

focus on those things but one important to focus on these new

:16:59.:17:03.

generational divides, which are very clear, there's a good chance that

:17:04.:17:07.

they will fuel divisions between rich and poor, different social

:17:08.:17:11.

classes in the future. The issues are connected and they are

:17:12.:17:16.

important. When you were looking at these statistics, is it not right

:17:17.:17:19.

that for the older generation, especially the frail and very old,

:17:20.:17:24.

everything is more expensive? It's more difficult for them to get

:17:25.:17:29.

around, difficult to get the right nutrition, everything becomes

:17:30.:17:32.

expensive and difficult. Just getting the basics of a comfortable

:17:33.:17:37.

bed, being able to get out of bed, being looked after properly. We

:17:38.:17:41.

don't want people to live in cold houses and dying in them because

:17:42.:17:48.

they can't afford to put the hate -- the heating on. The very old ones

:17:49.:17:52.

are not among the rich are pensioners, it is the younger ones.

:17:53.:17:56.

Pension income does not reflect individual experiences, on average

:17:57.:18:02.

we have which, younger of pensioners coming in. You are right to

:18:03.:18:06.

highlight the very old pensioners, the Silent generation and our report

:18:07.:18:10.

looks in detail at the increased costs a face and why the statistics

:18:11.:18:15.

may overstate their living standards. We've got into that

:18:16.:18:18.

detail and not everybody in the pension group is the same. The

:18:19.:18:23.

averages cover a lot of sins. Thank you very much.

:18:24.:18:24.

On Thursday week, the voters of Stoke Central will go

:18:25.:18:27.

to the polls to vote for an MP to replace Tristram Hunt.

:18:28.:18:30.

Since 1950, when the seat was created, it's been Labour.

:18:31.:18:33.

But such are convulsions of politics at the moment,

:18:34.:18:35.

that no-one is at all sure that Labour will win it this time.

:18:36.:18:38.

The reason is that Stoke-on-Trent was firmly for Brexit;

:18:39.:18:41.

so in the great schism of our age, the city seems more sure

:18:42.:18:45.

of which side it is on than the Labour Party is.

:18:46.:18:49.

Because of that, a lot of attention is being devoted to this by-election

:18:50.:18:53.

as telling us something about whether Labour can

:18:54.:18:55.

hold on to blue collar votes outside of London.

:18:56.:18:57.

Now, with a by-election pending, you'd expect a programme like this

:18:58.:19:00.

to send someone to Stoke to interview the candidates,

:19:01.:19:03.

follow them canvassing and probably poke a bit of fun at the theatre

:19:04.:19:06.

But we decided to do something different -

:19:07.:19:09.

we sent Katie Razzall to go and talk to the people of Stoke Central.

:19:10.:19:18.

I worked in the Pots most of my life.

:19:19.:19:20.

Stoke-on-Trent, it's a little backwater.

:19:21.:19:26.

No one in this country's interested in Stoke-on-Trent.

:19:27.:19:33.

People are very angry and I think people just want change.

:19:34.:19:45.

Eight months ago Stoke-on-Trent sent tremors through the political

:19:46.:19:50.

establishment when almost 70% of voters here opted

:19:51.:19:52.

It was a signifier of the fault lines opening up in Britain.

:19:53.:19:58.

At the Oakcake shop near Stoke's vast Bentilee estate,

:19:59.:20:08.

people queue to buy what was once the staple food of the Potteries.

:20:09.:20:12.

The recipe for oatcakes hasn't changed much

:20:13.:20:14.

The same can't be said for the place.

:20:15.:20:19.

My mum and my dad never ever were out of work

:20:20.:20:22.

We weren't rich, but we weren't like we are today.

:20:23.:20:34.

My childhood is and will always be better from what his

:20:35.:20:37.

Families like Kirsty's have lived around Stoke's Bentilee

:20:38.:20:43.

Once they expected to walk into a job.

:20:44.:20:49.

In the mines, the steelworks, or the pottery industry

:20:50.:20:51.

Her aunt Marie remembers those times.

:20:52.:20:56.

I worked in the Pots most of my life.

:20:57.:20:59.

You came home at night you were absolutely shattered.

:21:00.:21:02.

But you just had a family, they were really,

:21:03.:21:04.

And everybody, just everybody helped everybody.

:21:05.:21:11.

They shut all these pot places down and there was no help.

:21:12.:21:17.

Just as if they just disappeared off the face of the earth.

:21:18.:21:20.

There's a hell of a lot of people depressed.

:21:21.:21:26.

Hell of a lot of people struggling moneywise.

:21:27.:21:28.

And it isn't as if they go on holiday or they've got a fancy

:21:29.:21:32.

car, they don't have cars, they don't go on holiday.

:21:33.:21:36.

There's people who work and they're slogging and they've got nothing.

:21:37.:21:40.

And it's sort of one week to the next, hand to mouth.

:21:41.:21:43.

The overwhelming Out vote was a wake-up call.

:21:44.:21:50.

Now all eyes are on Stoke once again.

:21:51.:21:54.

The Labour MP for Stoke-on-Trent Central,

:21:55.:21:55.

The by-election he's triggered is being seen as a test

:21:56.:22:01.

of whether voters in this Labour heartland are as loyal

:22:02.:22:03.

Would everyone on this estate have voted Labour in the past?

:22:04.:22:08.

They were just the working man, weren't they?

:22:09.:22:15.

It's what your mum and dad did, so you did it.

:22:16.:22:19.

They used to be saying, if you put a monkey up for Labour,

:22:20.:22:27.

Certainty comes in other forms, wherever you travel in Stoke.

:22:28.:22:38.

These days you're more likely to meet an Out

:22:39.:22:40.

And many of them will tell you how much more vibrant

:22:41.:22:44.

It changed because all the shops have gone, left empty, falling down.

:22:45.:22:52.

There used to be 20 pubs along this high street, 20 pubs.

:22:53.:22:55.

Chris Humphries runs the pensioner events

:22:56.:23:01.

at her local community centre, and voted Out.

:23:02.:23:03.

I thought that was probably going to be the best thing

:23:04.:23:07.

because we probably could make the elitist government

:23:08.:23:12.

start thinking about the whole of the population.

:23:13.:23:16.

Do you feel that there is an elite and they don't listen?

:23:17.:23:21.

Many here told me they do still support Labour.

:23:22.:23:28.

But turning round the party's electoral fortunes

:23:29.:23:29.

In the Stoke Central constituency, Labour lost 27% of its vote share

:23:30.:23:36.

I always voted Labour but then I got thinking about lots of things.

:23:37.:23:43.

Labour are fighting amongst themselves, aren't they?

:23:44.:23:48.

And there doesn't seem to be leadership there.

:23:49.:23:52.

And Ukip seem to, I don't know, they seem to know

:23:53.:23:55.

They're so prosperous down in London, I think they think

:23:56.:24:01.

we are a load of idiots or something like that.

:24:02.:24:05.

Do you think that the people you're talking about in the south,

:24:06.:24:08.

do you think we'd listen if you voted in a Ukip

:24:09.:24:11.

I don't think so, I don't think they want to know anything

:24:12.:24:15.

Ukip sent in the big guns to persuade voters that

:24:16.:24:19.

It'll take a seismic shift though, to oust Labour

:24:20.:24:31.

But if it's going to happen anywhere, it'll happen in a place

:24:32.:24:35.

Plenty of people I've spoken to say they've had Ukip knock on their door

:24:36.:24:44.

The party is clearly sensing an opportunity

:24:45.:24:46.

to make a real breakthrough into Labour's heartland.

:24:47.:24:49.

If they do, it will be down in part to a feeling from many that for too

:24:50.:24:53.

long the Labour Party took their vote for granted.

:24:54.:24:55.

I've lived here now for about 25 years and nobody has

:24:56.:25:00.

ever knocked on my door during election time, ever.

:25:01.:25:03.

Conservatives aren't going to come, are they?

:25:04.:25:10.

I'm not saying they've never knocked on a door,

:25:11.:25:15.

Labour may still be able to count on Marie, but allegiances

:25:16.:25:32.

in politics aren't as solid as they once were.

:25:33.:25:35.

Here people take pride in Premier League Stoke City's success story.

:25:36.:25:39.

This is one of the few things that puts us on the map.

:25:40.:25:43.

You know, my father was in the mines, you know,

:25:44.:25:48.

I think it would be a kick in the teeth

:25:49.:25:57.

Because this city, you virtually guarantee, there's three

:25:58.:26:02.

In a place where the bedrock of support for leaving the EU came

:26:03.:26:10.

from traditional working-class Labour voters, perhaps

:26:11.:26:13.

the referendum illustrates just how much we've shifted as a nation.

:26:14.:26:16.

I'm a Conservative, and you won't get too

:26:17.:26:18.

But I wonder how many, you know, we've got the by-election coming up

:26:19.:26:23.

and it'll be very interesting for me to see who gets in.

:26:24.:26:28.

Because I think it's over 60 years since we had a non-Labour MP.

:26:29.:26:31.

People used to really associate strongly with political parties.

:26:32.:26:34.

But do you think that has changed in Britain?

:26:35.:26:39.

I think most definitely, it's did you vote In or did you vote Out now.

:26:40.:26:42.

And the lines are so blurred between the political parties that

:26:43.:26:45.

you can sometimes excuse people for not knowing who

:26:46.:26:47.

Those people that aren't from Stoke who are just seeing

:26:48.:26:54.

we voted 70% to leave, think that we're probably

:26:55.:26:57.

Stoke can seem a city of the left behind.

:26:58.:27:12.

But there is actually much more to be positive

:27:13.:27:15.

Knocking down the old for better homes.

:27:16.:27:20.

What's left of the pottery industry is thriving.

:27:21.:27:24.

And though wages are low and jobs still insecure, unemployment has

:27:25.:27:27.

Watch it doesn't touch the walls because it's a bit damp and muddy.

:27:28.:27:36.

After seven years on the dole, Alex Petula now has a paid job

:27:37.:27:39.

with Bentilee Volunteers, a charity on the estate.

:27:40.:27:42.

I'm glad the pits have closed because I wouldn't have wanted

:27:43.:27:45.

I much prefer walking in a warm warehouse you know with proper

:27:46.:27:49.

training and health and safety and all that.

:27:50.:27:51.

Because the stories my dad told me, there was no health and safety,

:27:52.:27:56.

you know, there was nothing safe about working in the pits.

:27:57.:27:58.

As a Remainer, Alex is a rarity in Stoke.

:27:59.:28:02.

He told me he might now consider voting Liberal Democrat and has no

:28:03.:28:08.

truck with those he believes wrongly blame others for their problems.

:28:09.:28:11.

The first thing most people say is, you know, you can't get any jobs

:28:12.:28:14.

But, you know, the Polish were willing to come and do

:28:15.:28:19.

You know, "I worked 40 years, blah blah."

:28:20.:28:26.

Well, you know, that's life, that's what happens, isn't it?

:28:27.:28:28.

People's fears about immigration helped make Ukip

:28:29.:28:32.

But the by-election isn't just a huge test of Labour support.

:28:33.:28:38.

Winning is also vital for Ukip, who've pledged to replace Labour

:28:39.:28:41.

If they win, they'll have started a transition from a Brexit party

:28:42.:28:47.

If they lose, they'll be written off as irrelevant in this

:28:48.:28:51.

For the people of Stoke, though, life isn't as binary.

:28:52.:29:01.

Whoever the winner, the difference to this place will only come

:29:02.:29:04.

if prospects improve and lives take a turn for the better.

:29:05.:29:12.

Well, even though you didn't hear from the candidates in that piece,

:29:13.:29:17.

And it's available on the BBC website.

:29:18.:29:28.

Stoke is not the only by-election next week -

:29:29.:29:30.

Copeland in Cumbria also goes to the polls.

:29:31.:29:32.

Let's talk about what to expect with our political editor, Nick Watt.

:29:33.:29:39.

Well by by-election in Stoke is a test for Labour and Ukip. If Labour

:29:40.:29:46.

cannot hold on to this seat then Jeremy Corbyn has big problems,

:29:47.:29:54.

number one reaching out to Brexit voters and number two reaching out

:29:55.:29:57.

to working class voters. But the Ukip if it cannot win in the seat

:29:58.:30:02.

which finished a strong second at the general election then that will

:30:03.:30:06.

raise wider questions about Paul Nuttall and his attempts to reach

:30:07.:30:10.

out to working class voters in the Midlands and the North. No great

:30:11.:30:14.

surprise that both parties are talking up their chances. They were

:30:15.:30:19.

saying it did not sound great in Stoke Central about three weeks ago

:30:20.:30:23.

but now looking up. Ukip buoyed by that poll in the Times today saying

:30:24.:30:27.

Labour is the third most popular party amongst working-class voters.

:30:28.:30:31.

What about the Tories? Of course they're taking Stoke Central

:30:32.:30:37.

seriously, they finished 33 votes behind Ukip in the general election

:30:38.:30:42.

but the focus is not so much on winning the by-election but raising

:30:43.:30:45.

their profile across Stoke because the three seats are due to go down

:30:46.:30:48.

to two seats after the boundary review and they hope they can win

:30:49.:30:54.

those two seats in 2020. Their hopes Aaron Copland and Theresa May will

:30:55.:30:59.

visit that West Cumbrian seat later this week and if the Tories were to

:31:00.:31:03.

win that would be the first time a governing party since 1982 would

:31:04.:31:07.

have taken a seat from the main opposition party as a by-election.

:31:08.:31:14.

And Labour is sounding a lot less confident in Copland than in Stoke

:31:15.:31:18.

Central. Jeremy Corbyn less enthusiastic support for the nuclear

:31:19.:31:24.

industry not great in the home of the Sellafield nuclear reprocessing

:31:25.:31:25.

plant. I don't know how many

:31:26.:31:28.

times in the last year, I have heard people gaze

:31:29.:31:31.

upon Donald Trump with perplexity or disbelief and say

:31:32.:31:33.

words to the effect, Well, they are obviously wrong,

:31:34.:31:35.

because satire in the era of President Trump has

:31:36.:31:38.

never been as strong. Dear Mr President, welcome

:31:39.:31:46.

to this introduction video It's going to be

:31:47.:31:48.

absolutely fantastic. Are you sure Russia

:31:49.:31:53.

was behind hacking? We've got all the best words,

:31:54.:31:54.

all the other languages failed. I figured out a smart diplomatic way

:31:55.:32:09.

to get them to pay for this wall. Guy who's going to pay

:32:10.:32:26.

for the wall says what? An entire ocean

:32:27.:32:31.

between us and Mexico. Nobody builds oceans

:32:32.:32:36.

better than we do. Well, one contention is that satire

:32:37.:32:42.

has become the most effective form of opposition to Donald Trump,

:32:43.:32:45.

what with the Democrats Let's talk to the comedian

:32:46.:32:47.

Ruby Wax and the columnist, wit and baiter of liberals,

:32:48.:32:54.

Rod Liddle, who also happens to be Spectator's Associate Editor and who

:32:55.:32:56.

joins us from Middlesborough. And also, Scott Dikkers is in

:32:57.:33:00.

Chicago - he was the founder-editor of satirical online magazine,

:33:01.:33:03.

The Onion. Good evening. Scott, what is the

:33:04.:33:15.

satire trying to achieve, just trying to make people laugh or is

:33:16.:33:20.

there a political edge and purpose to it? Before I answer that I want

:33:21.:33:24.

to make sure you know I'm just going to make up a bunch of stuff in this

:33:25.:33:30.

interview and called it a fact. Everything that you say I'm going to

:33:31.:33:33.

call that fake news, just to set the ground rules. So satire is supposed

:33:34.:33:43.

to be funny. The main thing is it has got to get people laughing. It

:33:44.:33:48.

does not necessarily have any serious intent unless you get the

:33:49.:33:56.

subtext. Maybe a lot of people is -- and not just getting the subtext of

:33:57.:34:00.

do not think it is funny. But those who get it, do. Is it better though

:34:01.:34:04.

if it upsets Donald Trump, do you want it upsets Donald Trump, do you

:34:05.:34:07.

wanted to upset him, some people say he is getting upset and riled by it.

:34:08.:34:13.

In a way that is the because you're not able to communicate any actual

:34:14.:34:20.

facts to him. Or any reason -based analysis that somehow is going to

:34:21.:34:24.

cut through the clutter. If you can annoy him then at least you have got

:34:25.:34:27.

his attention and maybe that is the best you could do. In some ways the

:34:28.:34:34.

satire is focusing all the rage in America, all the protests and

:34:35.:34:37.

everything else which he does not see, he thinks that those people

:34:38.:34:42.

literally are cheering for him. So if the satire can channel but anger

:34:43.:34:46.

and directed him like a laser pen maybe that is worth something. --

:34:47.:34:54.

and directed to him like a laser. If we're talking in the context of

:34:55.:34:59.

Donald Trump, he is the satire. We are in a new situation. Let me just

:35:00.:35:04.

say, we can talk about satire but we are wasting their time, the elephant

:35:05.:35:10.

in the room with the roadkill on its head is the fact that the guy is a

:35:11.:35:15.

narcissist. This is the first time we had someone pathologically not

:35:16.:35:20.

right, and I'm not being funny. He has a mental disturbance. I

:35:21.:35:26.

interviewed him 15 years ago in an aeroplane, his claim and he said he

:35:27.:35:29.

would be president and I laughed in his face. He said I want her out of

:35:30.:35:36.

here, land the plane and we landed in Arkansas. What is there to satire

:35:37.:35:42.

when the guy is... Due not like the satire? I like it but to be comedy

:35:43.:35:50.

should also reflect who we are. The is not think we are so witty, we

:35:51.:35:54.

forgot about Nebraska and Arkansas, something is wrong in the world when

:35:55.:35:59.

they do not launch Saturday Night Live so we're going nowhere. So the

:36:00.:36:04.

smug get smug. I love satire because at least it unites the world. But

:36:05.:36:08.

you think it was playing to the same people. Exactly add my opinion is

:36:09.:36:15.

Donald Trump is getting off on those things, the narcissist loves

:36:16.:36:18.

attention, whether it is for infamy or do they adore him, all the same

:36:19.:36:23.

to him. He's getting all the luck he ever wanted. I think I heard you say

:36:24.:36:32.

yes when Ruby said the people of Nebraska are watching. I could name

:36:33.:36:41.

all the counties in America as opposed to all the love these in

:36:42.:36:46.

America. I had not heard any satire yet, I heard an explosion of peak

:36:47.:36:52.

from the well off, the middle-class, the students, the actors and

:36:53.:36:55.

actresses. I have not heard any satire. There is a problem, the

:36:56.:37:01.

satirists have two problems, satire is always better when it comes from

:37:02.:37:06.

underneath, when it is against the establishment. Even the Donald Trump

:37:07.:37:11.

is now president and we voted for Brexit, we still have an

:37:12.:37:15.

establishment which loathes Donald Trump and Brexit, the media, the

:37:16.:37:20.

judges and so on. It is always more potent when it comes from

:37:21.:37:24.

underneath. But the second problem is with satire, it has to be nasty.

:37:25.:37:30.

It has to be bad. And I'm afraid the people who most loathed Donald Trump

:37:31.:37:35.

will not go down that route because they are constrained by their own

:37:36.:37:39.

ideology. That they cannot be too nasty. You could not get from them

:37:40.:37:44.

the sort of stuff which Jonathan Swift came up with in a modest

:37:45.:37:49.

proposal because it is beyond the realm of their intellect to be as

:37:50.:37:54.

offensive as that. They would not do it. With 15 years, eight years of

:37:55.:38:05.

jump, 15 years of the post-liberal revolution and then maybe the

:38:06.:38:08.

satirists will get it again. What you think of what you just heard,

:38:09.:38:19.

Scott? I respectfully disagree. I feel a lot of the satire so far has

:38:20.:38:25.

been very biting and not all that comes from the establishment. I know

:38:26.:38:31.

people who write, many of them used to work for me and these are not

:38:32.:38:36.

rich establishment people, they are poor down and out people who have

:38:37.:38:40.

every reason to bring down authorities. That is what makes the

:38:41.:38:46.

best satire, when you bring down authority and the establishment. And

:38:47.:38:49.

they're going after him hard, they're being mean and certainly a

:38:50.:38:55.

lot of it, if you watch late talk shows, that stuff is all kind of

:38:56.:39:00.

cute and they will bring Donald Trump on the show. I think it needs

:39:01.:39:04.

to be something that makes them angry and not that he laughs along

:39:05.:39:11.

with. The point seems to be that the left are the ones trying to satirise

:39:12.:39:16.

more and they're the ones... There are no other kinds of satirists. I

:39:17.:39:22.

agree, it comes from an anger and as long as Alec Baldwin keeps it up

:39:23.:39:30.

unhappy. They are at the top of the game. But still it has nothing to

:39:31.:39:34.

do, you know, it has nothing to do with what is going on now, Saturday

:39:35.:39:40.

Night Live. What is going on now is far more dangerous than the time of

:39:41.:39:43.

spitting image. Let him get nasty, it does not matter, the people who

:39:44.:39:47.

voted for him are not listening and so we are in trouble. I do not know

:39:48.:39:54.

what we can do. You consider yourself to be a satirist, you write

:39:55.:40:00.

witty and biting pieces, and you attempt to offend the people you

:40:01.:40:06.

politically oppose. Are we over complicating the discussion,

:40:07.:40:09.

basically some people like to mockery other side and always will

:40:10.:40:14.

do. It is what they will always do and always do. I'm not sure I would

:40:15.:40:19.

dignify myself in any way as a satirist but if Alec Baldwin is a

:40:20.:40:24.

satirist then yes! I must be near the top of the tree if he is there.

:40:25.:40:31.

The problem is, the problem you have is I heard much the same things

:40:32.:40:35.

being said about Ronald Reagan in 1980 from the shrieking left. I was

:40:36.:40:40.

one of the people at the time were shrieking. And I had much the same

:40:41.:40:44.

kind of stuff talked about George W Bush and his ignorance and

:40:45.:40:51.

unfamiliarity with foreign affairs. Not perhaps knowing where the

:40:52.:40:55.

Netherlands is. Exactly the same stuff about him and it made no

:40:56.:41:00.

difference. We do not make any difference in the short-term but we

:41:01.:41:05.

drip in over the long-term as part of a kind of reappraisal of where we

:41:06.:41:12.

are. But the idea is that satire might suddenly stop Donald Trump

:41:13.:41:15.

building this wall and that is absurd. What makes good starter for

:41:16.:41:22.

you? Ruby? That is not my style, I like when we held up the mirror to

:41:23.:41:29.

ourselves and say these are my foibles and everyone goes, that is

:41:30.:41:33.

me too. Just avoid the finger and he needs the finger. But to meet comedy

:41:34.:41:39.

is about that. It has to have something real in it and resonate?

:41:40.:41:45.

And you can mock Donald Trump by picking things that are real about

:41:46.:41:51.

him. I did the show with him, that was enough satire. Let him hang

:41:52.:41:55.

himself. But he is getting pleasure out of those Twitter messages. Thank

:41:56.:41:57.

you very much. A milder prospect for everyone for

:41:58.:42:21.

the rest of the week. Quite chilly start to the day despite

:42:22.:42:23.

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