27/03/2017 Newsnight


The former head of the Diplomatic Service discusses Brexit. Plus the woman who pretended she was black, anti-Putin protests in Russia, and how will farmers cope with Brexit?

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Tonight on Newsnight - the former head of the Diplomatic


It's certain we won't have resolved everything in the period before


in the period before the expiry of the Article 50 process.


48 hours from now Article 50 will be triggered.


Two years after that, we'll be out of the EU picture.


I've been told that, on the contrary, Theresa May said


to Nicola Sturgeon that the whole Brexit negotiation would be done


Peter was most read fully frightened. He rushed all over the


garden looking for the Brexit. He ran straight into a messy tangle of


red tape. Will British farmers thrive


or die without Brussels As a fell farmer I can't


survive without subsidy. Are you African-American? I don't


understand the question. turned out to be white -


we have the UK television Racism is a lie, so how can you like


about a lie? Two days before Article 50


is finally triggered, Newsnight has been given


an exclusive insight into how the negotiations


with the EU will be conducted, by the former head of the Diplomatic


Service. Sir Simon Fraser -


who had key posts in both the European Commission


and the Foreign Office has told this programme that EU member countires


have so far been discplined and prevented from making


any meaningful pre He also confirmed it would NOT be


possible to agree all of the issues during the two year negotiation


period, and he foresaw the distinc possibility of political


and economic turbulence. We'll hear his interview with our


Diplomatic Editor Mark Urban in full in a moment -


but first to our political editor What are you hearing tonight? SNP


sources said that Theresa May told Nicola Sturgeon that the UK


Government is confident they can do an overall deal within 18 months. So


it means the future trading relationship. Number Ten doesn't


believe the future trading relationship can be done and dusted


them, it will need what it described as an implementation phase. But it


shows that the UK is accepting the timetable by the EU, which is a


Greek it by the autumn of 2018 so it can be fully ratified. But the EU


chief negotiator is saying, if you want to have that trade deal done at


the same time, even in that sort of a transitional outline, you have got


to get over two big hurdles, a greedy exit payment and secondly


agreed the status of EU nationals. What a word is there on those EU


payments? David Davis on question Time said the UK will not pay


anything like the 60 billion euros that is mentioned in Brussels, but


he did say, that the UK will meet its international obligations. That


is a big thing the EU has been saying, it means the UK will be


obliged to abide by its EU budget commitments that have been agreed by


all member states and the Twenty20, which means a third of the budget.


But David Davis also cited a recent House of Lords report and it said if


the UK leaves the EU without a deal, it will not, by law have to pay a


penny. He regards that as a great car to have in his back pocket.


Thank you very much. Our diplomatic editor


Mark Urban has been speaking to Sir Simon Fraser who until 2015


was the Foreign Office's He began by asking how successful


European leaders have been in holding the EU's 27 member states


to the same negotiating position. I think there has been a lot of


discipline. It came out of the commission first of all.


I don't think there has been a lot of informal


behind-the-scenes discussion of


That will happen once we formally triggered


How likely is it will get towards the end of that 18 month


period that the EU has set for reaching the initial


agreement with things resolved on some key issues?


I think personally it's certain we won't have resolved everything


in the period before the expiry of the Article 50 process.


As we know, the EU side want to start with negotiating


That's about money, it's about the rights of people living


It's probably also about the Borders, for example, in Ireland.


And the British side, on top of that, wants to move


rapidly to discuss the future relationship with both political


and economic between Britain and the EU and that is a very


There's no way, in my view, we are going to complete


all that in two years, which is why we are going to have


to think about transitional mechanisms, or what the British side


calls progressive implementation of new arrangements.


You've mentioned unity, so will the UK, do you think in that


period, be trying talk to the Poles or the Czechs, or whoever in order


to maybe offer them money for infrastructural things that make


deals with them on a bilateral basis, or try to change their


Can that work, or will the unity of the 27 remain


I think they will try to maintain that unity,


The British will of course talk to the different


member states in the EU and try to understand their position


and work on those positions and try to find ways of reaching


agreement and possibly, you know, catering for the interests


That's normal, but in the end, the UK has got to negotiate


with the EU as a whole through the EU's appointed


negotiator which will be essentially led by the commission.


And I think it will be a mistake to try and divide and rule


because I don't think that will work.


What are the chances of the UK ending up coming towards the end


of the Article 50 period without agreement in many areas,


as you've predicted and there being economic turbulence,


political turbulence, a very difficult end to this process?


What I don't think is possible to do in that time is go


through the whole negotiation for the future relationship.


So there is a risk, nevertheless, that this breaks down or we get


to an unsatisfactory outcome and there is political ill


will and turbulence, both political and economic.


I think it's in the interests of both sides to try to avoid that


and if we have unfinished business, to find agreement on a mechanism,


a smooth mechanism for moving forward through transition,


so that the unfinished stuff can continue to be negotiated thereafter


so the economic relations and political relationship can continue.


Two years ago a black human rights activist, Rachel Dolezal,


was outed as a white woman, born to white parents


A huge scandal erupted - why had this woman been trying to pass


She was pilloried by white and black communities simultaneously,


accused of cultural appropriation by some and of delusional


She maintains she never meant to hurt anyone,


she genuinely felt culturally and socially black and changed her


looks in subtle ways until others assumed she was.


In her long awaited book, In Full Colour, she rejects


the concept of race, calling it a political construct and says


We'll hear the exclusive broadcast interview she gave to me


This is Rachel Dolezal as a child, pale hair, fair skin, born to deeply


religious, authoritarian parents in rural Montana.


In her book, she describes a miserable childhood,


Once, she explains, she was even forced to eat her own cold vomit.


When she was an adolescent, her parents began adopting black babies,


four in all, which she looked after and adored.


As soon as she could, she headed to college in the deep


South, lived in a mixed community and began


to think of herself as black, modifying her


She worked for civil rights, gaining prestigious posts in


She had stopped trying to explain her race,


Then, one day, as local head of the NAACP, America's largest


giving an interview on their work when she was asked a question out of


Her life was then to change beyond recognition.


Treated as a pariah, vilified by both black and


white communities, she found herself fired from her job, unable to find


work, raising her children as a single parent on the bread line.


She felt black and to have said differently would have been to lie


A confused woman, product of a terrible infancy,


perhaps, literally desperate to escape her own skin?


Or the start of a bigger conversation about whether


people really can self define their own race?


I caught up with her in her home in Spokane, Washington state.


In terms of your own story, you write, "As soon as I was able to


make my exodus from the white world in which I was raised, I made a


headlong dash towards the black one", so it was a choice for you to


leave that white world and head to the black world?


Yeah, I definitely did not feel at home in


It felt foreign to me, and it felt uncomfortable


And it also felt oppressive, because I had to constantly mask and


subordinate and repress parts of myself in order to just, kind of,


You describe a pretty horrific childhood, one of


punishment and negligence and very little love?


Oftentimes, when I was being punished, I was left wondering what


I had really done to deserve that punishment because I felt like I had


just been being myself, you know, I had just been creative or


spontaneous or just dancing for doing something that I hadn't


spontaneous or just dancing or doing something that I hadn't


potentially been doing something wrong or evil or terrible.


It was just that I had stepped out of line.


I hadn't, you know, done what a girl should do.


And somehow, been immodest or sensual


And I had to be punished for that because I was


being raised to believe that the only goal for me in life


was to get married and bear children and be a


And as soon as you were able, you looked for a


college, that headlong dash towards the black world?


Was it then that your appearance started to change?


Did you become more aware of wanting to become more black physically?


Well, when I was in college, I was constantly comes you know,


Well, when I was in college, I was constantly, you know,


kind of trying to explain and defend who I was because a lot of people


saw me as either mixed or albino or white skinned black.


Whether or not I had braids, like, regardless of my


hairstyle, because I was in a black student union


and social justice which was not typical for white southerners to do.


So I was kind of glaringly not fitting the mould


And if somebody saw me and assumed I was black or mixed or


white skinned, it was more comfortable because it was a box


When you started ticking the box that said


black eventually, did you feel uncomfortable,


No, I mean, it didn't feel like a lie,


A true representation of who I am and what I stand for, because


even though race is a social construct, and in America, there is


a very clear colour line, there is a clear divide


and you have to take a side, I mean, I stand on the black


side of issues, philosophically, politically, socially, and for me to


not check the box, I felt like would be some sort of a betrayal.


Of not only of who I am but the community I


A lot of people might say, "I sympathise with


everything the black movement stand for.


In that case, people would be agreeing with


The idea of race is a lie so how can you lie about a lie?


The criticism that claim was that you were trying


to culturally appropriate a black experience that you could not have


had because you never lived through it.


What is your response to that criticism?


I understand that, given what was presented, I understand how


people can come up with those conclusions.


But I do feel like just because I didn't have a lived


experience, being seen by other people as a black girl, a black


young woman, for years of my life, I was seen as a white woman, as a


white girl, that doesn't mean that I didn't have any experiences.


I couldn't self define as Chinese just


because I had a passion for Chinese culture.


Well, I think to some extent, that's right because we


don't have a choice in how we are born and who we are.


And so, to embrace and fully open who we really


are, I think is something that we encourage


from children's movies, to the most inspirational books,


I think that we tell everybody, "Be who you are, be proud


be proud of who you are", and this is truly who I am.


But do you think you had a choice? Did you have a choice to be black?


I was born as who I am and that includes how I feel and also what I


And so I don't think I have a choice in that.


You have drawn parallels with the transgender


community, that you should be able to self define racially, in the way


that many trans people self define agenda.


that many trans people self define their gender.


Many other people have drawn those parallels, too.


I kind of have seen it as somewhat useful, just because


gender is understood, we have progressed, we have evolved


into understanding that gender is not


So you believe in the concept of transracial?


Well, I believe that the word transracial has become


socially useful in describing racial fluidity in identity.


Do you think, though, that the world will come


Or do you think you will always be viewed


as the pariah, the white woman who wanted to be black?


I don't think that is for me to hope for or predict.


I really don't know where we are headed.


Describe for us now what life is like, day-to-day?


You can't get a job. You don't have money.


Was that all as a result of this? Yeah, definitely.


It was as a result of me being discredited,


basically, called a liar and a fraud and a con and people


not trusting my work, not


just my identity but everything that I did, including my resume


Where was the worst criticism for you?


I would say that the biggest attack was from, of course,


the parents and the white media and the white police, the white


establishment at large really dealt the biggest blow, but the criticism


that hurt the worst was from the black community


because I still feel like that is home, for me.


And even if I had been evicted, pushed to the fringe,


some people don't see me as part of that group, it is still


where I feel like I fit and where I feel at home.


So that hurts, it is painful because I feel like there is


misunderstanding that I want to resolve.


If I could resolve one group's misunderstanding, it would


Rachel Dolezal, thank you. Thank you.


With me in the studio is Guilaine Kinouani


who is an equality consultant and writer, and Boyce Watkins,


You listen to that interview, what did you make of her? Firstly, just


to say it is the first time I have seen this interview, so lots of


emotions, feelings and questions. But perhaps the first thing to


establish is that what is called trans-racialism by Rachel Dunn zeal


encompasses three different groups, black women, trans women, and people


who find themselves at the intersection of the two, so I am


going to speak to it mainly as a black woman. There are various


problems with Rachel Dolezal's position. Comparing transgender


rhythm with transracial is -- transgender with transracial is a


fallacy, a force equivalency, which in my mind, does not advance our


understanding of race, of transgender issues, nor of black


womanhood. Stepping back for one moment from the transgender


relationship that she made with her own position, can you sympathise or


empathise with a woman who says she feels she has more in common, she


feels she is closer to being black than white? I can absolutely


empathise with her experience, particularly when it seems apparent


that she comes from a background of abuse and neglect and perhaps she


has come to associate whiteness with what might have happened in her


past, so I can empathise with that. However, where I remain sceptical is


in her inability to recognise and a knowledge her privilege as a white


woman being able to occupy or inhabit the lived experience of


black women. But even though, as you have just said, she did not have a


life of privilege, she was, you know, as she describes, abused,


punished and brought up in an authoritarian place, ostracised from


a white community, for wanting to be black as much as from a black


community who discovered she was white so why do you attach the idea


of privilege to her background? I attach the idea of privilege to have


a background for one main reason. The main reason is that she has


white skin. So while it is physical for her to don a little tan and


where some braids and pass as black, the reality is that for the


overwhelming majority of black people, we cannot occupy the lived


experience of white people. So the question to me I guess would be,


would a dark skinned Pakistani woman wearing a hijab claiming whiteness,


would that be a choice that society would accept? And I think a lot of


people share that perspective but when you say pass as, obviously you


describe it as if it is something she is trying to sort of pull the


wool over people's eyes. What she said in the interview and to me was


that she does not really believe in the idea of race. She thinks it is a


political construct... It is. Race was always set up to be a hierarchy


of power. Perhaps if you look at it from that perspective, then she is


right, isn't she? Who is to say that race has to be binary? I think this


is an interesting question and my position on this is that talking


about racism and talking about white supremacy, we need to look at what


has been done and reproduced over centuries. So we are talking about


white woman who seems to be quite oblivious to the fact that black


women's experience and bodies and creation has been appropriated, has


been... Even though she worked in black actors, even though she made


it her lives and works? Absolutely because there is a hierarchy of


blackness, so for example, her claiming blackness would shift


people's understanding, firstly of what it means to be black and


because of the privilege that she has been a white woman, what we


would have is that she would have the power of defining what blackness


is. We are coming to the end but let me ask you, she has been made a


pariah, ostracised, unable to get a job. Do you think she has become


something of a target? There are many people that you good a more


anger at than a woman who, as you say, and quite a traumatic childhood


and found herself, perhaps, on the wrong side of a confused argument.


Does she really deserved to be treated in quite such a, sort of,


vilified terms as she is today? I'm not sure whether I would agree with


the premise that she has been vilified. Certainly, she has been


called to account. What I would say is that she has also had a book


deal, so therefore, she has got some material gain from her experience.


From that perspective, I'm not sure whether it is fair to say she is a


pariah. She is someone who has had a book deal and has made a loss of


money out of her experience. Thank you for joining us.


The Russian government has rejected calls by the European Union


and the United States to release hundreds of people who have been


detained following Sunday's anti-government protests.


The nationwide demonstrations were the biggest show of defiance


since anti-government protests five years ago.


The man who represents Russia's most vocal opposition to Putin's


government is Alexei Navalny, and today he was jailed for 15 days


for resisting police orders, a punishment that will come


as little surprise to a man who has endured a year of house arrests


Joining me now, Edward Lucas, author of The New Cold War: Putin's Russia


Thank you for joining us. How important do these protests,


firstly, look to you? Is this a significant moment, a turning point?


I think they are commendable. I think Alexei Navalny and his young


supporters, many of whom have known no other Russian leader than


Vladimir Putin, deserve whatever support we can give them but I have


to say, I don't think at the moment they have the momentum that would be


needed to split the regime or topple it. Because of him? Does he seem to


you the right revolutionary figure, if such a one exists? I've met in a


couple of times and he's a very oppressive and forceful character. I


think he is not a great unifier although he has a strong fan base


but there are other people in the Russian opposition, particularly the


liberal wing, who worry that he is too nationalist. They also worry


that maybe he has got some connections somewhere with the


regime that he has been tolerated, to some extent, allowed to get away


with things where other people have been closed down and yet now he is


being closed down and he himself is imprisoned. I think there's a chance


that this escalate and ripples across Russia and turns into


something really big but we saw this movie five years ago with much


bigger protests in Moscow and the regime could squash those, and I


think they probably can do the same this time around. But he's been very


clever at redirecting this away from Putin personally and making it all


about corruption, bringing out the stamps on the notes and stuff, to


really sell a message that can have traction with the masses? Yes, and I


think that corruption is the regime's Achilles heel. If you go on


about democracy and human rights and freedom and so on, many Russians


look back to the 1990s and think, "We tied it at -- tried it and it


did not work", where is this gross corruption which involves hundreds


of thousands of acres of ground gunner ski slopes and duck ponds and


things, that really grates... It is always the duck pond that tips the


balance. Yes, steer clear of the docks, rulers but it is a good point


and by going for Medvedev, who is pretty unpopular, it is a good


tactical move and it is not impossible that Mr Putin would throw


his hapless Prime Minister overboard sometime this year. Said he is no


use any more, is that the sense you get? Medvedev was quite useful for


Putin of years ago when he wanted to step down as president briefly and


Medvedev, his sidekick, kept his seat in the Kremlin warm but he does


not really like Mr Medvedev and I think he would not feel any


compunction in serving him overboard and possibly saying he was shocked


to find there had been corruption going on and that would blunt the


edge of public anger, if these protests continue, or it may just


fizzle out. You can see the West squirming at these reactions now,


the protests, how far to get involved, what they can say, do they


show support? The West does not really have any power at all here,


does it? I think the West is one of the guilty parties here and this is


one of the things Alexei Navalny said to him when I asked if he was


Andy West, and he said of course because it is in the west that the


regime launders the money it has stolen from the Russian people. I


think the Scottish paper today has a splash on the front page saying that


Scottish banks laundered ?4 billion of dirty Russian money. So we do


sanctions but on the other hand...? We do sanctions which is good and I


wish we did more but until we crack down on the bankers and lawyers and


accountants who laundered tens of billions of dollars and cover-up the


beneficial ownership of companies and so on, they won't take us


seriously. There is a bill going through Parliament right now which


would give the government the ability to freeze the assets of


human rights abuses, so that is a glimmer of hope but we need to do a


great deal more. Thank you for joining us.


One of the most contentious issues around our membership of the EU


over the years has been the Common Agricultural Policy,


the subsidy payments given to farmers across Europe.


The British farming industry has a lot to lose with Brexit,


and farmers who depend on subsidies to survive will be relying


on the UK Government to help with the transition.


Our business editor, Naga Munchetty, and film-maker Stuart Denman,


To tell their story, they sought help from a familiar face.


Once upon a time, there were four little rabbits.


"Now, my dears", said old Mrs Rabbit one morning, "Don't go


He was put in a pie by Mrs MacGregor".


The words of Beatrix Potter, author of The Tale Of Peter Rabbit and many


In fact, it was her great success as an author which helped


By the time she died in 1943, she had 4000 acres, including 14


farms, and her home here, Hilltop, all of which she left


As a prominent farmer, we can only wonder what Potter


or maybe even her characters would have made of the EU,


Brexit and of course, the next, unwritten chapter


Whom should Peter meet but Mr MacGregor?


Peter was most dreadfully frightened.


He rushed all over the garden looking for the Brexit.


He ran straight into a messy tangle of red tape.


Beatrix Potter's farms can be found in the Lake District,


where resilience and innovation are as important as ever.


There are farmers in Scotland, in Wales, here in the Lake District,


John Watson is a tenant farmer at Yew Tree Farm,


He uses this to attract tourism to supplement his income.


Life is very uncertain at the moment.


What's happening with Brexit is going to have a huge,


I struggle, year in, year out, trying all different


forms of diversification, to try and bring money


in because I'm one of these idiots that actually loves farming.


I love being out in this beautiful countryside.


As a fell farmer, I cannot survive without subsidy.


The Common Agricultural Policy was designed to boost productivity.


Controversially, the subsidies are based on how much land is owned,


UK farmers received 3.1 billion euros last year.


Pickles ran the village shop and gave subsidies


While some people really liked Pickles' payments,


others got fed up with being told what to do and won't be dipping


So far, the UK Government has pledged to replace


Now, at the grassroots, including here in Exmoor,


farmers must consider carefully how to survive in a dramatically


It is being called the biggest farming conversation


Before the EU referendum, the industry was largely divided


but now it is united in looking for opportunities in


One question for the farmers who did vote Out is what is more


Nothing in this life is free and as we were discovering with EU


payments, they were asking for more and more for their free money.


The Miltons voted to leave the EU, with the young especially keen,


a different story perhaps to the national narrative,


which suggested that many younger Remainers were at odds


I listened to some of the next generation and they were saying,


And the only time opportunities arrive is when you have change.


The way I looked at Brexit was, what's the worst that could happen?


We would have to sell the farm because we couldn't make it pay.


But if you've got the right attitude, you will do


I don't think they are going to like me for this.


I don't want to kick older farmers out but I think there's a lot


The cap has kept them in a farm, when they probably should have let


The Miltons all feel the burden of red tape,


They hope that after Brexit, it will be better tailored


Is the government doing enough to support you?


No, there's a feeling not at the moment and I feel


the government has lost the focus on what the value of agriculture


In 1984, New Zealand's farming industry was transformed


when its government scrapped most subsidies.


Diversification and intensification were embraced


But there's also been criticism as many environmental


In the UK, farmers are responsible for environmental upkeep.


Upland and fell farmers look after hedgerows,


It is an expensive occupation to maintain hedges.


A cheaper alternative would be a wire fence.


No aesthetic value, no environmental value,


but like in New Zealand, practical, does the job,


And those responsibilities are for the benefit


So there's an expectation, if we are going to help you,


I'd like to think we could do without any subsidy all.


But that's, that's utter madness, really, if you want us to preserve


You can't destroy Exmoor because, as farmers,


But some environmental campaigners say that farmers are not doing


enough to justify the financial support they are asking for.


We see very, very low productivity, one sheep per hectare,


one sheep per two hectares, one sheep per five hectares, almost


nothing being produced and yet, almost no wildlife either


because sheep are a fully automated system for maximum


Let them loose in the hills and they nibble everything away.


I'm not talking about taking away all sheep.


I am just saying, let's stop paying for this damage.


In the middle of a lake, there was an island.


Twinkleberry and his squirrel friends visited the island,


"Will You favour us with work, gathering your apples and cabbages?


James Hook's Hatcheries produce a third of the


He voted Remain but he does not rely on subsidies.


Chicken and pig farmers don't get them.


We employ 2500 people across the country in


About 20% of those are coming from Europe, quite a lot


of Eastern European people and that has made a massive difference to our


I'm concerned that because of the devaluation of the pound,


that the money is now is not as good as it was.


And more importantly at all, will they be allowed to come in?


James has already closed two facilities because of a shortage


Will we have the labour to work on our farms?


Will our customers have the labour to work in factories?


Will we have the labour to help come and pluck the turkeys at Christmas?


Because if we haven't got it, we can't continue.


Tommy Brock was a short, bristly, fat, waddling badger.


Today, he was complaining bitterly about the scarcity of bananas


"I am quite sick of straight bananas!"


Membership of the EU spawned many a myth.


Now it is time to face the realities of leaving.


Ensuring food security is a priority.


Can enough be produced by UK farmers to feed the country affordably?


Peter Kendall is an arable farmer who owns 2000 acres in Bedfordshire


He voted to Remain and is now concerned


There's a real nervousness that too many, I think,


quite prominent politicians now, are advocating cheap food.


If they think they are going to scavenge the world


for the cheapest possible beef, lamb, grains, dairy products,


I think you could see the British countryside massively changed.


The environment would be damaged and we would


Article 50 will be triggered within days.


Farming, like other industries, will need to toil hard to be heard


during the government's negotiations.


Peter Rabbit has been brought into the 21st-century


and there's a desire for a new, shinier version of


Whether farmers voted for Brexit or not, leaving could offer


the industry the opportunity to make positive changes.


We need to move to a world where we are seen to be


entrepreneurial businessmen producing for the market,


but we do have that reputation of being paid to do nothing.


We've actually got a really short period to come up with a domestic


policy that understands what farming in the UK is all about.


They won't be throwing money at farmers any more.


I do love the old-fashioned ways of farming.


And that, dear viewers, looks like the end of our tale.


Naga Munchetty reporting, with a little help


Just before we go, we thought we would show you the Daily Mail front


page. That's it for the night, the winners of the world's biggest


photography awards are announced tomorrow.


Unless you're a Newsnight viewer, in which case you can see them now.


In-depth investigation and analysis of the stories behind the day's headlines with Emily Maitlis as the former head of the Diplomatic Service discusses Brexit. Plus the woman who pretended she was black, anti-Putin protests in Russia, and how will farmers cope with Brexit?

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