10/04/2017 Newsnight


10/04/2017

In-depth investigation and analysis of the stories behind the day's headlines with Emily Maitlis.


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Transcript


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Tonight: the White House leaves open the possibility to more

:00:00.:00:00.

The message that we are sending to the Russians is very clear.

:00:07.:00:15.

Do they want to stick with a toxic regime?

:00:16.:00:17.

Do they want to be eternally associated with a guy

:00:18.:00:20.

But a former ambassador to Syria thinks regime change

:00:21.:00:28.

This advisor to the Syrian opposition says

:00:29.:00:31.

Also tonight...It's called Spice - an illegal drug that, it is claimed,

:00:32.:00:44.

Can you imagine, if you slept rough, you wake up and you feel like shit

:00:45.:00:58.

and you wake up and you smoke some Spice

:00:59.:01:01.

and you are OK, you're ready to go, you know?

:01:02.:01:03.

Howard Jacobson writes a book about Donald Trump.

:01:04.:01:05.

And I wanted to be amused by it all and then you realise

:01:06.:01:10.

the absurdity is only going to take you so far.

:01:11.:01:13.

And remember the gay 93 year old who last year got an official

:01:14.:01:26.

pardon for what were ONCE crimes of indecency, but aren't any more.

:01:27.:01:29.

If I get the apology, I don't need a pardon.

:01:30.:01:32.

I don't mind in the least, I just want an apology.

:01:33.:01:34.

Well now he's got his apology, how does he fell about it.

:01:35.:01:42.

Does Russia listen to anything the West says?

:01:43.:01:53.

And can we tighten the screws when it comes to making

:01:54.:01:56.

Previous sanctions have hurt Russia economically -

:01:57.:02:00.

but haven't led to any softening of its stance on Crimea.

:02:01.:02:03.

So can we expect anything new when G7 countries gather

:02:04.:02:09.

in Italy to discuss new punishment for its role in Syria?

:02:10.:02:12.

Today, our Foreign Secretary laid down a Boris-shaped gauntlet,

:02:13.:02:14.

saying Russia had a choice - to continue backing toxic Assad

:02:15.:02:16.

or to work with the rest of the world to find

:02:17.:02:19.

He's talking moves to ban Syrian or Russian military figures.

:02:20.:02:24.

At the group of seven meetings this week, it is the eighth former member

:02:25.:02:42.

of that club that is topping the agenda. Russia PTP continues proper

:02:43.:02:47.

Bashar al-Assad, the Syrian brittle leaders means further sanctions are

:02:48.:02:50.

now on the table for Moscow. The message that we are sending to the

:02:51.:02:55.

Russians is clear. Do they want to stick with a toxic regime. Do they

:02:56.:03:01.

want to be eternally associated with a guy who gases his own people or do

:03:02.:03:09.

they want to work with the Americans and the rest of the G-7 and indeed

:03:10.:03:11.

like-minded countries? Sanctions would hardly be unprecedented. The

:03:12.:03:16.

US and EU impose sanctions on Russia following the invasion of Ukraine in

:03:17.:03:21.

2014. Throughout we have given Vladimir Putin a simple choice.

:03:22.:03:26.

Respect the sovereignty of Ukraine or face increasing consequences.

:03:27.:03:31.

That has allowed us to rally the world's major developed countries to

:03:32.:03:39.

impose real costs on Russia. So did it work? Well, Russia suffered. This

:03:40.:03:44.

is gross national income per head for Russia are measured in US

:03:45.:03:48.

dollars. Since the millennium, it generally moved up, hitting a peak

:03:49.:03:54.

of almost $15,000 a person in 2014. When the sanctions came in, it

:03:55.:04:00.

dropped dramatically to around $11,500 per person. A fall in oil

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prices contributed to that as well leading to a squeeze on ordinary

:04:07.:04:11.

Russians who had to cut their own spending by 15%. The Russian

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government estimated that the number of Russians living in poverty had

:04:15.:04:19.

been stable at around 16 million people in 2014. It now stands at

:04:20.:04:25.

over 21 million people. That is a price that Mr Putin has been willing

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to pay. In the long run, isolation, the isolation of Russia is not going

:04:33.:04:36.

to help, but in the short run he is certainly willing to pay the price

:04:37.:04:40.

and for the Russian people who have been traumatised so much by the

:04:41.:04:44.

Soviet system and then by the chaos of the 1990s, they are willing to

:04:45.:04:47.

put up with more hardships than we are. Sanctions are not currently

:04:48.:04:52.

biting Russia as deeply as the first aid. The insurrection of the Russian

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economy on western sanctions was very big and the Russian financial

:05:02.:05:06.

markets were in turmoil because the Russian economy faced significant

:05:07.:05:10.

pressure to repay foreign debt and banks and companies were committed

:05:11.:05:15.

abroad. Afterwards, the attitude softened and oil prices have

:05:16.:05:20.

recovered and no new signals on sanctions and then in 2016, the

:05:21.:05:27.

Russian economy contracted by not point to I do not see any effect of

:05:28.:05:32.

sanctions of the current situation. When some Britons, particularly

:05:33.:05:36.

Londoners think about Russians, they might think of rich immigrants who

:05:37.:05:40.

come and put huge amounts of money into some of our swankiest

:05:41.:05:43.

neighbourhoods or or you might think of the military might of Russia, the

:05:44.:05:46.

nuclear arsenal, the intervention for example into Syria. The truth is

:05:47.:05:54.

that Russia is a country with very profound social and economic

:05:55.:05:59.

problems. The biggest problem in the Russian economy is its complete lack

:06:00.:06:05.

of rule of law, corruption throughout the entire system that

:06:06.:06:10.

chokes all innovation. Its overreliance on raw materials,

:06:11.:06:14.

especially hydrocarbons, dire demographic decline, the effect of

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sanctions that have contributed to the decline of the Russian economy

:06:21.:06:25.

and lastly Russia's growing isolation in the view of the

:06:26.:06:29.

aggressive foreign policy posture by Vladimir Putin. There are sanctions

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that could apply pressure, on finance, learn investment on Russia,

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all is critical oil and gas sector. Might the West actually managed to

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do that as it did to Iran? IC zero chances of this happening, because

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there is no political will in them worse, there is a transitional

:06:51.:06:54.

period in the US administration and Brexit in the European Union, so

:06:55.:07:00.

will Russia and Ukraine in my view our out of plans at the moment. In

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reply to those 2014 sanctions, Vladimir Putin and EU food imports

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and act which hurt his own people by fuelling inflation. A man who

:07:13.:07:14.

effectively sanctioned his own people for effect is a hard man to

:07:15.:07:16.

beat with sanctions. Chris Kirk. Earlier I spoke to President Trump's

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former adviser Did he agree with Boris Johnson's

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assessment that the bombing of Syria Well basically there are now two red

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lines in the making, one for the United States for this

:07:27.:07:30.

administration, which is to forbid the use of chemical weapons

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by the Syrian regime or by any other player, that is one red line but now

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you have the Russians and the Iranians and their allies

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who are drawing a red line So they are messaging

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the United States that you may have had this one strike against Assad

:07:43.:07:53.

because of the chemical weapons, but there is no acceptance that

:07:54.:07:55.

you will topple the regime and I think in the negotiations that

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will be taking place between Secretary Tillerson

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and Moscow will be revolving Boris Johnson has called

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this willingness to bomb Syria a game-changer,

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do you think it is? I think the game is changing,

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it started to change when for some unknown reason,

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out of nowhere, the Assad regime allegedly used

:08:19.:08:21.

those chemical weapons, although he has been

:08:22.:08:22.

bombarding the Syrian opposition for a long time,

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most of the people killed were not killed by the chemical weapons,

:08:29.:08:30.

it is still intriguing to learn why By using them, unlike in the time

:08:31.:08:33.

of the Obama administration, the Trump administration

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will actually act, but act only to respond to the use

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of chemical weapons. There is no project of toppling

:08:42.:08:45.

Assad as far as I know right He has called for sanctions though,

:08:46.:08:48.

against Russia over actions There are talks now across

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the Atlantic about what is the next stage of how to deal with Russia

:08:53.:08:58.

and really there are two doctrines here, one which says,

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we need to put some sanctions and force Russia into changing

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behaviour and changing There is this other view,

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which is we now act in eastern Syria to destroy ISIS and develop a free

:09:07.:09:15.

Syria. Then we put pressure on Russia

:09:16.:09:20.

because if we put pressure on Russia and we do not have any part of Syria

:09:21.:09:23.

where we can act, then But the US position now,

:09:24.:09:27.

just clarify for us, the US administration believes that

:09:28.:09:31.

Assad must go? In the long term, it was not

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actually said, in the long term, what was said, by several officials

:09:37.:09:39.

is that the future of Syria after the crisis will not have

:09:40.:09:42.

Assad as a President. That is what was said,

:09:43.:09:48.

but that does not mean immediately there will be US action to unseat

:09:49.:09:51.

Assad. This is the problem isn't it,

:09:52.:09:54.

that we are talking about long-term or short-term

:09:55.:09:56.

or in the intermediate, people are struggling to work out

:09:57.:09:58.

what Donald Trump 's foreign policy Has he turned into a humanitarian,

:09:59.:10:01.

is he going to get involved in foreign policy, is he ditching

:10:02.:10:06.

the America First, where is he now? Basically he is involved

:10:07.:10:12.

fully in foreign policy. These were the questions that

:10:13.:10:16.

were debated during the campaign when he was not yet

:10:17.:10:18.

in the White House and let's say during the transition,

:10:19.:10:21.

maybe in the first two to three weeks, now he is the President

:10:22.:10:24.

of a superpower, and he Of course not all of the plans

:10:25.:10:26.

are already established, in the case of Syria,

:10:27.:10:33.

what prompted this action, was not his plan, it was prompted

:10:34.:10:35.

by the Assad regime behaviour. Now I think, he and Congress

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will have to figure out a strategy for Syria for the immediate range

:10:40.:10:43.

and also for the medium So is part of the strategy also

:10:44.:10:45.

being noticeably harder on Russia? Well, there was a view

:10:46.:10:52.

during the campaign and during the transition

:10:53.:10:54.

that we may find a common ground with Russia against the terrorists,

:10:55.:10:57.

although we have many Now the incident in Syria has

:10:58.:10:59.

occurred, the Trump administration will have to signify,

:11:00.:11:07.

and message even Russia, that the use of chemical weapons

:11:08.:11:09.

is forbidden and at the same time we need to continue

:11:10.:11:12.

our job against ISIS. The remaining question is what will

:11:13.:11:18.

Russia do in the meanwhile? We have heard them saying with

:11:19.:11:20.

the Iranians that they would not want to see the United States

:11:21.:11:27.

acting against Assad. Donald Trump has said in the past

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that presidents who enter into foreign policy wars

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are normally doing it to distract People are pointing the finger

:11:34.:11:35.

at him now and are saying that is exactly what you're doing,

:11:36.:11:41.

this is all a distraction. Obviously, the opposition is going

:11:42.:11:43.

to use all the arguments they can, including arguments from statements

:11:44.:11:46.

that he made. Look at the Clintons,

:11:47.:11:50.

the Obama side, how many statements they made during the campaign,

:11:51.:11:54.

that were used against them during the campaign and even now,

:11:55.:11:56.

so that is the nature of American politics, but again the public

:11:57.:11:59.

will judge upon what has been done on the ground in reality

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and on the ground in reality in Syria, there is one path right

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now, destroying ISIS and making sure that the future of Syria will

:12:06.:12:08.

represent what the Syrians want, which are the statements made

:12:09.:12:10.

by Rex Tillerson and the President Walid Phares, thank

:12:11.:12:13.

you very much indeed. The strikes against Syria

:12:14.:12:25.

by the Trump administration appeared - politically -

:12:26.:12:27.

to come from nowhere . But tonight the White House

:12:28.:12:29.

acknowledged it is holding open America said this evening

:12:30.:12:32.

they knocked out 20 percent And tonight Trump's spokesman

:12:33.:12:35.

said it was impossible to imagine a 'stable Syria

:12:36.:12:43.

with Assad in charge'. So what does the policy

:12:44.:12:47.

for Syria now look like? The question the world has been

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grappling with for years We'll discuss in a moment,

:12:51.:12:54.

but first - a reminder of how US policy has shifted on the Syrian

:12:55.:12:58.

leader through these two statements just days apart from the White House

:12:59.:13:01.

spokesman Sean Spicer and America's Can you clear up for the President

:13:02.:13:15.

stands on whether Bashar al-Assad is the legitimate President of Syria? I

:13:16.:13:20.

think with respect to Assad, there is a political reality that we have

:13:21.:13:28.

to accept in terms of where we are, right now. There is not any sort of

:13:29.:13:33.

option where a political solution that will happen with Assad at the

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head of the regime. A few look at the situation, it will be hard to

:13:38.:13:41.

see a peaceful and stable government with Assad.

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Peter Ford was Britain's ambassador to Syria from 2003 until 2006.

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Reza Afshar led the Foreign Office's Syria team until 2013 and now

:13:46.:13:48.

Thank you to you both. Peter Ford, it is a dwindling group now who's

:13:49.:14:05.

still think Bashar al-Assad is the solution to Syria. You do. Yes,

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because he already controls about 80% of the populated areas and after

:14:12.:14:19.

his success in Aleppo, he was well on course until this latest

:14:20.:14:24.

extraction, to mocking up many of the remaining pockets of opposition.

:14:25.:14:32.

Sadly, Trump has created this diversion and has set back efforts

:14:33.:14:37.

to pacify the rest of Syria, but basically what is left is a rural

:14:38.:14:43.

insurgency. The towns belong to Assad already and this is where most

:14:44.:14:45.

of the people are. You describe it as a distraction and

:14:46.:14:55.

a diversion to stop aside using chemical weapons on his people? You

:14:56.:15:02.

assume that he did, aren't you a bit premature? There has been no

:15:03.:15:05.

investigation. It is crucial that there should be an impartial UN

:15:06.:15:11.

investigation? Why are the Americans so reticent about having an

:15:12.:15:18.

investigation if there is nothing to hide on their side? We have not even

:15:19.:15:21.

seen not a dodgy dossier, we have not seen any dossier this time. This

:15:22.:15:30.

is Theresa May's Tony Blair moment. This is her Blair moment, her chance

:15:31.:15:36.

to urge restraint on the Americans and not egg them on to more

:15:37.:15:44.

foolishness. Reza Afshar? I think the problem here is your other guest

:15:45.:15:48.

is distracting from the facts in Syria and what has been going on.

:15:49.:15:53.

The reality is the Assad regime has bombed 500,000 people to death, he

:15:54.:15:59.

has used weapons. On a point of fact, that is not correct. The

:16:00.:16:09.

action that he has taken has created the environment in which terrorism

:16:10.:16:14.

can thrive, it has also created environment in which refugees have

:16:15.:16:19.

fled the country. The question now is not about redeemed change, the

:16:20.:16:23.

question is what is a sensible policy about creating a situation in

:16:24.:16:27.

which Syrians themselves can decide their future through negotiation

:16:28.:16:35.

process? They are asking for a regime change, they are asking for

:16:36.:16:37.

an opportunity to negotiate their own future. The first step is to cut

:16:38.:16:40.

out the indiscriminate killing of civilians which has essentially

:16:41.:16:43.

created this crisis, which has created a big crisis for the world.

:16:44.:16:49.

So actually... What the US administration has done here is

:16:50.:16:53.

finally to put some beverage on the table in the form of strikes. If

:16:54.:16:58.

they turn that into a broader strategy which says if you kill

:16:59.:17:02.

civilians indiscriminately, chemical weapons or otherwise, we will strike

:17:03.:17:10.

military facilities, then that creates a process in which the

:17:11.:17:12.

military strategy of the regime becomes limited and that forces them

:17:13.:17:15.

to have to decide whether they want to negotiate in the Geneva talks or

:17:16.:17:19.

elsewhere. That is a sensible policy. Let me go back to Peter. It

:17:20.:17:26.

is hard to see how Syria can be more dangerous to Syrians? I went through

:17:27.:17:30.

that question but allow me first to take Reza up on his earlier

:17:31.:17:33.

statement about 500,000 killed by Assad. That is one quarter true and

:17:34.:17:42.

three quarters alive. The UN are saying 400,000 killed. This is

:17:43.:17:48.

typical of the distortion, exaggeration of paid lobbyists,

:17:49.:17:52.

which is what we're hearing now. I don't think those people are arguing

:17:53.:17:55.

the fact that there is a civil war which has been going on with the

:17:56.:18:00.

deaths of absolutely hundreds of thousands of civilians in Syria. The

:18:01.:18:06.

question is... On both sides. Why does Assad have to stay? Because he

:18:07.:18:13.

be goes, Emily, the country will really implode and it will be a

:18:14.:18:19.

bloodbath. There is no moderate opposition waiting. And it is not a

:18:20.:18:24.

bloodbath now? You say that is OK? Of course not. But it would be much

:18:25.:18:29.

worse. You have to look at the opposition held areas to see what

:18:30.:18:34.

life would be like. What happens if there is no Assad, who is next? I am

:18:35.:18:41.

not talking about getting rid of Assad. The point is how to enable

:18:42.:18:45.

Syrians to determine their own future? How do you force the Assad

:18:46.:18:50.

regime to negotiate seriously? They have not negotiated seriously up

:18:51.:18:54.

until now. That is because they think their military strategy will

:18:55.:18:58.

win. You need a political and military strategy to bring this

:18:59.:19:01.

crisis to close and that is how you will make progress against Isis in a

:19:02.:19:06.

sustainable fashion, it is also how you will deal with the refugee

:19:07.:19:13.

crisis. You need the political elements and the military elements.

:19:14.:19:15.

The military elements are underway. How will you suddenly have this

:19:16.:19:19.

consensus that Assad will agree to which he has not done for the last

:19:20.:19:24.

six years, while he is there? The reason he has not negotiated

:19:25.:19:28.

seriously, in the UN led talks in Geneva, is because he has a military

:19:29.:19:32.

strategy which involves killing civilians indiscriminately and that

:19:33.:19:36.

has been his way to deal with the crisis. What needs to happen is the

:19:37.:19:39.

whole context has to change here and he needs to see that his military

:19:40.:19:50.

strategy would work. Then you see how the big O Shea Shinn 's progress

:19:51.:19:52.

under that framework, when you are sitting in Geneva and when you try

:19:53.:19:55.

and bomb your way out of it, you can't, because the US then hits your

:19:56.:19:58.

military targets. That is a way of forcing a negotiation to happen in a

:19:59.:20:03.

more productive way. Reza, when working with the British Foreign

:20:04.:20:06.

Office, was instrumental in bringing about the Nato bombing of Libya. Are

:20:07.:20:11.

you proud of that? Do you think it is a good example for Syria? The

:20:12.:20:16.

alternative there is to allow the Libyan regime to kill tens of

:20:17.:20:21.

thousands of people? The question is is Libya worse now would it be

:20:22.:20:24.

better turning the way Syria did? In any case we are talking about what

:20:25.:20:28.

the strategy should be in Syria, and again, no one is calling for regime

:20:29.:20:33.

change, they are talking targeted, limited strikes in order to deter

:20:34.:20:36.

the killing of civilians and for that to go hand-in-hand with a

:20:37.:20:42.

political strategy. I know it depends which side of the bed Trump

:20:43.:20:46.

got out on on a particular day, but broadly they are calling for resume

:20:47.:20:54.

change... Do you not recognise that if you divert away from Isis, as

:20:55.:20:59.

your main target here, then actually, that side of the wall gets

:21:00.:21:03.

lost and that is the most immediate priority? Emily, governments are

:21:04.:21:09.

capable of doing two things at once. Not in the same place to people on

:21:10.:21:15.

different sides? Actually, they are. No one is talking that diverted away

:21:16.:21:19.

from Isis. What we are saying is if you stop the killing of civilians in

:21:20.:21:22.

Syria, you then help the fight against Isis, because you get rid of

:21:23.:21:27.

a radicalised factor. You also enable the moderate groups on the

:21:28.:21:31.

ground, and there are still moderate groups on the ground, to fight Isis

:21:32.:21:34.

more effectively, and they cannot do that now while they are being bombed

:21:35.:21:39.

by their own government. There needs to be a comprehensive approach here.

:21:40.:21:42.

Thank you both. Thank you for coming in.

:21:43.:21:45.

Spice is the drug that turns people into zombies,

:21:46.:21:47.

And it's being treated as a major problem in some

:21:48.:21:52.

Nearly 60 cases of Spice related incidents were reported to police

:21:53.:21:56.

in Greater Manchester over the course of the weekend.

:21:57.:21:58.

So is it actually getting worse - or does the epidemic

:21:59.:22:01.

Katie Razzall has been with Spice users to ask.

:22:02.:22:10.

Mamba is the worst drug out, worse than class A.

:22:11.:22:12.

Psychotic zombie-rendering Spice, of which Mamba is a variety,

:22:13.:22:16.

the synthetic drug which Manchester police have described as a problem

:22:17.:22:20.

This weekend, they dealt with 58 Spice related incidents,

:22:21.:22:28.

but the drug's reach is much wider than Manchester.

:22:29.:22:31.

I haven't had it for three days and I've had night sweats,

:22:32.:22:34.

pains in my side, can't sleep, can't go to the toilet.

:22:35.:22:39.

The woman was filmed with other drug users in Wolverhampton,

:22:40.:22:45.

before the government cracked down again on so-called legal highs

:22:46.:22:49.

and banned their sale on the High Street.

:22:50.:23:01.

So what do we know about the prevalence of a drug that locks

:23:02.:23:04.

onto the same receptors in the brain is cannabis,

:23:05.:23:06.

If you're talking about how many people smoke Spice,

:23:07.:23:12.

Before May last year, it was legal, or a lot of it was legal,

:23:13.:23:20.

so there wasn't much counting going on.

:23:21.:23:27.

And other than to say, there are clearly pockets of use

:23:28.:23:29.

in major cities all over the UK, and in our prisons, you can't really

:23:30.:23:33.

A recent Panorama investigation into the chaotic state of prisons

:23:34.:23:48.

found many of the problems Spice-related.

:23:49.:23:56.

This shocking footage shows the effects of the drug

:23:57.:23:58.

on one of the inmates in HMP Northumberland.

:23:59.:24:02.

You can buy Spice, you can dissolve the active ingredient in water,

:24:03.:24:16.

you can soak an A4 sheet of paper in that active ingredient and dry it

:24:17.:24:20.

out, you can pretend it's a letter to yourself or a prisoner,

:24:21.:24:26.

and you can cut up that A4 sheet of paper and that will go from maybe

:24:27.:24:32.

?5 worth of Spice to a thousand pounds worth of pieces of Spice

:24:33.:24:35.

So there's an enormous profit in prisons.

:24:36.:24:39.

Bristol prison, every day, an ambulance full of big male

:24:40.:24:42.

paramedics goes in to deal with someone who's gone crazy

:24:43.:24:46.

Spice users outside prison, the majority rough sleepers,

:24:47.:24:53.

also put pressure on public services, according

:24:54.:24:55.

to Greater Manchester Police, with users often aggressive

:24:56.:24:58.

and a danger to themselves and others.

:24:59.:25:00.

Ambulance call-outs and NHS treatment can be costly.

:25:01.:25:04.

And in cities across the UK, even in the heart of

:25:05.:25:06.

London's Westminster, under the noses of those

:25:07.:25:09.

who made the drug illegal, the effects are obvious.

:25:10.:25:13.

He's homeless and spending ?5 a time for a cigarette worth's of Spice,

:25:14.:25:34.

the same used to cost around ?2 he says.

:25:35.:25:44.

What does it make you feel like when you#re on it?

:25:45.:25:46.

So you were on the streets, and you realised everyone was doing

:25:47.:25:54.

it, so that's how you got involved in the Spice?

:25:55.:25:56.

Can you imagine if you slept rough, you woke up and you feel shit,

:25:57.:26:01.

then you take some Spice and you're OK, ready to go.

:26:02.:26:04.

If it was going to become popular, it would have happened

:26:05.:26:07.

And by popular, I mean among young people, people who go to festivals,

:26:08.:26:16.

It's only ever really been a drug adopted by prisoners and rough

:26:17.:26:28.

sleepers. For the moment then this drug

:26:29.:26:33.

is used almost entirely by prison inmates and rough sleepers,

:26:34.:26:36.

but they're often doing it in plain sight, and Spice's psychological

:26:37.:26:39.

and physiological effects on them mean in places like central

:26:40.:26:41.

Manchester, its impact is being felt

:26:42.:26:42.

far more widely. If you're going to write

:26:43.:26:44.

a novel about Donald Trump, Howard Jacobson explains to me -

:26:45.:26:47.

there's really only And so, this Thursday will see

:26:48.:26:49.

the publication of Pussy - his turbo-charged satire of the man

:26:50.:26:53.

who won the US Presidency. It is part comic pastiche,

:26:54.:26:56.

part venomous diatribe on a man Jacobson describes as vacuous,

:26:57.:26:58.

absurd and dangerous. A man who spurred him on to write

:26:59.:27:00.

quickly as he feared Trump would be shot or impeached

:27:01.:27:03.

before he finished. I met him at his house earlier,

:27:04.:27:05.

where I asked him why he'd chosen such a naked,

:27:06.:27:08.

raw form of satire for his work. And there was, there was a kind

:27:09.:27:12.

of the absurdity of the whole thing, in my eyes, the total absurdity

:27:13.:27:23.

of the man. I had never seen anybody,

:27:24.:27:26.

it seemed to me, quite so absurd. And then you realise, well,

:27:27.:27:29.

you know, the absurdity This is somebody who wields enormous

:27:30.:27:32.

power, so then there's rage. How do you balance the rage

:27:33.:27:38.

and the sense of comedy? And you feel it

:27:39.:27:41.

differently every day. You feel it differently

:27:42.:27:44.

within an hour. So I had to come up with some tale

:27:45.:27:47.

that enabled me to be funny and not funny and furious

:27:48.:27:52.

and the rest of it. So it had to be some kind

:27:53.:27:54.

of fairy tale, borrowing And you describe this leader

:27:55.:27:57.

who is imbecillic or absurd, in your words, yet he is the product

:27:58.:28:11.

of a democratic system that has lasted what,

:28:12.:28:14.

300 years or more? Do not feel you are railing

:28:15.:28:16.

against the wrong thing here? He is the product of a system that

:28:17.:28:18.

has lasted a long time and he might last a long time and everything

:28:19.:28:22.

might be well. Do you think democracy

:28:23.:28:24.

got this wrong then? Between ourselves, if nobody

:28:25.:28:28.

is listening, I'd like to say democracy gets a hell

:28:29.:28:34.

of a lot wrong. Part of my anger in writing this

:28:35.:28:36.

book was fuelled by Brexit. I was starting to hear all that

:28:37.:28:43.

stuff, any time anybody looked back at Brexit and didn't

:28:44.:28:46.

like what they had seen, they were a Remoaner,

:28:47.:28:48.

there was all that bitterness stuff, that get over it stuff as though

:28:49.:28:56.

you are obliged to get over it. And you cannot deny

:28:57.:29:00.

the will of the people. Well, that's not true,

:29:01.:29:02.

you can deny the will of the people, and indeed, if you believe

:29:03.:29:05.

that the will of the people has taken you into a disastrous

:29:06.:29:08.

situation, it is your positive duty But we have this fantasy going on,

:29:09.:29:10.

the people have spoken But the people speak whenever

:29:11.:29:14.

there's a general election And if democracy is to work,

:29:15.:29:17.

the people have to be given the opportunity

:29:18.:29:21.

to change their mind. Are you suggesting that the people

:29:22.:29:23.

shouldn't have voted that way because they didn't know

:29:24.:29:26.

what they were doing? I'm suggesting that I think

:29:27.:29:33.

that they voted the wrong way, I'm suggesting that I think

:29:34.:29:35.

they were ill-informed and misinformed, and I'm also highly

:29:36.:29:37.

conscious of the fact that you're not allowed to be

:29:38.:29:40.

rude to the people. They are a sacred entity,

:29:41.:29:42.

the people are sacrosanct. Well, nothing should be sacrosanct

:29:43.:29:44.

and I think that if you have voted for Donald Trump,

:29:45.:29:47.

I don't care what your reasoning is, to have voted for a man offering

:29:48.:29:50.

such a meagre, meagre view of the world, with so few words

:29:51.:29:53.

to describe the world, or to imagine the world,

:29:54.:29:55.

and imprisoned in this minuscule vocabulary,

:29:56.:29:57.

because if you've got no vocabulary, you've got no thoughts,

:29:58.:29:59.

to have voted for such a person Some people watching this will say

:30:00.:30:02.

wow, he's fallen into that classic liberal trap,

:30:03.:30:07.

they only like democracy when their people win,

:30:08.:30:09.

they only like tolerance and decency Democracy works best

:30:10.:30:11.

when I think the people, the demos are making

:30:12.:30:20.

the right decisions. And is it the language question that

:30:21.:30:21.

offends you the most? And is that because you're a writer

:30:22.:30:27.

or because you think that lies I think it lies at the heart

:30:28.:30:30.

of civilisation, and I want to be clear, that I'm not complaining that

:30:31.:30:40.

Trump is not an orator or a poet, that he doesn't speak beautifully,

:30:41.:30:44.

that's not the issue. The issue is how words free one

:30:45.:30:46.

into thought and how language frees one out of prejudice and bias

:30:47.:30:50.

and a narrowness of viewpoint which is no good for anybody

:30:51.:30:53.

to be locked in. This isn't someone from a university

:30:54.:30:59.

complaining about the fact that Trump doesn't speak

:31:00.:31:02.

like a university lecturer, but do you remember he once said,

:31:03.:31:06.

I think it was at a Nevada rally, It didn't mean, even though you're

:31:07.:31:10.

not educated I love you, and what I will then try to do

:31:11.:31:18.

in my years as president He loved the state

:31:19.:31:21.

of uneducatedness. At the moment it is part of the way

:31:22.:31:24.

populism is going at the moment, that you turn the people,

:31:25.:31:29.

that you make the people love themselves for not having this

:31:30.:31:31.

horrible thing that the enemy has, And if you turn the people

:31:32.:31:34.

against the very idea of education, you're not giving them anything,

:31:35.:31:40.

you're taking something from them, What happens if this turns out to be

:31:41.:31:43.

an incredibly successful presidency? If everything you think now

:31:44.:31:53.

is proved wrong and actually, you know, he makes

:31:54.:31:55.

a good fist of it? And if he does, well, I will have

:31:56.:32:01.

to have a little think again. Do you remember 92-year-old

:32:02.:32:19.

George Montague, who appeared He was reacting to the news

:32:20.:32:21.

that the government was to grant a pardon to gay men like himself

:32:22.:32:27.

who were convicted of sexual offences where the act in question

:32:28.:32:30.

is no longer illegal today. If I get the apology,

:32:31.:32:32.

I don't need a pardon, I don't mind in the least,

:32:33.:32:40.

I just want an apology. Not only me, there's apparently

:32:41.:32:43.

still 11,000 older men like me, still alive, and I talk

:32:44.:32:46.

to some of them. My great friend Lord

:32:47.:32:50.

Edward Montague, take him, I said to him one day, come on,

:32:51.:32:52.

surely, you deserve an apology, and he said, like lots of others,

:32:53.:32:59.

my contemporaries say to me when I talk to them, oh, George,

:33:00.:33:03.

just leave it, let it lie. Well, now our colleagues

:33:04.:33:07.

at the World at One on Radio 4 have revealed that George has finally

:33:08.:33:15.

got his apology - as part of a week of reports 50

:33:16.:33:18.

years on from the decriminalisation It is very nice to welcome you back.

:33:19.:33:37.

Tell us what happened, George. Just over a year ago, I decided that I

:33:38.:33:41.

would get people to sign a petition and we spent the whole day at

:33:42.:33:51.

Kemptown Carnival in Brighton and then about six months later, my

:33:52.:33:57.

partner and I took it up to Number 10 and the media were there and they

:33:58.:34:03.

filmed us. I put my fingerprints on that door knockers and banged the

:34:04.:34:07.

door and handed in the petition and now, at long last, to my great

:34:08.:34:12.

delight, we have got the result. When you have got a letter, is that

:34:13.:34:17.

right? I have got the letter in front of me. Read it out. It is from

:34:18.:34:26.

the Home Office, addressed to me personally. Dear Mr Montague, thank

:34:27.:34:31.

you for your letter of the 1st of November to the Prime Minister about

:34:32.:34:37.

past convictions incurred by gay men to which I have been asked to

:34:38.:34:44.

respond. Euro quest, an apology from the government, on behalf of his

:34:45.:34:53.

predecessors. Now, many more are lived in fear of being criminalised

:34:54.:34:57.

because they were being treated in a very different way from heterosexual

:34:58.:35:03.

couples. Actually, understand that we offer this full apology. Their

:35:04.:35:09.

treatment was unfair, what happened to these men is a matter of the

:35:10.:35:16.

greatest regret and I should be glad so to all of us, I am sure to the

:35:17.:35:23.

members across the House, for this we are today deeply sorry. The House

:35:24.:35:36.

of Commons, Hansard Number 10 and dated January, 2017. And on the

:35:37.:35:45.

back, I hope this address, addresses the concerns you have raised. Yours

:35:46.:35:50.

sincerely, John Woodward, who I understand is a very senior member

:35:51.:35:59.

of the Home Office, John would stop. Congratulations, George, tell us

:36:00.:36:01.

what that feels like? Is the campaign over now? I can only say

:36:02.:36:09.

that when I arrived, the letter was in my home for at least a couple of

:36:10.:36:14.

weeks before we came back from Thailand about ten days ago and

:36:15.:36:20.

there was this letter. And I cannot describe my delight when I opened

:36:21.:36:27.

it. I couldn't believe, I had hoped we would get something, but I did

:36:28.:36:31.

not think we would get such a detailed letter of apology.

:36:32.:36:37.

Wonderful. And does it rest here now? Do you feel that we have a

:36:38.:36:44.

quality? Well, absolutely! The only thing I am a little bit concerned

:36:45.:36:52.

about is the whole thing is to me, personally, now there are 16 or

:36:53.:36:59.

17,000 other men, many of them did nothing but they were persecuted by

:37:00.:37:03.

the police and ended up with convictions. Some of them committed

:37:04.:37:09.

suicide. OK, we cannot apologise to them, but we could at least a

:37:10.:37:16.

posthumous apology, going back to Oscar Wilde. He served time in

:37:17.:37:21.

prison for two years and has never received any sort of apology, give

:37:22.:37:26.

him up postmaster must apology and Lord Edward Montagu, other men went

:37:27.:37:32.

to prison and when I said to my friend, come on, you ought to

:37:33.:37:38.

deserve, he said old George, most people have forgotten about it now,

:37:39.:37:43.

just leave it. I thought about it and I thought, why should I leave

:37:44.:37:48.

it? So I haven't left it and I fought and I have got the letter.

:37:49.:37:52.

George, you make a very sobering point and a good one, thank you very

:37:53.:37:57.

much indeed for joining us this evening. Congratulations.

:37:58.:38:02.

We are finishing with the look of the papers. The Daily Telegraph has

:38:03.:38:09.

Donald Trump saying that Putin will not fully us. The cruise missile

:38:10.:38:14.

attack proves he is not only the fresh air and will not be pushed

:38:15.:38:17.

around by Vladimir Putin. It has that picture of the last respects

:38:18.:38:21.

been paid to the policeman who died defending Parliament in the

:38:22.:38:25.

Westminster attack. The Times has that Scotland gets a cancer drug too

:38:26.:38:28.

expensive for England and Britain will be defined on sanctions.

:38:29.:38:33.

Theresa May throwing her weight behind plans to impose sanctions on

:38:34.:38:37.

Putin. Scotland leads the way with the anti-HIV drug in the Guardian.

:38:38.:38:43.

And Rex Torres's line that the US will protect innocents from

:38:44.:38:47.

aggressors putting America's safety first and their Financial Times has

:38:48.:38:51.

the story of the Berkeley 's chief who faces sanctions and a pay cut

:38:52.:38:56.

for pursuit of a whistle-blower. Much more tomorrow.

:38:57.:38:59.

We leave you with pictures of the Great Barrier Reef,

:39:00.:39:03.

two thirds of which, we learned today, has now succumbed

:39:04.:39:05.

to severe coral bleaching, as the warming oceans kill the algae

:39:06.:39:08.

Scientists have described it as the terminal stage in the reef's

:39:09.:39:11.

Here's what it look like now, accompanied by David Attenborough

:39:12.:39:15.

People say to me what was the most magical thing

:39:16.:39:24.

What was the most magical moment in your career as a naturalist?

:39:25.:39:30.

And I always say, the first time I put on a mask

:39:31.:39:33.

and went below the surface, and moved in three-dimensions,

:39:34.:39:35.

just with a flick of my fin, and suddenly saw all these amazingly

:39:36.:39:38.

multi-coloured things living in communities right there.

:39:39.:39:49.

Just astounding things, unforgettable beauty.

:39:50.:39:51.

I first came to the Barrier Reef nearly 60 years ago,

:39:52.:39:53.

and I remember very clearly how amazed I was to see such

:39:54.:39:56.

a complexity of life, one of the greatest treasures

:39:57.:39:58.

Good evening. Turning to quite quickly out there and a chilly start

:39:59.:40:30.

to Tuesday morning but a lovely

:40:31.:40:31.

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