12/04/2017 Newsnight


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

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The government is talking a lot about schools this week.


But does it have a strategy for good schools?


The Education Secretary is setting out her approach tomorrow -


but money's tight and pupil numbers are growing.


We'll ask whether there's a plan, or a few sketchy ideas.


I complained about that a long time ago and they made a change,


I said it was obsolete, it's no longer obsolete.


Is Trump changing the world or has


We'll ask if it's a random cock up or a problem with capitalism.


And the latest battle ground between populism


In to project an image around the world that is one of an open society


in which dissent is not persecuted. But there is a growing fear that a


new generation of political leaders want to shut down political voices.


-- Israel wants to project an image around the world that it is one of


an open society. Hello, school's out for Easter,


but schools policy is The Education Secretary Justine


Greening is to give a big speech She will undoubtedly restate


the aim of the government, to make better schools for ordinary


families, or the just But does the government


have a strategy for delivering that objective, in the absence of money


and student numbers growing? We know Theresa May is interested


in grammar schools, and today, the government announced another 131


free schools have been approved to open, creating


about 69,000 places. Chris Cook offers this assessment


of where things stand. We should all look at the cameras


and smile. Tomorrow the government's domestic non-Brexit extendable get a


rare airing. Justin Greening, the Education Secretary, will set out


her thoughts on what comes next for English education.


The English schools report card, though, isn't in great shape.


This graph shows average GCSE results.


It starts at the left where we have the results


from the children in the poorest neighbourhoods, moving to the right


The height of the line shows how well pupils


from that background did on average in English, maths,


What it shows is that the poorest children, at the left,


averaged around a D, and the very richest


That is a two grade gap. Closing that gap has been a focus of policy


the years, but this government wants to work on an ordinary working


families. That is to say not the poorest. You might think that


targeting particular pupils like Paul children like we do that that


would have any -- like Paul children like we do here, that it would have


a negative effect, but that isn't true. It benefits everybody in the


class. We have seen that from our work. And if you look at the best


scores they are doing well for the Paul children, the rich children,


and those in the middle. We've also not been that radical on helping


poorer children. This is footage of the process by which children get


places at some over popular US schools. It is quite hard to watch.


20. Still, it even harder for wealthier people to gain their way


in. England has another huge problem, geography. Going to school


in London in particular is very different to going to school


elsewhere. When you think of Westminster you probably think of


things like this, but behind all the pomp and circumstance and the


politicians here, there is actually an urban borough with serious social


problems. Happily Westminster has a really good schools that do a great


service by its poorest children, such as those eligible for free


school meals. You can see that if we go back to that measure of GCSE


performance across five subjects we used earlier. Poor Westminster kids


beat poor Isle of Wight students, here they get Bs and Cs, Cs and Ds


not. Here they beat the average of all children. It's much more


difficult to get teachers to move to the Isle of Wight compared with


London. Academy chains also struggle where local authority struggles


before them. We also know that areas with grammar schools don't do any


better than other places. Westminster's poor children get


higher grades than Kent's not poor children. There is a basic economics


problem. In short, it's running out of money. There are two issues


affecting funding. Schools are having to make their first real cut


since the 1990s. At the same time the government is proposing a major


shake-up of the school funding system, which will for the first


time ensure that similar schools are funded in a similar way. There are


winners and losers. In this case the losers are effectively losing twice.


Firstly from the national average cut and second any losses from the


new structure format. The government has coped just about with a baby


boom bust far, but that wave is about to hit secondary, so keep an


eye on it. -- bus far, but that wave is about to hit secondary, so keep


an eye on that. It is about to get hit very hard.


David Laws was a former Lib Dem schools minister


in the coalition government, and is now the executive chairman


Dr Jo Saxton - is a free school founder and CEO of Turner Schools -


an academy trust which was set-up to serve coastal


They will open one of the new free schools which was approved


How hard was it to get approval? Was it just a formality? It was a


rigorous process. The best part was we spent a lot of time consulting


locally with employers and parents, we really listened to what the


people wanted and hopefully we are delivering that. This will be a new


school, and Academy school, in Folkestone. It will be a brand-new


free school Academy in Folkestone, nonselective. Does it feel to you,


from your department, that they know what they are doing and they know


what the vision is for schools, and also how to make sure your school is


a good school? We are in a context where we need at least 400,000 new


school places by 2021. So prioritising new school places is


the most important thing. We know more and more about what makes a


good school from research, from people like the EDF, which you


highlighted earlier. David, do you think there is a strategy for making


schools better? We have seen some of the gaping holes and gaps and


discrepancies and differences, is there a strategy for overcoming


those? There is, but the problem is that it might not be a sound one. It


relies on having more academies that are freed up from local government


control. And also come under this government, having more grammar


schools, according to this government, which will select


pupils. Goblin is, firstly with academies, we know that where


academies have had strong leadership, and sometimes a lot of


money, for example Tony Blair early generation, they have added


impressive impact including from poor children. Other recent


expansion of free schools and grammar schools hasn't been -- the


other recent expansion of free schools and academies hasn't had the


same effect. So making sure the headteacher is good, and the school


knows what it is doing, basically? That's right. We have a lot of


autonomy in our schools system. Giving more autonomy to those who


already have that freedom doesn't make a difference. What makes a


difference is that school governors and leaders can get good teaching


staff, good headteachers, can do the basics well. Structural reform


doesn't always deliver that. On grammar schools it is more difficult


for the government, the evidence, grammar schools redistribute


educational opportunities, they don't raise overall attainment. Do


you agree with the basic contention that it has to be about how well run


the schools are, calling them academies, -- do you agree with the


basic contention that it is about how well run the schools are, not


what they are called, academies or whatever? Recognising that changing


the structure means the free school programme. The good thing is that


people have got excited about it. Who thought that was possible? My


free school group in Folkestone, we've had five applications on spec


from teachers and senior leaders enquiring about working there. I


think changing the structures has got people excited about education.


You were running a chain of academies in London. You are now


involved in a smaller chain in Kent. London schools are beacons for good


performance and good turnaround in the UK. What did they do in London


that worked, and are you able to bring that to Kent? That is what I


am trying to do in Kent. We have a tight jury graphical cluster in


Kent. We want to replicate that in Kent. The important thing about


academy structures is in a context of funding cuts we can work together


to do things efficiently and effectively to make a difference, to


prioritise front line teaching. You think organising is not the thing,


you think it is the leadership. I don't think that, that is the


evidence that the expansion of the programme, over the last few years,


has not led to that improvement in performance. You need a


counterfactual as to what the schools would be. We have those. By


looking at those schools that went on to become academies. Grammar


schools? Yes. The evidence that they don't work, that they are a


distraction from the government. Two points. First, virtually no poor


children get into grammar schools, so they are a bad vehicle for social


mobility. That's because most of the big disadvantages for young children


from poor backgrounds emerge before they take the test at 11. The other


thing we found, looking at the Department's information and looking


at grammar school and non-grammar school areas, it is true that


grammar schools have a small benefit for the pupils who get in.


Unfortunately, the more you have the more there is a dish benefit for


children who don't get in. -- there is a dis-benefit four children who


don't get in. There are some grammar schools who worked very hard for


deprived areas. In Folkestone, 20% of its cohorts are pupils in receipt


of the pupil premium fund... That is very rare. Most do not have any poor


children. I believe in success without selection. Grammar schools


have a place in a context where we need more school places and we need


diversity of choice for parents. We will hear Justin Greening 's speech


tomorrow. Thank you very much indeed. -- Justine Greening's speech


tomorrow. Rex Tillerson, the US


secretary of state, met President Putin this afternoon,


a new step in the evolving foreign Meanwhile the President


himself was speaking with the Nato secretary-general


in Washington this evening. The foreign policy evolved there


too; Mr Trump is a fan of Nato now. And despite the Syrian missile


attack, he was ready to make things We will see about Putin


over a period of time. It would be a fantastic


thing to get along with Putin and we get


along with Russia. That could happen,


and it may not happen. I tell you what I would


love to be able to do. Our diplomatic editor,


Mark Urban is with me. Mark, Tillerson's Russia trip


was meant to mark a turning point in relations -


did it deliver? A big moment. Yes, how did it go? It


is obvious Donald Trump would like improved relationships with Russia,


so everybody was looking forward to this. What we got was the meetings


of both the Foreign Minister and president Putin, and an


extraordinary press conference where they were going at one another about


their differences. Once the few phrases about it being good to have


a frank discussion came out, after that they went at each other,


criticism going both ways. Rex Tillerson, far from rolling back


sanctions on Russia, as some people suggested they would, seemed to be


suggesting there might be more on the way.


I think as to the question of the interference


with the election, that is


fairly well-established in the United States now,


and I think he's been spoken to on the hill as well


with the Congress, it is a serious issue.


It's one that, we know, is serious enough to attract additional


Where does the whole reset for Trump reset relations with Russia? I


suppose you can say that the President did this evening. I've


only ever said it is desirable but may not happen. It is extraordinary,


with the speed, that members of his platform have been jettisoned. Two


today, no longer labelling China a character manipulator. And that Nato


was no longer obsolete. An extraordinary turnaround. We've seen


quite a few of these. Is it the internal machinations inside of the


administration, the turf battles and feuding, does that drive a lot of


the direction of this? You can always say with an American


president, there's a difference between campaign language and what


they do, and way events then shape the Syrian gas attack, for example.


Then shape their platform once in office. But there has been a really


important change, I think. The real disrupters in the tent with Trump,


when he was inaugurated, Steve Bannon, Flynn has had to resign


after a few weeks in post. He was deeply in favour of improving


Russian relations. Steve Bannon look sidelined, general matters


apparently has some sort of deal, I've been told, by senior senators


not to make any sudden changes in policy.


Then we have the replacement, and in effect, Trump is being captured by


the permanent government in Washington. These people who have


held senior posts in the military, intelligence agencies, and


legislator, they have a sense of what is right and proper and


increasingly are seen to be driving it. Mark, thank you.


The Treasury organsied a conference in London today on Fintech -


a fancy label for a variety of technologies that promise change


Promise, or possibly threaten, because for existing banks this


The Governor of the Bank of England today preferred


Fintech has the potential to democratise financial services.


Consumers can get more choice, better pricing, small to medium


enterprises can access new and cheaper credit.


Banks themselves could become more productive, with


lower cost and operational resilience, and financial services


could become more inclusive with people better connected, more


But when you look at the big names in banking, they are often ones that


Have they managed to resist the technology that has wiped out


so many travel agents and book sellers?


Or have they introduced the technology?


Our technology editor, David Grossman reports.


Sun Jennings's business has blossomed in spite of the banks, not


because of them. Her florist stall at a busy London station was in a


prime location to grab commuters on their way home, except many of them


wanted to pay by card. She could not accept card payments. Getting a card


machine so that I could take electronic payments was out of the


question because it would be three to five days it would keep your


money from the mainstream banks, and they were charged so much per month


to use the machine, then you pay per transaction. It all adds up, you


cannot commit if you don't know. You can guess your turnover but


forecasting is guesswork and you do not know the reality. You cannot


sign in to contrasts which could cost you your business if you cannot


pay the banks that could close you down. The problem, everyone agrees


is a lack of competition. This is what the big five UK high street


banks look like before the unprecedented earthquake of the


financial crisis. The impact of this devastating once in a century event


was to cause two of them to merge. Because the banks were then pumped


full of government borrowed once said easing, they did not have to


compete for business. Tom Bloomfield is the CEO of the UK's newest bank.


They got their full banking licence just last week and is part of a new


wave of a technology-based institution designed to provide more


choice and better service. For example, things like unauthorised


overdraft fees, these are egregious, for some, banks charge ?16. Spam


e-mails come you can reject payments, I do not understand why it


should cost you ?15 for the spam e-mails. If I go abroad my bank


charges seven or eight pounds per transaction.


The government is trying to encourage competition.


The Treasury hosted a Fintech conference in London today, about


inspiring investment. The regulators in this country, the


government, forced through regulation and Challenger bank


licences. The big banks to wake up and to shake up the way they do


things. Challenger banks have shown in certain segments that you can


lend better and do credit better, and person-to-person payments


better. If those big banks do not follow suit, they will lose


customers. My iPad is my tale... For Sam, the answer came not from a bank


but a technology entrepreneur. The card reader she now uses is made by


Square, long established in the USA but launched in the UK only two


weeks ago. When will you see that ?10? Or PM tomorrow, working day.


The CEO of Square is also the co-founder of Twitter -- 4pm


tomorrow. Why is this technology next on the


list? It's not noticing the problem but it was a big job for our CEO, he


couldn't accept a credit card and lost a sale as a result. We saw that


another sellers we were talking to, they would miss out because they


could not accept payment devices that the buyer would to use. So we


learned really quickly about how to accept credit cards and make


hardware. The industry and what mattered most to the sellers, and it


was access and speed that was important. We built it, and it


resonated. There is another huge change coming next January, a new EU


directive called PST two, which would force banks to give customers


access to their data which should mean that new apps and ideas can


flourish. You might want to share it with a price comparison website.


Rather than having to type in the details of your car insurance, you


simply give them access to transaction histories, and they can


look through the last year and go, you can save money on your gas,


electricity, broadband, these are better providers... It puts the


power into the hands of consumers. I believe that fundamentally it will


probably be the biggest change in financial services, certainly in


Europe for a generation. Think back to streaming music. 20 years ago,


the idea that you would not buy a CD or vinyl and get a truck on the


move, inconceivable. This will do for banking what Apple has done to


music. But Apple and the other big


technology firms are already getting involved in financial technology and


it may be that ultimately, they are the big winners in the market. We


have seen Facebook launch bill splitting and sending money just


yesterday. Now, in messenger, you can send money and request money


from people, in the USA at least. It is a concern for us, the big banks,


that one of the big four that has come in and eat in every 1's lunch,


it is a huge market and there's room for a number of winners here. It is


perhaps too much to expect that people will ever send bow case to


their bank managers, but the revolutions in financial technology


should mean that people feel they have more of a choice and more of a


sense of control. Now, the story that has absorbed me


most this week is... That viral video filmed


on United Airlines and Not since Gerald Ratner has


there been such a self-inflicted corporate wound, exacerbated,


of course, by the name company corporate wound, exacerbated,


of course, by the lame company After mishandling it for 24 hours,


yesterday the company finally made a proper apology and today the chief


executive faced an interviewer on the subject and incidentally


gave the right answers Probably the word


ashamed comes to mind. You know, as I think


about our business and our people, the first thing I think is important


to say is to apologise to Doctor Dao, his family,


the passengers on that flight. In this stuff, all the stuff that's


been written about it, I do discern that all too human


desire for people to use these occasions to bolster the case


for their worldview. Shane Ryan in the digital magazine


Paste said, of United, they are a product of an indifferent


system that increasingly devalues individual life,


and that system is called America. Except they are conspicuously


good at valuing life Jeff Spross in The Week thought


United Airlines shows how inequality is putting the squeeze


on customer service. You can even see it in theme parks,


Disney World now offers its high dollar customer's premier hotels,


fine dining, VIP Tours, spa treatments and more,


while everybody else gets shunted into offsite lodging and bizantine


deals for cheap tickets. Or is it just normal that people


paying more would get finer dining Writer Helaine Olen tweeted,


make no mistake, the decline of customer service is part


of the political anger out there. Now, far be it from me


to defend America, or United, I really wouldn't, this was the most


ridiculous response to an awkward customer service problem ever


to have been caught on film. I've winced along with everyone else


and had thoughts of Fawlty Towers. For a man who is supposed


to be running a hotel, your behaviour, your behaviour


is totally incorrect... Is there anything


else I can get you? Look at that cheese,


isn't that lovely? Don't worry, a bit of cheese


went the wrong way. But does it really tell us much


about United Airlines? A secret policy of


beating up passengers? It has exposed weaknesses


in their overbooking system - probably that the levels


of compensation don't But was it not a random cock-up


rather than a meaningful one? It's nothing compared to say,


Volkswagen and the emissions scandal, that was pursued


for several years. Of course, social media demands that


any cock up caught on film, is properly punished; perspective


is not encouraged, incidents like this are too sweet


not to be savoured. Nassim Nicholas Taleb wrote a well


received book called Fooled by Randomness: he pointed out that


successful people often think they're clever


when they're simply lucky. Well, the inverse also may


hold: you can be unlucky, Joining me now from New York


is Felix Salmon, Senior Editor at the digital news provider -


Fusion and the journalist whose quote I just mentioned,


Helaine Olen. You wrote in the New York Times, we


saw your tweet there, are you guilty of reading too much into what was


obviously an enormous clock up and mistake? No, I'm not, what is going


up there, there is outrage posted on the Internet by the minute. Only


certain ones catch on. You must ask why this caught on. Why did


something else not? In this case, the answer is it tapped into


everything from people's frustration in feeling powerless against the


system, to the fact that yes, United seems a uniquely challenged


reputation out there. You spoke about demonstrating something about


militarisation in US society, governments out of touch with the


issues. I'm willing to bet that these were points on which you


already felt very strongly before you saw that video? These are


confirming your beliefs about America, rather than creating them,


correct? Well, they confirmed the beliefs about America as a lot of


people. Based on what you are writing and what others have said on


social media in the last 48 hours. This has gone on for the last three


days, not two days, excuse me. This isn't dying down in the least. It


seems to be tapping into any number of issues. Life is not either or.


Everything can be true at once here. It can be about powerlessness and


the system, be somewhat random and also about United commits all of the


above. Felix, what about you? You are right about this, it is going to


blow over and a lot of people will want to get their players


reinforced. A lot of people are looking for reasons to be outraged


now, we are in an incredibly polarised society where social media


does an incredibly good job of ramping up the outrage cycle. I can


already see that this is on the downswing. I feel like Sean Spicer


and his Holocaust clock ups overtook it at some point. It is bad for


United, their reaction made it worse. But ultimately, people are


still going to fly with them, it will not harm the company that much.


It did not hurt the stock prices that much... It knocked off $1


billion off the value of the company? Yes, that has not happened


since March the 14th, and then it went back up!


I would like to point out, it cannot hurt United because of the basic


reason of American life. United is a monopoly. Ten years ago we had nine


major carriers, now we have four. In a huge amount of markets United is


one of two. Even if people want to boycott it. As I tend to agree that


it'll blow over because most things do on social media, they couldn't


boycott it if they tried, unless they plan on not going anywhere.


They are stuck. Does it tell us anything about American capitalism?


All we have learnt is that people are angry. Everybody is in their


corners, everyone is fighting, everybody wants to get outraged,


which is not really news. Would you be surprised if I told you, because


you have read a lot of customer service into this, that people being


taken off flights is about half what it was in 1999. It is one in 1000


people. That is one every two jumbo jets. It isn't a problem, is it? Why


make a point about customer service? I think it is because, as I said,


United as they challenged reputation. If you look at customer


service data United is always close to the bottom if not the bottom.


Less than two weeks ago they were caught up in another social media


storm. Two young girls were reduced boarding because they were wearing


leggings and it was deemed inappropriate. If that is


inappropriate, so is half of American women walking around the US


right now, right? United seems to have had a particular problem with


this. This is going to come back up. The way societies think about things


is in little episodes, little stories that says something to


people and capture imaginations, maybe that is the way public


discourse works. Yes. We are storytelling animals. We always want


to try and lay our stories onto these individual discrete events


which happen. Right now we have a clear story in place. Everything


fits in. Thank you both. I doubt we will be talking about it on this


programme tomorrow. The peace process between Israel


and the Palestinians remains frozen, but meanwhile, Israel is itself very


divided, not least There have been fights over plays,


music, books, the funding The populist culture minister -


a rising star of the right - She is one of a new generation


of leaders who are unapologetic in their nationalism,


supportive of poorer dues of Middle-Eastern backgrounds


and of settlers in of Middle-Eastern backgrounds


and of settlers in Less tied to the values


of the old Europeanised So what is that


culture war all about? The Bastian of Israel's


liberal culture. At this theatre, the evening


show is sold out. This is a place for avant-garde


and fringe productions. This evening's play,


Palestine Year Zero, written and directed by Einat


Weizman. It deals with an insurance assessor,


who is estimating the cost of damage done to Palestinian homes


by the Israeli authorities. Before it was first performed,


the office of the culture minister A complaint had been lodged


because the play apparently contained messages of incitement


that undermined the state For the author, a very


uncomfortable situation. It was the end of the rehearsals,


and we became paranoid, because we were scared from everyone


who entered the door You were suspicious that the people


coming in to see the rehearsals had Yes, I started to be suspicious


of the cleaning people! For making art, you need


an autonomous place outside Israel likes to project


an image around the world that is one of an open society,


in which dissent is not persecuted. But there is a growing fear


here that a new generation of political leaders wants


to shut down critical voices. Some say the culture minister,


Miri Regev, is trying to gain control over cultural production,


putting the vitality of this country's culture and the freedom


of creation it has in jeopardy. Many talk of a culture war


that has been declared Even in the last year, Miri Regev


has become one of the most Her critics call her


Trump in High Heels. She generates a constant


stream of headlines. She has spent most of her career


serving in the Army, she became chief media censor


and then a spokesperson. A profile she made sure that


no one would forget... called artists arrogant,


hypocritical and ungrateful. And she reigns against


the liberal elite. She sets out a so-called


loyalty in culture plan, threatening to condition support


for cultural institutions and the contents they present,


or the place where they perform. Taxpayers are fed up


of being in a situation where they are paying money


for people who are describing themselves as an elite,


and are rubbishing the country. They say by all means,


go ahead and do it, but we are not That, I think, is the core


of what this is all about. So are you making the


case for censorship? So freedom of expression


with a limit? No, freedom of


expression and limited. -- No, freedom of


expression unlimited. Freedom to get government


funds is limited. Approval ratings show that a large


number of people believe that too. Miri Regev sees it as a cultural


revolution which takes us to one We followed her to


the occupied West Bank. That night was the first time


the National Theatre had ever A move that many say normalises


the residents of settlers And so here is a simple story -


not the question of settlements, Written by the Israeli Nobel Prize


laureate Shmuel Yosef Agnon. A tale of an impossible love,


at the turn of the 20th century, driving a young man


from melancholy to madness. The culture ministry issued


a memo that became known From now on, cultural


institutions that would perform in the occupied West Bank


would benefit from Those that wouldn't


may face funding cuts. For the artists who have so far


refused on moral grounds, For the public here,


it is a just recognition. If it is the National Theatre,


and it is a national budget, you must go everywhere


where there are people. But some of the performers


want to make their feelings clear. Before the show, the lead


actress visited the nearby She was guided by former soldiers


who now campaign to the occupation. -- She was guided by former


soldiers who now campaign Not a word, but her


face said it all. I can understand that the young


author, or a young playwright, can say I'm afraid I don't


want to lose by audience... -- can say I'm afraid I don't


want to lose my audience... Back in Tel Aviv, we met with one


of the liberal vanguard, AB Yehoshua, the 80-year-old writer


reflects on a society that is increasingly


turning sights inward. Their inner censorship is far more


dangerous than what you would call the government censorship,


or the government instruction. As the peace process


with the Palestinians remains frozen, and with new leaders leaning


towards more populous agendas, Israel is, for now, busy fighting


on the cultural front. But before we go, have you ever


wondered why your laces come undone? Some academics at the University


of California, Berkeley,


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