21/04/2017 Newsnight


In-depth investigation and analysis of the stories behind the day's headlines, with Evan Davis in Paris and Naga Munchetty in London.

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In half an hour from now, the French election campaign


By law, no party message can be broadcast, no


The end of the first round of an election,


The killing of a policeman last night has added


The poll leader, Emmanuel Macron, says no-one should be trying


to score political points out of the shooting.


We'll ask the Front National's campaign coordinator why


And we journey deep into the heart of France.


It says here that this monument symbolises the centre of gravity of


continental France. Meanwhile, here at home,


in our election campaign, Theresa May made a commitment


on foreign aid that Let's be clear, the 0.7% commitment


remains and will remain. We need to look at how that money is spent and


make sure we are able to spend that money in the most effective way.


Jeremy Corbyn has been telling Labour's story on the trail.


Frightened of the bear, this big Bear?


Party political pledges are being made.


How much will Brexit determine what this election comes down to?


Hello, mild evening in Paris, as it counts to an election


that promises change - whoever wins.


Hugely consequential for the EU, for Brexit and for the people here.


Today, the last day of the campaign was of course, the day overshadowed


by the killing of a police officer last night, just a few


Be clear, this has not been the same sort of shock


as previous incidents, not at all, life has


But it has affected the election campaign.


The fact that the killer - named today as Karim Cheurfi -


was known to the authorities, had been in jail before and had


previously attacked a police officer obviously became an election issue.


Does that benefit the candidates of the right?


Two of them made an argument that they would be tougher


on terrorism today - earning a rebuke from


What we know is that we already have an unprecedentedly


No voters anywhere are getting as wide a range


Populist right, populist left, traditional conservative,


Any of the top four candidates could make it


Paris in spring, the Arc de Triomphe's little brother, celebrate


Napoleon's victories and harks back to time the country was divided


between Conservative loyalists and liberals inspired by the French and


France has divisions today that are coming to a head in an election that


is in effect a four horse race. You've heard of Marine le Pen, tough


on law and order and immigrants. She was quick to judgment on yesterday's


killing. TRANSLATION: For ten years on the government is right and left


everything has been done to make sure we lose this war. We need a


presidency that acts and protects. And here is anti-globalisation and


your Broe sceptic and anti-NATO. He's on the left and has a canny


sense of and theatre. It's easy to imagine voters


switching between Jean-Luc Melenchon and Marine le Pen, because even


though they are so far apart on many things, they are on the same side of


the great divide. Ah you to hell and want to change everything? One


unlikely outcome on Sunday evening is that the two of them go through


to the final run-off. Unlikely, because they are actually fighting


over some of the same voters, but were that to happen, it would be a


Brexit moment for France, it would be a nightmare for the European


Union and it would be a good time to sell LE Eurocurrency might have. --


any euro currency. That's what the top candidates are trying to stop,


also promising change, Emmanuel Macron is leading in the polls.


Centrist, a social and economic liberal, and yesterday he secured


the Obama vote. Hello Mr President, how are you? Immanuel? Yes, exactly.


I'm doing very well. But he's young, untried and he worked in banking.


Fortunately for Emmanuel Macron, his rival has worse scandals against him


than that and has struggled to change the subject. TRANSLATION:


It's not just as they want, it's to break me, and not just me, it's the


right they want a break. The polls say of the four, and Marine le Pen


and Emmanuel Macron are most likely to go through, but are they right?


What is most striking in this election is that one of the two


favourite candidates, Emmanuel Macron, he gained ground and is now


better than he was, but he still has a proportion of voters that are not


sure that their choice is definitive, that they will go and


vote for him. Marine le Pen's voters, are they not more committed?


That's one of the characteristics of National front voters. When you look


at the outside candidates, Jean-Luc Melenchon, Marine le Pen, six of the


French candidates we never talk about but whose posters be spoiled


this otherwise beautiful city, their radical in their own way. Take all


of them together, their totals in the opinion polls come to almost


exactly 50%. And what that implies is this country is almost evenly


divided between those who want to overthrow the system and those who


want to adapt it. That's why one really natural outcome would be for


a final showdown between the two torchbearers of those sentiments.


Marine le Pen and Emmanuel Macron. He is expected to be the next


president in two weeks, but no one can be sure. Spring is the best time


to be in Paris, everyone knows that, and this is a spring that promises


to be like no other. The French polls are rather


interesting by the way - they have been clustering together,


and remarkably consistent; that either gives you the confidence


to believe their predictions Or, that the pollsters have some


sort of flawed group-think. But there has not been a poll


since February that's not made So to learn more about him, I spoke


last night to Benjamin Griveaux, the main spokesman of his party,


En Marche. And began by asking him


who he wanted to come second. You know, French voters will decide


who will be our opponent, but if we follow the polls,


it should be Marine le Pen. She's leading every poll


since two years now. Even if the polls are not that good


for her right now, she is still Populism in France, and it's


difficult to define, but we kind of know what we're


talking about when we use the term. You have Marine le Pen,


Jean-Luc Melenchon, you've got another seven or eight candidates


who you would describe as in the same vein


as one of those two. Their support adds up to 50%, half


the French population, doesn't it? The main issue, I think,


is unemployment. We have a 10% rate of


unemployment in France. We have 9 million people under


the poverty level right now, and people just want to get rid


of them, want to get rid of the usual solution


that the Conservative and the Labour Party in France


propose to them since 30 years. And those two main parties,


we should remind everybody, are doing very badly in the polls


when it comes to this But your candidate, Emmanuel Macron,


is painting himself Your candidate, the change


candidate, has worked for the Rothschilds,


and he's worked for He went to the top French school,


of course, so he knows What he did, and he took a huge risk


when he launched his movement. I mean nobody had ever done


that before in France, because usually if you want to run


for president, you start by being a congressman


for ten years or 15 years, you find a territory where you can


be elected, where people vote for you as a mayor,


and then as a congressman, or maybe as a senator,


then you are allowed Should the British be scared


of Macron winning this election? Because he is the most pro-European


of the major candidates, and, to some extent,


maybe the least sympathetic to a country that is trying


to negotiate its withdrawal. He visited Theresa May


last February. You know, he respects the votes


of the British people. As your Prime Minister says,


"Brexit means Brexit". So you need to have not punitive


approach of Brexit, for sure, A responsible and a clear one,


but obviously what we want, what the British are seeking


in these negotiations, it is kind of access to bits


of the single market and the Customs To access the single market,


you need to have a full freedom of movement and you need to pay


a financial contribution That, I think, is telling me that


you're going to be quite hard... We can work on, of course,


long-term agreements with the UK. I mean, France and UK


remains two close friends, and we will have to work probably


on strategy key issues, defence, I did want to just


finish on security. Does that play, do you think it has


an effect on the election, an election in which people


are feeling scared of change, potentially, feeling


that the country is in Do you think when there


are attacks of any kind, I mean, of course it takes a certain


place in this election. Of course we all have in mind


these images of Nice and the 14th of July and so on,


but I think that when you have a responsible


agenda on terrorism, French people are also


responsible people. They don't want their liberties,


their civil rights to be abolished in the name of fighting terrorism


and so on. We are very much attached to our


liberties and our civil rights. Benjamin Griveaux, thanks very


much indeed, thank you. We're joined by Jean Messiha,


who is campaign coordinator Very good evening to you. Your


candidate made politics of the murder of the policeman yesterday,


didn't she? I wouldn't say that. I think Marine le Pen has been talking


about this risk and this threat for months and years now, and she was


the only one, the only candidate to talk about that, the only


candidate... The only candidate to have talked about terrorism? Yes, in


this campaign she is the only candidate to have talked about


terrorism, to talk about the risk of terrorism and also the only


candidate to have asked the actual... Do you think is


appropriate the day before a policeman is buried to make a highly


divisive speech, at a time in the country... A very divisive speech.


It wasn't a divisive speech. She blames the politicians. Yes, because


we believe all that happened in the past years in the terrorist field


could have been avoided if serious steps would have been taken to


tackle them. She mentioned some steps today that were essentially


about deporting people, foreign and being investigated, by nationality.


Yes, blacklisted people. How would that have helped in the case of


yesterday? He was born in north-east Paris, how would that have helped?


He was followed, actually, by the police. How would it have helped to


deport him? He was liberated before his time... How would talking about


deporting people have helped in this case, a man born just outside Paris?


In this case it is not about deporting people, it's a lax


judicial power, releasing him before his full of custody. It wouldn't


have helped in this case. This morning, it's divisive to do so. No,


she was talking not only about this specific case. She was talking in


global, all the attacks that hit France in the last two years. It's


divisive to talk about deporting foreigners.... Again, it is not


deporting foreigners. We have 10,000 people who are blacklisted for


security reasons. And links to terrorism, so all of those who are


foreigners must be deported. The other ones who are binational must


be taken off the French nationality. And the French ones will stay here.


The French runs, we have an article in our law that allows us to


imprison them. OK. In her comments today, Marine le Pen said the left


and right have been doing everything to lose the battle against


terrorism. Why did Marine le Pen, in the European Parliament on the 14th


of April last year, against measures to introduce passenger name record


in European flights? It is the first thing the governments in Europe said


we need to do in order to protect the public. She voted against it.


We are attached to individual and public liberties. What right has she


got to say everyone is doing everything... The truth is they took


a measure, something we all want to do. Let me answer you. PNR is a


measure were all the passenger records must be gathered and


transmitted to the United States agencies. We are very attached to


individual liberties and it is not because we are fighting terrorism,


because we will threaten the individual liberties. Do you think


if Marine Le Pen wins, the bookies have put a 20% chance on that, do


you think she can heal the divisions in this country are due you think


she will stir up divisions? She is the only one who can heal divisions


because she is the only one to call for authorities back on the streets


of Paris and this state must use its authority to restore the state power


in the street and if the state is stable, in this case, you will have


massive terrorist attacks, more and more in quantity and there will be


civil war. Thank you for talking to us.


Much of the attention of this election has been on Paris and other


large metropolitan areas, where the issues of terrorism


and immigration have been felt most keenly.


But, it's outside the capital that this election


Gabriel Gatehouse has gone in search of the France's political


and geographic heart ...where three different villages compete


to call themselves the centre of the country.


Far from the tensions of the big cities, it is here


that the presidential election will be decided.


We're on a journey to the heart of the country, for it is here,


in the Cher region, that three small villages vie for the title


We've got lines and distances and calculations, a key


I don't know what it all means, but it says here that this monument


symbolises the centre of gravity of continental France,


not taking into account relief and excluding all islands.


We're not the first to try to pinpoint what they call


"La France profonde" - "Deep France".


The majority of French voters live in provincial or rural communities,


and yet the mayor says people here feel ignored by


Politically, he says, Verdun is divided, half


There is an ongoing battle here, to salvage a vanishing way of life.


For many, like this lady, a promise to put French people first


The issues that fuelled Brexit and Trump are at work


This region is a bellwether, as the Cher votes, so


does the nation, and so, our search for the geographical heart of France


It says here that this ought to be the


According to the calculations of the eminent mathematician and


Here they've got the church on their side.


Buying sausages in the central square, we


meet the oldest resident of the village.


94-years-old, she was in the French resistance.


She ought to know a thing or two about defending


"We need a President who is up to the job", she


"The centre has been ignored", her daughter tells me.


"But now", she adds, "deep France is stirring".


Solvay is ploughing it ever dwindling pot of central government


money into renovating local businesses.


In this way, the mayor tells me they hope to avoid the fate


Our search for the centre of France takes us to our final


contender Bruere-Allichamps, where they have a claim


that is perhaps even stronger than science or the church.


This is a third century Roman milestone.


It was moved to this ancient crossroads in 1799,


and it says here that I tradition this spot is designated


At the bistro at the centre of France, the mayor


is doing his bit to keep alive the tradition of the four


Unemployment in La Cher is more than 10%.


Once upon a time people would have turned to the Communist Party.


Local polls reflect the picture nationwide, but


We came across a supporter trying to give a last-minute boost to the


I think the French are very provocative, but they


At the time of voting, they are more balanced


and they think better and they don't explode.


So I have good hope, I have good hope, I keep my fingers


For years La France profonde has languished on the


political periphery, and if Trump and Brexit teaches anything,


Don't underestimate the power of a heartland scorned.


We're joined by two journalists who've followed French politics


Christine Ockrent was editor and chief of the L'Express


and Pierre Haski is the founding editor of Rue 89.


You know them because they have been on the show a lot. Normally you end


these things with your predictions, but I want to start by asking what


your predictions are. I wish you would not ask. This campaign has


been full of surprises and the latest polls to indicate always the


same trend, but in such a narrow circle. Macron is still ahead, Le


Pen comes second, but Fillon has come up as well. I think, it is too


early to tell. What do you think, Macron and Le Pen through to the


second round? That is what the polls say and normally that is what it


should be. I would not exclude a surprise, because we still have a


large section of the population that is undecided and we see it in our


dinner parties, families, people are still asking what they should vote.


There is really this uncertainty. There is a big thing in the Brexit


votes and the trumpet votes, the turnout of people and sometimes


people who did not usually go out and vote in large numbers, but who


did turn out, bigger than pollsters expected and presumably that


benefits Le Pen. Our system is so different, we have two rounds, it is


a majority vote, it has nothing to do with the referendum. That is a


simple question to a complex issue and it is one answer and it has


nothing to do with the American system. The turnout is usually the


key. If the turnout is low, that will favour Le Pen because she has a


much more solid constituency as a base. Why are the Macron voters


softer? They seem to be less committed. He is the new kid on the


block. He is not tested. He is a very limited experience. He has some


aspects of his personality which puzzle people. He has been a banker.


He has sometimes got this charismatic way of talking in his


beatings. He has some aspects of his programme that are liberal and


others that are very social and moderate. Who is he really? A lot of


people hesitate and I think people are tempted by Macron. It is a new


experience, he has got used and this country is longing for someone,


someone who incarnates the future and not the past. Do the Socialists


and the Republicans, who could quite easily come forth and faith... Which


means get out of the sea. That is amazing. Do they come back from


that? Is that terminal for them? I think they probably will murder one


another before... Seriously. It will be absolutely bloody, seen among the


Conservatives and the Socialists. When Macron launched his career, he


called it a movement. I think that is very significant. I think the


party system has exhausted its purpose and its life. People today


want to be involved in politics, people are not out of politics, they


want to take part differently and I think our old party system has


really reached the end of the road. Sometimes you compare elections and


say it is like the one in 1983 or whatever. This is not like any of


them. This is absolutely unique and I think there is not only a


generation of change, but there is a kind of mix of Democratic city, at


least with the system as it has been going for years, always the same


people. At the same time, how great deal of energy and a great deal of


resilience. Last night, Paris was supposed to be on fire. This


morning, first of all Paris was not on fire and secondly, this morning


people were jogging. What is so striking, the voters here have got


the most fantastic choice. No one can say there is not the full


spectrum. That is one of the issues. You have a choice that is different


from the usual line. It is not just right and left what we have had for


30 years, we are unhappy with the right and vote for the left and the


other way around, this time the dividing line is also about Europe,


open country, cross country and that crisscrosses every political family


and that makes this election different and also more crucial. The


clock has struck midnight in Paris. What a relief!


All right, that is all we have time for.


The estimated result of Round 1 will be at seven


It's not an exit poll, it's based on sample counts from


And they'll call the result as long as it isn't too close.


But - they've no experience of with a four way race


Get ready for it - UK election fever is coming


to a town near you - Or it already has if


you were in Swindon, Bristol or Cardiff today -


where Jeremy Corbyn kicked off his campaign outside London.


This afternoon, the eagle-eyed may even have spotted an extra


spring in his step - Close ally, Len Mcluskey,


If Labour is to succeed, it needs to pick up tens of seats


from the Conservatives, so what is the winning strategy?


Our correspondent, David Grossman, joined the Labour leader as he began


Jeremy Corbyn is beginning the fight of his life.


Rarely has a Leader of the Opposition started a campaign


with the arithmetic so steeply stacked against him.


The choice of this seat for the Labour leader's first


campaigning stop outside London is a statement of intent.


It's gone to the governing party in every election


Indeed, all the seats Jeremy Corbyn is going to visit today


are currently in the hands of the Conservatives.


Mr Corbyn's themes on class sizes, the minimum wage, zero hours


The queue for selfies afterwards shows that


But, even activists struggle to explain why this offer might win


Well, you have to get the message out there,


you have to understand why they would have voted


Conservative last time, I'm not sure why they did.


Me personally, I don't understand why that would be.


But if you offer policies that people can get behind,


like the minimum living wage, free school meals,


its policies for all parts of the population of Swindon.


The next stop is a children's centre in Bristol North West.


To win this seat, it's estimated Labour would need a national lead


To put that into context, there currently about 20 points behind.


Fitting then that the book Mr Corbyn is reading


It's all about overcoming a series of seemingly


Mr Corbyn doesn't need to wade through swishy grass or deep mud,


but he does have some formidable obstacles to negotiate.


In order for him to have the same slim majority that Theresa May


enjoys today, he'd need to win 100 seats.


And if we look at who has those 100 most winnable seats


for Labour Right now, one is Green, two Plaid Cymru,


three Lib Dem, nine are SNP, but a whopping 85 are currently


How can you convince people who voted Conservative in seats


like this to vote Labour when Ed Miliband couldn't


Well, we represent what are really very core values of this country.


Justice, fairness, equality, equality of


A health service that works for all, education service


Not having to rely on collections to run schools.


The final event of the day is an open air speech


in Cardiff North, a seat again that the Conservatives currently


hold and one that Labour hasn't won since 2005.


Although, it's not a bad size crowd for almost no notice


on a Friday afternoon, building real support,


enough to take a seat like this, is going to be a big


For some local residents, a visit from Mr Corbyn is more a curiosity


than an attraction. Do you think he is someone that can connect with


conservative voters? No way, no. Why not? I just don't think he has the


right ideas, to be honest. I think he's too far to the left. It's true,


Labour did win this seat in the Welsh Assembly election last year,


but Jeremy Corbyn certainly didn't have a starring role in that


campaign. Every election is difficult, you never take anything


for granted. There's a lot of work to do between now and the general


election. I'd said there's a mountain to climb that mountain is


can be climbed and today is the start of that journey Jeremy Corbyn!


Winning Conservative seat is a huge challenge, particularly since the


polls suggest Labour could struggle to hang onto many of the seats it


already holds. Tomorrow Jeremy Corbyn is due to start Labour's


defensive campaign in Labour seats in the north-west of England.


While Jeremy Corbyn was wooing the crowds in Cardiff,


Theresa May kicked off her campaign trail in Maidenhead -


The Prime Minister put a marker, of sorts, down too today -


attempting to snuff out speculation over the government's commitment


It will remain at 0.7% of national income -


to be spent, in her words "in the most effective way".


Tonight Philip Hammond has hinted he wants to scrap the Conservative


Party does not promise not to raise taxes, so how much will be


non-Brexit issues shape her campaign?


Joining me now is David Aaranovitch, columnist for The Times.


Ava Vidal, Comediand and Commentator.


Tom Newwton-Dunn, political Editor for The Sun.


Good evening. Welcome to you all. Quite interesting to start off with


some of the reaction of the front pages we are going to see tomorrow.


The Financial Times has said, fears of a Philip Hammond tax bombshell.


The sun, the headline, pay and this may. Tories ready to hit the white


van man. The Daily Mirror is saying the Tories' VAT bombshell, picking


up on Philip Hammond saying he will drop this pledge not to hike taxes.


What you make of this reaction? I think it's a perfectly natural one


for newspaper editors to look at some big policy announcements today


from Philip Hammond and Theresa May. Philip Hammond saying we're going to


rip up that promise we made only two years ago to not raise all these big


taxes and we may end up raising these taxes. And also potentially


dropping the triple lock on pensions, which means pensions may


go down. They are seismic, great events and they deserve their place


on the front pages. He hasn't quite said he will rip it up. He


says he is concerned about certain taxes restraining the ability of the


government to manage the economy properly. I think most people's


language that means rip it up. I'm astounded. I didn't expect the


papers to take this turn so quickly. They were pretty much all supporting


Theresa May and conservatives. At 1.I was really despairing, is there


anything these people can do they will not gloss over? It's


interesting. How significant is it, the reaction to Philip Hammond and


their foreign aid budget so early on? The front page of The Times


carries a story saying it Donald Trump will give the EU preference of


the trade deal. I regard these things as minor players in what is


actually all should be the major issue of the election. You're


saying... Get out the way early. The foreign aid one is quite


interesting. One of the questions you ask is, who is Theresa May? Is


she looked small-town Conservative who wants to keep foreigners out and


not pay foreign innate because sometime she seems a bit like that?


Or a globalising big business conservative, like Philip Hammond


would be, in which case you want to think about your responsibilities


and foreign aid is a big part of that. Tim Montgomery, the


Conservative blogger said today that actually he believed he knew that


Ruth Davidson, the Tory leader in Scotland, was a major influence on


Theresa May in keeping the 0.7%. But think about the Bill Gates speech


yesterday. Now tell me that Bill Gates didn't know that Theresa May


was going to do this in other words, she didn't take the decision, I


think, because Bill Gates made the speech. He made the speech to give


emphasis to the position she was about to announce. I would say


that's possibly a conspiracy to Fat. It's not a conspiracy. It is if you


don't believe it. Theresa May cancelled a meeting with Bill Gates


the day before yesterday, which was a pretty good idea. An 0.7%, the


devil is in the detail. I have a sneaking suspicion that this one


isn't quite over yet. 0.7% is only 0.7% if you go with the OECD


definition of precisely what you give to hoops. I think the


government will blurring this. So they will be keeping about more


money might go towards the Hebrides. Let's talk about domestic policy,


these policy statements or pledges and what they mean to the shape of


the election. Up until maybe now, it was considered a Brexit election. Is


that fair? Is it changing? That's what they were trying to make us


believe, a Brexit election while sneaking things under the table. I


think it's good people are noticing, going hold on a second. I think


there will be a U-turn. A U-turn? On the 0.7, I don't think they will go


through with it. Once they've seen a reaction like this, I don't think


the Tories will go through with it. They can't afford to be alienating


their room base. Can Theresa May afford to do such a U-turn? I would


say she can. Not only does she have to shore up centrist support and so


on, she doesn't also necessarily want to seem like a complete right


winger. Seeing as Ukip has almost collapsed, there isn't a great


threat after her right. The big threat all the parties face...


Jeremy Corbyn apart, the Tories face is low turnout. That's really the


big problem. It might come later, the question of expectation of


result. It might seem early at the beginning of the seven-week


campaign, but we can do that. I returned to


the point, all of this is kind of little bits of nit-picking detail.


That's what happens in an election campaign. It is if you concentrate


on it. The biggest question is if we as media focus down on the thing


that really matters, which is what her negotiating position is going to


be on Europe. How much money we have for everything. I want to focus on


the UK election at the moment. I mentioned Len McCluskey being


re-elected for the Unite union. How significant is that for him, in


terms of his standing? Supported by the party but not reflected in the


electorate yet? Know and I don't think it won't have any effect on


the election itself, because Unite were always going to be funding the


Labour Party, whoever was in charge. It gives him a confidence boost.


There are certain big theories among Labour MPs that even if Jeremy


Corbyn loses this general election, as it looks like he might, he will


stay on. Getting Jeremy Corbyn out of that job, even if he presides


over a catastrophic Labour Party might be very hard. It will be even


harder with Len McCluskey in charge of Unite. Kenny Darragh? Can Jeremy


win? I've been doorstepping and talking to people. I think there


will be more of an upset than people think. They are saying Jeremy is a


useless, can't win, he has no support. I've been on the road with


him, I've seen people's reaction to him. He's getting people interested


in politics who were not. I think it's so important for the Labour


Party to pull together and stop this infighting. When you actually speak


to people, that is the thing putting people off Labour. The other problem


the Labour Party might have is a lot of Labour supporters are pro-Remain


and very disappointed. I've been speaking to some people who say, we


have no choice, we will have to go to the Liberal Democrats, which is


ridiculous. It's like going back to cheating boyfriend. The last time


they campaigned on student fees and completely turned around. Does this


front-page mean the sun is backing Jeremy Corbyn? That might be


premature conclusion. Ask the editor but I think it's unlikely. Thank you


all for joining us. Now, before we finish, 70 years ago,


the Italian writer and Holocaust survivor Primo Levvy published


"If This is a Man" - a memoir To mark the anniversary,


Philippe Sands and AL Kennedy, in collaboration


with the Southbank Centre, have curated a special event,


to be held a week on Sunday at the Royal Festival Hall,


featuring readings from the book. The actor Samuel West will take


part, and he's here tonight to read You who find, returning


in the evening, May your children turn


their faces from you. Hello. We had seen is in very cold


air across Europe this week and we are in for a