26/04/2017 Newsnight


The stories behind the day's headlines with Evan Davis, with looks at the future of the pension triple lock and the purpose of Ukip. Plus HIV blood transfusions.

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It takes courage to tell the elderly you're taking away their triple


Theresa May didn't seem sure that she had that courage today.


Will the Prime Minister gave a clear and unambiguous


commitment to maintaining the triple lock?


We see, we have seen pensioners benefit


as a result of what we've done to the basic state pension.


Her head says the triple lock should go, but politics says otherwise.


We'll ask if a party leader with a 20% poll lead needs


Also tonight, post Brexit, what is the point of Ukip?


We sent John Sweeney to invade Clackton on Sea to find out.


I did, yes, and I voted mainly for Douglas Carswell and Brexit so I


And can you name this rebellious middle class tearaway?


His younger brother lifts the lid on what he was really like.


TRANSLATION: The shirt that we used to call the weekly shirt, because he


would wear it the whole week without washing it.


He was very untidy and people used to call him pig.


Elections are meant to be the best of times to debate


the grand strategic questions facing the nation.


The sublime arguments can get supplanted by the squalid


Even parties 20% ahead in the polls can't resist bribing the public.


Is that what is happening here with regard to pensioners?


An important question for this election is who should


get more of the pie - the old or the young.


The old have been doing relatively well, partly thanks


to the so-called triple lock, which ensures the state


pension keeps rising by the inflation rate,


or with earnings, or at 2.5%, whichever is higher.


It's kicked in while working age welfare and wages have fallen back.


So, as party manifestos are cobbled together,


is now the time to suggest to voters an end to the triple lock?


The subject came up in the Commons today,


Theresa May was not saying, and there is understood to be


a battle going on behind the scenes in the Tory party for whether to


A clear choice between a Labour Party who in government saw


the increase in the basic state pension of 75p in one year,


and a Conservative government whose changes to pensions mean basic state


Labour will guarantee the triple lock, Labour will treat pensioners


with respect and we won't move the goalposts to people looking


For the last 20 years or so it may as well have been a constitutional


requirement that politicians should campaign on how generous they plan


The rationale is surely not just that they are warm-hearted,


Cynics might note that, first, the elderly are a growing group


of voters and old people turn out to vote more than younger people.


In 1997, someone who was 70 had a much lower income


Pensioner poverty was a top tier social problem.


Since then, though, successive politicians have looked


When you adjust for housing costs, older people are now better off


The political incentives are still there, but the case


for spending a lot more on pensioners simply isn't


I'm joined by Nick Watt, our political editor.


Obviously everyone is writing their manifestos, this has turned into one


of those interesting debates for the parties. What's going on with the


Conservatives? A flurry of excitement this afternoon when the


Prime Minister declined to say whether she would stand by the


triple lock in the manifesto. I understand no decision has been made


and that Theresa May is taking a long and hard look at this, looking


at the costings. One cabinet member said it is a challenge to meet the


costs. She's looking at polling data to see what people think. The


balance she wants to strike is a fair deal for pensioners while doing


more for young people, what the geeks called intergenerational


fairness. What are the options? Option number one is that you stick


with it for the entirety of the next parliament, the thinking being that


given that inflation is going to be running at or above the Bank of


England target of 2%, why not carry on with the triple lock because


pensions are going to be decreasing by about 2.5% anyway? Number two,


you stand by the Conservatives' current commitment to keep it until


2020 but after that you give yourselves more flexibility by


moving from a triple lock to a double lock, under which you scrap


the 2.5% target and go for increasing it with whichever is the


highest, inflation or highest earnings. If you do that you are


coming into line with the review by John Cridland, the former head of


the CBI, who talked about getting rid of the 2.5% target, increasing


the retirement age in the late 20 20s, 268, which would save you money


which can be on social care. Where is the Conservative manifesto?


Monday the eighth. A lot of pensioners struggle but in


pensioners past, pensioner poverty was far worse than it is now.


It was part of the landscape rather like the care crisis is these days.


A sustained, concerted effort eased the problem.


But is it time to stop giving special treatment to pensioners?


We asked to speak to the government but no one is available.


I'm joined by David Cameron's former pensions minister Baroness Altmann


and by Ian Blackford who speaks on pensions for the SNP.


It was they who asked the question that got some indecision from


Theresa May. You aren't a fan of this. You were in government, you


are part of the party that pledged it, what is wrong with it? The


triple lock made sense when it was first introduced because pensioners


had fallen behind and it guaranteed that you would be increasing their


pensions but actually it's a little bit of a trick because it doesn't


apply to all of the state pension, only bits of it. In fact it doesn't


apply to the pension credit, which is what the poorest pensioners are


on. The you want to look at that Mac pensioners, they are the ones you


want to most protect. So this 2.5% which is this arbitrary figure...


Wife 2.5%? -- why to buy 5%? Effectively it doesn't have any


economic rationale. You want pensioners to keep up with the cost


of living, average earnings, you don't want them to fall behind the


rest of the economy and we must protect pensioners but I think the


triple lock... You'd be happy with the double lock? The double lock is


the fairest and it is the best for the young because otherwise there is


the pressure to increase the state pension age. We heard about the 75p


increase in pensions that we had some years ago and your guest talked


about this but we have 6.5 million pensioners. There are 77% of


pensioners... Is it just your constituents? Why would you make a


pledge for pensioners across the party? Why not make a pledge for


child benefit? The situation in 1979, the state pension was 26% of


average earnings and if the triple lock was to remain until 2020


according to John Cridland it would only get. Pensioners are playing


catch up. It isn't their fault that we haven't had real wage growth. We


need to make sure that we have that, you don't take it out on the


pensioners. You aren't taking anything out on the pensioners if


you take away the 2.5% as long as you have the double lock to make


sure that they don't fall behind the economy and keep up with the cost of


living. You must also apply it to the pension credit because that's


what the poorest pensioners live on. What's really going on here, I don't


want to get stuck too much in this but you are just playing politics


because you're never going to be in a position to implement it because


you are not a national party. You're trying to trap the UK Government


into committing themselves into something that maybe impractical.


Pensioners must have dignity in retirement. The problem has been


about the increase in the pensionable age and this is a


consequential we would make. We have made commitments to pensioners that


we would make sure we deliver this under an independent Scotland. We're


talking about the response ability have two the elderly. What is your


advice to the Conservative Party who obviously thinking about their


manifesto? Keeping the triple lock will increase the pressure on the


state pension age, pushing it up is unfair. That is unfair on younger


people. They will have to pay for the triple lock and they will have a


higher state pension age. I think keeping the triple lock until now


has been fine, if you want to keep it until 2020, that's the commitment


that has been made but beyond that, it's a political construct. She must


think the same as you, I would have thought, don't most experts think


the same? It's a logical. Is she being cowardly? She's going into the


election as a strong leader but she's looking very indecisive on


this. You don't really need to make a commitment now on this issue, as


long as you committed protecting pensioners properly and the triple


lock doesn't protect... If you take to the OBR numbers, we've looked at


the House of, is library, pensioners would be ?872 worse off if the


triple lock was taken away. That shows you're taking a lot of money


from the rest of the population. There is a 30 billion surplus in the


National Insurance fund. Which is used to cover everything. The fact


that we can protect pensioners and it can be done through the National


Insurance fund... Who is the more progressive of the two of you? The


SNP call themselves more progressive. I think we need to get


away from political nonsense and the 2.5% is a political construct, it


isn't logical and it has consequences that are damaging not


only for pensioners because increasingly as we go forward Mike


the oldest and poorest pensioners will fall behind. Theresa May, the


figures are that she has 62% support among the over 65s. If you're going


to take a difficult decision for them, wouldn't you be able to do it


if you have 62% support? Or if you win with a big majority. We know


that the triple lock isn't going to stay for ever, it's a question of


when it's going to go because you can't keep on with this arbitrary


figure, it isn't sensible policy. Thank you for joining us.


One question that has been gripping Westminster insiders


is whether Boris Johnson will be "weaponised" for the election


His style clearly attracts some voters, but it is very different


Mr Johnson gave a speech at the Mansion House tonight


and the personality projected was more Foreign


What do we know about the role of Boris? Boris Johnson is clear to --


keen to show himself after a good Foreign Secretary after his bruising


experience when he cancelled a Moscow visit. A source told me it


was cancelled under pressure from Number ten because the Prime


Minister feared he would market up. The language was a bit more


colourful -- would muck it up. There is some speculation about whether he


is a semidetached member of the cabinet and whether he would be


sidelined in the general election campaign. Tomorrow we are going to


see a very Boris Johnson intervention because in an article


in the Sun he's going to say that people are wrong to regard Jeremy


Corbyn as just eight mutted headed mugwhump, he will say that he is a


threat to the UK because he doesn't support Trident. This is an


important political message on the day that a opinion poll says that


the Conservative lead is down to 16 points. The message is that


Conservative supporters shouldn't be complacent, it isn't in the bag.


Thank you for joining us. Back in the 2010 general


election, UKIP got just 3% It shows a lot can change


over a parliament. And it's been quite a journey


for the party in the last couple of years and not altogether


a smooth one. The party hoped to steal Labour


votes among blue collar voters, but the striking feature


of the campaign so far is that Theresa May is doing her best


to steal UKIP votes John Sweeney has been around


the country, looking at how post The Essex Riviera,


what's not to like? It was here, three years ago


that the great Ukip revolution that was to transform


British politics took fire. But now that they're great


policy of Brexit is in train, you've got to ask,


what's the point of Ukip existing? In the Brexit referendum


last year, Clacton raised its middle finger


to the European Union. The space invaders from


Brussels got zapped here. It is one of the most


pro-Brexit towns in We must be a party for all


Britain and all Britons. Its former MP, Douglas


Carswell, stood down after the Ukip donor Arron Banks


said he would run against him. There's is no point to them,


they've done their job. I did, yes, and I voted


mainly for Douglas So I doubt if I'll


vote for them again. Hello, Mr Banks,


you're not standing? I wouldn't say that,


there's a wonderful local candidate who spent two hours discussing


the local party and I decided to


stand aside for him. Do you think Ukip


nationally is a happy ship? The party's chaos in


Clacton is mirrored Ukip's fortunes in Wales


illustrated its problems Former Ukip MP and Welsh assembly


member Mark Reckless Ukip's kingpin in


Wales, Neil Hamilton. His immediate predecessor is Nathan


Gill, the king over the water. Well, what's happened


to Ukip in Wales has been It's the problem in two words


called Neil Hamilton. I think if you look


at how Wales was until Neil Hamilton came into Wales


and how Wales is now, now, for the first time ever,


we have more former For any political


party to be in that Only last year, Ukip


broke through in the For the local elections next month,


they are standing in Ukip at one point had more


energy than any other Now, the picture you're painting


is one of total chaos. I wouldn't say total


chaos but I would say that basically the wind has been


blown out of the sails of many of the members and we need


to find that wind again, For a lot of people


that has now gone. We'd better find it


again otherwise there I believe that we can find it again


but we need the leader of the party to guide us and direct us


and to inspire the membership. Here in Wales, the


leader in Wales, I'm The challenge for


Ukip is they've lost their great charismatic leader


and worse than that, with Brexit being triggered,


they've lost the thing You've got a party of


rebellion without a cause. Time, perhaps, to quiz


Welsh punters about Ukip. The United Kingdom


Independence party The contestants are taking our quiz


entirely seriously. Ukip wasn't founded


by Salman Rushdie but most One semi serious question,


out of interest, do you think that after Brexit


happening there is a purpose for Yes, certainly, because Nigel


Farage, who went to Europe and What job have you got,


what is your name? He endorsed the fact


that the people, the European MEPs, who are they,


what are they doing with us? I think with Ukip now,


right, they must make sure that Brexit is


delivered in the right way. The folk down the pub reflect Wales


as a whole, which gave the thumbs up for Brexit but here,


Ukip are not cashing in. How does their leader


explained that failure? Isn't the truth that Ukip in Wales


is in a bit of a pickle? I don't think it is,


the party members are Newsnight has seen


e-mails from Mr Hamilton which paints a rather


different picture. The e-mails are extraordinarily


critical of some Ukip figures including former


Ukip leader Nathan Gill. "Gill is a crook and


a liar, idle, venal and Yes, I think it is a


happy ship in Wales. But you're calling the ex-leader


a crook and a liar. He's the one who can't cope


with the consequences of We've lost one or two people


who were perhaps the cause of And I think we're


a united bunch, actually. Mr Gill told Newsnight


Mr Hamilton's claims Whatever Mr Hamilton


is doing in Wales, it's worth noting that


in the general election, all four of Ukip's


barons, Nigel Farage, Arron Banks, Douglas Carswell


and Mark Reckless have, for now,


left the field of battle. Ukip, to be fair, has changed


the course of British But its future, well, some people


think that's in the past. Now, listen to this from 1987,


a BBC report 30 years ago. 1,200 patients may die after


receiving treatment which was known The authorities knew


about the danger but the government In what is said to be


the biggest medical disaster since the health service was set up,


more than 1000 people with haemophilia have been infected


with Aids antibodies after being treated


with what should have been Even when it was discovered that


dangerous viruses could be eliminated by heat treating


the subject plasma, it took the government four or five


critical months before And some blood donated before


the treatment was introduced could still be in stock


in a potentially lethal pipeline. The legal question is what redress


these innocent victims of aids may have against the government which,


in crude terms, has contributed Well, the former health secretary,


Andy Burnham, who is stepping down as an MP at this election,


chose to use his last speech to the Commons to talk about that


contaminated blood scandal. From what I know I believe that this


scandal amount to a criminal From what I know I believe that this


scandal amounts to a criminal Tonight I want to present direct


evidence to support that claim. In total, 2,000 deaths have been


linked to the contamination, many of them haemophiliacs who have


died from HIV or hepatitis. There was an apology from then


Prime Minister David Cameron two years ago, but the issue


is far from closed. He is the co-founder of the campaign


group Tainted Blood. You were probably glad to hear Andy Burnham


talking about it. We have been waiting for this for 30 years, yes.


You were a child receiving blood through these transfusions. Tell us


about your case. I was infected in 1982 when I was five. We know now


that the blood transfusions were infected, but they were used anyway.


My parents were not told until I was seven or eight. Did they know? Yes,


they did, they knew for a while. And you were infected with what?


Hepatitis B. And your parents did not tell you? It seems to be the


fact that people were not told and there is a terrible consequence. We


know patients were being monitored for infectivity trials, especially


patients who had not been treated before because they did not know how


the progress of the disease would be transmitted in blood. The terrible


consequence was that people who were sexually active and in relationships


were infecting their partners and there were several people infected


during that terrible time. How are you now? I am recovering. I was


diagnosed with full-blown aids when I was 16 and missed about four years


of my life being in hospital and expecting to die until a new


combination therapy came out. But slowly I have been recovering since


then. I am pleased to be able to be here now as part of the contaminated


blood group, Tainted Blood. What did you think when David Cameron made


that apology? A lot of us thought the issue had been dealt with. A lot


of us thought so as well and that was the last speech of David Cameron


where he made those promises. But since then his apology has found to


be pretty hollow and meaningless. The other pledges he made at the


time to settle this financially as far as justice is concerned have


been pushed aside. What is the legal situation? A lot of people say you


take the NHS to court and you get decent compensation because they


have done something awful. In 1990, we took the NHS to court with my


parents at the time. People were dropping like flies so they came up


with a settlement, an out-of-court settlement, in which we were forced


to sign waivers basically saying we would not sue for any further money.


People needed the money urgently. They did, I had hepatitis C at that


point. The government did, but we did not, so they made us sign


waivers. You cannot go back for money. Which is why you what now...


It is our only rude, a judicial enquiry. You waved away the right.


That is an interesting case. Thank you so much.


For the moment for election reasons it's more like Policy Ideas Night,


not Viewsnight, but Policy Ideas doesn't rhyme with


This evening, the journalist George Monbiot offers us


a suggestion on the funding of political parties.


When you add up the money spent on the European referendum,


you find that the Remain side received 48% of the political


Say what you like about a General Election campaign,


at least we get to discuss politics on this programme, a change


from the endless chatter about art and film.


But before our culture man takes his long-overdue


spell in the sanatorium, he has an important offering for us.


It's 50 years since the death of that celebrated icon of cool,


Che Guevara, one of the leaders of the Cuban revolution.


Now Che's "kid" brother, Juan Martin Guevara,


who's in his mid-seventies, has published a memoir called Che,


My Brother, about life with the revolutionary.


He has given us an exclusive interview.


What, if anything, can we learn from the late firebrand


of international Marxism, at this moment of


Stephen Smith has this exclusive report from Buenos Aires.


It's been called the most famous photographs ever taken.


It once appeared on student walls more dependably than damp.


It's 50 years since the revolutionary was captured


In terms of his photographic contact sheets at least,


he left a good-looking corpse but what is Che's legacy


Newsnight's come to Argentina, Che's birthplace


for an exclusive interview with his little brother.


Juan Martin Guevara is speaking for the first time


Now in his mid-70s, he says he wanted to describe


TRANSLATION: I was the little brother and he was the big brother.


I used to have great times with him because he was really funny.


We used to fight and we called each other rude names.


In previously unseen home movies like this one,


the precocious Ernesto or Che Guevara, the eldest


of the children, already seems to have a certain rebellious streak.


A few short years later, in 1959, Che and comrades including


Fidel Castro overthrew the regime in Cuba to usher in a revolution.


He became Comandante Che and signed the country's banknotes.


When Juan Martin was in his teens, he and his family were flown


to Havana to meet Castro and the all conquering guerrillas.


When we arrived, everyone was on the streets


They were happy because they felt liberated from the bloody


It was an incredible moment for them.


And for me, being just 15 years old, it was even more incredible.


Che is seen by many people in the world as a sort of icon of cool.


Is that how you remember your brother?


He had a shirt that we used to call the weekly shirt


because he would wear it the whole week without washing it.


He was very untidy and people used to call him pig.


He didn't take care of his appearance, at least


When he became Che he realised that he was a mirror


He looked at this mirror and people looked at it too.


Juan Martin takes me on a trip to another part of Buenos Aires.


Is he anything like his more famous brother?


It's all quite funny and it runs in the genes, doesn't it?


We're going to the upscale neighbourhood where the middle-class


Their old house stood at this corner but there's no sign of it today.


Until now, Argentina's political class, with decidedly mixed views


about the late fighter, had been in no hurry


In Buenos Aires, there are no signs saying


Che Guevara was here but from June, there will be a plaque.


We have waited for a long time for the City to recognise my brother


lived here and that afterwards he became the famous Che.


What's that sound I hear coming from the old convent?


You know, with its dark and throbbing intensity,


the tango seems the perfect music to conjure the shade of Che Guevara.


But what kind of beat exactly are his countrymen


Like a thief in the night, recession has stolen people's


earning power here and the country moves forward on pigeon toes.


There was a national strike earlier this month


And so to one of the poorest areas of the city where football is as far


from the silky samba stereotype of the South American


It was here that Maradona got his break.


And like him, the streets around here are inked with Che.


He's kind of patron saint to people leading hard lives,


discouraging on what other people throw away.


With brutal effrontery, international capitalism has also


co-opted the revolutionary's face, to sell trinkets and souvenirs.


"Let's clone Che Guevara," sings satirist Pablo Marchetti.


"Yes," the song goes on, "but the only way we could pay


for that is by selling tonnes of Che merchandise."


What does he make of Guevara's legacy?


TRANSLATION: Everybody sees different things in Che but we can't


deny there is rebellion, courage and consistency about living


according to how you think and carrying on with this


This is Che Guevara's greatest gesture, giving


We shouldn't wait for the arrival of a Che Guevara or a saviour.


I think people worship him and hope that someday there will be


But others take a rather different view of the boy who grew up to be


Some people would say that your brother had


a discreditable past, the way that people associated


with the Batista regime were punished in show trials


TRANSLATION: They did have trials and they had their own lawyers.


They were killers and they were sentenced.


Not all of them, only those who were killers were sentenced.


It should be pointed out that there were 20,000 murders


The causes that Che fought for, equality, equity and solidarity,


We leave you with the work of the Children's Hospital


of Philadelphia, as reported in the journal Nature


Communications, where a team led by surgeon Alan Flake has been


taking the mess out of pregnancy by gestating his foetuses


in a plastic bag, which is a lot harder than it sounds.


Nor is it very romantic, and he's only using it on sheep


for now, but who knows, it could catch on.


# She says soon you'll hear the beat of an unborn heart.


# This is the answer you've been searching for so hard.


# As I listen for the unborn child's heartbeat.


Cold and frosty start to the day in the southern


The stories behind the day's headlines with Evan Davis, with looks at the future of the pension triple lock and the purpose of Ukip. Plus HIV blood transfusions, political funding and Che Guevara.

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