03/07/2017 Newsnight


The public sector pay cap, allegations about the SAS in Afghanistan, President Trump's tweets and veteran music producer Clive Langer.

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I think we should listen to the pay review bodies who govern each


individual area of public sector pay.


Has the government being underpaying nurses and teachers, Mr Secretary?


The deficit problem has not exactly been cured but things have changed


since 2010 and politics sees other issues as more pressing,


none more so than pay for five million public workers.


A veteran deficit slayer gives us his view.


If you're struggling to keep up with the Trump


social media strategy, we'll give you the latest.


And more to the point, we'll discuss what it says about him.


What have this lot have got in common?


The answer is music producer Clive Langer.


When I wrote with David Bowie, we met socially a few times.


The debate over what replaces austerity is under way and public


The 1% cap on pay rises remains for now, but there are those


in government who want more pay for public workers, paid for by tax


rises, others who think we should borrow to pay more and,


presumably, others who think the pay cap should stay for the next few


years until the deficit is definitively slain.


The economic arguments are interesting given


that the deficit is not the problem it was.


But the politics is even more interesting -


even among a certain class of deficit headbangers


And then there's the fact that the debate about it


1000 firemen from all parts of the country had for Hyde Park in the


rain to publicise the demand for higher pay. Public sector pay has


long been an issue and an emotive one. One claim for more money that


everybody supports except the powers that be is for the nurses. 2010 is


when the latest vagaries affected public service. The government is


asking the public sector to accept a two-year pay freeze. That was


followed by a 1% cap on pay rises. Year after year, who knew we would


still be talking about it in 2017? The problem is that in delivering


spending cuts each small sounding 1% saved on public sector pay lops


almost 2 billion of public spending. For ages restraint seemed like easy


money for the Exchequer. And there was a holy trinity of arguments in


favour. One, back in 2010, the need to make savings was greater with the


deficit running at 10% of national income. Two, the justification was


clearer. Public sector pay was running perhaps higher than


equivalent private sector pay. Three, public sector workers had not


seen their pensions as badly curtailed. In 2010 public sector pay


was a relatively attractive thing to hold down because it had done better


than private sector pay in the years following the recession. Therefore,


the government might have thought it could suppress public sector pay


growth without too much pain in terms of people leaving and getting


jobs in the private sector. But now all three of the trinity of


arguments have diminished. The deficit is smaller. The public


sector pay advantage over private sector workers has shrunk away and


public sector pensions have been trimmed as well. So, is Whitehall


ready to declare austerity dead? Cautious economists may worry that


the public sector has only got two modes, tap shut or tap gushing. With


urgency over the deficit gone, it will not be careful using pay


restraint on a case-by-case basis. No, it will be a money rush. It


takes strong leadership to stop it happening and with minority


government we do not have strong leadership. Which is why it seems


post-austerity politics has been unleashed in an ill disciplined way.


Let's not jump ahead of ourselves. The policy has not changed for now,


but the talk has surely gone too far for the direction of travel to


remain unchanged for long. Our political editor


Nick Watt is here. Tell us more about the goings on and


the behind the scenes issues. There is irritation in the Treasury


bordering on fury that now we have had a third of the Cabinet


signalling they want that 1% public sector pay cap to be reviewed. Item


hearing talks these ministers are virtue signalling and what has


happened to the constitutional principle that the Prime Minister is


first among equals? All the Cabinet think they are equal. In a speech


tonight to the CBI the Chancellor said there is no change to the


policy of striking the right balance of being fair to our public servers


and fair to those who pay for them. But he said the government is


continually assessing that balance and in a sign of how complex he


regards this, he says there should be a grown-up debate on how to fund


public services and the only way to do that sustainably in the long term


is by growing the economy. A grown-up debate. Why can't we have a


childish debate! Do you think Philip Hammond can do anything about this?


Will he? This is a minority government so it feels that the


Chancellor may well act in his budget later this year and Mason the


signal in the run-up to that budget. Interestingly in his speech tonight


he said the spike in inflation due to currency depreciation has led to


what he has called frustration over the stagnation in real pay growth. I


understand there is a concern between the gap between that 1% pay


cap and inflation which is currently running at close to 3%. I think what


we could be looking at later this year is movement in that area by


putting a link between inflation and public sector pay rises. Maybe not a


real terms rise in pay, but what you could maybe see is perhaps you could


have a rise in pay at 1% below the CPI. The consumer prices index.


Ken Clarke was Chancellor of the Exchequer between 1993


until 1997 as well as a number of other senior Cabinet roles.


He spent money as well as dishing it out, but in his years the deficit


came down substantially. Is there an economic case at the moment for


continuing with the pay restraint in the public sector beyond this year?


Yes, there is, until the economy shows signs of definitely recovering


from the current serious slowdown. Now we are a minority government,


but one that is intending to go on, and we have to work out our aims. I


presume we will carry on for a few years and we will have a successful


government which means we show we are confident, we have a reasonable


economy, we avoid going into recession and we get nearer a


reasonable Brexit deal and we achieved reasonable growth. If


everyone is going to get into the lobby of the week and this year it


is public sector pay... The politically vulnerable. What you


cannot do is give in to that. What would be disastrous and silly


economically would be putting money in to fuel a biased in pay in the


public sector pursuing inflation. You are making out the case for


public sector pay rises is weakness and stupidity and you have retention


problems which means you have to pay them more. The public sector used to


be paid more than the private sector and that has gone now. You can rely


on that. In parts of the country you have secure and reliable jobs.


Nurses are so popular, they are highly respected by me and other


people and they are on the front line and we have a problem with


nurses. Brexit has meant devaluation which has meant this country is less


attractive for nurses to work on and people have gone back. Whatever the


cause, basic economics means if you are short of people, you pay more to


get them. How much are you going to give? If the government gives into


this, it will not get any credit for it. Firstly our opponents, the


Labour Party, will say it is not enough, you have abandoned the cap.


The newspapers and the political bubble will say another defeat for


Theresa May and the Chancellor. That is what happened to the very


sensible decision on abortion for Northern Ireland women which Theresa


May was extremely anxious about, but it was portrayed as a defeat for


her. You say the politics mean you have to stand firm. Responding to


Labour's manifesto which was rather popular, responding to that by


getting halfway on matching certain things is not going to work? If you


are in government you have to take tough, difficult decisions which are


in the general public interest, including public servants, because


you wish to keep a strong, growing, modern economy. Throwing money about


to make yourself more popular next week is a mistake. When you were


Chancellor you got the deficit down. It was not starting from such a high


base. You took on popular actions. You put up taxes and you cut


spending and you did them in about even measure. That was a political


choice. You thought, let's be a centrist government and we will do a


bit on spending and a bit on taxes. George Osborne's austerity was very


different. It was more than 80% on spending. He did not put up taxes.


You could say it has gone too far on the public service side and we need


to spend more and we need to put up taxes to pay for it. He took over


from a very high taxing government, so he was restrained. What you have


to do is address the reality of the economic situation of the moment.


Behind all this somebody used earlier the phrase grown-up


politics, if you are in government, unlike these other people floating


around doing interviews, you have to look at the reality and your duty to


deliver is an economy which in a few years' time is better than when you


took over. The Labour Party held, but when we reached the election we


were miles ahead of them in the opinion polls on the economy. What


do you think Philip Hammond means by grown-up conversation? It addresses


the extremely serious economic problems we face. Is not grown-up at


the moment? Make a cheap political point. It is the politicians as much


as the media, in the political bubble, it is not grown-up at all.


Brexit has stimulated a devaluation and inflation and living standards


are dropping and we are the slowest growing economy. Gove and Johnson,


those who wanted Brexit, are those who have been out in the last 24


hours suggesting public sector pay needs to be raised. I think your


clips span what Michael said. You have cut out all the stuff when we


talked about fiscal discipline. No one else is doing that. I am


delighted to see Cabinet ministers being let out, being allowed to do


what Cabinet minister should do, and go out and talk about politics and


defend their policies and explain why they are doing things. Philip


should do more of it, to Reza may should do more of it and go back to


sensible discussion. All this PR rubbish about slogans, get rid of


it. They need to practice otherwise they will get spun to make mischief.


You are saying we should not worry. They need to be reminded they all


got to contribute to the serious job in hand otherwise the whole Cabinet


will go down if they respond to populist urges and make a mess of


the economy when people look back in a few years' time. You will make a


mess of the economy if you pour money in and about will have to


raise interest rates, you will cast serious doubts on economic ability.


You cast the public sector pay issue as populism, a word bandied about a


lot. You see it as all part of one and the same. It is this week's


media campaign. The nurses and doctors settled for 1% without any


particular the murdered's months ago and suddenly it is the great


passionate cause of the day. You famously called Theresa May a bloody


difficult woman. She took that as a badge of honour and was quoting it.


Do you still think she is a bloody difficult woman? She needs to be


difficult. Is chic or is she a pushover? I hope she proves to be a


bloody difficult woman and says, we have the serious task of government,


let us follow grown-up politics or we will be stuck in that cliche. We


have an economic difficulty, we do not want to be left behind by the


developed world, we have a lot of tough challenges, we are not


suddenly throwing money about so that we can beat the Labour Party


and say we are giving everybody a pay rise will stab you will set of


private sector pay rises and set off interest rates and cause a blow to


confidence and cause further slowdown.


For the past three years the Royal Military Police, the RMP,


have been investigating hundreds of cases of alleged wrongdoing


Yesterday the Sunday Times reported claims of a cover up of dozens


of unlawful killings by what the newspaper described


The Sunday Times reported that fewer than ten cases are now


being actively investigated by the RMP and just one of them


is a case of unlawful killing involving a 2011 SAS operation


Our defence editor Mark Urban has been following these allegations


for years and can now add something to the story for us.


Take us through the allegations. Essentially, if you talk to people


who have been involved with special operations in Afghanistan, there is


a widespread belief that the SAS at times was using excessive force or


stop that might be at the extreme end, getting people who should have


been taken prisoner, and going right the way back to such things like


so-called tactical questioning, I practice they ramped up in Iraq in


2000 rural macro and also took to Afghanistan, quite rough


interrogation of people on site. Where raids were taking place was


the these kind of excessive use of force. It is right to say that


people that you speak to believe the SAS were engaged in that at times


during the operations in Afghanistan. What was going on?


There were a set of factors, they came to it late, the Royal Marines


rivals had dominated the theatre until 2009. There was pressure on


them to achieve results and they achieved them a certain way in Iraq


and it was pretty kinetic as they would say. There was also the


perception that the detention system was broken, and this is something we


have reported before on this programme, that people who were


being arrested, thousands, all but a small number were released


immediately and that led to an allegation from someone who ran the


detention centre, brought STUDIO: Broadcast we had in 2015.


I've spoke to people on the ground who said that


whenever they found out what was happening to detainees it


In preference they would rather shoot them on the ground,


to save the taxpayer money and to save soldiers being killed.


That is a pretty extraordinary claim. That was two years ago. The


Sunday Times had their report yesterday. What do we know about the


investigation? The first thing we have to say, between a belief or a


conviction or a hearsay, we have got to consider his comments in that


context, and a criminal context that can be sent to the prosecution


services authority, by the military police, that is a different thing,


and there are the rights of those accused. What we have seen in this


operation, a team of 100 people, out of hundreds of cases involving all


of the forces, not just the SAS, they have come down to less than ten


where they still feel there could be a prosecutable case. All sorts of


reasons for that, but not least, if you want to find out what happened


3-4 years ago in a remote village in Helmand province, the likelihood


that is now under Taliban control and it will be very hard to access


people who could give you accurate eyewitness testimony and they are


all sorts of difficulties here. And that has led some to conclude that


things are maybe being hurried along or it is being hushed up, but the


MOD would say no, we have got to do this properly and the evidence has


not been there for prosecutions up to date. Mark, thanks.


Before we came on air I spoke to Johnny Mercer,


the Conservative MP who before entering Parliament was Captain


in the Royal Artillery and served in Afghanistan.


I asked him if it was the first time he had ever heard of such


allegations. During my time of doing that sort


of work in 2008, 2009, I never saw any of this


kind of behaviour. Heard reports of it


or talk of it or gossip? There is always talk of stories


going round in theatre. There is always Chinese whispers,


there are always stories that get And we have to be very


clear on the difference between those and unlawful acts


that have happened. If unlawful acts are found to have


happen, then clearly we will deal with those


in the appropriate process. You were very active in the campaign


against vexatious claims in relation to allegations against British


troops in Iraq. When you look at what the stories


are from Afghanistan, do you think these are very


different to the situation in Iraq? The work I did around


closing down the Iraq historical allegations team,


it was something where at the end of that process the system


was being completely abused and persecuting soldiers


for incidents which had never I think, whichever workforce you're


in, if people come forward with allegations of wrongdoing


or unlawful conduct, The values and standards that


certainly when I was serving and I know still exist


within the British Army are not compatible with what was in that


Sunday Times article. How would you describe


the allegations as you have read them and tried to make


sense of them? These terms, rogue units


and so on, sound great Whether or not individuals have


broken the law whilst they're conducting operations on behalf


of this nation. I think when we start using these


terms that perhaps aren't as clear and we are looking to, in a way,


sensationalise what has gone on. Let's remember these


are allegations at the moment. I know the army and the MoD


has the ability to hold But there are people who are saying


these investigations are being closed down before


they have really had You're confident there is no


cover-up, basically? It sounds like you're


confident about that. I'm confident that the individuals


who are served with, who I know are still serving,


the chain of command in the military, the military side


of the MoD, would not accept any And where there is evidence and that


evidence is critically important, where there is evidence


they will drill down on that I'm content that they


would not cover this up. I don't know anybody who's serving


who thinks that unlawful behaviour on operations is acceptable in any


way whatsoever, regardless of cap If you read, for example,


the comments under the Sunday Times report, many of the commenters say


these guys are trying to protect us, this is guerrilla war,


it's completely different to the wars of the First World War,


the Second World War, and we need to hold these things


to a different standard. Are they right to take


that view or not? I fought in that conflict


and I don't know anybody who fought in that conflict who did


the operations we did who believes there is ever a reason


to conduct unlawful behaviour. We try and give ourselves


some legitimacy, some credibility, when we are trying


to stabilise these countries. That's what separates


us from the enemy. You cannot go around behaving


in this manner and expect to win a counterinsurgency operation


where you have to bring the population onside and ultimately


it is their country and the solutions are all Afghan


or Iraq solutions depending So, no, there aren't people


in the military who think this is a terribly dirty war


and we behave like everybody else. We are a professional army


and there are things that set us This is one of them


and we adhere to it. It takes quite a lot to force


Donald Trump off the news agenda but what with the general election


and its inconclusive result, multiple terror attacks


and the Grenfell fire, even the headline-grabbing President


has been taking a lower profile, That changed yesterday


when he tweeted a video of him attacking a man with the CNN logo


where his head was. This had been doctored


from an appearance on a wrestling This raised accusations


that he was inciting violence against the mainstream media that,


he asserts, has been So, for anyone not paying close


attention, here's a brief catch up on what the President has been up


to in recent weeks. Oh my God, what's going to happen!


I'm fine. My family brought me up really tough, this is nothing, but


for me personally what I'm concerned about is to what this once again


reveals about the President of the United States. We're OK. The


country's not. So we're going to talk and Sewell we


can do, we're getting very close, but for the country we have to have


it up and running again -- and see what we can do. What we have seen is


the hiring of a number of people to support the investigation, most of


them quite well respected law enforcement officials from prior


administrations. And there have been some leaks about the direction of


the probe and what it is focusing on but we don't know where it is going


to end up, but it appears to be underway in very serious way.


He tweeted about this over the weekend, saying may the fake news


media will focus on the success we are having, but we have covered the


story is about what is happening, positive and negative, during his


presidency, but if you wanted us to stop writing about his outrageous


tweets, he could stop issuing them, but if there's anything he better


than anyone should realise is that he does have the ability to set the


agenda. Joining me now in the studio


is Jonathan Freedland, author and journalist,


and from Los Angeles, Charlotte Laws, Trump supporter


and political analyst. Charlotte, many people have said he


was inciting violence. With this last tweet, what do you say to that?


I said that is false. It was basically a joke. It was humorous,


like the three Stooges or a cartoon. He was basically trying to say he


was victorious over CNN, that they had three journalists who had to


resign because of a fake news story and so that was what he was trying


to say. Many of his supporters like that, and I would like him to be


more presidential, but many of his supporters were excited about the


fact that he was being authentic and the usual Trump and that he was


speaking directly to them through social media and there are things


that people liked about it and he got 400,000 likes on that one tweet.


Jonathan, on that specific one, do you accept it was a pantomime


violence rather than incitement? It is not the worst thing that he has


done, when he called the press the enemies of the people, that was much


worse, which had an authoritarian Echo. But journalists criticising


him have been on the end of death threats and five and threats from


social media. Some of the Trump supporters have praised him.


Journalists have shown their timeline full of threats and death


threats. Charlotte, you said you would like him to be more


presidential, but has he not cause an American political discourse


significantly? -- coarsened. Is this a problem. You get people who


respond to this in a very violent and problematic way in this debases


it for everybody? I do think the violence has stemmed from him,


rather just the divisiveness of the whole campaign. The media has waged


a campaign against him which continues on a daily basis and I


think that riles up people on the left. And on the right. Are they not


allowed to wage a campaign against in the right wing media wages


campaign against the likes of the Clintons and Obama. It is the


buyers, that is what it really is. Fake news, there are three types of


fake news, biased news, erroneous news where there are errors and


there are things like the onion which is completely fake. It is the


first two which are a problem. The biased news is pervasive on the left


and right and it is very difficult as a consumer to even know who you


can trust. That has become a big issue. You are not just saying that


is the anti-trump media, that is a problem for everybody? It has become


more of a problem with anti-Trump media because most of the media is


against him, unfortunately. Jonathan, you work for The Guardian


newspaper and you have written a book, it is about an in trading plot


-- intriguing plot, a demigod president has taken over the United


States. I would stress it is a novel and no


president is named. If it was written by someone from the National


Rifle Association and Hillary Clinton was president, would we not


be saying that is violence and it was debating? It was written by a


political activist and it was a novel and a thriller, it would be


like saying, you cannot write that Day Of The Jackal because you would


incite people to kill the French president. It is a different


situation. How do you think liberal establishment society, people like


you, how should they respond to the Donald Trump tweets? One argument is


ignore them. We are assessing over every week and another silly tweets


and we are talking about that and not American health care and the


budget and all the other things. You cannot do that. The speech of a


president is the act of a president. I remember somebody wanting to


restore dignity to the White House because they thought the other


president had defined it somehow. But Donald Trump attacks women for


their appearance, he has this weird obsession about women and blood and


you cannot say the president of the United States should be ignored. He


himself says these tweets are acts of the president and you have to


report them. Sometimes they are fat and you have to report the fact that


Bob Moller's investigation is widely known to include all kinds of things


and you have to report that. We are all talking about the tweets and not


the stuff he is doing. That would be great if under the radar he was


doing a lot of stuff, but what do you feel he has achieved? He has


done a lot under the radar because they say he has signed more bills


than any president since Truman. We have more jobs in the United States,


he has done a lot with regards to immigration. We have two exciting


bills before the Senate, Kate Law and another one regarding citizens.


He has done a lot for veterans. Veterans can go to any hospital


provider. I thought that the divorce was a good pick because we will go


towards choice hopefully. He has done quite a bit. But many in the


media do not report that. They obsess over the tweets. There is a


double standard. If the NRA were to do some kind of book or a play about


killing a woman president, if it was Hillary Clinton, or Barack Obama if


it was a black president, everybody would be outraged about that. There


is a double standard out there and it has become politically correct to


attack Trump. The Trump record is disastrous by his own standards. He


set out to build a wall, and to repeal Obamacare, he has not


achieved things and it has been a disastrous presidency already. Thank


He is one of the greatest rock 'n' roll hitmakers


Veteran British producer Clive Langer is the man behind


a string of chart-toppers by stars including David Bowie, Madness,


Morrisey, Elvis Costello, Dexy's Midnight Runners


When you hear a record with "that English pop thing",


as Langer calls it, chances are he was responsible.


Now though, Langer's decided to put his mixing desk in mothballs


and return to his first love - writing and performing.


As he works on a new project - the Clang Group - he talked


to our Culture Correspondent Stephen Smith.


In a studio in south London, alumni of Clive Langer's influential art


school band Deaf School are working on new material.


# No change, no change # No change, no change


Langer hasn't performed much for the past 25 years.


Since stumbling into producing almost by accident,


I was the guy that would hang around at the control room


while everybody was doing their work on an album.


Madness were in, they were in a band called the North London Invaders.


I went to a rehearsal, I heard "My Girl".


# My girl's mad at me # We argued just the other night #.


When I went into producing this record with Madness on a track in a


studio called Pathway, I had some idea of what I was doing.


# Why can't she see # She's lovely to me.


We worked with bands, normally in a live situation,


recording what they sounded like and then making the most of that.


In a kind of sensitive way, hopefully.


Together with producing partner Alan Winstanley,


Langer enjoyed a string of hits with Dexy's Midnight


If you hear a record with that English pop thing,


as Langer calls it, it's probably one of his.


So I wrote this tune and I wanted Robert Wyatt to


I played it to Elvis at a party, at Nick Lowe's party, and I


Yeah, he then wrote the lyric for it.


# It was just a rumour that was spread around town


At some point I thought all the a and our people were giving us the


slightly complex characters as opposed to the pop groups so we


spent a year and a half working with Morrisey and it was a great


experience. They only had a small record


company, but we had the extra half percent, expecting them to sell


20,000, and the next thing I know it was 6 million in America. So I paid


my mortgages. Very nice. Steve Smith. And that is it for


tonight. We leave you with the news that


Bank of England staff are to go on strike at the end


of the month. Proving irony isn't dead,


the dispute is about "below Less amusingly, one


of the departments going Let's hope no one remembers


what her Majesty keeps in the bank's There is warmer weather on the way


for England and Wales this week, but wetter weather for Northern Ireland


and southern Scotland and parts of northern England. Sun north of that


and size of that. The rain will ease a bit later in the afternoon in


Northern Ireland, northern Scotland stays mainly dry, but there will be


the odd shower around. For the Central Belt and southern Scotland


and northern counties of England it will be a wet and cool day. From


Manchester to Sheffield it will be a bit warmer compared with the rainy


zone. South of that and in England and Wales the sun will be reluctant


in the morning, but it will break in the afternoon like it did today and


it will feel a bit warmer, more places getting 20 or just above. As


we look further into the week for Wednesday the northern half of the


country will fare a little bit better. Southern parts are getting


warmer, certainly hot on Wednesday and the humidity will be heading up


as well. By Wednesday there is just an area of cloud in the rainy zone.


Northern Scotland still seeing


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