08/08/2017 Newsnight

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Evan Davis with in-depth investigation and analysis of the stories behind the day's headlines, including the north/south death divide and the latest on Trump and North Korea.

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The death divide - if you are a northerner


in England in your mid 30s, you're 50% more likely to die


We know the country has extreme regional imbalances,


but what accounts for excess mortality among prime


More and more people coming into the hospital


with alcohol-related liver injury and illness and actually, you know,


They have probably got nothing to live for and alcohol is an easy


We'll ask if this is a health issue or a national failure


to deal with inequality between north and south.


President Trump ramps up the rhetoric on North Korea.


They will be met with fire and few are, like the world has never seen.


We're in Amiens, in Northern France, birthplace of President Macron,


to hear how he finds out whether faith in his


After an extroadinary campaign, which entirely new political


scheme was deployed, President Macron must now deliver.


And there are already voices in France who doubt


And, a property dispute dating back to the partition


of India and Pakistan, 70 years ago.


The Indian government is laying claim to my property saying


We know there's a north-south divide in England.


That's literally been noted since the 11th century.


We also know your chance of dying prematurely is significantly higher


But a paper published today raises some alarming


questions about mortality, and its connection to economic


It looks at data on five decades of death,


about 25 million people in the midlands and north,


about 25 million people in the Midlands and north,


versus about 25 million people in London, the south and east.


The good news is that premature deaths have plummeted north


But the bad news is that over the years there's a persistently


higher premature death rate in the north, despite


And for those between mid-20s and mid-40s, prime age adults,


Since the mid-90s, the north south gap has jumped.


Lots of data to digest, Helen Thomas has been on Stoke


Industrial decline, ailing city centres, a dwindling population.


And, in contrast, a region, or more specifically a capital, ever


greedier in taking the nation's jobs and wealth. It wouldn't be a piece


of TV about the North-South divide without images of the North which


suggest industrial decay. And chopping England into two contrast


enhanced is a little bit cliched, and it is certainly crude. But this


report highlights a particular issue. For decades, you have been


more likely to die young if you live in the north. What is worrying is


over the past 15 years or so, the grim outlook has got worse,


specifically if you are a young adult. There is some good news. The


University of Manchester looked at the mortality rate, or deaths per


10,000 people under 75. It has fallen. But this graph shows the


stubborn gap between the north and south of England. If you look at


specific age groups, you see a surprising trend. Among 25 to


34-year-olds, the gap had virtually closed 20 years ago. Since then it


has grown considerably. The 35 to 44 age group is similar, but the gap is


now even bigger. The question, is why? We didn't want to draw too much


attention to the dealing with the intermediate factors, rather than


the root causes, which are social and economic. But commonly, any


group rise of death rate of people in that age are the diseases of


despair. Alcohol-related, drug-related, suicide, violent


deaths. His description is to wait government investment towards the


north, a positive discrimination to build the economy. Other research


has suggested that extra financial support isn't as important as


encouraging healthier lifestyles. To invest in risks pastors alone is to


ignore the underlying causes of early death. Which are accessed to


resources in general, have good living conditions, more control of


your own life, so you can make those healthy choices. So, is it time to


relaunch the northern powerhouse? Efforts to rebalance the economy


towards the North have largely failed, and measures specifically


aimed at health have fared us badly. Targets set in 1997, to narrow


health inequality between deprived and affluent areas were not met by


2010. A report on Wye, called progress exceptionally slow.


Staffordshire University's Centre for health and development is an


unusual partnership with two local councils. The aim a new approach of


tackling health inequality. Top-down investment is vital and we need more


of it. However, we also need the bottom-up approach and we need to


give people a voice in our community is actually to help direct that


investment so it goes to the right places. We need to be looking and


asking questions about quality of work and work life. This is working


age cohort. What it is like to be unemployed in this day and age,


impact about welfare reform, housing policies, education. Alcohol-related


death rates have risen since the mid-19 90s. Consultant at Stoke


University Hospital of Wales seen that first-hand. We are seeing more


people and the age of people is younger because people are drinking


at a younger age. We are seeing more women. There is more desperation.


People don't drink because they want to, they drink because it is a way


out. This is a big picture study about abroad, long-standing problem


and it isn't clear what might change quickly. Very targeted programmes


around obesity, mental health may help some people, but that risks


missing the most entrenched divisions. Major structural changes


to the economy may be the answer, but no one knows for sure and it


certainly isn't a quick fix. Sir Michael Marmot is


the Director of the UCL He is also responsible for drawing


up the 2010 Marmot review which set out a six-point strategy


for combating health inequality. Good evening. Let's go back to the


beginning because we are used to premature death rates falling over


the decades, why is that? It is good news, obviously. Because we are a


richer society, everything is better, nutrition is better, housing


is better, living conditions are better. Everything has improved.


Fewer accidents at work and all of that. One of the things we haven't


talked about, this report tallies with some stuff you have said but


that has flattened off over the last few years so it is not falling any


more? Yes, this is looking at premature mortality under age 70


five. It has flattened. Flattened in the north and the South. It affects


everybody, what is driving that? We speculated, we speculated that


policies of austerity post 2010 decreased in adult social Claire


daily-macro care spending, decrease in expenditure per person could play


a role. We said it is urgent to investigate if it is related to it.


Let's get to the north, south issue. There is a long-standing gap. What


is the best succinct summary of what drives this gap because it is at all


ages over the decades, there has been some percentage higher


premature death in the North? We have some insight into it because


when we look at mortality according to where you are in the social


hierarchy. The lower you are in the social hierarchy defined by


education, jobs or degradation, the higher the mortality. But the


disadvantage of being low is bigger in the north and the South. Someone


in the middle of the hierarchy has higher mortality than somebody at


the top. But the access is bigger in the north and the South. If you are


a poor person in the south, equally poor to someone else in the north,


you will live longer in the south as that poor person in the North? You


will, if you are professional. Why would that be because you said


deprivation is driving this? Because what I identified in my review are


worse in the north than they are in the south. We could look at child


poverty. Let's take the first one on early childhood. Child poverty is


worst in the north than in the south. We have talked about the


importance of sure start children's centres. They funded by local


government. The decrease in funding to local is bigger, it is bigger in


the North than the South. Short start centres are closing in the


North. This issue goes back to the 90s, it is not for ever, which is


these younger, middle aged adults. 25 to 45 where you have seen a gap.


The rates have improved, or not got much worse, but, much bigger gap,


what is going on there? Let's go back ten years earlier. What we saw


in the 1980s, the difference for 25 to 45-year-olds in the north and


south was almost not there. But it was rising, mortality was rising


both in the north and south, particularly young men. That was


suicide, alcohol, file and deaths, the kind of disempowerment we saw


just then in your clip. But then what happened, in the mid-90s,


things improved in the south. Mortality started to decline and it


didn't in the North. My speculation is, but disempowerment related to


social economic conditions, persisted in the North when things


were getting better in the south. That issue around drink, the death


by despair, is part of what is going on in that group? Yes. If you will


hang on there. Joining us from Leeds is Susie Brown


the Chief Executive Officer at Zest, an organisation offering support


to people living in disadvantaged areas of Yorkshire, and in Brighton


is Christopher Snowdon the Head of Lifestyle Economics at


the Institute of Economic Affairs. Suzy, just explain what you do and


what you find and how successful what you do is? We have been working


in disadvantaged areas of leads for 15 years and we try and level the


playing field, essentially. So there is great inequality and


disadvantaged areas. We offer a range of practical support and more


general support as an example of the practical support we work with Jamie


Oliver's Ministry of food. We have projects that teach cooking skills,


healthy eating, budgeting and shopping to people, offering them


the chance to learn to cook from scratch and lead a healthier


lifestyle. Does it work? It does, it is strong evidence -based that shows


it does make a huge difference to health outcomes. More generally, we


offer people just general support and we are trying to lift them up


and give them a leg up and inspire them to lead a more fulfilling life.


Let me ask Christopher, I know you have a critique of certain bits of


policy. It doesn't feel like policy has worked over the last 20 years in


reducing these health disparities, what is going on? The health rates


themselves have fallen over the last 15 years, certainly. I feel we are


addressing a cold case, in a sense. It's not news in the normal sense of


the word. We're looking at a specific portion of the population,


men under the age of 45 and looking at wide death rates amongst those


people rose in the mid to late 1990s. I don't know why that is, the


author of the study says he's not sure why. We know what Michael


Marmot has said, the main causes of death in that age, it is generally


very low amongst people who are in their 20s and 30s anyway, but it is


suicide, alcohol and drugs. You are right to describe these things as


depths of despair. But income and economic growth are the great


prophylactics for this. You see the North has less money and it has


higher death rates and over time, society generally has got more


prosperous and the death rate has fallen. But we have this anomaly in


the north of England. In the 1990s specifically, I suspected drug


overdose is significant and other things.


But the gap is still there where there was no gap in that group to


speak of in the 1980s. That is absolutely right. And there has been


no recovery if you like. The rates have fallen very much since around


2003 or so. But they have not caught up. And it seems whatever cause that


spike in deaths in the 1990s is still having an effect and it would


be useful to know what it is. But the studies have not pinpointed


that. I do not think it is to do with austerity or the slowdown in


economic growth. The mid to 1990s when deaths was biking, economy was


in strong growth. Do you ever feel, one of the things that the paper


suggests is that public health measures have done their bit in


Victorian times with the sewers and vaccinations and the like and now


many health measures are individual measures. The paper does not believe


we should rely on individuals to look after themselves but do you


ever feel you're just trying to basically tell people how to live


their lives as individuals, it is not really so much a public health


matter. I do not think we are telling people how to live, we work


very much with people and offer a range of activities and groups aimed


at lifting people and their self-esteem and confidence and


giving them the tools to lift themselves perhaps out of a very bad


place. If you walk around a deprived community you will see a lack of


infrastructure perhaps, a lack of care, a lack of good things in that


community. And if you're born into that or find yourself in that


community, it is really hard to imagine ever getting out again.


There is all this, on television we see these lives and young people in


that community think that is not for me, I'm not somehow deserving of


that. And people really do see themselves as never having the


opportunity or the hope, they do not have the same aspiration to lift


themselves up and we are trying to help from the bottom-up and help


people out into better situation. Thank you all very much.


Not long before we came on air, President Trump aimed some pretty


threatening remarks towards North Korea.


He was at an event where he was talking about drug


addiction and was thrown a question about Korea.


North Korea, best not make any more threats to the United States.


They will be met with fire and fury, like the world has never seen.


He has been very threatening beyond normal statement.


And as I said, they will be met with fire, fury and frankly power.


The likes of which this world has never seen before.


Fire and fury might turn into one of those memorable Trump phrases.


Those remarks follow a report in the Washington Post


today that said the US Defense Intelligence Agency thinks


North Korea has developed small nuclear warheads that can fit


into its ballistic missiles, if those assessments are right,


they would imply Kim Jong Un has crossed a crucial threshold.


I'm joined by Mark Fitzpatrick who worked in the US Foreign Service


for over 25 years and now is the Executive Director of the non


nuclear proliferation organisation IISS-Americas.


You have heard the comment, what do you make of them? This sounds like


blustering. It sounds like the president does not know how to


respond and when he does not know he responds with bluster. The United


States is not going to attack North Korea, North Korea is not going to


attack the US but these kind of statement and the kind of statements


that North Korea has made ratchet up the tensions and could lead to


misperceptions that could lead to war. Just tell us what North Korea,


your assessment would be, what North Korea could do in terms of


retaliation or pre-emptive strike if it wanted to using nuclear warheads?


First of all there's no doubt North Korea has missiles that can reach


anywhere in South Korea and Japan. And hit US bases there. I believe


North Korea could mount a nuclear warhead on those missiles and they


would have no trouble delivering it. That is the situation now for


several years. Most recently of course North Korea has tested


missiles that could reach parts of the continental United States but


whether they are reliable enough and could survive the intense friction


in the atmosphere, that is not known. Your question is what could


North Korea do, they could start a war, a conventional war that could


soon escalate into a nuclear war. They could try to attack US bases in


Japan with a nuclear weapon and then threaten to attack the continental


United States cities if the United States intervenes. And the


Washington Post piece today seems to imply would get you more towards the


continental US side of that beyond Japan and South Korea? Yes, that is


a new assessment by apparently the defence intelligence agency. They


said a couple of things that were worrying, that North Korea could


mount could militarise warheads to fit their missiles. They also said


it could be done with intercontinental ballistic missiles


which is an assessment that goes beyond what they've said before.


They also said North Korea might have to 60 nuclear weapons. That is


three times more than most analysts believed. It sounds like worst-case


analysis in that they are covering their bets. Altogether this is an


issue that seems to be moving much more quickly, both the North Korean


nuclear programme and the dynamics playing out. It seems to be much


more quickly than anyone can remember and you wonder if it will


stabilise and quite down or whether it builds up to something? It


certainly has been moving more quickly, in the last couple of years


with North Korea and they're very robust, rapid pace of testing of


missiles. That has escalated this year. And now the rhetorical


responses and assessments. But so far responses are rhetoric and we


have to step back a minute and look at what the secretary of state Rex


Tillerson said a couple of days ago, that the United States is not the


enemy of North Korea and has no intention of attacking, willing to


talk to North Korea if it is willing to stand down. So the United States


is not adopting a threatening posture but when the North Koreans


hear the kind of rhetoric of fire and fury, they might think the


United States is getting ready to attack and they might pre-emptively


attack on their own. That is a real concern. Thanks very much indeed.


A big day in South Africa, President Jacob Zuma,


tainted by corruption allegations and an inappropriately close


relationship to a wealthy business family, the Guptas,


faced a vote of no confidence in the South African parliament.


It was a secret ballot, so members of his own


party could knife him in the back without detection.


It was quite a moment - MPs waited for the result of the vote.


Those on both sides engaged in some competitive singing of a kind


that we might think should be introduced here.


In the end, Zuma survived the vote, but it seems tens of MPs


Opponents said it's the end of the ANC, a party split,


and public opinion turning against it.


It might be just such a turning point in South Africa's history,


but it takes a brave punter to bet against the ANC.


Shortly after the vote, I managed to catch a few minutes


with the Chief Whip of the ANC, Jackson Methembu.


I suggested the close vote of confidence, didn't suggest


there's much confidence in the President.


The decision of the National Executive committee


is that the president is not going anywhere.


And indeed this is what we have been able to do today when in fact


there was a motion by the opposition to remove our president


and as a consequence also our government from office.


Right, well you have, you've won the vote today,


no one is going to deny you that victory.


And the truth is the country is against the president


and by keeping him in power you are damaging the ANC?


-- ANC's image with the people of South Africa?


I can assure you that the opposite is true.


If we were to vote ourselves out of office at the behest


of the opposition, the people who voted for the ANC,


the 11 million people of our country, would have been very


Because we would have given the opposition on a silver platter


I'm so sorry, the opposition have a reason to dethrone


It is on a platter and it is all the allegations of corruption


against him which are widely believed in South Africa.


And by keeping him in you have effectively said have you not,


you have effectively said we're not that worried about the


We acknowledge the concerns and legitimate anxieties


of our people around issues of corruption.


We ourselves have said around these matters we need


as a matter of urgency, as a country, to institute


So that all those who are found to be on the wrong side


of the law, they must then face the consequences.


If after the investigation indeed President Jacob Zuma is amongst


those, then at that stage we can talk but not at this time


when it is only innuendo and all sorts of generalities.


That have been strung together to remove our president.


It is a little more than innuendo, isn't it, because of the very least


we know about the cattle enclosure, the amphitheatre, the swimming pool


But putting that aside, where does this leave your party


because quite clearly, not everyone in your


Today the fifth of your Parliamentary party did not


Your party is now in a very disunited place, is it not?


Well, you do not need to be a rocket scientist to know that our party


is working on the disunity of the African National Congress.


It is something that we have been working on, it is something


that we have been speaking to and again it is a matter


Indeed we are disunited but all of us have agreed that we need


to put all our differences aside and deal with the issues that


One of those issues are allegations of corruption,


Thank you very much for talking to us.


Lebo Diseko is the presenter of the BBC World programme,


Is this the big moment for the ANC? It certainly is. We heard Jackson


saying even in the disunity, even trying to defend the ANC he has got


to admit it is disunited. The difference this time, there have


been several attempts to bring a vote of no-confidence against


president. And this time he faced a battle from within. With the


majority that the ANC holds for this vote to pass, for him to hang on,


with just such a small majority, is quite something. He said it is just


innuendo, we need to investigate these charges he conceded public


anger needs to be responded to. Is it just innuendo? I think we need to


be careful because there are charges that were dropped, that had been


brought back, that still really have not been proved. He spoke about the


allegations around his house and the public protector said he should pay


back some of the money, not all. But the big thing that has forced this


vote or lead to this being broad, allegations around his relationship


with this wealthy family. And basically the allegation that the


family from a different country has come to South Africa and spent a lot


of money on the presidential family and are now influencing government


policy and basically influencing the way the country is run. So yeah that


face state capture again and again. The most interesting political


experiment in Europe There's a new President,


Emmanuel Macron, he's pro Europe, He's the envy of many remainers


here, who wish we had one like that. Perhaps the biggest question


for Europe right now Will he revitalise the radical


centre ground of politics, in a way that other countries then


want to follow? Well, he came to power in May,


just as our election became exciting and while he has been settling


into his job, we have But we can rectify that now,


Mark Urban reports from Macron's Amiens Cathedral gets the son


et lumiere treatment Bright colour projected


onto its 13th century facade. The place regains its original


appearance, to the amazement This is Emmanuel Macron's city,


both his birthplace and the cradle Which now seeks to restore


the fortunes of France. After an extraordinary campaign,


in which an entirely new political colour scheme was deployed,


President Macron must now deliver. And there are already


voices in France who doubt In particular, recent polls


show Macron performing poorly in the pantheon


of previous presidents. TRANSLATION: We measured


the approval rating of every French president since 1958


and it is with one exception the biggest fall


in the summer of first term. The previous fall of that size


was that of Chirac in 1995. For an example of how


the mood has changed, Delighted that the old game of Reds


versus Gaullist blue had been outplayed by a new centrist


movement, they turned But cuts to their housing allowance


are already causing grumbling. TRANSLATION: For students


the elections are now over. Not everyone was interested


in the first place. But those that wearable more or less


happy with the result. But now they're interested in things


that really impact them like finding somewhere to live,


finding a course that suits them. And the cuts to housing benefit


which will mean less Not all is what it seems


with Macron's brilliant victory. Many voted against Le Pen rather


than for him as president. And in the battle for parliamentary


seats, much of France abstained. In one sense it feels ludicrous


to be looking for any real change in this society,


so conservative in defence of its social model, just three


months into this new presidency. As one Amienois said


to me earlier today, And voices are beginning


to be raised, questioning the new president and what he's up


to and those voices are even coming A dissident group within


the En Marche party has been established and already


has its critique. TRANSLATION: What I have


against this government and the National Assembly


is that they are confusing We could have taken the time


to prepare the ground Instead of rushing them


through in the summer. Others have tried to get reforms


through during recess, to push them through,


and it's never good. At the Bastille day parade,


the president played host to Donald Trump


which annoyed the left. And kept things just


about civil with an army chief who he then fired,


annoying the right. The hard choices of governing have


inevitably taken some TRANSLATION: You have public sector


workers who have had their salaries frozen then retired people


who are having their taxes increase. frozen then retired people who are


having their taxes increased. And certain workers,


largely on the left, who are against the reform


of the labour market. Then on the right the part


of the electorate who didn't like Macron's attitude


towards the head of the armed So it's an amalgamation


of grievances that have come Back in Amien, we asked two founder


members of En Marche how they see the coming months


for their president. TRANSLATION: It's going to be tough


because if Macron is going to be able to keep his campaign promises


he needs to get significant reforms through and reform


in France is difficult. Strong opposition from


Melenchon and certain unions TRANSLATION: We activists need


to take on an educational role, to explain to French people


what is happening, why certain choices are being made and of course


to counter all the fake news If he is to keep the support


of the National audience, Macron then will have to rediscover


the energy shown in his But with strikes already


called for September, and enemies gathering,


that will not be easy. Next week marks the seventieth


anniversary of Indian independence and the partition of the country


into Hindu-majority India It was the biggest forced


migration in history, as millions of muslims and hindus


who were to be left in the wrong country so to speak,


moved to where they would be The partition was bathed


in death and tragedy, and we'll be looking back at it


on this programme next week - But thousands of those


who chose to remain, Hindus in Pakistan, Muslims


in India, are still living with the consequences of that separation,


deemed "enemies" of the nation Our South Asia correspondent,


Justin Rowlatt, has met one Indian man who's spent the last 40 years


fighting to save his inheritance. I am known as Suliman


to family and friends. I am from a Muslim family which once


ruled a very large feudal estate, including a beautiful palace,


which we still live. But the Indian government is laying


claim to my property, No one is paying for it, so these


days everything is crumbling. This dispute goes back to 1947,


the partition of India, into two states, a Muslim majority


state called Pakistan and a Hindu It was estimated that


1 million people died. Some Muslims went to


the state of Pakistan. It was not just the country that was


divided, families were divided too. In the late 50s, my father took


Pakistani nationality and that is Because when India and Pakistan


went to war in 1965, the government laid claim


to our properties. There was an act of Parliament


called the Enemy Property Act, which empowered the government


to take over, temporarily, It was not just our family


which was affected, thousands The properties are worth


billions of dollars. But, our issue is, that only my


father took Pakistani nationality. We had to fight our case


from the lowest to the highest court And the Supreme Court


judge said, that by no stretch of the imagination,


could I be considered an enemy and considered me the heir


to my father's properties. But then the government


went and change the laws But then the government went


and changed the laws I suppose, like so many people


in India and Pakistan, we are still caught up


in the repercussions of partition and the acrimonious relations


between India and Pakistan. In a way, I have been forced


to live in the past. And with apologies to Yates,


I feel as if I'm drowning in their beauty that has long


since faded from this earth. That report was produced


by Justin Rowlatt. Now, as I said earlier next Tuesday


marks 70 years since partition of British India and Kirsty will be


presenting a special Newsnight that evening,


to mark the anniversary. It'll come from the BBC radio


theatre, and feature some who lived through the division,


as well as leading political We'll look at the history


and the effects of partition in the present, on India,


Pakistan and the UK. In the last hour the death


has been announced of the country singing legend -


Glen Campbell - he was 81 and had been suffering


from Alzheimer's disease. Campbell was a self-taught prodigy


and pulled himself out of poverty We leave you with one


of his greatest songs... # I am a lineman for the county


and I drive the main road. # Searchin' in the sun


for another overload. # I hear you singin' in the wire,


I can hear you through the whine. # And the Wichita Lineman


is still on the line.


Evan Davis with in-depth investigation and analysis of the stories behind the day's headlines, including the north/south death divide and the latest on Trump and North Korea. And is President Macron losing his popularity?