08/09/2017 Newsnight


As Florida waits, Newsnight looks at the destructive power of Hurricane Irma. Plus, why are so many black people in prison? And the fear and anger on the streets in South Korea.

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This is a storm of absolutely historic destructive potential.


I ask everyone in the storm's path to


be vigilant and heed all recommendations from government


A race against time to get out of the way.


20 million in Florida are told they may need to leave their homes


Roads are packed as many try to flee.


Hurricane Irma is due to hit the state within the next 24 hours.


We're on the Florida coast to see what they're


If you are in one of those evacuation zones it is entirely too


dangerous and you are checking your life in your hands.


And we'll hear from the Caribbean island of Barbuda.


It's already felt the full force of the storm -


We'll ask the head of the Red Cross there when residents


And our political editor, Nick Watt, is hearing growing


political criticism of the UK Government's disaster response.


Why are our prisons so full of young black men and women?


Is it racism, unconscious bias or just a failure of the system?


David Lammy tells Newsnight the criminal justice system has been


And on the eve of North Korea's national day, we report


The dissidents who are no longer scared to express what they feel


He just tried to slice a portrait of Kim Jong-un with a knife


and the South Korean police swooped in and took it away.


Donald Trump spoke straight to camera this evening to warn


of the absolutely historic destructive potential


"It is of epic proportion" he tweeted.


"Perhaps bigger than we have ever seen".


The President is used to pulling out the superlatives.


This time though it may well be deserved.


Hurricane Irma is expected to hit the US this weekend


and the authorities are expecting devastation.


It is only the third Category 5 hurricane America has seen


When the storm hits, the emergency services have told


people in the Florida Keys, don't call 9/11.


But first, to the Carribbean, much of which lies wrecked


The British Virgin Islands have been declared a state of emergency,


Turks and Caicos island were pummelled and declared


These are the pictures today from the island of Barbuda.


60% of its 1600 inhabitants are reportedly homeless.


The roads and telecoms systems will take years to rebuild.


We're hearing stories of people roaming the streets desparate


for food and water in the immediate aftermath of the storm.


And of boats and helicopters racing to evacuate all 1600 residents,


Just before I came on air I spoke to Michael Joseph, President


of Antigua-Barbuda Red Cross he told me about the level


We are talking about 100% rebuilding, 100%


We are talking about redeveloping livelihoods, we're talking


about reintegrating people back into new settings.


It's literally building a country from its primitive time back up


The government asked for voluntary evacuation since yesterday


and declared a mandatory evacuation today ahead of Jose.


And what do you imagine those people will do, where will they go,


Well, many Antiguans have been asked to open


That has been the case, many Antiguans have opened their rooms,


some who have extra homes that they rent, have offered them


as temporary housing for those persons who don't.


The government have put together three temporary makeshift


shelters to facilitate them, primarily now, dealing


Then the long term plan will come afterwards.


You talk about Barbuda starting from scratch, all over again.


We're talking about a population of 1600 inhabitants.


We are talking about schools rebuilding, we are talking


I would estimate anything between three to five years before


we get it even close to what it used to be.


As it stands now, Barbuda is uninhabitable.


Do you feel you have had the help you needed


so far to evacuate people, to save lives?


Antiguans on the whole have really pitched in to make it possible.


They've done everything they can to move things.


The Venezuelans have supported us significantly,


they have sent in two cargo vessels with relief supplies.


The closest humanitarian aid coming in from any countries so far.


Do you think Western governments have done enough


As it stands now, it's not being felt on the ground.


All the response has been coordinated through the Red Cross,


local officials, or the government themselves with minimal support


Michael, I will let you get back to what you are doing there,


but thank you very much for joining us.


As we said earlier, it is Florida that will find itself


Its Governor, Rick Scott, told all 20 million of the state's


residents they should be prepared to evacuate,


This evening, queues of cars on the normally smooth running


freeways ground to a standstill as they heeded the advice.


Airports are beginning to close to international flights


Indian River County is on the Atlantic Coast of Florida -


I asked their Sherrif, Major Eric Flowers,


if people were following the advice to leave.


That is very serious, we are expecting that some time on Saturday


we will begin to experience hurricane force winds. We will


close, there are three bridges that cross over to the island and when


sustained winds reach 39 mph we will close the bridges and people will no


longer be able to travel and when they reach 70 mph, all of our first


responders, fire and every with law enforcement, will be pulled in and


it will not respond to calls any more. When the calls come in on 911


we will document them and check on them as the storm subsides. People


in dangerous circumstances need to leave right now because there will


come a time when we cannot respond to them. What is your message to


those saying they will get in some supplies and stay but? If you are in


one of those evacuation zones, it is too dangerous and you are checking


your life in your hands. We have emergency shelters are available


opening at eight o'clock tomorrow morning and if you cannot go to your


friends or a hotel or get out of the state or the county, we have


shelter. Take advantage of it, do not wait until it is too late. Make


that decision now. We are running out of time, it is time to take


shelter. The Stormers getting very close, it is bearing down. Many


evacuated people, they will not return to their homes in a matter of


days, it could be weeks or months. How much do they take with them? We


suggest they take the necessary personal effects, medication and ID


and anything they would need in another state to establish


additional pharmacy fill for medications. Enough clothing to


sustain them for at least a few days but it could be quite some time


before we allow people back into their homes. Talk me through


something. When I look at the picture, it seems very calm and


blue. Is there a sense in the air that the weather is changing where


you are? Can you feel it on the ground? Absolutely. People were


reporting this morning hearing less birds chirping, the wind is slightly


globally, you do not hear that. You do not hear the normal Florida


sounds and is that sense there is something coming. You can feel it


when you go out. What would you ask first responders to do? When the


storm hits, but everybody be on duty all the time or is there a limit to


what you are asking them to do? We actually evacuated the emergency


plan on Thursday morning and everybody went to alpha bravo, they


worked 12 hour shifts. Days and nights and they will work until they


get the County secured and until we have everybody say. Our thoughts are


with you. Thank you for joining us. There has been criticism in the UK


about the response. Who have been hearing from? This is from the


Conservative Select Committee and Stephen Twigg, and they have written


a joint letter to Boris Johnson and Priti Patel saying that the response


to these hurricanes has been found wanting and there has been a lack of


forward thinking and a lack of preparation and they are comparing


this with the rather impressive French response, talking about how


the French had pre-positioned generators in place. This evening, I


spoke to tomb -- to Tom Tugendhat and he has praise for the


government, he says they have people on planes quickly, they moved HMS


ocean pretty quickly and the point he is making is the UK has done well


but it needs to do better because there is another one on the way. The


response from Downing Street has been what? The governments fear is


they are dealing with an overwhelming natural disaster and


the significance about this is it is unprecedented in both its scale and


its repetition. As you were saying, there is Hurricane Harvey, there is


Irma and Hurricane Jose. There is a big operation, they have vessels at


Anguilla, then it went to the British Virgin Islands and did


reconnaissance and they say it is unfair to compare the UK with France


because the French territories there are French soil. They are governed


from Paris. The UK territories are overseas territories, there is a


governor and a Prime Minister so it is more of an arms length


relationship. Whitehall sources say that in the long term that allows


the UK to be more flexible, but it does not have permanent military


assets there. In conservative circles there is very with Tom


Tugendhat and sources say that this is self-indulgent because he drew up


the letter and even hearing from a former military office saying this


is treachery. Gosh! Thank you very much.


The author of the report into the criminal justice system has


told this programme he couldn't believe how complacent


Speaking to Newsnight as he published findings into an 18


month study into the ethnic breakdown of young offenders,


which showed a disproprotionate number of non-white men and women


in jail, he said he was surprised at just how indifferent


He calls for radical solutions for dealing


with young offenders, including, in some cases


We'll hear from David Lammy in a moment.


First, this report from David Grossman.


She's supposed to impartially weigh the evidence, irrespective


Today's report from the Labour MP, David Lammy, but commissioned


by the government, says we have a long way to go


until we get to such an impartial legal system.


Shaun Bailey is a London assembly member, who advised the enquiry.


It's well documented that black men are treated more harshly.


This report and its recommendations gives the criminal justice system


a real, serious direction of travel to address that problem.


Let's be clear here, nobody is asking for special treatment,


just equal treatment and the recommendations are a real


Mr Lammy's recommendations have two broad aims -


increasing transparency and increasing trust.


Guys, I'm talking, you are not listening.


Bobby now runs a football club for youngsters


He says he's turned his life around and has spent eight years in prison.


He was convicted of conspiracy to rob security vans.


Black men like Bobby are 50% more likely to plead not guilty


It's a big reason, says today's report, that black men have


You go into court believing they will believe anything I say.


I will tell the honest to god truth and they will still be against me.


We believe it is us versus them at certain points.


Originally at my first case, I pleaded not guilty


because I was young, I was naive and I was like,


I think I can get away with this and I will go not guilty.


I don't think I was given the advice from my solicitor


or lawyers to tell me, just plead guilty and you'll


For individuals, the review recommends reformed offenders


should be able to apply to have their criminal records


sealed so they don't have to disclose them


Young offenders should be assessed for the majority to inform


And controversially, low-level offenders should be able


to defer prosecution and opt for a rehabilitation programme,


even before they enter a plea, so they don't even have


You enable people who have taken a wrong turn to be able not


to have the stigma of a criminal record for the rest of their life


if they take steps to resolve the problems they've


But more importantly, we have that process


Two examples, conditional cautions occur.


Someone has to admit guilt, but they can avoid a conviction


if they take certain steps pursuant to a conditional caution.


And we also have deferred prosecution in relation


to organisations involved in serious fraud.


What's great about this review, is it is taking context that are out


there and trying to find interesting and innovative ways to apply them


to a problem that it hasn't been applied to before.


For Bobby, one of the biggest problem is that young black men face


with the criminal justice system is a perception of bias,


The jurors were an all-white jury, the judge was white, funnily enough,


the prosecutor was black, which was a bit of a funny one.


But I was looking at the prosecutor like come on give me a chance, mate.


But he was working for the court system.


What was your experience with the outcome,


To be fair, the judge was pretty lenient on me.


Everyone was scaring me saying, well, conspiracy to rob


cash from transit vans, you are looking at


So when the judge actually gave me the four years initially,


I thought well, I got a touch there, so maybe I've now got a chance


The ideal solution, according to Bobby, is not really


about reforming the criminal justice system, it's about what he's


dedicating himself to now, making sure young black man,


don't end up in the system in the first place.


Well any talk of deferred sentences for the first or second offence asks


the system to prioritise the needs of wrongdoers over those


So, how comfortable would Daivd Lammy be to see us


And how surprised was he by what he found.


I didn't expect to find that the figures for young offenders


I mean, if 41% of our youth prison population is from a black ethnic


or minority ethnic background, that is heading to half


And I think the worst thing about it is the reoffending rate.


46% reoffending means the system really isn't working because people


are coming back so there are big questions about what is happening


You raise the question in your report of maturity.


Do you think our definition of the legal age of young


I met 18 and 19-year-olds sitting in adult prisons


and they are clearly in adult prisons mixing with some very


These were young men that often couldn't really assess risk


and risky behaviour, were compulsive, spontaneous,


poor at making judgments about peer group.


And all of the modern evidence on the teenage brain


and the development, if you like, of the youthful brain


is that you really sort of settle down at about 25.


So should young offenders still be classified as such


What I'm recommending is like the German system,


there is an assessment of maturity by independent psychiatrists


and psychologists able to make that judgment about whether that young


person ought to be in the youth or state.


We all grew up in the shadow of the MacPherson Report.


The term he used was institutionalised racism.


Now, you don't call it that this time.


Do you believe, at its heart, it is racism?


And I did find evidence of overt discrimination,


I wasn't asked to do an enquiry into racism


I was asked to do a review and I said that it had to be


evidence-led and you are very much looking at the academic evidence,


you are spending time in prisons, you are speaking to people,


you are really making an assessment of the figures and the data that has


And my judgment was that absolutely there still is bias...


But you don't use the term racism for a reason.


It is because it was very hard for me to get into the minds


of those who are actors in a very big system.


In the end, our country has tended to focus on policing.


My review was everything after policing.


So what I'm suggesting is you intervene earlier with something


You deal right away with the person who has committed the crime


and you can only do this with first and second time offences.


It is very hard, isn't it, to turn around to the victim


of a mugging or whatever it is and say, sorry,


at this point it makes more sense to put the culprit first?


The evidence from the pilot, the Turning Point pilot


in the West Midlands, is that victims like the system.


Because I suspect for first and second time offences,


where it isn't a very serious violent crime, what


They want that young person not smashing cars.


But you are taking the punishment element out.


By deferring a prosecution you are basically turning


to the person who has done it and said, it's all right.


We actually use deferred prosecution for serious fraud.


Because the state doesn't want to do huge, big fraud trials


that cost a fortune, we go to the CEO that has just


mismanaged funds and we ask them to defer prosecution,


to work with the system, if you like, to 'fess up.


And a lot of people find that incredibly distasteful.


I do think that if the system isn't working, if recidivism rates


are 46% for black men, then something isn't working.


Do you feel comfortable with saying, we may become


a system which prioritises wrongdoers over victims?


Do you feel comfortable saying, we're not going to tell employers


Is it fair on that employer who might have a duty of care


How far along that road would you feel comfortable going?


Well, I'm thinking of the scales of justice and I'm thinking of balance.


I worry a lot about young people, particularly, trapped


in a culture of criminality because they can't get employment.


50% of employers say they wouldn't employ someone


I might say also, my recommendations are for everyone.


I was asked to look at disproportionality for black


and Asian and minority ethnic people but a lot of my recommendations


And we ought to think about more flexibility or I'm afraid we're


building in unemployment for large tracks of the country, not just


black and Asian minority ethnic, but for white working-class


When you look at this mistrust of systems that


you have reported on, do you share some


I was surprised at how indifferent the system is to race.


If you were in a London comprehensive, it would be


impossible, frankly, not to meet head teachers and staff,


the local authority, they are all over the data.


The education world is looking at the data


I couldn't believe how complacent the criminal justice sector


Tomorrow, the 9th September, is North Korea's national day.


There will be celebrations, military parades, wall-to-wall


worship of their dynastic leader, Kim Jong-un, and, all too possibly,


The South Korean President said today he is expecting one.


And just a few days ago the US Ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley,


said North Korea is almost "begging for war".


Newsnight's Gabriel Gatehouse is in the south Korean capital, Seoul.


They are broadcasting into the North from this building.


Thank you very much for inviting us to your radio studio.


Based in Seoul and funded by a Church in the United States,


Free North Korea Radio wants to bring down the Kim dynasty.


So this is a North Korean anthem and they changed


The radio station is run by Jung-hoon Choi, who defected


from the North Korean army a decade ago.


The policy of containment hasn't worked, but military action


would have consequences that are terrible to contemplate.


Seoul is only 30 miles from the border.


And it's not just the threat of a nuclear strike,


these buildings, this whole city is well within range


There are thousands and thousands of shells and rockets trained


on this city and any kind of strike on the north, would inevitably


And yet, some people are actively pushing for conflict.


The defectors we met at the radio station have called a protest


They are emboldened by some of the more confrontational


statements coming out of the new Administration.


These people think that the Trump presidency might be their chance.


To underline the point, the protesters attempt a symbolic


So, what's happening is they just tried to slice a portrait


of Kim Jong-un with a knife and the South Korean police


But the police are no match for the defectors' zeal.


Another Kim is produced and this time, he gets it.


The Korean War ended in 1953, not with a peace deal, but a ceasefire.


Koreans have lived with the possibility of a return


And yet, away from the demos and the activists, in Seoul,


it's pretty difficult to find anyone who is overly concerned.


Despite the looming threat of nuclear apocalypse, no one's


It's almost as if the rapid escalation and tensions


is a piece of theatre aimed, not at an audience of North Koreans,


but at Westerners and Americans in particular.


We sit in London and people are talking about could North Korean


missiles reach London and everyone in the West is freaking out,


but you guys are just sitting here quite happily,


Because, Kim Jong-un is a crazy person and we think that he's


a crazy person and crazy people do crazy things everyday.


And Donald Trump, we also think he's a crazy person too.


Donald Trump is more dangerous than Kim Jong-un.


I don't think it's a scary thought, it's a realistic thought.


So you think there will be conflict at some point?


Caught between two angry nuclear powers, young Koreans still do


the kind of things young people do the world over.


In the case of Hong Wu and his fellow students, band practice.


Korean pop music known as K Pop is serious business.


Far more serious than the threat that never seems to materialise.


Sometimes I think, before I go to sleep, I lie down


in my bed and think, what if right now, the bomb comes


During the Cold War, nuclear conflict was avoided


because of the principle of Mutually Assured Destruction,


Today, that's an adjective often applied to at least one


of the protagonists in this new nuclear drama.


And remember what Chekhov said, "if there is a gun on stage in act


one, it has to go off before the end of the play."


Let's quickly go through the front pages. The Guardian has the world is


more dangerous now than it has been for a generation. And Desmond Tutu


speaks out against his friend. And the Times has got Theresa May is


hopeless and weak. That was our top Tory party donor accusing the Prime


Minister of handling Brexit and alienating businesses and he is a


Brexiteer. You might not have noticed,


but there's been a major solar storm this week,


with the most powerful solar flare One person who did notice


is laplander Alexander Kuznetsov, who drove as far north


as he could in Finland to find a clear sky,


and was rewarded with Northern Lights the like of which he'd


hardly seen before. # I can feel my


instincts here for you.