With Evan Davis. The children liberated from captivity under so-called Islamic State. Plus Labour and sexual harassment and is it immoral to watch House of Cards?
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Harassment becomes a full-blown
crisis in politics: Three
new accusations today,
affecting MPs in both main parties.
Tory Dover MP Charlie Elphicke
has the whip suspended,
and the Conservative Party says
he has been referred to the police.
He denies wrongdoing and says
he doesn't even know
what the accusation is.
And in Labour, Ivan Lewis
and Clive Lewis are both accused
of inappropriate behaviour.
Both deny it.
I don't, as a rule, at packed
Labour Party Conferences,
grope people's bottoms.
What will the effect on our politics
and the main parties be,
as allegations accumulate?
Can you judge a regime by the way
it treats its infants?
We hear the shocking testimony
of children liberated
from so-called Islamic State.
And also tonight: Given what we've
heard about Kevin Spacey,
Rouen should we still be watching
House Of Cards? -- should we still
be watching House Of Cards?
It has been yet another
extraordinary political day.
It's so strange to see ideological
debate between the parties
replaced by talk of inappropriate,
Like the expenses scandal,
which saw new exposes day after day,
this one is spinning out
of the control of
the party managers.
Politics is struggling to find
the words to cope with it.
Take yesterday's story
of Kelvin Hopkins -
Jeremy Corbyn was asked about it
this morning, but was unable
to offer any comment.
Were you aware of the allegations
against Mr Hopkins, sir?
But this evening, we've had
new accusations against three MPs,
coming out hour after hour.
Two of them are former members
of the Shadow Cabinet,
and one well-known Conservative MP.
Let's go through them
with Chris Cook, who is with me.
Let's start with Charlie Elphicke.
This came out at around 9pm.
Tory Chief Whip Julian Smith issued
statements saying they had suspended
him from the party and issued passed
it the police. Charlie Elphicke said
he was not aware of what the
accusations are and denied any
That was all quite late
this evening and we don't know much
about it. Clive Lewis, he was pretty
well-known and indeed got into some
trouble for using the phrase get on
your knees, bitch at a party
A brief Labour Party
statement saying the Labour Party is
investigating a formal complaint
made today against Clive Lewis,
specifically that an activist said
she felt he had touched her
inappropriately while having a hug
at the party Conference.
came out very quickly after that. He
went on to the news channel and he
didn't deny it. This is what he
I don't, as a rule, at packed
Labour Party Conferences,
grope people's bottoms
when I greet them.
This, you know, it is just not how
I roll, it's not what I do.
Is the person mistaken?
Have I kind of given them a hug
and this has, you know,
I don't know.
But all I know is that I would not
deliberately do that.
And the third one today, Ivan Lewis,
another Lewis but completely
separate and a former Labour Shadow
There are two
allegations. One is that he touched
an activist's legs, and the other is
about his conduct as a minister in
the Department of Health. He has put
out a statement denying specifically
and firmly the first of those, and
he put out a statement that sort of
says that if there are problems at
the Department of Health, no one
else seemed to know about them. I
have on occasion asked women I work
for out for dinner and develop
strong feelings for them and I am
sorry if this was inappropriate in
Hopkins, another former Cabinet
member, that case emerged. Today,
late this afternoon, actually, he
issued quite a firm and strong
denial and quite a long piece about
There was a statement yesterday
about Mr Hopkins is saying
inappropriate things and having
inappropriately at an event in 2014.
His statement is striking because it
features a trope we have seen
already in some of them coverage
after Hartpury Weinstein. He said
how cordial things were after the
incident is supposed to have taken
place. It -- after the Harvey
It is awkward and difficult because
even after an incident you may still
want to ingratiate yourself.
Joining me now is Jasmin Beckett,
Young Labour's representative
on the Labour Party's National
Is the party geared up for dealing
with the volume of allegations?
Yeah, I mean, I think that we have a
lot we need to improve. We recently
passed a new sexual harassment
policy which is a huge step forward
for us, but it just doesn't go far
enough. It doesn't introduce an
independent body away from politics
to deal with these complaints, so
that's a huge reason why people
haven't been coming forward, and
that's something we need to look at
You wrote in an e-mail to the
NEC and Jeremy Corbyn saying there
are still people who don't want to
complain because they don't feel
able to do so. He said these
experiences are not rare.
think we've all... There's a lot of
rumours, and I've been in positions
myself where I've been in NEC
meetings and had inappropriate
remarks made towards myself, and you
know, I know that, as fantastic as
they are, staff members dealing with
these complaints, and then the NEC's
disputes body, who will dispute over
them, and it puts you off from
making a complaint because, you
know, these are people you know than
they might know the person about
whom you're making a complaint.
is a factor. You represent Young
labour. Pages is a factor in some of
these cases was not in your view, if
a 55-year-old MP -- age is a factor.
If a 55-year-old MP makes advances
to a young activist, is that
unacceptable in your view?
and elected officials in our party
or others are in positions of power,
and if they abuse that power, it is
wrong and should not be happening.
Chris Cook was saying, in some of
these cases, the women seem to have
had good relations with the MP or
the person beforehand, and good
relations afterwards. Do you
think... Because I think a lot of
people will say, it can't be so bad
if they were friends afterwards. Do
you think that can form any part of
the defence of somebody accused of
inappropriately propositioning or
forcing themselves on someone?
because, as I say, I mean, these
people are in positions of power,
and ultimately, these are the people
deciding on the laws in our country,
and they should know better. As I
said today in my e-mail, with the
Labour Party, we want to look like
the society which we wish to create,
and if our MPs don't look like that
and our own procedures don't look
like that, then I worry that we, you
know, the public will see that.
There will be enquiries and a lot of
these cases and it will often be one
word against another - how do you
tell if Clive Lewis squeezed
someone's bottom? Do you think we
should always default to believing
the woman, the victim, in these
cases? It will be difficult... In
the past, people have always said we
have not given sufficient weight to
My go- to is to
believe those coming forward because
obviously if you get a lot of...
Well maybe it's not true, and it
stops people coming forward. That
has to be for the investigation's
panel to look at all these details,
and ideally, that's why we would
have an independent body looking at
those so we can ensure the procedure
Thank you very much
Ian Birrell is a former speech
writer for David Cameron,
and is now a contributing editor
for the Mail on Sunday and writes
for the "i" newspaper.
Ian, how big a crisis is this for
I think it is a big
crisis. People are compared it to
the expenses scandal but I think it
goes beyond that. It is a political
issue rather than a party issue. It
goes to the heart of culture and
society. We see a glimpse of a
problem where too many men in
powerful positions think they can
abuse their positions, and too many
women are having their careers
dented, their confidence ruined and
their aspirations to engage in the
political system devastated and
destroyed. This is a culture that
has the change.
This might prompt a
bigger change then the expenses
scandal bid. Obviously, that led to
reform of the expenses system. This
might change our whole way of life
in the Commons really.
The hope is
gone out of this mess emerges a more
sensible system in the running of
the Commons and the career
structure. It is about attitudes in
the heart of society, which hasn't
to be forgotten. It is about women
who are having their lives
devastated and men abusing, which is
to be tackled.
Does this crisis
bring an election closer? Does it
remove the Government's working
majority with the Ulster Unionist?
We don't know yet. We are in the
foothills and every day there was an
astonishing development, like today.
If the Labour leader has knowingly
promoted someone whom they knew had
been accused, justifiably, which we
don't know yet, but if that is the
case, it raises serious questions as
to whether Jeremy Corbyn is fit to
be Labour leader. If Theresa May has
been engaged in cover-ups, there are
questions there. If you are not fit
to be in the cabinet, I don't
understand how you are still fit to
be an MP. These are profound
questions which need to be dealt
Them eBay -- there may be
It is about equal
rights for 50% of society.
We are in
crucial times, than this, with
Brexit, and Parliament and the
Government have to make some
difficult decisions in the next two
It is a body blow from
politics. The lack of faith, the
lack of trust, the economic woes,
and this is one more body blow in a
divided country with a pathetically
weak Prime Minister and a political
system not trusted by a lot of
people, with these divisions in
society, it could be worse timing.
But that mustn't get in the way of
resolving these really critical
Ian Beryl, thank you very
Just one paper of note tomorrow -
the Sun carries a headlines saying
Chris Evans the BBC Radio
2 DJ exposed himself
to a girl for two years.
The BBC has said tonight:
They said they would not comment on
a story that dates back more than 20
It also says police investigated
at the time and there
was insufficient evidence.
Bit by bit, so-called
Islamic State is being driven
out of Iraq and Syria.
Syrian troops have taken the last
city in which Isis had a presence,
and the group is now reduced to two
small enclaves in Western Syria,
and a section of the Euphrates River
Valley spanning the border
of Syria and Iraq.
That's not to say Isis is over,
but it is not the force it was,
a fact for which many are thankful.
And it means we can now find out
more about what life was like
when Isis was in control.
As it has retreated,
it has left thousands of women
and children behind.
Some are the abandoned
families of IS fighters,
others are being held
as prisoners or slaves.
There are also boys
who were forced to fight for IS.
The goal now is to reunite families
and to rehabilitate those whose
minds have been stolen by the group.
Tim Whewell reports now from Iraq
on the children left behind
by the fighters of Islamic state.
You might find some
of the testimony upsetting.
# If you're happy, happy,
# Clap your hands...#
In a classroom in northern
Iraq, they're singing
to overcome their memories.
These nine and ten-year-olds
were all captives of
so-called Islamic State,
where music was Haram - forbidden.
From their smiles, you might not
guess the violence they've seen,
but they're all scarred by it.
ISIS enslaved this boy
and his sister three years ago.
So what did they tell
you about the guns?
The children at this
rehabilitation centre are Yazidi,
part of the non-Muslim minority
singled out for particular
cruelty by ISIS.
In 2014, their villages were seized
and thousands of men
murdered on the spot.
The women were sold into slavery,
and children taken for re-education
to serve the so-called Caliphate.
What did they say about your family?
When first they talk
aboutt their experience,
it was not actually easy and good,
but now they can express
it in a different way.
At first they were just too
scared to talk about it.
Now they can talk about it,
but freely, but in a better way,
like they don't express so much,
I wouldn't say anger, but they feel
comfortable and relaxed now.
But they say they've seen things
which are truly shocking.
Now, every day brings more Yazidi
children to camps like this one,
as they return from captivity.
And many not only witnessed
atrocities, they became instruments
in the Isis project themselves.
The terror group trained
thousands of boys like these.
They called them lion
cubs of the Caliphate.
They were fighters,
informers, suicide bombers.
More than 50 boys blew themselves up
defending the biggest Isis-held
city, Mosul, before it
fell in July.
Some were children of foreign
fighters, others recruited
or kidnapped from local families.
Zahed is a 14-year-old Yazidi boy,
reunited with his father
just three weeks ago.
But his three years away have left
a gulf between them.
Zahed lost his native language,
Kurdish, and was forcibly converted
to the Isis version of Islam.
All that time, they were teaching
you guns, and they were teaching
you about the Koran,
what were they telling
you about the Koran?
And he nearly was killed,
as he was launched into an attack
just five months ago,
over the Syrian border.
How is your leg now?
Who did they say the enemy was?
According to Isis, his own
father is an infidel,
and after three years,
not surprisingly, part of the boy's
mind may still belong to the group
he was forced to fight for.
What do they show, the videos?
Back at the camp, the two children,
returning from their music class,
are taking me to meet their mother
and their aunt.
He was separated from his mother,
when Isis captured them.
The family later paid a $28,000
ransom for his release.
His military training
Isis gave up on him after a few
days, as the eight-year-old cried
and failed to learn.
But though he has come home,
many other Isis captives haven't.
The children's aunt says that
even though Isis has
been largely defeated,
some Isis families are still holding
Yazidi children, passing
them off as their own.
Yazidi children like these have
suffered unimaginable horrors
during their short lives.
But no-one knows how many more
still need to be rescued.
You can see a longer version
of Tim Whewell's film on "Our World"
on the BBC News Channel
at 9.30 on Saturday night,
and 9.30 on Sunday night,
and, of course, on the iPlayer.
It is getting hard to keep up
with the allegations and revelations
about sexual harassment that
are now forthcoming.
Names are coming thick and fast -
not just in politics.
Kevin Spacey and Dustin Hoffman
are two that have emerged
this week for example.
But when you find out about the bad
behaviour of big stars
who you have admired or loved,
does it affect your
appreciation of their art?
I consider the Woody Allen film
Annie Hall to be one
of the best movies ever -
but knowing that his adopted
daughter has accused him of sexual
abuse, should I reassess my opinion?
What's the difference?
It's all mental masturbation.
Oh, now we're finally
getting to a subject you
know something about.
Just because allegations
arise about the director,
doesn't mean the script changes,
or the quality of the acting -
it's the same film it always was.
But we have a relationship
with a film that goes
deeper than the lines,
some kind of aesthetic
connection that speaks
us, and what it says surely does
alter with the perception of those
behind the work.
It's his name.
The point is most clearly
made by Bill Cosby.
His character was a lovable
dad, a role model.
he was Bill Cosby.
Given the admission that the real
Cosby drugged women for sex,
it's hard to watch the show
in the same way again.
Or take Roman Polanski.
Is it OK to watch
movies of someone who's
exiled himself to avoid
court action for rape?
His case raises the additional
question of whether you
want to give commercial
reward to someone whose
behaviour is appalling
by buying their product.
This is an omnipresent
dilemma and arises in
cases of the dead
as well as the living.
A statue by sculptor and typographer
Eric Gill sits outside
the BBC's Broadcasting House.
After his death, it emerged he'd
abused his daughters.
Does it now makes sense to stop
using the ubiquitous
Gill Sans typeface?
For some, Kevin Spacey's House
Of Cards is the most pressing
application of this issue.
Production has stopped
on the latest series,
but if they finished making it,
would as many people want to watch
it as in previous ones?
Joining me in the studio to discuss
is the writer and Guardian
columnist Lucy Mangan,
and writer and sociology
professor at Birmingham City
University, Kehinde Andrews.
Kehinde, can I ask you, let us take
the House of Cards, it is one I have
heard people talking about, what
would be be your stance on that?
terms of this debate you have to
understand you can't separate out
the art from the artist, in the same
way you can't separate out racist
theorists from racist theory, you
can't separate out the idea you have
people who are sexual predators from
producing work that has created what
we call rape culture, these two
things go hand in hand and they
can't be separated out, especially
in this case.
I take it you think,
and it is 178 will like boycotting
the products of people who are
sexual predators or evil sexual
The idea you can separate
these two things out, it is not
correct. There is a reason why Kos
bee, Polanski, spacey, it is a
reason this is men and sexual
violence, unfortunately that seems
to be the permissible and that is
something which is legitimate within
I want to pushdown
more time, you wouldn't watch House
of Cards that the point?
I do watch
it and I won't like it has changed
the way I think about it, it changes
the way I see the character, knowing
what I now know.
What about you, do
you have any sort of guilt about sop
some of these, the ones we have seen
in that little film?
whether the art is existing or if by
watching it, I am putting more money
into someone who is a proven
predator. I think there is a
different between that and watching
old Woodley Alan films for pleasure,
in you get rid of everything that
has been tainted over history, and
especially the clip we are going at
now, you end up with very little,
and also I worry that if you do
boycott everything and if you take
it off the television and off
Netflix and the rest of it, you
erase quite a part of the story, we
have to learn to sit with the fact
that these great things, and less
great things were often created by
terrible people. We have to sit with
that and learn that, that they
correlate and great talent doesn't
mean a great person.
It almost gets
you to the debate about the statue
of Cecil Rhodes and almost the same.
Where do you draw the line Kehinde?
It is sex and sexual aggression does
seem to be taken as a more, more
seriously than other violent crime,
you could imagine somebody involved
in a violent crime or coming out of
jail for some offence that is not
sexual by nature, and I don't think
you would take the same view of not
wanting to watch their product, as
you would about a known sexual
I think there is a
distinction here, because I think
one of the things is if you have
done a crime and you have given, you
have served time for that crime,
will is a question about do you,
have you recuperated? In the issues
we are talking about, these are
things that have gone unpunished, if
what is being is true and they
haven't been punished, and I think
that is why it is important that
this, it is not a coincidence these
are of a sexual nature, it is not a
coincidence it is men and it ties
into the culture of the product we
are talking about.
Lucy, it is quite
clear, isn't it, that there are
things we will take out. No-one is
going to see archive of top of the
pops with Jimmy Savile, that is
removed from the public space, isn't
it. So clearly, there is a sort of
line, and I imagine you agree with
not showing archive...
I think we
all make moral choices on a
continuum and as a watcher or viewer
we make that decision. Obviously I
would choose, easily choose not to
watch Jim'll Fix It repeats because
of the weight of that art compared
to what he did, is there is no
contest, but there is a whole other
grey area, where we make on an
individual basis a trade off, but it
becomes very difficult if people are
making those trade offs or deciding
those on our behalf. That is where I
worry we get into pushing a whole
lot of stuff aside.
The case of Eric
Gill, he has been dead for decades
now, pretty hideous stuff he did in
his life without anyone realising it
until afterwards. For you we just
have to accept he was a flawed
person and but nevertheless enjoy
his type face and his work.
a difficult one. I was writing a
book about children's literature and
there is an author there who was an
active paedophile throughout his
life while he was writing and was
convicted for it, and I had to
decide whether to put him in the
book or keep him out. In the end I
made an irrational emotional act.
But it is not logical and it is not,
and I feel bad about not having put
him in the history of it when he was
a very thought of writer. I don't
think that is purely right but I did
think made the morality of the
decision outweighed the, the sort of
I understand what you are
saying. There is an aesthetic
connection. But, sorry Kehinde, do
you want to come in on that point?
We need to start decentring the
people who do this. By saying this
is great art and we have to keep it,
by doing that we are ignoring the
other art that goes on, the women
minorities who produce art which we
haven't said is this wonderful
piece, right. I think that is really
important. Sometimes it is about
shifting away from the dominant
narratives and away from some of the
things we think is good. Opening up
You don't worry,
briefly, you don't worry you will
end up throwing away too much stuff.
We will lose half the historic art
If if we end up using a
lot so more people come in, that is
the risk we have to take.
We need to
leave it there.
Thank you both very much indeed.
Thank you both very much indeed.
That's all from us this evening.