03/11/2017 Newsnight


03/11/2017

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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Transcript


LineFromTo

Harassment becomes a full-blown

crisis in politics: Three

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new accusations today,

affecting MPs in both main parties.

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Tory Dover MP Charlie Elphicke

has the whip suspended,

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and the Conservative Party says

he has been referred to the police.

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He denies wrongdoing and says

he doesn't even know

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what the accusation is.

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And in Labour, Ivan Lewis

and Clive Lewis are both accused

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of inappropriate behaviour.

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Both deny it.

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I don't, as a rule, at packed

Labour Party Conferences,

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grope people's bottoms.

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What will the effect on our politics

and the main parties be,

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as allegations accumulate?

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Can you judge a regime by the way

it treats its infants?

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We hear the shocking testimony

of children liberated

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from so-called Islamic State.

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And also tonight: Given what we've

heard about Kevin Spacey,

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Rouen should we still be watching

House Of Cards? -- should we still

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be watching House Of Cards?

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Hello.

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It has been yet another

extraordinary political day.

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It's so strange to see ideological

debate between the parties

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replaced by talk of inappropriate,

intimate touching.

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Like the expenses scandal,

which saw new exposes day after day,

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this one is spinning out

of the control of

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the party managers.

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Politics is struggling to find

the words to cope with it.

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Take yesterday's story

of Kelvin Hopkins -

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Jeremy Corbyn was asked about it

this morning, but was unable

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to offer any comment.

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Were you aware of the allegations

against Mr Hopkins, sir?

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Goodbye.

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But this evening, we've had

new accusations against three MPs,

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coming out hour after hour.

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Two of them are former members

of the Shadow Cabinet,

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and one well-known Conservative MP.

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Let's go through them

with Chris Cook, who is with me.

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Let's start with Charlie Elphicke.

This came out at around 9pm.

The

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Tory Chief Whip Julian Smith issued

statements saying they had suspended

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him from the party and issued passed

it the police. Charlie Elphicke said

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he was not aware of what the

accusations are and denied any

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wrongdoing.

That was all quite late

this evening and we don't know much

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about it. Clive Lewis, he was pretty

well-known and indeed got into some

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trouble for using the phrase get on

your knees, bitch at a party

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Conference.

A brief Labour Party

statement saying the Labour Party is

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investigating a formal complaint

made today against Clive Lewis,

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specifically that an activist said

she felt he had touched her

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inappropriately while having a hug

at the party Conference.

Clive Lewis

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came out very quickly after that. He

went on to the news channel and he

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didn't deny it. This is what he

said.

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I don't, as a rule, at packed

Labour Party Conferences,

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grope people's bottoms

when I greet them.

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This, you know, it is just not how

I roll, it's not what I do.

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Is the person mistaken?

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Have I kind of given them a hug

and this has, you know,

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been misinterpreted?

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I don't know.

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But all I know is that I would not

deliberately do that.

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And the third one today, Ivan Lewis,

another Lewis but completely

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separate and a former Labour Shadow

Cabinet member.

There are two

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allegations. One is that he touched

an activist's legs, and the other is

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about his conduct as a minister in

the Department of Health. He has put

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out a statement denying specifically

and firmly the first of those, and

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he put out a statement that sort of

says that if there are problems at

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the Department of Health, no one

else seemed to know about them. I

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have on occasion asked women I work

for out for dinner and develop

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strong feelings for them and I am

sorry if this was inappropriate in

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the circumstances.

Yesterday, Kelvin

Hopkins, another former Cabinet

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member, that case emerged. Today,

late this afternoon, actually, he

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issued quite a firm and strong

denial and quite a long piece about

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it.

There was a statement yesterday

about Mr Hopkins is saying

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inappropriate things and having

inappropriately at an event in 2014.

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His statement is striking because it

features a trope we have seen

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already in some of them coverage

after Hartpury Weinstein. He said

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how cordial things were after the

incident is supposed to have taken

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place. It -- after the Harvey

Weinstein story.

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It is awkward and difficult because

even after an incident you may still

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want to ingratiate yourself.

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Joining me now is Jasmin Beckett,

Young Labour's representative

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on the Labour Party's National

Executive Committee.

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Is the party geared up for dealing

with the volume of allegations?

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Yeah, I mean, I think that we have a

lot we need to improve. We recently

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passed a new sexual harassment

policy which is a huge step forward

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for us, but it just doesn't go far

enough. It doesn't introduce an

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independent body away from politics

to deal with these complaints, so

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that's a huge reason why people

haven't been coming forward, and

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that's something we need to look at

again.

You wrote in an e-mail to the

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NEC and Jeremy Corbyn saying there

are still people who don't want to

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complain because they don't feel

able to do so. He said these

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experiences are not rare.

Yeah, I

think we've all... There's a lot of

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rumours, and I've been in positions

myself where I've been in NEC

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meetings and had inappropriate

remarks made towards myself, and you

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know, I know that, as fantastic as

they are, staff members dealing with

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these complaints, and then the NEC's

disputes body, who will dispute over

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them, and it puts you off from

making a complaint because, you

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know, these are people you know than

they might know the person about

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whom you're making a complaint.

Age

is a factor. You represent Young

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labour. Pages is a factor in some of

these cases was not in your view, if

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a 55-year-old MP -- age is a factor.

If a 55-year-old MP makes advances

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to a young activist, is that

unacceptable in your view?

Any MPs

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and elected officials in our party

or others are in positions of power,

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and if they abuse that power, it is

wrong and should not be happening.

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Chris Cook was saying, in some of

these cases, the women seem to have

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had good relations with the MP or

the person beforehand, and good

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relations afterwards. Do you

think... Because I think a lot of

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people will say, it can't be so bad

if they were friends afterwards. Do

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you think that can form any part of

the defence of somebody accused of

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inappropriately propositioning or

forcing themselves on someone?

No,

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because, as I say, I mean, these

people are in positions of power,

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and ultimately, these are the people

deciding on the laws in our country,

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and they should know better. As I

said today in my e-mail, with the

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Labour Party, we want to look like

the society which we wish to create,

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and if our MPs don't look like that

and our own procedures don't look

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like that, then I worry that we, you

know, the public will see that.

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There will be enquiries and a lot of

these cases and it will often be one

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word against another - how do you

tell if Clive Lewis squeezed

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someone's bottom? Do you think we

should always default to believing

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the woman, the victim, in these

cases? It will be difficult... In

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the past, people have always said we

have not given sufficient weight to

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victims' testimony.

My go- to is to

believe those coming forward because

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obviously if you get a lot of...

Well maybe it's not true, and it

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stops people coming forward. That

has to be for the investigation's

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panel to look at all these details,

and ideally, that's why we would

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have an independent body looking at

those so we can ensure the procedure

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is rigorous.

Thank you very much

indeed.

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Ian Birrell is a former speech

writer for David Cameron,

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and is now a contributing editor

for the Mail on Sunday and writes

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for the "i" newspaper.

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Ian, how big a crisis is this for

our politics?

I think it is a big

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crisis. People are compared it to

the expenses scandal but I think it

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goes beyond that. It is a political

issue rather than a party issue. It

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goes to the heart of culture and

society. We see a glimpse of a

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problem where too many men in

powerful positions think they can

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abuse their positions, and too many

women are having their careers

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dented, their confidence ruined and

their aspirations to engage in the

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political system devastated and

destroyed. This is a culture that

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has the change.

This might prompt a

bigger change then the expenses

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scandal bid. Obviously, that led to

reform of the expenses system. This

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might change our whole way of life

in the Commons really.

The hope is

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gone out of this mess emerges a more

sensible system in the running of

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the Commons and the career

structure. It is about attitudes in

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the heart of society, which hasn't

to be forgotten. It is about women

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who are having their lives

devastated and men abusing, which is

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to be tackled.

Does this crisis

bring an election closer? Does it

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remove the Government's working

majority with the Ulster Unionist?

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We don't know yet. We are in the

foothills and every day there was an

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astonishing development, like today.

If the Labour leader has knowingly

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promoted someone whom they knew had

been accused, justifiably, which we

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don't know yet, but if that is the

case, it raises serious questions as

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to whether Jeremy Corbyn is fit to

be Labour leader. If Theresa May has

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been engaged in cover-ups, there are

questions there. If you are not fit

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to be in the cabinet, I don't

understand how you are still fit to

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be an MP. These are profound

questions which need to be dealt

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with.

Them eBay -- there may be

by-elections.

It is about equal

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rights for 50% of society.

We are in

crucial times, than this, with

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Brexit, and Parliament and the

Government have to make some

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difficult decisions in the next two

years.

It is a body blow from

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politics. The lack of faith, the

lack of trust, the economic woes,

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and this is one more body blow in a

divided country with a pathetically

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weak Prime Minister and a political

system not trusted by a lot of

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people, with these divisions in

society, it could be worse timing.

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But that mustn't get in the way of

resolving these really critical

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issues.

Ian Beryl, thank you very

much.

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Just one paper of note tomorrow -

the Sun carries a headlines saying

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Chris Evans the BBC Radio

2 DJ exposed himself

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to a girl for two years.

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The BBC has said tonight:

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They said they would not comment on

a story that dates back more than 20

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years.

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It also says police investigated

at the time and there

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was insufficient evidence.

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Bit by bit, so-called

Islamic State is being driven

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out of Iraq and Syria.

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Syrian troops have taken the last

city in which Isis had a presence,

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and the group is now reduced to two

small enclaves in Western Syria,

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and a section of the Euphrates River

Valley spanning the border

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of Syria and Iraq.

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That's not to say Isis is over,

but it is not the force it was,

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a fact for which many are thankful.

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And it means we can now find out

more about what life was like

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when Isis was in control.

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As it has retreated,

it has left thousands of women

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and children behind.

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Some are the abandoned

families of IS fighters,

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others are being held

as prisoners or slaves.

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There are also boys

who were forced to fight for IS.

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The goal now is to reunite families

and to rehabilitate those whose

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minds have been stolen by the group.

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Tim Whewell reports now from Iraq

on the children left behind

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by the fighters of Islamic state.

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You might find some

of the testimony upsetting.

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# If you're happy, happy,

happy

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# Clap your hands...#

0:14:210:14:27

In a classroom in northern

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Iraq, they're singing

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to overcome their memories.

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These nine and ten-year-olds

were all captives of

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so-called Islamic State,

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where music was Haram - forbidden.

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From their smiles, you might not

guess the violence they've seen,

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but they're all scarred by it.

0:14:530:14:58

ISIS enslaved this boy

and his sister three years ago.

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So what did they tell

you about the guns?

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The children at this

rehabilitation centre are Yazidi,

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part of the non-Muslim minority

singled out for particular

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cruelty by ISIS.

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In 2014, their villages were seized

and thousands of men

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murdered on the spot.

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The women were sold into slavery,

and children taken for re-education

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to serve the so-called Caliphate.

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What did they say about your family?

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When first they talk

aboutt their experience,

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it was not actually easy and good,

but now they can express

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it in a different way.

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At first they were just too

scared to talk about it.

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Now they can talk about it,

but freely, but in a better way,

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like they don't express so much,

I wouldn't say anger, but they feel

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comfortable and relaxed now.

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But they say they've seen things

which are truly shocking.

0:16:350:16:39

Now, every day brings more Yazidi

children to camps like this one,

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as they return from captivity.

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And many not only witnessed

atrocities, they became instruments

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in the Isis project themselves.

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The terror group trained

thousands of boys like these.

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They called them lion

cubs of the Caliphate.

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They were fighters,

informers, suicide bombers.

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More than 50 boys blew themselves up

defending the biggest Isis-held

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city, Mosul, before it

fell in July.

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Some were children of foreign

fighters, others recruited

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or kidnapped from local families.

0:17:570:18:05

Zahed is a 14-year-old Yazidi boy,

reunited with his father

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just three weeks ago.

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But his three years away have left

a gulf between them.

0:18:110:18:14

Zahed lost his native language,

Kurdish, and was forcibly converted

0:18:140:18:16

to the Isis version of Islam.

0:18:160:18:26

All that time, they were teaching

you guns, and they were teaching

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you about the Koran,

what were they telling

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you about the Koran?

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And he nearly was killed,

as he was launched into an attack

0:18:450:18:48

just five months ago,

over the Syrian border.

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How is your leg now?

0:18:500:18:59

Who did they say the enemy was?

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The infidels.

0:19:160:19:18

The non-Muslims.

0:19:180:19:23

According to Isis, his own

father is an infidel,

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and after three years,

not surprisingly, part of the boy's

0:19:260:19:35

mind may still belong to the group

he was forced to fight for.

0:19:350:19:40

What do they show, the videos?

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Back at the camp, the two children,

returning from their music class,

0:20:180:20:22

are taking me to meet their mother

and their aunt.

0:20:220:20:28

He was separated from his mother,

when Isis captured them.

0:20:280:20:33

The family later paid a $28,000

ransom for his release.

0:20:330:20:40

His military training

was shortlived.

0:21:020:21:05

Isis gave up on him after a few

days, as the eight-year-old cried

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and failed to learn.

0:21:080:21:13

But though he has come home,

many other Isis captives haven't.

0:21:130:21:16

The children's aunt says that

even though Isis has

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been largely defeated,

some Isis families are still holding

0:21:180:21:20

Yazidi children, passing

them off as their own.

0:21:200:21:28

Yazidi children like these have

suffered unimaginable horrors

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during their short lives.

0:22:080:22:09

But no-one knows how many more

still need to be rescued.

0:22:090:22:19

You can see a longer version

of Tim Whewell's film on "Our World"

0:22:230:22:26

on the BBC News Channel

at 9.30 on Saturday night,

0:22:260:22:28

and 9.30 on Sunday night,

and, of course, on the iPlayer.

0:22:280:22:37

It is getting hard to keep up

with the allegations and revelations

0:22:370:22:40

about sexual harassment that

are now forthcoming.

0:22:400:22:42

Names are coming thick and fast -

not just in politics.

0:22:420:22:44

Kevin Spacey and Dustin Hoffman

are two that have emerged

0:22:440:22:48

this week for example.

0:22:480:22:51

But when you find out about the bad

behaviour of big stars

0:22:510:22:54

who you have admired or loved,

does it affect your

0:22:540:22:57

appreciation of their art?

0:22:570:22:58

I consider the Woody Allen film

Annie Hall to be one

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of the best movies ever -

but knowing that his adopted

0:23:010:23:05

daughter has accused him of sexual

abuse, should I reassess my opinion?

0:23:050:23:09

What's the difference?

0:23:090:23:11

It's all mental masturbation.

0:23:110:23:12

Oh, now we're finally

getting to a subject you

0:23:120:23:14

know something about.

0:23:140:23:15

Just because allegations

arise about the director,

0:23:150:23:17

doesn't mean the script changes,

or the quality of the acting -

0:23:170:23:20

it's the same film it always was.

0:23:200:23:22

But we have a relationship

with a film that goes

0:23:220:23:25

deeper than the lines,

some kind of aesthetic

0:23:250:23:28

connection that speaks

to

0:23:280:23:32

us, and what it says surely does

alter with the perception of those

0:23:320:23:35

behind the work.

0:23:350:23:36

David?

0:23:360:23:37

It's his name.

0:23:370:23:40

The point is most clearly

made by Bill Cosby.

0:23:400:23:42

His character was a lovable

dad, a role model.

0:23:420:23:45

You felt

he was Bill Cosby.

0:23:450:23:52

Given the admission that the real

Cosby drugged women for sex,

0:23:520:23:55

it's hard to watch the show

in the same way again.

0:23:550:24:00

Or take Roman Polanski.

0:24:000:24:01

Is it OK to watch

movies of someone who's

0:24:010:24:04

exiled himself to avoid

court action for rape?

0:24:040:24:06

His case raises the additional

question of whether you

0:24:060:24:08

want to give commercial

reward to someone whose

0:24:080:24:10

behaviour is appalling

by buying their product.

0:24:100:24:13

This is an omnipresent

dilemma and arises in

0:24:130:24:16

cases of the dead

as well as the living.

0:24:160:24:21

A statue by sculptor and typographer

Eric Gill sits outside

0:24:210:24:24

the BBC's Broadcasting House.

0:24:240:24:28

After his death, it emerged he'd

abused his daughters.

0:24:280:24:34

Does it now makes sense to stop

using the ubiquitous

0:24:340:24:36

Gill Sans typeface?

0:24:360:24:40

For some, Kevin Spacey's House

Of Cards is the most pressing

0:24:400:24:43

application of this issue.

0:24:430:24:44

Production has stopped

on the latest series,

0:24:440:24:46

but if they finished making it,

would as many people want to watch

0:24:460:24:49

it as in previous ones?

0:24:490:24:53

Joining me in the studio to discuss

is the writer and Guardian

0:24:530:24:55

columnist Lucy Mangan,

and writer and sociology

0:24:550:24:57

professor at Birmingham City

University, Kehinde Andrews.

0:24:570:25:05

Kehinde, can I ask you, let us take

the House of Cards, it is one I have

0:25:070:25:14

heard people talking about, what

would be be your stance on that?

In

0:25:140:25:17

terms of this debate you have to

understand you can't separate out

0:25:170:25:21

the art from the artist, in the same

way you can't separate out racist

0:25:210:25:26

theorists from racist theory, you

can't separate out the idea you have

0:25:260:25:31

people who are sexual predators from

producing work that has created what

0:25:310:25:35

we call rape culture, these two

things go hand in hand and they

0:25:350:25:39

can't be separated out, especially

in this case.

I take it you think,

0:25:390:25:42

and it is 178 will like boycotting

the products of people who are

0:25:420:25:49

sexual predators or evil sexual

predators.

The idea you can separate

0:25:490:25:53

these two things out, it is not

correct. There is a reason why Kos

0:25:530:26:00

bee, Polanski, spacey, it is a

reason this is men and sexual

0:26:000:26:04

violence, unfortunately that seems

to be the permissible and that is

0:26:040:26:07

something which is legitimate within

the industry.

I want to pushdown

0:26:070:26:11

more time, you wouldn't watch House

of Cards that the point?

I do watch

0:26:110:26:14

it and I won't like it has changed

the way I think about it, it changes

0:26:140:26:18

the way I see the character, knowing

what I now know.

What about you, do

0:26:180:26:24

you have any sort of guilt about sop

some of these, the ones we have seen

0:26:240:26:29

in that little film?

It depends

whether the art is existing or if by

0:26:290:26:34

watching it, I am putting more money

into someone who is a proven

0:26:340:26:39

predator. I think there is a

different between that and watching

0:26:390:26:45

old Woodley Alan films for pleasure,

in you get rid of everything that

0:26:450:26:50

has been tainted over history, and

especially the clip we are going at

0:26:500:26:54

now, you end up with very little,

and also I worry that if you do

0:26:540:26:58

boycott everything and if you take

it off the television and off

0:26:580:27:02

Netflix and the rest of it, you

erase quite a part of the story, we

0:27:020:27:08

have to learn to sit with the fact

that these great things, and less

0:27:080:27:14

great things were often created by

terrible people. We have to sit with

0:27:140:27:18

that and learn that, that they

correlate and great talent doesn't

0:27:180:27:22

mean a great person.

It almost gets

you to the debate about the statue

0:27:220:27:29

of Cecil Rhodes and almost the same.

Where do you draw the line Kehinde?

0:27:290:27:36

It is sex and sexual aggression does

seem to be taken as a more, more

0:27:360:27:41

seriously than other violent crime,

you could imagine somebody involved

0:27:410:27:45

in a violent crime or coming out of

jail for some offence that is not

0:27:450:27:50

sexual by nature, and I don't think

you would take the same view of not

0:27:500:27:54

wanting to watch their product, as

you would about a known sexual

0:27:540:27:58

predator.

I think there is a

distinction here, because I think

0:27:580:28:01

one of the things is if you have

done a crime and you have given, you

0:28:010:28:05

have served time for that crime,

will is a question about do you,

0:28:050:28:08

have you recuperated? In the issues

we are talking about, these are

0:28:080:28:12

things that have gone unpunished, if

what is being is true and they

0:28:120:28:20

haven't been punished, and I think

that is why it is important that

0:28:200:28:23

this, it is not a coincidence these

are of a sexual nature, it is not a

0:28:230:28:29

coincidence it is men and it ties

into the culture of the product we

0:28:290:28:32

are talking about.

Lucy, it is quite

clear, isn't it, that there are

0:28:320:28:36

things we will take out. No-one is

going to see archive of top of the

0:28:360:28:41

pops with Jimmy Savile, that is

removed from the public space, isn't

0:28:410:28:45

it. So clearly, there is a sort of

line, and I imagine you agree with

0:28:450:28:50

not showing archive...

I think we

all make moral choices on a

0:28:500:28:57

continuum and as a watcher or viewer

we make that decision. Obviously I

0:28:570:29:03

would choose, easily choose not to

watch Jim'll Fix It repeats because

0:29:030:29:09

of the weight of that art compared

to what he did, is there is no

0:29:090:29:13

contest, but there is a whole other

grey area, where we make on an

0:29:130:29:18

individual basis a trade off, but it

becomes very difficult if people are

0:29:180:29:22

making those trade offs or deciding

those on our behalf. That is where I

0:29:220:29:26

worry we get into pushing a whole

lot of stuff aside.

The case of Eric

0:29:260:29:33

Gill, he has been dead for decades

now, pretty hideous stuff he did in

0:29:330:29:40

his life without anyone realising it

until afterwards. For you we just

0:29:400:29:44

have to accept he was a flawed

person and but nevertheless enjoy

0:29:440:29:49

his type face and his work.

That is

a difficult one. I was writing a

0:29:490:29:54

book about children's literature and

there is an author there who was an

0:29:540:30:01

active paedophile throughout his

life while he was writing and was

0:30:010:30:04

convicted for it, and I had to

decide whether to put him in the

0:30:040:30:07

book or keep him out. In the end I

made an irrational emotional act.

0:30:070:30:16

But it is not logical and it is not,

and I feel bad about not having put

0:30:160:30:21

him in the history of it when he was

a very thought of writer. I don't

0:30:210:30:26

think that is purely right but I did

think made the morality of the

0:30:260:30:32

decision outweighed the, the sort of

academic.

I understand what you are

0:30:320:30:35

saying. There is an aesthetic

connection. But, sorry Kehinde, do

0:30:350:30:43

you want to come in on that point?

We need to start decentring the

0:30:430:30:48

people who do this. By saying this

is great art and we have to keep it,

0:30:480:30:53

by doing that we are ignoring the

other art that goes on, the women

0:30:530:30:57

minorities who produce art which we

haven't said is this wonderful

0:30:570:31:00

piece, right. I think that is really

important. Sometimes it is about

0:31:000:31:04

shifting away from the dominant

narratives and away from some of the

0:31:040:31:07

things we think is good. Opening up

the debate.

You don't worry,

0:31:070:31:12

briefly, you don't worry you will

end up throwing away too much stuff.

0:31:120:31:16

We will lose half the historic art

out there.

If if we end up using a

0:31:160:31:24

lot so more people come in, that is

the risk we have to take.

We need to

0:31:240:31:27

leave it there.

Thank you both very much indeed.

0:31:270:31:31

Thank you both very much indeed.

0:31:310:31:36

That's all from us this evening.

0:31:360:31:40

I

0:31:400:31:40

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