09/11/2017 Newsnight


09/11/2017

In-depth investigation and analysis of the stories behind the day's headlines with Kirsty Wark.


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A new International Development

Secretary with the same Brexit

0:00:050:00:07

views as the old one.

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A Brexiteer Foreign Secretary

safe despite careless,

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dangerous talk that might have

doubled a British woman's

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prison sentence in Iran.

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Is Theresa May's grip on government

seen too much through a Brexit lens?

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We'll hear the view of Britain

from Paris and ask the former

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Deputy Chairman of the Tory Party

where they go from here.

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It was one of the most toxic

relationships ever in politics.

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But in an interview

to mark his memoirs,

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Gordon Brown insists their rows

were all about policy

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and had nothing to do

with personal ambition.

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I agreed that I would take

control of economic policy,

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and he said he would step down

in the second term.

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It's as simple as that,

and that of course didn't happen.

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Tilting at Donald Trump.

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As the President keeps his promise

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to blow away environmental

restraint, the US states

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which are fighting back.

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The outcome of this contest

will determine what the world's

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going to look like over the next 10,

20 and 30 years.

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And the set awaits Russia Today's

new television star,

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the former First Minister

of Scotland, Alex Salmond.

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I'll be asking him if Vladimir Putin

will be calling the shots.

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Good evening.

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The Prime Minister may

have her game face on

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and a new waxwork projecting resolve

at Madame Tussauds.

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But is she in danger of having

to take literally every decision

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while looking through the foggy

lens of Brexit?

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In Brussels today, where Brexit

negotiations resumed,

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the view was yes -

everything in Britain

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is about Brexit.

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The fact that Theresa May has made

a simple reshuffle and parachuted

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Brexiteer Penny Mordaunt

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into the space left by Brexiteer

Priti Patel is not apparently

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being seen as "firm or decisive"

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or any of the adjectives associated

with command of government.

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So is everything being seen

through the lens of Brexit?

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Is the Foreign Secretary,

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Boris Johnson, whose foot in mouth

remarks and equally stumbling

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retraction over Nazanin

Zaghari-Ratcliffe, which may

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lengthen her jail sentence,

safer than he would be otherwise?

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To lose another big Brexiteer

and three Cabinet ministers

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in the space of a week might haul

Theresa May's government

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below the waterline.

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Here's Nick Watt.

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A great partnership...

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Whichever way you look

in British politics today,

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Brexit looks back at

you from every angle.

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A Brexit-supporting cabinet minister

resigns, and so a Brexit-supporting

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replacement is called up.

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Theresa May has been

adopting a cautious

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approach in her many and

enforced reshuffles,

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ensuring that she does not upset

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the delicate balance

between Brexiteers and

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Remainers around the Cabinet

table because overall,

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she is performing a delicate

balancing act in holding

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her divided party together.

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Friends of Priti Patel

told me, for example,

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that the Prime Minister took her

time in firing the former cabinet

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minister because she did not want

to upset such a prominent Brexit

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supporter.

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So Theresa May knows that

from the handling of her ministers

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to almost every policy

decision she makes,

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Brexit hangs over everything.

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And add in a dose of bad luck.

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Who could have seen the butterfly

effect from the other side

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of the Atlantic

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of the Harvey Weinstein allegations

here in Westminster?

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And this fundamental

question arises -

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is Theresa May a member of that

select group of prime ministers

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who find

themselves controlled by events

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rather than actually shaping events?

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Top of the list is Anthony Eden,

who was broken by the Suez crisis.

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Like me or loathe me,

don't bind my hands.

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Four decades later, John Major

was paralysed by Europe.

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Nothing has changed.

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Nothing has changed.

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And then there is Theresa May,

who commanded the political

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landscape until that election.

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A critic of Theresa

May believes there

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is scope for her to

set her own agenda.

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I don't think it needs to be quite

as paralysed as it appears to be.

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I think there are things

that need to be done.

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I think there is an

opportunity in the housing field

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which requires action.

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I think the question

of an industrial strategy,

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on which I have just

produced a pamphlet,

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gives very considerable

opportunities to meet urgent demands

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of self interest for this country,

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and it is particularly important

in the Brexit context to have an

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industrial strategy.

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Ultimately, Lord Heseltine fears

the Prime Minister may be

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unable to secure a Brexit

deal acceptable to his wing of

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the party.

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And the man who made his name

attacking socialism...

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The red flag has never

flown throughout these

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islands yet, nor for

a thousand years...

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..Believes his supporters may face

a painful dilemma about how to

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vote at the next general election.

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I don't have a vote,

which is a copout I accepted once,

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but I know friends of mine

who certainly are Conservative

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voters who are agonising over

exactly that dilemma.

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And it is an irony.

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You made your name in the 1970s

campaigning against everything

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Jeremy Corbyn believes in,

and yet he may, on this

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fundamental question

of Britain's future,

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embody your views more

than your party.

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That's a pretty horrific thought.

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A horrific thought,

but an accurate, sensible thought?

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There is no doubt at all that

a scenario that if, as I think,

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the public opinion will move

and the Labour Party moves,

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there could be a situation

where the only people left in favour

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of Brexit are the right wing

of the Conservative Party.

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And that will produce very

difficult, traumatic

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challenges for voters

in a general election.

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One loyalist says, don't write off

this Prime Minister.

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I would say the government

are holding together well.

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No votes have been lost in the House

of Commons on primary legislation.

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Nobody thought that was possible.

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Jeremy Corbyn was scampering around

back in June and July

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and August, preparing

for an autumn general election.

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Well, it's very clear there's not

going to be a general

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election this autumn,

there's not going to be

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a general election until 2022.

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So the Prime Minister has done

a great job steadying the ship

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in difficult circumstances,

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rising to meet the challenge

of the times and dealing

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with it all in a very calm,

professional manner.

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Europe, the ever-dominant issue

in our national life, will define

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Theresa May's premiership.

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She will be hoping she

is not drowned by it.

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Nick Watt is with me.

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You have more news on Brexit?

Yes,

there is an interesting intervention

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tomorrow by Lord Coe, the former

head of the Foreign Office who is

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the official who wrote Article 50,

the process to take is outside the

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EU. He says this can be revoked by

the UK at any point within the

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two-year time frame. He is saying it

was a voluntary agreement to give

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member states the confidence that

they could leave. Therefore, if we

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want to revoke it, we could. He is

going to say we are not required to

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withdraw just because Mrs May sent a

letter. We can change our mind at

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any stage during the process. He is

effectively saying the government is

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misleading people by saying that we

can't revoke it. He says that is a

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political decision, not a legal

decision. And interestingly, this

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comes as the Prime Minister writes a

piece in tomorrow's Daily Telegraph

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saying she will write onto the face

of the Brexit build the date of

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withdrawal, the 29th of March, 2019,

and in a message to the likes of

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Lord Kerr, she says, we will not

tolerate any attempts to slow down

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or stop our departure from the EU.

How are negotiations going?

I am

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told there will be a chilly

atmosphere tomorrow when David Davis

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meets Michel Barnier for the latest

round of negotiations in Brussels.

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Essentially, the Brexit secretary

will say that the Prime Minister

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made a big gesture in Florence on

the money and citizens' rights. You

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haven't moved, and unless you show

some sort of gesture, it is going to

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be difficult, because he will say

the UK ain't keeling over.

Thank you

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very much.

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Joining me from Paris is writer

and commentator Christine Ockrent.

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From where you sit, how do European

politicians view Theresa May's

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government?

Well, frankly, with a

mix of compassion and surprise,

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because this is a very weak Prime

Minister and it's not new. It seems

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that she has a very hard time with

her own government, not only because

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two government members had to quit.

It seems she is very secretive too

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in her way of handling her own

Cabinet, and that has shown since

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the start of the negotiations on

Brexit. So there is a great deal of

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surprise at the weakness of this

Prime Minister and her team.

As Nick

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Watt was saying, when Theresa May

went to Florence, she made the

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gesture on money and the gesture on

people. Do you think that following

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that, there are just some EU

politicians who are intent on

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humiliating her?

No, I don't think

there is an intention to humiliate

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her. Mind you, Florence was just a

speech. If politics were made only

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of speeches, I think the French

would be the kings of the world.

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It's not only a matter of making a

speech. In that speech, the content

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was deemed insufficient by the

European negotiators. As you have

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said, the discussions will resume

tomorrow. There are rumours that

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will be progress on the figures at

the British government would be

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willing to pay for the divorce car

but I think there is always that

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extraordinary misunderstanding, in

London at any rate. There is

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confusion between, let's get the

horse, but let's think of the house

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we will build together afterwards.

Let's not even talk about the

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divorce, because we have just heard

that Lord Kerr, who drafted Article

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50, is now saying that that is

revoke a ball -- revocable and that

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is until you are divorced, you are

still together and it is not a legal

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document, it is a political

document. Do you think there will be

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some European leaders heartened to

hear that and indeed banking on it?

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Well, I believe Lord Kerr has long

proved he is one of the finest minds

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on European affairs and I think many

of his friends on the continent will

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not be surprised to hear of his

latest declaration. He knows what

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he's talking about, because he wrote

Article 50. Remember, President

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Macron, who has made Europe one of

his main arguments for his mandate,

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about a month ago he made an

important speech on Europe at the

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Sorbonne. And I was interested to

hear him say that the door was still

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open.

Christine Ockrent, thank you.

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I'm now joined by the former

Deputy Chairman

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of the Conservative Party,

Robert Halfon, - now the Chair

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of the Education Select Committee.

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As you look at your government, what

do you make of the mess it appears

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to be in?

Well, government is like a

supertanker travelling down the

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ocean. Sometimes you get buffeted by

storms. Yes, we have been buffeted

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by storm is pretty hard over the

past couple of weeks. But the

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important thing is, can we set the

direction of travel and is very

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destination? That is what we need to

be clearer about.

You are suggesting

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that the destination is not about

Brexit, it is about the position of

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the party, about policy and a

different kind of party.

We will

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always have Brexit, there is nothing

we can do about that. But we need to

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focus on the issues that matter to

the British people.

But there is no

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question of that at the moment cos

Theresa May is not in a strong

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enough position to do that.

Any

Prime Minister can focus on the

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things that matter.

Do you think she

has the bandwidth?

Yes. One of the

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most important thing is facing our

nation is skills. We are way behind

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other countries. Housing, the cost

of living, the role of the National

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Health Service. We have to show that

we are the real party of the

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workers.

Maybe you have to go into

opposition to regroup and do that.

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That would be a disaster given what

the Labour Party under Jeremy Corbyn

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represent. This is the Labour Party

of the far left.

But it might be one

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that Michael Heseltine have to make

common cause with.

He said he had to

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make calls with some of those people

who want to stop Brexit, but Jeremy

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Corbyn at one time was a Brexiteer.

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Let's look at the travails of the

Cabinet, first Michael Palin and

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then Priti Patel, and a situation

where she had to make a

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like-for-like replacement Brexit --

Michael Fallon. And you see how

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Iranian news reports are discussing

Boris Johnson's remarks and indeed

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careless talk could cost lives,

about opening Dario Ragna Debats --

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about Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe's

politician, what do you make of

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that?

I like Boris but he has made a

mistake and is acknowledged and

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apologised. He apologised in the

housing cons he made a mistake. I

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think Boris provide something very

important for our party, some sunny

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optimism and he needs to work

alongside the seriousness,

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no-nonsense Prime Minister character

and offer us something but he also

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has to have his Henry V moment, he

has to showed he has a serious side

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as well.

It's a bit late, he has

been kicking around government for a

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long time and been the Mayor of

London and the point was that it was

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arrogance, he just kind of tossed

off that remark and he did not care

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enough.

He has made a mistake and

apologised.

He hasn't actually

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apologised properly.

I think he has

and we are in danger of forgetting

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that the Iranian regime is not a

benign regime but pretty nasty and

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it promotes terror around the world.

We can't allow... OK computer was a

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mistake...

Hang on, saying

erroneously that she was not on

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holiday and was teaching journalism,

you would have thought actually that

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alarm bells would go and I would

suggest that in any other time

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rather than these fraught times,

that might be enough to move Boris

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Johnson.

He made a mistake and

apologised and has a lot to offer

0:16:160:16:21

the Tory party. At the same time we

did not excuse a regime that locks

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up British citizens for no reason.

You talk about rebuilding, but

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before that, what do you make of

Lord Kerr's intervention tomorrow

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which said that Article 50 is a

political document and not a legal

0:16:380:16:41

one and it can be revoked?

I voted

Remain because I thought Britain

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should be part of analyte of

democracies but the British people

0:16:460:16:50

voted to leave, my constituency did

by 68%. It is an interesting

0:16:500:16:55

intellectual argument but if we

reverse is leaving the EU, don't

0:16:550:16:59

forget that Parliament has voted for

Article 50, you seriously undermine

0:16:590:17:03

faith in our democracy and that

would be a terrible thing. The

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public voted for it, either we have

a democracy or not. We believe in

0:17:060:17:10

democracy.

His view is expressed

tomorrow is that once people are

0:17:100:17:16

more in tune with the facts because

a lot of people felt we did not know

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the facts beforehand, they are

entitled to change their minds.

You

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might as will say that about any

political position, you can change

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an election result because people

would vote for another party. Either

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we believe in our democracy and the

decisions made by the British people

0:17:290:17:34

or we don't and we would undermine

faith in our democracy if we went

0:17:340:17:38

back on what has been voted for and

buy a big majority in parliament.

0:17:380:17:42

Thank you for joining us.

0:17:420:17:45

The First Minister of Wales today

responded to criticisms

0:17:450:17:47

of the handling of misconduct

allegations against Carl Sargeant,

0:17:470:17:50

the Welsh Labour Assembly

Communities Minister who,

0:17:500:17:53

after he was suspended,

is believed to have taken his

0:17:530:17:55

own life on Tuesday.

0:17:550:17:57

Mr Sargeant was facing allegations

of "unwanted attention,

0:17:570:18:01

inappropriate touching and groping,"

and Carwyn James said he had acted

0:18:010:18:04

by the book and had no alternative

but to sack his minister.

0:18:040:18:07

Whatever the truth of

the allegations, Carl Sargeant's

0:18:070:18:09

death has created shockwaves

in the Labour Party and the country.

0:18:090:18:12

David Grossman spent

the day in Cardiff.

0:18:120:18:17

Today was the first chance

for Labour Assembly members

0:18:170:18:21

to gather and reflect on the death

of their colleague and sign

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a book of condolence.

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Since devolution, this assembly has

been subject to its share

0:18:270:18:30

of intrigue and crisis but there has

never been anything like this.

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Just down this corridor

on the right-hand side,

0:18:330:18:35

Carwyn Jones, the Welsh First

Minister, is having,

0:18:350:18:37

I think it's safe to say,

the most difficult political meeting

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of his career.

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He's having to explain

to his colleagues and answer

0:18:420:18:45

questions from them about this

matter, why he took

0:18:450:18:47

the decisions that he did.

0:18:470:18:50

The immediate timeline

of this tragedy begins

0:18:500:18:52

last Friday at 12.50pm.

0:18:520:18:55

Carl Sargeant tweeted

that he was standing

0:18:550:18:57

down as a minister.

0:18:570:18:59

But 40 minutes later

the Welsh First Minister,

0:19:030:19:06

Carwyn Jones, began a reshuffle

of his team and a spokesman

0:19:060:19:08

for Mr Jones told the BBC that

Mr Sargeant had not resigned but had

0:19:080:19:12

in fact been sacked.

0:19:120:19:14

Ten minutes later Mr Sargeant

received an e-mail from

0:19:140:19:16

Louise Magee, general secretary

of the Welsh Labour Party,

0:19:160:19:18

informing him that he had been

suspended from the party.

0:19:180:19:25

According to a spokesman,

there was to be an investigation

0:19:250:19:28

into allegations received.

0:19:280:19:31

On Monday, Mr Sargeant's

solicitor, Hugh Bowden,

0:19:310:19:33

wrote to the Labour Party requesting

details of the allegations

0:19:330:19:35

made against him.

0:19:350:19:39

The letter makes it clear that

Mr Sargeant was aware

0:19:390:19:42

of the broad nature of these.

0:19:420:19:49

They concerned "unwanted attention,

inappropriate touching or grouping."

0:19:490:19:54

The letter also expressed

"the anxiety and distress

0:19:540:19:56

caused to our client,

particularly since he is yet

0:19:560:19:58

to receive any details

of the allegations."

0:19:580:20:00

Carwyn Jones then did

a series of interviews

0:20:000:20:02

discussing these allegations,

saying that a number had been made

0:20:020:20:04

against Mr Sargeant.

0:20:040:20:08

Mr Sargeant's solicitor then e-mails

the party again, complaining,

0:20:080:20:15

these comments were "clearly

prejudicing what is

0:20:150:20:18

allegedly an independent

inquiry by your office."

0:20:180:20:20

The next day, Carl

Sargeant was found dead.

0:20:200:20:21

It was a pale and visibly

upset First Minister

0:20:210:20:24

who arrived at a press

conference this afternoon.

0:20:240:20:26

Carl was my friend.

0:20:260:20:29

In all the years that I knew him,

I never had a cross word with him,

0:20:290:20:33

never argued with him.

0:20:330:20:35

For 14 years we worked together.

0:20:350:20:38

He was a great Chief Whip

and a minister who served his

0:20:380:20:41

country with distinction.

0:20:410:20:44

Here was the emotion and the tribute

that friends of Mr Sargeant say has

0:20:440:20:48

been so lacking in the official

response to his death

0:20:480:20:50

but Mr Jones was also firm

that he had acted correctly.

0:20:500:20:55

I properly did all that

I could to make sure that everything

0:20:550:20:57

was being done by the book.

0:20:570:21:01

I had no alternative but to take

the action that I did and I hope

0:21:010:21:05

that people will understand that.

0:21:050:21:08

Reporters present weren't given

the opportunity to ask any questions

0:21:080:21:10

and plenty of those remain.

0:21:100:21:15

One of Carl Sargeant's friends

and former ministerial colleagues

0:21:150:21:18

told me that Carwyn Jones knew that

Mr Sargeant was mentally fragile

0:21:180:21:20

before he sacked and suspended him.

0:21:200:21:24

I think it's fair to say

that the First Minister knew

0:21:240:21:27

how fragile Carl was.

0:21:270:21:32

There were occasions when I was

a minister in the government

0:21:320:21:35

when the First Minister said to me

he was worried about

0:21:350:21:37

Carl, how was he doing?

0:21:370:21:38

What did you take him

to mean by that?

0:21:380:21:41

Well, I think he was worried

about Carl's frame of mind.

0:21:410:21:43

He said that on a number

of times when Carl and I

0:21:430:21:46

were ministers together.

0:21:460:21:47

Really?

0:21:470:21:48

Yes.

0:21:480:21:50

I'm assuming he was making

judgments about what he

0:21:500:21:53

was hearing about Carl.

0:21:530:21:54

You know, there was no question

that Carl's resilience

0:21:540:21:57

was undermined during the previous

period of government.

0:21:570:22:03

And so was it incumbent

on the First Minister then to handle

0:22:030:22:09

any change in Carl's circumstances -

leaving ministerial office, being

0:22:090:22:13

suspended from the Labour Party -

particularly carefully do you think?

0:22:130:22:16

Of course it was.

0:22:160:22:18

The top floor of this building next

to the Welsh Assembly is where

0:22:180:22:21

the ministerial offices are.

0:22:210:22:22

Was the atmosphere as poison

is there as some suggest?

0:22:220:22:24

The questions about this

tragedy are now far wider

0:22:240:22:27

than one man's death.

0:22:270:22:36

The former Prime Minister Gordon

Brown has published his memoirs this

0:22:380:22:41

week and they do nothing to dispel

the Robert Burns line that he spent

0:22:410:22:44

much of his time as Chancellor

"nursing his wrath to keep it warm."

0:22:440:22:48

He'd like to be known as the hero

of the financial crash,

0:22:480:22:51

but long before that, his toxic

relationship with Tony Blair

0:22:510:22:54

and his view that he reneged

on their deal induced a simmering

0:22:540:22:57

rage that some say coloured his

behaviour in office.

0:22:570:23:01

By the time he finally moved one

door along to Number Ten,

0:23:010:23:04

he realised that he was a man out

of kilter with the times,

0:23:040:23:07

a leader who could not

get his head round the need

0:23:070:23:10

for communicating his feelings

as well as his policies

0:23:100:23:12

to the electorate.

0:23:120:23:13

For Newsnight, he sat down

with the BBC's political

0:23:130:23:15

editor, Laura Kuennsberg.

0:23:150:23:16

First, she asked him

about his current take

0:23:160:23:18

on the Brexit negotiations.

0:23:180:23:22

What will happen is that we will

come to a crisis point next summer.

0:23:220:23:28

I can't tell you exactly how it

will work itself out,

0:23:280:23:31

but this is what will happen.

0:23:310:23:32

By next summer, the public

will have made up their mind

0:23:320:23:37

that the four red lines

that the government had

0:23:370:23:39

set in place are not

going to be achieved.

0:23:390:23:41

There are going to be crossed.

0:23:410:23:43

So we will not have proper control

borders or our money.

0:23:430:23:45

We will pay loads of money

to the European Union.

0:23:450:23:48

We will not have control

of our courts and law

0:23:480:23:52

because we will still be governed

by the European Court of Justice and

0:23:520:23:56

we will not have control of trade

because we will not have

0:23:560:23:59

individual trade

agreements for years.

0:23:590:24:01

So all of the propositions that

were made by the Leave camp

0:24:010:24:04

including 350 million

a week for the National

0:24:040:24:06

Health Service, they

are not being achieved.

0:24:060:24:07

So next summer, we have

to assess the position.

0:24:070:24:10

In my view, you cannot

go back to the

0:24:100:24:12

electorate and say, you were wrong.

0:24:120:24:16

People made the decision

which was right for them to see

0:24:160:24:19

that respected.

0:24:190:24:20

In a democracy, once a decision

is made, as it was made in

0:24:200:24:23

Scotland, you have to respect it.

0:24:230:24:25

But what you can say is,

is there a game changer?

0:24:250:24:31

Is there something we didn't get

right last time that

0:24:310:24:34

would persuade millions of Leave

voters to think it was worth going

0:24:340:24:37

for Remain?

0:24:370:24:38

To be clear, it sounds

like you are suggesting that the

0:24:380:24:43

Labour Party should be holding out

the possibility of people revisiting

0:24:430:24:46

the decision if things

change in the EU.

0:24:460:24:48

Yes.

0:24:480:24:49

At this point, I don't think

you should be saying, let's

0:24:490:24:52

another referendum,

because that is saying to people,

0:24:520:24:54

you made the wrong decision.

0:24:540:25:01

We should say, is there

any new evidence?

0:25:010:25:03

Is there something that is

different from what we have

0:25:030:25:05

learned about what is

happening in Europe

0:25:050:25:07

or what we are learning

about

0:25:070:25:08

what is happening in Britain

that we have to look at?

0:25:080:25:11

The right time to assess

that is when we have on the

0:25:110:25:14

table what I think will be

an inadequate agreement that

0:25:140:25:16

breaches the red lines

and doesn't give the Leave camp

0:25:160:25:19

the satisfaction it had.

0:25:190:25:29

Jeremy Corbyn is a phenomenon. But I

respect the fact that Andy is

0:25:330:25:43

expressing peoples anger about

Universal Credit, what happened at

0:25:430:25:46

Grenfell Tower, affordable housing,

inequality in the country and

0:25:460:25:52

tuition fees and he is articulating

that.

Some people in the Labour

0:25:520:25:55

Party who are not fans of his plane,

to an extent, you and Tony Blair for

0:25:550:26:01

turning the success of new Labour

into bitterness.

I worked with Tony

0:26:010:26:08

for 24 years, we worked together on

all the difficult issues. We

0:26:080:26:12

refinanced the health service

massively and doubled its budget,

0:26:120:26:17

introduced tax credits that took 2

million pensioners out of poverty.

0:26:170:26:21

Of course there were also policy

disagreement and that is inevitable

0:26:210:26:30

in politics.

But your disagreements

were about much more than policy.

0:26:300:26:35

They were mainly about policy.

But

also about when he was going to

0:26:350:26:39

leave number ten and you write about

it in the book and the promises you

0:26:390:26:42

felt he made to you.

I think the

section is about five pages of 500.

0:26:420:26:50

I tell the truth because if I did

not visit I would seem to be

0:26:500:26:54

evasive.

What did he say?

He wanted

to be leader, I did not want there

0:26:540:26:59

to be a division between us. I

agreed that I would take control of

0:26:590:27:04

economic policy and he said he would

step down in the second term, it's

0:27:040:27:07

as simple as that. And that of

course didn't happen. To be honest,

0:27:070:27:14

the issues in politics cannot be

reduced to personalities.

This is

0:27:140:27:18

not about reducing it, this is a

question of when you would take over

0:27:180:27:25

as Prime Minister, the defining

relationship inside the government.

0:27:250:27:27

It is not just tittle tattle or five

pages in a book, this was a huge

0:27:270:27:33

conflict between the two of you that

dominated Labour politics for a long

0:27:330:27:36

time.

I don't think it did actually.

I think the issues were more

0:27:360:27:39

important. Some people said to me

agree with what Tony wants on the

0:27:390:27:45

euro and he will lead and I would

not do that because I said the euro

0:27:450:27:48

was about the national interest and

we had to make the right decision. I

0:27:480:27:51

doubt that it was about

personalities and I think my book is

0:27:510:27:55

actually about the forces that have

driven British politics.

And

0:27:550:27:59

finally, you had a big role in

persuading people in the Scottish

0:27:590:28:03

independence referendum. There is a

sense now after the general election

0:28:030:28:07

that the SNP moved backwards,

somehow the Scottish independence

0:28:070:28:15

debate is sealed and over. Do you

think that is true or is it

0:28:150:28:17

complacent -- complacent four

Unionists?

Scotland is not stable

0:28:170:28:23

for the long-term. What we have got

is two groups caught in quite

0:28:230:28:29

extreme positions. We have the

Nationalists who want all out

0:28:290:28:33

independents and they are going for

the referendum whenever they can get

0:28:330:28:36

it and we now have a Tory party

which is the Leader of the

0:28:360:28:40

Opposition in Scotland and they want

absolute status quo. The status quo

0:28:400:28:45

cannot survive, nor is independent

of good viable option for Scotland.

0:28:450:28:48

There has to be a middle way. The

sadness is we have these two

0:28:480:28:53

extremes that almost enjoy the fact

they are on the extreme and they

0:28:530:28:58

don't talk to each other, they can't

communicate with each other, there

0:28:580:29:02

is no common ground. There has to be

a better base is building the

0:29:020:29:05

relationship between Scotland and

the UK and we never want to get into

0:29:050:29:10

a Catalonia situation where people

are at daggers drawn and it becomes

0:29:100:29:13

is usually bitter constitutional

issue again.

Can you see something

0:29:130:29:18

like that?

I see Scotland stuck in a

but if we don't watch.

0:29:180:29:21

Many former politicians have turned

themselves into broadcasters,

0:29:210:29:25

but the new role for the former

First Minister of Scotland

0:29:250:29:28

trumps them all.

0:29:280:29:31

Alex Salmond is to host his own chat

show on Russia Today.

0:29:310:29:34

The Kremlin-backed TV

station is seen by many

0:29:340:29:36

as Russian propaganda.

0:29:360:29:40

It's nothing if not controversial -

when Putin sent troops into Crimea,

0:29:400:29:47

it broadcast the assertion that no

occupation had occurred

0:29:470:29:50

and pro-Russian locals had

got their hands on Russian uniforms.

0:29:500:29:52

It was also censured by Ofcom

for claiming that the BBC staged

0:29:520:29:55

a chemical weapons attack

for a news report.

0:29:550:29:57

Well, the star of the show,

Alex Salmond, is here now.

0:29:570:30:03

So you are doing a chat show on

Russia Today. Do you feel that you

0:30:030:30:09

will be free to criticise Russian

policy?

I know I will be, because

0:30:090:30:13

the show was produced by my company

and we give it to RT on a Wednesday

0:30:130:30:20

evening, and all they decide is

whether to broadcast it or not.

And

0:30:200:30:24

are you sure that if you are

critical and they have a 24 hours

0:30:240:30:28

beforehand, they will broadcast it?

If they choose not to broadcast it,

0:30:280:30:32

that is up to them. I am certainly

hoping they will. In terms of

0:30:320:30:37

criticising their policy, I was on

an RT show a year ago and I made him

0:30:370:30:47

vigorous attack on Russian

intervention in Syria. They

0:30:470:30:50

broadcast that on one of their own

shows, so I think there were hardly

0:30:500:30:54

not broadcast a show that I produce

where I am free to say what I like.

0:30:540:30:59

And it is an interview show and as

you know, in interviews you let your

0:30:590:31:04

guests express anything.

So you

think you will be free to bring on

0:31:040:31:07

people like Pussy Riot?

I can bring

on whoever I like. One of the early

0:31:070:31:15

topics I will be looking at is

homosexuality and the apology that

0:31:150:31:18

has been made in Scotland, where the

same bill was proposed by an SNP MP

0:31:180:31:24

last year and was talked out by the

government here to apologise to

0:31:240:31:29

homosexuals. That will be an

interesting early subject to

0:31:290:31:33

discuss.

Would you have any qualms,

take that censure of RT when they

0:31:330:31:41

broadcast the wrong assertion that

the BBC had staged its own chemical

0:31:410:31:44

weapons attack. Would you have any

worry about the juxtaposition of

0:31:440:31:49

some kind of assertion like that?

Over the last year or two, 50 Labour

0:31:490:31:55

MPs including the current Labour

Party leader, 37 Conservative MPs,

0:31:550:31:59

including some who were at the

launch tonight and 17 SNP MPs have

0:31:590:32:05

appeared on RT programmes. I

appeared on RT programmes when I was

0:32:050:32:09

still a member of Parliament. It

would be strange if I said that now

0:32:090:32:12

I am no longer a member of

Parliament, I am refusing to make my

0:32:120:32:15

own show with my own production

company over which I have total

0:32:150:32:18

editorial control.

Do you lend

credibility to RT?

The idea is that

0:32:180:32:28

people watch the show, and if it is

a good show with high production

0:32:280:32:31

values and interesting guests, they

should say it is a good show. If it

0:32:310:32:37

turns out to be Kremlin propaganda,

people can slate me, but why not

0:32:370:32:40

watch the show first?

So who are you

confident of having on?

I have done

0:32:400:32:46

some of the first interviews

already. The inspiration for this

0:32:460:32:50

show came from the festival show I

did in Edinburgh and the chat

0:32:500:32:53

component of that. Another

television company suggested that we

0:32:530:32:58

should turn it into a TV show.

I'm

not suggesting that you are some

0:32:580:33:04

kind of Mogul in the Rupert Murdoch

mould, but there is a suggestion

0:33:040:33:08

that you might be joining the board

which runs the Scotsman.

I might

0:33:080:33:16

become chair of the board if the

shareholders agree.

You would have

0:33:160:33:21

no problem with taking on that role

as well as broadcasting on RT?

You

0:33:210:33:26

mustn't count your chickens with

these things. That will be a matter

0:33:260:33:30

for the shareholders. One of your

BBC colleagues, Andrew Neil, was

0:33:300:33:34

tweaking tonight and attacking me

for wanting to be the chair of

0:33:340:33:38

Johnson press and having my show on

RT, oblivious to the fact that he

0:33:380:33:42

used to be editorial director of the

Scotsman and want to dictate to

0:33:420:33:50

journalists. I have no such

ambitions, I just want to produce a

0:33:500:33:54

good television show.

Alex Salmond,

thank you very much.

0:33:540:33:58

A year ago, President Trump

was elected on a mandate to withdraw

0:33:580:34:01

from international treaties and put

jobs - especially in coal -

0:34:010:34:03

before the environment.

0:34:030:34:05

He is living up to his promise,

saying he will leave the Paris

0:34:050:34:08

climate accord as soon

as the UN allows.

0:34:080:34:10

And in the USA itself, he's been

rolling back environmental laws.

0:34:100:34:12

On this, the week when nations

are meeting in Bonn for the annual

0:34:120:34:19

UN climate conference,

the BBC's environment analyst,

0:34:190:34:22

Roger Harrabin, has been to the USA

to hear how some states are right

0:34:220:34:25

behind him, but others have

begun a green fightback.

0:34:250:34:30

Southern California.

0:34:300:34:34

The San Gorgonio pass.

0:34:340:34:38

A route through the mountains

and a funnel for the wind that

0:34:380:34:40

rushes from desert to coast.

0:34:400:34:47

Look at this land.

0:34:470:34:48

Stone, brick, a bit of scrub,

useless for agriculture.

0:34:480:34:55

Stone, grit, a bit of scrub,

useless for agriculture.

0:34:570:34:59

But there is one very

lucrative crop here,

0:34:590:35:01

and that is the clean energy

from the desert wind.

0:35:010:35:04

Renewables boomed under

President Obama, but President Trump

0:35:040:35:08

says they threaten the economy

because their output is variable.

0:35:080:35:11

He wants to subsidise coal

and nuclear instead.

0:35:110:35:15

He's trying to scrap 50

environmental rules.

0:35:150:35:18

He wants to protect coal by relaxing

pollution standards for power plant.

0:35:180:35:24

15 states, led by California

Governor Jerry Brown,

0:35:240:35:27

are fighting back with plans

for their own emissions cuts

0:35:270:35:29

from housing, industry and cars.

0:35:290:35:34

We're in a contest of ideas,

a contest of government

0:35:340:35:37

actions and policies.

0:35:370:35:42

The outcome of this contest

will determine what the world

0:35:420:35:44

is going to look like over the next

10, 20 and 30 years.

0:35:440:35:52

I hope Trump will not be, I hope,

a permanent phenomenon,

0:35:520:35:58

so we're holding the torch,

as it were, in this

0:35:580:36:00

interim of rather sorry

environmental ignorance.

0:36:000:36:10

But what to do about variable

energy from sun and wind?

0:36:110:36:17

Here's part of a solution

in California.

0:36:170:36:20

These containers make up the biggest

lithium battery in the world so far.

0:36:200:36:23

Near San Diego, this giant battery

farm can power 200,000

0:36:230:36:26

homes for four hours.

0:36:260:36:28

It was built in just six months.

0:36:280:36:33

This type of energy storage system

can move energy throughout time,

0:36:330:36:39

so it can take energy that's

generated when wind and solar

0:36:390:36:41

are abundant and move it to the peak

times when the grid might eat it

0:36:410:36:51

when the grid might need

it

0:36:550:36:56

and those energy sources might not

be available at the level needed.

0:36:560:36:59

Along with other technologies,

batteries can buffer temporary

0:36:590:37:01

shortfalls in power.

0:37:010:37:02

Whether 100% renewables can work

is still under debate.

0:37:020:37:05

The roads are another

Trump battleground.

0:37:050:37:08

The president wants to relax

pollution standards for vehicles.

0:37:080:37:13

The California Air Resources Board

has led the way on car standards.

0:37:130:37:20

Its head says the President's team

will be held back by court cases

0:37:200:37:23

brought by their opponents.

0:37:230:37:28

I expect that they will lose a lot

of those cases because the people

0:37:280:37:31

trying to carry out these programmes

of deconstruction, if you will,

0:37:310:37:34

the rollback, don't actually know

much about how to do what they're

0:37:340:37:36

trying to do.

0:37:360:37:38

Some of what they've

promised can't happen.

0:37:380:37:42

In California, the climate

may already be a matter

0:37:420:37:44

of life and death.

0:37:440:37:47

Scientists say climate change

did not cause the wildfires that

0:37:470:37:49

killed at least 40 people,

but it did make them worse.

0:37:490:37:54

They can't believe President Trump's

administration has banned mention

0:37:540:37:56

of climate change from some

key government documents.

0:37:560:38:01

I'm appalled by what is happening

in the Trump administration.

0:38:010:38:04

He has appointed a climate

change denier to run

0:38:040:38:07

the Environmental Protection Agency.

0:38:070:38:09

He has appointed a climate change

denier, or at least a contrarian,

0:38:090:38:15

to run the Department of Energy,

a climate change denier to run

0:38:150:38:18

the Office of Management and Budget,

and it's consistent with the view

0:38:180:38:23

which I call the

know-nothing trifecta.

0:38:230:38:27

These are people who don't know

anything, they're proud of not

0:38:270:38:29

knowing anything they don't want

anyone else to know anything.

0:38:290:38:33

But President Trump promised voters

that he would bring back coal,

0:38:330:38:37

and 26 states supported his plan

to scrap President Obama's clampdown

0:38:370:38:40

on pollution from coal power.

0:38:400:38:44

The Trump administration declined

to be interviewed on the issue,

0:38:440:38:46

but the President's spokesmen say

elements of climate science

0:38:460:38:48

is still up for debate.

0:38:480:38:54

are still up for debate.

0:38:560:38:57

I think President Trump is doing

a wonderful job not only

0:38:570:39:00

in reviving the coal industry,

but in reviving the

0:39:000:39:02

United States of America.

0:39:020:39:03

I do not believe that the American

coal industry will ever come

0:39:030:39:06

back to where it was,

but I believe it will stay

0:39:060:39:10

there and come back slightly

as Mr Trump create jobs in America,

0:39:100:39:15

which he is doing.

0:39:150:39:17

The US will go to the climate

conference in Bonn facing

0:39:170:39:20

all the other countries

in the world.

0:39:200:39:22

That COP 21 climate

accord was a fraud.

0:39:220:39:25

It was nothing more than an attempt

by developing countries of the world

0:39:250:39:29

to get American dollars.

0:39:290:39:31

It will have no environmental

benefit at all.

0:39:310:39:37

But away from coal states like Ohio,

the world is moving

0:39:370:39:40

to a different beat.

0:39:400:39:45

This is the Tesla electric

car, dancing for fun.

0:39:450:39:52

California's governor warns

that the President's plans

0:39:520:39:55

to protect jobs by backing petrol

cars will backfire.

0:39:550:40:00

China is investing billions both

in investment in battery technology

0:40:000:40:02

and electric cars and the regulatory

regime that will produce,

0:40:020:40:09

for their market, a percentage

of electric cars that,

0:40:090:40:11

to my knowledge, no American auto

executive can even imagine.

0:40:110:40:15

The Chinese have taken over on wind

production, wind technology and also

0:40:150:40:22

photovoltaic solar.

0:40:220:40:25

So they're going to take

over the American car

0:40:250:40:27

industry, and the people

in Detroit are half-asleep.

0:40:270:40:29

They have to wake up,

and I'm hoping they will.

0:40:290:40:33

But the president is set

on his fossil fuel course.

0:40:330:40:37

To the UN climate conference

in Bonn, he's chosen to send two

0:40:370:40:40

respected diplomats who say climate

change is a serious problem.

0:40:400:40:46

But representatives from the US coal

industry are on the delegation too,

0:40:460:40:52

promoting coal as part

of a climate change solution.

0:40:520:40:55

That has outraged some

other climate delegates,

0:40:550:40:57

but pulling back from climate

agreements and promoting

0:40:570:41:00

American coal are exactly

what President Trump promised

0:41:000:41:02

the American people a year ago.

0:41:020:41:08

That's all from us, but before

we go, today we celebrated

0:41:080:41:11

the 20th birthday of

the BBC News Channel.

0:41:110:41:15

Since 1997, it has been

covering the stories

0:41:150:41:18

that matter round the

clock

0:41:180:41:20

with courage,

intelligence and panache.

0:41:200:41:22

Well, most of the time.

0:41:220:41:24

Good night.

0:41:240:41:26

Under the proposals,

drunk troublemakers would be taken

0:41:260:41:29

to cells run by private firms

and have to pay for it

0:41:290:41:31

once they've sobered up.

0:41:310:41:35

Guy Cooney is the editor of the

technology website News Wireless.

0:41:350:41:38

Hello, good morning to you.

0:41:380:41:42

Good morning.

0:41:420:41:43

Plenty more to come from here

of course, none of it news,

0:41:430:41:45

because that will come

from Buckingham Palace.

0:41:450:41:47

But that won't stop us,

we'll see you later.

0:41:470:41:49

Rachel.

0:41:490:41:50

CRASHING.

0:41:500:41:51

And we've lost a camera!

0:41:510:41:53

But never mind.

0:41:530:42:02

This is BBC News, I'm Carole Walker.

0:42:020:42:06

Every now and then there's

always one mistake.

0:42:060:42:08

That was it.

0:42:080:42:09

Now, would anyone

want their very own...

0:42:090:42:11

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