14/12/2017 Newsnight


14/12/2017

Analysis of the stories behind the day's headlines, with Kamal Ahmed.


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Transcript


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As we seek each other's help and

resolve, to build on our hopes for

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the future in which the tragedy that

struck Grenfell Tower will never

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happen again.

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Tonight, an emotional service

at St Paul's to remember

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Grenfell six months on.

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We'll speak to one of those

who escaped the blaze that night.

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And we spend time at a school

in the shadow of the tower

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to find out how staff

and students are coping.

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I've had children during my PE

lessons saying,

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"Oh, look, that's

where my bedroom was".

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It's in their view at playtime.

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The one time that they are meant

to be coming out to play,

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there's a juxtaposition there,

because we've got the

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tower being a shadow.

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We'll ask a leading

child psychologist just

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what can be done to help.

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Also tonight:

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A warning about bitcoin

from one of Britain's top

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financial regulators.

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"Don't buy it", he says, "unless

you're prepared to lose your shirt".

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If you want to invest in bitcoin, be

prepared to lose all your money,

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that would be my serious warning.

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And is a white journalist asking

a black journalist for contacts,

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quotes or information

simply "good research"?

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Or is it the culturally

inappropriate theft

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of intellectual property?

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They came to St Paul's Cathedral,

1500 people of all faiths

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and none, to remember.

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Six months ago, 71 people

died in Grenfell Tower,

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an event that shocked so many not

simply because of the horror

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but because of what it revealed

about how many people live

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today in this rich country,

seemingly out of sight and out

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of hearing of so many of us.

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Joined by members of the royal

family and the Prime Minister,

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survivors and the family and friends

of those who died honoured loved

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ones and gave thanks

to the emergency services

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who risked their lives

on that fateful June night.

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We pray for those who have

offered their support,

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for all who sustain us

with their care and friendship.

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So now, together, we

remember and reflect.

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# Insha Allah, insha Allah

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# You'll find your way.#

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For a moment, we all lost

our fear of each other.

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We lost our obsession

with ourselves, and we reached out

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across the city in love

for our neighbour.

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# Every time you take one look

around,

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# You then remember that

they're really gone.#

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With me now is Mohammed Rasoul

who escaped from the fifth floor

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of Grenfell tower with his wife,

father and two young children.

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He was at the service today.

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Thanks very much for joining us. A

difficult day, I am sure, but maybe

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uplifting in some senses.

Most

definitely. It was a very emotional

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day but at the same time deeply

meaningful. It was a day we came

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together as a local community and as

a nation, to remember those we lost

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in that tragic fire, who were

victims of a gross injustice. To see

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people turn up today from our local

community, all around the country,

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our country's leaders, it was deeply

significant. And to have it in such

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an iconic national landmark, to me,

shows that when that fire happened

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and those people lost their lives,

innocent people lost their lives,

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men, women and children, that the

country felt our pain and felt the

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pain of everyone who was bereaved,

and felt the pain of the survivors

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and the whole community.

There has

obviously been a lot of mistrust. Do

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you feel that an event like today

helped start to build some trust

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between the different groups? The

Prime Minister was there,

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representatives of those in

authority. Is there a way of this

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being at least part of some of the

healing process and building some

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trust?

Well, we are hopeful of that,

but there is still a long way to go.

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You still have four out of five

families, survivors, still not

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re-homed. You have some people that

arboretum that are still waiting to

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bury their loved ones. But we are

hopeful -- some people that are

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bereaved are still waiting to bury

their loved ones. But we are hopeful

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that the Prime Minister and others

will listen to our concerns and

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amend the mistakes of the

establishment, the system that

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failed those people and caused them

to die. There is a petition going on

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at the moment which was presented to

the Prime Minister, and we are

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optimistic that she will consider

and pay attention to the voices of

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the bereaved and survivors, and

allow their to be a panel of experts

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alongside the judge that will report

back to her.

What is your situation?

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I know you have been rehoused in a

hotel and moved at least once. Where

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are you living now?

In a family with

-- in a hotel with my family, my

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86-year-old father, the oldest

surviving resident, my wife and two

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children. My son is five and a half,

and my daughter just turned two at

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the beginning of this month. She has

spent a court of her life in hotels.

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What do you feel about the fact that

you are still in a hotel six months

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on?

I try not to think about it. If

I let concepts like that... If I

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internalised it too much, I believe

I will break down. I just get on

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with my daily life. I go off to

work, soldier on. My family and my

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wife is a big support in that.

You

have touched on the enquiry, do you

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think it is moving quickly enough,

and do you think it will ultimately

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answer all the questions you have?

I

think it is early days but we are

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hopeful. I think our community

recovered from what happened, and

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because of the neglect we were shown

before the fire, the blatant

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disregard and indifference from the

council's side to residents concerns

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about health and say the, to the

refurbishment, the community and

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people lost a lot of faith in the

justice system. But it's never too

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late to build bridges, and it's

never too late for myself or anyone

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from the community to be proven

wrong. I am hopeful that, I try to

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be optimistic. And today was a day

of immensely deep sadness, but with

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everything that has gone on in the

last six months, the public response

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has been amazing and deeply moving

at times. We have witnessed beauty

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that has moved us to tears, people

from all around the country,

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different backgrounds, different

ethnicities, with their differences,

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coming to help us and transcending

their differences and coming to help

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us and offer us clothes and food and

opening up their hearts and their

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homes to us. That has renewed my

confidence in humanity. So for me,

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there is a lot of hope there, a lot

of hope.

Thank you so much for

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coming and sharing your thoughts.

Hopefully that hope will be

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rewarded. Thank you very much.

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On the morning of the tragedy,

Oxford Gardens Primary School, just

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half a mile from Grenfell Tower,

opened its gates not

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knowing what to expect.

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The school wanted to offer sanctuary

to children who might

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have lost everything.

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It later emerged that a third

of the children at the school had

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witnessed the fire or been

evacuated, some had lost

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friends or relatives

or knew people in hospital.

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And, though it couldn't be

officially confirmed for weeks, one

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of the school's own eight-year-old

pupils died that night

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with his family.

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For the last six months,

staff have been much more

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than everyday teachers.

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They've had to counsel children

through their grief,

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while also dealing with their own.

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And all in the shadow

of the burnt out shell

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that is all that is left of Grenfell

Tower.

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Last week, Newsnight spent time

at Oxford Gardens Primary School.

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I am from this community, I am born

and bred from this community.

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It is a very warm community,

it is a very diverse community.

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I love the energy,

I love the enthusiasm.

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It is a little different

from most areas.

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We have got politicians living

right beside immigrants,

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David Cameron lives across the road

for example, so such

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a melting pot of different

personalities and cultures.

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I definitely think that this school

is a microscopic look at the larger

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community that we are surrounded by.

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At 6am I made a phone call

to my headteacher to say it looks

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like there is a very serious

incident on our doorsteps.

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They never teach you how to deal

with these things and I just

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remember just looking at it and not

believing what I was seeing at all.

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I have never seen so much stuff

all over the school.

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These grounds, all the three

playgrounds, they were just

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covered everywhere.

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Black ash, chunks of it.

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And I just thought, how

are we going to clear this up?

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My first thoughts were with my

friends that were in the tower

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and then it dawned on me

the children that we

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teach at school.

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We decided that we wanted to open.

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We knew that this terrible,

terrible, tragic disaster had

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happened and we wanted to make sure

that the school was a safe place

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for children to come

if they were able to.

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We were very aware that we would

have a lot of children

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who would not be able to come.

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This was done after we found out

Mehdi had passed away.

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Some children wanted to say goodbye,

other children just wanted to write

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as though he was still here.

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We had lost somebody,

he was a member of our class

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who was there all year,

he was a beautiful, lovely boy.

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He was there one day

and he was gone the next.

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Having to explain to a class

of children that somebody has died

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and in quite a horrific way was very

sad and quite traumatic.

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There is a sense of shock

and disbelief, there is a sense

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of anger and outrage.

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There is the loss, the anxiety.

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You cannot underestimate

the enormity, I think,

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for a child to go to sleep and come

in the next day and a whole

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family has been wiped out.

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I would say it has been very

tough professionally.

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At times I felt like a counsellor,

not just a teacher.

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I have had to drop particular

sessions to talk about how

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they are feeling, how we should deal

with our emotions.

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Some of the questions they had

were truly horrific.

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How could this happen?

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Why has it happened?

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How did some people

get out and he didn't?

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Really tricky questions and I don't

have all the answers.

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I have had children during my PE

lesson saying, "Look,

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that is where my bedroom was."

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It is in their view at playtime.

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The one time they come out to play

there is a juxtaposition

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there because we have got the tower

and we are in the shadow.

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Move your feet quickly.

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Stop!

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We have had children saying

they wished they were in

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the tower rather than Mehdi.

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And when a child says that

to you what can you say?

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Do you know what you are

going to do tomorrow?

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I knew you would be happy.

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There are lots of different

ways that children want

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to share their story.

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I have had children who want to draw

the tower again and again and again.

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What they saw that night,

what they felt that night.

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I have got children who wanted

to make the tower, I have got

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children who wanted to decorate

the tower with beautiful stars

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and to shroud it in something lovely

because it is so ugly for them

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at the moment.

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I have had people wanting to be

firefighters and save

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the people in the tower.

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Everybody's story is so different

and everybody needs a different

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kind of way through.

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What shall we put there?

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It is a huge thing to take

in for an adult, let alone a child,

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but I do feel like they have been

amazing at handling it.

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They have given me strength

because they have just been

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so honest and they have

just been themselves.

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Morning, boys, morning.

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Six months on it is still

fresh because families

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still talk about it.

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There are still some

who haven't been re-homed yet,

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they are still in hotels.

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Cabs every day coming to school.

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I never imagined that when Christmas

came we would still have

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families who were displaced.

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We had no idea that it was going

to really impact for this long.

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We have a lot of children in this

year group who were not only

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there and saw it but were evacuated

and are still in

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temporary accommodation.

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That is just a constant reminder

of what has happened to them.

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Their routine has been

spoiled for six months.

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In counselling what we want to do

first of all is make sure that

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people's basic needs are met,

so to try and work with their

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well-being and emotional health

when they still don't have a home

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I think is really hard.

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It is only natural that people

want to understand why it happened.

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Why in 2017 a modern tower block can

burn from bottom to top.

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It has been the most traumatic event

that our community has had to deal

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with and it is really

just relief now.

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For us it is about bringing

our community back,

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uplifting people's spirits,

and we owe that to the

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families that we lost.

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The things that they have written

in here really show how

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they are feeling about it.

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It makes you remember that, well,

not that we don't already know it,

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but we have got a long way to go,

we know that.

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And we will get there.

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Through all this terrible mess

and all this sadness we are looking

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at how strong we are now.

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People have stood together

and people have united

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and that is how we move forward.

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We all share this grief

and it is a little bit

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like losing a family member.

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I think it is hard for people to

understand that you were with them

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9 to 3:30 every day.

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He was a beautiful member

of our class and we do miss him,

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we miss him every day, we do.

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We should not be saying goodbye

because he should still be here.

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Oxford Gardens school,

six months on.

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And our thanks to their staff

and students for helping us make

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that piece by Sara Moralioglu

and Katie Razzall.

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Well, dealing with a community-wide

emergency of this scale demands

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a huge amount of those involved.

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With me now is Laverne Antrobus,

a child psychologist

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from the Tavistock Clinic

who offered support to some

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of the first people to respond

to events that night.

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Thank you very much for joining us.

What is remarkable that comes out

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from the film we have just seen that

teachers changed literally overnight

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from worrying about the everyday

things they are teaching like maths

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and PE kits who suddenly caring

about the emotional well-being of

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the children they were looking after

and teaching. What kind of advice do

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you give to people in that type of

situation?

As you say it was very

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complicated. It was unprecedented

and it was an event nobody could

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imagine happening. What the teachers

were saying was they had to change,

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they had to start responding to the

needs of the children and I think

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that is exactly what you would want.

Children have lots of questions but

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I think as adults we can imagine

that we have got to give them much

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more information than they are

seeking. It sounds to me as if the

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teachers in the school were able to

take their time, slow things down.

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We know clear facts about what has

happened, so there are some things

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children are able to answer

themselves, but I am never so sure

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we need to go into a huge amount of

detail. We need to listen to primary

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age children to hear what they think

about what has happened, but also to

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build on that.

It must be true that

children react in different ways and

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you are teaching may be 25 children

in a class and some children may be

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do not want to talk about it, they

want to escape a bit, some children

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wanted to draw the tower every day.

How do you help each child with

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their different responses? Some may

be want to hide away and others want

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to really engage.

It really is about

watching. The curious thing about

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young people is they are very

watchful themselves and they are

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looking to see what the adults are

making of their behaviours and

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emotional states. Children find it

important to draw and talk about the

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things they would like to do when

they are older because that would

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help them think about looking after

people. Those are important things.

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I thought it was interesting that

the teacher acknowledged that

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teachers spend most of their time

with these young people, more than

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parents sometimes, and being aware

of the difficulties they find

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themselves in is important, but also

keeping things going is also

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important.

Normality.

It is a huge

relief for a lot of children who do

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not find themselves in the same

situation, we are going to do our

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English lesson today, that gives me

structure and comfort. It would be

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quite comforting in and of itself.

What is striking, and this is not

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true of all tragedies, is that the

tower is there, very much a monument

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as to what has happened, a reminder,

what difficulties can that create

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when you are everyday literally

walking to school or playing in the

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playground as the teacher said? It

is standing there are always

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reminding you.

It becomes part of

the community presence. I imagine

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for some children there are moments

when they forget about what has

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happened for a little bit, but

suddenly the reminder is there. That

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is quite tricky. How do you go on?

How do you live your life and move

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on and have hope as we heard in that

film? That things can change and

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feel a bit better? But also that the

community can feel a bit better. I

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am sure a lot of the children are

responsive to the fact that the

0:22:070:22:12

community must feel very sad. How do

you go about your ordinary, everyday

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business and be happy in the

playground and play games with your

0:22:170:22:20

best friend and suddenly be reminded

that something truly terrible

0:22:200:22:24

happened? I think it is a really

difficult time for a lot of people,

0:22:240:22:31

but you have got to keep sight of

the fact that life does move forward

0:22:310:22:36

and children should be allowed to

catch themselves being a little bit

0:22:360:22:40

happy and hopeful.

Thank you for

coming in.

0:22:400:22:42

Thank you for coming in.

0:22:420:22:43

The Prime Minister, Theresa May,

arrived in Brussels this afternoon

0:22:430:22:46

for yet another crucial summit,

where she's hoping that the other 27

0:22:460:22:49

countries of the EU will decide

to move forward to those

0:22:490:22:52

all-important trade talks.

0:22:520:22:56

She admitted she was disappointed

by last night's House

0:22:560:22:59

of Commons defeat, but insisted

that the necessary legislation

0:22:590:23:02

is making "good progress".

0:23:020:23:06

Our Political Editor,

Nick Watt, is there.

0:23:060:23:13

Nick, how was the atmosphere today

with the EU 27? A little bit chilly

0:23:130:23:18

over there there are lots of warm

hugs?

We had a rare sight this

0:23:180:23:24

evening over dinner with a 28

leaders including Theresa May which

0:23:240:23:28

was a UK Prime Minister being

praised by fellow EU leaders. I have

0:23:280:23:32

covered more of these summits than I

care to remember and I cannot think

0:23:320:23:37

of a president of having a UK Prime

Minister being praised like that.

0:23:370:23:41

Tony Blair, the most pro-EU Prime

Minister since Ted Heath, had

0:23:410:23:46

stand-up rows with Jacques Chirac

and Gerhard Schroeder. What is going

0:23:460:23:53

on? The EU are impressed with

Theresa May's message which is she

0:23:530:23:58

was an orderly Brexit, it is a

difficult journey, but she praised

0:23:580:24:02

EU leaders for working with her. The

other message was she wants in the

0:24:020:24:07

future for the UK and the EU to be

close friends and allies. But these

0:24:070:24:12

EU leaders are also making a raw

calculation. They believe Theresa

0:24:120:24:18

May is gritty, they quite respect

her and they think she would be far

0:24:180:24:22

better than the alternative and that

alternative they believed would be

0:24:220:24:26

Boris Johnson. Another point is the

vote in parliament last night and

0:24:260:24:31

they have knowledge that and they

have said we are negotiating with

0:24:310:24:35

you, Prime Minister, and not your

parliament.

Any more news on the

0:24:350:24:40

timetable about the all-important

transition phase or implementation

0:24:400:24:44

phase, whatever we call it, and the

trade talks themselves? The really

0:24:440:24:49

important bit.

Well, Theresa May

made clear this evening she would

0:24:490:24:54

very much like to move onto the next

stage and particular urgency on

0:24:540:25:00

transitional arrangements as the EU

calls them. The problem for her is

0:25:000:25:04

the draft Council conclusions are

saying in the two-year period the

0:25:040:25:08

entire body of EU law would apply to

the UK and any new regulations

0:25:080:25:14

introduced, they were also applied

to the UK and the UK would not have

0:25:140:25:18

any votes. That crosses a Boris

Johnson red line. On the future

0:25:180:25:22

trade arrangements there will be

guidelines published tomorrow and

0:25:220:25:27

the UK is very hopeful that they

will be quite vague and that will

0:25:270:25:31

give the Prime Minister Time to talk

to a cabinet next week, to talk

0:25:310:25:35

about the future, and not have her

padlocks into a definitive EU

0:25:350:25:39

position on that just yet.

Nick

0:25:390:25:42

Watt, thank you very much. It is the

gift that does not seem to stop

0:25:420:25:50

giving. Bitcoin is a so-called

currency created by Bocelli, we are

0:25:500:25:56

not quite sure who. A year ago one

bitcoin was worth a measly £5.80.

0:25:560:26:03

Then it rose up and suddenly in the

last few months it's spiked up to

0:26:030:26:11

£12,400, something of a one-way bet

one might think, despite its extreme

0:26:110:26:16

volatility and links to the criminal

underworld. And this week more mania

0:26:160:26:22

as people who want to speculate on

the future value were allowed to do

0:26:220:26:28

so on the first regulated platform

in Chicago. I spoke to the chief

0:26:280:26:31

executive of the Chicago board

options exchange and asked him if

0:26:310:26:38

this was another gamble.

0:26:380:26:39

options exchange and asked him

if this was another gamble.

0:26:390:26:42

We're not endorsing bitcoin

but what we wanted to do was bring

0:26:420:26:45

transparency to a commodity

where there was interest.

0:26:450:26:47

And your only choice before

we launched on Sunday

0:26:470:26:49

was to represent that interest

on a crypto exchange

0:26:490:26:51

somewhere around the globe,

one without the oversight that

0:26:510:26:53

we're used to.

0:26:530:26:55

Reassuring words

from Ed Tilly there.

0:26:550:26:59

But on this side of the Atlantic

tonight, a warning,

0:26:590:27:01

and a pretty strong one.

0:27:010:27:03

I spoke to Andrew Bailey,

Chief Executive of the

0:27:030:27:06

Financial Conduct Authority,

an important regulator.

0:27:060:27:10

I asked him how concerned

he is about bitcoin's

0:27:100:27:13

meteoric rise in value.

0:27:130:27:18

It's actually not regulated by us

in its bitcoin form.

0:27:180:27:22

Where we come in is where there

are instruments that

0:27:220:27:24

are referenced to bitcoin.

0:27:240:27:26

It's a very volatile commodity

in terms of its pricing,

0:27:260:27:28

if you look at what's

happened this year.

0:27:280:27:32

And I would caution to people,

we know relatively little

0:27:320:27:35

about what, in a sense,

forms the price of bitcoin.

0:27:350:27:38

It's an odd commodity as well

because the eventual

0:27:380:27:40

supply is fixed.

0:27:400:27:42

If you want to invest in bitcoin,

be prepared to lose all your money.

0:27:420:27:46

That would be my serious warning.

0:27:460:27:48

What evidence do you have

at the FCA about who is

0:27:480:27:50

actually buying bitcoin?

0:27:500:27:52

We don't regulate bitcoin, as such.

0:27:520:27:54

Isn't that the problem, Mr Bailey,

that you don't regulate?

0:27:540:27:56

The technology is ahead of you.

0:27:560:27:59

Well, I'll come back to that.

0:27:590:28:01

I think the decision

on what we regulate is appropriately

0:28:010:28:03

for government and Parliament.

0:28:030:28:04

And we don't regulate commodities.

0:28:040:28:07

We regulate instruments that

are referenced to commodities.

0:28:070:28:11

So if you buy a future or an option,

then we do come into the picture.

0:28:110:28:15

But we don't regulate

commodities per se.

0:28:150:28:18

And that's clear.

0:28:180:28:21

It would be for Parliament,

ultimately, to make that choice

0:28:210:28:24

if it wished to do so.

0:28:240:28:27

I don't press for that, providing

people understand very clearly this

0:28:270:28:30

is a very volatile commodity.

0:28:300:28:33

What evidence do you have,

or do you have any intelligence,

0:28:330:28:36

on who actually is buying bitcoin

itself, rather than the instruments

0:28:360:28:39

referenced to bitcoin?

0:28:390:28:41

Well, we have no evidence, as such,

because one of the features

0:28:410:28:44

of bitcoin is the anonymity

of who the recorded owners are.

0:28:440:28:47

And that emanates from

the technology that supports it.

0:28:470:28:51

You can't go somewhere and look up

the record of who owns bitcoin.

0:28:510:28:54

The fact that it's called

a currency, the fact

0:28:540:28:57

that there are ATMs,

do you think that people actually

0:28:570:29:00

realise that they are not investing

in something like the pound

0:29:000:29:03

or the dollar?

0:29:030:29:04

Well, I think there's

a risk to that.

0:29:040:29:06

You're right that by adopting

the name crypto currency,

0:29:060:29:09

there is a risk that some people

regard it as the same

0:29:090:29:12

as what in an economist's world

you call a fiat currency.

0:29:120:29:15

A fiat currency

is backed by a state.

0:29:150:29:17

That's what keeps the value,

preserves the value

0:29:170:29:20

of fiat currency,

0:29:200:29:22

through the actions

central banks take.

0:29:220:29:24

Bitcoin is not that.

0:29:240:29:26

It's a commodity,

it's not a currency.

0:29:260:29:29

Would it make your regulating

of financial stability,

0:29:290:29:32

protecting consumers, easier,

if you had more powers in this area?

0:29:320:29:36

I don't think bitcoin is prevalent

enough at the moment to be

0:29:360:29:40

a systemic threat in the way that

we've experienced obviously

0:29:400:29:44

during the financial

crisis other threats.

0:29:440:29:48

It needs watching carefully, but I

don't think it's at that point.

0:29:480:29:51

If I thought there was evidence that

people are saying,

0:29:510:29:54

"You know what I'm going to put my

pension into, Bitcoin",

0:29:540:29:56

I would be very concerned.

0:29:560:29:59

Now, we don't see

that at the moment.

0:29:590:30:02

Maybe it's part of the big

portfolio, but again, if it is,

0:30:020:30:05

it should be done by people who say,

0:30:050:30:07

"I don't mind losing all the value

of that piece".

0:30:070:30:13

Some people might say the technology

is leaving the regulators behind,

0:30:130:30:15

that you're racing to catch up

and you simply don't understand how

0:30:150:30:18

that market working.

0:30:180:30:20

So there's a whole new technology

which is really about the bitcoin

0:30:200:30:22

production and sort

of maintenance process.

0:30:220:30:24

Pretty opaque.

0:30:240:30:26

Yeah, I mean they are mined.

0:30:260:30:29

My understanding is I think

21 million can ever be mined,

0:30:290:30:33

and I think possibly something

like 17 odd million have been mined.

0:30:330:30:37

So that makes it unusual.

0:30:370:30:40

And we'd like to understand that,

so that if it does begin to get

0:30:400:30:43

widely used, we've got greater

familiarity with it.

0:30:430:30:46

Andrew Bailey, thank you very much.

0:30:460:30:50

Thank you, Kamal.

0:30:500:30:52

For weeks, the United Nations has

been calling on the Syrian

0:30:520:30:55

government to allow those urgently

in need of medical help to leave

0:30:550:30:58

the besieged, rebel-held,

strategically important enclave

0:30:580:31:01

of Eastern Ghouta near Damascus.

0:31:010:31:05

More than 100 of those needing

evacuation are children.

0:31:050:31:07

But so far those calls have fallen

on deaf ears and some of those

0:31:070:31:10

waiting to leave have now died.

0:31:100:31:13

Newsnight has been reporting

on the situation in Eastern Ghouta,

0:31:130:31:16

which is growing worse by the day.

0:31:160:31:17

Here's Mike Thomson,

and a warning there are distressing

0:31:170:31:20

pictures in his piece.

0:31:200:31:25

After four years of siege

Eastern Ghouta's health care system

0:31:270:31:30

is close to collapse.

0:31:300:31:35

And it's the young,

like eight-year-old Rowan,

0:31:350:31:36

who are suffering the most.

0:31:360:31:42

TRANSLATION:

She was born

as a perfectly healthy

0:31:420:31:44

child who could walk.

0:31:440:31:45

Suddenly, she complained of eye pain

and we rushed her to the doctor.

0:31:450:31:48

Doctors took biopsies from her head

and then she fell ill.

0:31:480:31:51

Now she's completely paralysed.

0:31:510:31:57

Little Rowan has kidney failure,

subcranial haemorrhaging

0:31:570:32:00

and cirrhosis of the liver.

0:32:000:32:03

Like nearly 12% of other

children here she also has

0:32:030:32:06

severe malnutrition.

0:32:060:32:08

Yet treatment is out of reach.

0:32:080:32:12

TRANSLATION:

The road was blocked

and I could no longer

0:32:120:32:14

provide her with any medical help.

0:32:140:32:16

It all stopped.

0:32:160:32:17

Her medical condition

is constantly deteriorating

0:32:170:32:18

and she's going from bad to worse.

0:32:180:32:24

Starved of medicines and equipment

doctors in Eastern Ghouta can't

0:32:240:32:27

treat complex cases.

0:32:270:32:31

Yet such care is available,

just a stone's throw away.

0:32:310:32:38

TRANSLATION:

We need

immediate evacuation.

0:32:380:32:39

15 people have died and more

are dying on a daily basis.

0:32:390:32:42

People have tumours,

heart deformities and others

0:32:420:32:44

requiring surgery.

0:32:440:32:46

Their lives could have been saved

had they been given medical help.

0:32:460:32:49

We only ask for safe passage

to treat them in Damascus,

0:32:490:32:52

which is only a few miles away.

0:32:520:32:54

Rama has a very serious condition -

she's unlikely to survive for much

0:32:540:32:59

longer but if we had more medical

supplies, drips and pain

0:32:590:33:04

killers, we could at least

alleviate her pain.

0:33:040:33:12

Four year-old Rama has

cancer of the throat.

0:33:120:33:15

Her desperate mother

knows that evacuation

0:33:150:33:16

is her daughter's only hope.

0:33:160:33:19

Yet the Syrian government

still refuses to allow it.

0:33:190:33:25

TRANSLATION:

I plead

with all humanitarian organisations

0:33:250:33:27

and the entire world,

0:33:270:33:30

and anyone who's listening

to us for help.

0:33:300:33:32

Help Rama by either allowing us

safe passage to Damascus

0:33:320:33:34

or by letting medical aid in.

0:33:340:33:42

Some in Eastern Ghouta blame

the outside world for not putting

0:33:420:33:45

enough pressure on the Syrian

government, saying organisations

0:33:450:33:49

like the UN are more talk

than action, an allegation

0:33:490:33:59

that the UN children's charity,

UNICEF, strongly refutes.

0:34:000:34:02

We are lobbying very heavily

on the ground on all sides.

0:34:020:34:05

We talk to all parties

in order to get access, and

0:34:050:34:08

we are preparing.

0:34:080:34:09

We have the materials

there, in order to be to

0:34:090:34:11

get in and to get

these children out.

0:34:110:34:13

But unless we are given

humanitarian access, unless all

0:34:130:34:15

sides give us a corridor,

it's going to very difficult for us.

0:34:150:34:20

The lives of 137 severely

injured or ill children,

0:34:200:34:25

as well as more than 400 adults,

continue to hang in the balance

0:34:250:34:30

as they wait, so far

in vain, for evacuation.

0:34:300:34:34

And as the bombardments continue,

their numbers look likely to grow.

0:34:340:34:42

12-year-old Mukdeen was leaving his

school when a mortar struck,

0:34:420:34:46

throwing him to the ground.

0:34:460:34:49

Several of his friends were killed

and many more injured.

0:34:490:34:53

Young Galeb survived, but only just.

0:34:530:34:59

Today's peace talks in Geneva

haven't helped morale.

0:34:590:35:01

They ended in failure.

0:35:010:35:06

Leaving the lives of those

urgently needing evacuation

0:35:060:35:09

in continuing, agonising limbo.

0:35:090:35:18

Yesterday an Evening Standard

journalist contacted gal-dem,

0:35:180:35:20

an online magazine for black

and Asian women, to ask for help

0:35:200:35:23

on writing an article about how

to have a "woke" Christmas.

0:35:230:35:29

The word "woke" originates

from African American

0:35:290:35:31

activist communities

and the Oxford English Dictionary

0:35:310:35:34

defines it as "alert

to racial or social

0:35:340:35:36

discrimination and injustice".

0:35:360:35:40

The magazine called

the Evening Standard's request

0:35:400:35:42

"a classic case of women of colour

being asked to provide their input

0:35:420:35:45

and knowledge for free".

0:35:450:35:49

But does this argument mean

journalists should be stopped

0:35:490:35:51

from asking questions from specific

groups of people?

0:35:510:35:55

And should any form of knowledge be

considered intellectual property

0:35:550:35:57

that one group owns?

0:35:570:36:01

Joining me now are

Charlie Brinkhurst-Cuff,

0:36:010:36:03

deputy editor of gal-dem,

and Kenan Malik, contributing

0:36:030:36:06

opinion editor at the

International New York Times.

0:36:060:36:13

Welcome, both of you. What brought

the response when the e-mail arrived

0:36:130:36:23

from the Evening Standard journalist

asking about, he wanted to write

0:36:230:36:28

about a woke Christmas? What sparked

the anger?

The context is that

0:36:280:36:34

gal-dem is an online and print

magazine which is hoping to

0:36:340:36:38

challenge the homogenous white media

landscape, because we think it's

0:36:380:36:44

important that lots of different

voices and narratives are heard. The

0:36:440:36:48

problem with the e-mail is that for

the editor in chief, it was a

0:36:480:36:54

tipping point for her. We get asked

to do things like this all the time,

0:36:540:37:00

and people use us in a very

tokenistic way, as a voice of

0:37:000:37:05

diversity. And I think she just had

enough, really. And she was upset

0:37:050:37:11

with the fact that instead of

leading the narrative, we were just

0:37:110:37:14

being commentators. We want to be

the people running the show, running

0:37:140:37:20

things like Newsnight in future.

You

are quite welcome to do that! Wasn't

0:37:200:37:28

he just a journalist trying to find

things out, which is what

0:37:280:37:32

journalists do?

Yes, I appreciate

that, but I think you have to look

0:37:320:37:37

at the context in which he was

finding it out. This is a white male

0:37:370:37:42

journalist writing about a topic he

is not comfortable on. I don't know

0:37:420:37:47

whether he challenged his editors on

whether or not he should be writing

0:37:470:37:50

the piece, but a lot of the time

people don't. It's important to

0:37:500:37:54

remember sometimes that a writer

from gal-dem might be better writing

0:37:540:37:59

on a specific topic than the

features writer at the Evening

0:37:590:38:02

Standard.

We throw around the words

cultural appropriation. Is a

0:38:020:38:09

journalist asking for help from a

group of people to write about it

0:38:090:38:13

himself, if he is not of that group,

is that cultural appropriation?

No.

0:38:130:38:19

And I am not sure that Charlie is

saying that. We all get these kind

0:38:190:38:26

of requests, journalists who want to

use your knowledge for their ends.

0:38:260:38:30

Sometimes it is a genuine request

for information, sometimes lazy

0:38:300:38:34

journalism from people who can't be

bothered to do the research

0:38:340:38:36

themselves. It's not necessarily a

racial thing. I had a senior BBC

0:38:360:38:44

News journalist, non-white, I will

not say more than that, whose

0:38:440:38:49

researcher phoned me and said he is

writing a book about

0:38:490:38:54

multiculturalism and once a chapter

about Bradford. He doesn't know much

0:38:540:38:58

about the place. Can I interview you

to get information? So it is not a

0:38:580:39:04

racial or a cultural issue, it's a

question of lazy journalism,

0:39:040:39:10

sometimes unethical journalism.

What

is cultural appropriation? Is there

0:39:100:39:14

an issue there, which maybe this was

not a reflection of, with people

0:39:140:39:19

writing about groups they are not

of?

I think the problem is to see

0:39:190:39:25

some of these issues as cultural

appropriation. Cultural

0:39:250:39:28

appropriation is usually defined as

the use of cultural forms from other

0:39:280:39:33

cultures without permission. I think

that is problematic the two reasons.

0:39:330:39:40

One, because there is no such as

cultural ownership. None of us has

0:39:400:39:46

ownership of particular cultural

forms. The second question is, who

0:39:460:39:51

gives permission, who is it that

licenses someone from one culture to

0:39:510:39:54

use in whatever way cultural forms

from another culture? So the notion

0:39:540:40:01

of cultural appropriation is

problematic.

You wrote in the

0:40:010:40:05

Guardian that white people should

leave writing about issues of being

0:40:050:40:13

woke to black people. Is there a way

that non-lack or Asian journalists

0:40:130:40:20

can write about issues that are

about black and Asian people?

I

0:40:200:40:26

think that might have been the

headline, which I didn't write,

0:40:260:40:29

actually. I trust that a lot of

journalists out there do their

0:40:290:40:35

research and are well versed in

issues around being woke and other

0:40:350:40:38

things. In this specific incident,

this journalist did not feel

0:40:380:40:43

comfortable writing on this topic

and so should not have been doing

0:40:430:40:47

it, or else why did he reach out to

us in the way that he did?

Who are

0:40:470:40:52

the gatekeepers of a group's

identity and who can write about it?

0:40:520:40:59

People who license themselves to be

gatekeepers, who licensed themselves

0:40:590:41:03

to say that certain things are

allowed and certain cultural forms

0:41:030:41:06

can be used in certain ways by other

people. It is deeply problematic.

0:41:060:41:13

Certain people license themselves to

be the arbiter of the good use of

0:41:130:41:15

cultural forms. They then get the

power. What is being appropriated is

0:41:150:41:21

not culture but their rights to

police cultural forms.

Thank you.

0:41:210:41:26

That's all for this evening.

0:41:260:41:27

Kirsty's here tomorrow.

0:41:270:41:28

But before we go, Charlie Chaplin's

family have written an open letter

0:41:280:41:31

asking for London's Cinema Museum

to be saved.

0:41:310:41:33

It's in the former Lambeth workhouse

where the great man once lived.

0:41:330:41:36

They argue that it was

an inspiration to his genius.

0:41:360:41:38

And what genius it was.

0:41:380:41:42

Here's his first film appearance

as "the little tramp" in 1914.

0:41:420:41:44

Good night.

0:41:440:41:46

MUSIC: The Entertainer

by Scott Joplin

0:41:480:41:58

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