09/01/2018 Newsnight


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09/01/2018

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


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Transcript


LineFromTo

Spot the difference -

new cabinet - old cabinet.

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Yes, we struggled as well.

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A two-day reshuffle,

and quite a bit of a kerfuffle.

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But it leaves government disrupted

but not altogether relaunched.

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The Prime Minister has been

struggling with a pretty tough

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joint, that is raising questions

about her mastery of some pretty

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basic skills.

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Was it much ado about nothing?

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Or can it reset the Conservative's

overall direction?

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With talks between the north

and south, we'll examine the search

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for peace on the Korean peninsula.

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In the Middle East we will examine

Iran's foreign policy. It's accused

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of not searching for peace.

Iranian

expansionism is extraordinarily

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dangerous. First of all, they have

Shia groups throughout the region

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they can rely on that they can, if

you will, convert, or infiltrate.

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Also tonight, Toby Young steps down.

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Virgin West Coast says

it will no longer sell

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the Daily Mail on its trains.

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It seems a culture war

is raging in the UK.

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James Delingpole and Paris Lees

will tell us whether it needs to be

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conducted with quite

so much vitriol.

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Hello.

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It's done, after two days,

government has been

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reshuffled and reshaped.

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124 jobs in government,

including junior ministers and whips

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and all the hangers on -

and about a third of those have

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been moved or are new.

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Including moves for some names

you might recognise,

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including Jo Johnson and Rory

Stewart who were shunted from jobs

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in their comfort zone,

to jobs elsewhere.

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Two important critiques

of the reshuffle are emerging

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though - the Prime Minister has said

that it makes government look

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like the people it serves,

but that is not quite true

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of the cabinet, which is a little

more public school and a bit more

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Oxbridge than it was and has

no more women in it.

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The other point, made

by the Institute for Government,

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is about the disruption to business.

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In nearly every department,

half or more of ministers have now

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been in their post for less

than a year.

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The heart of government, which is

the Cabinet Office will have

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an entirely new team.

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For what?

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Was it all worth it?

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Well, Nick Watt our

political editor is here.

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Let's talk about the handling today,

because yesterday it came in for

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quite a bit of criticism.

It has

been a tale of two reshuffles, there

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is a feeling in the Cabinet that

yesterday, which was about the

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Cabinet, was not one of the Prime

Minister's most glorious moments

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with those ministers resisting her.

I've been hearing scathing words

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like chaotic, the Prime Minister has

no authority, and she can't even

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sack people. That's the Cabinet.

Today she had a much better story

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when she started moving through the

junior and middle ranking levels of

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government and Downing Street is

saying that the Prime Minister has

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created what they believe is one of

the most diverse governments in the

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history of this country, 37 women

ministers and nine ministers from

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black and minority ethnic

backgrounds. I talked to a Cabinet

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minister who said look at the whips

office, six recently elected women

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MPs brought into the whips office.

They were saying it's not that long

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ago that there were no women in the

whips office and it was run like a

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military operation, orders were

barked. You can't do that in the

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modern world so this is a modern

whips office.

There were some

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strange moves, I mentioned Rory

Stewart and Jo Johnson, people said

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wife move them from jobs that seemed

to be jobs they were Afoa with two

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things that are not experts on.

Some

people are spotting a plot on the

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backbenches -- they were familiar

with. What the Prime Minister did

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was create a praetorian guard around

her and then clipped the wings of

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anyone who might possibly be seen as

a potential challenger. Dominic

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Raab, given this important job as

housing minister, but that is seen

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by these people as a hospital pass.

Will he ever get to grips with this

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issue that nobody seems to get to

grips with? Rory Stewart taken out

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of the comfort zone of Africa to the

Ministry of Justice, somebody who

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made his name as a governor of an

Iraqi province. And Justine

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Greening, comprehensive educated

Yorkshire woman, given an offer

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yesterday that she couldn't take her

mind off she goes. I've really been

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looking at what Theresa May was

trying to achieve in this troubled

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reshuffle.

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Most prime ministers are reluctant

butchers.

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butchers. Margaret Thatcher lamented

how in her Downing Street years she

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had been obliged to learn the craft

of carving the joint. So, just how

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skilled a butcher is Theresa May?

Well, in this rather elongated

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reshuffle, she's been struggling

with a pretty tough joint, and

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that's raising questions about her

mastery of some pretty basic prime

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ministerial skills. If prime

ministers red reshuffles so much,

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what exactly is Theresa May seeking

to achieve here? Well, the answer

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lies in one date, June the 8th, the

Prime Minister is seeking to respond

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to the Tories' surprise electoral

setback by shifting the dial in

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three ways. In the first place, she

wants to restore her own political

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authority. Then she wants to show a

more diverse Conservative Party to

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the country. And finally, she wants

to respond to the concerns of voters

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who gave the Tories such a bloody

nose back in June.

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nose back in June. The Prime

Minister gave the impression

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yesterday that she was unable to

carve key sections of the joint

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after Cabinet ministers challenged

some of her plans. Tory MPs claim

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that the reshuffle has exposed grave

weaknesses in her operation, though

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MPs now say she did stage a strong

recovery today.

Expectations were

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far too high on the run in because I

always thought it would be a

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moderate reshuffle, only two or

three jobs needed changing. Every

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reshuffle I'd ever seen hits a

problem somewhere when administered

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doesn't want to go somewhere and

they want to keep them in the

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Cabinet, which happened here. --

when a minister.

Suella Fernandes,

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who has coordinated the main

backbench Brexit group takes her

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first step on the ministerial ladder

in the Brexit department. Other new

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ministers include the QC Lucy

Frazer, who becomes a justice

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minister and a former entrepreneur

Rishi Sunak, who joins the housing

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ministry. The Prime Minister invited

a record number of women appointed

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to the whips office to Downing

Street, and No 10 says Theresa May

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has created one of the most diverse

governments ever with 37 women and

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nine ministers from minority ethnic

backgrounds.

It's probably the most

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diverse governments Britain has ever

had, that's a good thing. But more

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importantly, the reshuffle is pretty

much over, senior Cabinet level

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right the way through to junior

ministerial roles, we've got some

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really good high-quality people.

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really good high-quality people.

The

Tories were shaken by the way in

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which voters from their mid-40s

downwards preferred Labour in the

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election, with concerns over housing

a key grievance amongst younger

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voters, there is a renewed focus on

this in a newly rebranded

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department. All age groups in that

election will also alarmed by the

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confusion over social care, so

Jeremy Hunt takes overall control of

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that policy. The challenge will be

to show that these changes amount to

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more than shiny new departmental

nameplates. While the Prime Minister

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has been panned for tinkering with

her Cabinet, in this reshuffle she

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has gone further than the limited

changes she made in the summer. So,

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progress since her Midsummer

nightmare when her first priority

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was survival. But this is still not

Theresa May's ideal reshuffle. Had

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she done better in the general

election there would have been

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changes at the most senior level of

the Cabinet. The Prime Minister tied

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up the loose ends of her reshuffle

this evening. The troubled Cabinet

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changes show Theresa May cannot

altogether escape the shadow of the

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election but at junior levels there

was a more decisive Prime Minister

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on display. Nick Watt with an Atkins

diet metaphor as well.

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I'm joined by Kelly Tolhurst,

Tory MP for Rochester

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in Kent and as of today

an assistant government whip.

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One of those ones that Nick was

referring to earlier.

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And in a moment I'll be speaking

to Camilla Cavendish,

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director of the 10 Downing Street

policy unit under David Cameron

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and to the journalist Paul Mason.

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Good evening to you all. Kelly, can

we start with you? It's interesting

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they have put you up, the government

have chosen to put you up to speak

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for the government today,

working-class background, not one of

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these Oxbridge posh boys in the

Cabinet, do you think this is a time

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for the party to try and put forward

a different face?

Well, I think, for

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me, I'm a conservative and always

have been and I have become a

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Conservative MP, and for me I think

the last two days, especially what

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has happened today, has shown really

what the true Conservative

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Parliamentary party now is, and they

do include people like myself, and

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it's been really good to be given

the opportunity to go into the whips

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office this afternoon.

Theresa May

explicitly said one of the

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objectives and achievements of this

was to create a government that

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looks more like the country serves.

Last count there were more than 30,

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30 5% women in the country. Are you

happy with the way that's gone?

I

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think we have got record numbers for

us women into government positions

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-- 35%. Is more reflective of the

people we serve. It's true we need

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to do more but today is a great step

forward and I think with what's

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happened in the whips office, it is

a real indicator to show that that's

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changing.

In fairness, you don't

really get to speak on any issue in

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the whips office. Cabinet average

age, 51, it was 52, not much

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changed. In the Cabinet there is

want black or ethnic minority member

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of the Cabinet. 48% Oxbridge, 34%

went to a public school. Does it

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make sense to sort of shout about

how you are creating a government

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that looks like the country serves,

if you've got 34% public school

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people in the Cabinet, 48% Oxbridge?

Is that a thing to shout about?

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Well, I think we need to look at the

government positions as a whole, and

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also look at the people that came in

in 2015 and have come in this year,

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and myself, having not been to

university, and had the

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opportunities to work hard, and to

become a member of Parliament, there

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are more people like me that came in

in 2015 and I think if you look at

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this as a whole we are from a more

diverse background, therefore I do

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think some of the changes are

reflected.

Is your line that this

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will pass through? That the

Conservative Party, at the moment

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boasting around done about its

government's representative nurse

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when it is half public school?

The

parliament to party has changed

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significantly in the last two years

with the 2015 intake and 17. Today's

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appointments have made a difference

and I think we are moving forward.

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The big mission is about

rejuvenating this government, we

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know Brexit has got to be done and

Theresa May wants to move beyond

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Brexit. In a couple of sentences,

what is the big idea, apart from

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Brexit? What are you going to do?

Well, the government is committed to

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delivering Brexit, it's massively

important.

Apart from Brexit?

My

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constituency is still the focus but

we have also said, and Theresa May

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has been clear, we cannot forget

that domestic agenda and there are

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things like the NHS, the

environment.

What are you going to

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do?

Well, one of the things we are

doing is focusing, as you know, we

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have been speaking about the NHS and

winter crisis over the last couple

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of days. It is something we are

looking at.

Kelly, I'm so sorry, but

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speaking about the NHS... You are

struggling to say what the big

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mission is. There must be some sort

of... Has the party been told this

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is what our priority is? Reinventing

capitalism and we are going to do

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these 100 things, or build a

powerhouse in the North? Saying we

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are going to talk about the NHS.

It's one of the things that matter

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to the people of this country and

one of the things about this Cabinet

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reshuffle has been about having the

reshuffle and being very clear, the

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Prime Minister has been very clear

about what she wants to deliver.

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It's not just Brexit, absolutely, it

is still the main focus, but it is

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around working towards those things

that matter to people domestic is.

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With the greatest respect, I've

tried giving you a chance to say

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what the mission is, and the fact

that you are sort of struggling to

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say what it is, or am I just being

unfair?

Well, I think maybe you're

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being unfair? We've been clear about

what we want to do, there are key

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thing is, we can list them for you,

we need to make sure the economy

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continues to grow, we want people to

be getting opportunities to have

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better paid jobs. We've had the

industrial strategy just recently

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announced. That is massively

important for certain areas of the

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United Kingdom and the economy. The

NHS is included in that. There are a

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number of things that we have been

clear on and our Prime Minister has

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been very clear about command the

last two days and changes that have

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been made will hopefully drive

forward.

Please stay there. Let me

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turn to our other two guests because

the big question is, does this reset

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the Conservative Party?

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No. I think today was better than

yesterday. What this reflects is, we

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have a Prime Minister leading a

minority government. She was never

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going to be able to do a reshuffle.

They have to fill in the gaps in the

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domestic policy agenda and make good

on the speech she made at the

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beginning of this about social

justice and managing that. That

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means they have to do much more on

housing. To be great if they could

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integrate the NHS and social care.

There are a whole series of

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unfinished things that need to be

done, partly because of Brexit but

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partly because of drift. Whitehall

have been virtually frozen for 18

0:15:280:15:34

months. The question about this we

shuffle is, can some of these

0:15:340:15:40

people... Some of the junior people

are really good. Can they unfreeze

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the system or is the shadow of

Brexit going to loom over them?

I

0:15:450:15:52

congratulate Theresa May for

appointing a diverse junior layer of

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the Cabinet. They will find out how

little power you have as a junior

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minister but how hard it is to get

things done if you are not part of

0:16:030:16:07

the inner elite that runs Britain,

from which the core of the front

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bench is drawn. The Oxbridge set of

people. They don't just wield

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political power, they wheeled social

power. The whole Toby Young episode.

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This is like the BBC.

We did a

survey on this programme and it was

0:16:240:16:29

worse when I worked here. This was

an attempt by Joe Johnson to stick

0:16:290:16:34

it to student unions and have a good

go at them, like Donald Trump, and

0:16:340:16:40

have a go at them on the right wing

agenda. That is the agenda of the

0:16:400:16:45

elite Tory Party we are dealing

with. Welcome to reality for all the

0:16:450:16:51

black ethnic minority and women who

want to bring the real world into

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the Tory world.

Can I just butting

on Matt? That is not the party I

0:16:560:17:05

recognised. -- but in on that. I

don't recognise your sort of

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analysis on it. As a backbencher I

have had many opportunities to

0:17:120:17:18

influence from within.

I don't want

to only talk about this. The

0:17:180:17:28

handling of the reshuffle, the fact

that it was perceived to be boxed

0:17:280:17:33

yesterday, what does it tell us

about the Downing Street operation?

0:17:330:17:38

There was a famous story about Tony

Blair and a guy I have forgotten.

0:17:380:17:43

Moving round the whiteboard and his

name came off. He never got into the

0:17:430:17:50

Cabinet because his name fell off.

That said, the media management was

0:17:500:17:56

a bit surprising. Theresa May as

Home Secretary I always admired. She

0:17:560:18:02

did not like all this presentation

stuff will stop when you get into

0:18:020:18:05

Number 10 you need to do the stuff

properly. Unfortunately they

0:18:050:18:11

oversold the idea that big beasts

would be moved in this be a huge

0:18:110:18:14

clear out of the new generation. She

has not brought in Mercer, who is

0:18:140:18:21

regarded as a future leader. It

looks a bit limp.

Where does Theresa

0:18:210:18:28

May go from here?

The problem she

has is it is an Administration pulls

0:18:280:18:34

that you need an overarching, moral

purpose. She cannot write the idea

0:18:340:18:38

down which is what does Britain

looks like after Brexit? The cabinet

0:18:380:18:43

would split you can do more if you

have a moral purpose. The problem is

0:18:430:18:50

identifying just about struggling

people, managing people, is not

0:18:500:18:54

identify what you will do for them.

Right now we all know you are

0:18:540:18:58

absolutely right to raise the NHS,

it is on everybody's minds. The guy

0:18:580:19:03

who is overseen that is not a has

overseen the cancellation of

0:19:030:19:10

non-urgent operations was

reappointed with more power because

0:19:100:19:12

Theresa May did not have enough

power to sack him. Insofar as people

0:19:120:19:17

are seeing politics, no one is

obsessed with who is a junior

0:19:170:19:22

minister but they are concerned that

relatives being left on trolleys and

0:19:220:19:27

being made to wait in waiting rooms.

That was done by NHS England.

That

0:19:270:19:37

is the sort of human shield for the

Government, isn't it?

Because of the

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act in 2012 Jeremy Hunt had less

power than he would normally have.

0:19:450:19:50

You have to integrate the NHS...

How

long have they been in power to do

0:19:500:19:56

that?

It is whether the budget and

the money will move...

Would you

0:19:560:20:03

like the idea of combining,

integrating the health and social

0:20:030:20:06

care? That was in the name they gave

Jeremy Hunt yesterday. Is it just a

0:20:060:20:12

name or something

0:20:120:20:18

name or something substantive going

on?

It was right that change was

0:20:180:20:20

made. There is a correlation between

the two and the two have to work

0:20:200:20:23

together. The biggest challenge we

have as the NHS, as the population

0:20:230:20:28

grows and the treatment gets better,

the pressures on the NHS continue.

0:20:280:20:35

Going forward we are looking at

those areas combining and the Health

0:20:350:20:39

Secretary has an opportunity to make

the changes where he feels he is

0:20:390:20:43

needed.

We really do need to leave

it there. Thank you.

0:20:430:20:49

It's been a busy day in Panmunjom,

the so-called "peace village"

0:20:490:20:51

in the demilitarised zone

on the border of North

0:20:510:20:53

and South Korea.

0:20:530:20:55

There have been talks

there today, between the two

0:20:550:20:57

countries and they appear

to have gone smoothly.

0:20:570:20:59

Five officials on each side

attended, apparently

0:20:590:21:00

with a CCTV feed to the leaders

of the countries.

0:21:000:21:03

Now when enemies want to bury

the hatchet, they often start

0:21:030:21:05

with little gestures,

and avoid raising the things

0:21:050:21:07

that have divided them.

0:21:070:21:08

So it is with the North and South,

not agreeing the big stuff,

0:21:080:21:11

that North will throw

away its nuclear weapons.

0:21:110:21:13

But agreeing that the North

will take part in the

0:21:130:21:16

forthcoming winter Olympics.

0:21:160:21:17

There was more to it than that -

but is it a real step to stability?

0:21:170:21:21

Our diplomatic editor

Mark Urban reports.

0:21:210:21:24

Well, this is something,

surely, a thaw of sorts.

0:21:240:21:29

Face to face talks,

the commitment from the North to

0:21:290:21:33

send cheerleaders and athletes

to the Winter Olympics, and a

0:21:330:21:35

resumption of schemes to reunify

families divided by the Korean War.

0:21:350:21:43

Kim Jong-un is on a charm offensive.

0:21:440:21:47

The Panmunjom talks are the only

game in town right now.

0:21:470:21:50

And I think the South Koreans

would do well to try

0:21:500:21:53

to keep them going.

0:21:530:21:54

There are a lot of issues that are

Peninsula issues and that the US

0:21:540:21:58

should be careful not

to appear to be thwarting.

0:21:580:22:02

If there's a perception

in South Korea that the US is

0:22:020:22:06

keeping South Korea away

from its northern cousins

0:22:060:22:09

for the purpose of family

reunification and issues like

0:22:090:22:12

that I don't think

that will help the US.

0:22:120:22:15

With just a couple of days

until the opening of the Winter

0:22:150:22:21

games in South Korea the venues

are ready in the world is watching.

0:22:210:22:24

North Korea now says it

will send delegates,

0:22:240:22:26

as it did to the 2006

Olympics and World Cup.

0:22:260:22:30

And for the south this

is a timely gesture that

0:22:300:22:33

just might unlock the

bigger issues at stake.

0:22:330:22:39

I believe we can make

the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics as a

0:22:390:22:43

kind of turning point in

the escalating tension on the Korean

0:22:430:22:51

peninsula and engaging

in a direct dialogue

0:22:530:22:54

and exchanges with

the

0:22:540:22:56

North, and further creating

an environment conducive to more

0:22:560:22:59

serious negotiation on nuclear

and ballistic missile issues.

0:22:590:23:04

But lest we thought

peace was about to break

0:23:040:23:07

out, North Korean officials

delivered another message today,

0:23:070:23:10

telling southern counterparts that

Kim's nuclear weapons target only

0:23:100:23:14

America and not the South.

0:23:140:23:19

A version of an old

mantra designed to sow

0:23:190:23:22

divisions between America

and its Korean ally.

0:23:220:23:26

I think it's a pretty typical ploy.

0:23:260:23:29

You have to bear in mind

the North Korean view of South

0:23:290:23:32

Korea - South Koreans are great

except that they are dominated by

0:23:320:23:40

their puppet master,

the United States, and don't stomach

0:23:400:23:45

if only the puppet master

were removed,

0:23:450:23:47

South Korea and North Korea

would have a terrific relationship.

0:23:470:23:51

But if the Americans are suspicious,

what about Moon Jae-in,

0:23:510:23:54

South Korea's President

and long an advocate

0:23:540:23:59

of

better relations with the North?

0:23:590:24:00

The South Korean President Moon has

for decades been for improved

0:24:000:24:03

relations between North and South,

for

0:24:030:24:04

engagement between North and South,

which is very much on a different

0:24:040:24:07

page than President Trump

and his preference for maximum

0:24:070:24:09

pressure on North Korea.

0:24:090:24:12

Today's North Korean initiative

hasn't met with universal approval.

0:24:120:24:20

Even in the South, where some people

demonstrated against

0:24:230:24:25

improved relations.

0:24:250:24:27

When the Winter Olympics are over

the nuclear issue will

0:24:270:24:29

remain unsolved, the Korean

peninsula on the brink.

0:24:290:24:33

We live in divided times: anyone

who peruses social media will see

0:24:330:24:37

a clash of values play out daily

in vicious zero sum argument,

0:24:370:24:41

on any number of issues.

0:24:410:24:42

Today's examples?

0:24:420:24:44

One was the right wing

controversialist Toby Young stepping

0:24:440:24:46

back from his appointment

on the board of the new English

0:24:460:24:49

university regulator,

the Office for Students.

0:24:490:24:50

Having spent a decade trying

to be controversial,

0:24:500:24:52

he turned out to be too

controversial for

0:24:520:24:54

a public appointment.

0:24:540:24:55

The second story was

Virgin West Coast trains,

0:24:550:24:59

stopping its sales

of the Daily Mail.

0:24:590:25:07

"We've decided that this

paper is not compatible

0:25:100:25:12

with the Virgin Trains

0:25:120:25:13

brand and our beliefs,"

the company said.

0:25:130:25:15

It did also point out that it barely

sells any copies anyway.

0:25:150:25:18

The Mail called the

decision disgraceful.

0:25:180:25:19

While very different,

the two stories are just today's

0:25:190:25:21

examples of a culture war

that is currently being fought

0:25:210:25:24

on social media and beyond.

0:25:240:25:25

What characterises the culture war

is its preoccupation with words

0:25:250:25:27

and gestures.

0:25:270:25:30

Toby Young for example

is on one side of it -

0:25:300:25:38

a self proclaimed provocateur.

0:25:380:25:41

To be frank, he probably didn't even

believe half the obnoxious stuff

0:25:410:25:43

he wrote, he just wanted

to offend what he saw as

0:25:430:25:46

mainstream opinion.

0:25:460:25:47

He's the personification

of the conduct of

0:25:470:25:49

the culture war under way.

0:25:490:25:50

At times he's been

vitriolic, relishing a

0:25:500:25:52

fight with those on the other side.

0:25:520:25:53

If that can be said of those

on the provocative right,

0:25:530:25:56

is it the same on the progressive

side as well?

0:25:560:26:00

Over in the US, Google

are being sued by

0:26:000:26:02

James Damore, the coder

sacked after writing

0:26:020:26:05

a controversial - not very PC -

memo, critiquing

0:26:050:26:09

the company's diversity policy.

0:26:090:26:11

He said he and others

had been discriminated

0:26:110:26:14

against as white males.

0:26:140:26:16

Certainly he was vilified

on social media for

0:26:160:26:18

saying and thinking the wrong thing.

0:26:180:26:20

It's seen by the right as a case

of the left's intolerance.

0:26:200:26:24

Every day these kinds

of arguments are

0:26:240:26:26

erupting, even where

they don't need to.

0:26:260:26:30

Like Virgin - they're not banning

customers from bringing their own

0:26:300:26:34

copies of the Daily Mail

on to their trains, obviously,

0:26:340:26:36

but just find the decision not

to sell the Mail in terms

0:26:360:26:40

of politics rather than commerce

ramped this up

0:26:400:26:43

as another divisive issue.

0:26:430:26:50

-- justifying the decision.

0:26:500:26:51

Again, on social media,

the debate polarised

0:26:510:26:53

around extreme positions

expressed strongly.

0:26:530:26:54

Each side's undoubtedly sincere

in its thoughts and really

0:26:540:26:56

believes the other is a threat

to either decency or free speech.

0:26:560:27:01

But is the virulent argument

a healthy sign or a vibrant

0:27:010:27:07

debate, or a sign that shared values

have more or less evaporated?

0:27:070:27:12

Build that wall.

0:27:120:27:14

Build that wall.

0:27:160:27:19

Build that wall.

0:27:220:27:28

Paris Lees is a broadcaster

and equality campaigner.

0:27:280:27:30

James Delingpole is

a columnist at The Spectator.

0:27:300:27:38

James, Toby Young. He tries to be

controversial. He cannot be

0:27:400:27:45

surprised people say we do not want

to on a public body.

I don't think

0:27:450:27:49

Toby Binks, how can I be

controversial today? He just reacts

0:27:490:27:56

in the moment -- thinks. We react.

We get an instant thought and think,

0:27:560:28:03

I will type this out on Twitter. The

feeling dissipates when to have got

0:28:030:28:08

the words out. We do not set out to

be deliberately offensive most of

0:28:080:28:12

the time.

Do you think he has been

badly treated?

We are talking about

0:28:120:28:20

the separate issues. Does Toby Young

says some spicy things on twitter?

0:28:200:28:26

Yes, he does. Should Toby be on the

office for students board, yes he

0:28:260:28:32

should. They are completely

different things he has worked in

0:28:320:28:36

the educational sector and is a good

man for the job.

Do you see some

0:28:360:28:42

value in provocative is trying to

challenge your views and those of

0:28:420:28:46

your friends, who probably think

quite alike on most of these issues?

0:28:460:28:52

Absolutely. I have written things

which people were deemed to be

0:28:520:28:56

provocative in the past. The idea

that Toby Young does not set out to

0:28:560:29:00

do that. This man published Julie

Birtles rant about transsexuals as

0:29:000:29:07

Dix in chicks clothing. We know 45%

of trans people in the UK have

0:29:070:29:16

attempted suicide. Are we saying it

is OK to bully people? No. I'm glad

0:29:160:29:20

people are waking up to that.

Can I

ask you about the manners? I'm

0:29:200:29:27

looking at some of your stuff or. It

is not very well mannered. Would you

0:29:270:29:31

agree?

0:29:310:29:35

The terrible thing is that secretly

in the green room before we came on

0:29:350:29:39

Paris and I have been getting on

like of dumb at a house on fire.

0:29:390:29:44

Forget about Paris.

Probably our

natural mode in her life is we are

0:29:440:29:49

delightful people but sometimes

maybe Twitter brings out our kind of

0:29:490:29:55

edgier side.

Do you stand by what

you put on Twitter? I will take one

0:29:550:30:00

example, when are we allowed to say

that Brendan Cox is a total cars?

0:30:000:30:07

That was December, six months after

his wife was assassinated.

He

0:30:070:30:12

probably said something to provoke

that, this is just my policy, I

0:30:120:30:16

cannot speak for Paris. My policy is

if somebody says something really,

0:30:160:30:21

really stupid then I am going to

call them on it.

Can't you be well

0:30:210:30:26

mannered? Understand where they are

coming from and correct them. One

0:30:260:30:31

thing that characterises all of this

is people going from zero to

0:30:310:30:35

shouting and angry and swearing

without the steps in between.

In the

0:30:350:30:38

great scheme of things, how bad is

calling somebody that?

This is

0:30:380:30:43

something I've been thinking about

recently in the sense of being

0:30:430:30:46

complicit in this. People would

regard me as quite a hostile angry

0:30:460:30:51

person. You know, I've called people

that they get before and said things

0:30:510:30:58

that maybe I've regretted, and I

think that actually it is going a

0:30:580:31:01

bit far actually and I think people

are getting really polarised and I

0:31:010:31:05

think we all need to look at our

role within that and how we have let

0:31:050:31:10

it get this bad.

The key thing,

you've taken great joy today in the

0:31:100:31:15

fact the Daily Mail isn't on Virgin

Trains.

It's fantastic.

You are sort

0:31:150:31:19

of cheering and clapping. Have you

ever tried to reach out to any of

0:31:190:31:24

the readers, it's one of the most

widely read papers in the UK, to

0:31:240:31:28

save let me understand where you are

coming from as well as you

0:31:280:31:31

understand where I'm coming from?

I

have co-founded all about trans when

0:31:310:31:39

we take young trans people to meet

people in the media, often times

0:31:390:31:43

people that produce shows like this.

That's you trying to get them to

0:31:430:31:47

understand you, I've asked whether

you have tried to understand them.

0:31:470:31:50

Of course, when we come to meet them

we are trying to see what their

0:31:500:31:54

level of understanding is.

But what

about your understanding of them?

Of

0:31:540:31:58

course we are trying to understand

where they are coming from and

0:31:580:32:01

trying to further the conversation

and realise what their awareness is.

0:32:010:32:04

Let me put the same question to you,

James. Do you ever seriously try and

0:32:040:32:10

engage with anyone who thinks

differently to you?

We need to

0:32:100:32:14

differentiate between on a personal

level, should we all get along, you

0:32:140:32:17

know, when we meet somebody at

Glastonbury, having a joint with

0:32:170:32:22

them, yeah, peace and love, man. At

its very, very silly to imagine that

0:32:220:32:28

if only we all agreed and got along

somewhere in the squishy middle the

0:32:280:32:33

world would be a better place. There

are certain issues in the world

0:32:330:32:36

where there are very different

views. On the economy, for example,

0:32:360:32:41

on the size of government, on what

to do about immigration. You are

0:32:410:32:44

never going to get this neutral

point in the middle where the

0:32:440:32:48

rightness and truth is.

I'm sorry,

we have to leave it, you've had a

0:32:480:32:53

constructive debate. We overran on

the first discussion. Thank you,

0:32:530:32:59

both.

0:32:590:32:59

This could be a decisive

year for Iran.

0:32:590:33:01

It started with protests that spread

across the country -

0:33:010:33:03

and although the authorities say

they are waning, they have taken

0:33:030:33:06

some extreme steps to try and douse

down the flames of discontent -

0:33:060:33:09

blocking access to the messaging

app, Telegram and making

0:33:090:33:11

thousands of arrests.

0:33:110:33:13

Now, one trigger for those protests

was a leaked government budget

0:33:130:33:16

which cuts subsidies and hikes up

fuel prices, while significantly

0:33:160:33:19

increasing military spending.

0:33:190:33:24

Iran is ramping up financial support

to proxies across the region,

0:33:240:33:27

which has fuelled the anger of some

Iranians concerned about the state

0:33:270:33:31

of their own economy -

and fuelled anxieties across much

0:33:310:33:33

of the world.

0:33:330:33:34

BBC Persian's Jiyar Gol

now investigates.

0:33:340:33:39

In towns and cities across Iran,

poverty, unemployment and corruption

0:33:390:33:42

has drawn tens of thousands

to the streets to protest

0:33:420:33:45

against the Islamic regime.

0:33:450:33:51

These are not the only

reasons for the protests.

0:33:510:33:55

There is also disquiet

about the billions spent on Iran's

0:33:550:33:58

foreign adventurism.

0:33:580:34:02

"No to interference

in Lebanon," they are chancing.

0:34:020:34:04

"No to Gaza."

0:34:040:34:11

-- chanting.

0:34:110:34:14

"Leave Syria."

0:34:140:34:15

"Think of us."

0:34:150:34:17

The supreme leader lives like a god.

0:34:170:34:19

We, the people, live like beggars.

0:34:190:34:21

Over the past three decades,

Iran has spent billions

0:34:210:34:23

of dollars in an attempt

to increase its influence

0:34:230:34:25

in the region.

0:34:250:34:32

Tehran now controls a route

all the way to the Mediterranean

0:34:320:34:35

via Iraq, Syria and Lebanon.

0:34:350:34:41

And Iran is involved

in a devastating proxy war

0:34:410:34:44

with Saudi Arabia in Yemen.

0:34:440:34:45

The Iranian expansionism

is extraordinarily dangerous.

0:34:450:34:49

First of all, they have

Shia groups throughout

0:34:490:34:57

the region they can rely on,

that they can, if you will,

0:34:570:35:00

convert or infiltrate.

0:35:000:35:01

And the man responsible

for Iran's military

0:35:010:35:03

operations in the Middle East

is General Qasem Soleimani,

0:35:030:35:08

the commander of the elite

Qods Force, a unit of

0:35:080:35:10

Iran's Revolutionary Guard,

which operates on foreign soil,

0:35:100:35:12

organising training

and funding militia groups.

0:35:120:35:15

A man feared by many

and labelled as a supporter

0:35:150:35:20

of terrorism by the US,

General Solemani, who once

0:35:200:35:24

operated in the shadows,

is now one of the most powerful

0:35:240:35:26

commanders in the region.

0:35:260:35:30

He played Al-Qaeda.

0:35:300:35:32

He was the man in charge

all the way through.

0:35:320:35:34

He was always one

step ahead of them.

0:35:340:35:36

He used them.

0:35:360:35:37

They helped him, in his regional

designs on where he wanted to go

0:35:370:35:41

with the Qods Force and Iran.

0:35:410:35:44

To understand the power

and influence of General Solemani

0:35:450:35:49

and the Qods Force, you have to go

to the Iran/Iraq border.

0:35:490:35:54

In 2001, when the US

attacked Afghanistan,

0:35:540:35:56

many Al-Qaeda members came to this

mountainous area to

0:35:560:35:58

establish a foothold.

0:35:580:36:04

They set up bases but, two years

later, they were bombed by the US.

0:36:040:36:07

This man is one of the prominent

members of the local Sufi Order,

0:36:070:36:15

a peaceful branch of Islam.

0:36:160:36:23

He claims Iran assisted

this Sunni extremists

0:36:250:36:29

He claims Iran assisted

the Sunni extremists

0:36:290:36:31

who survived the bombings.

0:36:310:36:34

But, why would a Sunni extremist

group like Al-Qaeda,

0:36:470:36:53

an arch enemy of Shia Iran,

cooperate with Qasem Soleimani?

0:36:530:37:00

Cathy Scott-Clark has interviewed

former Al-Qaeda members,

0:37:000:37:03

who lived Iran, about their dealings

with Qods Force.

0:37:030:37:08

Iran was an enemy of America.

0:37:080:37:10

Iran was nearby.

0:37:100:37:13

The people who negotiated

from the Al-Qaeda side believed that

0:37:130:37:19

Iran, the Qods Force,

saw this as an opportunity,

0:37:190:37:22

a) to know where the

Al-Qaeda members were.

0:37:220:37:24

If you know where they are,

and you are controlling them,

0:37:240:37:27

then you can use them.

0:37:270:37:29

CIA documents declassified

in November which were recovered

0:37:290:37:32

from Osama Bin Laden's compound

in Pakistan shed a new light on how

0:37:320:37:35

Iran helped Al-Qaeda

against the US in Iraq.

0:37:350:37:43

Some of those documents suggest

Iran has had a pragmatic

0:37:450:37:47

relationship with Al-Qaeda.

0:37:470:37:55

The documents suggest Iran

and Al-Qaeda had been helping each

0:37:550:37:57

other in Syria and Iraq.

0:37:570:38:02

In 2011, when President Obama pulled

out from Iraq, I was in Baghdad.

0:38:020:38:06

The next day, the picture of Iran's

supreme leader was posted

0:38:060:38:10

in Baghdad's main square.

0:38:100:38:14

Most Shia militias were more

loyal to Qasem Soleimani

0:38:140:38:16

than the Iraqi government.

0:38:160:38:21

Vali Nasr is an academic and former

foreign policy adviser to President

0:38:210:38:25

Obama's Administration on Iran.

0:38:250:38:28

Part of why Iran has been

so successful in the region

0:38:280:38:36

is because they've played this game

of manoeuvring between different

0:38:360:38:38

factions, relying on the one

that is most naturally

0:38:380:38:41

their constituency but yet build

relations with the other side,

0:38:410:38:43

play them against one another.

0:38:430:38:46

In October, Qasem Soleimani's

father passed away.

0:38:460:38:50

We examined the footage

and pictures of the funeral,

0:38:500:38:58

just to understand what kind

of people attended the funeral.

0:38:580:39:02

For example, one of them was

the leader of Shia militias in Iran.

0:39:020:39:08

Another person was a

representative of Hamas.

0:39:080:39:14

Many other people attended

to express their condolences

0:39:140:39:16

in person to him.

0:39:160:39:18

It shows how powerful

and influential he is.

0:39:180:39:26

General Soleimani financed,

trained and equipped thousands

0:39:280:39:33

of Shia militias to support Iran's

allies in Syria and Iraq,

0:39:330:39:35

including Lebanese Hezbollah,

a group which is also

0:39:350:39:37

on the US terrorist list.

0:39:370:39:42

Its leader says Iran pays the bill.

0:39:420:39:49

It's been estimated that Iran has

spent $6 billion annually

0:40:100:40:15

on the Syrian regime,

basically, to keep it afloat.

0:40:150:40:22

This is a conservative

estimate on the proxy group,

0:40:220:40:25

the Lebanese Hezbollah.

0:40:250:40:30

Iran is estimated to be

allocating $1 billion

0:40:300:40:36

a year to the group,

mostly according to Israeli

0:40:360:40:38

intelligence forces.

0:40:380:40:44

General Soleimani says,

if Iran does not engage with enemies

0:40:440:40:48

outside the country's borders,

it will have to fight them

0:40:480:40:51

in the streets of Tehran.

0:40:510:40:53

As he tells his fighters

on the Syrian front line,

0:40:530:40:57

he is committed to expanding

Iran's regional influence.

0:40:570:41:05

But, at home, protesters

on the streets are tearing down

0:41:170:41:19

General Soleimani's banner.

0:41:190:41:23

They are warning the tens

of billions of dollars spent

0:41:230:41:26

propping up Assad in Syria

and financing Shia militias

0:41:260:41:28

across the Middle East must be

invested in their country

0:41:280:41:30

and their future.

0:41:300:41:38

We asked to speak to the Iranian

government about this report

0:41:380:41:41

but they declined to comment.

0:41:410:41:47

That's all we have time for. We

expected James Delingpole and Paris

0:41:470:41:51

Lees to be at each other's throats

but I think they are fixing dinner

0:41:510:41:55

together in the green room. Gemili

will be here tomorrow. Have a very

0:41:550:41:59

good night.

0:41:590:42:05