16/01/2018 Newsnight


16/01/2018

Evan Davis looks at the lessons of the collapse of Carillion for both the left and right, democracy in Hong Kong and publishers using sensitivity editors.


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Transcript


LineFromTo

It's always risky to hire

the cheapest builder.

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It's true of your new kitchen,

and it's true for government

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contracts as well.

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Is there a lesson there,

after the death of the giant

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outsourcing contractor Carillion?

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It's quite difficult for ministers

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to go to Parliament and say, oh,

we've gone for a more expensive bid

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here, because we thought

it was a better bid.

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Outsourcing was loved by Labour

in power but Jeremy Corbyn says this

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crisis is a sign it has to go -

we'll ask Dame Margaret Hodge

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if she thinks it has much future.

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And this - Hong Kong

football fans booing

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the Chinese National Anthem.

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Has Beijing stuck to its promise -

made to us - to respect democracy

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after it took back Hong Kong?

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After 30 years, I'm not sure

whether the British Government

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still remember Hong Kong,

and still remembers the promises

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that they have made.

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We hear from the new leader

of the backbench Tory Brexiteers

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on whether we may be heading

for a squidgy Brexit.

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And the rise of the specialist

cultural sensitivity editor.

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Publishers are employing people just

to sniff out anything in their books

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that someone might find offensive.

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Is this new front in the culture

war a modern necessity,

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or dangerous censorship?

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Hello.

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So, today, the Carillion blame game.

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The world has not fallen in, yet,

but the horror of the company

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Carillion going bust with we now

know a mere £29 million

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in the bank, with so many

contracts in operation,

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so many smaller suppliers unpaid,

so much unfunded pension commitment

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and so many workers

jobs dependent on it -

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all while it has found

the money in the recent past

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to handsomely reward its executives

and make big dividend payouts.

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The Government knows

the optics don't look good

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and has asked for an accelerated

investigation into the actions

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of the directors.

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Jeremy Corbyn thinks it makes

a bigger point about trying

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to contract everything out.

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Time to bring it in house, he says.

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But for the moment, contracts rule

in the public sector -

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from prisons and schools,

you can also see train

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franchises as the same thing.

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Some private companies make a mint.

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Others - as Carillion knows -

operate on dangerously thin margins.

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So is it possible for contracting

out to ever work well?

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Here's Helen Thomas.

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30,000 businesses, hundreds of

millions of pounds owed. Across the

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country, companies working on

Carillion's private sector jobs are

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wondering what happens when

Government support ends. Then, the

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scale of the damage from the

company's dramatic collapse could

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become clear. But there are tough

questions starting to be asked in

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Westminster. About a third of

government spending goes through

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external suppliers. So, has the

Government got a good handle on who

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is building roads and hospitals, or

providing crucial public services?

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And have passed lessons about the

pitfalls of dealing with private

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companies been learned? About £250

billion of government spending goes

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through external suppliers,

according to estimates from the

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National Audit Office. 136 billion

of that is spending by central

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government departments and the NHS.

But the NAO notes that the

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Government is no clear figure for

the amount it spends through

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commercial relationships. Decisions

about what to outsource and how are

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often made within different

departments. One concern is that

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there has not been enough central

management of the whole process.

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Open book accounting clauses in

contracts give the Government access

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to confidential information, that

helps track what is happening to the

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taxpayer's pounds. But a survey in

2014 found only 31% of contracts

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have open book clauses. For only 19%

of contracts have the Government

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received the relevant data and taken

steps to verify it. A 2014 report by

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the Public Accounts Committee

recommended open book accounting to

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help scrutiny, greater transparency

and better information on contracts

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and their performance, focus on

encouraging new and smaller entrance

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in to boost competition, investment

in developing Cabinet Office and

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departmental expertise, and,

crucially, contingency plans on all

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contracts, should a supplier failed.

A follow up by the committee chaired

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by Meg Hillier in 2016 called the

pace of change disappointing.

We see

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repeatedly the same things, failure

of contract letting, failure of

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contract management and companies

that promised more than they can

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deliver for the price. Really, there

is still a very long way for

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Government to go. The system isn't

working. There are too few large

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companies bidding for the contracts.

They get good at bidding, but there

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is no guarantee that being good at

bidding is good at running the

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service.

But companies in the sector

would agree that change is needed.

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Years of austerity and the drive to

cut costs has put the sector under

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pressure. This chart shows operating

profit margins for the UK

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construction sector. Construction

was the part of Carillion's business

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that generated the most losses, and

the largest contractors have been

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making lower margins still, argue

industry bodies.

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industry bodies. AMA research puts

the industry-standard profit margins

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at 2% to 3% in construction, and

maybe 3% to 5% in support services.

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But the reality is that those remain

a target for some in a sector

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littered with profit warnings and

restructurings. One former executive

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told me that margins had come under

pressure across all outsourcing

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sectors will stop that has happened

as companies have been asked to take

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on more risk, and, some contracts

have become impossibly complicated.

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A less flexible client, the

Government had also made it harder

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to react as problems arose. It is

time, this person said, for a

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fundamental rethink.

The Government

has been developing an increasingly

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sophisticated appreciation that the

lowest bidder is not necessarily the

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best. But it is quite difficult for

ministers to go to Parliament and

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say, we have gone for a more

expensive bid because we thought it

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was a better one, but I think maybe

this instance will liven Parliament

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to the need for Government to look

more intelligently and these bids.

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With promises of hearings and

inquiries, dealings between the

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Government and its biggest suppliers

will soon be getting much more

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scrutiny.

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We did ask the Government to join

us tonight, but there

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was nobody available.

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But we have our own Newsnight

experts here to make sense of this -

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political editor Nick Watt,

business editor Helen Thomas

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and our policy editor Chris Cook.

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Nick, what are you hearing tonight

about where this is going?

I

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understand that tonight the

Government is planning to extend the

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48-hour period in which it will fund

the official receiver to look at

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private contractors, what are known

as the private sector counterparties

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to Carillion to see whether they

want to basically accept the

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termination of contracts, or whether

they want to pay for the ongoing

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costs. I am hearing talk in

Whitehall that there have been talks

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with the Treasury, they want to be

flexible, it is taking time to go

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through these contracts. They want

to give them more time. But this

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will not be indefinitely...

And they

won't call it a bailout?

It will not

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be the same as the support they are

providing for the official receiver.

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This is a contract where the

government battle has no stake, they

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are basically helping the receivers.

On other aspects of this whole

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thing, where is it going to go now?

It will take time to work out where

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the pain is going to come any supply

chain, who is going to lay off

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people, and there will be lay-offs,

and who might be taking financial

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hits. As we touched on earlier, Greg

Clarke, the Business Secretary, has

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called for two investigations, one

into the Carillion accounts, and the

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reporting to Europe to the profit

warning in July, and also the

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conduct towards its collapse,

including by current and former

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directors. We are assuming every

aspect of this will be probed.

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Corporate governance in the company,

including pay and board oversight,

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and there are various people around

politics today promising to have

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people in front of committees and

for them to be pretty fiery. You

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know, there will always be this

lingering question of if the

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Government should be more aware of

what was going on along the

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Carillion business. A rival company,

into serve, launched a legal

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challenge in 2014 into the award of

a contract by the minute job

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defence, £4 billion. The contract

went to Carillion, and the rival

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said that the kids were abnormally

low and could be undeliverable. --

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the bids.

Whitehall insiders will be

having lots of concessions about the

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meanings of this. A lot of them will

not be agreeing with Jeremy Corbyn

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that it is the end of our

outsourcing.

Didn't think it is the

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end of outsourcing. That is clear.

The big thing I keep hearing about

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his concentration. They bring up how

frustrating it is that the market is

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so concentrated with outsourcing.

There are relatively few players of

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a scale large enough to take on the

kind of contracts that the

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Government likes to deliver. They

also think that things are currently

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in hand, they think that pensions

are going to be dealt with by the

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pension protection fund, they think

public contracts will be picked up

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and be OK. Obviously problems with

the supply chain. This isn't the

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sort of Lehman Brothers catastrophe.

The problem for them in the

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short-term is, actually, if you look

at the Serco share price, it has

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gone up.

A big rival?

Yes, because

things are easier for them, there is

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one fewer bidder in the market.

Are

they seeing big changes to

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outsourcing now?

Not in the

short-term, not under this

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government. The big thing worth

remembering is that there are

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reasons that people outsource which

are not just about chiselling at the

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cost. Do you have the strategic

capacity to do something? The civil

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service does not want to have a

senior manager in charge of doing HR

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for the people that maintain own

buildings. They are not interested

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in that and they cannot foresee

doing that.

Thanks, all of you,

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thank you very much.

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Now I'm joined by Dame Margaret

Hodge, the Labour MP who chaired

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the Public Accounts Committee

in 2014 when it produced a report

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on outsourcing public services

to the private sector.

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Do you think the collapse of

Carillion is the sign of a system

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working, that a company that perhaps

was not very well run has gone out

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of business? That happens. Or is it

a sign of systemic failure?

I think

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it is more of a sign of systemic

failure. We looked at this through

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four years back, and I don't think

what has changed. According to Meg

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Hillier, it hasn't. We found a

number of things, actually what the

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Government was doing in trying to

create a market, it was almost

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destroying the market because it was

killing off a lot of smaller

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suppliers of public services and

allowing these very big oligarch

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companies, that were very good at

winning contracts, to run public

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services that they were less good

at. We also found there isn't enough

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transparency. You can sort this out.

If you want to play in the public

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sector market and you are using

taxpayer's money, you ought to be

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open. So you shouldn't be able to

hide behind commercial

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confidentiality.

The government

Marco can say we will make it open?

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And they should. When we talked to

four of the big players, they were

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willing to do that. The other thing

is the civil service capability. We

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all know that it's really isn't

there. It is unrealistic to think we

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are going to get rid of outsourcing.

Over half of the service is now

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provided by the tax payer, this is

not, you know, tax relief or

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benefits, pensions, but the

services, over half of them are

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provided by private providers. You

cannot shift back.

Your leader,

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Jeremy Corbyn, has used the word

fleecing the public, because the

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companies take big profits out of

the delivery of public services. It

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honestly doesn't sound like they are

taking very big profits. Carillion

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was struggling to survive. Which is

the problem? The margins are

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the problem? The margins are or too

fat?

There is too much ideology,

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money conservatives, there is an

ideology. They believe that the

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private sector can deliver more

efficiency. Chris Grayling is

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probably the main proponent of this,

and you have seen a disaster in the

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probation service. On the left,

there is an ideology that it has to

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be the public sector that always

delivers, and that becomes to

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produce a lead. We need to think of

the user, the citizen and patient.

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It is much easier for me to go and

get my flu jab from Boots. Is that

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outsourcing or privatisation? It

works for me as a citizen. We ought

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to think about how we can construct

these services.

There is a big point

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here, outsourcing is linked to the

big economy. They, respect for

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companies push something like

cleaning or catering into agencies,

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they don't give pensions, they maybe

have shorter contracts with staff.

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The map -- gig economy is the

result. You don't think that has

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gone too far? The marketisation of

all aspects of life?

I think I do.

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We have to make this work, because

there is too much delivered through

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private companies. You have to have

the transparency and create a

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market. That means a government

backed or changing the way tenders.

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If you are a small company, there

was no way you can go to that

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expensive process they have to skill

of the civil service and then you

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have to to have ethical standards by

behalf on these big companies. That

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involves things like making sure

they employ people properly, we

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ought to be regulated, codes of

practice and pay taxes, all of that

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sort of thing. Don't lie about how

they are delivering the services.

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And I think if we did that,

outsourcing could work better. We've

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also got to move from the ideology

to apply that bad, public good, and

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move to putting the citizen at the

heart of delivering services.

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Margaret Hodge, editors, thank you.

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Before Britain exited

Hong Kong two decades ago,

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it said it would be keeping a close

watch on its former colony

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once it was to be in Chinese hands.

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We had signed a Joint Declaration

with China, that said for 50

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years, the freedoms Hong Kong

enjoyed would be preserved.

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John Major said that in the event

of any breach of that

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agreement by the Chinese,

Britain would pursue every

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legal and other avenue

available to challenge it.

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Well, there are some

who look at Hong Kong now,

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and observe Chinese restrictions

on democracy and free

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speech slowly creeping in.

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Tonight, student

pro-democracy leaders there -

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including Joshua Wong -

are awaiting the outcome

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of their final appeal to overturn

prison sentences for their roles

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in sparking 2014's massive

pro-democracy protests.

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Should Britain step into the breach?

0:16:000:16:01

Danny Vincent reports

from Hong Kong.

0:16:010:16:09

Every day 35,000 people take

the ferry to Kowloon.

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And Hong Kongers enjoy

rights unique in China.

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Thanks to the terms

of 1997 handover, Beijing

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can't interfere in internal matters.

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There's even a mini-constitution -

known as the "basic law".

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But many worry that

Beijing is dramatically

0:16:330:16:37

undermining that agreement, that

democracy activists are being locked

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up and that Britain

is looking the other way.

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We're on our way to

a new development -

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the railway station that will be

the new terminus for a

0:16:470:16:50

high speed railway link connecting

Hong Kong to mainland China.

0:16:500:16:52

It's raising serious

concerns over Hong

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Kong's autonomy, because inside this

station Chinese national law will

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apply, not Hong Kong law.

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The basic law states

that mainland laws can

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not be enforced in Hong Kong.

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But when the new

Kowloon rail terminus

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opens later this year, Chinese

customs and immigration officials

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will operate inside the station,

with powers of search and arrest.

0:17:190:17:21

Tanya Chan has long

fought to defend the

0:17:210:17:26

basic law.

0:17:260:17:29

She argues this is the clearest

violation yet of the

0:17:290:17:32

territory's legal independence.

0:17:320:17:36

This is absolutely

the worst precedent,

0:17:360:17:37

the worst example so far.

0:17:370:17:42

We are actually putting

Chinese officials

0:17:420:17:43

in the heart of Hong Kong and now

this is the very first time that in

0:17:430:17:49

Hong Kong we are going

to apply national law.

0:17:490:17:55

Thousands demonstrated

against the plan on New Year's Day.

0:17:550:17:58

The basic law is a list of rights -

including freedom of

0:17:580:18:02

speech, of the press,

freedom to demonstrate.

0:18:020:18:07

They fear the plans for the station

are the thin end of the

0:18:070:18:10

wedge and Britain is not standing

by its international obligations to

0:18:100:18:12

protect their rights.

0:18:120:18:17

I'm not sure whether

the British Government still

0:18:170:18:19

remembers Hong Kong and still

remembers the promises that they

0:18:190:18:21

have made.

0:18:210:18:24

The British Government definitely

has a role to play and

0:18:240:18:26

definitely can make their comments

and raise their concerns.

0:18:260:18:29

We are waiting for them.

0:18:290:18:37

Three years, ago the "umbrella"

protest brought tens of

0:18:380:18:40

thousands on to the streets over

Beijing's control of the candidates

0:18:400:18:43

for Hong Kong's leadership.

0:18:430:18:48

They were led by

students like Joshua

0:18:480:18:50

Wong, but the protests

failed and Beijing still

0:18:500:18:52

controls who leads Hong

Kong.

0:18:520:18:57

So the students started their own

party to campaign for

0:18:570:18:59

more democracy.

0:18:590:19:03

Joshua Wong and fellow activist

Nathan Law believe the

0:19:030:19:05

court system is no longer

independent and it's been used

0:19:050:19:07

against them.

0:19:070:19:10

They have both been

imprisoned for public

0:19:100:19:12

order offences.

0:19:120:19:14

Now, they're out on bail,

but a hearing tomorrow could put

0:19:140:19:17

Joshua back in prison.

0:19:170:19:18

And he said he was

interrogated naked

0:19:180:19:20

when he was last in custody.

0:19:200:19:24

As a young prisoner,

I served my prison

0:19:240:19:26

sentence inside the highest security

prison in Hong Kong.

0:19:260:19:32

At the same time, they even

urged me to take off

0:19:320:19:34

all my clothes when I need

to answer the question.

0:19:340:19:36

They just treat us...

0:19:360:19:40

Like a dog instead of a human.

0:19:400:19:44

There are suspicions that Triad

gang members are paid

0:19:440:19:46

to intimidate activists.

0:19:460:19:49

Joshua says prison inmates

told him that they had been

0:19:490:19:51

told to attack

the umbrella movement.

0:19:510:19:55

When I was serving the prison

sentence in jail, I met a lot

0:19:550:19:59

of inmates who claimed

they had background,

0:19:590:20:01

come from the gangster

and they receive money to attack

0:20:010:20:06

or physically assault us

during umbrella movement.

0:20:060:20:11

Joshua doesn't know who paid them.

0:20:110:20:15

The prison authorities deny

mistreatment and we were unable to

0:20:150:20:18

speak to prisoners to confirm

the claim of intimidation.

0:20:180:20:25

Those who fight

for Hong Kong's legal

0:20:250:20:26

independence say they're also

fighting for its cultural identity.

0:20:260:20:31

I am meeting someone who may well be

at the heart of the next

0:20:310:20:34

flashpoint.

0:20:340:20:40

Hong Kong football fans have been

booing the Chinese national

0:20:400:20:42

anthem when it's

played at home games.

0:20:420:20:46

Now, Beijing has told Hong Kong

to criminalise the jeering.

0:20:460:20:50

The national anthem is not

representation of Hong Kong...

0:20:500:20:53

Jack and hundreds like him

will be breaking the law

0:20:530:20:56

if they carry on booing.

0:20:560:20:57

Why do football fans boo

the Chinese national anthem?

0:20:570:21:01

We don't think that we

are Chinese, we are

0:21:010:21:04

Hong Kong.

0:21:040:21:06

The difference is that Hong Kong has

democracy and also we

0:21:060:21:08

have the right of speech and right

of demonstration in Hong Kong.

0:21:080:21:15

This was at a game

between Hong Kong and

0:21:150:21:18

Bahrain.

0:21:180:21:20

Fans could be imprisoned

for three years.

0:21:200:21:22

New laws could be

applied retrospectively.

0:21:220:21:24

Critics say this contradicts

the basic law in

0:21:240:21:27

terms of freedom of expression,

applying Chinese national law

0:21:270:21:30

and applying it retrospectively.

0:21:300:21:33

But Jack is defiant.

0:21:330:21:35

Can they stop you

disrespecting the Chinese

0:21:350:21:37

national anthem?

0:21:370:21:38

No.

0:21:380:21:43

At West Kowloon Magistrates Court,

nine more activists

0:21:430:21:45

face public order charges.

0:21:450:21:48

All were key figure

in the umbrella protests.

0:21:480:21:51

Tanya Chan, who opposes Chinese law

in the new rail station, is one of

0:21:510:21:55

the defendants.

0:21:550:21:58

In fact, over 50 democracy

activists and elected

0:21:580:22:00

law-makers currently face court

cases that could bar them from

0:22:000:22:02

office or see them locked up.

0:22:020:22:07

This is just one

hearing in a series of

0:22:070:22:09

legal moves against the activists.

0:22:090:22:12

Professors, student leaders

and local politicians are all going

0:22:120:22:14

through the courts.

0:22:140:22:17

And all of them could

face prison time.

0:22:170:22:22

This case is seen as

a clear warning to every

0:22:220:22:25

level of Hong Kong's democracy camp

- the umbrella movement must

0:22:250:22:27

be crushed.

0:22:270:22:30

People who lead protests

against Beijing must be prepared to

0:22:300:22:33

face jail and, by using the courts,

the tool is the legal system itself.

0:22:330:22:39

We are defending our right to have

demonstrations, freedom of

0:22:390:22:42

expression and very important

is our right to have our own

0:22:420:22:44

choice of government.

0:22:440:22:52

But there is substantial

opposition to the democracy

0:22:540:22:56

activists in Hong Kong.

0:22:560:22:59

Pro-Beijing candidates

here command the largest

0:22:590:23:03

number of seats in the

partly-elected local chamber.

0:23:030:23:06

Regina Ip is is a strong

supporter of mainland China.

0:23:060:23:09

She says those who argue the basic

law is under threat are being

0:23:090:23:12

legal fundamentalists.

0:23:120:23:16

In a free society like

Hong Kong, with a wide

0:23:160:23:18

range of different opinions, we have

among our citizenry people who you

0:23:180:23:23

might call "fundamentalists"

you know, legal and

0:23:230:23:26

judicial fundamentalists,

who believe in sticking to every

0:23:260:23:31

letter of the basic law.

0:23:310:23:34

Many pan-democrats

in Hong Kong feel that

0:23:340:23:38

the Government and perhaps Beijing

are targeting them and carrying out

0:23:380:23:41

somewhat of a political persecution.

0:23:410:23:46

What do you say to that?

0:23:460:23:48

We have no political

offences in Hong Kong.

0:23:480:23:51

If people are charged for disrupting

public order, incitement or

0:23:510:23:56

disturbance, that is all based

on common law and common law

0:23:560:24:01

principles and the statutory laws

that we

0:24:010:24:03

inherited from Britain.

0:24:030:24:08

I think these accusations

are totally ungrounded.

0:24:080:24:12

Hong Kong's autonomy was enshrined

in the basic law, but the

0:24:120:24:16

criminalisation of the umbrella

protesters and others who challenge

0:24:160:24:19

Beijing does raise questions about

the rule of law in the territory.

0:24:190:24:22

It also raises questions about

Britain's commitment to the people

0:24:220:24:24

and the system it once

pledged to protect.

0:24:240:24:31

Danny Vincent there.

0:24:310:24:32

We did try to speak

to the Chinese Government

0:24:320:24:34

and the the British government

about this story, but nobody

0:24:340:24:37

was available from either.

0:24:370:24:42

The EU has been sounding both tough

and tender as regards Brexit today.

0:24:420:24:45

In a speech to the Parliament

today, the President

0:24:450:24:47

of the Council Donald Tusk did

the tender bit.

0:24:470:24:55

David Davis said if a democracy

cannot change its mind it ceases to

0:24:590:25:03

be a democracy. We here on the

continent haven't had a change of

0:25:030:25:08

heart. Our hearts are still open to

you.

0:25:080:25:12

Forget the idea that we will set our

own fishing quotas. Each state is

0:25:340:25:44

piling their own issues into the

negotiations. Nick Watt is back us

0:25:440:25:48

with. Why didn't Michel Barnier come

out with that our heart is open.

It

0:25:480:25:54

was Donald Tusk and sometimes you

need to set his words to music. But

0:25:540:25:59

what he said was music to the ears

of a small number of Remain

0:25:590:26:06

supporters who are seeking to

reverse Brexit. What they need is

0:26:060:26:11

Brussels to say, we would like to

have you back and the reason why

0:26:110:26:15

they need that is by the time of the

autumn when we will have this deal,

0:26:150:26:20

they want the British people to see

two options - the new deal or the

0:26:200:26:27

existing membership and they're

talking about ways of defeating

0:26:270:26:33

Brexit.

Is this going to happen?

I

was speaking to a member of the

0:26:330:26:41

cabinet who supported Remain, who

said you couldn't see it happening

0:26:410:26:45

unless public opinion shifted

dramatically. 60-40 in favour of

0:26:450:26:51

Remain, it not really shifting.

0:26:510:27:00

One of the most most vocal

supporters of Brexit has been

0:27:000:27:02

the Tory backbencher Jacob Rees

Mogg.

0:27:020:27:04

He was rewarded for his work in this

area today by being appointed

0:27:040:27:07

Chairman of the party's influential

European Research Group -

0:27:070:27:09

a sort of internal lobbying grouping

which works to push for a

0:27:090:27:12

hard Brexit.

0:27:120:27:13

I spoke to him earlier

and I put it to him that

0:27:130:27:16

despite President Tusk's comments

earlier, the EU was preparing to be

0:27:160:27:18

pretty tough and uncompromising

for the next round of negotiations

0:27:180:27:21

Well, I'm all in favour

of being tough and uncompromising.

0:27:210:27:24

I want a proper Brexit.

0:27:240:27:25

I want us to leave

the European Union,

0:27:250:27:27

heart, soul and mind.

0:27:270:27:28

I don't want us to have the sort

of Brexit where, because they've

0:27:280:27:31

given us all sorts of baubles,

we have stayed in bits

0:27:310:27:34

that deny us freedom.

0:27:340:27:36

The key thing is coming up

with the trade negotiation now.

0:27:360:27:41

It is so important that we maintain

the flexibility to do deals

0:27:410:27:44

with other countries,

that were not so bound

0:27:440:27:46

in by the EU's requirements

that we can't get the benefits

0:27:460:27:49

of cheaper food, clothing

and footwear, that will flow

0:27:490:27:53

from setting up our own trading

relationships.

0:27:530:27:56

So, their being tough may actually

push us into a clearer Brexit.

0:27:560:28:01

Could we talk about the transition?

0:28:010:28:03

Because the Government is pretty

keen on a transition,

0:28:030:28:05

or implementation.

0:28:050:28:08

The EU, all signs are,

from the draft negotiating

0:28:080:28:12

positions, they're going

to be really tough.

0:28:120:28:14

Well, I think the language

is really important.

0:28:140:28:16

Is it an implimentation period

which the Government is asking for,

0:28:160:28:19

or is it a transition?

0:28:190:28:21

If it is an implimentation period,

we've left the EU and we are

0:28:210:28:24

implementing the consequences.

0:28:240:28:26

That is to say it might take time

to put in new immigration

0:28:260:28:29

queues at Heathrow.

0:28:290:28:30

And, until that's done,

we're implementing.

0:28:300:28:32

If it's a transition, we are in fact

still in the European Union.

0:28:320:28:37

If they set our fishing quotas,

if new laws coming in from the EU

0:28:370:28:40

affect the UK, if the ECJ still has

jurisdiction, it would be untrue

0:28:400:28:44

to say we have left.

0:28:440:28:45

It would be an extension

of our membership.

0:28:450:28:48

If that is what the Government

should want to do, it should do it

0:28:480:28:52

under the terms of Article 50 and be

honest about it.

0:28:520:28:54

It would be a deceit

to have a transition that kept us

0:28:540:28:57

in the EU for two years by default.

0:28:570:29:00

And you wouldn't necessarily be

against extending our membership

0:29:000:29:03

for two years to get everything

sorted out, but you want

0:29:030:29:06

honesty about that if that

is what the plan is?

0:29:060:29:09

Because the EU, by the way,

is in no doubt at all,

0:29:090:29:11

it is an extension of membership

by another name.

0:29:110:29:14

I would be opposed to

extension of membership.

0:29:140:29:16

An implimentation period is fine.

0:29:160:29:17

A transition period is not.

0:29:170:29:20

The Prime Minister,

who I fully support,

0:29:200:29:21

has been very careful

to say implementation period...

0:29:210:29:24

But you're just using the language

that you know is going to appeal

0:29:240:29:28

to you, business just

hears transitional arrangement.

0:29:280:29:30

They don't make any distinct at all.

0:29:300:29:32

No, it's very important

to focus on the details.

0:29:320:29:36

The Prime Minister is a person

of great precision.

0:29:360:29:38

She doesn't use language loosely.

0:29:380:29:39

And she has invariably

said implimentation,

0:29:390:29:42

and she has said that we will leave

on the 29th of March 2019,

0:29:420:29:45

and I fully support her position.

0:29:450:29:47

Right.

0:29:470:29:48

I wonder how you interpreted

Nigel Farage's comments

0:29:480:29:50

on a second referendum.

0:29:500:29:52

Because that, again,

was seen by some as a kind of sign

0:29:520:29:56

of nervousness on the Brexit side

that it's just slipping

0:29:560:29:59

away, potentially.

0:29:590:30:04

I don't know why Mr Farage

decide to say he wanted

0:30:040:30:06

a second referendum.

0:30:060:30:07

One of the interesting things

about polling on this

0:30:070:30:10

at the moment is that people,

they broadly haven't changed from

0:30:100:30:12

where they were in the referendum,

but on the question do you want

0:30:120:30:15

another referendum, everyone in this

country is Brenda from Bristol.

0:30:150:30:21

There is no appetite

for another referendum.

0:30:210:30:24

As it happens, I think

there would be real anger

0:30:240:30:27

if there was a second one,

because we're not one

0:30:270:30:29

of those smaller EU states,

that when we vote to give the answer

0:30:290:30:34

that the EU doesn't like get told

to vote again and again

0:30:340:30:37

until we do as we're told,

like good little boys.

0:30:370:30:40

Therefore I think,

if there was a second

0:30:400:30:42

referendum, you would see

considerable popular discontent.

0:30:420:30:45

You're now running the ERG,

the European Reform Group.

0:30:450:30:49

This is about 60 Tory MPs,

on the more Brexit side,

0:30:490:30:52

the Brexit side, let's say.

0:30:520:30:55

Are you going to hold

the Government's feet to the fire,

0:30:550:30:58

on all the things we've

been talking about?

0:30:580:31:00

The Government's determination

to go for a clear Brexit,

0:31:000:31:02

rather than a slightly

messier, softer one?

0:31:020:31:08

The ERG is a group of like-minded

members of Parliament and it

0:31:080:31:12

provides research to help us

with work on European issues.

0:31:120:31:17

I'm very keen to help the Government

achieve the policy that it set out,

0:31:170:31:21

and the Prime Minister set out

particularly in the Lancaster House

0:31:210:31:29

speech, and encourage a vigorous

implimentation of that policy.

0:31:320:31:35

The Government has my personal,

complete support in doing that.

0:31:350:31:37

Jacob Rees-Mogg, thanks very much.

0:31:370:31:38

Thank you very much.

0:31:380:31:39

Pretty well anyone who writes

anything these days knows how easy

0:31:390:31:42

it is to be unwittingly -

or wittingly - offensive.

0:31:420:31:44

In the era of identity politics,

it's not hard to trigger a reaction

0:31:440:31:47

that says you are guilty

of insensitivity to

0:31:470:31:49

one group or another.

0:31:490:31:50

Now, while some writers

thrive on controversy,

0:31:500:31:52

many want to avoid it,

and even if they don't

0:31:520:31:54

their publishers might.

0:31:540:31:55

So enter the idea of

sensitivity readers.

0:31:550:31:58

People employed to look at a book

ahead of publication, to advise

0:31:580:32:01

on potential mis-steps within.

0:32:010:32:04

As always, the US leads in these

trends and the American press has

0:32:040:32:07

become quite pre-occupied

by the debate as to whether

0:32:070:32:09

sensitivity readers improve books,

or censor free speech and indulge

0:32:090:32:12

a noisy Twitter mob too keen to take

umbrage at anything.

0:32:120:32:14

Here's Stephen Smith

on how it works.

0:32:140:32:22

# I'm mad about good books

0:32:230:32:26

# Can't get my fill...#

0:32:260:32:30

Budding authors have always been

told, write about what you know.

0:32:300:32:33

That seems particularly canny advice

now, when an imaginative leap

0:32:330:32:36

into unfamiliar territory can lend

a writer in trouble for

0:32:360:32:38

misrepresentation or stereotyping.

0:32:380:32:45

Some readers and critics are alert

to any real or perceived failures

0:32:450:32:48

of authenticity in areas including

race, gender and sexuality.

0:32:480:32:55

So, publishers and writers

are turning to so-called

0:32:550:32:59

sensitivity readers,

who scan texts before publication

0:32:590:33:02

on the lookout for any missteps that

might jar or give offence.

0:33:020:33:07

One author of books for young adults

told us she used sensitivity readers

0:33:070:33:10

when she created characters

with deafness and selective mutism.

0:33:100:33:18

I have a friend who is deaf,

and I also knew somebody who was

0:33:190:33:22

a British sign language interpreter.

0:33:220:33:24

So, they both individually

read it and came back

0:33:240:33:26

to me with their notes.

0:33:260:33:27

And then we discussed it together.

0:33:270:33:30

It was to make sure that

I was representing, in this case,

0:33:300:33:33

deafness, as authentically

and truthfully as possible,

0:33:330:33:36

to make sure that, for people

who have experience of it,

0:33:360:33:40

that they would be able to recognise

the way I was portraying it.

0:33:400:33:45

But is there a danger

that writers and readers

0:33:450:33:47

could become oversensitive?

0:33:470:33:50

That difficult material

will simply be avoided

0:33:500:33:51

for fear of giving offence?

0:33:510:33:55

And sensitivities vary, of course.

0:33:550:33:58

Even just about everyone's favourite

boy wizard managed to upset some

0:33:580:34:02

over so-called occult themes

in the Harry Potter books.

0:34:020:34:06

Right now, young adult readers

seemed to be more alive to issues

0:34:060:34:10

of sensitivity than the general

book buying public.

0:34:100:34:12

Yes, I think very much so.

0:34:120:34:14

Especially with social media

allowing people to have much more

0:34:140:34:18

of a voice than maybe

they would have done before,

0:34:180:34:21

and in larger numbers.

0:34:210:34:23

I think it's definitely something

that I, as a YA author,

0:34:230:34:28

and friends of mine who are YA

authors are very aware of.

0:34:280:34:32

# Sitting and reading

0:34:320:34:34

# Enjoying the breathing

of you...#

0:34:340:34:38

As more authors take advice

from sensitivity readers,

0:34:380:34:40

some bookworms may be

in for a more

0:34:400:34:42

stress-free experience.

0:34:420:34:45

But will that really

make for a happy ending?

0:34:450:34:48

Joining me now to discuss

is author Laura Moriarty,

0:34:530:34:56

who worked with sensitivity readers

on her novel 'American Heart'.

0:34:560:34:59

She's in Kansas.

0:34:590:35:01

And with me in the studio

is publisher Sharmaine Lovegrove,

0:35:010:35:04

who heads up London-based Dialogue

Books.

0:35:040:35:08

Good evening to you. Laura, you had

a curious experience. You worked

0:35:080:35:15

with sensitivity readers, and it was

a book with Muslim themes. And there

0:35:150:35:21

was still quite a lot of anger at

your book anyway?

Exactly. As I was

0:35:210:35:29

writing the book, I actually

instinctively did it on my own, I

0:35:290:35:33

asked a Muslim American friend to

read the book and I asked some

0:35:330:35:36

Persian American friends to read the

books. I even sent the manuscript to

0:35:360:35:41

a friend of a friend in Iran, and

she sent her thoughts. I wanted to

0:35:410:35:46

make sure it was authentic and

accurate, my depictions of Muslims

0:35:460:35:50

and Iranians. Once I sold the book

to Harper, they also hired

0:35:500:35:57

sensitivity readers to go through

the book again. I think what is

0:35:570:36:02

interesting is, for me, I didn't

mind when Harper said they wanted

0:36:020:36:07

sensitivity readers to go over it

again. If I think of it as accuracy

0:36:070:36:10

readers, if I think about someone

who has an experience that can look

0:36:100:36:14

at my work and make sure I am being

accurate and thoughtful about how I

0:36:140:36:18

depict groups. That is fine with me.

I think the biggest misperception is

0:36:180:36:23

that the writers are forced to take

every suggestion that the

0:36:230:36:29

sensitivity reader makes. That

wasn't the case for me.

I just want

0:36:290:36:33

to get... Basically, you agreed the

book with the sensitivity readers

0:36:330:36:41

and the publisher, then was a lot of

upset. The saviour of the book of

0:36:410:36:44

the Muslims was a white woman, and

it was more her story than theirs?

0:36:440:36:50

Right, there were people that were

upset, when the description of the

0:36:500:36:54

book came out, that the narrator and

the protagonist is a white

0:36:540:36:57

non-Muslim girl. She is very bigoted

at the beginning. She has grown up

0:36:570:37:10

in the extremely xenophobic United

States.

0:37:100:37:16

States. She overcomes her prejudice

by meeting a Muslim.

0:37:200:37:27

What did you make of that story, the

book through the sensitivity reader

0:37:270:37:31

and then there was outrage?

The

question overall is why we need

0:37:310:37:36

sensitivity writers? Who is writing

the stories?

0:37:360:37:44

the stories? It seems like a

formidable amount of people that

0:37:440:37:47

were involved to make sure that

something was correct.

0:37:470:37:53

something was correct. If we have

the people employed in the first

0:37:550:37:57

place in publishing houses, it seems

like it is from the confidence from

0:37:570:38:05

the publishers as where it has gone

wrong. I also question the idea of

0:38:050:38:11

anyone being able to write anything

from any perspective, the idea of a

0:38:110:38:14

White saviour with a Muslim, that is

complicated.

There are issues there.

0:38:140:38:20

The point is that Muslims would not

have one view on that, would they?

0:38:200:38:25

You don't necessarily want the

noisiest or the most offended people

0:38:250:38:28

to dictate what is published? Or is

that not where you end up?

0:38:280:38:31

Absolutely. We have to remember that

YA publishing is particularly

0:38:310:38:40

sensitive.

Young adults?

Yes,

because the issues are front-loaded.

0:38:400:38:44

This is about reading for the next

generation. We absolutely have to

0:38:440:38:47

get this right. We have to get the

reading right, we have to get the

0:38:470:38:51

writing right. We have to listen to

the voices that are coming through

0:38:510:38:54

and complaining. Actually, we have

to to think who is writing our

0:38:540:38:59

stories, who are our children going

to be listing to?

Is there a

0:38:590:39:04

problem, forget sensitivity readers,

is the problem basically that too

0:39:040:39:07

many publishers and writers are

scared of offending people?

Well, I

0:39:070:39:11

think that is very much the case

right now. I think there is an idea

0:39:110:39:15

that you could possibly hire enough

sensitivity readers where nobody

0:39:150:39:20

would be offended, and that is of

course impossible. With my book, I

0:39:200:39:25

had my readers, the publishing house

hired more, and people were still

0:39:250:39:28

incredibly offended. As you say,

there are different sensitivities,

0:39:280:39:33

even within marginalised

communities. You're never going to

0:39:330:39:35

please everybody and make everybody

happy. I think the focus needs to be

0:39:350:39:39

an authenticity. I would disagree,

and I think that while I agree that

0:39:390:39:46

we would like to see more diversity

in publishing and writers, I don't

0:39:460:39:49

think that there should be such

strict limits on who should tell

0:39:490:39:54

such stories. I think we can imagine

each other's lives. My first novel

0:39:540:39:58

was about a girl growing up on

welfare, and she was white, and

0:39:580:40:01

nobody ever asked me anything about

it.

Do you have any worries about

0:40:010:40:07

this being a sort of shutting down,

rather than opening up.

0:40:070:40:14

rather than opening up.

What we

really want to see us diversity in

0:40:160:40:19

publishing, diversity in terms of

characters, and confidence from the

0:40:190:40:22

writers. It has to be fair and it

has to be pronounced. We need to

0:40:220:40:29

have that in order for the next

generation.

Thank you both very much

0:40:290:40:32

indeed.

0:40:320:40:33

That's it for tonight.

0:40:330:40:34

But following last week's row

when Donald Trump was accused

0:40:340:40:36

of favouring immigrants from Norway

over those from Haiti,

0:40:360:40:38

people have been asking just

what is it about the liberal

0:40:380:40:41

Norwegians that the

President actually likes.

0:40:410:40:47

Now a new theory has emerged online,

that Norway is in fact helping

0:40:470:40:50

Mr Trump to maintain his most

closely guarded cover-up.

0:40:500:40:52

Judge for yourself.

0:40:520:40:54

Good night.

0:40:540:41:00

DONALD TRUMP:

Ricardo Sanchez,

on his Spanish drivetime radio

0:41:000:41:03

show in Los Angeles,

has taken to calling Donald J Trump

0:41:030:41:07

"The Man of the Toupee".

0:41:070:41:10

This was on the front page

of the New York Times.

0:41:100:41:14

I don't wear a toupee.

It's my hair!

0:41:140:41:21

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