In-depth investigation and analysis of the stories behind the day's headlines with Kirsty Wark.
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Tonight, the government has
announced that Oxfam will not bid
for any new funding from DifD
until it is satisfied
that the charity meets
high ethical standards.
So has the relationship
between the government and aid
charities been too
close and too casual?
And can Oxfam ever recover?
It was the long shadow
over the US election.
Now a grand jury indicts
13 Russian nationals
for interfering in the campaign,
and it's clear the allegation
is they gunned for Hillary Clinton
before the vote, and since then
they've been sowing discord
about the Trump presdiency.
The defendants allegedly
conducted what they called
against the United States,
with the stated goal of spreading
distrust towards the candidates
and the political
system in general.
What if the government gave everyone
£10,000 a year instead of state
benefits and tax reliefs?
Thomas Paine's age old idea
of a citizen's dividend is back.
The former Labour leader Ed Miliband
is flirting with the idea
of a basic universal income.
"The Russians made a sinister
and systematic attack
on our political system," said
the Republican speaker
of the House of Representatives,
following the charges
against 13 Russian nationals
and three Russian companies.
One of those charged,
Yevgeny Prigozhin, is said to be
nicknamed Putin's chef,
a reference to his closeness
to the Russian president.
However, a Russian Foreign Ministry
spokeswoman called the allegations
of interference in the US
What is clear from the indictment
is that the alleged interference,
which involved hundreds of people
in a spider's web of online
activity going back for years,
was not only designed to damage
but it didn't stop after Donald
Trump reached the White House -
his presidency became the target.
A little earlier this evening,
this is what the US deputy
Attorney General had to say.
On September 13, 2017,
soon after the news media reported
that the special counsel's office
was investigating evidence that
Russian operatives had used social
media to interfere with
the 2016 election, one defendant
allegedly wrote, "We had a
slight crisis here at work.
The FBI have posted our activity.
The FBI have busted our activity.
So I got preoccupied
with covering tracks,
together with my colleagues."
And Trump tweeted tonight
that Russia started
the anti-US campaign long before
he announced he would
run for president.
their anti-US campaign in 2014,
long before I announced that
I would run for President.
The results of the election
were not impacted.
The Trump campaign did nothing
wrong - no collusion!"
I'm now joined down the line
from Washington by Niall Stanage,
White House columnist at The Hill.
And Anne Applebaum, Washington Post
columnist and Professor at the LSE
Institute of Global Affairs.
Good evening. The level of detail in
the indictment is quite
It is, absolutely,
Kirsty, that is the big takeaway
from this. Some of the allegations
are not that surprising given what
is in the ether. But it is as if the
prosecutors have been building a
jigsaw puzzle and have suddenly
whipped away a cover to show just
how much they know. In that sense it
is very dramatic and a very big
On page 23 of the indictment
it talks about November the 12th in
2016, at the same time defendants
and their co-conspirators organise a
rally in New York called Trump is
not my president. They held a rally
in Charlotte, North Carolina against
Trump. So they were putting together
rally ideas and posters and the
unwitting American public was
Yes, as they were
doing that by fictional social media
accounts. The overall effort here is
clearly to increase discord, to sow
dissent among the American people,
and to use hot button social issues
to do so.
What about the involvement
of a particular character, allegedly
called Putin's chef?
I am not an
expert on the Russian side of this,
but clearly somebody who is that
much intimately connected with the
Russian president is a problem
because it typifies that this is a
Russian lead and directed operation.
It seems clear this is not some
freelancing effort, given the number
of people involved and the amount of
money involved, $1.5 million a month
at one stage.
I want your reaction
to these indictments tonight.
think the indictments are an
extraordinary insight into how the
Russians think, how they think about
disinformation, US elections, and it
should offer us some really useful
background for how they think in
other countries and how they act in
other elections because we know they
do that as well. One of the
extraordinary thing is watching the
US election campaign was the way in
which Russian messaging and
which Russian messaging and tramp
messages were acting hand. Hashed
out and narratives that started in
sputnik and on TV would appear out
of the President's mouth a few days
later. We never knew what the
connection was. We do not know what
tied them together, but we see the
Russians were studying the US very
closely and were looking for
explosive, divisive issues and they
were acting in concert with the
And the unwitting
collusion of the American people in
this as well, the way they organised
it, that is their modus operandi
anyway, but I wonder how it fits
into the overall picture about
possible Russian interference. Given
that it is still going on, does that
in itself as per Donald Trump's
tweaked let him off the hook?
do not think he is let off the hook
at all. It is true the report says
there is no evidence any of the
Americans named in this indictment
knew they were collaborating with
Russians. But this does not address
the overall question of what the
Trump campaign knew. Did they know
this extraordinary campaign was
going on? How could they not know?
There were all kinds of connections
between different kinds of Russians
and members of the campaign is all
through 2016 and that was happening
at the same time millions of
Russians were putting millions of
dollars into affecting the campaign
and increase democratic
disillusionment in the United
States. How is it possible they were
not aware of one another? We do not
have the answer to that told.
now have a Trump presidency and
Hillary Clinton would be perfectly
right to say this possibly did
actually affect the outcome of the
election that she has some evidence
on her hands with these indictments
We certainly have evidence of
what the Russians were doing. As the
previous speaker was saying, it is
in detail. This is what is
unexpected about the indictment. The
PayPal accounts, the bank accounts,
the particular incidents described.
We now know exactly what the Russian
operation looked like in the United
States and how it worked.
is extraordinary and a slip-up of
one of the defendants who allegedly
said online to a friend what they
were doing and how they were trying
to cover their tracks. It is like
some strange thriller.
some strange thriller.
am not even sure... It is amazing
the FBI got those details where you
have an alleged Russian conspirator
e-mail in a family member literally
saying the FBI are on to us and we
are now trying to cover our tracks.
Just in terms of the sheer
compelling nature of the story that
is a remarkable thing and it builds
this broader picture of nefarious
activity and that is what further
adds to the narrative about alleged
Thank you both very much
Tonight the pressure
on Oxfam has intensified,
with the government announcement
that the charity will not bid
for any new government funding
until they prove they can meet
the high standards expected
of the Department for International
The International Development
Secretary, Penny Mordaunt,
said that it was clear that Oxfam
has a long way to go to regain
the trust of the British public,
their staff and the people
they aim to help.
It comes on the day when the charity
said it will set up an independent
commission to investigate past
and present allegations
of exploitation by staff.
In a moment, we'll be
discussing the implication
of the ban on bidding,
not least for the delivery
of future aid to those
in need around the globe.
But first here's David Grossman.
Charities cannot afford to be slow
in showing us the work they do.
Their fundraising depends on
showcasing the lives they change.
cannot reach them without you. It
all starts with you.
In the past we
may have rather trusted their own
accounts too much. After all, we can
hardly go and see for ourselves. But
that trust appears to be drying up.
I would like more outrage. This has
all been going on for a long time.
The intelligence agency warned in
1999 that paedophiles were finding
safe, happy homes in our foreign aid
sector. And yet nothing has been
done about this until the Times
investigation last week.
How ripe is
the misconduct within the charity
and the sector at large?
to fully clarified delegations with
deepened. The young aid worker
employed by Oxfam for the first time
in the Haiti disaster in 2010 has
told the BBC she was assaulted by a
more senior, male colleague.
pinned me up against the wall, he
was groping me and grabbing me. He
was kissing me and I was trying to
shove him off.
A torrid week of
scandals for Oxfam has ended with a
blunt statement from the
International Development Secretary.
Oxfam will no longer bid for
government aid contracts.
Oxfam have a long way to go before
they can regain the trust of the
British public, their staff and the
people they aim to help. The actions
and attitude of the organisation
over the coming weeks will be
The Oxfam scandal has cast
a spotlight on the whole sector,
where the government with big aid
budgets rely too heavily on how the
NGOs spend those budgets and whether
this close relationship has
deflected necessary scrutiny.
is not about the charity, it is
about the people they are trying to
help. By withdrawing from bidding
for future contracts, that might
mean Oxfam can help fewer people in
the future. Throughout this process
whatever Oxfam has done wrong, I
very much hope this is a temporary
period whilst they sort themselves
But this has happened before.
The charity kids company collapsed
in 2015 amid allegations of
financial impropriety and questions
about how many people they help.
was not that the government saved
the company, it was that the company
did the government's work.
charity received tens of millions of
pounds of public money. The
journalist who wrote the first
critical article says it was a very
tough story to break.
to hear the story, people had
invested too much into kids company
and their reputation rose and fell
with kids company, so the did not
want it pulled down. This was
whether they were politicians or pop
stars or whether it was business
people. They wanted kids company to
keep going because it made them look
This perhaps explains why it
took so long for the allegations
against Oxfam to come to light. For
75 years the charity has been
harnessing the British public
enthusiasm to help those in need.
Whether that enthusiasm survives
this scandal will decide how well
the charity survives.
the charity survives.
I'm now joined by Imogen Wall,
an independent aid worker
and former UN spokesperson.
She runs an online support
forum for aid workers.
Also with me is Martin Bell,
a Unicef UK ambassador since 2001.
He's also a former war
correspondent and former MP.
On the line from South Africa
we've got Ian Birrell,
a contributing editor to the Mail
on Sunday and former advisor
and speechwriter for David Cameron.
Good evening. If I can come to you
first. How bad is it for Oxfam that
the government has said going
forward there will be no future
contracts until they are sure of
that ethical stance?
It is pretty
damning for Oxfam, although I have
to question why it is the government
feels Oxfam is not good enough for
new contracts, but it is worthy of
continuing to hold the contracts it
has held and they are worth millions
Let me put that to Martin
Bell. Oxfam is engaged in so many
different contracts around the
world, is Ian Wright that if we take
the chance of them getting future
contracts away now, we should really
be probing the contracts that they
Oxfam is in so much trouble it has
two and suffer itself. I have been a
Unicef ambassador for 17 years. I
have seen wonderful people, national
and international staff, doing
life-saving work on some of the most
difficult corners of the world. I
can only hope that this appalling
scandal does not affect those people
helped by aid agencies doing such
With your professional
hat on, looking at that indictment
of Oxfam from penny Mordaunt, she is
saying there needs to be radical
change, the time it takes for that
to come out, what will happen to
We will see in the coming
days. We are very far from the end
of this. What is clear and very
unfortunate, and I think David have
no choice, they manage public money
and the right to demand an element
of accountability, but that Oxfam
are not alone in this. Every agency
in the aid sector has a problem that
we work in a sector that attracts
the vulnerable, sorry, that supports
So you have to have a
safeguard. Every agency has faced
this. Oxfam have been found out but
they have been hung out to dry.
is possibly quite terrifying for a
lot of people to hear that we, with
our best endeavours, support a
variety of charities, and you're
telling that this literally is the
tip of the iceberg, what is going to
Hopefully wholesale reform
Without scandal? People
are just quietly changing things?
No, they are not. That is the
problem. For many years activists
have been warned.
An activist on
Newsnight said that last year she
talked about sexual violence to aid
workers and Oxfam was by no means
They are really not. They
have had opportunities to reform
themselves. It needs to come. We
need an interagency process. You can
solve the problem of Oxfam but the
predators will get jobs elsewhere.
We have seen that is what happened.
How damaging you think this is to
the global aid effort?
I think it is
pretty damaging because it is
highlighting problems that these are
organisations that paint themselves
as saviours of the poor, paint
themselves as do-gooders and see
themselves as being so morally above
criticism, and suddenly people are
seeing them for what they are, which
is people interested in earning my
and people proclaiming...
Can I just
put to you what Martin Bell was
saying? He has been an ambassador
for Unicef are many years and has
seen the good work done. You
wouldn't doubt, presumably, that
individual aid programmes, people
going with their best endeavours to
help those in need, you're not
entirely cynical about this, are
I'm pretty cynical. I've seen
too much of it. Let's look at Hay
tee. What did the UN there? They
took cholera there and killed
several thousand people and put
hundreds of thousands more into a
state of disease. Then they denied
it. They covered up. That is typical
of what goes on. A.D. Was a complete
mess from start to finish. -- high
I want to bring in Martin.
Particularly when you are talking
about the government giving money to
particular aid charities, do you
think there has been too cosy and
casually relationship between the
government and the charities who it
funds aid programmes through?
think the government and charities
are close and they have to be. If
Ian had been where I had been, if
you are holding the hands of a
nine-year-old child in Yemen who has
been bombed out of her home and is
being given care by Unicef, you have
a different view of it. I think the
idea that because there is a
scandal, all aid agencies are
tarnished. Just connect with my
experience. Wonderful people doing
wonderful things out there.
about the question of governance?
Are aid agencies and the governance
They work closely
together. What we are seeing right
now is the capacity the government
has told them to account when
needed. That is a powerful thing.
There is no question it is a club
and there have been long discussions
about how to bring more particularly
local organisations into that
community, and to this collection of
That interesting. What you
are saying is, and we know the
government only funds through big
agencies and it is funnelled out...
What you're saying is that it is too
for a divot. They have to be more
particular and pick smaller
charities which it ollie spatter?
Yeah. And help develop into agency
policing systems. I was in the field
for ten years. 95% of aid workers
and local staff. They are not
internationals. That is the
What about the big
salaries Ian talks about?
not that big, trust me! Certainly
not for Oxfam.
Ian, if you don't
think that aid in itself delivered
by charities is a good thing, how
would you sort a lot of the global
issues that we feel everywhere in
the world, those of us who have
more, have a duty to help those who
I'm very committed to
help the world's poor but the way to
do it is not with patronising
Westerners going in there and
telling them how to solve their
problems their services. Not by
propping up dictators. And not get
caught doing harm. Is what we have
seen often. There is an unholy
Trinity going on whereby there is a
shared deal going on with the
government and much of the media,
and with the aid groups. They all
portray this image that they are the
saviours of the world. The facts do
not fit this. That is why there is
such resentment against it in many
parts of the world.
everybody is hearing this, people
who perhaps give to different
charities, should the public, for
example with Oxfam, withhold the
money until Oxfam gets a clean bill
I think that is
reasonable. Oxfam now has to answer
for itself. But that all NGOs and
aid agencies should be tarnished, if
Ian and anybody could come with me
to the eastern Congo, there are no
dictators, there was no government,
there was nobody there helping the
people accept Unicef and other
agencies. Should they be left
without help? I don't believe so.
Thank you all very much. With
regards to recent allegations made
against Adam Smith International,
the ordination -- organisation have
denied any wrongdoing.
What would you do with £10,000
a year guaranteed income?
A new report says we have to rethink
radically the value of work,
and how we contribute to society,
before the machines take over
swathes of our lives,
and just as we face a vastly
increasing ageing population
and the prospect of much
less stable employment.
Would it be better to give everyone
a basic income and do away with many
state benefits and tax reliefs?
Today, the Royal Society
for the Encouragement of the Arts,
Manufacture and Commerce rebooted
the idea of a Universal Basic
Income, described by Thomas Paine
more than 250 years ago
as a "citizen's dividend".
From its Enlightenment origins,
Universal Basic Income has been an
idea that crosses the political
divide, mentioned in the writings
of Thomas Paine
and John Stewart Mill.
The first thing that we
must do you tonight...
By the 1960s, both Martin
Luther King and Richard
Nixon were on board.
One of the big attractions
for modern politicians is that it
proposes getting rid of one
of the most hated aspects
of the welfare state.
You still don't get
this, do you, Mr Blake?
This is an agreement
between you and the state.
The Ken Loach polemic,
I, Daniel Blake,
struck a chord in its portrayal
of the dehumanisation process of
Universal Basic Income
would simply do away
with that altogether.
Everyone gets paid
the same sum of money each
year, no strings attached.
Some on the libertarian right
like it, because the government
would be less involved in our lives
and it could lead them to shut
Some on the left like it
because it seen as a way of
and empowering workers, even as
Have a few more days off a week
to study, take up yoga or
help elderly relatives -
who could argue with that?
Of course, some may choose
not to work at all.
That is one criticism.
The main problem though is expense.
In the most extreme
version, where the
allowance is enough to live
off, that is hundreds
of billions of pounds a year.
So most UBI proposals
are for a halfway house.
Smaller amounts, or even one
large, one-off payment.
Today's report envisages
10,000 a year.
But the thing that unites
all the proposals is that they
envisage giving billions of pounds
to millions of people who currently
manage without state help.
Will voters buy that?
With me now a man who is flirting
with the idea of Universal Basic
Income, former Labour leader Ed
Miliband. You have sort of half
tongue in cheek described the idea
of a universal income as a trust
fund for all. The problem is that
people actually do have trust funds
and get it as well. It is
This yeah, but they
pay it back through taxation. I'm
attracted that this because it
speaks to the can of society we want
to be. Do we trust in people? Do we
believe that if we get rid of a
complex, intrusive, demeaning means
tested system, and replace it with a
flat rate payment, people will do
extraordinary things? I personally
think they probably would. Some of
it would be caring, for elderly
relatives, kids. Some would be
voluntary. The interesting thing is
the evidence is, on the point about
work, the evidence is so far in the
work that has been done on this, the
pilots, it hasn't led to the
diminishing of work, people doing
There will be less work?
Because of technology. Exactly. That
is another reason why this is
interesting. We are entering an era
were be can't be certain of this
scale. We know technology will be
incredibly disruptive. A welfare
system built on a job for life, the
welfare system we sort of have,
doesn't really feel fit for purpose.
And therefore, this could be, this
is kind of right, has got
attractions in any case. But in
particular for the very people
chopping and changing their jobs,
that world, it could be appropriate.
Do you think that by and large
people want to work?
Yes I do.
Boles, the former Minister of
skills, says mankind is hard-wired
for work, we gain satisfaction from
it. The point is there won't be work
for all, we're kidding ourselves.
That may be true to an extent. We
don't know. People have predicted
the end of work before. The
interesting thing on this point
about what evidence we have, it's
not overwhelming, but Alaska, they
have got a fund, a smaller
They are doing well in
Yes, but Alaska has been
going for a decade. Work has gone
up. In a way this is a bet on human
There is a bigger
fundamental question about whether
it would necessarily be a bad thing
if people worked less, if they do
different things, because there will
be an ageing population. Perhaps
there are different ways we should
be running our lives?
agree with you.
population is another aspect of
this. Anyway your language has
changed. When you are special
adviser to Gordon Brown you talked
about tax credits.
I was in short
That must have looked very
weird in Parliament. You talk about
tax credits. They are means tested.
You have changed your mind?
May be a
bit. I'm still a defender of tax
But they are means tested.
Yeah. The liberating thing for me is
I'm not thinking what should we do
tomorrow. I'm thinking five, ten, 15
years ahead, what system should we
be designing? What is the system
that will be fit for purpose?
talk about labour being the party
that supports crafters. It is more
like the grifters.
That is where we
part company. The notion that people
will take this money and lay around,
I don't buy that.
Who will pay for
it? What the RSA are saying is it
will cost 14 billion a year.
big scheme of things that is small
change. In the big scheme of things,
if you are thinking about a 20 year,
15 year enterprise, and I think we
should pilot this...
It has been
piloted in Scotland.
should be doing it here. The
government has Cook corporate tax
over the past few years. You would
save some money on some of the means
tested benefits. It would have an
outlay. But if it worked, if it had
the liberating power that many
advocates think it could have, I
think it would be worth it.
think there would be retraining?
Starting businesses. They are saying
in the report today that Mrs
Thatcher said up the enterprise
allowance, which gave people a
certain amount of money. People may
set up businesses. Middle-class
people taken for granted that they
have money to fall on.
You have been
very critical of people like Mike
Ashley at Sports Direct. The idea
that people are very wealthy and get
this 10,000, I suppose they give
more back in tax. In a moral sense,
should everybody get this money?
Yeah, because they are citizens.
This is the point. We have more or
less got universal child benefit.
This is what Thomas Paine advocated.
Recognition of citizenship.
Particularly as technology takes off
and the danger is greater
inequality. The idea that every
citizen should have a stake in the
growing wealth of the country I
think is attractive.
Thank you very
Two papers in front of us. That
story, no more money for Oxfam, say
ministers. Charity warned it must
regain public trust. On the
right-hand side, 13 Russians charged
over the Trump plot. The Financial
Times, Russians charged with
interfering in US election. They
have also got a piece on life in
Riyadh jail. City access after
That's almost it for tonight.
But before we go,
the closest most of us will get
to walking amongst the stars
is a holiday in Los Angeles.
Not so for Norishige Kanai
and Mark Vande Hei.
The two astronauts spent most
of today on a so-called Space Walk,
on the outside of the
International Space station.
Talk about an office with a view.