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I was reminded this week
of something Lenin said:
"There are decades where nothing
and there are weeks
where decades happen."
It's been one of those weeks -
the Donald and Little Rocket Man
making nice, a chilling return
to the Cold War at home,
and a new stand-off
between the British Government
and Brussels over the very
future of The City.
As time seems to accelerate, how
much can we pack into the next hour?
To update us on the British
Government response to that
attempted murder, and to discuss
whether he has at last got room
to spend a bit more,
I'm joined by the Chancellor,
And from Berlin, Marina Litvinenko,
the woman whose husband was murdered
- she thinks on the orders
of the Kremlin - to tell us
what she wants from Theresa May now.
Now, I've quoted Lenin already.
I wonder whether John McDonnell,
the Shadow Chancellor,
who's in Dundee, can top that
when he speaks to us later on.
And, with the Ides of March coming
up this week - Thursday -
it's appropriate to be talking
about those swaggering populists
Julius Caesar and Marc Anthony -
wowing the plebs at London's newest
I've been talking to actor
David Morrissey and director
Sir Nicholas Hytner.
Were I Brutus, Brutus Anthony,
there were an Anthony would ruffle
up your spirits and put a tongue
in every wound of Caesar that
would move the stones of Rome
to rise and mutiny.
And reviewing the news,
the Guardian's Political
Editor Anushka Asthana
and the Daily Mail's Amanda Platell.
All that coming up soon.
But first, the news
with Ben Thompson.
BBC News has learned that traces
of the nerve agent used to poison
a former Russian spy
and his daughter
have been found in a branch
of the Italian restaurant, Zizzi,
that they visited in Salisbury.
Sergei and Yulia Skripal
remain in a critical
condition in hospital,
almost a week after
they were taken ill.
No one who was in the restaurant
at the same time is
thought to be in danger.
The Chancellor, Philip Hammond,
is arguing that there is light
at the end of the tunnel
for the economy, as he prepares
for his Spring Statement this week.
The Shadow Chancellor,
John McDonnell, has criticised his
approach, saying the Conservatives
can not deliver the change
the country needs.
President Trump has said he thinks
North Korea wants to make peace.
He said Pyongyang had promised
to halt missile tests while it held
meetings with the US,
and he believed it would
honour the commitment.
Mr Trump has said he'll meet
the North Korean leader,
Kim Jong-un, to discuss
the regime's nuclear programme.
Speaking in Pennsylvania,
he said the discussions could end
in failure or result
in the greatest deal for the world.
The water industry regulator
for England and Wales
is to investigate why thousands
of homes suffered shortages
or total loss of supply
following the recent cold weather.
Ofwat says the review will determine
whether companies had
proper contingency plans in place,
and are offering sufficient
compensation to those affected.
A charity co-founded by Bono has
apologised after staff
made claims of bullying,
harassment and abuse.
The ONE organisation said workers
at its office in Johannesburg had
alleged they were belittled
and subjected to sexist comments.
In a statement, Bono said
the charity's new chief executive
had taken decisive action
to address the matter.
That's all from me.
The next news on BBC
One is at 1:00pm.
Back to you, Andrew.
Many thanks. As I said, head
spinning morning for news with lots
going on, but the papers have more
or less decided what the main story
is. The Sunday Telegraph, corrupt
Russians face UK Visa bank,
suggesting the tough American and
Canadian act against misbehaving
Russians might be applied in
Britain. The Sunday Times have a
different take on the story, talking
about the Russians playing large
amounts of money into the
Conservative Party coffers. Marina
Litvinenko will be on the story
shortly. She has been speaking about
that as well. The Mail on Sunday has
another charity scandal story, this
time Bono's charity. I keep
attacking the red tops for not
tackling serious stories, but a
shout out to the Sunday People,
eight targets on booting's hit list
in the UK. They have identified
eight people who might be next. This
could be the beginning of the story.
And the Sunday express has the spine
poison in a parcel, was it in Zizzi
or a parcel. The Observer has top
paid men outstripping women by
Quattro- one in pay. And this is a
tangerine dream, beautifully
coordinated. We'll start off with
the Russian story.
Every paper seems
to have a different take on this.
People has a former Russian spy
saying the Russians tried to poison
him. He is all over the People with
other spies he says is on the hit
list. They say it was in the
restaurant, the poison was in the
restaurant. The Sunday Express says
the poison was in a parcel that was
sent to his home. The Mail on Sunday
says it was in the flowers by the
It was somewhere.
No one has
a clue. What strikes me about all
this, we have the government saying,
we are doing a fantastic job and
taking it really seriously. Why
then, when and on double agent, a
former Russian spy, was found with
his daughter frothing at the mouth
on a park bench in rural England
with his daughter beside him, didn't
and alarm go off, and didn't
somebody say, maybe we should get
somebody in, this might be a
It did take days, didn't
It was something like five days
before they brought the army in and
even to take the ambulance away that
he was carried to the hospital in.
It just seems insane.
In terms of
the political response, to big front
pages. -- to make big front pages.
The Sunday Times focusing on all the
money going into the Conservative
Party covers from prominent
You get a different
impression to the government
response to Salisbury by looking at
these papers. The Sunday Telegraph
says it will make it harder to get
visas, but the Sunday Times has a
totally different approach. It's
about the government's links to
Russian oligarchs and the amount of
money given to the Conservative
Party in particular. When Theresa
May one came into power aides said
she would suck with a long spoon
when it came to Moscow. It turns out
that spoon was effective at getting
a lot of money in.
At this stage we
should say we have no proven link to
the Kremlin. It's all supposition.
And there are very nice
Russian billionaires that are here.
The Sunday Times is clearly linking
this to the Salisbury thing in some
ways because they have goats in here
where they have Cabinet ministers
privately accusing the Prime
Minister of a limp response.
Apparently people were furious when
she slapped down Boris Johnson in a
cabinet meeting for saying Russia
was responsible for the meeting. I
wonder who briefed that.
said this week that when we find out
who is responsible, there will be
serious repercussions. It took them
nearly ten years to get... I can
ever pronounce his name.
In the meantime we are planning to
ban going to the World Cup, we will
have played in Russia and Qatar
before they have even decided if it
is state funded.
But we are not
sending a junior minister. That will
scare them. The next story, please.
As you have Philip Hammond
A really important
interview on the Sun. But it wasn't
on the front page.
Very mean of
them. It's a little bit on page two.
He is here to give is great news,
austerity is over and the light is
shining again. One thing I do like
is that he is giving a big plug to
tackling the scourge of plastic.
When you read through this piece,
what he is saying is unemployment is
down, wages are up nearly 3%. And
manufacturing is up. We have had two
quarters now where we are paying off
debt Day to Day, the so-called end
of austerity. It's a sudden Upland
Philip Hammond has has
walking into the light. But two
things we can be sure of... One
thing we can be sure of, you will
not switch the light on on Tuesday
because of expectation management is
to be believed, he will do hardly
anything when it comes to the Spring
statement, but before the light
there is quite a lot of darkness.
This story in the Observer about
millions of families basically
facing the deepest benefit cuts in
years, these are things already
announced but will come into action
this year, and they will hit 11
million families. Many of them are
in that just about managing group
that the government says it wants to
help. You have to be careful with
the language you use around
austerity. More than one politician
has got in trouble previously for
suggesting we are about to start
prancing into the sunny.
think he will be that prancing
today, do you?
We are watching and
hoping for a bit of Prance. A great
cartoon in the big story of the
Hugely important, Donald Trump
tweeted he would meet up with North
Korean leader Kim Jong-un. You don't
often get a story completely
encapsulated in one cartoon. The
short fat maniac rocket man, I
believe? The old mentally deranged
ductile, I presume. And with a nice
It's a clever take on
a famous cartoon by David Lowe,
great wartime cartoonist, and it is
the Molotov pact between Hitler and
Stalin. It was a very clever and
beautifully drawn and accurate take
on one of the world was not most
I think he's
Back to domestic
politics. I love this. You know when
you use WhatsApp and it turns out
it's quite private, it turns out it
doesn't always work that way. This
is a massive link to Buzzfeed of the
WhatsApp messages between the
European research group, essentially
the Tories' backbench Brexiteers,
and it starts off with their
response when ardent Remainer Anna
Soubry said Theresa May should
essentially fling them out of the
party. Former leader Iain Duncan
Smith, you can imagine his tone,
says, my suggestion is colleagues
should not engage in this. Although
immediately, they engage. A message
from an main, the MP for St Albans,
who basically says she wants a badge
with 35 stars, the number Anna
Soubry said there were of Remainers.
A pair of swivel eyes. She said,
stay focused, we intend to win. And
they are not big fans of Philip
Hammond. They repeatedly called him
Philly no mates.
They come onto
these programmes and a very
restrained in their language, but
between themselves they are furious.
They agree lines they will take
between them. They are furious at
some things Theresa May has done and
furious EU citizens will continue to
have free movement during
transition. It's really quite
And because it's a Sunday
morning you are not ruling out some
of the abusive bits.
There are some
That's the Conservative
side and their divisions, but also a
titanic struggle between Jon
Lansman, creator and co-leader of
Momentum on one side of Labour, and
then the Unite candidate on the
other side. Its unions against the
mass movement that challenged in the
Groups who you thought
would be on the same site. But the
leadership seems to be backing the
Unite candidate in this, but Jon
Lansman wanted to throw it open.
It's interesting he said female
members in the Labour Party should
feel free to put their names
forward, and there is a now inspired
by Jon Lansman hashtag with loads of
women coming forward for the role.
It's an interesting problem for them
because the unions have always been
at the heart of the labour movement
from the start. And now I think they
have the most successful mass
membership party in Europe.
are isolating them.
background is that he thinks members
should have the power.
Shall we do
dogs? It's a Sunday morning. Crufts
is on at the moment and it's
completely captivating. These
wonderful animals running along with
all their beautiful fur flying
around. This is what the poor little
guys look like beforehand. I
wouldn't do that to myself to get my
hair looking that good. Would you?
But it's worth a watch and I
think the final might be tonight.
You have a very interesting story
about a graduate suing.
really interesting. This graduate,
who was from Hong Kong, now living
in London, came and applied for a
degree at Anglia Ruskin University
and one of the promises in the
prospectus was that you would have
massive opportunities for employment
afterwards. Well, she has concluded
that it was a Mickey Mouse degree
and she doesn't have all those
she is suing the University. This is
changing, students are seeing
themselves as customers and is
saying, well I get...
She is saying,
the degree wasn't tough enough?
The claim includes
allegations that one lecturer
arrived late for lessons, finished
early, and occasionally simply told
students to self-study. I have to
say, I thought universities are all
It was International Women's Day,
but today is Mother's Day.
wonderful. Gary Oldman, fresh from
winning his Oscar, is with his mum
on Mother's Day. It's not that he
just goes on about his mum. When he
moved to America, he brought her
over with him. She is now frail. He
now lives with her. That's the way
to treat your mum. Did you remember
to send your mum flowers?
I did! She
got them, so I'm OK. Thank you both
very much indeed.
For anyone with half a memory,
the Salisbury nerve agent attack
is horribly reminiscent
of the murder of Alexander -
or Sasha - Litvinenko.
Killed in central London in a plot
which a public inquiry
concluded was probably
approved by Vladimir Putin.
Marina Litvinenko, his widow,
joins us now from Berlin.
Thank you for joining us. This must
have brought back terrible memories,
the Skripal attack in Salisbury. Can
you tell us how you responded when
you heard the news?
morning. Yes, it was a very
difficult moment when I saw this
news, because I believe it's never,
ever happened again, after public
enquiry provided evidence of the
death of my husband. But
unfortunately it did happen. Now I
am living every day in news from
Salisbury, and trying to understand
what happened and who might be
behind the crime.
Your husband was
murdered 12 years ago, and you
fought very hard for a public
enquiry. After that enquiry reported
and suggested there was probably a
link, you got a letter from Theresa
May, the then Home Secretary.
a meeting and we had a discussion
about what you might achieve after
this public enquiry. After this
meeting, I received a letter. And I
actually I would like to notice what
was saying in this letter at the
end. I and this government are clear
that we must continue to pursue
justice for your husband's killing,
and that we will take every step to
protect the UK and its people from
such a crime ever being repeated.
But unfortunately it happened again.
It means something was not done, and
a lesson received after the murder
of my husband was not learned.
more do you think the British
government could have done, after
the enquiry into the murder of your
husband, that it didn't do?
understand that the relationship
between two countries like Russia
and the UK need to be at a very high
level, but we know Russia never
supported the investigation of
killing my husband. Nobody was
punished, and people who have been
the killer of my husband are not
even suspects, because this
investigation provided all evidence.
They still live in Russia. He is a
member of Parliament. .
to the Salisbury attacks, at this
stage we don't have any proof of
Russian involvement. How sure are
you that this was a Russian attack?
Russia has a very bad reputation
now, and everything happening in the
world, doping in sport or
involvement in elections,
immediately Russia is in the front
of all minds. But in this case I
would like to get very serious and
take its all evidence, and maybe
sometimes to provide as a tool, and
was it Russia or any other country
behind this crime? For us, it was
almost ten years to provide this
facts and evidence, and it was all
proof. I want the same case to be
made in the same way. It will not be
politically motivated, and only
after proper investigation we could
say who is behind this crime.
is a sense at the moment that Moscow
was almost laughing at Britain.
President Putin talked about his
enemies swallowing poison and then a
presenter of a Russian television
programme was talking about Britain
being a very dangerous place
being a very dangerous place for
Russian, people falling out of
windows and such.
It is a very
important job, and I hope the
British government will understand
these words and take it seriously.
They are talking about sanctions or
reaction for what happened in
Salisbury, need to be very serious.
Given now what we are saying from
Moscow, you need to react and you
need to understand it's some kind of
message, and not just relax.
her letter to you, Theresa May said,
when she was Home Secretary, that we
are going to take every step to
protect the UK and its people from
such a crime ever being repeated.
What is your message to Theresa May
You need to be very selective
who you are friends with, and when
you allow people with money to come
to your country and make a business,
you need to be sure what kind of
money these people bring to your
country. They offer this money
stolen from Russian people, and
sometimes it's a very serious crime
behind this money. And I'm
absolutely solidarity with this
whole question and asking to United
with all this action that was
already done in the United States
and in Europe. I think they have to
do the same steps.
commented already about the number
of -- the amount of Russian money
that has gone to the Conservative
Party. Do you think the Conservative
Party should hand that money back?
agree with this, because you don't
know what kind of money you accept.
You are talking about reputation. I
think this minute, very serious now,
your reputation has to be very
clear, particularly in politics.
are in Berlin at the moment, but you
live in Britain. Do you yourself
feel safe in Britain?
happened with my husband, I have
this question in almost every
interview. You can't say 100%, but I
would like to feel safe. I would
like my son to feel safe, because we
are both British, and I would like
all British people to feel safe.
Marina Litvinenko, thank you so much
for talking to us.
And so to the weather.
The month started wildly
but it's getting milder.
You may know the old saying, that
March weather comes in like a lion
and goes out like a lamb.
Louise Lear has more details.
You are quite right. It has been a
relatively unsettled start to the
month, but through the morning it
looks like some early morning fog
will drift away, and we have had
some sunny spells, as you can see
from this picture. We are surrounded
by weather fronts, topping and
tailing the country. This area of
low pressure will be more of a
player today. Looking at a recent
radar picture, the rain confining
itself to the far north of Scotland,
fringing eastern England, and
pushing into the South West. Ahead
of it, one or two scattered showers.
The rest of Mothering Sunday, looks
like sunny spells and scattered
showers for England and Wales. The
best of the weather in northern
England, Scotland and Northern
Ireland, and warmer there than it
has been of late. Perhaps not quite
as warm across the rest of England
and Wales, but not a bad afternoon.
A spell of more organised rain as
that low pressure moves in, moving
steadily north and west to start off
Monday morning. Cooler, with a touch
of frost in Scotland, but a decent
day up here tomorrow.
Now, coming up later this morning,
as the investigation
into the nerve agent attack
in Salisbury continues, Sarah Smith
will be talking to the former
Home Secretary Jack Straw and former
Pauline Neville Jones.
Also live on the programme, the
Universities Minister, Sam Gyimah.
Also live on the programme, the
Universities Minister, Sam Gyimah.
Also live on the programme, the
Universities Minister, Sam Gyimah.
That's the Sunday Politics
at 11:00am here on BBC One.
And so, back up north
to my hometown of Dundee,
where the Scottish Labour Party
Conference is underway.
Today's keynote speaker is the
Shadow Chancellor, John McDonnell.
He joins us now. Welcome. Can I ask
you first about the story we have
been talking about on this programme
a lot, the poisoning attack in
Salisbury? There is a suggestion
that the organisation that cracks
down on Russian money coming into
the country should be applied in
Britain as well. Do you agree with
The Labour Party moved
amendments to the money laundering
bill only a week ago to introduce
this clause. At that stage, the
Conservative Party opposed our
amendments. We hope now that they
will enable us to bring those
amendments back at report stage of
the bill so we can have effective
action. What it does is identifies
those individuals who are basically
found you'll see of human rights
abuses, and then prevents them from
having bank accounts in our country,
and effectively... It was introduced
several years ago by the Obama
administration. I don't know why the
Conservatives opposed our
amendments. They said there was some
technical issues. There was some
panic among the Conservative ranks
on this, but let's now use this
If there was a Russian
attack, and I say if, clearly there
needs to be a strong British
response. Mrs Litvinenko was
suggesting that after the report
into her husband's murder, the
response was not strong enough. What
with the Labour Party like to see?
Lets see the outcome of the
investigation. We cannot leap to any
conclusions. We need to use any
diplomatic methods we can, linked
with our European and global I'll...
Global allies. It may well be a
criminal operation. We don't know at
the moment. We cannot tolerate
another state putting at risk our
own citizens or people living in
this country, so we have to isolate
them. One of the methods we can do
that, is the sort of measures like
the Magnitsky clause that we are
One of the very
clear things we can do is stop
appearing on rush-hour today, which
has been described by one of your
ministers as a Kremlin propaganda
I think that is right now.
I have appeared on that in the past,
sometimes to challenge some of the
issues internationally or raise
issues here that we are concerned
about, not just Russia but also the
international scene overall. I think
that's right, because what we are
seeing from Russia at times goes
beyond objective journalism.
change in direction. Your deputy was
on Russia today only yesterday. Will
you encourage the rest of your
colleagues to follow that lead?
I am. I've been looking overnight at
what is happening in terms of
changes in coverage on Russian
media, and I think we have to step
back now. I can understand why
people have been on it up until now,
because we have treated it like any
other television station. We have
tried to be fair. As long as they
abide by general journalistic
standards that are objective, that
is fine. But we will be having that
With respect, it
wasn't like any other TV station.
Tom Watson said that Russia today
was reporting false stories, and
aligned its policy with Vladimir
Putin's Russian state. That was back
At times there were
examples of that, and we need to
take that into account in the
Let's turn to the
economic story of the day, a
cheerful Philip Hammond statement in
the sun today, when he talks about
wages gumming up by nearly 3%,
paying off debt finally, the end of
austerity, light at the end of the
tunnel. Putting aside the politics,
can you give to cheers for what
appears to be a change in the
economic story of this country?
because I don't think it's accurate.
Last year we had the lowest economic
growth in the G-7 countries, so we
shouldn't be celebrating that. The
head of the OBR has said that
austerity is holding growth back.
Wages are now below what they were
in 2007, 2008, below the banking
crisis. In terms of the deficit, we
were promised by the Conservatives
that they would wipe the deficit out
completely three years ago. I think
what he has done, very cleverly, is
he has shifted the deficit onto the
shoulders of NHS managers,
headteachers and local government
leaders. Conservative council
leaders now are saying, I quote his
own council leader in Surrey, that
they are facing a financial crisis
because of government cutbacks. This
is not a matter for celebration. He
should be coming into the real
world. The Resolution Foundation
said today that 11 million people
today, not just the poor, are going
to be hits next month by the cuts
they get to the benefit system. Not
a matter for celebration by any
Pay has been rising by an
annual rate of 2.9%. We have had the
two strongest quarters of
productivity growth, and a budget
surplus for the first time since
2002. Something is happening.
simply, at the moment, just about
matching inflation. What else did he
promised? The pay cap lifting? Look
at what they are doing to health
workers. They are offering them a
standstill wage increase, and then
forcing them to give up a day's
holiday pay. These are dedicated
staff in a vocation. I think it is
miserly, mean-spirited, and it's the
sort of thing we should be
You have said recently your
objectives are socialist, no
surprise there. This means an
irreversible shift in the balance of
power and wealth in the face of
ordinary people. What do you mean by
irreversible? Governments come in
and create policies, but those
policies can be replaced. What is
The Clement Attlee
government won the argument about
how we manage our economy, and they
won it for a generation, about how
we manage the economy in the
interests of everybody, how we
establish a welfare state so
everybody lucked and cared for, how
we give everybody a free and free
NHS. They won the argument for a
whole generation. I think we are
winning the argument now and I think
by embedding the understanding of
how the economy could work for
everybody, we would be able to have
irreversible change in this country.
Just round the corner from you in my
hometown, lots of fishing
communities on the east coast.
Traditional fishing communities. You
have your own version of cherry
picking when it comes to Brexit, you
want changes on state aid, workers'
rights and so forth. You need to
have a proper negotiation in turn
with Brussels. Would you be prepared
to see continental -based fishing
fleets coming into British waters as
part of that negotiation?
We want to
ensure that our own fisher people
lead the discussions we are having
about the future of our fishing
industry. What they are saying to us
is that in any negotiations you have
to ensure our livelihoods are
protected, but also you have to
ensure that the stock of fish is
protected. So when we go into
negotiations, those are the people
we will be listening to.
when you go into negotiations, but
isn't it the truth that it is more
likely if you become Chancellor, you
will become so after the deal is
done? And in that context, you will
have seen the impact assessments
from the government this week about
potential outcomes. Do you think
they are accurate, broadly speaking?
I am anxious about some of those
impact assessments. Because it does
reflect, I think, the nature of the
negotiations as they now are. It
does reflect, I think, the inability
of our current government to secure
a decent negotiated settlement. I
think if you change the style of
negotiations, worked on the basis
of... And I have said this to you
before, if you change the tone of
negotiation so your recognise you
are negotiating on the basis of
mutual interest and mutual benefit,
we can protect our economy and
protect jobs. That's what we will do
in those negotiations.
impacts assessments are in any way
accurate, it's a bad assessment for
any chance of coming in. I don't
normally called Tony Blair to you,
but it said Labour will have less
money to deal with the country's
problems and be distracted by
dealing with Brexit rather than the
health service, jobs and living
standards. He has a point, you would
come in possibly in a situation
where you have a lot of trouble on
your plate about Brexit, and yet you
want a huge change in economic
I welcome Tony Blair's
advice, obviously, but I am saying
this to you, of course I know we
could inherit a real mess as a
result of the way the government is
negotiating with the EU. I
understand that, they are making a
Horlicks of it, as some of their own
sides described it as. I think we
could resolve those matters by
ensuring we have cooperation in
those negotiations. We don't flounce
about saying no deal is better than
a bad deal and this sort of stuff,
threatening to walk away from the
table. We have got to negotiate in
the interests of our country and
bring the country back together
again. From day to day I don't know
who is negotiating in this
government because they fall out in
cabinet all the time.
I am sure we
will talk more about this, but enjoy
Dundee for now and thank you.
If you haven't heard of the BBC's
podcast about all things Brexit,
it's called Brexitcast,
and they'll be marking one year
to go until we leave the EU
with a special edition live
at the BBC Radio Theatre in London.
You can apply to join the audience
Shakespeare's "Julius Caesar" has
always been popular but it really
seems to be speaking
to today's politics.
With its knife-in-the-back plots,
an out-of-touch elite
and rabble-rousing demagogues,
this is not simply a history play.
Sir Nicholas Hytner has directed
a new version in which audience
members become part of the action
itself, joining the mob on the floor
of The Bridge Theatre,
London's newest venue.
Recently, I caught up with him
and with David Morrissey
who plays Marc Antony.
We all stand up against the spirit
of Caesar, and in the spirit
of men there is no blood.
O that we then could come
by Caesar's spirit,
and not dismember Caesar!
But alas, he must bleed for it.
Were I Brutus, Brutus Anthony,
there were an Anthony would ruffle
up your spirits and put a tongue
in every wound of Caesar that
would move the stones
of Rome to rise and mutiny.
I've been really knocked out
by the response to the play
being performed in this way,
that you are interacting
with people, that you see them
as the crowd reacting to you every
step of the way, and...
For the people on the floor,
they are having one experience,
and the people in the seats,
when I speak to them,
they say it's like seeing a sea
of people, and they ask me
whether they are planted
or whether they are stage managed,
and I say, no, they just
find their place.
It's really exciting.
They make eye contact
the whole time.
They make eye contact,
you're touching them,
you're bringing them
around, you know.
They shout things out.
The play starts with a holiday.
It's a party.
They're having a party,
and that gets rudely interrupted,
and the crowd really respond
to that rude interruption.
They really don't like it.
Yeah, they tell them to go home.
That's the first line of the play.
"Home, you idle creatures.
"Get you home."
It's a pretty good way
to start a play, to tell
the audience to get out!
And this is a very fashionable play
at the moment, Julius Caesar.
It's fashionable in the States
and it's fashionable here.
production of it as well.
Why is this play so
much of the moment?
What's so interesting about it
in the European context
is the way it explores
the failures of liberalism.
The people who kill Julius Caesar -
Brutus, Cassius, the conspirators -
they are revolutionaries.
They are the intellectual elite.
They are the Metropolitan elite,
and what goes wrong for them
is they don't know how to bring
the mob, the people, with them.
They are, many of them,
people of great integrity.
Brutus does have terrific
intellectual and emotional
integrity, but he is too arrogant
to know how to sell the necessity
of his project to the rest
of the Roman population.
So, Marc Antony, you are
a brilliant, brilliant demagogue.
Just explain to people who don't
know the play a little bit about how
you are able to take the crowd
into your hand and manipulate them.
What happens is that there
is the funeral of Caesar,
and he is allowed by Brutus
and Cassius to make a speech,
and what Marc Anthony does
is he is able to turn the crowd
around by appealing to the security
of yesterday, and also saying,
"Hey, I'm one of you.
"I'm like you.
"I come from your place.
"I walk like you, I talk like you,
I want the same things as you.
"I'm not like those guys,
who are intellectuals, scholars.
"They are the ones who are
telling you what you need to have
"and what you need to do,
but I know you people."
And it's a great deal
of fun, in a kind of grim
way, this production.
There's a lot of things going on -
smoke, machine guns,
rock music and all the rest of it.
And you have talked,
in your recent autobiography,
about the tension between art
on the one hand and showbiz
on the other, because we want
to come to be entertained as well.
Just tell us a little bit about how
it you deal with that
Just tell us a little bit
about how you deal with that
in a play like Julius Caesar.
Well, when you start
with Shakespeare, you're starting
with the great master.
That balance between
substance and entertainment,
between art and show business -
because Shakespeare is always
hurling at you stuff that will,
in effect, silence the mob.
Politically, Shakespeare is none
too fond of the mob,
and one of the few undeniable
constants in Shakespeare's
plays is that he...
He fears democracy, really.
He suspects the crowd,
but as an entertainer,
he knows exactly what to throw them,
so ending with a big battle
sequence, that's not a bad idea.
Terrific set piece
speeches, terrific idea.
Scenes that are none
of them too long.
Always on to the next thing.
Good jokes, gripping story...
Romans, war scenes, crowd pleasing.
Let me ask you a little
bit about Britannia,
because that's been a huge epic
on Sky, and it's the
Romans and the Britons.
Behold, gods of Britannia.
I am Rome.
And where I walk is Rome.
It's written by Jez Butterworth,
and what's happening is the Romans
are coming back to Britain
for the second time,
because Julius Caesar couldn't
hack it the first time,
so there's something that...
Going in the second time, it's like,
you're taking his crown,
and they are going to stay.
So they are much more vicious.
Also what they do is they find
who hates each other and they set
them off against each other...
One tribe against the other.
That's how they do it,
and that's how they conquered most
of the world, is by going in
and saying, "You're all Roman now."
Let's end by talking
about The Bridge and its future,
this great theatre.
In a sense, it's London Theatre,
of course, but it's reshaping
the kind of geography
of London culture.
It's yet another big development
on the east of London.
Yes, East and South.
Back to the future.
was on the South Bank,
and Southwark was the great
back 400 years ago.
Even back 100 years ago,
Elephant and Castle
was the Piccadilly of the south.
I think there is a huge amount
of energy surging East in London.
The great thing about here
is that we can put all our shows out
all over the country
using National Theatre Live,
which was one of the things
that I'd started
when I was at the National Theatre.
Julius Caesar will be
out March 22nd.
What we are hoping to do here...
We have no great remit
beyond putting on what we hope
are terrific, thought-provoking,
and getting as many people
to see them as possible.
That's our remit.
If we can get them out over
the whole country, all to the good.
All over the world.
Bums on seats, and, in this context,
feet on the floor as well.
Thank you both very much indeed.
So, as we've heard earlier,
the Chancellor believes the economy
is at last on the turn and there's
light at the end of the tunnel.
Well, that's a relief.
But, with a huge round of
new welfare cuts looming and intense
pressures on the health and defence
budgets, does this mean
that he will actually
put his hand in his pocket?
I will come onto that in a second. I
will start by asking about this
poisoning in Salisbury. If it is
proven to be an action of the
Russian state, how serious is that
for our relationship with the
First of all, as
you say, it's a police investigation
and it will be evidence lead and we
must go where the evidence takes us.
We have to allow the police
investigation to take its course.
But if there were to be an
involvement of a foreign state,
evidenced by this investigation,
then obviously that would be very
serious indeed and the government
would respond appropriately.
might have heard Marina Litvinenko
was saying last time around the
response wasn't nearly strong
enough. In that context, I wonder
what you think now about the
Magnitsky Act proposal for much
stricter these are restrictions on
The proposals put
forward greater power we already
have. The Home Secretary already has
power to exclude individuals from
the UK if she believes their
presence here is not conducive to
our national security or the public
good. So it's not strictly
necessary. But we are seeking to
reach an accommodation with those
who have put this amendment forward.
Let's see if we can come to a
proposal that works for everyone.
You were there as Foreign Secretary
at the end of the Litvinenko
enquiry. You summoned in the Russian
ambassador at the time. Marina
Litvinenko suggests what you did was
not tough enough. What's your
message to her?
The enquiry took
some time and it was sometime after
the events before we had the
evidence from the enquiry, but we
took appropriate steps, measures
which are still in place today.
kicked out a couple of diplomats,
and that's about it.
Russians have not complied with
their international obligations
despite being members of the
Security Council. They have
continued to protect those who we
seek to extradite in respect of the
murder of Mr Litvinenko.
And yet, in
a sense, they are laughing at us in
this country. They still think this
is a place where they can do what
they like without any serious
repercussions and London is still
one of the prime places for Russian
money to arrive. Do you need to look
at the whole thing again?
enquiry and depth and detail, the
vast resources that have been
deployed and the high-level assets
that we have had to be able to make
these analyses show that nobody is
laughing at us. This is a very
serious investigation that's going
on and let's see where it leads us.
Your party has taken massive
donations from Russian oligarchs and
others. Is it time to hand them
There are very strict rules about
donations to political parties. Only
British citizens can make donations
to political parties. All donations
are carefully vetted.
But the facts
have changed. Isn't it time to
change your mind?
There are people
in this country who are British
citizens who are of Russian origin.
I don't think we should tar them
with Putin's brush. We should
recognise that people come to this
country from many places, they
become British citizens, they live
under UK law, and they should have
full participation rights in our
Light at the end of the
tunnel, a turning point for the
economy. You've given examples
economy. You've given examples about
wage growth, finally ending the
austerity years of paying back the
budget day by day, and all of that.
It feels like a really important
There is light at the end of
the tunnel because we are about to
see debt starting to fall after it's
been growing for 17 continuous
years. That's a very important
moment for us. But we are still in
the tunnel at the moment. We have to
get debt down. We have taken a
balanced approach over the last
couple of fiscal events, using
flexibility that we had to continue
paying down debt, but also to
provide additional support to our
public services, to invest in our
future and to reduce taxes for
families and small businesses who
are feeling it.
For the people who
are about to be hit with the next
round of welfare cuts, are you going
to be able to help them at all?
There has been speculation in the
media about what the OBR numbers
will be when they are published on
Tuesday. I suggest we wait until we
see the numbers. This is not a
fiscal event in itself. I will not
be making tax or spending
announcements on Tuesday. I will be
signalling some areas we want to
consult ahead of the budget in the
autumn. We should be very careful
looking at single sets of figures,
one or two quarters. We need to look
at what is happening sustainably in
the economy. If there is the
flexibility to do something, we will
decide in the autumn how we are
going to use that. We will continue
to take a balanced approach,
addressing the debt problem,
investing in Britain's future,
reducing taxes for hard-working
families and putting money into our
Is austerity over?
Most people take that to be a
reference to the public sector pay
cut, and we have removed the 1% cap
on public sector pay.
on public sector pay. We have an
agenda for staff in the NHS, which I
hope will lead to a pay settlement
which satisfies workers in the NHS
but is also fair to taxpayers,
because it tackled some of the
challenges we have in the NHS and
makes it more effective.
families affected by these welfare
changes, £200 a year worse off on
average. That feels like no light at
the end of the tunnel for them. Can
I ask you about local authorities?
All across the country, both Tory
and Labour local authorities are
screaming with pain. They feel
austerity has been pushed to the
limits and they are, in the words of
one of your colleagues, facing a
financial precipice. Can you give
them some relief at last?
Just to be
clear, this is not a fiscal event. I
will not be making fiscal
announcements. Local authorities
have well over £200 billion of
course spending power over the
five-year period from 2015 to 2020.
They have reserves of £23 billion,
which is £8 billion higher than in
2010. Local authorities have done an
incredible job in delivering
And they are now in
We understand that they are
under pressures. At the spring
budget last year, I put an extra £2
billion into social care. We have
also given them greater flexibility
through the precept in the recent
local government settlement, so that
local authorities now have £9
billion worth of additional,
dedicated spending for social
services over the next three years.
That is an act chew aerial answer to
people who are screaming in pain, in
terms of a system at absolute
We understand there
are pressures in the system. We
discuss them with colleagues in
local government and in spending
departments across Whitehall. When
we get to the autumn budget, we will
look at the numbers there. I will be
paving the way in this autumn budget
for a spending review in 2019, which
will look at public spending from
2020 onwards, what the total
envelope should be, how we allocated
between departments and the local
You are pushing off the
good news until closer to
good news until closer to the
general election. Can I ask you
about an important issue on the Tory
backbenches, defence spending. One
of your ministers has said that 2%
is not enough these days. The entire
military system is in real problems.
They need more tanks and planes. A
lot of your backbench colleagues are
determined that you have to do
something for them.
I was Defence
Secretary for nearly three years,
and I am full of admiration for the
Armed Forces and what they do to
keep Britain safe, and I understand
the complexity of the defence
budgets. Very long-term projects at
the cutting edge of technology. Some
of the media talk as if defence is
being cut. Let's be clear about the
facts. Defence will receive more
than £1 billion extra in each year
of this Parliament. It's the fastest
growing resource budget in
Whitehall. Defence is not being cut
by any means. I accept there are
pressures on defence, including
foreign exchange pressures, because
a lot of the military equipment we
use is bought in US dollars. The
Prime Minister has announced a
defence mechanisation programme,
where she and I and the Defence
Secretary are working closely and
looking at these challenges. We are
committed to making sure Britain is
always properly defended.
like yet more jam tomorrow. Can I
reduce something that Nick Timothy
said? Mr Hammond must now declare an
end to austerity. The government has
achieved its surplus. It can now
invest in the economy in the
long-term and increase public
Nick Timothy is the debt.
We have a debt of 86.5% of our GDP.
All of the International
organisations recognise that is
higher than a safe level. This isn't
some ideological issue. It's about
making sure that we have the
capacity to respond to any future
shock to the economy. There will be
economic cycles in the future. We
need to be able to respond to them
without taking our debt over 100% of
John Redwood spoke about the
debt, and said that this level of
debt is easily sustainable, and
suggested that the austerity
programme was a political choice,
not an economic essential one.
respect to John Redwood, I think he
is wrong. We have £65,000 worth of
public debt for every household in
this country. When I became
Chancellor, I changed the fiscal
rules. I said, we will tackle the
debt. We have to tackle the debt.
But we will spread out the time we
do it a bit further, creating more
flexibility, so that at the same
time as tackling the debt, we also
invest in Britain's future and put
money into the public services, and
relieve small businesses and
families with tax breaks. That's
what we've done and that's what we
intend to go on doing.
Is your real
It's wrong to say that
every penny of capacity we have has
to go to bringing down debt, but
it's equally wrong that every penny
should go into additional public
I must ask you about
Brexit. It's going to be a complex
negotiation. The Prime Minister said
last week we would not get the full
amount of access to all markets we
have at the moment. You have a very
difficult negotiation over the
future of London and the financial
services. Is it worth it?
Financial services is a very
important part of our economy.
Brexit worth it, I mean?
people have decided that we are
leaving the European Union, and that
is what we are doing. Our job is to
make sure we get the best possible
job for Britain, that we make a
smart Brexit, one that works for
Britain, British jobs and British
businesses, and that is what we are
Do you accept we are
going to take some kind of economic
hit, as Mr Tusk says?
He is a
negotiator, and on Wednesday he
didn't say anything I wouldn't
expect a skilled negotiator to say
at the beginning of the
negotiations. He basically said the
deal would have to contain none of
the things you want and all of the
things we want. That is an opening
what you have said about the
importance of the financial
services. You have said again and
again that this has to be part of a
fair deal. Is this at last a
government Red Line?
Minister said clearly in her speech
that the way to negotiate
successfully with the Europeans is
not to threaten, not to talk about
walking away from tables or anything
like that, but to engage, to talk,
to explore the options. The reason I
think the financial services has to
be part of the deal is firstly, the
shape of Britain's economy. The
services are very part of our
economy, and this needs to be part
of it. Secondly, the financial
system in London is an asset of
Europe as a whole. £1.1 trillion
worth of loans to European companies
facilitated through the City of
London. A vast proportion of
transactions go through the City of
You know they are thinking
differently. The French have said we
are not going to get this kind of
deal. If we get a deal that doesn't
include the financial services, that
would be an unfair or a bad deal?
don't accept that premise. I think
we will get a deal on financial
services, but the
question is how? What kind of access
we are able to negotiate
reciprocally. Many European banks
operate in London as part of
London's financial services.
least we know what the government
want out of the negotiations. How do
you modelled the economic effect of
We haven't embarked on the
negotiation yet. The next step in
the process at the European Council
next month is to hopefully agree the
implementation period, so that
businesses can plan over the next
three years with certainty. Then we
will get the guidelines from the
European Union for the next phase of
negotiation. Then we start talking
with them about the shape of a
future partnership, which will cover
economics, trade, investment, but
also security, domestic and external
security. Once we know what the deal
looks like, we will certainly model
Chancellor, thank you very much
indeed. Now look at what's coming up
straight after this programme.
us from Newport were after a week of
schmoozing the Saudi prince we ask,
should Britain be proud of its air
trade? And Public Health England
says we are far too fat and getting
bigger. Is be city a matter of
personal choice or is it a matter of
interest for the government?
all from us this week. Thanks to all
my guess is, and happy Mother's Day.
Andrew speaks to chancellor of the exchequer Philip Hammond MP and shadow chancellor of the exchequer John McDonnell MP. He is also joined by Marina Litvinenko, widow of Alexander Litvinenko, actor David Morrissey and director Sir Nicholas Hytner. The Guardian's political editor Anushka Asthana and Daily Mail columnist Amanda Platell review the newspapers.