27/12/2015 The Papers


27/12/2015

A lively, informed and in-depth conversation about the Sunday papers.


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bit about you and if I can do it, so can everyone else. That is all for

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now. Now it is time for a review of the papers.

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Hello and welcome to our Sunday morning edition of THE PAPERS.

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With me are Ian Birrell and Mina Al-Oraibi.

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The Observer has a picture of the flooding crisis,

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showing a street submerged in West Yorkshire and reports that

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The Sunday Express leads with the flooding, calling it

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"The Day Britain went under" is the Mail on Sunday's take

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on the same story - the paper reports that Britain has

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been hit by its worst floods in decades.

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The Human Rights Act is holding back British troops in Iraq

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and Afghanistan, according to Defence Secretary Michael Fallon,

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Meanwhile claims on the front page of the Independent on Sunday

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thatthe Conservatives are set to, as the paper has it,

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"attack local democracy" by banning councils from divesting themselves

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And the Sunday Times says a Knighthood due this week

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for David Cameron's election chief, Lynton Crosby, is set

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Let's begin. No doubt about the front pages, the Mail on Sunday, the

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day Britain went under and this extraordinary picture of streets

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turned into rivers. The footage is amazing, a terrible thing to happen

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this time of year, at any time of the year but to give really now. It

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raises a lot of interesting issues given the fact that seems to be a

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preponderance of this happening, some homes head for the second or

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third time in a decade, rivers at record levels. Obvious issues, we

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are told climate change will lead to extreme weather conditions, you

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can't end .1 particular incident but there seems to be issues here,

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whether we are building the right flood defences, the government cut

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flood defences by 14% this year, the wider issue which for a lot of

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people, given over ?5 billion a way to resolve climate change abroad at

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the same time we are spending less than half of it in this country. A

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lot of interconnecting issues, the immediate issue of getting people

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out of their homes and making them safe and comfortable, and then what

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should we spend the money on? Do flood defences work? Are they the

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right type. Especially because as Ian says it is becoming more

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frequent and we can expect more of this to happen in the coming few

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weeks and months before the next season hits. In terms of planning

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and spending it's about flood defences but how are the homes being

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prepared, how much warning people being given? Surely some of these

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evacuations should have happened in advance, 10,000 homes without

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electric and we don't know why not service will get back. In terms of

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government preparation, it's about the immediate but it's unclear what

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has been planned for the next few weeks. I think one of the main

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issues is the fact that red alerts... There are two red alerts

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from The Met office, when they were issued, could it have been done

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earlier and the questions are about reparation. Where do you see the

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supposed climate change debate? Is there a debate any more? I know some

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people don't believe climate change causes global warming but is that a

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marginal activity? In Britain and America there is a serious body of

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opinion that doubts that despite the pattern is that we are seeing and I

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think that's a problem. It's not a question of whether it climate

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change but it's a question of whether it's man-made that is a part

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of it and you can't say this is down to climate change but there seems to

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be more extreme weather conditions which is what we were told to

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expect. It raises issues about house-building. What way are we

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building them? Is there a problem with farming? What about trees and

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the higher ground? Are we doing the rights of the flood defences, or are

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they channelling the water down. Dredging is another question, is it

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good or bad? That's interesting. Most of us think of flood defences

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as big walls round rivers but perhaps there is a different way,

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more trees upstream for example. There's also the argument of pushing

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the into other places, if you allow it to me and there is less problems

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with flooding. You have lived in the United States for the last few

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months, four is the debate about global warming and climate change?

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Has it changed? It's election season, you see much more division

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between the Democrats and the Republicans. It's changed in the

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sense there are more and more people saying the sciences they are but

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it's a question of what can be done. The focus is on China and India, the

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US feels like it's the good guys, we are doing enough. We have seen crazy

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weather. At the moment, it is so warm in London, I was just in

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Connecticut and New York, it's incredibly warm for this time of

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year, the changes are here. I think less people are discussing when

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climate change comes, now it's here, what do we do? We had the Paris

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Conference and they fail to come up with concrete action, but it was

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encouraging people came together and recognise the scale of the problem

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and came up with devices to work more on renewables. The Sunday

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Times, a knighthood for a Cameron's election chief Lynton Crosby. This

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award will provoke a fresh row over cronyism in the honours system. If

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the story is correct, they are right, there will be a row. How is

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this for public servers, what is the point of the honours system? This is

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supposed to be someone who has given something the public good,

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recognition of something towards the entire country, hard to see for a

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Lynton Crosby comes into the argument. He ran an amazingly

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successful campaign. I am not sure he wondered, Prime Minister one at

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by remaining a moderately likeable figure in a fervent political

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situation. All he did was help impose discipline, he is slightly

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overrated for what he delivered but I think the truth is most of the

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public knows the sleuth exists at all level of the honour system,

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whether it's funding, are people getting political appointments. It's

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one more reason for the corrosion of faith in politics but it's not

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surprising. It would be more surprising if there was not a crony

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row with the honour system whoever is in government. Maybe we should

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make it over at, you pay half a million, you get a million -- you

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get a peerage. Maybe we should just do that? I thought it was pretty

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overt Don Reading. Not peerages. There is another way you could let

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people get perks. The story is amazing, they referred to David

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Cameron's her dresser forgetting an MBE, we missed that. Every year we

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have something. It keeps the newspaper is busy. I suspect the

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public will be more interested in Barbara Windsor getting a Dem heard.

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She has cheered a sub for decades. The Telegraph, two interesting

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stories. Ministers suspend the Human Rights Act, troops being held back

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in the fight against terrorists, says the Defence Secretary. He talks

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about fixation claims being taken out against soldiers. This also

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focus on shoot to kill and for protection the police have this is a

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tricky area regardless of what you think of the Human Rights Act. It's

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one of those issues that has different facets. Partly it's about

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what the government thinks about being part of the European Union,

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the Bill of Rights. That is one issue. I think this is being

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politicised in that sense, the troops and the army are hugely

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porting to the contrary. It is an argument that can win over support

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to get out of the European Convention. Having said that, we are

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witnessing around the world, especially when it comes to

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countries like the UK and US, questions about rules of engagement

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and what happens in times of war so I think it's important to have

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accountability and raise questions. The problem is when you have certain

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investigations, the UK spend ?100 million since 2000 and four and

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investigations in compensation elated to misconduct during war.

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Some people say this is about money and lawyers but at the same time we

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have to have these questions, we have to have public enquiries and we

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have to keep holding those that hold the guns to account. I think it's

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one of those arguments that need to be made, if you have a British bill

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of rights how does that secure whoever is the innocent person or

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civilian... How different would it be from European legislation, given

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that the British was one of the driving forces behind the

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legislation in the first place. Not just the British but the

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Conservative Party, it was Conservative backed, inspired

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Churchill and pushed forward by the Conservatives. The British Bill of

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Rights would probably have many of the same protections within it. What

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it wouldn't have... Compare the money spent on the investigation

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into Bloody Sunday, this is not a huge summer and it's right that

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people should be held to account, you have to be able to hold people

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to account, it's like the culture in the NHS, if people make mistakes

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they should be dealt with. It's the same here, the question is how do

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you have the best system to do it? Whether they should be

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accountability? That brings us to my favourite story, the Sunday

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Telegraph, British couple first cloned hobby from dead dog. An

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estimated ?76,000 to a South Korean company. What do you think? You are

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dog lover. You know... Will be tied anyone who said they weren't. It's

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incredible, I think, you spend six to ?7,000 to get a cloned version of

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your dog. I have had a dog and much as I loved it, when it went, you

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just wait and then get another one. -- ?67,000. I am sure they are happy

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with the new puppy. It is a cute puppy. It is called Dylan, nice

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name. I find this difficult because I believe in the soul. Even if you

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have physical attributes you cannot ring the soul back. I think this

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puppy is gorgeous and cute... I don't know, the South Korean

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company... Of course don't have a soul. Disturbing bill-macro Dylan

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have a soul? -- does Dylan? Now to a long-running story... Christian

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genocide warning, dozens of MPs and peers calling on the government to

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talk about the persecution of Christians in Surrey as genocide,

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something that religious leaders of all faiths have touched on in the

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past few days. Of course, it comes around Christmas time, we are

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thinking about Christians and this is where Christianity came from and

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we see Christians under attack but it's not just in Syria, we have had

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it in a rack and let's not forget Bethlehem and what happens in

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Palestine. There is something to be said about the right place of

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Christians in the Arab world and the Middle East and the protections that

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they need. Having said that, what is happening in Syria, there is mass

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killing on many fronts and many different sides are responsible. I

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think the use of the term genocide itself has to be used delicately.

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What is this are doing is not just attacking Christians and the Yazidi

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people, they are attacking others. We have to be cautious about not

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saying we need to protect the script and not another group because that

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feeds into what extremists from all sides want. It's a kind of equal

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opportunity slaughter to anyone who gets on the way but the Archbishop

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of Canterbury said Christianity might become a stranger to the land

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of its birth in the Middle East and that is something that worries

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people, not just the Christian faith but other faiths. I get slightly

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uncomfortable focusing on one community, given the horrors that we

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have seen unleashed on various communities. There is a

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casualisation of the word genocide which we have seen in recent years,

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community leaders and church leaders jumping up and down further

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favourite cause and using this word which should be used carefully.

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There have been huge, historic atrocities that are unanswerable. I

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think it's too easy to call things genocide and again... Here it is,

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not divisive at focusing on one section, when there is horror

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perpetuated on so many communities from atheists through to gay people,

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through to all the different religions, moderates, even within

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the Sunni Muslim faith. There are atrocities all round and it's wrong

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to focus on one group, however horrid and horrific some of the

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things have been. Let's move on to the Observer, a troubling story,

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mental health patient sent to accident and emergency, troubled

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children added to the burden and concerns about lack of out-of-hours

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care. How those with mental health issues are treated differently from

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those with physical health problems and it's become a long-running sore.

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It's been underfunded, the Cinderella of the National Health

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Service, what's quite good in the last two or three years is

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politicians, to give them credit, they have woken up to this. On all

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sides, you see people raise the issue of mental health as being one

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of the real failings of British health care and social care. It

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shows the story underlining it, there is too little money going into

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it, simply for the Vic TPC Sawgrass, too little on offer, too many

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frequent closures but I get the impression that within society we

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are beginning slowly to wake up to the fact that mental health is as

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big a problem as physical health and needs to be treated in that way. One

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of the interesting things is how many people, politicians,

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entertainers, have talked about their own mental health issues, like

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depression... It's now part of the conversation. The issue of stigma

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with illnesses, further physical or mental... Politicians and

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celebrities can raise the profile. You remember a time when people

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would not use the word cancer. It's the same thing with mental health,

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if you said you had any form of depression, it's almost like a

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handicap and people don't want to talk about it. What is important

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about this story is that increasingly, honourable young

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people under the age of 18 field they have nowhere to go except A

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and they are being pushed their under -- after 5pm. Anyone in a

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distressed state suffers enough, think about being under 18 and going

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through that, what about those who shy away and will not go there? It's

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about community support, what sort of support can we give through the

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NHS but also not three A? Quite a complicated story in the

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Independent, the Tories planning an attack on local DeMarco C, local

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authorities diverse team themselves of unethical funds, -- local

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democracy. It's a bit of a generic headline but there is something

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interesting, the government has the right to tell local authorities and

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communities that they can cannot invest in certain companies that

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they see as unethical and of course, for the anti-apartheid movement,

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this was such a big part of the campaign, an important part of

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recognising that taking money out of anyone who helped a business problem

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the apartheid regime, we saw some things going on with arms companies

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and tobacco companies but what this is about particularly is Israel,

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Palestine and the Middle East. That is why it's an interesting story and

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it will be very contentious if it goes through. It's hugely important

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because of the apartheid message. Local people who care about these

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issues, they want to have a voice feel the government is not listening

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but this be local councils are. -- the anti-apartheid message. This is

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going to be a big story. There's also an interesting philosophical

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issue, whether they have the right to to the community in that area and

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that way. Should they be involved in foreign policy debates? A lot of

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interesting issues. Interesting. Thank you both. A reminder that we

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will take a look at tomorrow's front pages every evening at 10:30pm and

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11:30pm right here on BBC News.

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