20/08/2017 The Papers


20/08/2017

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


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Transcript


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Hello and welcome to our look ahead to what the papers will be

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With me are Ben Chi, economics and business

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editor of the Independent and the Education Editor

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Let's have a look at the front pages first.

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The Sunday Times leads with its story that the Queen

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The front page is dominated by an image of Her Majesty in pink.

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The Daily Mail says hope is fading for the seven-year-old boy missing

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The Daily Express has the same story.

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It says the boy's injured British mother is desperately

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The Telegraph also covers the Barcelona attack,

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but focuses on plans to crack down on car and van rentals

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And the Observer reports that leading experts on EU law have

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cast "serious doubt" on Theresa May's Brexit strategy.

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Let's start with the Telegraph. The investigation is continuing into how

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this Barcelona cell was able to operate for a whole year undetected.

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It is looking at its own incompetence in the way it couldn't

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rent a larger van and do more damage, shone. There is a very

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interesting story in the Sunday Telegraph, which in the wake of the

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things that have happened in Barcelona, I think Britain is now

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looking at whether we can crack down on car and van rentals. Of course,

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hired vehicles have been used in several of these attacks like London

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Bridge and Finsbury Park mosque. So the idea is that information handed

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over to rental companies, including names and addresses could be cross

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checked against criminal watchlists quickly. And then the car could be

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tracked if it is rented out, or even stopped from being hired out to

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potential terrorists. But one of the concerns is not to infringe upon

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daily life, because people still need to rent larger trucks for

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completely valid purposes. That is the trade-off that the public have

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to make. As you say, it will mean that if you hire a van, if they

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implement the suggested scheme, it will mean a lot more red tape and

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delays. But my guess is that most people would be willing to make that

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trade-off if it meant even the small chance of a terrorist being able to

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get hold of an articulated van or lorry and causing the kind of

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carnage we saw in Barcelona, if there is a minimal chance of doing

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it, I suspect most people would be happy to do it. The other issue

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which is not raised here is that barriers in public places like Las

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Ramblas and Westminster, I suspect we will see more of them. That is

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simpler and quicker to implement than these bureaucratic obstacles.

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We are increasingly seeing those barriers, but in some areas, it is

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physically impossible to get them in. You can't put barriers

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everywhere. You never know whether terrorists are going to strike.

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There are barriers now across London Bridge. I over it every day to work

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and the barriers are there so that cars can't mow down pedestrians. But

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you can't put them right across London, or right across our capital

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cities. And that doesn't help with the attacks in Finland, which was a

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knife attack. People use common objects in horrific ways. The

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security services have to respond to a threat the way they see it. At the

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moment, the terrorists are getting vans, so they have to respond to

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that, but as you say, things can evolve. There are other ways to

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attack innocent people. So it is a terrible challenge. The Mail on

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Sunday focuses on this lost boy, the seven-year-old British boy. We still

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don't know what has happened to him. But my goodness, I have a nine-year

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old and I how difficult it is. If he is missing, his parents are

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absolutely distraught and his mother is very ill. Such a sad photograph.

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This boy is in his football shirt. It is always the details that grab

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your heartstrings. He loves to dance. His mother, who was also

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injured and ill in hospital, the dad flying over from Australia. What

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that family must be going through. When they pick up on these stories

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of the victims, it's heartbreaking. As Sian mentioned, the father had a

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22 hour flight from Australia, because his wife and son were in

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Barcelona for a family wedding. Imagine what it must be like not

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knowing what had happened to your son for all of that time. Just

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heartbreaking detail. This is what the Sunday papers are good at. They

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have found the stories of the people who have been affected. Stories of

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heroism are emerging as well as stories of tragedy. The Mail on

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Sunday has a British tourist who risked his own safety. He stayed

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with a badly injured boy on Las Ramblas, even though he was told to

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move away, because the little boy reminded him of his son. The quotes

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are so moving. He said, that was somebody's child. It could have been

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my child. You immediately think, there but for the grace of God go I.

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So many of us have been to Las Ramblas. We have all been to these

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places, and it is devastating when we see something like this. Which is

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precisely why the terrorists choose these targets. They know the maximum

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way to multiply the shock is to choose places we have all been to or

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that we might go to. They want to terrorise, so it is deliberate. Onto

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the Observer, where we are back focusing on Brexit. It doesn't take

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long to return to Brexit. Doubts are being cast on Theresa May's Brexit

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red line. What are they getting at? This is Paul Jenkins, the former

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head of the government's legal services division. He is pouring

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cold water on Theresa May's Brexit strategy. He said the policy on the

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little indications of Brexit was foolish and if the UK once close

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links with the single market, it will have to observe EU law in all

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but name. Of course, it is only two weeks until David Davis enters a

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crucial phase of talks on the exit plan. So still chaos and confusion

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around our Brexit strategy, with a lot of people knocking it. That has

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been such an issue, the chaos and lack of clarity which is getting

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people very concerned. We had two position papers last week, one on

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the customs union and one on the Northern Ireland border. And I read

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them closely because I have to write about them. And I was astonished by

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the lack of detail. The customs paper was 16 pages long, the Ireland

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one was 30 pages long. These are incredibly difficult challenges they

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are grappling with, and to give so little to people on the EU side or

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even the journalists or analysts to work on seems to be a terrible

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mistake, because it underlines how much they either haven't thought

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about them, or how much they are keeping back about what they are

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going to try and implement. Do you think they don't know, or are they

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afraid to share it? David Davis said last week that it reflects creative

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ambiguity. That was the phrase he used. It is a nice sounding phrase,

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but I think it is used to cover the fact that they don't know how to

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confront these challenges. They have grappled with the detail. This is

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the detail which is brought out in the Observer story. If you are going

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to have a temporary interim customs union with the EU which is like the

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one we have at the moment, someone has to oversee it. A legal body has

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to oversee it. So who is that going to be? The natural thing is the ECJ,

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but Theresa May said we will not be subject to the supervision of the

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ECJ after 2019. So how can the customs union proposal work? This is

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what Sir Paul Jenkins is saying. To make the customs union bit work for

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the interim, you have to have ECJ supervision. If not that, there will

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have to be some kind of fudge where the EU court and the UK courts

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cooperate. It is by no means clear that the EU side will agree to that.

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So this will all come into focus in the coming days. Sian, are you

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sensing frustration from the public that this is unravelling?

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Absolutely. I cover education for the Sunday Times, and universities

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are absolutely panicking because they have so many EU students and EU

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staff. They are so reliant on EU research funding, and they don't

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know what will happen in two years' time. Trying to make plans for the

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future is very difficult. We are going to stay with the Observer.

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This is a story that the Telegraph is also covering. It is another

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Twitter spat. Stephen Hawking, the eminent scientist and cosmologist,

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gave an opinion article to the Guardian on Friday, raising alarm

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about privatisation of the health service and the general direction of

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health under the Conservatives. And as you say, there was a pushback on

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Twitter, the medium by which have an ministers now communicate with the

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people, it seems, by Jeremy Hunt, the Health Secretary, yesterday. But

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he also wrote a column for the Sunday Telegraph where he went into

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more detail than he was allowed to with the 150 character limit on

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Twitter, talking about why Sir Stephen Hawking was wrong to accuse

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the Tories tried to privatise the NHS and pushing a pernicious

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falsehood. And also hitting back at the accusation Stephen Hawking made

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against Jeremy Hunt, that he was cherry picking data when he argued

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that it is less safe to be in a hospital on weekends, which is one

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of the big disputes related to the junior doctors' strike. So quite a

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serious butting of heads between the two of them. As to who comes out on

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top, personally I think Sir Stephen Hawking overegged it when he said

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they are privatising the NHS. You can't really find that in the data,

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but he is right to recuse Jeremy Hunt of cherry picking data over the

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weekend effect. All the studies I have read suggest that the data is

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simply not there to make the kind of claims Jeremy Hunt was making. But

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when you have someone like Stephen Hawking coming into an argument like

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this, you have to think there might be a bit of a problem or a breakdown

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in PR. Absolutely. It is a public relations disaster. Personally, I

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think Jeremy Hunt going on Twitter and attacking Stephen Hawking is

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ludicrous. That is not the way we expect ministers to behave. I don't

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want serious policy discussions played out on Twitter with use of

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the number two instead of the word! Now social media users have piled in

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and we have doctors and scientists mocking Jeremy Hunt on Twitter for

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taking on the world's most famous scientist. Well, they think it is a

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more direct way to communicate. At the last general election, Labour

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did so well because of social media. So ministers think, we have to get

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our message out there. We have seen how Donald Trump uses Twitter, which

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is not a good example in my view. But it is a direct way of

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communicating, so maybe they are making the trade-off that although

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people will ridicule him, it is a direct way of communicating. Another

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way of communicating now. The Sunday Times said the Queen will not stand

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down for Prince Charles. No real surprise there. Well, there has been

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a lot of talk that she might. She is very elderly and very wonderful, so

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she might want to not just stop back from duties, but have a Regency

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arrangement where Prince Charles takes over. This is a story from our

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royal correspondent, making clear that nobody is planning for a

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Regency, neither Buckingham Palace nor Clarence House, and that this

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pledge the Queen made on her 21st birthday, I declare that my whole

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life, long or short, shall be devoted to your service, she intends

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to completely honour that, even up to her 95th birthday. She will be

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delegating more duties to Prince William and Charles and so on. We

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are seeing the younger royals taking up more of an active role. And

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members of the public seem to like that. But in terms of the Queen

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standing down, that is difficult to fathom. With Brexit, a big

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constitutional moment for the UK, and the issues around Charles and

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Camilla, I can imagine that the last thing people want would be for this

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massively respected sovereign to invoke the 1937 Regency act and step

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back. It is just not the right time for it. Providing her health is up

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to it and she has no intention to do it, I expect a lot of ministers and

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the Prime Minister will be breathing a sigh of relief over that. The last

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thing they need is less stability. Let's finish with the Sunday

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Telegraph, the child genius. Sian, how different is this? I can't

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imagine a child like this. It is incredible. It was extraordinary to

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watch little Rahul. He was amazing. He is like a little 15-year-old in a

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child's body! He was so composed. He was so clever. He memorised things

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so well. Of course, the debate about Child Genius, every time it is on

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is, is it the children who want to take part or is it pushy parents?

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And watching Rahul's family, his dad was so behind him. Rahul lifted the

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trophy at the end and his dad lifted away from him! But you had the sense

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that this was a family completely behind this child more willing him

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on, but not in a negative way. And my son, who was watching with me,

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said, the family that completes together wins together! We always

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ask if it is good for these children to be put in the spotlight in this

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way, but life is pressure and competition. If you go to the Far

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East and you see the tiger parents, these are the children that our

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children will be competing against in the global economy. We have to

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stop being so wishy-washy. I loved it and I loved Rahul and his

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parents. The family were great characters. I haven't watched it,

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but I read the interview and I came away with from it with a jaded eye,

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thinking they must be punishing him. But I read the interview and they

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sounded like the nicest possible family, not pushy, but encouraging

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and pretty modest. Humble background, they are not

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particularly well off. And I really want to them just from reading the

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article, so maybe I should watch it. But I can't imagine any child of

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that age sitting down and getting on with this level of work. There must

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be some pushing from the parents. They definitely encourage them to do

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it, but with the difficulty of the questions, the freezing point of

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water in degrees Kelvin, I don't know!

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Just a reminder - we take a look at tomorrow's front pages every

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Coming up on BBC One after this programme is Sunday Morning Live.

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With the details, we say good morning to Sean Fletcher.

:17:48.:17:53.

Coming up on Sunday Morning Live, a row erupts about the language used

:17:54.:17:58.

to describe grooming

:17:59.:18:00.

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