07/01/2018 The Papers


07/01/2018

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


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Now on BBC News, here's

Ben Brown with The Papers.

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Hello and welcome to our

look at the front pages

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of the Sunday papers.

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With me are Sian Griffiths,

the Education Editor

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of the Sunday Times,

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and Prashant Rao from

the International New York Times.

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Today's front pages

first, starting with...

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The Sunday Times, which says

the Prime Minister will hold

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a Cabinet reshuffle tomorrow,

with up to six ministers

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being moved or sacked.

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Its main story follows

an investigation by the paper

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which claims to have found Google

profiting from those

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with addictive diseases.

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The Sunday Telegraph reports

that Theresa May is to appoint

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a new Education Secretary

to try to reinvigorate

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the Government's approach

to schools, leaving

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the incumbent Justine Greening

fighting for her job.

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In another area of education policy,

the Mail on Sunday claims Mrs May

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has criticised her new

university tsar, Toby Young,

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after old social media posts of his,

described as obscene

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and sexist, were unearthed.

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The Observer headlines

President Trump's reaction

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to a new book about his

administration - the publication

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by the journalist Michael Wolff

questions President Trump's mental

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stability since taking office.

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The Sunday Express writes that

Theresa May has ordered

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a review into parole boards,

after former taxi driver

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John Worboys, found guilty of sexual

assault against 12 women,

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was released after

nine years in prison.

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Let us take off with that reshuffle.

Sian, as an education correspondent

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you will know all about this, the

Education Secretary, Justine

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Greening, fighting for her job.

Absolutely, and the rumours have

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been going around all week that

there will be... That she is one of

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the main people who is likely to be

moved on.

What has she done wrong?

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Well, where does one start?

Education policy is in a mess. We

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have rows about school funding, a

teacher recruitment crisis, some of

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the most expensive degrees in the

world, we have children coming out

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not able to get jobs. It is a big,

big mess. To be fair to Justine

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Greening, she inherited a lot of it.

She has tried to smooth a path

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through, but I think the feeling is

she has been pretty ineffective. I

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think the reason why Theresa May

wants to move her on his in the last

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election, we know that education

policy was a very big issue for

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parents, it really played into

Labour's hands, Jeremy Corbyn saying

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he would scrap tuition fees, he said

he would get rid of the £9,000 a

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year fees, he would improve school

funding, we are getting stories

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about parents being asked for

donations for textbooks because

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schools have so little money, and he

would make huge efforts to get more

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teachers into schools, there are not

enough maths and science teachers,

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that played incredibly well with

parents and Theresa May wants to

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claw back some of that ground.

Quite

a big reshuffle, but not huge, why

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do you think the Prime Minister is

making it now? Is it an attempt to

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freshen up the Government?

I think

that is probably it. There are two

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separate issues here, there is the

political issue, and the education

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issue. I guess she is trying to get

back on the front foot, that

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election was a complete disaster, so

the interesting thing is, the Sunday

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Telegraph notes this, that kind of

suggestion that she has dealt with

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the European Union but she is unable

to sacked several Cabinet ministers

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if she wanted to, they are

questioning how strong she really

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is.

Because of the Brexit balance,

she has to keep people like Boris

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Johnson in place.

But also she is

dependent on the DUP so any mass

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Tory rebellion will create all kinds

of new problems. So I feel like this

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is a very difficult reshuffle to

pull off because the people you'd

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demote or fire, you will have to

placate them and head of a

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rebellion. It is a very difficult

thing to pull off.

I think you're

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right and I think we have seen a bit

of that in the Sunday Telegraph

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where Justine Greening sent out a

series of tweets defending her

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position and St Mary's school

standards are rising statistics and

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statistics. So I think it is not

going to be as easy as all that.

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Still with the Tory Party, we have

got the Prime Minister, according to

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the Mail on Sunday, slamming Toby

Young, who is her university Zaha,

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his position on the new watchdog is

said to be in jeopardy by the mail

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on Sunday for these obscene and

sexist tweets and posts on social

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media. What do you make of that?

This feels kind of like a scandal,

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somewhat unnecessary, in the sense

of it was not something that came as

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a surprise, these things could

easily have been researched.

From

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years ago?

This is the kind of

simple research you should do before

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appointing somebody, you check their

public comments and the public

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record, and this is another

controversy that I'm not sure they

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needed at this point. This is

something where it is an important

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issue, Britain's university system

is incredibly important, to Britain

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and the wider world. I went to a

British university. It matters, who

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is the regulator. This kind of

controversy distracts from the at

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hand.

-- from the issue. Can Toby

Young hold onto this position?

He

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has been fighting to hold onto it

all week. I think is hoping that

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attention will divert to the

reshuffle on Monday, and whoever

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comes in, if somebody replaces

Justine Greening, will be well

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disposed so towards him. He is only

one of 15 people on this board but I

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agree, such an important new

regulator for university and this

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belief undermines that very

important job, and this new

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organisation, which has only just

been announced. We will not go into

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the details of some of the tweets,

some of the least offensive ones are

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still pretty offensive.

Maybe not at

this time of the morning!

Even

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people coming to his defence are

doing so in such a heavily guarded

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way. Saying that these are

impossible to defend, then they go

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on to defend him! But this is a very

complicate -- complicate a

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controversy that is not very

necessary.

And if anything else

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comes out...

One more tweets and

you're out! The Donald Trump Sardar

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goes on, with this new book about

his White House -- Sardar, and his

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reaction to. He is saying he is a

very stable genius, obviously a very

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modest one!

Of course he is. I think

we all know what the tweets were, I

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think this book, Michael Wolff has

suddenly become the most important

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person in journalism today. We do

not need to go over the accusations

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and Trump's counterclaims. One of

the interesting things that has come

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out about this, it was written about

in the New York Times recently, as

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the President continues to make

these tweets, and the bellicose

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rhetoric, what is -- when it is not

backed up by action it says

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something about the power of the

American Presidency and the erosion

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of the institution of the American

presidency. If he does not follow

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through on these various allegations

and accusations, whether it is to do

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with the book or the age to the

Palestinians, all this matter of

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international and domestic issues,

it says something about his own

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power.

He says stuff but doesn't do

it?

Is there a case to say he is

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blowing off steam? But that erodes

his other public statements because

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these are a matter of public record.

He is speaking on behalf of the

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presidency. So this matters.

And the

more he says things about this book,

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surely the more he just promotes the

book and makes it a top seller?

It

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is just a brilliant headline, Tron,

I'm a very stable genius! Who

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wouldn't want to read that? So the

first thing you think is, how stable

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are you to be tweeting this stuff?

Still on the Observer, companies

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facing a new VAT burden after

Brexit?

The details are in the

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paper, how VAT will happen to be

handled differently by British

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companies when Brexit happens. If

Brecht -- if Brett -- if Britain

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leads the customs union. This is one

of a litany of issues that will have

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to be iron out. A new level of

day-to-day complexity, whether it is

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for better or for worse, it is a

huge uncertainty, it is not just how

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we enforce the common agricultural

policy or being part of the single

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market, it is the little things that

small businesses will have to deal

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with, they are going to need some

time for adjustment. Whether that is

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good or bad for the economy, think

that will play out, but these

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things, fishery policy, you know,

cars that are sold, innumerable

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issues like this that will come

through.

Let's rattle through them.

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The Sunday Times, they have insight,

undercover investigation into

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Google, profits from the plight of

addicts. A company reaping millions

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from parasites playing on the

vulnerable?

This is a good

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investigation. When you are an

addict and you're looking for help,

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you are very likely to go onto the

internet and typed into the search

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engine, where can I get advice? So

you get these referral centres, and

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they look like free advice lines,

but actually they are being paid

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hundreds of pounds to refer people

to addiction clinics and that is not

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made clear to the people looking for

these, and Google are also charging

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these services to come to the top of

the search engine. So there is a

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whole layer of commercial

moneymaking going on, but the poor

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old addict and their family had no

idea about it. They think they are

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searching in a transparent way for a

good service to help them, and

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actually all this money making is

going on. In America, some states do

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not allow this practice, it is

illegal. In this country it is legal

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but you have to ask, how proper is

it? Young addiction clinic has

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already said they are not going to

use these referral practices any

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more. -- one addiction clinic. They

do call them parasites.

You can see

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how the papers are targeting people

over a lot of these investigations,

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on YouTube as well, running terror

videos and so on.

Rightly so, these

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company played an enormous role in

our lives. It is right they are

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scrutinised in this way. It is not

just addicts, if you have any

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question, what are you going to do?

It is a turn of phrase, you Google

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it. This company and others like it

up a central role in everything we

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do and our lives, our economies, the

scrutiny is well-placed. These are

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effectively as powerful as

governments. They need to be

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scrutinised.

Also the Sunday Times,

acid attacks, a voluntary code on

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restricting the sale of acid because

of the horrible rise in acid

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attacks. This is just restricting

the sale to younger people under the

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age of 18.

It is, but we were

discussing this fellow, this is part

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of a much more complex problem about

youth violence and youth crime, and

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the Observer has a story about

Cressida Dick talking about tackling

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knife crime as a public health

issue, this story also notes, the

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Home Office has commissioned

research that will look into the

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motivations behind carrying and

using acid as a weapon. There are

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obviously things we can do that grab

headlines, but this is a complex

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problem that will require much more

multifaceted response. Which you

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were collaborating on.

Absolutely.

OK, if we have the retailers saying

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we are not going to sell acid to

under-18s, but as we were saying,

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any kid can get that stuff, could

get bleach from the kitchen cupboard

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and take it out.

And they can get it

easily online.

So the parents of a

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big role to play because I think it

is parents that need to be in charge

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of the teenagers, they need to know

what they are carrying when they go

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out. I don't think that this is

going to stop the problem although

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it is a welcome initiative.

Let's

talk about the Golden Globes, the

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first major awards ceremony, really,

since the whole Harvey Weinstein

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thing blew up. There is good to be

something of a protest, a black

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dress protest by some of the

actresses, they are saying that

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normally they are expected to twirl

these wonderful dresses and to add

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glitz to the Hollywood spectacle,

but this time they will wear a

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sombre black as a mark of protest.

Is that a good move?

Absolutely. A

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lot of people have said it is

elitist, what does it count for? But

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these are powerful women who can

command column inches in newspapers,

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front-page pitches, and they are

making an important point, that

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sexual harassment is rife through

almost every industry you can think

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of. They are making the point for

Hollywood, but the fact they are

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making it means that women in other

industries will also be empowered to

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speak out.

But some women, some of

the victims are saying, these women

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should have done more than this,

they should have spoken out earlier

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and that their silence has been the

problem.

I think that is probably a

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valid criticism to some degree, but

the fact is, we are now where we are

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and I think you rightly said, one of

the criticisms would be, they could

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have boycotted, but he made the

point that this is all about

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coverage, it is about raising the

public consciousness about the issue

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and what better way to do so? They

are going to get enormous numbers of

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colleges and photographs.

It is

going to be THE story.

They are not

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just doing this, there is legal

defence fund, all sorts of practical

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things are doing. I think Hollywood

actresses are doing quite a bit in

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reaction to this, and it is not...

This is quite a positive thing they

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are doing.

Let's just end with what

we hope is not the end of Andy

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Murray's tennis career. The Sunday

Times front-page suggesting it could

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be. Because Pat Cash has been saying

actually, he needs potentially a hip

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operation on both hips, so if he

does need surgery, that is good to

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be very hard to recover from in

terms of fighting for grand slams.

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This is so sad. This idea that he

may never challenge again for a

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grand slam title. I just think Andy

Murray has been one of those

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national icons, the first British

guide to win Wimbledon, it has been

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fabulous watching his career. And

also watching how he has become a

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national treasure from someone who

was regarded as someone with a bit

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of a chip on his shoulder, the idea

that he has fought so hard from

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quite a humble background to become

this world-famous...

He has achieved

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a lot but potentially got so much

more to achieve, but obviously it is

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going to be very hard, even if he

doesn't have surgery, to continue.

I

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think we remember the athletes in

particular who had these dizzying

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heights but they were cut short.

There is this particular form of

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sadness we remember them with. Andy

Murray at his peak was incredible

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and to not be able to watch that, we

have been graced with Roger Federer

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and Rafa Nadal for so long that

perhaps we have become spoiled and

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think they will last forever. But

this is an example.

The game must

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take such a toll on your body, the

impact, the continual impact.

I

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increasingly believe that these are

professional athletes and the huge

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toll this takes on them, obviously,

we should not... They are paid a lot

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of money to do this, but you see a

lot of professional athletes in

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these kinds of very demanding

sports, as they get older, they have

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a lot of physical problems because

they have been taking such a toll on

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their bodies for so long. Andy

Murray has been playing tennis since

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he was... It is very difficult.

Let

us hope for the best and hope he

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does recover, and get back onto the

big stage and win a few more grand

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slams.

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That's it for The Papers.

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Thanks to my guests,

Sian Griffiths and Prashant Rao.

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Just a reminder - we take a look

at tomorrows front pages every

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evening at 10.40pm here on BBC News.

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Goodbye for now.

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