25/02/2018 The Papers


25/02/2018

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


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LineFromTo

time. All it finished. Chelsea are

taught by one point. That is all

0:00:000:00:02

your sport for now. Now on BBC News

it is time for the papers, with Ben.

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Hello and welcome to our look ahead

to what the the papers will be

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bringing us tomorrow.

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With me are the political

commentator James Millar,

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and the Education Editor

of the Sunday Times, Sian Griffiths.

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Following the UN's resolution

for a ceasefire in Syria,

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the Observer carries the picture

of two children in Eastern Ghouta,

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where it's thought hundreds have

died in the past week.

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Brexit leads the Sunday Telegraph -

the paper has a piece from senior

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cabinet member David Lidington,

in which he claims that the SNP

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could split the UK economy

and ruin trade deals.

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Staying with Brexit,

and the Sunday Express reports

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that the Prime Minister will declare

Britain's best days lie ahead

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in a major speech coming

up next week.

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Topshop owner Philip Green is under

fire in the The Sunday Times

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which claims the billionaire planned

to sell his high-street empire over

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dinner with two HSBC bankers.

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And The Mail on Sunday reports

that the Ministry of Defence

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is setting up a helpline

for British troops suffering

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from conditions including PTSD.

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So no consensus over the main story,

but Brexit appears in several

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guises, perhaps not surprisingly,

let's have a look.

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Let's start off with the observer.

They're talking about labour, Jeremy

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Corbyn. Jeremy Corbyn Reno was going

to make an important speech

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tomorrow. Which may commit Labour to

staying in the customs union.

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Absolutely. He's going to be a

little bit annoyed this morning

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because the observer has splashed on

the story. There are splits,

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exposing splits within the Labour

Party. Because 80 senior figures

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across the party, including Baroness

Kennedy and Lawrence, have warned

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Corbyn that he is not going to be

able to fund his promised fund more

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schools, more hospitals, unless the

UK stays in the EU single market.

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Jeremy Corbyn poised to make a

speech tomorrow that he's gone to

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signal that Labour will back

permanent membership of the customs

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union, this is just going to be seen

as not a helpful intervention at

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this stage.

It is extraordinary. As a country,

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we are getting nearer and nearer the

door, if you like.

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We still don't really know what lies

outside her door. Yes, the timing of

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this is perhaps more interesting

than the content. Because we know

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there are lots of people in the

Labour Party who would rather we

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were still in the EU, never mind in

the single market and Customs union.

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It does show up the splits and

labour. We know there are splits in

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the Tory party. It is exactly same

on the other side. As you say,

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exactly what either party wants,

never mind what were going to end up

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with, remains something of a

mystery, really.

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According to the Sunday express,

Theresa May is also to be making a

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big speech on Brexit this week and

sounding very optimistic.

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The country's best days lie ahead.

You are the Prime Minister would say

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that, really.

What you make of that?

It is a small word that is very

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interesting. She has said, if we get

them right, Brexit will be beginning

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of a bright new story.

If we get it right. You would expect

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a Prime Minister to be saying, we

will get this right, are best days

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are ahead of us. But she's saying is

that it is fascinating. It goes to

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the heart of the uncertainty around.

She's making a big speech on Friday,

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the big speech on Brexit which will

set out apparently what the Cabinet

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have agreed. But we don't know

exactly what that is yet and as you

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say, the clock is ticking. We're

into march on Friday so there was

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not much more than one year until we

leave the EU.

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Whatever happens. I thought as well,

with the story, when you turn the

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page away from the best days ahead,

says May, the story is exposing

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splits in the Tory party because it

has got Chris Patten saying that it

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is completely unrealistic that the

UK can replace the benefits of

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single market membership of the

global trade deals. There is a great

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quote from him, all this business

about Walter Raleigh and Britain is

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pretty much for the birds, you know.

The rhetoric is all rather grander

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nationalistic.

There is a quote from Donald Tusk

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saying this as having your cake and

eat it. He will be overseen the

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negotiation so, you know, to Theresa

Makin set out what she likes on

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Friday. The EU can then turn round

and say, yes, you're not getting it.

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Then where does that leave us?

Disunity within the Tory party, the

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Labour Party, you thought about. But

according to the Sunday Telegraph,

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disunity within the United Kingdom.

Maybe Scotland doing its own trade

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deals, making things difficult,

according to the Sunday Telegraph.

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You could not make this up.

Essentially the Government is saying

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that if you have different. Your

biggest market, which you are next

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to, that is a bad thing. Surely

Brexit means we're going to have a

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print rules to our biggest market,

who we are next to. And yet they are

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saying that the SNP of the Scottish

Government, which asked by the

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different things, the Scottish

Government and the Scottish

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Parliament are different to party

political entities. They're doing a

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bad thing by wanting more power and

by taking back control for

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Edinburgh. This is somehow not

acceptable. And it will not play

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well in Scotland. I'm quite sure.

It's just weird, I think.

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This idea that Scotland and Wales

would like to have more powers to

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negotiate trade deals, you know,

praised Brexit. I'm Welsh and I

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cannot see the logic in it but in

the other hand, it is this idea that

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the UK will be weakened, you know,

if it becomes for separate nations

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or try to negotiate. There is power

in unity and so, yes, I'm disturbed

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by the Sunday Times this morning.

We had that Chequers summit of the

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inner Brexit War Cabinet, whatever

you want to call it, which there

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was, apparently consensus of a kind.

And we've got pictures and some of

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the papers of that war cabinet.

There was a nice cosy sort of fire.

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I'm not sure if it is a real log

fire or a gas fire. And they're all

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in armchairs and on sofas, sitting

around, talking about the future of

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the country. It is quite interesting

just to see them around not the

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Cabinet table but around a rather

posh living room like that.

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It is a classic picture tells a

thousand stories, doesn't it? The

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power politics going on a few sips

wear. David Davis at the Prime

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Minister's left by the fireplace,

apparently that was a prime position

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to have. Michael Gove reanimated at

her right hand.

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They are all numbered just in case

you don't know who is who from that

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stop shop.

One of the things we remarked on is

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how few women are in this gathering.

Just see that we counted. We also

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noted that the men were

gesticulating rather animatedly and

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woman sitting there with their hands

folded in their laps. There are all

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kinds of... And I love these kind of

photos on the Sunday papers because

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they tell you so much.

Theresa May trying all the time to

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keep this consensus or establish a

consensus. Do you wonder now whether

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maybe looking back she was right to

try and called a snap election?

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Because she needed a majority which

obviously shouldn't get, but it

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would have made her life so much

easier if she had a decent majority

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in the Commons.

You forget that last April anyone

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would've said she should draw a snap

election and get a big majority do

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what she likes. Not work out like

that. It is unfair to suggest that

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she should've seen ill exactly how

that election should play out though

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she suddenly was responsible for

many of the Tory mistakes that were

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made that led to the result but we

got. But, yes, she must lie awake at

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night wishing she had that huge

majority of 100 that she was

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dreaming of a year ago.

Let's move away into the murky world

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of spies. It is always fun Sunday

morning. In the Sunday Times,

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they've got unmasked, the Daily

Telegraph reporter who spied for

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Moscow. His name was Floyd and he

was nicknamed Pink Floyd. She was

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the Communist affairs correspondent

for the Daily Telegraph, which is a

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great job title, isn't it?

A fabulous story.

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Who would have thought the commonest

affairs correspondent would be a

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communist spy? It is a fabulous

story and he is called David Lloyd.

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He is a former British diplomat,

and, as you say, he became Communist

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affairs correspondent for the Daily

Telegraph and the Sunday Times

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revealed the escape prosecution. He

was unmasked just after the time

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that Donald Maclean disappeared and

he was never prosecuted. The

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thinking is that he was not

prosecuted because it would just

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have been such a huge embarrassment

have yet another, you know, Russian

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spy in Britain. He was actually

given a job. It was all dealt with

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very quietly and he was given a job

in the Daily Telegraph, and then

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editor and deputy editor had in fact

work for MI6. So we don't know

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exactly why the deal was struck,

whether it was just too, you know,

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save red faces all round. Or whether

he perhaps provided more

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information. We don't know. There

was a lot about the story that we

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don't know but it is just a fabulous

story.

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Plenty of entry, which is what you

want from a spy story.

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And the mail on Sunday, they've got

a story about another well-known

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journalist. The BBC's own John

Simpson, and how he nearly fell for

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a communist spy honey trap.

It is an interesting insight into

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how it worked. He was having trouble

in his marriage at the time. And,

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here we go. The communists found a

glamorous young lady to try

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persuading to, well, into a honey

trap, exactly.

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I don't think you need to say any

more. Honey trap covers it.

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John Simson and honey trap are not

words I want to dwell on.

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We were chatting earlier about what

propels people to do this kind of

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thing. Whether it is that you are

inspired by communism and you feel

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this is a good ideology. Whether it

is actually that you are a man and

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some rather beautiful young woman

from Eastern Europe comes along with

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legs up to their armpits and seduces

you.

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I always thought it would be rather

flattering to be approached but

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nobody ever approached me to be a

spy.

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You would say that, though, wouldn't

you? I would, that's clever. Very

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clever. Sunday Times front page.

They've got a big splash about

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Philip Green.

What you make of that? An

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interesting choice of splash. They

might be trying to get at something

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else. The story is that, allegedly,

Philip Green talks about selling off

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his Arcadia group, talked about

selling fish shops. You very much

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says, no, nothing in the story

actually happened. Which is a

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slightly odd story for a splash. Is

there something more to this story?

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It might have more to run, I

suspect. We will have to work that

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out. The observer, they are leading

on Syria which has been so sad, so

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tragic. Horrific, all week, really.

Another picture of misery therein

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Syria. After that you end ceasefire

resolution which does not seem to

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have made much difference says bar.

It is a very sad picture. Two little

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children at a makeshift clinic in

rebel held area. The Security

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Council voted in favour of a 30 day

ceasefire and they're still been

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jailed and people are still dying.

Very sad.

There is no end in sight.

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We've been talking about the papers

and comes up every so often and it's

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so incredibly depressing, isn't it?

Because there is no obvious end.

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Even, you know, the ceasefire.

Within minutes, according to the

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coverage, there was no fighting.

The world just seem so powerless at

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the moment, doesn't it?

To do anything. It is likely for

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themselves to a standstill except

they haven't because they're still

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fighting.

As education editor you're

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interested in the University story

that is in the observer.

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This is a story on the front page of

the observer. And the headline is

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revealed, university chief's 5-star

expenses. The story based on

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requests and it lays bare the lavish

expense account of some British

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university vice chancellors.

They've already been criticised for

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their allegedly high salaries. Very

big salaries, approaching half £1

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million in some cases. This is a

Channel 4 special programme tomorrow

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and there are some juicy bits,

really, I guess. The questionable

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items include a pawn star martini. A

Fortnum & Mason hamper. One

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university paid £1600 for their

Chancellor's pet dog to be relocated

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from Australia.

He must have flown first-class. Of

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course, you know, this is coming at

a time when universities and facing

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the worst industrial action they've

seen for decades. Strikes are to bus

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week and it is a 14 day strike which

could be extended into the summer.

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The good hits student exams. It is

over pension cuts and students at

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the moment, lectures have been

cancelled, they are demanding

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refunds for their fees. It is a

complete mess and given how many

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overseas tunes we have here, what a

huge important business our

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universities are for Britain.

It really needs to be sorted out.

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You get a sense of higher education

is in a state of turmoil at the

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moment. That is definitely true. The

one thing guaranteed to make any

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situation worse is dropping the word

expenses. That is just the magic

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word.

Or a pawn star martini.

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I wasn't sure about that, that is a

drink, right?

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It has in it. Oh, you know what it

what it is? It seems tacky to have a

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pawn star martini.

Would expect a vice Chancellor to

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have a proper martini. What is being

done about those high salaries were

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talking about?

Is anything going to change on that?

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Ministers have come up with very

strong words. There is a new

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regulator coming in at the beginning

of April and they will have powers

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to fine universities that continued

to paint vice chancellors salaries

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that are not justified. A vice

Chancellor can show that the buck

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salaries justify their in the clear

but adding some of the salaries way

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above. Especially when we're seeing

lecturers now facing £10,000 cuts to

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their pensions and many of them are

on short-term contracts.

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It is timing, isn't it? Terrible

timing given the strike is all about

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pensions. Suddenly you're finding of

another nearby towns is getting a

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huge amount of pay, they can do this

as well. That you might not that

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closely linked but it is very easy

to fudge the two together.

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£1600 to bring your pet dog from

Australia. That seems a bit over the

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top. There was a good cartoon on the

front page of the Sunday Telegraph

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from Matt, who is always liable to

make us laugh.

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Exactly. Have you got that led to

readers of what Matt says? We have

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of 30 of Matt been celebrated in

recent days and it is remarkable how

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he is always on point. This one is

what looks like two dogs outside the

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university and one saying, if a

philosophy lecturer goes on strike,

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and all his students sleep through

it, did the strike ever happen? It

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is a serious and issue but it gets

to the point and makes you laugh.

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An incredibly difficult skill,

actually, to do time after time. I

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wonder if that is true. I wonder if

some of them have been sleeping

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through the strike. Anyway, OK,

let's finish off on the rugby.

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Now, I know, James, you're

interested in this.

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Did you enjoy...

I've got a foot in both camps on

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this.

Who do you support, tell us?

I think the Scottish addition to the

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Sunday Telegraph has a different

page. I expect the Scottish addition

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had a jubilant Scottish player after

they beat England 25 have then --

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25-13.

Do you sport England or Scotland?

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You will mean all sorts of trouble

here. Historically, growing up in

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Scotland, you were required to

choose one or the other and you

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would... I suddenly decided to

choose the one who tends to win

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more, whose England.

But I still wish Scotland what

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they're playing anybody else.

But you are a Scottish? I was born

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in England so our foot in both camps

as I see it.

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My timeline on Facebook and Twitter

have been overtaken by jubilant

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Scots who are absolutely over the

moon, which is lovely to see.

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Because it has been ten years since

they last won and apparently it was

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a good game. I confess I missed it,

unfortunately. I will try to catch

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the highlights. I believe the

highlights are on YouTube. Your

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recommended to get a bowl of

porridge while you're watching them.

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It is not the championship more

interesting, it is underdog story.

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It is just a really nice story.

Are

you a rugby fan? I was at the match

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where Wales beat Scotland a few

weeks ago.

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Why you? Yes. And Wales. It was a

lovely atmosphere. We were at

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Cardiff station going back in the

evening and I was saying to you,

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there a Scottish bagpipe player in

his kilt and he was playing Scottish

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tunes. And if it had been a football

match it would've been a very brave

0:18:300:18:33

person to be standing at Cardiff

station surrounded by drunken Welsh

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bands but it was rugby is of the

Welsh bands were just singing along

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and that's the difference between

rugby and football. Such a nice

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atmosphere to to the games.

It is such a family atmosphere.

Game

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gentlemen. Is that right?

Very good quote, yes, that is

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perfect. Thank you very much for

both of you.

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That's it for the papers today.

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Don't forget you can see the front

pages of the papers online

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on the BBC News website.

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It's all there for you -

seven days a week at

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bbc.co.uk/papers -

and if you miss the programme any

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evening you can watch it

later on BBC iPlayer.

0:19:090:19:11

Thank you to James Millar

and Sian Griffiths.

0:19:110:19:13

Goodbye.

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