04/03/2018 The Papers


04/03/2018

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


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That is all the sport for now and

next on BBC News, it is back to Ben

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Brown with the papers.

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Hello and welcome to our review of

the Sunday papers.

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With me are Katy Balls,

Political Correspondent

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at The Spectator and Ben Chu,

Economics Editor at The Independent.

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Welcome to you both. Thank you so

much for coming in.

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There's a good mix

of stories, from the extreme weather

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to a look ahead to the Oscars.

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The Observer takes stock

of the financial cost the wintry

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weather has taken on the country -

suggesting it's cost us £1 billion

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per day.

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The Sunday Times leads

on an investigation into how

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internet giants may be

implicated in the trafficking

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of vulnerable women.

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The paper also looks ahead

to tomorrow night's Oscars -

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with a picture of Gary Oldman -

who has the Best Actor nod

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for playing the part

of Winston Churchill.

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The actor also takes centre stage

on the front of The Telegraph -

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alongside the paper's top story

which looks at the way BBC

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presenters' salaries are taxed.

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The top story for the Mail

is the latest gossip

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from within Theresa May's cabinet.

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This time involving the Foreign

Secretary.

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This time involving

the Foreign Secretary.

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So plenty to be looking

at this morning.

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Let's kick off with the weather. It

has been an atrocious week of

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weather, of course. I was reporting

it from the north-east of England,

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pretty chilly, I must say. We have

talked a lot about the travel

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implications for people but also the

economic implications, Katie, the

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big freeze according to the Observer

costing us £1 billion a day. I am

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not sure exactly how they worked

that out.

Yes, the beast from the

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east appears to be subsiding but the

aftermath will not be pretty and it

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is thought it has cost us so much

money in terms of lost productivity

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that it could affect our growth for

the first quarter of the year and we

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could see a drop of .2%. That is

obviously not a good thing but it's

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also hard to know how that could

actually be avoided, because it

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comes back to the debate about

should we spend lots of money in

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case there was bad weather or is it

where enough that we just need to

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deal with it as we have now.

I

suppose with the best will in the

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world however much you grip the road

and whatever preparations you take,

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in a country like this, you will

always have so much disruption when

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you have that much snow and ice.

It

is the old debate about should we

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invest in snowploughs and things

like Canada and Switzerland have,

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but the problem is that this does

not happen often enough for that

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investment.

Which is why it is news,

really.

Yes, this would be nothing

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in Montreal. It is interesting how

they have worked out this £1 billion

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figure. People have been spending

less in the shops, but they have

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also been drawing more heat and

energy, so it does go the other way.

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We have had a precedent for this. It

was in the final quarter of 2010,

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very, very bad weather and the

growth rate collapsed. In fact, the

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first estimate was that it fell by

.5%. It went from .6% 2.1%. So we

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have seen very cold weather having a

very significant impact on growth

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rates.

Katy, inside the Observer

some pictures and the headline that,

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Britain's tale of empty shops,

really referring their to our

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economic story, but also reunited

communities and people pulling

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together to help each other. I must

say, I did see that in

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Northumberland. Really going out and

pulling people out of snowdrift and

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so on if they had to.

Yes, and I

think that is the positive story it.

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The Observer looks at an area near

Glasgow and we have stories of the

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blizzards and all the problems it

caused, but at the end here it says

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one local resident says that it took

twice as long to get all these

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objects from the snow, because they

were chatting to each other so much

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and stopping to catch up and gossip,

so in a way it reminded him of how

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it used to be when everyone stopped

at the shops and spoke to each

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other. That was a nice way of

bringing the communities together.

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And one of the most dramatic things,

Ben, was all these drivers stuck for

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hours and hours on motorways and

roads, with jackknifed lorries and

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then everyone else stuck there,

really, for the whole night. But the

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good old British spirit often coming

through and people not daunted too

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much. Just having cups of tea in

their cars and so on.

Yes,

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heartening. One place you did not

see that kind of spirit was in

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Ireland where some thieves had a

snow looting episode where they

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destroyed a small store and looted

all the alcohol and expensive food.

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But you will always get these

different stories and it is

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encouraging as Katy says that there

were places where people came

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together to fight adversity as well,

as you to DC in this kind of

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scenario.

And we have got is no baby

as well, I believe, with a baby born

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off the motorway as they can get to

the hospital. So mother positive

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story to tell in years to come.

Has

it been a positive story for Theresa

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May and Brexit? Her big speech

possibly slightly overshadowed on

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Friday by the weather. If you look

across the newspaper front pages

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today, what is good from her point

of view perhaps is that there is in

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the big backlash from either faction

to be speech that she made.

Exactly

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and the Observer has this headline.

If you told Theresa May this time

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last week that the only person the

journalists would have to dig out to

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be critical of the speech would be

Michael Heseltine, a man who has

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said he would prefer a Corbyn

government to Brexit, I think she

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would have been pretty happy and

hoping that would be the scenario.

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He had obviously found problems with

the speech but I think he is such an

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extreme. We know he really opposes

Brexit, no matter what kind Brexit.

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He wants to lead a rebellion in the

Lords on it. I don't think she could

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have said anything other than we

will stay the EU or have a second

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referendum to make him happy, but

like you say, in general the people

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in her own party seem to be fairly

happy. Perhaps by disappointing

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everyone a little bit.

Let's not go

too far. Michael Heseltine saying

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that the Brexiteers are holding a

knife to Theresa May's throat, which

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is quite a vivid description?

Yes,

but I think it's quite accurate. The

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way we are talking about it speaks

of the UK domestic debate, because

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of course what really matters about

how the speech is perceived as how

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the EU see it. Do they think what

she outlined admitted to a cherry

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picking approach, which they have

said they will not have, or do they

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think it was constructive? That is

the key thing. We are talking about

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whether Jacob Rees Mogg liked it,

Michael Heseltine, which are very

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relevant questions because we all

know Theresa May's position is very

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fragile. That she could be brought

down by her own party if they think

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she is not handling Brexit right. So

it's understandable, but actually

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the bigger issue is how the

Europeans about that? That

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determines whether we will get any

serious results in time.

Katie, the

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mail on Sunday continuing on the

Brexit theme. Boris in new dirty

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tricks row with Number ten. This is

the PM's fixer supposedly leaking a

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memo.

As Ben pointed out, this goes

back to the domestic view of Brexit.

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The idea of dynamics within the

Conservative Party and how it

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affects Theresa May's position. A

memo was leaked to Sky News this

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week which had a line in it where

the Foreign Secretary seemed to

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concede that there could be a hard

Irish border. They feel like this

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was unfair because it was one line

from a very long letter with lots of

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different options, and the

suggestion was that it was leaked by

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Number ten to put Boris Johnson in

his place. It's quite funny, because

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obviously a key ally of Boris

Johnson told the mail on Sunday

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this, but if you get off the front

page Boris Johnson's spokesmen says

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it is a load of baloney, not true

and they are not accusing Number ten

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of anything.

That speech by Number

ten, I guess it was a reality check

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in some ways in that you were saying

we will not get everything we want

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in the negotiations. It may be

obvious, but she spelt it out.

Yes,

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and actually if we look at the

European reaction, Michel Barnier

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said that. He welcomed the sense of

realism in the speech. And I think,

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yes, one should recognise that she

was saying, we will not have all the

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benefits of being in the EU when we

are out of the EU. It sounds

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obvious, but for her to say that,

because her line-up until now is

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that she wants all the benefits of

being in the and her ministers have

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been saying that. It is blatantly an

unrealistic expectation, said she

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has dialled it down. But as I say,

whether they still think what she is

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asking for, this basket approach

where we are in think in regulation

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and diverging other areas, depending

on what suits the UK, whether they

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look at that and think no, no

chance, is the key question.

Let's

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move away from Brexit. The Sunday

Times lead on Internet giants

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profiting from pop-up brothels.

Yes,

this is Number ten considering new

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laws on sex trafficking and it is

being directed at Internet giants.

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This idea that because on places

like Facebook you can see these

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adverts, brothels advertised, should

the host sites be culpable for that?

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It has been a big debate and in

America right now they are trying to

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pass legislation which will mean

that is the case. It is something

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which of course all Internet

companies massively resist because

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they can't keep track of everything,

but I think the question is as well,

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most of these adverts are not

saying, there is a pop-up brothel.

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They are a bit more subtle than

that. You can probably still work it

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out, but how much responsibility and

how far are these Internet giants

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are opposed to dig really to find

that out? I think most people would

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agree they shouldn't have something

saying brothel.

Also in The Sunday

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Times, the MP gender pay gap. We

have heard a lot about the gender

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pay gap in other industries, Ben,

including BBC presenters, of course.

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But this is MPs, they are saying,

and men being paid more than women.

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It's important to recognise that MPs

do not get paid differently

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depending on whether they are men or

women. They both get the same amount

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per year. But what The Sunday Times

research is looking at is what they

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earn outside. So once you factor in

the back that men and women in

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Parliament, MPs, and different

amounts in that outside jobs, you

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get this gender pay gap. So you're

the buckled Tory MP, male Tory MP,

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gets about £100,000 including their

MP salary, whereas female MP

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salaries get about 90 6000. There is

the gender pay gap. The gap between

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Labour MPs is lower, 79,004 men,

78,000 for women. A lot of people

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would be saying that MPs shouldn't

be doing any other work they should

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just get their basic salary for

doing their MP work.

I think this is

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a fair point and this is may be

looking at that male MPs are more

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able balance family commitments. We

were speaking about this before and

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saying that George Osborne had about

six jobs whilst he was an MP. I

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would have completely skewed

everything. I think he was financial

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adviser, briefly the editor of the

standard, or he planned to edit the

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standard whilst being an MP,

obviously be speech circuit which

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can be very lucrative.

The Sunday

Telegraph, let's go on to that. They

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are talking about Britain being told

to brace for a spring crime spree,

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Ben, and knife crime which has been

so dominant in the last few years

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seems to be increasing. I am not

sure how you predict there is going

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to be a surge in that?

The logic

appears to be that as the weather

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gets warmer naturally, you get more

crimes because people are out in the

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streets more. That is essentially

the basis of the story. They say the

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number of young people who have been

killed by knife crime this year has

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been about double what it was at the

same time last year. So if it

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continues to extrapolate trends in

the way it has is the weather gets

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warmer, you will get more crime. It

is highlighting the fact that that

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does seem to be this surge in knife

crime, violent crime, from a pretty

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low base, it must be said and it is

localised to certain areas. There

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was not a nationwide crime wave

going on but they do seem to be

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pockets of this and really this is

drawing attention to that trend.

And

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how do you reduce knife crime?

It is

very difficult, isn't it? We know

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that Sadiq Khan is very worried

about this because we had four

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stabbings in one night recently and

his plan is to significantly

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increase stop and search. It is seen

as quite controversial because of

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how it affects communities, but I

think the judgment is now coming

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from the police that it does need to

be done if they are going to tackle

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this, because they think it is very

effective. And therefore you will

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see more things like body cameras so

you can attest to the fact this is

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not being done in a manner which

could be accused of being racist or

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other intentions.

OK, it is the

Oscars, of course. Very exciting.

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Gary Oldman, the great British hope.

His pictures are plastered over a

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lot of the front pages. Are you an

Oscar fan?

A Gary Oldman fan? I

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can't say I have ever stayed up to

watch it but what I find astonishing

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is that he is a huge favourite to

win an Oscar, which is about 95%

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chance implied that he is going to

win it. Obviously the odds are

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begged the way the betting is going,

but that seems to me. An

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extraordinary set of odds to be

giving on something like that

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because we do not know how the votes

are tallied up. I think it is

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interesting from that perspective

alone.

I suppose in some years there

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is more competition among the male

leads and maybe this year he is the

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dominant one. Whereas in the best

actress category, there is more

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competition.

Yes, I think there is

more room for surprise. I think if

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you back a pound on Gary Oldman, you

get a 4p return. I have seen a film

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I thought was very good.

Very good

or amazing?

Very good. I rarely go

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to the cinema but I went to the

cinema for that and it was good.

Did

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you believe the story quite up

because people talk about Churchill

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and the prostatic sand whatnot.

I

would say it was up from the Crown,

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that is my level of expertise.

I saw

shape of the water, which everybody

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gets very excited about, but I just

couldn't get into it. Then, have you

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had any movie favourites you would

be voting for?

I saw Dunkirk, which

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I thought was excellent, but some of

the critics saying it was not a

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documentary, why wasn't this in it,

why wasn't that in it, but I think

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that is misinterpreting what it was

about.

I think it is good to see

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that British talent, be it acting,

technical talent, is still there at

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the Oscars.

Definitely, and I think

that makes it more fun to watch.

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Like the World Cup, we are reaching

for the British.

Yes, and hopefully

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Gary Oldman will deliver. All we

will be gutted.

Now, this is about

0:17:020:17:13

Easter trees.

If this replicating the idea of

0:17:130:17:15

Christmas trees?

When I heard about

this story, I thought it sounded

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awful, like going to get a Christmas

tree again but four is Detry. Then I

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realise it is something we do at

home, get a branch and hang some

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decorations on it. It's a nice

little ornament on the table.

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Essentially what the story is is

trying to push this as a concept,

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because they have got a quote from

John Lewis and they are talking

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about Liddell and algae, so they are

trying to get people to get into

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this.

There is always the commercial

aspect in these areas.

I think we

0:17:470:17:56

are getting more into arts and

crafts as a nation, but it is

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becoming more commercial now and you

can buy baubles with chicks inside

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them and whatnot but I think you

could do it more cheaply at home.

It

0:18:050:18:10

is interesting, because the seasonal

trappings have just been out for

0:18:100:18:14

ever but a lot of the Christmas

traditions only go back to Victorian

0:18:140:18:18

times. So you can invent them.

Yes,

Charles Dickens invented it, didn't

0:18:180:18:24

he? With the Christmas trees, plum

pudding and Turkey. We have to

0:18:240:18:29

understand that a lot of our

traditions are invented and

0:18:290:18:32

commercial companies do play a role

in shaping the way we see things.

0:18:320:18:37

Maybe we will be the generation that

invented Easter trees. Anyway, thank

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you very much, both of you. I hope

to see you again very soon. But Katy

0:18:410:18:48

and then, thank you very much

indeed. Don't forget, you can see

0:18:480:18:53

the front pages of the papers on our

website seven days a week. And if

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you happen to miss the programme any

evening in the week, you can was

0:18:590:19:02

watch it later on BBC iD there. Our

thanks again to Katy and then, but

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for now, goodbye from us.

0:19:080:19:10

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