Andrew Neil reviews the political week with Michael Portillo, Alan Johnson and Miranda Green, with a film rounding up the headlines from Isabel Hardman.
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Political Big Brother is back. Yes,
it's Dave four in the Downing Street
house, and confusion reigns. Has
anyone been evicted?
I can't believe
Michael Gove wouldn't move, and what
about Justine having to go, it's
Did public opinion or
mob rule leads to Toby Young's
decision to quit his new job.
Stanley Johnson is in our happy
Has anyone got wifi login?
the Diary Room, James Delingpole has
been confessing Truelove, but for
President Trump is amazing. I
want him to stay forever in the Big
Will anyone walk out
when we pump up the volume?
hope Andrew walks out.
evict on This Week.
Welcome to This Week.
And the more astute among
you who were not in a permanent
Blue Nun haze over the festive
season, will have noticed
that a loser lickspittle
of the mainstream media has just
published a farrago of lies
and inventions about me.
Since I'm better with
pictures than words,
I had to have the wife
read it to me.
This seemed to give her
an inordinate pleasure,
which somewhat baffled me,
as did the thick east
After all, the book makes
me out to be thicker
than Jack Thick McThick the year
he won the Thick Man
of the Year Competition,
also claiming I'm a sandwich short
of a picnic and two
stairs short of an attic.
But how is this double-shuffling,
of a journalist in a position
to say that?
He's only known me since
we were in primary school together
and he's only been beside me every
waking hour for the past year.
Come to think of it,
he did spend some nights
at the bottom of the bed too.
Even so, he doesn't know me the way
the people know me and you know I'm
so smart I'm bordering on genius.
In fact, strike the word bordering.
Or I'll build a wall.
Anyway, I called my Britisher
friend Mother Theresa,
who's always ready to hold my hand
when fake news surrounds me.
She said not to trust the This Week
team, who've clearly spoken
bigly to this loser,
loser, loser of an author,
who I've never met, and to announce
an immediate reshuffle of the team,
including some public sackings.
Then to make absolutely
no changes whatsoever.
That will baffle everybody,
said Mother Theresa.
It worked for me, she added.
So I did.
And she's right.
Nobody has a clue what I'm doing.
Not even me.
If that's not genius
I don't know what is.
Speaking of those to
whom the appellation "literary
giant" has never been applied, I'm
joined on the sofa tonight by one
man who's written so many books
about himself that there's nothing
left to say for any biographer.
And another to whom only
a particularly deranged
biographer would be attracted.
Which explains why his
Boswell is Michael Gove.
I speak, of course, of
Michael #sadmanonatrain Portillo
and Alan #sadmanontheleft Johnson.
Happy new year. Great to see you
back. Your moment of the week?
Whatever frightful things Toby Young
might have said, I was upset to see
him driven out by an online mob, an
online witchhunt, an online sale. I
don't think it was really because of
the things he said. I think it was a
partisan operation because there was
no similar operation about John
McDonnell and the very bad things he
has said about Esther McVey. I was
equally upset that Virgin Trains has
banned the Daily Mail. I dislike the
Daily Mail intensely and have
campaigned against it.
Campaign that it should not
influence the Tory party too much. I
just think every day we are moving
towards a world which is less
diverse, less tolerant, less just,
actually less safe, to use that word
much used by the left, because it is
very, very important that we should
not be allowed to ostracise people
and things of which we disapprove.
That is a clear moment. Yours?
Cressida Dick, the fairly new
Commissioner of the Metropolitan
Police, continues to impress me. She
told the London authority last week
that we should treat knife crime,
which is an epidemic, as a public
health issue. There was press
coverage but there was puzzlement at
what she meant. She meant this is
something where the NHS, social
services and education should work
together to prevent, as well as the
sentencing and all that, stop and
search, they should work together to
prevent it. Three young men in
London were knifed to death on New
Year's Eve. That made 80 in London
for the year. That is a 30%
increase. In the rest of Britain
there were 35. There were none in
Scotland. Scotland introduced this,
treating knife crime is a public
health issue, in 2005. In Glasgow,
one of what used to be the most
dangerous places, not a single knife
death last year. I am glad Cressida
Dick is leading on this, but we do
not -- if we do not learn from the
Scottish experience, we will have
more of these statistics.
excellent moments, a good start. You
are not the first person who has
said they are impressed by the new
chief of police in London. As a
former Home Secretary, what you say
carries some weight on that.
"In Defence of Trump".
Not words you hear every day,
especially on this side of Atlantic.
The default mainstream position
towards the President
is a combination of despair,
horror and grim, even
Just when you think things can't
get any more farcical,
he tells us of his genius
and boasts about the size
of his nuclear button.
But he's still there,
the US economy is growing fast,
the stock market is at an all-time
high and unemployment
at modern record lows.
He's managed the first major tax
reform since Reagan and even
North Korea's Rocket Man
is now inclined to talk.
So are we overdoing
the anti-Trump hysteria?
Are we suckers for the Trump circus
while ignoring the substance?
Is there any substance?
Here's journalist James Delingpole
with his Take of the Week.
He's a laughing stock.
His hair is a mess.
No, it's a wig.
He can't string a sentence together,
yet we can't stop quoting him.
Somehow, though, this clown
managed to become President
of the United States.
Let's cut the crap.
Donald Trump is amazing.
The US economy is going gangbusters.
The Dow is soaring.
Growth is over 3%.
Hourly wages are 2.5% higher
than this time last year.
Unemployment for African Americans
is at record lows.
And after Trump's sweeping tax
reforms, something that lesser
Republicans have been trying
and failing to achieve for years,
we can expect massive growth ahead.
And because he's so frank
and fearless, he's even dared
to take on the green crazies.
He's brushed off all their
and told it like it is.
Global warming is just an excuse
to bomb the global economy
back to the dark ages.
Au revoir, Paris climate accord.
Hello, freedom, scientific
integrity and prosperity.
President Trump is on a mission
to make the world great again.
He's crushed Isis, he's blown
the Middle East peace
process back on course.
And, as the President
of South Korea said this week,
he deserves big credit for bringing
North and South Korea back
to the negotiating table.
So is President Donald
Trump really an idiot?
Well, if he is, he's the luckiest
idiot in presidential history.
Our thanks to Porter's
Barbers in East Dulwich.
We promise not to send
Donald Trump there again!
The hair-raising James
Delingpole joins me now.
If Mr Trump is doing better than
most of us think on this side of the
Atlantic, and actually doing really
well in your view in so many fields,
why are his personal ratings so bad
Do you know what, I
don't care what his personal ratings
are doing. I care about what he is
achieving so far. It seems possible
that he is going to achieve
something no President has
achieved... They have been trying to
achieve it for years, bringing about
peace in the Middle East. He has
been negotiating with Israel and
Saudi Arabia and it looks like his
policies are helping the revolution
in Iran as well.
We are in the
foothills of any new peace process.
I totally agree, this is the
beginning. In the same way with
North and South Korea. He got so
much stick for his alleged
warmongering gestures towards North
If he is bringing peace on
Earth, Utopia to the American
economy, our money where there was
once discord, why at this stage in
his presidency does he have lower
ratings among the American people
than any recent President at this
stage in the cycle?
Maybe it is
because if you want to get stuff
done, you have to be prepared to be
disliked. Think about Margaret
Thatcher. She was very divisive,
wasn't she, but she got stuff done?
Trump is a Marmite character. Some
people, for example, think his use
of Twitter is inappropriate for a
President, but my god it is
Are we in danger, on both
sides of the Atlantic in the
political classes and the media, of
concentrating too much on the froth,
the Twitter, the histrionics of the
Trump presidency, and ignoring the
Yes, probably. Because
every time there is a reaction
against Trump, core support, which
have elected him because of his role
as an outsider. There is a
resemblance to Corbyn in that
respect, that this is someone who
breaks all the rules and is
different, etc. Then the Liberal
elite, which would be all of us, I
Not James. Pre-1.
we throw rocks at him, the better he
looks. But what you have to look at
is what has he actually done? What
has been his contribution to the
upsurge in the American economy?
What has he introduced? He has not
introduced the wall. He has not been
able to ban Muslims, which he said
he would do. There is a projection
from the previous presidency as
well. These things did not start on
January one, and the world economy
has improved, the EU economy has
improved. When the world economy
picks up, the US economy picks up.
love hearing you criticise him for
not building the wall.
What I mean
is his campaign promises, campaign
He gave an interview today
which has just come out. He is still
talking about the wall and he is
saying he is going to renegotiate
the Nafta deal, the free trade deal
with Mexico and Canada and America
will be quids Inn and that will pay
for the wall, so it has not gone
Lets see if he achieves
The US economy is growing
quickly, gathering speed since last
year. As James says, unemployment
among American blacks is now about
8% and falling. It has not been 8%
four years and years and years. I
had not realised until I saw that.
The stock market is soaring. All
that will probably matter more to
his tweets that we in the media seem
to be obsessed with.
I am surprised
James did not give this answer to
your previous question. The personal
ratings are emitted a real because
he will face re-election in about
three years. If the American economy
is going like this at them moment,
and if it is having this impact on
unemployment at the moment, and if
it has an impact on real standards
of living, then all of those things
are likely to add up to President
Trump being re-elected, if that is
what he chooses. I am not at all
sure he will choose to be a
He will if he thinks he
There is also a possibility
that he will fall along the wayside
for one reason or another. I want to
pay tribute to James, because
whenever there is a Republican in
the White House, the British media
falls into extraordinary laziness.
They simply dismiss as moronic
everything that any Republican
President says. This was true of
both the Bush presidents, true of
Reagan, and it is lazy journalism.
One has to try to understand
American presidents in the context
of the American people. You have to
understand why this person was
Do you accept that many on
the wane -- on the mainstream right,
forget the left-wing critics, and
even centre left liberals, but many
on the mainstream right, when
mainstream Republicans required Mr
Trump is unfit to be president?
and I think they are part of the
problem. This is why what Trump is
achieved is remarkable. It isn't
just fighting the Democrats but the
GOP, is own party. He is fighting
the media. But I totally agree with
your point about Ronald Reagan. I
was at school when Ronald Reagan
became president. I vividly remember
how everyone said he was a dumb
cowboy, how he was unfit to be
president, all the same thing. I
think Trump will be recognised as
one of the great presidents.
is kind of over egging his
achievements, because there haven't
been any, because the tax reform is
there. You can be for or against it,
but is the biggest tax reform since
Reagan. On foreign policy, despite
all of the Gloucester and the rocket
man, he said in the Wall Street
Journal tonight that he has actually
got a good relationship with Kim
Jong-un in North Korea. And that he
encouraged North Korea to come to
the Winter Olympics in South Korea.
Again, it makes me wonder, because
you can see things that Mr Trump
says, and you shake your head in
disbelief that this is coming out of
the White House in the greatest and
biggest democracy in the world but,
when you look at the actual policy,
North Korea is going to the South
Korea Olympics, and they are going
to march into ever, iron told, and
unlike Mr bush or other previous
presidents, he hasn't declared war
and invaded anywhere else.
want to give him credit for what Tim
Jonny Hill has done -- Kim Jong-un
has done, it changed the election in
South Korea where someone the --
suddenly there was a president keen
to establish a relationship with
North Korea, and you could argue
that Kim Jong-il -- Kim Jong-un has
been strengthened by Trump's
blustered and now feels able to the
next stage. If you look at what he
has done the climate change
agreement, which he might opt back
into, with the Iran deal, the
nuclear deal, which I think is very
important, and all the do...
backed the Iranian demonstrators,
which only hasn't done,.
talking about Trump, not coping at
the moment. In terms of his
interventions, to pull out of that
Iranian deal, on all of those
fronts, and on the Middle East, I'm
afraid he could have the best peace
plan in the world but, if America is
seen as being suddenly partial
rather than impartial, they are not
going to be able to bring the sides
It's always known to be
pro-Israel, under Democrat and
But the Senate wanted to
be the honest brokers.
get worried, Michael, when there is
a president who seems, he is, the
most powerful in the world, running
the most powerful country, in one of
the most taxing jobs known to man or
woman, and he seems to spend most of
his time watching television and
tweeting about it.
gorilla channel. Read the book.
find that worrying, but I think one
of the things that the Michael Wolff
book says to me is that the first
year was characterised by
pandemonium, in which a very large
number of unsuitable people were in
the White House, mainly making war
with each other. And most of those
people, including Steve Bannon, have
fallen by the wayside. And now the
government appears to be run mainly
by rather good generals as opposed
to the rather bad general he had to
begin with. And therefore I suspect
that, whatever Trump may be saying,
the government is now in rather
better hands than it was six months
Would he be fatally wounded
with a bad election result in the
crucial midterms in November? Reed
what do you think is going to
happen? You could lose the house and
get in the Senate is narrow. In the
house, that would open the door to
He is fighting tooth
and nail to preserve this
presidency. And I'm afraid this is
how the left roles in America, as in
Britain. They don't like the fact
that they've got Trump, a
Conservative Trump president in
power. They will do everything to
unseat him, even if it means using
the legal system.
don't think he is a conservative. Do
you think he will run again?
he will if he is winning, and I
think he will be at the of a second
A different point of view from
what we normally hear, not right or
wrong, but it's different, and we
like that. Thank you.
Now it's late -
Barack and Dave late.
Except that it's now being claimed
that the bromance between our former
PM and America's former
President was a sham.
Is nothing sacred these days?
It's even claimed that Call-Me-Dave
thought Barack one of the "most
narcissistic and self-absorbed
people" he'd ever met.
And he was at Eton
with Boris Johnson!
But the words come from Mr Cameron's
very own former Mr Blue Sky Thinker,
Steve Hilton, who has a TV show
to fill in America and scores
to settle with his former boss.
Call-Me-Dave's spinners are putting
it about that Blue Sky Steve
is the real narcissist.
When pals fall out, eh?
Of course, my little joke
about Boris has no basis in fact.
It is well known across the length
and breadth of the land
that there are no egos
or self-obsession anywhere
in the Johnson clan,
which is why we've invited his shy,
self-effacing dad Stanley to put
Twitter in the Spotlight.
And talking of anti-social media
you can of course, if you must,
contact us on the Tweeter,
the Fleecebook and
good old SnapNumpty.
But we never look at any of it
and our Spectrum 500
is on permanent delete mode.
So why not do yourself a favour
and make it a New Year's resolution
to give up your cyber-whining and
British actor Gary Oldman picked up
a Golden Globe in Hollywood this
week for his portrayal
of Winston Churchill in
the new feature film Darkest Hour.
I'm told they're now
working on Darkest Hour 2,
the story of a MayBot that
mysteriously became Prime Minister
and was immediately pitched
into a series of gargantuan
struggles - from a failed election
campaign and a brutal Brexit
to a reshuffle shambles and a crisis
in the NHS.
Challenges that would surely
have done for any human.
But clearly machines are made
of sterner stuff, and as we speak
tonight it's still fighting
on all fronts.
Here's Isabel Hardman
with the latest dispatch
from the war zone.
Parliament was back this week
and the PM returned to the fray full
of the Dunkirk spirit,
ready to relaunch her
government with a reshuffle.
Who's in and who's out?
The trouble is, it didn't seem
to be entirely up to her.
She couldn't tinker
with the top jobs, obviously.
But, hey, there were still plenty
of important roles to be filled,
like the role of party chairman.
Oh, no, sorry.
And there were big changes afoot
at Health and Business.
Oh, no, they refused to move.
But she moved Justine Greening
from Education to...
Oh, no, wait...
V for virtually the same?
The Prime Minister has
balanced it very well.
We've got some stability at Cabinet
level and we've got some new blood
coming through into the other layers
of government, so I think
the balancing act she's got right.
As if Cabinet colleagues aren't bad
enough, someone else the PM can't
get rid of is Nigel Farage.
Nigel feels that the Brexit
negotiations aren't holding
up to the Leave vote.
So he headed to Brussels for some
with Michel Barnier.
Did you bring him a present?
We're not going through all that,
though football shirts,
nothing like that.
I don't expect anything in return.
What I have brought him are some
questions that have come
from 17.4 million people,
a small sample of them, I agree,
and there's just this feeling
that the 17.4 million voted
for border controls, did not vote
for a transitional deal,
and that their view to date has not
been represented yet.
One way of dealing with the noisy
Brexiteers is to keep them busy,
preferably for the next 25 years.
The Prime Minister has
recycled Michael Gove
as Environment Secretary,
and sent him forth with
the government's 25-year
plan on the environment,
saving the world one
plastic bag at a time.
It's already the case that we have
introduced a very successful charge,
which is the 5p charge
on plastic bags.
Your challenge and your premise is,
hey, Gove, you haven't done enough.
Meanwhile, after a huge public
outcry over the decision to release
prolific sex attacker John Worboys,
the newly appointed Justice
Secretary is considering
making parole board
hearings more transparent.
MPs expressed incredulity over
the decision to release
the black cab rapist early.
What happened to the concept
that the punishment
should fit the crime?
It is impossible for people
to understand how the board
could possibly have deemed this man
to be safe.
Would my right honourable
friend agree with me that,
unless and until the board explains,
publicly explains the rationale
behind the decision it took,
people can't possibly have
confidence in our
criminal justice system?
Watch This Week on the beaches,
watch it in the fields.
Never, never, never!
I think I've broken it.
This broadcasting is much
harder than it looks,
and you don't always get paid
as much as the men either.
This week, after another row
about pay equality at the BBC,
the Culture Secretary urged
the organisation to address the row.
This isn't just a matter
of levelling women's pay up,
it's a matter of pay equality.
Working for the BBC is public
service and a great privilege,
yet some men at the BBC are paid far
more than other equivalent
The BBC have begun to act,
and I welcome that, but more action,
much more action is needed.
Oh, time for another
NHS winter crisis.
Jeremy Hunt, who is, yes,
still the Health Secretary,
insisted that the health service
was well prepared for the winter,
but he did tell MPs that there
was a need for a longer-term
debate about funding.
We do need to look to find
a consensus for the next
stage for the NHS.
We will need significantly more
funding in the years ahead.
We need to build a national
consensus as to how we're
going to find that funding,
and my own view is that we should
try and do that for a 10-year period
or a five-year period.
At PMQs, Jeremy Corbyn attacked
Theresa May on the NHS,
accusing her of being too weak
to sack her Health Secretary.
Theresa May responded
to the criticism of tried and tested
Health Secretary with
tried and tested lines
on economic competence.
Tax cuts for the super rich and big
business, are paid for...
Yes, Mr Speaker.
They are paid for by longer waiting
lists, ambulance delays,
staff shortages and cuts
to social care.
is dragging our NHS down.
The Health Secretary,
during his occupation
of her office to keep his job,
said he won't abandon ship.
Isn't that an admission that,
under his captaincy,
the ship is indeed sinking?
This government is putting
more money into the
National Health Service.
We see more doctors in our NHS,
more nurses in our NHS,
more operations taking place
in our NHS.
The Labour Party's economic
policy was high risk.
Now, that means high risk
for taxpayers, high risk for jobs
and high risk for our NHS.
So, when This Week told me
they wanted to do a Churchillian
round-up, I was a bit worried.
Big shoes to fill and all that.
But, actually, it's not that hard.
Ms Hardman, you are drunk.
That may be true but,
in the morning, I will be sober.
It is the morning and you are
channelling the wrong Churchill.
Oh, no, no, no.
Thanks to the In and Out Club
in St James's, central London.
We can only apologise for Isabel.
You never should have let her in.
And the lovely Miranda
Green is with us now.
Welcome back and Happy New Year to
you. Was there any point to this
Well, it's hard
to discern what it was. It was
billed as a huge domestic policy
refresh, but all of the main
positions were left untouched. And
then there were these unseemly
castles with ministers who didn't
want to go, one of whom stays in
place, the Health Secretary.
Seemingly, this surprised me,
because if you're going to make a
big change like that, you sent out
the shoppers to have a quiet word
with them behind the scenes, if this
was to be suggested, and it may not
be, but he is saying that he knew
nothing about it until he went
Its peculiar, but
unfortunately if a sort of action
replay of the election, and exercise
supposed to real but -- to reassert
authority and backfires, not least
by the refusal of her ministers to
do what she says.
At the end of last
year, we were saying, Mrs May has
finished the year a little bit
better than she was, things are
coming together now, and the year
was barely a week old and we are in
the middle of the reshuffle
I agree it was adjudged to
be a shambles but the net effect on
the public might be the following,
that there are more women and ethnic
minorities brought into government
and that therefore the government is
trying to say something new to a
different group of people. And with
a great deal of emphasis today on
the environment, speaking of a 25
plan and so on, again I think the
government has been heard saying
something. I have often sat on this
sofa and said that the government is
saying nothing to anybody. This
week, it may have communicated
I would suggest the other
way of looking at it is that the
composition of the Cabinet has not
changed, and if anything it is a
little more traditional, the same
number of women, fewer comprehensive
kids, fewer non-Oxbridge types, the
racial make-up has not changed. And
for voters, what really happened is
that politicians most people have
not heard of have been replaced by
politicians nobody has heard of.
Supposing the result were that a new
dynamism was put into education
policy, a dynamism that we saw from
Michael Gove when he was in that
position and a dynamism that we see
from Michael Gove in his new
position at environment? That might
be very consequential, because
whether you believe what has been
written about Justine Greening today
or not, it is the case that
education policy was making no
impact on the public.
What is your
What Michael has described is
what Number Ten hoped this would do
for Theresa May. The public do not
take much notice of reshuffles,
particularly when they are so low
key. But it is another unforced
error. It is like Les Dawson playing
the piano. You know he is supposed
to be all right at this. If you are
having an inconsequential reshuffle,
why go on the Andrew Marr Show and
talk it up? Why did journalists
start putting out stuff like Hunt is
going to leave hell? And then you
get this! Central office, the Chris
Grayling tweet. This is what is in
the public's mine.
Michael! It is all really going
At 11:56am, Chris Grayling is
the chairman of the Tory party, and
at 11:59am he is not.
state of the government.
very confused. This attempt to
wrench energy and attention off
Brexit and onto these important
domestic agenda issues, it is
looking stumbling but it is
something they probably need to do
if they have any hope of winning the
next election. Since we think most
of the Tory party is resigned to
hanging onto Mrs May, then they have
got to try and form some sort of
We wondered after
the election, after the Tory
conference, remember that, another
triumph that you easily dismissed.
Going to Brussels without talking to
her DUP partners and having to come
The excellent reasons that
emerged during the course of last
year for keeping Mrs May, the
excellent reasons that emerged,
which were firstly that there was no
one else and secondly that there
would be a bloodbath to put someone
else in, those excellent reasons for
keeping her remain.
Were you not the
one who said she would be gone by
I did indeed.
with what you just said.
these reasons emerged during the
course of the year. Either way, on
this programme, luckily, we are not
paid results. No matter how often we
are wrong, we are back here. And I
can tell the licence payer -- the
licence fee payer, it does not
affect my fee.
There is a lot of
talk about this being a watershed
moment for the NHS. My instinct is
that it probably isn't, because the
instinct of politicians and the NHS
is just to stumble through another
Two things. First, the NHS
has always managed its budgets by
something called a waiting list.
They stopped operating in November.
And at the end of the financial
year, they would start again. When
the government, my government, put
in these performance measures
Michael was talking about, and put
them into the NHS Constitution, that
you are not going to delay, not
going to wait two years for a
cataract operation, as soon as that
happened, they could not use the
waiting list any more. And attention
you are seeing now, if we can't use
the waiting list and the money we
spend on pay, which has gone up by
4% per year since 1955, has now gone
up by 1.4% since 2010, eight, nation
of that and the terrible shortage of
nursing. Theresa May was saying we
have more nurses. For the first
time, the register of the National
nurses and midwives has gone down.
Since 2005, it has started to go
down and has been going down. There
is a deficit.
One in ten unfilled.
During the course of all the
apocalyptic pronouncements that were
made today by the providers' bodies,
one of the things they said was that
the situation was the turning point,
the worst it has been for 15 years.
Guess who was in power 15 years ago.
I am not making a partisan point,
but one of the great annual
traditions of the British people is
that in the winter the NHS comes out
and moans about needing more money.
Sometimes the government gives it
more, sometimes it doesn't. There is
nothing new about this whatsoever.
The thing that is a bit depressing
as we go through this again is that
on both front benches there is no
appetite for any kind of real reform
of the NHS any more. It is down to
an argument just about money, isn't
It is, except for this idea of
the way that the NHS and social care
fit together. What has happened in
recent years is the NHS has borne
the brunt of the local government
cuts and social care. Bed blocking
and people being sent into the
health system who could be cared for
elsewhere, because austerities was
imposed much more stringently on
local government. You have to look
at the two together or you can't
help the health service. If that is
on the agenda, and it would bring
England into alignment with the rest
of the UK, and there is quite a lot
of cross-party consensus on it, so
maybe that will bring the NHS
through this crisis. But it does
need more money. We have an ageing
population, more expensive,
Health Secretary ten years ago. The
policy on social care has always
rested with the NHS. The money is
with local government.
You need Alan
Johnson to tell us what the truth
is. But we also need Miranda. Thank
you. Michael Portillo, not so much.
Social media like Twitter
were originally seen
as a democratic advance,
giving everybody, not just
politicians, the media
and the powerful a voice
in our public discourse.
And it still fulfils that role.
But it's also been a voice for some
of the darker forces in our society.
And for those on the wrong end
of a Twitter mob, it's become
a modern-day inquisition.
In the pre-digital age,
what you said usually disappeared
into the mists of time,
unless you were a public figure.
Now it's forever recorded
for posterity to resurrect even
when you've moved on,
as Toby Young found out to his cost.
Is this healthy disclosure
Or are we creating a climate
in which anybody who aspires
to public life would be well advised
to remain studiously anodyne?
which is why we're putting
Twitter in the spotlight.
Toby Young alienated enough people
with his own tweets this week,
he ended up losing his job.
images of refugees.
He talks about women's breasts
constantly on Twitter.
About their knockers, their breasts,
their boobs, on and on.
So, in the age of the inter-web,
is the past no longer
a foreign country?
What do we all think
about Meghan Markle?
I think she's trouble.
Why do you think she's trouble?
Well, Ann, Meghan Markle's
not taking any risks.
She's deactivating the Tweeter,
Instagranny and the Fleecebook -
as has Lewis Hamilton.
But don't worry, Twitter ain't
going to force very stable genius
Donald Trump to log off.
There is a public interest
in people seeing what elected
world leaders are saying.
Let's bear in mind that this
is the elected leader
of the biggest power in the world.
But is social media
It's everyone's responsibility
to stand up and make change,
so that's why I'm wearing it.
Maybe not when it's
used amid allegations
of sexual harassment.
You got criticised for wearing that.
Do you know why?
The things that I heard that went
on Twitter are not accurate.
So should we like and re-tweet
everything we read?
Chris Grayling is to be
the new party chairman.
Well, not if it comes
from the Conservative Party's
Twitter account on the day
of a Cabinet reshuffle.
We are going to go back
to Downing Street.
Chris Grayling hasn't been confirmed
as Conservative Party chairman.
Not much more than
What absolute nonsense!
Believe it or not, septuagenarian
and jungle giant Stanley Johnson's
got thousands of followers
on social media.
But is it a force for good or bad?
And Stanley is with us now.
Welcome back. Are we in an age in
which Twitter has become a kind of
I am incredibly
intrigued by this because I went
into the jungle, not actually a
jungle but a jolly nice forest. I
went in and as far as I knew I only
had four followers, my siblings. I
came out and found there were 17,500
followers on Twitter and 140,000 on
Instagram. I didn't know about
Twitter or Instagram. But now I am
beginning to feel my way a bit. It
You are a new kid
on the block on this. Others like
Toby Young, who have been using it
for a long while, sometimes not
wisely, find that it comes back to
haunt them big time.
That is the
moral of the story. Just to go back
half a second to this jungle thing.
One thing that was made absolutely
clear to me, you are on 24 hours a
day, on-air and being filmed. I
think you have to treat social media
in the same context. If you don't
want to be overheard saying
something, don't say it on social
You may have got that, a man
of maturity and experience, but if
you are 17 you are not going to
think that, are you? Just like at 17
you do not think about building a
pension, the last thing on your
mind, 17, 18, 19. You don't really
think that 12 years down the road,
when I apply for this job
You raise a good point.
Is there a statute of limitations?
Do you go back and say, you can't go
back more than seven years? I used
to know Toby Young when he shared
digs with my daughter at Oxford. He
wrote some pretty nasty stuff.
People have dug it up. My son, Joe,
defended him for 40 minutes House of
Commons. He got a brilliant defence
from him and the next morning Toby
Young resign, so there is no
gratitude in politics.
You never joined Twitter.
tweet because I drink. I don't think
you should drink and tweet, and I am
not prepared to give up drinking.
You are wise beyond your years!
that -- is that not the problem a
lot of people are falling into? A
lot of these tweets are late at
night and people have had a drink or
two. I am sure you have never
regretted anything that you tweet.
tend to tweet economic statistics.
The President of America tweets
later Mike and in the morning.
We have a couple of
hours in our time zone when he has
gone to bed but before he wakes up
when it is quiet and at 6am it is
East Coast time coming up to 11 and
all hell breaks loose. If you want
to cover him, you have to follow
him. What do you make of what is
happening on social media? Putting
aside Toby Young, which has been
done to death as a debate, but are
we holding, do the dangers we did
not foresee in all this?
I do not have anything to do with it
and I never have. I am probably the
last generation of politicians who
can get away with that, Michael and
I. Now, I see politicians who find
it very difficult if their
politicians are not able to follow
them on Twitter. Therefore, they get
involved. It is a medium which is
good in many ways, but a medium for
bullying. That is what worries me.
Younger people in particular.
is my second reason for not doing
it. I don't want to read stuff about
Look at what happened today.
There was a report out in America,
Russian involvement in the Brexit
referendum, largely activated
through Twitter. All of these troll
farms. There is a downside.
is, and I'm glad we have raised it
and I am glad we got you back in one
I haven't then shunned my
book. It is my book about how the
Russians fixed Brexit.
But it is
It is truth.
And that's your lot
for tonight, folks.
Wardrobe by Army Surplus, studio
courtesy of the London Dungeon,
transport provided by
Chris Grayling's minicab,
online research by Damian Green,
failed reshuffling of the cast
by Theresa May, and
scripts written by...
Yes, contrary to popular belief,
there is a script for this show,
but nobody will own up to it.
All complaints to the Director
General, c/o The Presidential Suite,
the Four Seasons Hotel,
Don't bother contacting us.
We're off to Lou Lou's
to celebrate our 15th birthday.
Yes, this show was launched
in January 2003, when Alan Johnson
had a burgeoning political career
and Diane Abbott didn't,
and Choo Choo thought
Trainspotting was a film rather
than a career choice.
If we can find any friends
or viewers or money, we might throw
a proper party in a few weeks' time.
Watch this space and you
might get an invite.
Nighty-night, don't let
Choo Choo's latest hobby bite.
Bravo. What's it all about?
Fertility rites and things like
that, you see.
No. I'll give it a
go. Hello, do you mind if I step in.
Andrew Neil reviews the political week with Michael Portillo, Alan Johnson and Miranda Green, with a film rounding up the headlines from Isabel Hardman.
The studio guests are James Delingpole looking at the Trump presidency, while Stanley Johnson will offer his social media advice.