Andrew Neil reviews the political week with Michael Portillo and Caroline Flint, with a film from Viv Groskop. The studio guests are Slavoj Zizek and Phill Jupitus.
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Tonight on This Week,
thank God for Wonder Woman.
# All the world is waiting for
you and the power you possess...#
She's the only one who can
save this excuse for a TV
show from going under.
Only a woman can sort out the mess
that is This Week, but don't
worry, Andrew, I've got this week's
political roundup fired up and
ready to go.
But what about Europe?
And I don't mean Brexit.
Why is the centre in meltdown
across the Continent?
Why is the centre left in meltdown
across the Continent?
I'm not sure anyone can
save the European left.
Not even Wonder Woman.
Now, where did I put
my superhero powers?
And can, or should,
anyone save us from
These bubbles, they
are very old media, a
bit like This Week.
We've got the internet now.
I think we'll leave it to the women.
Welcome to This Week,
a week in which the evidence mounted
that the Russian state
or its surrogates had indeed
attempted to assassinate a former
Russian spy now living in Salisbury,
jeopardising the lives
of his daughter and a British
bobby in the process.
The British reaction
was to stop Prince William
from going to the World Cup.
Sources tell me this alone has
reduced President Putin
to a quivering wreck.
He's refusing to leave his bedroom
and the white flag could soon be
flying over the Kremlin.
That'll teach him.
Don't mess with the Brits.
Or you won't get to meet
Meghan Markle next.
Back in Blighty, the Maybot had
a visit from her new best friend,
the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia.
The British are keen to portray him
as a moderniser, which is only fair.
As long as you don't
mind him turning Yemen
into the Saudi's Vietnam,
with attendant atrocities
and humanitarian disasters
and reports that beheadings
in his kingdom have doubled
since he was designated reforming
heir apparent last June.
I suppose it depends
what you mean by reform.
Some of Jezza's soulmates
on the Labour left boasted
that they had joined the protests
against his visit.
Strangely, I've yet to see them
outside the Russian,
Syrian or Iranian embassies.
But we all know they've committed no
atrocities in battle and all three
are exemplary when it comes
to human rights.
Or maybe I just missed them and
they're outside the embassies now.
In Brussels, Michel Barnier,
the Commission's chief Brexit
negotiator, revealed the EU's
for the next round of talks.
After a year of warning the Brits
that they could not cherry pick,
he proceeded to cherry pick
with a gusto that matched
Jack Cherry McCherrypicker,
the year he won the Cherry Picker
of the Year competition.
Even some of the British media
realised it was just
a bargaining position.
Speaking of those you wouldn't pick
to wash your socks, much less pick
and peel your cherries,
I'm joined on the sofa tonight
by two veterans of Cold War spying,
without whose services this country
would be a much safer place.
I speak, of course,
of Michael #choochoo Portillo
and Caroline #twinkletoes Flint.
Welcome. Your moment of the week?
Surrounded by steelworkers,
President of Donald Trump put
tariffs on imports of steel into the
United States, fulfilling a very
important pledge he had made to the
rust belt in the United States. Some
people immediately said this is bad
news for Brexit because we were
counting on making free trade deals
with the United States, which has
gone into protectionist mode. But
Donald Trump was denounced by Donald
Tusk, President of the European
Council, for putting on tariffs.
That is significant because tariffs
are the wrong thing to do, of
course, although the European Union
shelters behind tariffs inside its
customs union and single market. But
I think it will be hard for the
European Union to end up in a
situation where it applies tariffs
to the UK when it has so evidently
committed itself against tariffs
being applied by the United States.
Another factor in the grand Brexit
My moment was
when my adult daughter and I joined
women for the March for women up to
Trafalgar Square, following the
route of suffragettes some 100 odd
years ago. It was special because it
was my daughter, but also it was the
first march I have not been
responsible for dragging my daughter
onto. It was her choice this time.
And it was quite a nice moment.
The Great Financial Crash of 2008
was a genuine crisis of capitalism.
Caused by cavalier capitalists
in banking and finance,
its painful consequences
were inflicted across the board
on plain folk who'd done nothing
to deserve being its victims.
So who would have thought,
a decade later, that the main
political casualty of the crash
would be not the mainstream right,
home of politicians most
associated with capitalism,
markets and deregulation,
but the mainstream left?
Yet almost everywhere
we look across Europe,
traditional social democratic
parties are in ragged retreat,
some facing extinction.
Reduced to a rump in Greece,
France and Holland.
Their worst result for
70 years in Germany.
Marginalised in Italy.
Struggling even in social
democracy's Scandinavian heartlands.
And it's not just
a Continental thing.
In Britain, Labour's social
democrats have had to cede power
to leadership of a more Marxist hue.
In America, the centre-left
Democrats couldn't even beat
Donald Trump, the epitome
of buccaneering capitalism.
So what's going on here?
We turned to Slovenian philosopher
extraordinaire, Slavoj Zizek.
This is his Take of the Week.
I'm Chef Slavoj, here to introduce
you to my Italian kitchen.
you to my Italian kitchen. Today,
capitalism is clearly entering its
final crisis. This is not a leftist
nightmare or dream. Long progressive
corporate figures like Elon musk and
Bill Gates know it. But there is no
organised left to offer a viable or
turn to, or a vision of life after
capitalism. So all we get is just a
protracted decay. The great German
thinker Walter Benjamin said, in
thinker Walter Benjamin said, in the
1930s, that every rise of fascism is
the sign of a failed revolution. And
I think this holds today more than
ever. The radical left proved its
inability in Greece, where the
government ended up as the most
faithful enabler of the austerities
policies. The latest election
results in Italy, as well as the
fragile coalition in Germany, also
demonstrate that the moderate social
Democratic left is just gradually
flattening. Now, a new opposition is
replacing the traditional polarity
of the moderate left and moderate
right. It's the opposition between
Liberal establishment and the
right-wing populism as a reaction to
it. The explosive rise of populism
all around Europe simply fills in
the void of the left's failure.
the void of the left's failure. We
are of us caught in a vicious cycle
which I think can be broken only by
a new, reinvented left, and
unfortunately we all know what lies
ahead in this new left will not
appear. A new authoritarian
capitalism which is now spreading
all around the globe, from Trump to
Putin, from Turkey to China.
Putin, from Turkey to China. Our
social muscles are already acting.
There are protests all around. But
will they reinvigorate our nerves, a
new leftist vision, or will they
remain just a blind contracting
Thanks to Divertimenti Cookery
School on the Brompton Road for use
of their beautiful kitchen.
We're sorry Slavoj forgot
to do the washing up.
But he is with us now. Welcome back.
Michael, listening to that, I still
didn't get an explanation, I don't
know whether you did, of why it is
the mainstream left that has taken a
hit since the financial crash,
rather than the mainstream right.
think both have taken a hit. Mrs
Merkel did pretty badly last German
election. Macron replaced a
right-wing party in France. That
party has virtually disappeared for
the time being. In Italy...
actually replaced the Socialists in
France, who took a much bigger hit.
Both sides took a hit, that is my
point. In Spain, the right is in
power at the moment but there are
now four main parties where there
used to be two. I do think it was
right to say that there is a
division between the populist right
and the elites, the Liberal elites.
That is because the Liberal elites
are distant, haughty, detached from
real people's issues. And one of the
main factors, which has illustrated
that aloofness, has been immigration
policy, where I think really the
left has had nothing to say. But
immigration has been, in the case of
Mrs Merkel, also extremely damaging
to the right. We have mentioned this
before. What we are seeing is a
breakdown of the old order in which
traditional parties of left and
right have suffered.
and right have suffered but
mainstream social Democrat parties
have suffered more. We have a
Conservative Prime Minister in
Britain, a centrist President in
France, we are going to have a
centre-right Chancellor in Germany.
None of the above applies to the
Social Democrats. Why?
fascinating. I can remember not long
after the crash being at a party of
European Socialists. I think there
was a sense among sister parties
that this would be a great moment.
And it didn't work out like that. If
you look at France, our sister party
vote in France is down to 6%, in
Holland it is 6%. I think the SPD in
Germany is 6%. Why is that
happening? I think it is a
combination of things. It is about
elites. There is an anti-elitism
coming from the far right, and
actually some of the more far left
parties that have emerged across
Europe. But again, I think it is
also about us, my sister party not
being able to provide the answers of
how to deal with globalisation, with
immigration, how do we deal with the
fact that there have been changes in
class identity as well? For all
those reasons and many more, we
haven't reaped the benefit of a
major collapse that was the
responsibility of the banks.
Social Democrats have failed and the
neo- Marxist left has failed, and
you give Greece as the example of
that, who is going to reinvent the
First, I am not saying it will
necessarily happen. Maybe it will
not. Again, as I said, in the short
film, the problem for me is that if
nothing happens we are caught in a
very sad, deadly cycle, where we are
all moving towards this, and this is
the saddest phenomenon to date, this
In what way is
Britain going towards that? You said
we are all moving, but Britain is
not, France is not, France is a
government renowned for moderation.
In Europe, we still hold it somehow.
But it is the European social
democracy as we are talking about.
Look at China, for the first time,
democracy as we like it in Europe is
You say that, that is the
dire consequence, but you cannot
tell us who will reinvent the left?
If it sounds strange, for someone
from the left, which I am, miracles
happen. Who would have thought in
the United States that something
like Bernie Sanders could have
He lost, but the
movement remained. He got it because
what we should mention, in what
sense, what Michael mentioned, some
kind of a strange class struggle is
coming back. I think the big event
in the United States was the speed
between Steve Bannon and Trump.
that is on the right. I'm trying to
get to the bottom of this widespread
retreat of social democracy. Social
democracy was at the heart of
rebuilding post-war Europe. Social
Democratic parties in Scandinavia.
But in your view,
if 50 Shades Of Left have failed,
why were the 51st work? And Bernie
Sanders was not reinventing the
left. Bernie Sanders was introducing
the left for the first time into
America. There was nothing new about
With both of you, the problem
not only of the mainstream liberal
centre, even of the left, it was
hidden away, avoiding certain issues
and so on. That was the scandal,
that the writer stole the popular
opinion a large extent. Let me
briefly answer your central
question. I think that the issues
that we are facing today, you can
even not call what I am expected to
happen the left...
But do you
understand, not just in this country
but across Europe, working class
people who traditionally would vote
for the sister parties of the Labour
Party in the UK, they moved away
from that to right-wing parties
because they felt, for one reason or
another, that Europe's inability to
get hold of immigration, some other
things we have seen in terms of the
refugee crisis, writ large, when
Angela Merkel announced...
Angela Merkel announced...
hear from Michael. We know what the
analysis is. Whether we go from
here? I put this to you, Caroline.
The one social Democratic Party, at
least from a social democratic
tradition, in Europe, the one social
Democratic Party, at least from a
social democratic tradition, in
Europe, that are still doing well,
is the British Labour Party. And
that is the one that has moved most
of the left.
Yes, you are right. But
I think part of that...
Isn't that a
Part of it is. What the
traditional voters like about what
Labour are saying is about tackling
some other things we didn't tackle
before about globalisation, about
how we have to have a rebalanced
economy, talking about how we
address some of the issues about the
fact that we have had, since the
crash, people's wages kept down,
there is a peel there. -- appeal. We
also had to talk about immigration.
Hold on, the French Socialists did
not move to the left, they did to
begin, but they moved back to the
centre and almost got wiped out. The
German social Democrats did not move
to the left and got the worst vote
since the 1940s. The Italians, they
moved in a Blairite direction and
they were marginalised. The lesson
is quite clear. It is not your
The contrast between Britain
and the rest of the European Union
would suggest to me that, in the
European Union, we have had a
trade-off between parties of the
left, that used to satisfy working
class voters, the working class vote
has now moved to the extreme right.
Some of it moved to the right in
this country as well, in the case of
Ukip. After Brexit, the question of
immigration appeared to be answered.
I'm not saying it was answered, but
it appeared to be, because Brexit
was the solution. Suddenly, the
right-wing party disappeared
altogether. I also take the view
that Labour is not going to win the
next election because it has moved
too far to the left. Just to make
one other point, you say where is
the revival of the left going to
come from? The revival of anything
can come from leadership. If you
have an outstanding personality,
Macron has done this to an extent,
he has emerged from nowhere and
taken over France.
From the centre?
From the centre. Angela Merkel's day
has come and gone. But there is an
astonishing lack of charismatic
leadership potential in Europe.
Trump, whatever you think of him, he
is a charismatic leader that came
from nowhere and has taken over.
think the problem is very big here.
I agree with both of you, there are
central issues of immigration. In
the politically correct left, you
are simply prohibited to mention
them. I know this, for my book
Against The Double Blackmail, the
suffering of the immigrant, I tried
to approach this. If you want to
solve this problem, first you should
not just play this for humanitarian
game, open our hearts and accept
them. Let's confront the real
problem of cultural differences and
so on and act pre-emptively. We are
tolerating the Civil War in Yemen
and so on, and this is the breeding
ground for a new wave of immigrants,
and so on, and so on. If this
doesn't change, it will have a point
as well. What I am saying is that
the left, the majority of the left,
like the European traditional social
Democrats, people feel it, they
really don't have a consistent clear
vision of what to do. It is a big
problem. It is not an easy problem.
What to do? Obviously the old state
socialism will not work. This
radical leftist dreams, of some
direct democracy, local councils,
no. I am here kind of as a state
philosopher. We will need to cope
with the economy and so on. A large
form of international coordination
to solve this problem and so on. I
am not talking about the
continuation of the same left. The
reason I have minimal hope is that,
sooner or later, this problem is
pressing honours, ecology,
immigration, international order,
financial chaos. -- pressing on
others. Even by genetics, who will
control it? Are we aware what is
happening in China, where the state
already has plans to coordinate the
bio genetics of the population to
keep them quiet? The only answer to
this is from what I call the left.
Nothing to do with the old communist
left or whatever. But I kind of
organised confronting of this. Just
We have to leave that
come on Chinese biological policy.
We don't have time to get into that.
Don't underestimate it.
I am still
trying to work out the future of
as we know it, something...
The British Labour Party...
do know that. Sorry, we have to move
on. We have other guests.
Emma Watson late.
Yes, the fragrant Hermione
of Harry Potter fame caused
a Twitter storm this week
over her Time's Up fake
tattoo, which she proudly
displayed at the Oscars.
The problem was that,
shock, horror, the artwork
on her arm was missing an apostrophe
before the "s".
The grammar police
went into a frenzy.
English teachers fainted.
Tattoo parlours went into lockdown
to escape public wrath.
I see a career opportunity.
I've offered my services
as a tattoo proof-reader.
Someone we feel sure is never short
of apostrophes and punctuation,
a master of pauses, clauses
and applauses, is comedian,
poet and podcaster Phill Jupitus,
who'll be putting grandstanding
in the Spotlight.
And if you'd like to get up to some
with your usual unfathomable musings
on the Tweeter, the Fleecebook,
and Snapnumpty, my strong
advice is, don't bother.
The world's oldest known message
in a bottle was found
washed up on a beach this
week, after 132 years.
That's about how long we'll take
to get round to your
social media drivelling.
French President Emmanuel Macron
is under attack from the usual
health police busybodies
for defending every French person's
right to drink wine twice a day,
at lunch and dinner.
That's our kinda president!
Though we understand
Jean Claude Juncker has been
on the phone to the Elysee Palace
from Brussels to complain
that he didn't include breakfast.
President Trump, on the other hand,
doesn't drink at all.
Maybe he's too busy tweeting.
Though this week he's
being surprisingly silent
on the suspected Russian involvement
in the attempted assassination
of a foreign agent who
sold secrets to MI6.
Now I wonder why that is.
Maybe his phone battery is dead.
Anyway, these are dark times,
when we're all in need of a hero.
So here's our very own Wonder Woman,
Viv Groskop, with her
roundup of the week.
This Week needs help.
We all know that.
I can't work miracles,
but let me see what I can do.
# Wonder Woman!
# Wonder Woman!
# All the world is waiting for you
# And the power you possess.
# In your satin tights,
fighting for your rights...
What a challenge I face.
I've got to sort out Brexit,
fix the housing situation
and, on top of all that,
This Week have put me in Michael's
favourite fancy dress outfit.
It's a good job I've got
I bet Theresa May wishes she had
some superpowers as she attempts
to push through Brexit
with a divided country and party.
That said, her big speech last week
was well received and she returned
to the House of Commons
with a surprising confidence.
We are close to agreement
on the terms of a time-limited
implimentation period to give
governments, businesses and citizens
on both sides time to prepare
for our new relationship.
And I am confident we can
resolve our remaining
differences in the days ahead.
Now we must focus on our
A new relationship that respects
the result of the referendum,
provides an enduring solution,
protects people's jobs and security,
is consistent with the kind
of country we want to be
and strengthens our union
of nations and people.
I sympathise with Theresa May.
Fighting the forces
of negativity is hard work.
And this week her European
friends revealed their lack
of optimism as they published
their draft negotiation guidelines.
Our agreement will not make trade
within the UK and the EU
frictionless or smoother.
It will make it more complicated
and costly than today for all of us.
This is the essence of Brexit.
A pick and mix approach
for a non-member state
is out of the question.
I wonder what it could mean?
Spreadsheet Phil made it clear
that the Government wants to protect
the city and could reject any trade
deal that doesn't include
We do not expect the same
relationship we have today
across all areas of activity
in financial services.
Trade-offs should be expected.
And the industry will change.
But we should ensure that the future
partnership strengthens European
stability and prosperity rather
than weakening it.
He's looking to a TTIP type deal.
You know, TTIP, after three years -
well - three and a half years
of negotiation, collapsed.
But, in addition to that,
what TTIP did, it actually took
powers away from Parliament and gave
it to corporate lawyers.
So, this flies in the face
of everything people voted
for in the referendum.
This is not the way to go.
# Wonder Woman!
# Get us out from
under, Wonder Woman!
The Saudi prince's visit
to the UK has caused
a few raised eyebrows.
It came as no surprise
in Westminster that Jeremy Corbyn,
a passionate critic of the regime,
used PMQs to make it clear
he thought it was wrong
to roll out the red carpet.
However, Theresa May successfully
maintained the party line.
Mr Speaker, it cannot be right
that her government is colluding
in what the United Nations says
is evidence of war crimes.
Will the Prime Minister
used her meeting today
Will the Prime Minister
use her meeting today
with the prince to halt the arms
supplies and demand an immediate
ceasefire in Yemen?
We are all concerned
about the appalling humanitarian
situation in Yemen, and the effect
it is having on people,
particularly affect it is having
on women and children.
When I went to Saudi Arabia
in December, I met with the crowned
prince, I raised with him to end
the need to open the port
of Hodeidah to humanitarian
and commercial supplies.
I am pleased to say that
Saudi Arabia and then did just that.
This vindicates the engagement
that we have with Saudi Arabia to be
able to sit down with them.
Is that Captain America,
the human pinnacle of perfection
I can see in the distance?
Oh, it's just clumsy old Boris.
And when the Foreign Secretary had
to address parliament
on the sensitive issue
of the poisoning of a former
Kremlin double agent,
he seemed unsure whether to go
for broke or exercise
While it would be wrong
to prejudge the investigation,
I can reassure the house that should
evidence emerged that implies
then Her Majesty's Government
will respond appropriately.
Russia, I'm afraid, is now
come in many respects,
a malign and disruptive force.
Thinking ahead to the World Cup
this July, this summer,
I think it will be very difficult
to imagine that UK representation
of that event could go
ahead in the normal way.
Where is my Lasso of Truth?
These people have been
used by the foreign media
for an anti-Russian campaign.
It is a traditional campaign,
the tradition is to make things up.
We can only see it as a provocation.
Whoops, I probably shouldn't have
done that, seeing as we need
all the bricks and mortar
we can get.
There was certainly no shortage
of these when the Prime Minister
delivered her warning to developers
not to restrict the housing
supply this week.
Now, where is that woman who looks
as if she's struck up a chimney?
Now, where is that woman who looks
as if she's stuck up a chimney?
But it's also time for builders
and developers to step
up and do their bit.
The bonuses paid to the heads
of some of our biggest developers
are based not on the number
of homes they built,
but on their profits or share price.
In a market where lower supply
equals higher prices,
that creates a perverse incentive,
one that does not encourage them
to build the homes we need.
# Wonder Woman!
Right, This Week.
I've completed my challenge.
I'm off to Loulou's to raise a toast
to International Women's Day.
Are you coming, Andrew and Michael?
Drinks are on you!
# Wonder Woman! #
Michael, Russia, if it is Russia or
its surrogates behind this event in
Salisbury. Do we have many options?
I don't think we have the many. I
don't want to join the blame against
Boris Johnson for not saying more at
the moment. It is striking this week
we discovered for sure that about a
year ago the half brother of the
North Korean leader was poisoned by
That was at the
Only after a year of
investigation which has proved
beyond any doubt that the North
Korean regime was responsible as the
United States taken action against
North Korea. The proper position for
the British is to say this needs to
be proved beyond doubt. I suppose it
is plausible that could be another
regime seeking to discredit the
Russian regime. The one comfort I
take from this is I ask what would
be the motive of the Russians to do
this. Revenge seems an insufficient
motive. It seems to me it is a very
public and the brutal attempt at the
execution of a former spy, with
complete disregard to public safety
and the safety of his family. In
fact, it seems members of his family
may have suffered the same fate. Why
has this been done? Think it is
possibly that the Russians are
sending a message to people who are
active in the field today. In other
words, it may be that Britain is
scoring some important successes
against Russian intelligence right
now, and it is intended to put
people on guard, whether they are
British agents, or Russians who have
been turned, that they will be
We can get you.
be pursued to death, and their
families will be annihilated as
well. That is not a cheerful
thought, but it makes me think
Britain must be scoring some
successes, for such a terrible
warning to be sent to us.
probably never know that. Caroline,
I agree with everything
Michael said, but if it is found to
be the case that this is a Russian
state-sponsored attempted murder,
maybe murder, if people don't
survive. Thankfully the police
officer seems to be doing better
today. Then we have to look at the
number of options. There are issues
around diplomatic ties, issues about
economic sanctions. I know there are
lots of people in London from Russia
who don't necessarily agree with
Putin, but there are also a number
of other situations where there may
be government officials who owned
properties or have assets here. We
should look at those. But I think it
is difficult, all this.
is difficult, all this. Because on
so many fronts Putin is laying out a
very clear narrative to his people
about what he is about and what he
thinks Russia should be about today.
We heard that in his speech about
nuclear weapons a few days ago.
Actually, part of it is, just what
do you do about the problem called
While we are both being
cautious, we have to recognise that
weakness is punished by the
They got away with
Completely. I have never
been satisfied that the death of
Boris Berezovsky was not suspicious.
He was found hanged. I was never
satisfied with the investigation
into that. We just had a decision by
the Olympic Committee that the
Russians will be readmitted to
sport, even though there has been
state-sponsored doping of their
athletes. If all we are ever going
to do is slap them on the wrist, we
can expect a very vigorous
continuance of their policy.
spot weakness and exploit it. Saudi
Arabia. Do we have an alternative to
With Saudi Arabia? We have
to engage with Saudi Arabia and it
is a complicated relationship.
Theresa May was right on Wednesday
when she said that our relationship
with them in terms of information
has probably helped save lives in
the UK but it is also a very
difficult relationship, because
there is no doubt the bombing
tactics they have taken in Yemen,
everybody would agree they have been
beyond what was necessary, to say
the least. As you said earlier,
there is a new crown prince. In
June, women will be able to drive
and there are other things happening
for women which I welcome, but there
have been double the number of
beheadings and since he has been in
charge and he is not a Democrat as
we would think of those things.
are in short supply in Saudi Arabia.
Well, exactly. They are having to
face out to the world because they
don't want to rely on oil any more.
70% of their population are under 30
and there are just not the jobs
there. So is there an opportunity to
speak some home truths but also take
advantage of the fact that they are
having to look out to the world more
than before, and he is up for that?
In doing so, there is an opportunity
to lay down some home truths about
what we believe is acceptable or
It is apparently a very special
relationship with Saudi Arabia. 18
Saudis were involved in killing 3000
people in New York City on 9/11 and
the response was to attack Iraq. I
think Saudi Arabia is responsible
for building mosques with the aim of
promoting Wahab Riaz throughout
Including in this country.
That is at least an indirect threat
to our security. And in the Balkans,
in Bosnia, for example. These things
not only go unpunished but actually
unremarked. Why is it such a special
relationship, because of the
intelligence, because we cannot
countenance the collapse of the
regime because of the chaos it would
create in an oil producing state,
and because of our relationship on
defence. So this is complicated.
Very briefly, the last Labour
government under Robin Cook 's
bowels to an ethical foreign policy.
It didn't go anywhere. But if you
are going to have an ethical foreign
policy as to be all embracing and
you would have to cut off not only
Saudi Arabia but a number of nations
in the Middle East, Russia, China,
which has the worst possible record
on the death penalty. If the death
penalty issue or criterion, you
would have to cut of the United
States as well.
Michel Barnier, his
negotiating position, what do you
make of it?
What is clear is that
for all the talk about cherrypicking
and what have you, at the end of the
day there will be cherrypicking,
both from the EU side and the UK
side. I do not think outside of the
EU, the Norway option, the Canada
option, all of that is about
cherrypicking to an extent, what
fits in to keep relationships
strong. And I do think that with
more detail now being talked about,
I think there is more of a sense of
urgency about how big the challenge
is. It's enormous. On trade, on the
Public Accounts Committee this week,
something like 800 trade agreements
we are tied to within the EU that we
will have to think about how we
negotiate them going forward. I
think, hopefully, and I hope this
sincerely, that we start seeing some
detail and get some sense that there
is some momentum for want of a
better word, behind this. But I
think there is a lot of talk on both
When you cut through the talk
and look at the positions, you can
see the makings of a deal.
always thought that. When you
referred to cherrypicking at the
beginning of the programme, from the
EU point of you, that was a
reference, was it, to the fact that
they say we might be able to do a
deal on free trade but it will not
include financial services?
they are saying, their position to
start the gauche nations, they are
saying we will have free trades in
goods where we run a massive surplus
with you, but not in services where
you run a massive surplus with us.
And we want complete access to your
fishing waters. But you can't have
access to European financial
services. These are the kind of
opening... The problem is that so
much of this coverage seems to think
that is the European position and
that is how it will end up, whereas
it is just the opening gambit.
the opening gambit. But I think the
EU is more successful at putting out
an opening gambit than we are. As
you implied, think the British media
is extremely gullible at
interpreting every opening gambit of
theirs as being a defeat in the
making for us, which is not the case
at all. There is strength to the
It's been a week when the air has
been thick with public figures
rushing to attach themselves
to worthy causes.
From International Woman's Day,
to poverty, to rough sleeping,
to healthy eating, to #metoo,
all manner of celebrities,
from Oscar winners down,
have been vocal in letting us know
that they really care about more
than lots of dosh and a free
designer frock for the red carpet.
Indeed these days it seems to be
part of an actor's job spec that it
involves letting us all know how
they feel about the latest
pressing issue du jour.
Commendable concern for society's
ills or as fake as the tattoos
they wash off when the cameras
have moved on?
Tonight we're putting political
grandstanding in the Spotlight.
Theme from BBC Grandstand.
It's that time of year again
when Hollywood celebrities grace us
with their wardrobes
and their politics.
Yes, it's Oscars week.
On this year's red carpet,
outrage was all the rage.
Frances McDormand took
a rousing roll call.
Meryl, if you do it,
everybody else will.
The film-makers, the
producers, the directors.
I have two words to leave you with
tonight, ladies and gentlemen.
But was Emma Watson's fake tattoo
upstanding or just grandstanding?
Even Theresa May didn't
miss an opportunity
to show she's woke, too.
First of all, can I thank
the Right Honourable Gentleman
for telling me that it is
International Women's Day tomorrow.
I think that is what's
And was MP Philip Davies
grandstanding or being deliberately
provocative when he attempted
to stand up for men in a serious
debate about misogyny?
I just wondered whether or not
we could take it as read, therefore,
that she thought misandry should
also be a hate crime
in exactly the same way?
It is precisely because of the power
imbalance in society
that is disproportionately affecting
women in a negative way.
Meanwhile, obesity warrior
Jamie Oliver says the middle-class
elites have got to stop
grandstanding when it
comes to overeating.
It's kind of like one
brilliant idea can fix this.
It doesn't work.
Believe you me, it doesn't work.
Are we all missing out
on the real progressive issues?
Prince Charles asks when did married
women start using their maiden name?
I thought to myself some time ago,
who is Cheryl Tweedy?
I suddenly realised that
I knew the Cheryl bit.
I have missed out on the Tweedy.
Comedian Phill Jupitus
But tough, Phill, get
on your soapbox and grandstand
with the rest of us.
And Phill is here now.
Are we seeing more grandstanding?
When people get that platform, there
are a number of things at work.
Firstly, the number of advisers that
people have, saying, you will have
this opportunity, particularly
people who are active, consider
themselves, you know, socially aware
and active. It's very, very tempting
when you know you are going to have
something like the Oscars, with
millions of people watching, and you
are going to have the opportunity to
say something, or do something and
make some sort of gesture. It's so
tempting for them to do it.
become endemic. There was a British
actress who made a statement years
ago about the Palestinians, Vanessa
Redgrave. And that was quite a
surprise. It was controversial.
early days of it.
She was alone when
she did that, it was not common. Now
almost everybody has to. And they do
it knowing that the audience in
front of them is entirely on their
side. It's not a brave thing to do.
The interesting thing about Francis
McDormand was that thing about the
I didn't know about
that. I think there were people who
saw that who will be going into the
industry that will not even be aware
that was an option. Something like
that, I actually thought was quite
clever. It was very minimal. But
what you have to remember about
grandstanding is that they are in
showbiz, and so an element of what
they do is about changing the energy
of an audience and making them think
in a certain way. And also
projecting an image of themselves. I
never like grandstanding in music,
in rock, stadium rock. That's where
I don't like it, because it's
that... You almost get the sense
there is an element of a mess I
annex complex that has crept in.
Imagine if we did this show live
every night to 80,000 people that
were going, Portillo, Portillo.
would be five.
It would be
It would, but how can it
not get into your head and start
making you think, I can control
these people, they will do my will.
The assumption that if you can act
play guitar, you are qualified to
make big, broad political
statements, that this is somehow
empowering you to do this, qualify
you to do this.
Is it wearing thin?
Because of social media, everybody
has the platform to express that
view. In the 80s, people with
guitars and microphones, they were
It has been more of an
American thing. When you look at the
film stars coming out strongly for
the Democrats and compared with big
names that we have here, we
sometimes have TV people with their
own celebrity. When you have Jessica
Lange, Robert De Niro, these are big
stars coming out. But I suppose I
look at somebody like... Take
somebody like Leonardo DiCaprio, you
don't hear much about it but he does
a huge amount putting personal
wealth into environmental causes.
But he is not up there all the time
talking about it.
We are running out
of time, for reasons which people
who were with us from the start will
I love him.
What are you
up to now?
I am on a tour, I am
doing two gigs, I could do with
shifting some tickets, I am doing
shows in Manchester and Poole.
He is talking to
that taxi driver now! What a drive
Let's hope it is not a long
That's your lot for tonight,
folks, but not for us.
We're off to Loulou's,
for a late-night poetry
reading by the Chancellor.
Because, ever since he admitted
Dr Seuss's Cat in the Hat
was his favourite book,
Spreadsheet Phil has been inspired
to set next Tuesday's
Spring Statement to rhyme.
And we've managed to obtain
an exclusive extract.
Are you sitting comfortably?
Then I'll begin.
"For we looked and we saw,
that incredible chap,
"the Treasury's main man,
the Cat in the Hat.
"And in his red box,
he had ideas a-cobbled,
"which he wanted to use in case
the economy wobbled.
"Oh, might there be answers
on pensions and care?
a society more fair?
"Less tax on green eggs,
investment in ham?
"Or would it, or could it,
be a horrible scam?"
Don't let the Michael's
mud bath bite.
Oh, shorts off.
And the attendants are
THEY SPEAK CZECH
I'm telling her
that it's very, very good.
Actually, there is a fearful
smell of rotten eggs,
and underneath me there's all this
really sticky, muddy stuff.
Look at that.
But it feels soft and it's meant
to do you lots of good.
Good for the skin, good
for the bones, good for the joints.
I'm really pleased I'm here.
A lady wearing rubber
boots and rubber gloves.
This does not look like good news.
I'm now lying in very warm mud
and the lady with the rubber gloves
has begun fairly intimate massage
using warm mud.
And, as they say in the movie
business, it's a wrap.
Andrew Neil reviews the political week with Michael Portillo and Caroline Flint, with a film rounding up the headlines from Viv Groskop. The studio guests include Slavoj Zizek looking at why he thinks the political left and centre left are in decline across Europe, while Phill Jupitus puts grandstanding in the spotlight section.