tv Dateline London BBC News August 6, 2017 11:30am-12:01pm BST
and david aaronovitch. a very warm welcome to all of you. so the brexit negotiations are on hold for the summer holidays. no more talks for the next few weeks. that hasn't stopped the new irish prime minister from making his opinions known. he made a speech this week, calling for unique solutions to preserve the relationship between the uk and the eu after britain leaves. brian, you're not long back from dublin. just how worried is the administration? it is a distinct change of tone from enda kenny's time. leo varadker has decided, probably correctly, to distance himself from the uk. enda kenny, at the beginning of when the referendum was held, enda kenny has said to the other eu members, "we are very close to britain, we can help britain through this." now you get leo varadker, who is saying, in fact, "well, britain better get on with it, the border. they have to come up
with solutions." and in politics, as everyone around this table knows, words are important. so what does a seamless border mean? what does it mean if you can't treat it the way you used to? what does it mean if, for example, the customs union isn't there any more? he's clearly very worried about trade. that is one of the things he was talking about. this is not new, but the way in which the irish government's concerns are being addressed is new. it is interesting because there are two things, there is the border, the economic border, and then there is the more abstract and metaphysical border, which has divided the island since independence and was the source of the civil war that went on, the troubles, and that seemed to be having
less importance and now it is suddenly important again. but there is another border, which is irish goods usually coming by ferry over into the island of britain and then they go across britain and on into the continent, and if that changes, how will irish goods get to market on the continent? it means a much longer sea voyage for them, doesn't it? unless they can arrange some kind of customs thing that you would land at holyhead and then exit at dover. what the irish call the land bridge, where if you want to ship goods by road to france, you can go on a ferry from there over to france, but as you say, it is a much longer journey and the problem that they have would be the land bridge, if britain is no longer in the customs union, you would not be able to build a car park big enough at holyhead or dover to do the paperwork.
it is as simple as that. for example, ireland's food industry is the first in the firing line. it has been since the referendum, since the devaluation of sterling. it is very, very difficult to produce in euros and sell it on the british supermarkets. what's your take on it? is he speaking up now precisely because it's august and he thinks, "there are no more negotiations for some weeks and i may as well have my say?" he was expressing real frustration, wasn't he? i think everybody is incredibly frustrated with britain. it is quite obvious that the european negotiators are frustrated with britain. it always was a problem. after the brexit vote, the degree to which not only britain could actually create a deal which gave it the things that it thought it wanted, which were incompatible within the kind of structure that
suited other people as well. why should european countries trust a british government, a british prime minister, to be able to deliver on europe, given the politics about europe in britain, given that almost no prime minister and certainly not a conservative prime minister is in a position to deliver on europe because of the splits in the conservative party, and if it wasn't for the splits in the party we would not have had the referendum or brexit and we would not have spent the last year messing around trying to get to nowhere. but we are where we are and the government will say that we have this mandate and they will continue to negotiate in brussels, because that is what they have to do. so that is my first challenge. we are not where we are. there is a truth in what leo varadker has been saying, which is that if we get to the october summit and we do not think enough progress has been made on ireland and the financial settlement the uk has to discussed, if there hasn't been enough
progress on ireland by then, we can't move onto the next age until there is. and that is the threat that britain now faces. and the fact is that despite what philip hammond says, brexit will in fact affect every department of life. it is going to be a major headache. it is going to affect everything from trade to security and indeed agricultural and fishery policies. ireland certainly doesn't think that it will be a smooth experience, nor do the rest of us and one of the most important things is the record number of british people applying for irish passports. hundreds of thousands of applications are being made in the uk and across europe and indeed the rest of the world, and i wouldn't be a bit surprised if there are quite a few brexiteers amongst the applicants, showing just how important
it is to get britain's relationship with ireland. we have no way of knowing that. where is george osborne's baronetcy? i think it's in ireland. i think it shows that having your cake and eating it is the primary motivation of many leaders and sadly the irish question is now emerging with such force, proving that having your cake and eating it isn't really a very credible option, and just as crucially, the relationship between ulster and the irish republic has been very stable over over recent years. but now the troubles can blow up again. it is not helped that there is no power—sharing government. and the dup is now working with theresa may's government. a quick final thought from you, brian, in terms of the peace process, if we can call it that and the power—sharing government in relation to brexit‘s. the two governments are guarantors of the good friday agreement and it is quite a completed structure.
it took a long time to negotiate, and i don't think that the british government is paying enough attention to the detail of that, the north—south structures that they have in place. that is the political part of it. but the economic part of it is the trade across the border. and you cannot have a technological, a technical solution to it. they say that, for example, you can pay your customs duties in the same way as you pay your poll, byjust having a bar code in the windscreen of your truck and this kind of thing, but ask anybody in ireland what happens if you put a very small camera on top of a very, very tall pole on the border between ireland and the republic. we will return to this, and also brexit negotiations get back under way at the end of august and then building up to that summit that was mentioned in october, so that will come aplenty in the coming months. let's turn our attentions
a little bit further afield, because there were major international developments areas this week, venezuela and north korea. let's start with venezuela because that assembly held its inaugural assembly this week, amid widespread criticism of its legitimacy. the election that brought it was marred by violence and allegations of fraud. david, how should the rest of the world be responding to what we have witnessed in venezuela in the last few weeks? it is very difficult for the rest of us to respond. there aren't actually any significant levers of pressure. the sanctions against president maduro and the leading people in his party and the leading figures in the government who are the people who are most significantly responsible for what is going on and for the descent of venezuela into dictatorship, towards dictatorship. you can sanction them personally, and that might hit them personally, but it will not alter what they do
because the problem with them is they are now so completely invested in the process of taking venezuela away from any form of democracy and the place is in such a mess that actually were they to lose power, they would almost certainly be indicted eventually, and go to prison for a very long time. so unless somebody is actually going to offer president maduro and his friends a sort of lovely refuge somewhere with lots of money on a sun—kissed island, it is quite difficult to say what the inducements are that you could create for them. i think what else we have to do is to give assistance to those people trying to help the venezuelan people directly themselves, human rights organisations and so on, to try to mitigate the worst effects of what is going on, and if the position comes about that the outside world in some way can offer its services in some form of negotiating way to help with the peaceful transition, then in that case that is what it
has to do, but what there is no scope for is any significant intervention in the affairs of venezuela. that won't make things better. and i don't think anybody‘s going to do it. i think that, from what i know of the country, what is interesting to follow is for all of the demonstration, you haven't had the disintegration and you haven't had people retreating into the hills armed and forming an insurgency to try and overthrow the government, the people who are resisting president maduro's moves towards dictatorship are using the right to assembly and they are being shot down as they protest. it's a very strange unfolding, and i also think that to be generous there was a time in latin america where there were a lot of left—wing authoritarian regimes, right wing authoritarian regimes, that is not happening now.
just recently you have colombia, which has recently come to some kind of arrangement with the government and has reached a kind of post—conflict situation, as we have in northern ireland. whereas in venezuela, it seems to be trapped in some early 1970s time warp. i agree with david that there's not much the outside world can do about this and the traditional allies of that regime — cuba is going through transition, there was a decade ago when chavez were still in power and they were having economic problems and cuba was able to send over doctors and aid. that is not happening now. i do fear that there is many steps to go, but it is an internal process and i feel for my contacts in venezuela who are just kind of stuck in that kind of terrible situation of 80% — 90% inflation, whatever they have
accumulated in their lives is worthless, and they are stuck. it is a terrible situation. it is a long way to run, that is what you are suggesting. yes, but i think what strikes me is the way people in britain appeared to take a particular interest in venezuela because jeremy corbyn made some vague noises about the country and suggesting that he was a supporter of president maduro. jeremy corbyn is pretty quiet at the moment had the big reason for that is because he is undoubtedly as baffled by the real situation there as we all are and it is very clear that venezuela has been administered in an absolutely appalling manner for decades and policies have failed and the state could descend into civil war and outright disaster. what is wrong, however, is to look at a hugely complicated social and political situation through what i would call the trump prism, meaning that it is being simplified into a battle between right—wingers and left—wingers and the idea is that we are meant to pick a side
according to old cold war cliches run by propaganda, but the reality is that there have always been endemic problems in south american societies and the real problems are not necessarily caused by governments, but they are also caused by a few families and indeed cartels who amass all of the wealth and this creates huge problems as far as the fabric of south american society is concerned and it takes far more sophisticated solutions to deal with that than simply having a left—right political argument and seeing the whole thing in isolation. this is the classic trump view of the world, presenting things as if they were completely new, as if we were in year dot and this has never happened before. he does that with everything. he does it with immigration and with terrorism and this is fact a far from impressive interpretation of the situation. we will endeavour to give
a view of the situation, but if we can't talk about that then let's talk about north korea because we have reflected a lot about further testing of ballistic missiles. at the time of this conversation today, we are awaiting a un security council vote. that is due on saturday on a resolution to strengthen sanctions against the country. the resolution has been drafted. it has been drafted by the us. it says following a lot of negotiation with china, and we have seen rex tillerson out in the region as well. what is your take on north korea and what might happen, whether or not sanctions could ever make a difference? i don't think from what we know of life in north korea you can pile another 100,000 sanctions on it. the region and its close acolytes will survive and the people will continue with their lives.
i think that... i hate to go back to trump. i spoke too soon, trying to suggest that. one of the things about the whole north korea thing is that we are paying attention because they claim to have developed intercontinental ballistic missiles that could deliver a weapon of mass destruction, a nuclear weapon to the united states, to the continental united states. they haven't tried it. they haven't tested it thus far, but this is what we are hearing and this is why suddenly everyone is paying attention. i think that we are obsessed with president trump and he has created his own reality, but there is another reality that covers the whole planet and i do think that when it comes to north korea, i think that china and russia are the governments that really will be the crucial ones. i think that, as we have seen, if we have learned one thing from the six months of trump presidency is that he blusters. he makes big talks and speeches in front of his supporters,
but in the end much of his programme never comes to be. and i think that we will find that with foreign policy as well. i think that is a danger because someone somewhere will make a miscalculation that the us won't respond, but i think that in the case of north korea, the fact that a few weeks ago china completely reinforced its border all along the yellow river, i think that this is a sign about who really we should be looking at to control that situation and i suppose we will be very curious to see what happens with this un security council resolution, just to read it and pass it through, not that they mean anything in the long run anyway. there is no doubt that president trump is as ill—equipped to deal with north korea as he is to deal with venezuela, and as david points out, there is no future in sanctions in north korea any more than there is in venezuela. because they haven't
worked in the past. they haven't worked in the past, they won't work now. they will hurt ordinary people more than anything else. i think there is some comfort to be drawn from rex tillerson's remarks. when he said, "we are not your enemy." but the route to some sort of resolution is through beijing, not the way that donald trump is talking to beijing. and the administration have said that time and again, that that is the route as they see it. i think the whole point with north korea is that it does not think in line with the west. it is a pariah state with a significant arsenal, and for that reason it needs to be taken extremely seriously because it is so unpredictable. of course, it is a temptation for president trump as an incumbent
president to try to resolve, let's say, niggling situations as to north korea. the big one is usually israel — palestine, but north korea is never far off, and he has got the usual presidential options, ranging from negotiations to increased military action or indeed doing nothing at all and leaving the problem for his successor to worry about. but i would hope that president trump is not encouraged to escalate the situation. i was talking to a former un ambassador earlier, he says that sanctions will do nothing. it has got to be about talking, it has got to be about diplomacy. that is the only route here. the essential thing is that the only government that can really affect things in north korea is china and they are more worried about the possibility of the demise of the regime and its replacement by a pro—western regime than it is worried at the moment by the level of sabre rattling going on from that government. i am sure it talks about both sides of that and i am sure that in china they talk about what will happen if he does overstep the mark
and things get too dangerous, what it is that they will do. while that remains a basic calculation, you have to do assume that the only way you can deal with this is by having the chinese talk the north koreans down and then having the chinese being aware and themselves believing that there could be a point at which their own cultivation would change and having some idea about what that point would be, and that in the end is what it's all about. you can't invade the place. you could bomb large parts of it, but as we all know, as we have been reminded time and time again, the capacity of the north koreans to hit the capital of south korea in populated areas, which are very close to the border, is so rapid and great, the chance that you'll be able to completely knock it out before that happened are slim. now, of course, if that calculation changes, then maybe the other calculations would. that is through conventional
artillery, not even the ballistic missiles. that is a horrendous situation. let's close our programme on entirely different matters, because here in the uk this week, you may know that prince philip, the duke of edinburgh, officially retired at a mere 96. he was the guest of honour at a special buckingham palace ceremony, hosted by the royal marines. as the prince left, they played for he's a jolly good fellow. many of us have to work beyond retirement age. is he setting the tone for all of us? david, i think you have been writing about working longer and we will all have to do it. i am not sure that any of us would be wanted on television at the age of 96, but... a niche television channel for ioo—year—olds. this is one of the reasons why i like to go swimming in florida, because they are all fatter than me.
that would be quite nice. it is an idea, and if anybody adopts it i have the copyright on it. cue endless bits of patronising of 90—year—olds. everywhere we say, "good on you." i think we even follow a little bit of that and it is nice, obviously, it is good to think, especially as you enter... what would you describe us as being in, michael? the early autumn. it is nice to think... this is an important subject because we keep hearing, as you said, jane, that we have to work longer. would somebody please tell employers that we have to work longer, because there's nothing like the sigh of death that comes across a newsroom as somebody hits 50 and that isjust our business.
across the world, people who are in employment... philip worked in the family firm. if you work in the family firm, you can work as long as your children are willing to let you. if you write or you are on the radio, i presume you can do. most people are in salaried employment and we are all having to work longer. employers better learn that they have to keep us on longer, and what happens is that if they fire enough of us, as we have seen in the us and we will see in the statistics here in the uk, life expectancy begins to go back to the old days. people are dying sooner in certain demographics in america, primarily because they had been laid off and they can't find other employment. it isn't that perfect and somebody should also tell the boys in silicon valley, those smart 28—year—olds, to stop inventing robots that will put us all of work anyway. and that experience counts for a lot. i tell my daughter that every day. and david, you were alluding
to the fact that we had been running a piece on the bbc today about a 93—year—old gentleman who is just retiring finally from his job in the supermarket. what a name. reg butress. if i was writing a novel with a 93—year—old i would give him the same name. all power to him to working to 93 and you could tell that one of the things he loved was being out in a supermarket and chatting to people every day. do we aspire to that? well, the key to staying in work is self—employment and the ultimate self—employment is to be working in the family firm, which is what prince philip has been doing, but years ago if you remember, the queen, when the queen mum reached 80 and 90 and everything else, i remember my poor mother saying, "well, she does look great, but i'd look that good if i hadn't washed a cup in my life." i do agree and that is why i certainly don't think
that the royal family can set the norm for anything because they are absolutely abnormal people. they are quite literally a quite extraordinary group of people who live in utter luxury in return for some rather pleasant social activity. some quite boring social activities, i would argue. i don't think you would. this is hardly heavy lifting and this is certainly not real work. i think the queen did a very good job in 2011 when she came to ireland and it was much appreciated in ireland. a lot of people in ireland to change their view of the british royalfamily through royal visit. well, i think the queen has been quite a magnificent public servant, but i do think the younger royals could certainly take example from her. they seem to be... they quite literally have quit their military careers already and they seem to be far more interested in endless
holidays and chillaxing. i think you'll find that prince william has stopped his career because he is going to do full—time royal duties. well, as i said, this is hardly heavy lifting, especially when you consider how hard people have to work these days. 12 hour days are the norm and shorter holidays as well, especially in... anywhere, but in the west and indeed in countries including britain and certainly in countries like america, which is certainly one of the hardest working countries i have lived in. michael, you hit the nail on the head because employers are going to have to find jobs for us all or keep us on. they will have to find jobs for a lot of people or people are going to be expected to work when they're raising the pension age and it be 70 by the time people are just entered the workforce
are finished and it will be higher still and people do have to realise they have to change. to be serious — there is work, there isjobs, and there is employment. it is employment that we don't have. everybody can find work. do you think when the robots take over, all of the older robots will be put out of work by the younger robots? the old, wise robots will be slung out by the new, shiny robots. well, until they invent five robots to replace all of us, we will question how long that might take, but hopefully we will be back for the next few weeks at least. thank you all very much. enjoy your summer holidays if you're managing to escape. that is just about it for this week on dateline london. do join us next week if you possibly can. thanks for being with us. goodbye.
it's a bit of a mixed bag out there this afternoon. we have some dry and bright weather in the south—east, some sunshine so far. it is quite the opposite in the north and west, clouds and rain. there is a bit of a breeze. quite wet so by northern ireland. rain is on the move, pushing across the irish sea. covering much of scotland as well. in the south—east, hazy sunshine, relatively warm. 22 degrees not so bad, 15 and 16 across scotland. in scotla nd bad, 15 and 16 across scotland. in scotland and northern ireland this evening, showers will be around, the
main band of rain slips further south into northern england and parts of wales. a pretty wet night here. the south—east is dry at 1415 degrees, 11 or 12 in scotland and northern ireland. onto monday, a damp start for northern england and the midlands and the south—west, in the midlands and the south—west, in the far south—west it will stay wet for much of the day. should be dry and bright once again in the south—east, 22 degrees here. once again, sunny spells and showers in the north with temperatures in the middle to upper teens. this is bbc news. the headlines: commentator: gatlin wins it! american sprinterjustin gatlin says athletics can be proud of him as world champion, the two—time drugs cheat was booed by crowds after beating usain bolt. i've done so much for the communities at home. i want them to know mistakes can happen. but you can come back and work hard for them. and you know you can be accepted back to your sport. president trump welcomes china