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tv   Dateline London  BBC News  November 12, 2017 4:30pm-5:01pm GMT

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cloud cold day with the cloud increasing gci’oss cold day with the cloud increasing across the uk. but we are seeing malware coming in for choosing wednesday, but with of cloud. by now. hello, this is bbc news with me, reeta chakrabarti. the headlines: first secretary of state damian green insists police never told him about pornography allegedly found on his parliamentary computers. he says the allegations have an ulterior motive. the foreign secretary, borisjohnson has contacted the husband of a british woman who's in prison in iran. his cabinet colleague,michael gove says tehran should be facing criticism over the case as he rejects calls for mrjohnson to resign. the prince of wales has led the nation in honouring britain's war dead on remembrance sunday. a murder investigation has begun after a man was apparently beaten to death in ilford, east london by a gang wielding baseball bats. the spanish prime minister is visiting catalonia for the first time since he imposed direct rule on the region.
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ahead of next month's early regional elections, mariano rajoy, launched his people's party's campaign in barcelona. now on bbc news, it's time for dateline london. hello. this is dateline london. i'm shaun ley. this week, two ways to shuffle your rivals out of the door — house arrest in a luxury hotel or a 6500 kilometre flight of shame. to discuss whether saudi arabia saw a purge or a power grab last weekend and whether the resignation of the british cabinet minister priti patel was a missed opportunity for prime minister theresa may, i'm joined by iain martin,
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columnist with the times of london, who used his column to urge theresa may to clear out the old lags and bring some fresh talent into her government. agnes poirier, who endeavours to explain brexit to the folks back home in the pages of the french magazine, marianne. nesrine malik, sudanese journalist and reader of the runes for us on the saudi political massacre last saturday night. and jeffrey kofman, the canadian broadcaster, who'll bring a north american perspective on all of that. a warm welcome to all of you, it's good to have you with us again. last saturday will live long in the memory of saudis and of those who observe the country. a day of high drama began with the resignation of lebanon's prime minister, not in beirut, his own country's capital, but in riyadh. some suggested he'd been summoned to the kingdom and ordered to resign after the saudis found out he'd met a representative of the supreme leader of iran, saudi arabia's regional rival. that same evening, the saudis shot down a missile fired by houthi rebels from yemen, a reminder of a far less successful bit of foreign meddling where saudi
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intervention has singularly failed to end the rebellion. then, a little before midnight, in a country where politics is usually conducted well out of sight and change agreed by consensus, news of an anti—corruption purge which snared serving government ministers and past ones, and even members of the country's extensive royal family. the attorney general tells us this is only phase one. nesrine, a phase ordered, it is said, by the king's son, the crown prince. what is he up to? it is high risk, isn't it? too much, the heir to the throne is very much loved by western media because he has presented himself as a moderniser but he's also young and rash and part of a generation of saudi princes who were kind of brought up in the bubble of royalty. there are three generations of saudi royalty, the old generation, the generation of the king, who remember what it was like not to be royalty. they are in their 70s and 80s
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and they have some perspective. the second generation of princes go to sandhurst and ivy league universities and become diplomats, very educated and westernised, and then there's the millennial generation of princes, much more dangerous because they've lived their whole life in a bubble and don't have the perspective of being ordinary citizens fighting for a monarchy. and they don't have the exposure to the outside world that gives them perspective and the prince's son is very much of that generation. the danger is the disconnect between what he's doing and his tactility and perception of it because he hasn't had any real—life experience either as a politician or an individual. that's where he's coming from as a quote, unquote reformer. within the saudi establishment, because things have happened so quickly, he feels he needs to do a pre—emptive purge because he has set aside the previous heir
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to the throne who is under house arrest at the moment. so this is a sort of pre—emptive coup that he has done to make sure that there is no movement on behalf of the old regime to get him out of the picture. which would have been very possible because he's young, he hasn't yet amassed a huge network of patronage within the royal family or the saudi establishment. and people against him are some very influential people. his assets are open to nationalisation, so that's not a great position to be in. he's trying to pre—emptively consolidate power within the hands of him and his coterie, and in doing so he's dressed it up as anti—corruption and clever foreign policy. he has dressed it up as anti—iran movements, which are basically playing
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on shia sectarianism. so he has taken three things, anti—hezbollah, anti—shi'ism manifested as being anti—iran, the purge within the royal family and his sort of pivot towards modernisation and technology and trying to make it a new dubai. but all these are dressed up versions of power. completely. this word "corruption", that implies that there is a saudi that isn't corrupt. you mean a saudi royal that's not corrupt? correct and that there is a saudi arabia that isn't corrupt. it's a very, very big royal family, a lot of people. my point is there is no rule of law by transparency or accountability. it is a different economic and political culture. this word corruption has been used conveniently by putin in the past and used by china.
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it's not really about that. a lot of double—dealing and illegal payments have gone on in the country for a long time. so we are talking about political... you could have substituted north korea for much of what you just said about consolidating power and eliminating threats to power. what makes this particularly dangerous is that two things happening simultaneously are conflated. you've got the domestic situation, that centralisation of power away from a diffuse leadership in which there are a lot at stake holders, towards a centralised
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reformist model, as nbs is trying to do now. simultaneously it is also about iran and the saudis. this is where it gets dangerous. globally. because you essentially have mbs, backed by trump although not by rex tillerson, so the us administration is split but trump is very much endorsing what this prince says and would probably love to do it in america! he is close to the crown prince and has been an interlocutor for him. rex tillerson warned about the proxy wars. that warning was aimed at trump. trump tweeted that the crown prince knows precisely what he is doing, and the fear is that trump, binyamin netanyahu in israel, and the crown prince are taking on too much, and the target is iran and building up some sort of conflict with iran. is that why, agnes, the president of france rushed there? they still take an interest
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in local affairs there. he was a friend of many french presidents. president macron was in abu dhabi for the opening of the luke wright museum and did a surprise visit and spent time with mohammed bin salman, mbs. i could not put it better than nesrine did on the domestic stage but what is perplexing and frightening to see from the west is that new configurations of israel, trump and mbs on iran. it could fizzle out as it sometimes does in the least but i think there is a risk of conflict there, and again, 11 years later,
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flying the northern border of israel, and israel, lebanon is against this hostage, the playground of regional politics. we don't know where he is, he was born in riyadh. he is a national. i don't think france can do anything. macron went there and said, please can you do something that what could the west do? the us could do something but we have trump. the west is morally compromised because the west has sold so many billion dollars worth
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of arms to saudi arabia, used them against yemen, in the last two years, even more from the us... that is the leverage, we are told that... it give the influence... i think the reality is that these arms are so important that they employ people in the us and canada so that renders governments impotent. they dare not stop the arms sales because ofjobs. it is not by accident that the british view is that yemen is a proxy war and it would be a bad thing for the region if iran, which is effectively running the war in yemen, if yemen. that, and saudi eventually fell in some way or that was regional disruption, i know it is a dirty
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war, a terrible mass but there is logic behind it as well which is trying to block the progress of the iranians. in this view that there is a moral responsibility and behalf of the west to contain a waterfront befuddling. not much different from when they played a colonial role. we've fallen into this mindset, when there is trouble in these countries what can we do as if we were some kind of moral arbiter. in yemen, it certainly hasn't been an unqualified success. yemen is a quagmire. it is possible it could be a quagmire. this is went because people
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feel there is something that needs to happen. i think the best case scenario is that it turns into dubai, and mandated royalfamily emirate. but this too much water under the bridge in terms of radicalisation and sectarianism so to get to a dubai situation there is a lot that needs to happen and it could get messy. 0k. wednesday was a very long day in downing street. the prime minister theresa may wanted to be rid of priti patel, a cabinet colleague, who'd failed to disclose the full extent of her freelance meddling in middle east politics whilst she was supposedly on a family holiday. unfortunately, miss patel, whojust 48 hours before had been given a dressing down and told she could stay in herjob but who now faced more damaging revelations, was 6,500 miles away, in uganda. she was ordered back to london. it took many hours before
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her plane touched down, she was whisked to downing street, in through the back door of number ten, the prime minister's office, and then out of government altogether. iain, what had she done wrong? and what do you think the way that this has been handled tells us about the state of play in the british government? the priti patel story at least shows that britain is a world leader in producing files. leader in producing farse. people will remember fawlty towers... this is the government equivalent. she had been effectively freelancing in foreign policy terms, and why she had felt able to do that is very revealing about what is wrong with the state of the government. the uk parliament looks like hogwarts and is in fact a school, very like a school. the pupils, the politicians know that the headmistress
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is devoid of all authority, and in those circumstances you get chaos. people don't fear the sack or the withdrawal of patronage in the way that they would with a stronger prime minister. so she's in a difficult position. conventionally she should, and i would urge her to radically clear out half of the cabinet and bring in new people. is she waiting because you talk about authority and the budget is coming, it's the most important political stage apart from brexit... britain is squeezed financially, brexit isn't going well, there's a budget come on november 22, the scope for manoeuvre is limited. if she did go for the bold reshuffle, it could be the last thing she did in office. she would be reshuffling herself out of herjob. the lack of authority means she can't do it. ultimately it comes back
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to what those of us thought after the botched election which went wrong and left with no majority injune, the uk effectively needs new leadership, the tories need new leadership, a big question mark over who it would be but almost anyone would have more authority than the current incumbent. anyone apart from boris johnson who was widely fancied but has had a difficult week, this plays into the debate about foreign affairs. while brexit is going on he's been caught up in a row of a british iranian prisoner. he has left it to iran to decide on the fate of the british foreign minister which is amazing. he should be off there later this week to visit. he is known internationally, yes, but for being a clown. there are some people who still look up to britain but also in despair because i didn't report
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on the priti patel story. too many things happening, active head of the british too many things happening, ahead of the british government at the moment. to the european leadership expect a change of government in the uk or is that brinksmanship. the problem is that she is very weak. she should show strength. i think it is too late to show strength. she's lost that. it is in the interests of the tory party to have her there, they like to be weak until they get rid of her. the tory party and a lot of brexiteers, and i speak as someone who voted for brexit, there's a lot of dilution here,
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the tory party can't decide who replaces her, . .. the phrase was, holding on to nurse forfear of someone was. i don't think it can be borisjohnson, this mess with iran vindicates the claims made by michael gove lost it when he said mr johnson didn't concentrate on the details and could not be trusted with highest office. this seems to vindicate him. he said that the woman who was being held, whose family say she was on holiday at the time, she is gotjoint citizenship, he said you was training journalists. this has been flatly denied by the authorities and by her family
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and gave some in authority in iran the excuse to say this is not far short of being a spy. classic boris 's language but at some point, i would've thought, considering the mass of british politics at the moment, if britain is to find a way to brexit with the eu and things looked quite promising one month ago, less so now, i think it will require someone with a bit of authority. interestingly angela merkel and macron have done quite a bit to prop up theresa may. probably because they feared getting johnson, or they were worried about dealing with. if it is notjohnson and it is someone else at least someone else would have the authority. this is the crazy thing, you observe british politics from the outside
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where a lot of people look up to britain, you think, how, in this most civilised of democracies, is the playing field is so devoid of anyone that can be promoted into a position of power? the fact we're talking about boris johnson, priti patel, theresa may, jacob rhys mogg had this moment when some people thought he could be proposed as... a backbencher, quite eccentric. the point is that brexit has sucked the air out of the room in british politics and everything has become infected with brexit. let's go back to the original sin, why is theresa may weak. because she is in a minority government. why? because she called an election to strengthen her mandate because of brexit. why are boris johnson and priti patel in those positions? they are brexit loyalists. why are we in dire straits, in negotiations, where people are deluded, it has affected everything. i can see the situation is sub optimal, that is a polite way
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of putting it, but i think something really interesting is happening here. it is chaotic but how could it be otherwise if effectively the dominant worldview of the british ruling the dominant world view of the british ruling elite or most of it, the governing elite of the last 40, 50 years about britain operates, its relationship with the eu and people is leaving the eu, not leaving europe, it is geographically impossible to do that, thank goodness. in those circumstances its ruling elite's worldview rejected by the majority of british voters who want self—government. in those circumstances of course it produces turmoil. britain is having to rethink its place in the world. you are conflicting two things. you are conflating brexit, the actual technical aspect of it with the chaos that has ensued.
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the fact that i is that brexit hangs over british politics and drugs if does not mean brexit is wrong. itjust means the politicians who lobbied for it don't know what they are doing. both the main parties are split. the country is still split right the middle. my hope was that someone would emerge who could unite moderates and force some sort of compromise. at one point it looked like theresa may until the general election changed that. i am not from britain but i live here. and i agree, it is not about whether you are for or against, it seems almost inevitable that it will be suboptimal. that is a polite word! i won't say on air the other words that i can think of. laughter. you have such weak leadership. we haven't even mentioned
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jeremy corbyn, ambiguous about his own attitude to europe in the past. exactly. given the floundering leadership of the tory party he should be up a huge amount and he is not. it is really reflective of this absolute vacuum of strong leadership, let's be clear, in the next year the future of the country for two generations will be determined, this departure from the eu, trump, whatever he is, there are term limits, getting out of eu will affect the grandchildren of today's people in a way we can't imagine and this is being handled by people with no vision and no moral authority and no road map. i agree with you. it is very, very difficult to do this, one of the most difficult things britain has done since 1945, without a functioning prime minister infested with authority that people of different views can rally behind
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and have some faith in, that they are trying to get the best possible deal. which is why i agree that there needs to be a change. agnes, do you think, that given this domestic circumstances of which people like angela merkel and macron are well aware, given the destabilising effect brexit could have if mishandled, when the point comes will that make them much more willing to offer meaningful concessions? because it is not in europe's interests of this to go pear shaped, to use a british expression. the eu doesn't have too much to lose, or to fear from brexit. really? i think there is one solution, reverse, you can reverse, guys. not going to happen.
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talk about in a year's time, i think a strong leader, strong british prime minister will say, look, or the british parliament, will say, well actually... in defiance of the british electorate? if the message to voters who voted to reject a political elite is that that they don't regret it, they don't regret it... let's have a second referendum. make it best—of—s! 0n the eurozone, you said, the eu, because we are in europe, has nothing to lose. the eurozone is run effectively, the debts machine runs out of london.
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75%—80% of the activity, the sobs, the foreign exchanges, the stuff that makes the eurozone go round is london. some of that of course can go to frankfurt. it's can go to paris. but the german finance ministry really does understand the potential risks of dislocation. which is why i would hope, in the end, and macron and angela merkel can facilitate some kind of deal. but sometimes i accept that european history happens by accident. what deal to britain want? what style of trade agreement do they want? like the canada one? like the norwegian style? make up your mind.
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and then we can start discussing it. for concessions, it's not a negotiation. and nor is this! we are out of time. finally, you can't keep a good format down, it seems. the humble audio cassette may be fragile, attract dust and prone to get scrambled when you try to play it, but its having a renaissance. thank you, goodbye. hello, some sunshine and heavy showers especially along north sea coasts where they continue overnight with strong winds keeping the
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temperature freezing. elsewhere, under clear skies, temperatures will dip away to give a widespread frost. to be just colder in the countryside, below freezing for some others. this is how it looks in towns and city centres in the morning. many others will be scraping ice off the car. showers clipping the north sea coast tomorrow, fading in the afternoon. cloud increasing for england and wales on thick cloud moving into scotla nd wales on thick cloud moving into scotland and northern ireland producing rain. snow to higher ground in scotland and parts of the pennines. how much, for how long is open to question. it will be another cold day with the cloud increasing across the uk. milder air coming in for tuesday and wednesday, but with lots of cloud. goodbye for now. this is bbc news. the headlines at 5:00: michael gove faces criticism for saying he didn't know what the british—iranian woman nazanin zaghari—ratcliffe was doing in iran.
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borisjohnson is said to have had a constructive conversation today with mrs zaghari—ratcliffe's husband, following the foreign secretary's suggestion she was training journalists in iran. first secretary of state damian green insists police never told him about pornography allegedly found on his computers. he says the allegations have an ulterior motive. the prince of wales has led the country in honouring its war dead on remembrance sunday, taking the queen's place to lay a wreath at the cenotaph in london. also today, it's crunch time in basel for northern ireland. can they secure a win in their second leg match
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