tv Dateline London BBC News July 29, 2017 4:30pm-5:00pm BST
the retired military general john kelly — as a true star. he takes up the position after reince priebus stood down from the post. now on bbc news, it's dateline. hello, and welcome to dateline london. i'm jane hill. this week we hear more about europe's migrant crisis. one of my guests is just back from seeing the impact of the continuing flow of people into italy. we'll discuss the state of the french presidency. and — what a week in the white house. my guests this week are the writer and broadcaster yasmin alibhai—brown, agnes poirier from france's marianne, john fisher burns
of the new york times, and the british—somali journalist and writer at prospect magazine, ismail einashe. welcome to you all. we will begin with the migrant crisis. we talked about it not that long ago, but it is an issue that is absolutely not going away. we have a great opportunity to discuss first—hand the issue, and some of the problems facing europe as it struggles to cope with wave after wave of migrants. ismail, you've just returned from italy, which is bearing the brunt of this tide of humanity escaping war, famine, and people smugglers. what did you find? well, over the last several years, italy has become europe's‘s migrant bottleneck.
since 2014, 500,000 have arrived on italian shores. this year alone 94,000 have arrived. in five days a couple of weeks ago, 11,000 arrived. i've been talking to many of those who make the dangerous journey, often from countries such as gambia, nigeria, and from eastern parts of africa. these are young men who often head out into the unknown across africa, who arrive in libya, which is currently in the civil war. from there they set off on a dangerous journey into the unknown, where they get rescued and they arrive in these tiny, cut—off, isolated towns after they get rescued in italy. italy is not coping with this crisis. the italian prime minister paolo gentiloni described it as "unbearable", and in the last few days there has been a conference in tunis between african and european ministers, and also italy has said in the last
few days that it may shut its ports to rescue boats. also, italy has threatened to actually give migrants who are in limbo in these southern towns in italy and sicily visas to head north. in retaliation, austria has said they may send a battalion of troops to the italian border, to stop the influx of people heading north. we will talk about the responsibilities of other eu countries, the fact italy says it can't cope. i'm interested in some of the personal stories. what were the reasons people were giving you for why they left wherever they had come from? whether it's from eritrea, where young men are skipping conscription and a state that persecutes people, but most of these stories are really young people. they are probably 14—18, largely african. a lot of them from western africa.
they come for a multitude of reasons, but primarily you might describe them as being migrants. they often come in search of a european dream. in these countries, people often hear about europe through social media and facebook, and they see their friends in europe, and they say, i want a slice of that. they embark on these dangerous journeys across africa into italy, many of them then find that this european dream sours, and they're stuck in these reception centres in these italian villages. in these villages actually, for example, there has been real problems with corruption. in one of them in calabria, the mafia ran an operation for ten years, costing the italian government tens of millions of euros. the response of other european countries, we were discussing this last week, is what? the figures are growing year, on year, on year. this week we had emmanuel macron
holding a summit with the main rivals in libya, trying to resolve the political crisis. libya is the platform. you know, they go through libya and risk their lives through the mediterranean. there is a boom in human traffickers there. obviously italy didn't take it very well. they consider libya as being the former colony, it is part of their remit. 0n the other hand, i've been crossing the french— italian border for ten years, and you see the evolution. the french police now, all the high—speed trains going through the alps have to wait longer and longer. you know you're going to be delayed by at least 20—30 minutes, and it's getting longer because you have the french police catching migrants on the trains or outside.
you've got these mini—calaises now, also on the outskirts of paris. what we are talking about is a european crisis. of course, there is the political asylum seekers, and there's the economic migrants. but it creates this huge migration problem. can i suggest that we should use the word "crisis" for those people who have to leave their homes? uganda, which is my old home country from which i was exiled 45 years ago, in the last year has taken 500,000 refugees from south sudan. what has uganda done? uganda is one of the poorest nations in the world. uganda has given groups of them, or family groups, a plot of land.
the idea that we europeans, and i will always be a european, brexit or not brexit, i consider myself part of an extraordinary continent with an extraordinary history. if what is going on is a failure, it's a massive failure to understand libya wasn't the place it is before the french and the brits went into libya. i'm not a friend of gaddafi, but surely we are intelligent enough to know that we went there and created the situations which has made some of this possible. which is why people want to leave. i would be really interested in finding out about this conference. it is partly the fault of african leadership that is creating this misery for their people. having spent some time in libya during the uk, french, and sometime american military operations that toppled gaddafi, i think it's fair to say that
gaddafi played a role in this by opening libya to the northward migration of tens of thousands of migrants from sub—saharan africa, who were in a state of desperation by the time that conflict began. they were trying to get out of libyan territorial waters, and it was that which began and sent a signal that there was a way out of the misery. that leads me to a more general point, i spent 50 years as a correspondent, much of it in the more desperate parts of the world. i've reproached myself for not having realised that this divide between north and south, between rich and poor, between white and black, was unsustainable. that modern technology, and particularly cable and satellite tv, which brought images of the rich western world into the smallest communities of what we call
the third world, was bound to lead to tens of thousands, ultimately millions of people, wanting to make it to our world. i think whatever technical adjustments we make, that's a fact we are going to have to deal with. part of it is that the eritreans aren't doing it to get our fancy cars and lifestyle. they are living totally, totally devastated lives in eritrea. the african leadership over how many decades has failed their people. those who want to try to control
human rights was the measure by which we judged the performance of governments all over the world. the fact is, we are now in the face of a crisis, where european peoples in particular are being asked to choose between the charter of human rights on the one hand, and maintaining their societies, as they apparently, according to every referendum and vote one has seen, what they would apparently wish to do, which is not allowing this vast migration northward. how we're going to resolve that i don't know, i can't personally identify solutions. fundamentally, to resolve this endless crisis on europe's borders, it's going to take a lot more than having an effective rescue mission, which the european union ought to have. in the last few years, the eu has effectively pursued a policy which lets migrants die in europe's seas to deter others from coming.
fundamentally, the root causes are far from the borders. they are to do with youth population, and i think we need to think bold about a marshall plan for africa. european leaders are very much zeroed in on short—term, political calculations. they aren't thinking longer term. there needs to be longer term solutions to the root causes in eritrea, gambia, nigeria, which stops people from going further north. actually, i have reports in these countries that when people leave, it is of detriment of those societies, because the best and brightest leave. we talk about the flood, what sort of numbers can we put on it at this stage? in italy, according to the un, 94,000 have landed this year, which i think is a 17% increase on last year. reports suggest there are 300,000 people currently waiting in libya, in horrendous conditions in these centres. of course, just to add,
this is the summer season, so there tends to be a peak. the numbers are going to increase, this crisis isn't going to go away. this reveals the faultlines and divides in europe. unfortunately, italy is struggling, and the italian government feels that this should be looked at as a pan—european problem. the northern countries are seeing this as a problem on europe's periphery for greece and italy. according to research amongst eu countries, the british are the largest number living abroad. ijust thought i would throw that in. british people, indigenous british people, have always gone abroad. this was a good and interesting figure in the research study. we are going to move on. president macron has talked about hotspots for asylum seekers. certainly, in this country,
in london we read a raft of reports about how he is suddenly not that popular after all. is that true? where do you see his still relatively early presidency? it's interesting, president macron sells like trump does. there was a slight drop in the polls because of the resignation of the top army chief in france. that's what it's down to. now the crux of the matter, really, and we'll see what he's made of, is going to happen after the lull of the summer, after which he is of the summer, after which he is actually going to meet face—to—face with the trade unionists. probably in the street
with protests, because he intends, at least that is what he said, to massively reform labour laws, and things that french presidents have said they would be doing over the last 50 years. so we'll see. it's interesting, he's completely new. most of us look at him not knowing exactly what he's made of. we are quite hopeful it's going to work. he's different from francois hollande, which can only be a good thing. this flurry of reports that he's trying to achieve what tony blair did in 1997 with cool britannia, and london, the cool city to live in. we don't talk much about macron being a tony blair in france, we tend to look at him as a giscard d'estaing. in the 70s he was a modern man.
he was young at the time, and trying to implement new things. but he loves the palace, and he loves the backdrop. somebody said he's a bit like one of the old kings. we call him jupiter. jesus? i haven't heard that yet! it's because he had his picture taken with rihanna. let's talk about events in the us. if we thought the start of the week was colourful, with trump's harsh tweets aboutjeff sessions, and the policy about transgender people in the armed forces, the last few days have surpassed that. there seems to be all—out war in the west wing with his new comms director anthony scaramucci rattling off expletives about two senior colleagues.
now one of them, reince priebus, has already gone. all of that is a backdrop to something else, the failure for the third time of donald trump to overturn 0bamaca re, the affordable care act. john fisher burns, what's going on? i can only shake my head. i think all of us who love america, and people of our generation, have many reasons to do that. 0ur prosperity and freedoms have been sustained in many ways by the united states, throughout my lifetime. one can only look upon these developments with a sense of grief. it seems to me it's beyond redemption. this isn't likely to be a presidency that lasts five years. it might even be a presidency that doesn't last one year. how does it end? the word "impeachment" is written on the horizon. that could be a nasty fight, because of course there would be large majorities needed first
of all to vote on articles of impeachment, and second a trial with the majority that would be needed in order to oust trump from office. it seems to me that if we think of that as the salvation of america, it's pretty short—sighted. trump is the symptom, not the cause of america's malaise. there is a deep malaise that has been developing for decades in america. large numbers of people feeling excluded from the benefits of government. no matter what happens to trump, that problem will still be there to be resolved. i suppose, ever the optimist, i think maybe america's reached a point as it did for example before the civil war, and in the depth of the depression, when somebody emerges. do the times make the man, or the man make the times? abraham lincoln, fdr, who somehow sets about binding up
the wounds of the nation. let's hope that there is somebody. it may be somebody we don't know of, or somebody who is currently a minor figure on the political horizon, who can somehow bring salvation to america out of all of this. i'd like to partake injohn's gravity. we choose to ignore trump, because this is too much to follow every day. we have to catch up like a tv series. we are being sarcastic or ironic or we laugh, but essentially we are talking about the united states of america. this is, you know, terrible. this is tragic what's happening. i agree, the united states used to be great. it isn't any more. if there was a comparison, iwas thinking... we are talking about dark hours of history for america. polls of people who voted for donald trump suggest the vast majority are still glad they did so.
they don't regret that vote. that is a measure of the underlying malaise. 63 million people were not duped. these people knew what they wanted, and they wanted trump. there is another aspect to this which is not enough is being spoken about, which is the book byjane mayer, dark money, and some of the research being done on the really sinister group of very rich people who have as their mission, and trump is one of the planned products of this, steve bannon is among them, who are determined to change the face of liberal democracies, to create states of hardly any taxation for the rich. there's something else beside the disillusionment, a really planned bringing down of the states as we once knew it. to pick the theme around the liberal democracies and the malaise,
when trump came to europe, immediately after he left hungary and after he left poland, there was a retreat in those countries in terms of that liberal democracy. i think trump exemplifies, and it's interesting john was saying he's the symptom not the cause of the malaise growing for decades in america. that's notjust true in the us, it's true in the uk. we've had our own situation with brexit. it's true in other countries. even in france, you might celebrate macron for now, how long will that last? is macron merely a cover for something much deeper? what's been really worrying is that of all the important things that america ought to be engaging on, whether it's climate change, dealing with terrorism, whether it's dealing with the consequences of the financial crash, america has retreated. i think perhaps americans might realise too late that trump has
done too much damage. i'm weary of european smugness about this. it seems to me we'll see this in the next weeks and months with macron, and his coming fight with the labour unions. he wouldn't be the first french president to lose that fight. europe has a deep malaise of its own. is europe itself reformable? if europe proves to be unreformable, and the status of economics or bring europe down, brexit starts to look different. i don't think it's time for us to celebrate or be smug about what's happening in america, i think we have our own crisis to deal with. i don't think anybody here is, we are taking it very seriously, but the causes aren't just disillusionment by a population. there is concerted action going on by people to bring down liberal democracies.
i appreciate you feel there are darker forces at work. john, on the topic of policy, this is six months into this administration. i'm curious whether anybody feels the soap opera element of it, and scaramucci, and everything that is distracting in a soap opera, whether it's deliberately done to distract from policy. because what has been achieved? he couldn't sort out 0bamacare. if we were able to determine that there was some sort of rationale in this, it appears to me there is none. it is a president who lives from tweet to tweet, and it is positively frightening. i see no order emerging from this chaos, short of some radical constitutional move, which now, to me, begins to look more and more likely. are there no policy achievements at all in the last six months?
i wouldn't hesitate to say that, but that would lead us into highly controversial debates about what is good and what is bad. you would have to say, overall, the record has been one of failure. you said perhaps the person who will, as you see it, change things, is someone who is as yet unknown to us all? is there no one? is there anyone in the republican party who feels the same way? there are, and we've seen it this week in the debate on healthcare in the senate. there are some very fine people in the united states congress. maybe there are people we aren't sure of yet like nikki haley, the ambassador to the united nations. just one name. maybe there is somebody who can show some sort of sense of historic responsibility and perspective, who can begin to bind these wounds. it has to be in the core
top republicans. they have to do theirjob, and to start thinking about themselves. they have to tidy the mess. i mean, they make me think, trump makes me think of petain, the darkest hour was france in the 20th century. the republican party members as well. they really need to do something. it's not the democrats, the democrats lost the election. i think we need to have an optimistic view of this. america has had a tremendous potential throughout its history to get itself into big trouble, but it's also shown tremendous potential to get itself out of trouble. i wish i shared your americanness! you've devoured to end on a note of optimism, john, thank you!
that's all we have time for this week. enjoy your summer breaks, if you're getting one! do join us again next week, same time same place. thank you for watching, goodbye. well, the weather's looking soggy for some of us out there, personally in the south of the uk. not in lowestoft earlier on, sunshine there but the rain will reach you later on. for many of us across the country, it will be a wet night and breezy too. most of the rain during
the afternoon will be in the south. approaching from the south, sliding along the english channel, the rain affecting cornwall and devon, nudging into the midlands. by 7.00pm, the heaviest of the rain will be around the south—west into the south of wales. 0ver will be around the south—west into the south of wales. over the south—east and east anglia, patchy with dribs and drabs into birmingham. north of that it is sunshine and showers. late sunny spells and showers coming through. later on tonight it looks like the rain in the south will push into the other parts of the uk. watch this area of rain here from plymouth and cardiff. moving into the midlands and then into hull, yorkshire, newcastle. by the end of the night it dries out over wales, a large cong of midlands and the south. in
the north—east there are clear spells and showers tonight. tomorrow, we will start off grey and wet in the north—east. breezy for some of us. as the low pressure pulls into the north sea, the weather is going to improve. initially we have wet weather around but improving weather conditions in newcastle. then it looks like showers will pile in off the atlantic. so overall tomorrow it is going to be a changeable day from sunny spells to heavy showers, back to sunny spells and there will be thunder and lightening in places too. you may be lucky in the south—east, with a mostly dry day but really it is showers galore as far as sunday is concerned. still the low pressure is with us. still u nsettled. the low pressure is with us. still unsettled. not just the low pressure is with us. still unsettled. notjust monday but most of the week ahead. yes, summer is on hold, at the moment it doesn't look like the weather is settling down in a hurry. there will be sunshine but just not tonnes of it.
this is bbc news. the headlines at 5pm: north korea claims its latest intercontinental ballistic missile test proves any target in the us is now within striking distance. white house war — donald trump names generaljohn kelly as his next chief of staff after days of public in—fighting. general kelly has been a star, done an incrediblejob
general kelly has been a star, done an incredible job so far it general kelly has been a star, done an incrediblejob so far it is respected by everybody. a great, great american. a great, great american. after violence breaks out in east london — the family of a 20—year—old man who died after being restrained by police — appeal for peace. also in the next hour — uk universities‘ pension fund deficit doubles to more than £17 billion pounds in the last year. a pensions‘ expert says universities may have to reduce benefits for its members, or increase tuition fees for students, to fill the black hole.