tv Dateline London BBC News June 11, 2018 3:30am-4:01am BST
are in singapore ahead of tuesday's historic summit. the white house says it hopes the meeting will begin a process that will lead to pyongyang giving up its nuclear weapons. mr trump says he has a good feeling about the talks. it will be the first face—to—face meeting between him and kim jong—un. north korean state media says the summit will discuss a permanent and durable peace and denuclearisation on the korean peninsula. the fall—out from president trump's decision to withdraw his support from a g7 communique is continuing, with the german chancellor, angela merkel, describing it as sobering and depressing. mr trump's advisers said the president believed he'd been stabbed in the back by the canadian prime minister, justin trudeau. now on bbc news, dateline london. hello and welcome to dateline,
where each week some of the uk's best known columnists debate the week's big stories with journalists whose dateline is london, as they report those events to the world beyond. this week, theresa may averts the resignation of her brexit negotiator — but is it just crisis delayed? as donald trump delights the russians and alienates long standing allies, is it g7 minus one? and the #metoo movement: has it moved too far, or not far enough? with me: agnes poirier, who writes for marianne in france; the portuguese academic and journalist eunice goes. yasmin alibhai—brown, political commentator in british newspapers, and maria margaronis, who writes for the nation but also makes time to translate modern greek poetry. i am amazed you find the time, good morning to you all, thank you for being with us.
for brexiteers, membership of the european union must feel like the gordian knot. two years ago this month, the majority of those voting in a referendum said they wanted to leave. the uk will be out of the union at the end of next march. the biggest problem, though, is how to trade with the eu after the uk has left. new mechanisms are supposed to ensure that goods can cross the border without economically damaging delays; in the case of the land border between northern ireland — out — and the republic of ireland — in — the damage could be political. in december, theresa may, the uk's prime minister agreed a fall back position in the absence of customs arrangements acceptable to both sides. the eu and the uk said northern ireland would have to remain compliant with eu standards. this week, mrs may's cabinet colleague, david davis, her chief negotiator with brussels, threatened to quit, if she accepted a back stop without an end date. i hope you are following all of this! she satisfied him but that only served to alienate the eu further. alexander the great, according to legend, didn't worry about the niceties involved in untying his
knot by negotiation. instead, he simply sliced through it. maria, i suppose if that were to happen that would be the hardest of hard brexits. how much trouble by these negotiations in. i think they are in a lot of trouble. i think in britain everyone is obsessed with the british side of it and back stops and non—back stops and so on. but look at what is happening in europe. the whole thing is in crisis. we've just had this election in italy where we now have this strange coalition between the northern league and the 5—star movement with its anti—european stance. we have far right governments in poland, hungary, now slovenia and the czech republic, all leaning towards russia as italy now also is apparently doing. so you know this is not just a british crisis. this is a pan—european crisis. and unless the european union also changes the particular sticking points especially for southern european countries
are the 3% fiscal discipline rule and the way that europe has not handled the flow of migrants and refugees, we are in trouble all around. so brexit is just part of that, agnes, but do you think this particular conflict this week tells us anything about how the two sides are shaping up ahead of that eu summit? there will be a cast of new prime ministers not least the new leader in spain and also in italy. well, brexit. so we learned a new word, backstop. and barnier, the irony was not lost on him. he said backstop means backstop! unless it is a stopgap. look, this is all about the irish border. the border between the european union and the uk. that is to say between ireland and northern ireland. ok, so no hard border
between those two. it means the border there but northern ireland will be in the customs union and will be treated differently. and that is not acceptable. to have the sort of crisis just before the summit, that sort of pantomime, it has been happening for two years since the referendum took place. so theresa may will probably survive the next eu summit and everyone will try to save face. and then there is this summer and then what next, september. she might not survive the party conference. because we are talking about brexit but perhaps we should stop talking about brexit and start talking about the tory party. and labour as well.
the tory party has ossified between tribes, the brexiteers claiming to be the real patriots, and the soft brexiteers, the philip hammond kind of tribe saying we are the real patriots. and the deafening silence from labour because lost if that was really a thrust... in last year's general election. it doesn't seem to have capitalised on it in the polls, labour is frustrating everyone. it's having this difficult balancing act, between the remainers in the electorate and pro—leavers, is also frustrating everyone. so yasmin, it is notjust theresa may and her government that are paralysed, this process is paralysing politics across the board. it is those russian dolls, you go from absolutely the party
politics and the regional and national divides in our country to the wider, the biggest dog of all which is exactly as you said, the eu project itself. but here it seems to me that in your script you said something about march we will be leaving. i think one should put something of a question mark because this is exactly one year, the tories fighting each other, labour fighting each other, and people, throughout all kinds coming up, and increasingly this kind of warning coming from the leave side saying, if you take this away there will be riots in the streets. i've heard that ten times in a week. cattle them and put them in the cells! i never thought i were
here you say that. iamjoking! laughter are we going to worry about the riots in the street and not apply some... common—sense. eunice, do you agree that agnes is right and this is mainly about brinkmanship and when push comes to shove both sides want a deal and they will come up with one. we don't know about that actually. we really don't know. because on one hand as maria mentioned the european union has a handful of problems to address, brexit is only one of them. they are not terribly interested in having britain out, that's another thing. most member states would like to help britain to remain in the european union. and the british government remains undecided. they have the same discussion for the past two years. the debate has not yet moved on. a large number of members of the cabinet, brexiteers,
think that they can have their cake and eat it. they can have the deal they want. they can sign up to the bits of the european union that they like... but not others that they don't like and that is not possible. but picking up on what maria was saying, there has been so much political change in europe at the bottom line is that they will probably get a bit more of the cake and brussels wants to give them at the moment. the european union is very good at kicking that can up the hill, that is why the eurozone crisis hasn't yet been solved. it's out of the papers but it hasn't yet been solved. so the european union will continue to kick the can up the hill. so it means that rather than britain becoming global britain in charge of its own destiny it is going to be discussing european union for the next decade at the very least. and when boris says i wish she was more like trump, does he know anything about how
the european union functions, or about diplomacy? it is a great quote because this was wednesday evening when he thought he was having a convivial dinner and it was all off the records so people could hear what he said but it wouldn't be quoted but of course somebody recorded it, and apparently, he said that he would go in bloody hard, that's donald trump, all sorts of chaos, everyone would think he had gone mad but actually he might get somewhere. and he doesn't have a point? there's a new book which analyses, you know he is supposed to be so good at doing deals. he said he would get £1 million, he was getting $50,000. he is not a good deal maker. you don't go around behaving like this.
we will see what happens in singapore. this is a problem, it is about the egos of eton public school educated boys. who don't care about the public. these are people who have never had to budget in their lives, when they were students all in adult life. so they don't really care... a bit of a generalisation, many tory mps would say, we come from ordinary backgrounds... over the past month we have seen the windrush scandal, all the scandals of the management of universal credit. i am terribly sorry but i see a lot of ministers doing terrible hurt to millions because they don't care. they are thinking about the grand scheme of things. just to challenge the point, they would say it is not about caring not caring, it is caring about other people who pay taxes, many of whom are and trying to get better value for their money. borisjohnson says they will be a bit of hurt and chaos for two
or three years, that's the negotiating point. i think it is totally unacceptable. this whole thing is a total disaster. it was the wrong question put to people at the wrong time, in order to try to heal the rift in the tory party which it hasn't even done. it has only exacerbated it. and now we've got probably a decade of wrangling over backstops and frontstops and non—whatever's instead of dealing with the real issues! as long as that? i don't know. unless the people in parliament stand up and say, we are the power and this is how we are going to do it for the sake of the country, they should say. because brexit is a national crisis, this is something that requires honesty, that's all. they're are great politicians in the uk, not all of them don't care about the people,
but who is honest enough to say, look, this is not in the interest of the country? i really think it is an important point, shaun, to make, we have never had a cabinet where the vast majority are millionaires. and that makes a difference to how you regard the poor. we have never had a gang of millionaires deciding on policies for the ordinary person. and the most impoverished. it's not the case in the british parliament though. let's broaden out further from what you were saying, maria, at the start of the programme, because the g7 taking place over this weekend has kind of illustrated, thrown the spotlight on the divisions. emmanuel macron, calling it the g six plus one, we all know who the one is, donald trump.
trump exercising this different approach, tearing up the rules. some say that in other situations it could work. maybe it could work in singapore this week. canit? they will see in the same room the two most erratic world leaders. who behave like toddlers with tantrums. we are also seeing a trump administration into this summit with very high hopes, being very open about the high hopes that we will reach a deal, north korea will agree to denuclearise, forgetting that these processes take a very long time. a lot of patient diplomacy. and that north korea has a very long list of demands. so they would only agree to denuclearise, to comply with international rules on nuclear weapons if for instance there's a deal with south korea. if the united states perhaps withdraws military support to south korea.
if there is economic assistance to north korea. will donald trump enter the room ready to give all of that to the north korean leader? no. i think it is a big question mark. trump is a reality tv star and in november there are mid—term elections... so he needs a win, or to call it a win. there might be a peace treaty with north korea, i think north korea's leader might be a ruthless dictator but he is more intelligent than the american president. you'll probably get a peace treaty without much concession from north korea but we've been there before with north korea.
trump's support is higher at this point than president 0bama's was. there is a kind of population in the united states and here and across many european nations where they want this kind of tough, macho, non—negotiating real man doing business. that really scares me. his popularity is not only not sinking, it's going up. is that in part a reflection on the perception that actually in international terms, in lots of the areas he tried to influence, president 0bama did not achieve very much? i think what trump's done in iran is a criminal act of destruction. without talking about israel and its nuclear arms. what it's done to the middle east is exactly what they wanted. trump wants a war.
you really believe that? i believe that. israel's egging him on to have this little war. i really believe that. russia did very well, horribly well, in syria. again, in syria, it was donald trump who set a red line which the syrians crossed and acted on it, president 0bama drew a red line and walked away. you have a point when you say that it's partly because 0bama did not do half of what he could have done. but also this is a white supremacist backlash. ta—nehisi coates wrote a piece saying that trump is the first white president, and in a sense he is. we are seeing a backlash... un—american president, because he says america first but actually he could not care less about america. what about the impact on the global balance of power then because china remains key in all of this.
the president on one hand has had skirmishes with the chinese about trade but not the confrontation he's been having with g7 members. last night i googled "what is the g7 for?" did you get an answer? no! other search engines are available! so i got a lot of little accounts of how the g7 was setup. the g7 is a very strange group of countries. it doesn't include the second—largest economy, which is china, it doesn't include india, which is a much larger economy i'iow than italy, i don't know the rankings exactly. it was set up during the oil crisis to try to manage that. it appears to me to be a group of western european and american white nations, which are trying to run the world economy to make sure it runs for their benefit. i agree. not only an anachronistic
international organisation, it raises the question of whether in some ways breaking things up might be necessary stage in world process, that we need to have some kind of cathartic process. . . but we need to know what we are going to build afterwards and this is the big problem. it's pointless. it's very dangerous. and also there is all this undertext going on, trump's relationship with russia, russia's alleged influence the united states... even across europe. one has to ask, why is he courting russia now? why now overtly so? that's a huge dilemma for the european countries,
isn't it? we saw in the last few days president putin in vienna because he was marking 50 years of energy co—operation between those two countries, saying, "i don't want a divided europe," and there is a common interest, we see countries, traditionally greece has had a positive relationship, there are suggestions that some on the far right... exactly, it's about the orthodox faith... it's historic but there's a connection. perhaps the italian prime minister saying, perhaps russia should be back in the g7. he was slapped down firmly by some of the other g7 leaders. there is a sense that russia matters to a lot of european countries so maybe the european union will have to shift on it. germany was one country being very ambivalent about russia and it has very clear economic interests in russia. there's also the other point, do we want russia to have a positive
impact on the european continent? the point is since the end of the cold war russia feels completely humiliated because it is no longer a superpower. to be seen as a nation that counts, that may help with more constructive behaviour to ukraine, this is extremely complicated because all the countries of the former soviet bloc do not want any proximity. it's extremely difficult. but maybe there is some benefit in recognising at the very least that russia is a nation that counts and it should be part of some kind of conversation. but i think with putin it's very difficult. i mean, i'm looking forward to the football... starts later this week! i've never forgotten the wonderful song by sting, ‘the russians love their children
too.‘ when we talk about russia we have this hard man in our heads. there's a whole world out there now but why we have these hard men in charge, i don't think they are disrupters for the long—term good, they are disrupters because they want to end the post—war extraordinary understanding and values that came out of it and if they destroy that we will have fascism. but we have angela merkel. i love her! i do admire germany a lot. yes, but if europe is going to survive germany has to shift and soften and change, it has to... george soros said quite rightly that if the eu had properly funded those nations... yasmin, the money is not enough. i've been looking at this closely in greece for the last five years. it's notjust about money. throwing money at the problem
and expecting countries like greece and italy to absorb people in dire straits is not enough. europe as a whole has to work together. and then you see hungary doing what it's doing to refugees. the choice europe will have to make is, are we going to reach the point where we'll shoot those boat people dead? a small grain of hope in the last few days has been the announcement from the ethiopian government about the border deal struck with eritrea years ago, the reason for the enforced conscription in eritrea, 12% of the eritrean population refugees, that is the solution, what are these leaders doing in europe and the west in your view, or are they engaging, in ways of reducing the flow, blocking the flow back at home? they are. who?
last week the libyan leaders were in paris, we talked about a package, you say money is not enough but a few... those libyan refugee camps are the most appalling refugee camps... and he keeps talking about it, the way he tries to convince angela to loosen up... he doesn't want any of those migrants. none of those refugees. libya was wrecked by france, by britain, by the us, making unilateral decision. well, the united nations... and by gaddafi. but you don't go in and destroy a country without knowing what's going to happen next.
there was a cry for help from benghazi and the united nations. the west is so utterly ignorant... would it have been better to let him do what he wanted to do? no, we didn't make the country any better. if we're going to go in, same thing with iraq, you've got to have a ten—year plan and you've got to know the society. the victorians, the imperialists, when they went into the middle east they spoke the languages, even the bedouin tribal languages, they knew the societies which they were trying to take control of. we are in the middle of this great gap of information and knowledge and trust and then we go in. i don't think it helps. finally, as we look at the end of the g7 summit that perhaps has no place any
more in your collective view, what is your hope for what might emerge, if we can get beyond this uncertain phase? does human creativity give you cause for hope? i don't know. i wish i did know. but i think yasmin is right that what we are seeing is the unravelling of that post—war consensus which has been going on slowly for some time. i remember in 2003 tony blair saying we needed to rewrite the refugee convention. the world has changed, those rules were set up in a sort of atlanticist world. we have a very different economic structure, we have the rise of china and india and much migration flows but those basic values about human rights, about making peace the geneva convention and all those things seem to me to be absolutely essential. it seems to me horrible
truth about human beings, that in times of uncertainty, people move to authoritarian, frightened right wing regimes. we will leave it there, maria, yasmin, eunice, food for thought. agnes, no time for the #metoo movement this week but i'm sure we will be talking about it shortly. that's it for dateline london this week. back at the same time next week. thank you for watching. hello there. after what's been a very long and dry spell for many of us,
the weather looks like it's set to more unsettled from the middle part of this new working week. we started the week, though, off on pretty similar conditions to what we've been used to for quite a while, sunny spells and also a few heavy showers. the best sunshine in england and wales, where we'll see the heaviest showers particularly over the pennines and the high ground of wales into south—west england. a few for scotland, cooler and cloudier than of late, but warm in central and southern parts, 22 or 24. 0n into tuesday, looking a bit cooler and cloudier across—the—board, northerly breeze in eastern areas, noticeable along some of the coasts. top temperatures, 19, maybe 20 degrees. apart from a few showers it should stay dry for most. wednesday looks fine but beyond wednesday, this is where things turn more unsettled with the atlantic coming back to life, bringing wet and windy weather and also it will feel a little bit fresher too. welcome to bbc news, broadcasting from singapore and london to viewers in north america and around the globe. my name is sharanjit leyl. our top stories: 0n the eve of the historic us—north korea summit, donald trump says he feels "very good" about the talks.
it will be the first face—to—face meeting between him and kim jong—un. north korea says it's willing to discuss denuclearisation and a permanent and durable peace. the world's media are watching their every move, but can the two sides find enough common ground to strike a deal? i'm nkem ifejika in london. also in the programme: from smiles at the g7 summit to a war of words. the us accuses canada of bad faith and back—stabbing.