tv Dateline London BBC News September 16, 2018 11:30am-12:01pm BST
hello, and a warm welcome to dateline london. i'm jane hill. today, we're discussing the movement in the brexit talks against the backdrop of leadership rumblings, whether enough lessons have been learnt ten years after the global financial crash, and if you had two russian friends visiting the uk for 48 hours, what would you tell them are the must—see sights? with me is the american writer and broadcasterjef mcallister longtime correspondent for germany's die welt, thomas kielinger, the italian filmaker and writer annalisa piras, and british columnnist and keen political observer iain martin. welcome, all. a curious week of mixed messages regarding brexit — the president of the european commission jean claude juncker, in his state of the union address,
said the eu will work day and night to achieve a deal, but reminded everyone that it's not only britain that has red lines. meanwhile, an increasingly vocal group of conservatives at westminster put forward its own proposals for the talks, particularly with reference to the tricky issue of the irish border. they claimed their plan was nothing to do with the issue of theresa may's leadership. many observers thought otherwise. we'll come onto leadership issues. annalisa first, what's your take on the eu's approach? there has been a significant change this week, and i think that's going to have some important consequences on brexit and on theresa may's leadership. mainly, there has been an awareness of the significant rise of the far right, and the populist movements in europe, is going to create a lot of problems for the european union, especially in the next six months. things are getting a bit complicated
and warring, and there has been quite a significant alarm for steve bannon coming to europe, saying that he is going to advise an alliance of alt right europeans to take over the european parliament. it might sound like a joke, but it is actually quite worrying if you think that the far right has got into power in italy, the third economy of the eurozone. and europe is very nervous about the collision course of the italian far right government with brussels on financial rules. so it is getting very tense in europe. the idea of throwing a lifeline to theresa may might sound appealing, because it would avoid another hardliner in europe, which is not something anybody wants. that is interesting.
do you sense a similar shift? i think theresa may's scenario points to the fact that there are no strong european governments, they are all facing their own crisis at home. in germany, angela merkel is facing the election in bavaria where her partner in crime, as it were, the csu head, fighting for his survival, and so forth. which means that brexit is not agenda number one issue in germany, because they have domestic problems to solve. they are somewhat fatigued of hearing about brexit, nothing is solved until everything is solved is the mantra, which means you can wait until the end of the year. many people here are fatigued, too! and one thing that annalisa said about theresa may is quite true, germany also wants to make quite sure what the deal at the end does not mean a coup against theresa may, germans want theresa may to continue if they can because the alternative is nobody
who beckons as a likely leader. and so the main line is, keep her in power. how they will go about that, depending on the commission and barnier, is beyond me to tell. but they will certainly be in of somebody or other, because it would be just as catastrophic for europe as for britain, and i cannot conceive in my mind, it would require a huge suspension of disbelief to think that europe would allow a no deal scenario to emerge. i don't think that we will, definitely not. it will hurt us as much as everyone in britain. no, but there is fear that a jacob rees—mogg government might go in that direction, so in that sense throwing a lifeline to may would make sense, because it is the least worst. the practicalities are that, i think the
european union and the individual states have left things to michel barnier with the assumption that, by about now, things would be in a very political, classic european union way, just fixed or fudged. there are some indications that that is happening, and i think some sort of deal is coming, but it is not just the trade disruption, it is the thing which will be on german minds and on french minds in terms of the stability of the eurozone, the potential for disruption because london runs the eurozone's debt markets. it is a global giant, so disrupting that, as the bank of england has pointed out, is not a terribly good idea. and also the security and intelligence situation is such that britain is, for better or worse, the leading security and intelligence power in europe and wants to continue co—operation and working together. i think about when we get to november, christmas, you will see politics intervene.
it is not guaranteed, a lot of things can go wrong by accident in european history, and frequently have done. but it seems to be heading in that direction. jef, isn't this fascinating? because people will be screaming at the television, we have been saying for months and months that there would not be a deal, that there would be a deal, but there has been all this negativity in the world of politics, and ultimately, to paraphrase all of you, it is in everyone‘s interests to come up with something. yes, but what? —— there would always be a deal. yes, but what? i understand the dynamics of doing something in order not to have the horror of a crash out, but i still fear that there is so much stasis, so much built—in on each side to the positions against compromise, that we will get to a place for the best compromise, and i don't think it is a bad one
necessarily, is to say, we all agree on a timeout. we will keep doing this, we will be in brexit limbo, for another year until we can get it done. i still thinkjacob rees—mogg cannot stand chequers. chequers, if you'll get all of the red lines that have been driven by there, it is impossible for the eu to accept this and still be the eu. and ireland cannot accept a hard border, all the irish politicians will get kicked out of office. all the things that put this into loggerheads remain, and so is the answer a leadership election here, is it a leadership election wherejeremy corbyn says, "my position is have a second referendum , " would that break the logjam? i don't see this getting solved with some kind of political shift, within europe the fear of alt right will be enough, but i don't see that here. jacob rees—mogg, to remind viewers, is the man at the helm of the european research group and these are the people we have been talking about this week, iain, who have been making rumblings about leadership, whether they say it is or not. i think one thing that is guaranteed
to provoke a real political explosion and bring the whole thing crashing down is the idea of trying to extend article 50. to say, "let's do this for another year, "it is too difficult". i don't think the politics of the tory party, the largest party in the uk, would sustain a delayed brexit. it has to happen in some form by march 2019, hopefully with some sort of transition period and a sensible deal. and that seems to be where they are getting to. in terms of ireland, it will be fudged. the irish and the british have been fudging the irish border question, which is complex, since 1921. 1923, common travel agreement. we have always found ways around these difficulties. and it does seem to be the beginnings of the understanding and some of the capitals, this is a particularly british—irish problem, which you might need to fudge the language around.
i sense something like a tripartite commission on the irish border being established or some waffle like that. lorries going through or not, it is smuggling, practicalities, it needs to be resolved. in terms of the tory leadership, may has had a very good week because the hardliners, you mentioned jacob rees—mogg, but also those who want boris johnson, the former foreign secretary, to be tory leader, have put themselves in a really ridiculous situation in that they have propped up may until now, they are anti—chequers, but then in the week where they were supposed to unveil their great alternative plan or proposal, it came to naught. they say they have lots of technological ways of solving the irish border problem... their biggest problem is that they are relying on a report this week that promised £1 trillion bonanza from the deal,
that everything would be marvellous, which i, as somebody who voted for brexit, think is implausible. you have to be realistic about the threats and challenge some of their thinking. so the hardliners at the moment, which will please those in the european union who want a deal, the hardliners are in disarray. they are not sure whether to challenge her, some of them want to challenge her, but they don't have an alternative. it's not as if they have someone like michael heseltine who in the late 19805 was the king over the water, so there's not a leader in waiting. boris is, in the words of one of his former advisers this week, disintegrating. he has his own difficulties. so there is not an obvious candidate. so you think right now, for now, theresa may is safe? i think she gets through it as long as there is some kind of deal
and fudge around these issues, she probably get through until brexit next spring. taking a step back from a brexit, looking at the state of society in britain at the moment, i think the notion that the decision in 2016 was the will of the people, is flatly wrong. it is not the people who spoke in 2016, the actual result of it is a deep division of the country, there is no clear will of the people available. it is infighting all the time, and that worries me more than anything else. of course, which is why a compromise deal is needed to bring those two sides together. and we will see what emerges. we are heading up to the salzburg summit this week, and party conference political season as well, so we will see what emerges in the next week or so. plenty to discuss next weekend, i'm sure. ten years ago this weekend, lehman brothers bank collapsed, the most significant moment in the global financial crash, which affected jobs,
homes and incomes in countries around the world, and still does today. gordon brown, who was britain's prime minister at the time, is among those who warned this week that when the next crisis hits — when, not if — the international community will have neither the ability nor willingness to tackle it together. jef, did gordon brown have a point, do you think? i think so. i think there are lots of reasons to be concerned about this. i think human beings in finances and other areas are better at preparing for the last war than the next one. there has been important change in the global financial system. the banks have been struggling to recapitalise, more attention to the emergency brakes and buffers, ways of trying to prevent one local problem at a lehman brothers from spiralling into a world financial problem. but people are attracted to bubbles, they are always much easier to identify in retrospect. people said there would be a crash
in 2006 and 2007, and there are people saying it now. and are they right or are they wrong? so the question is, are there systemic solutions to the problem or deterrents? and if you look at the problems of the world economy generally, the amount of debt, government debt is double now what it was then. a big physical stimulus that was done by the americans, by the europeans, might be harder to do now and might be hard to do quantitative easing again. interest rates are already at the bottom, so where is the wiggle room if there were to be another crisis? and here is donald trump, determined to make the world economic system less stable. trade wars, yes. trade wars, and not cooperating on all such things. if a phone call came at 3.00 in the morning saying another lehman brothers is collapsing, would he know what to do or be able
to get anyone to help? and there are added complexities in the economy. china has lots of strange banks that are not capitalised properly, nor the delay has visibility into it. you look at things like the way hacking occurs now, hacking can change the american election. you can see somebody deliberately trying to affect the banks. there is a long list of potential problems, yes. so i do worry, and also, finally, we are still living with the consequences politically of the crash, and the amount of trust by people in the government for handling problems like this is probably less. and the ceo now earns 350 times the average paid workers in the united states. the benefits of the tax cuts are not going to normal people. the sense of connection between people and system is even less now than it was in 2008, and i think that is a very big worry for stability. the question is, nothing that is all correct, the question is whether that crisis
in '08, '09 was one of those every 60, 70 years financial events. i would have to say the financial crisis took my whole career in a different direction. i ended up writing books about the crisis and about the collapse of rbs, which was the big bank in the uk which went bust. and i think where brown is right, and i don't often say that, but i think where he is spot on, is the methods for international cooperation are weaker than they were ten years ago, partly because of the president of the united states, partly because of shifts in geopolitics, the rise of china, which has continued. so i think that if we do hit some emergency for one of the reasons that you described, there is certainly a question mark over the continuation... and he was particularly talking about leadership, he said the lack
of international leadership. absolutely, and he knows very well because he was very admirably one of the leaders who called the g20 to discuss it at a global level, so gordon brown has a real direct experience of what happened, and quite rightly, as you underlined, the biggest difference between now and ten years ago is the breaking down of international cooperation. so if it was to happen now, in which the european union is on a collision course with donald trump, on climate change, on iran nuclear deal, on trade, where would it be the kind of cooperation that was there ten years ago? and especially in europe, the cooperation again between countries is a kind of historic minimum when it comes to solidarity. the european central bank,
very famously, the governor said, "we are going to save the euro whatever it takes". could they do that now? no, they couldn't, because there is no possibility any more to keep going with quantitative easing. there is a big difficulty and propping up countries if the eurozone was hit. this is a very gloomy prospect! i am horrified as we discuss what might happen, although brown does not have a good record of predicting the future. in the summer of 2007, he said we were heading into a golden era, boom and bust had been exorcised. and we should remember, he was chancellor before he was prime minister. he nationalised northern rock, so he did not see anything coming. i agree that this is
a horrific scenario. i wonder about the guy in the street, myself, and how we cope with the cost of living. what is going to happen to ongoing cuts in public services, to stagnating wages and living standards below what they were ten years ago? this is the immediate problem we are facing. we might face huger problems down the road, but this an unsolved crisis at the moment. and it causes all sorts of disruption in our societies. how do we cope with the current crisis, which is ongoing? the labour party is talking about the just about managings, which is a theresa may phrase, and there is truth in that, there are a lot of people who are hurting from lack of growth and prospectives, so how to solve the current imbalances and the public expenditure crisis, the cuts in public services, is what interests me more
than what might happen down the line in the future. and i have not seen an answer from the government, or anyone else, for that problem to solve. it is important to mark these anniversaries and to keep thinking about financial history. we have a habit, as human beings, of time rolls on, we forget, we make the same mistakes again. and the central mistake that brown made was to assume, and to tell voters that the economic social had been abolished. the terms invented a new way of thinking about economics, along with alan greenspan, but would not be the crashes of the past. those effects could be managed. and it turns out whether it is the south sea bubble or the tulip craze or the rail disasters of stock
in the 18505, the 1929 crash, capitalism has built into it, it has many great things, but builds until it is wanting it while you get over excitement and you can get a crash and get chaos. yes, that's right, but i think we need to reflect on these anniversaries to reflect and analyse our world. the main question should be, how do we reinforce international cooperation? because we are just witnessing a disruption of international solidarity at a european level, at american level, with other superpowers, and we are not thinking about the consequences if something goes wrong. thank you for now for that. a final thought on today's programme. if you had two russian friends who had just 48 hours to spend in the uk, what would you put on their 'must—see‘ list? the tower of london, buckingham palace, perhaps edinburgh's royal mile, oxford or cambridge? the two men who appeared on rt this week, russia's state—sponsored television channel, said they were advised by friends to visit salisbury. the uk had previously named alexander petrov and ruslan boshirov as being from russia's military intelligence service,
and suspects in the poisoning of sergei and yulia skripal in salisbury in march. the british government produced cctv footage of them in the city. thomas, salisbury is a nice place, but were theyjust tourists as they say? information given to me by president putin shows a tendency in russia to humiliate britain even more, and to make britain a laughing stock by coming up with such an unbelievable story, that i don't think even president putin himself could have taken seriously. he puts it out anyway because he thinks britain is there for the asking, if you want to have a good laugh at their expense, this is one way of doing it. i don't think he could reasonably believe that anyone in the world would believe such a cock and bull story. it is unbelievable, so why does he put it up? it is as i said, to make britain a laughing stock. i do not see any rhyme or reason other than putin having
a laugh at our expense. there are so many cathedrals we have to see. i was astonished that they were put off by the slush, coming from the russian military, you would've thought snow would not traditionally have been a problem. but i think that is a fair point, and actually post brexit, all of the travails europe is going through, that is the conversation we need to have with ourselves about how do we organise nato cooperation, and actually send a message to the russians? this was a very serious matter on british soil, and people were seriously ill, and one person lost her life because of novichok poisoning. which tells you to what extent putin believes now his reign —— in a realm of complete impunity.
the fact he could make a joke on the fact that two russian agents might have killed someone in britain, just joked that they were tourists, just tells you the kind of level of contempt for britain. i agree with thomas, if there was one reason why it was done, it was to make a joke of the british intelligence services. "you think you found them? no, they were tourists." so he is kind of taunting britain on the global stage. yes. so what happens now? god forbid, could a poisoning happen again? where does this go next? well, i covered the alexander litvinenko poisoning in 2006, this is so similar, because it was not understood how it was done. once they figured out it was polonium, polonium leaves traces, they followed them, they gave a press conference and went to the british embassy, they could follow them all over europe, the individual seats they flew in on aeroplanes
from russia to the uk to make it happen, and they spoke out and gave a similar press conference. and it is just classic russian intelligence way of doing things, they will continue to do things like this. you say after brexit, we need to figure out about solidarity. actually, putin is the winner in some ways, he is the winner of the american election and he is the winner of brexit because it divides everybody. the european union is as much use as a chocolate fireguard when it comes to security. nato really does the security in europe, which we need to strengthen. but the point is that he acts with impunity, which needs to be addressed. we need to find ways to tell them that they cannot do this. yes, so how does this happen? the doping issue in sports, of russian sponsored, state—sponsored doping, did come out, let to the banning —— led to the banning of russian institutions.
and then they have the world cup in russia! i don't know. i think the sanctions that pick on individual people around him seem to be the most effective so far, and if we get rid of hot russian money in london, it would put in a lot of bankers and lawyers out of business here. but i think that with world attention, but again, that requires global attention because you have to get it out of the cayman islands and a lot of other places as well. but enforcing the common europeans and the policy is the future, but we do not talk about that. the european union is hopeless at that, they have interacted at for 20 years. nato exists and is a proper defence alliance. donald trump thinks that nato is obsolete and is threatening the europeans, so nato is not exactly the answer. there are all sorts of countries in europe which
are not necessarily full members of the eurozone, full participating members of the eu. we will all have to find a way outside or alongside the european union of cooperating on defence, security, and intelligence. that'll be a topic most certainly for another day. thank you to all of you, good to see you. that's it for dateline london for this week. goodbye. hello there. it looks like we will continue with a north—south divide. it was a beautiful sunrise. a different story further north and
west. already we have some rain and quite cloudy start first thing this morning and some bits of rain. the wind is pretty heavy through the night across scotland and northern ireland and accompanied by 30 mph to 40 ireland and accompanied by 30 mph to a0 mph gusts of wind. that is the green shoots southeast that are starting to weaken. that'll be the stories will go through the day. the rain moving out of the north of england into lincolnshire and weakening. we should see some sunny spells across the north wales in the afternoon. police in scotland and northern ireland before of shares in the north west. still on the mild side of around a0 degrees to 19 degrees. we could see 232a degrees in the south—east. a band of cloud and the relatively mild night to come here with that south—westerly flow. temperatures will keep hitting
around 70 degrees. quite mild and cloudy start on monday. —— 17 degrees. by the end of money into tuesday will see the significant area of low pressure starting to push across the uk. we start off monday relatively quiet and the winners will strengthen and cloud will gather in the rain will arrive in to northern ireland and western scotland. by the end of the day there will be gusts of winds of a0 mph the highest value from around 1a to 2a degrees. on tuesday we will be likely to see the strongest of the winds sub deals are severe gales with the spell of very wet weather moving into scotland from northern ireland. by tuesday the west of the rain will have these the week that they will still keep those wet conditions right across the country as you can see. but at least they are coming from the south—westerly.
monkey tropical area across central areas of the country. —— monkey. this is bbc news i'm rachel schofield. the headlines at 12: theresa may defends her brexit plan, as the prime minister hits out at speculation over her future. this is where i get a little bit irritated. this is not — this debate is not about my future. this debate is about the future of the people of the uk and the future of the united kingdom. the mayor of london, sadiq khan, calls for a second eu referendum, as he attacks the government's handling of brexit. at least a9 people are killed in flooding and landslides in the philippines, as typhoon mangkhut approaches southern china. the big problem, although not so much in evidence around here, is smashed windows, smashed glass.