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tv   HAR Dtalk  BBC News  September 28, 2018 12:30am-1:01am BST

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our top story: donald trump's nominee for the supreme court, brett kavanaugh, and the woman accusing him of sexual assault have testified to us senators. christine blasey ford told thejudiciary committe that the alleged assault 36 years ago had dramatically affected her life. she said she was 100% certain it was mr kavanaugh who had assaulted her. judge kavanaugh emphatically denied the allegations, and accused the democrats of destroying his family and his good name for political reasons. he added that his notes showed he had not attended a party at the location dr ford had described. and in other news: a fierce critic of the philippines president, rodrigo duterte, is facing possible detention over charges of instigating a coup d'etat. mr duterte ordered the arrest of senator antonio trillanes earlier this month, despite a previous presidential pardon. that's all. stay with bbc world news. now on bbc news, hardtalk. welcome to hardtalk.
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i'm stephen sackur. the old certainties in european politics are crumbling. voters seem fed up with a long—established supremacy of the parties of centre—right and centre—left. the politics of identity and raw emotion have fuelled populist insurgencies from italy to sweden, to eastern europe. mostly it is the right, not the left, in the ascendant. well, my guest is yanis varoufakis, greece's radical leftist finance minister at the height of the economic crisis, and an advocate of a new global progressive politics. but is he losing the argument in europe? yanis va roufakis,
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welcome to hardtalk. you still play a political role. you have a new political party, which you are determined to make a force in greece and in europe. but would you accept that as a radical, as a leftist, the tide in europe, the tide of public opinion is running against you? absolutely. civilisation is in retreat. we are experiencing a new, a post—modern 1930s moment. the liberal establishment has made a mess of it. they have been insisting on policies that are failing left, right and centre, and they are crumbling, like the weimar republic. thankfully not with the brownshirts of the streets yet, but we have the nationalist republic rising across europe. look at the salvini phenomenon
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in italy and so on. we are losing the battle. this is why this is the time to regroup across a broad alliance of progressives, democrat, liberals, left—wingers, that have civilisation at the heart. before we drill down into the detail of that analysis, i do want to ask you whether you think it is justifiable to, as so many progressives and leftists do, use this trope about europe looking like europe in the 1930s. historian niall ferguson addressed that recently, saying it is nonsense and lazy. if one takes one example, italy, you just mentioned the fascists and mrsalvini. and we spoke with him the other day on hardtalk, he has abandoned many of his more radical positions, particularly on leaving the eurozone. well, he hasn't. he has strategically placed this on the backburner for a year. and we can discuss this next year. but what he has primarily done
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is that he has used the same storyline from the 1930s of promising the average italian, whose income has been, per capita, falling for 20 years, there's no doubt about that, to restore his pride back byjustifies just opposing him against the migrant, even the italian roma. this is exactly the same as the 1930s. it isn't exactly the same as the 1930s. in italy... i didn't say it is exactly the same. i said a post—modern version of it. thankfully history does not repeat itself exactly. the point is, you need in the sense to set this idea up to make the case for your own radical, leftist, progressive politics. and i put it to you that there is a fundamental exaggeration. when you talk about this post—modern crisis in europe — look at germany, look at france, look even at italy, look even
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at sweden — where yes, the far—right democrats did well, but 83% of the nation didn't vote for them. you're setting up a notion of europe in crisis which simply isn't true. i wish you were right. but i don't think you are. the fascists and the parochials and the extreme nationalists do not need to win government in order to change the complexion of europe. look at, for instance, france, where le pen never won the elysee, but, nevertheless, she infected the right wing party of the republicans, so much that on social issues, civil liberties, even the socialist party voted for legislation that would make mrs le pen exceptionally proud. this is how it works. they do well and then push the whole political spectrum in an antiliberal and rabid nationalist direction. to the extent that now we have a fragmentation of the european union.
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all right. if the alarm bells and the emergency sirens going off all across europe, how come in your own country, greece, right now, if one looks at the opinion polls, out in front is the new democracy party, the mainstream age—old centre—right party. your old party, syriza, the radical leftist government of the moment, they are struggling in the polls, but your own even more radical progressive offering, your new party, you're struggling to get even a single percentage point of the vote in the latest opinion polls. well, i would say that is unfair, because we have just started the party. judge us at the election, that is the only opinion poll. especially for a party that is not known to exist in greece at the moment. take my point. allow me to address the point directly. firstly, firstly, the real winners of opinion polls are the apathy and discontent with the political system.
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the majority of greeks today declare through opinion pollsters that they're not going to participate in the democratic triumph celebration at the ballot box. that is the greatest defeat of democracy. people who actually say that they're going to vote for the mention parties that you mentioned, they will do this defensively. they will not do it with any degree of enthusiasm. the democratic system can only function when citizens are engaged. at the moment, citizens across europe are becoming disengaged from the political process. this is something that we should all worry about, as long as we are democrats. you are a democrat, right? committed, passionate... because you talk about direct action and point towards other ways in which people can alter the political landscape. to be clear, you're absolutely, four square a democrat. i am staunchly a democrat. stephen, i grew up
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in a dictatorship. i value nothing more than the rule of law and the democratic process. the direct action that you mentioned is absolutely essential. participating in town hall meetings. participating in workplace democracy. these are the pillars of a liberal democratic process. we have spoken before about what happened in 2015, when, for about nine months, i believe, you were finance minister. i don't want to go through the whole thing again. 5.5, you're exaggerating. maybe it seemed longer. it was very compressed. that's for sure! looking back at the perspective of being in september of ‘is, can you now acknowledge that actually, alexis tsipras and his syriza government took the right decisions? absolutely not. i wish i could. the one thing i would like to do more than anything is leave the political scene and,
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you know, write my books, and read poetry, and applaud alexis tsipras, or whoever else happens in power, so to speak, or in government. look, look, look. but the suggestion is exactly... look at the reality. greece has finally escaped... really? ..from the boot of the troika. the imf, the eu. not really. yes, really. let's look at the facts, were we? greece has massive debt, but greece can now shape its own economic future. who told you that? greece is bankrupt. mr tsipras said just the other month when finally the bailout conditions were lifted, "a new beginning, an historic break with the past." and he's ready started talking about his own economic policy with tax breaks, higher social benefits. you've met many politicians in your life. i don't believe you're so gullible as to expect a politician to tell you the truth, especially when he's presiding over
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a complete catastrophe. one in two families in greece as we speak have no—one working in them. one in two families, i will repeat this, have no one working in them. one third of the working greeks are receiving less than 384 euros a month in a country which is not cheap. we have about 10—15,000 youngsters, well—educated ones, leaving the country, migrating, every month. to consider this to be a success story, and, by the way, we are still in the... under the thumb of the troika. but the alternative, walking away from the debt, defying the germans and the european union. i never propose to walk away. if your philosophy and defiance had been followed, greece would have, ultimately, been insolvent, crashed out of the eurozone, and those families you talk about today would be even worse. firstly i was proposing technically competent debt swaps that would have made the debt payable so that we wouldn't need to destroy the private sector with tax rates and rates for social security payments which, stephen,
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listen this, 75% of profits a small business now has to pay the state. 75% of profits. you don't have to be left—wing or right wing to realise that this is what you do to a country when you want to destroy it. let's stick to what is happening in europe today. in so many countries, the radical left proposition does not appear to be appealing to — if i can put it this way — the left behind, the alienated working class, those who are feeling insecure, angry, disappointed, and neglected. those of the people, whether you talk about donald trump's america or in europe, those sorts of people appear to feel more of the connection with parties of the populist nationalist right. why is the left—wing proposition
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not appealing to them? because it is not square up. because the left has failed to put forward a progressive agenda that makes people think, "ah ha, this might work." this is a terrible failure on the part of the latter. and it is essential that those of us who identify themselves as left—wingers begin with self—criticism. and that is why — and let me answer your question specifically. we have failed to put forward a kind of new deal agenda that extends beyond ideological borderlines and national borderlines. europe today needs what fdr did in 1933, we need a new deal for europe. and unless we create an alliance across national borders, and across the standard party political divisions, we will fail. the only beneficiaries will be those
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who turn one proud people against the other, northern europeans against the southern europeans, the europeans against the africans, or the syrians. and, indeed, europeans against europeans. politics is very much about emotion as well as rationality and logic. when you put forward your proposition and to flesh out a little bit, you have talked about a new international monetary system that must be created, and international wealth fund. you've talked about an international digital currency they could ensure that your new fair world of finance would have its own sort of electronic currency. all of this, i would put you, doesn't get to the emotional heart of where politics is today. it is those people who are talking about the dangers of mass immigration, those who are talking about the need for secure borders — they're the people in europe who appear to connect with so many of the voters. you are quite right.
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this is why we need... why aren't you doing it? why are the left not addressing the issue of immigration? the reason why some of us created a democracy movement in europe, which seeks to be a movement bringing together notjust the left but liberals, even progressive conservatives, those of us who are eager to agree on a believable, credible, progressive agenda for europe, this is why we created diem25, because we don't believe the left has what it takes. but let me answer your point. because you made a good point. you made the point that it is important to unite emotion and rationality. we say to people who are lured by the nationalist narrative of secure borders, of the anti—migrant narrative... what is your proposition to people who are generally concerned? what we say on an emotional level, mostly, we say we need to take our countries back. we need to get our towns back. we have to get our europe back. because problems with private debt can be mortgages, with public debt, with low
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levels of investment, with uberisation of jobs, they cannot be sorted out at the level of england, italy, or germany. we need to look at these problems together and have a solution. so hang on. let me stop you there. what you do said is really important. so at heart you are a multilateralist, and for all of your critique of the eu when you were finance minister, you seem to be saying we still need multilateral, even globalist solutions — and i come back to all the stuff you write about global greed investment programmes, globalfair trade deals, global minimum living wages imposed on... you are talking to somebody who paraded up and down this country
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before thejune 2016 referendum and i campaigned feverishly against brexit and in favour of remain, even though no one would accuse me of being a lapdog of brussels. but my point is that you are out of tune with the spirit of the times. people are thinking very much, it seems, in terms of nationalism, in terms of their borders, their security. here are you, proposing all of these new, multilateral, extremely ambitious global institutions. except — except — except that firstly they would work in contrast and juxtaposition to the current institutions, that are failing... how can you be confident that they would work? let's debate what's on the table. by the way, i am a collector. —— i am eclectic. i borrow from the best. you mentioned the digital international currency, that is not my idea, that isjohn maynard keynes in 19114, it wasn't digital back then.
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well, you have updated it somewhat. and that is what we must do. what is this ‘we‘ — ‘we must do‘? we have just discussed for much of this interview the problems facing the european union because of a deficit, you do not recognise the legitimacy of eu institutions, yet here we are talking about ‘we‘ being some sort of global institution that sets up its own currency. who is this ‘we‘? let me answer the question. in may 2019, our movement is going to stand in the european parliament elections and we are going to stand in greece, we are going to stand with our friends and colleagues in denmark of the alternative party, we are going to stand in poland with a feminist—led political progressive party, we are going to run in elections in italy against salvini — that is who we are and our challenge is how to create a narrative of inclusiveness that is completely humanistic, antinationalist and internationalist. 0k. and you've just laid out that you're
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going to fight in elections, and as — let's face it — you've said you're a democrat, and you're going to walk the walk as well as talk the talk and i respect that, but if one looks at current polling, and as you say, diem has been around for a couple of years, but you are new, so the fact that you are scoring virtually zero in the polls, we'll let that pass. it's too bankrupt for polling organisations to carry out polls. what i want to get to is this, the only country in europe, right now, where the left, in its more radicalform, is actually doing well — or at least gaining traction with a significant part of the population — is in the united kingdom. indeed. so what makes — and you know the uk very well — what, in yourview, makes jeremy corbyn‘s labour party different from so many of the other left movements in europe and across the world today?
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well, the brexit has had a lot to do with it, because brexit has been a slap in the face of progressives.— independently of their view about what brexit is. i was going to say the labour party is confused about what brexit so i can't see how... well, it is because it is a confusing issue. if you are not confused about brexit, you are fanatical. i can't see how brexit can be the driver of the momentum. what brexit did was it created a realisation in this country that british democracy and its role in the world cannot be taken for granted. it needs to be reinvented, and this is — this is a — let's look at the bright side. this gives the people of britain an opportunity to reconsider their position in the world, and i believe that jeremy has been doing a very good job at recognising that the last 30 years of privatisation,
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of moving towards a business model that effectively tied the economy's growth onto bubbles, on the housing bubble and on the city of london, and he is causing a reassessment of this. interesting, because he would say — you talked about the last generation of politicians in the uk who in your view played that sort of neoliberal economic gain, you would say that tony blair was in left of centre politician. what does it mean? on the one hand, he was, because he gave a little money to the national health service, money that the tories starved the national health service of. but at the very same time, he did it by aligning himself completely with the city of london, i turning a blind eye to the private money minting of the private banks, and creating the circumstances that led to 2008 and to the collapse in 2008. what i am getting to is that john mcdonnell, the current shadow chancellor of the exchequer here in the uk hasjust made a big speech, where he has painted
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a picture of a radical economic programme, including just one example, the mandatory imposition on business in the uk of a need to have 10% of their shares given to the workers in the company. the dividends would then go to those workers and they would be a cap on the amount of dividend to be received by each worker and the excess beyond that would go to the government, so it would actually be a huge new corporate tax. it would fundamentally change the relationship between the state and the corporate centre in the uk in a very sort of left—of—centre sort of way. do you really believe the british people are going to vote for that? i think so. and i'm very glad to have heard john mcdonnell put forward the idea. have you talked tojohn mcdonnell about that programme? he is saying exactly some of the things you have said about that programme. i am proposing a social wealth fund where10% of the shares after every capital raising by companies go into a public wealth funds, and the dividends are
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distributed in the form of a universal basic dividend. whereas the labour party is divvying them up amongst the workers within those corporations. what i think is very important — remember this is not even in the manifesto yet. this is part of the liberal party conference, it may go in the manifesto, i hope it does. it is a fairly interesting discussion though that we must have, even the tories must have, about the division between capital and labour. put it differently, stephen, once upon a time when an industrialist bought a machine, the industrialist could claim the profits that the machine produced for the company. but these days of google and facebook, every time you search on your google search engine for something, you are providing capital to google, and no—one is getting the returns for that except for google. we have to reconsider property rights over the returns of capital, and the labour party is the only party in the world that is doing this.
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this is the answer to your question "why is it that jeremy corbyn‘s labour party are picking up votes and support, unlike other left wing parties around the world?" so for you, definitely, the uk labour party represents a beacon of hope. but throughout this interview you have been saying we must do this, we must do that, and i have been pointing out that actually in the real world and the world of opinion polls and politics, your ideas are not adding very much traction, if we leave aside the united kingdom. i disagree with you. is there a point where you at some point say to yourself democratic politics doesn't work? one labour mp said recently "we need to topple this government, if we can't do it at the ballot box, we will do it with a general strike by working with the trade unions." is that your kind of politics? well, firstly, a strike is not illegal, the last time i checked. i am not saying it is illegal, i am saying is that your view of where your kind of politics needs to go?
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firstly, let's be very clear because these are dangerous politics with the rise of extremists around the world and we have to be very be in a language and in the way that we support democracy. so the answer directly, i am going to quote from winston churchill, "the democratic process is pretty awful, it is pretty nasty, but it is the best of all alternatives, and we have to be prepared to defend it with our lives." i think that is a pretty straightforward a nswer your question. now, whether strikes are part of the political democratic process, i believe that they are. and on that note, we have to end. yanis varoufakis, thank you very much for being on hardtalk. thank you. hello, good morning.
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it's fair to say yesterday across england and wales felt a bit more like summer. in the sunshine in lincolnshire, we had temperatures here as high as 25 celsius. now, today, still going to be dry in most places. there'll still be some sunshine around, but it will feel much, much cooler. we've got high pressure sitting to the west of the uk, the warmth is getting pushed away into the continent, and around the top of the high pressure, we've got these cooler winds coming in behind a band of cloud, which, in the morning, is affecting southern counties of england. it will clear away, you could get one or two light showers coming in on a north—easterly wind into the south—east corner of england, the north—westerly will bring more cloud into the highlands and islands and a few scattered light showers here. temperatures, though, will be significantly lower for the likes of newcastle. six degrees lower than yesterday in london. those temperatures will fall away
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sharply underneath the clear skies, with the winds falling light. northern half of the uk sees a little bit more breeze, some cloud perhaps pushing into northern ireland and especially the north—west of scotland. not quite as chilly here, but it will be much colder further south, 2—3 into northern parts of england and wales. sunshine, though, will boost those temperatures on saturday, lighter winds too. a bit more of a breeze across the north, more cloud coming into scotland and northern ireland, rain into the north—west, may be arriving into the central belt later on in the day. but ahead of that, it will feel a bit warmer, with temperatures 17 or 18. that weather front coming into the north—west is very weak, not amounting to very much and as it heads south, more a band of cloud with little or no rain on it at all. there's the band of cloud moving into england and wales. sunny spells following on behind that. the north—westerly wind will start to drop the temperatures and a fair number of showers coming into scotland, some of those in northern scotland could be quite heavy as well.
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sunday will feel a little cooler, those temperatures 12—16 typically north—south. high pressure out to the west of the uk, those showers getting pushed away into the north sea. a northerly airflow as we head into monday, that's never a good direction, and that means some sunny spells, yes, but we will see quite a chilly feel on monday. and into the north—west of the uk, the next weather system arrives, clouding over in scotland and northern ireland, some more substantial rain into the north—west by the end of the day, but temperatures struggling between 11—14 on monday. that rain will push southwards overnight, leaving us with a more westerly airflow. not quite as chilly by day or by night. there will be a lot of cloud, and probably not much rain. i'm rico hizon in singapore. the headlines: a powerful testimony from the woman who is accusing president trump's supreme court nominee of assaulting her 36 years ago. i believed he was going to rape me. i tried to yell for help.
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when i did, brett put his hand over my mouth to stop me from yelling. in an angry and emotional response, brett kavanaugh denied any assault, saying the accusations are politically motivated. i swear today, under oath, before the senate and the nation, will before my family and god, i am innocent of this charge. i'm kasia madera in london.
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