tv Dateline London BBC News December 18, 2017 3:30am-4:01am GMT
the un's human rights chief said he assumes the country's de facto leader, aung san suu kyi, sanctioned their repression. some 650,000 rohingya muslims have fled to bangladesh since august. south africa's governing anc is voting to choose a new leader to succeed presidentjacob zuma. nearly 5,000 delegates are expected to vote. deputy president, cyril ramaphosa, appears to be leading the nominations. president putin has acknowledged the help of the cia in preventing terror attacks in st petersburg. he told president trump the information had helped to track down and detain a terrorist group preparing blasts in kazan cathedral and other public places in the city. now on bbc news, dateline london. hello and a very warm welcome
to dateline london, i'mjane hill. this week we reflect on some movement, finally, in the brexit talks and ask whether the election of a democrat in alabama really is a blow to donald trump. my guests this week, the american writer stephanie baker from bloomberg markets. suzanne lynch, washington—based for the irish times, the british political commentator yasmin alibhai—brown. and thomas kielinger, from germany's die welt. a warm welcome to you all. we've seen the end of the beginning. it was confirmed this week that the brexit talks between britain and the eu can finally move to the second phase. what a week for britain's prime minister theresa may — losing a parliamentary vote in london, but getting a round of applause from leading eu figures in brussels. though by fridayjean—claude juncker
and angela merkel were among those pointing out that phase two of the negotiations will be much harder than phase one. talks move injanuary to discussion of the transition period. yasmin, the theresa may more than soldiers on. you have to admire her. just when you think she is down and out, somehow adversity seems to bring out something in her. weak and stable! she is also... i can't imagine what it feels like to be in her position. she is battling on six, seven fronts within her own party — all these issues. i think we have to admire that she didn't collapse into a heap and start crying.
they applauded i think her strength. the europeans have been so civilised, i have to say, through all of this. they are a very civilised bunch. i don't think we are very civilised when we are talking about them. theresa may has been, which is why she got a round of applause, presumably. was itjean—claude juncker saying she was polite and friendly. she started that in florence — that new tone with her speech. the madness of this place was not getting us anywhere. she did say, "we want to be friends and good for europe." she comes back to this mad house that is the conservative party and she has to negotiate quite a lot. i think what is to come is so difficult. god help her and us. there is a very important cabinet meeting on tuesday and that goes to the heart of what she has to address. let's talk to a polite european! britain is too big
a country to lose, to fail. they need to realise this is a defining moment in their own history and we need to come together. we can't be brutal and bloody minded about britain. there is a reason for europe to be civilised because their own house is not totally in order. there are certain aspects of the summit meeting in brussels which were not reported much in britain because everyone was focused on brexit. there are huge problems waiting for the eu with the migration issue. the eu has by no means a hard and fast currency to sustain itself. they need new economic rules to make sure the currency survives and there are plans that the french have put forward of a budgetary harmonisation in europe, which the germans are dead set against.
and germany, there is no reason for angela merkel to be civilised because she has no government at the moment. where are we with that? none of this has been reported in the uk this week. tell me in march. it looks pretty bleak because the total mess and division of opinion inside germany is such that nobody seems to agree on anything with anybody. i wonder why in western democracy, the outcome of elections are similiarly murky and indecisive. the voters don't seem to trust politicians enough to give any single party a clear majority to rule the country. that is at the heart of the problem. germany is on a weak wicket. i agree with him. this idea of europe being civilised but europe is quite divided both on brexit, where there are very different views on what it should be from west to east. but also within its own entity.
migration, there was a huge debate about that on thursday night in brussels. other things about eurozone governance and tax. countries like ireland, the netherlands, luxembourg, they are very worried about moves to harmonise taxation. they are losing an ally with britain leaving. that is a real blow and the loss of britain as a huge member of the eu will have more subtle implications in years to come, not least with the idea of trade and free market. britain was always a strong proponent of free market liberalism. standing up to the french. not to stereotype too much, but a protectionist idea of europe. the implications there of britain leaving on the eu are more nebulous but they will be felt for years to come.
that is a good thing for europe because we have not been a good member of the eu. we have never committed to this relationship and the low tax and... in what specifics? we have always had this argument. that we don't want to be part of this. the neoliberal model is bust and i think the low tax economies like the ones you are talking about, they have to rethink. this goes to the heart of it. in eu treaties you have national sovereignty over your tax. it will probably not change. but i wouldn't agree with that entirely. britain may have played the role of being an outsider but officials in brussels were very clever in making a lot of the rules to suit britain. also the other irony of brexit was britain had the best of both worlds. it was not in the euro or schengen. it had an opt—out from a lot ofjustice legislation. it was always half in. there was quite a good deal, many people think. that's what i mean.
as time went on, more people in this country felt european. there was an emotional bond that we feel has now been severed. because they wanted it all, but i still feel the eu wide action they want to take on the tax paid by the internet giants is a good thing. it is a very good thing. a lot of countries don't believe that. luxembourg, the irish, they say tax is a sovereign matter. ireland has a lot of us tech companies. it is not simple. defence is another one. a number of countries in the eu are not members of nato. they don't want more cooperation. in the civilised language, a subtle attempt to strengthen theresa may's hand in her own country,
to make her look more impressive than some detractors in britain are saying. so the middle—ground view will gain ascendancy in the may cabinet. it is a subtle way to make sure that not the mad crowd will win the day in britain. you had some grumbling in the tory ranks saying margaret thatcher never got applauded when she won britain's rebate. so maybe she has given up too much and she should be playing hard ball a bit more. i think whatever deal she gets out of the eu would be a reflection of where the eu is going. we need to think about that. you saw some more positive statements coming out of the continent. the belgian prime minister saying he thought a canada plus—plus should be the cornerstone of any future negotiations with the uk.
it is in keeping with what david davis has said. and what the majority of what the cabinet supports. many people thought a canada plus—plus deal was unrealistic and a fantasy. i think how europe handles this will be a real reflection of where it is going. that is important. david davis and his ramblings on what was decided by mrs may was just a statement of intent. they have been very tough. things will be as they are until 2019. the transition period, more or less everything stays the same. we are playing them. the transition period is interesting. we have march 2019, but if we are looking at a two—year transition period, things are broadly the same for very many years to come. we are still part of the ec], the trade deal
is going to be similar. you have been a member of the eu for 43 years so what is another five years? by the time we get to the end point, and about divisions, who knows? do any of us know what the eu is going to look like by the time we reach that point? europe despite slow progress has used the time to become aware how terrible it would be to lose britain. you have to come up with an accommodating deal at the end of the day, because britain is too big to fail in the eyes of europe. they have to make extra effort to accommodate whatever the discussion will throw up in britain. i think we have a major paradox now approaching on the tracks which is today, philip hammond in china saying he wanted a deal that would replicate status quo. that is essentially, after saying we don't want to be in the single market, that is what they are going to want. the northern ireland issue crystalised this by saying
there won't be a border in northern ireland and ireland. that means northern ireland will stay in the customs union and single market effectively. will it be a copy and paste? that has implications for the rest of uk. we are not in the single market but essentially we are. will the eu allow that? i don't think they will if they don't allow free movement. you suck up to this lot so much. i am saying to you that the europeans have said you cannot do any trade deal independently until after this period. canada, it took them eight years. it is for britain to sort out contradictions. it is going to be very difficult. theresa may has been able to fudge
a number of issues with this preliminary agreement. you can't fudge things in trade talks. language has to be specific. she can't put in language like with northern ireland, which can mean many things to many people. she will have it tough. and this will not be easy. canada plus—plus will be a difficult negotiation. particularly over financial services, which is incredibly important to the british economy and you can see the continent grabbing. macron making offers to lure banks to paris. and frankfurt similarly. nevertheless, there is a sense of community in europe. a sense of growing awareness that we have to be on the positive and try to see if there is some way of solving this conundrum. british policies are mind—boggling. powerful people in the tory party, and some labour, like kate hoey,
for whom it is never going to be good enough. it is never going to be enough. that is what theresa may has to navigate in the coming weeks and we will see what emerges from the cabinet meeting this week. in the us, the first democrat has been elected senator for alabama in over 20 years. doug jones beat roy moore, even though the republican had been endorsed by president trump. did moore lose because of the allegations of sexual harrassment against him, or does the vote suggest wider problems for the administration? the republicans now have just 51 out of the 100 seats in the senate. stephanie, how significant was the alabama vote? it was very significant for a number of reasons. short—term, it makes it more difficult for donald trump to get his agenda through congress. they only have one vote they can lose in the senate. it strengthens the hands of moderate
republicans in the senate, who have opposed him on a number of issues. i think they will get the tax bill through because doug jones will not be sworn in and they will vote on it next week. he will be sworn in after. 0n welfare, infrastructure spending, immigration, judicial appointments, the divisions in the republican party are greater and the possibility of swing votes will be much greater. long—term, some in the republican party said this was a special election. roy moore is an accused paedophile with some extreme views on a number of issues from the us constitution to race and religion. you can't predict a democratic sweep nationwide in the november midterms. however, the democrats are very
energised and see a road map from their victories in virginia and alabama. now you have an increasing realisation amongst the democratic party that they have spent too much money on advertising and not enough on voter turnout. that is how they were able to secure doug jones' victory. it was a strong african—american turnout. a huge amount of money into turnout. a 30% turnout of black voters, which was higher than under barack 0bama. if they can replicate that in other races, they have a path to victory. what is the future of steve bannon? he has been waging this war on the establishment republican party. a big supporter of roy moore. and persuaded donald trump to back him. can the republican party cut him off
or will he be allowed to continue to field these toxic candidates in republican primaries, that end up in the election not able to win and not able to secure the votes from swing voters? that is the battle. do they neutralise steve bannon and his war, or does he still gain the upper hand? we have a repeat of the tea party battle in 2010. and in 2012. suzanne, what was your view? i agree with a lot of that. this could be a turning point for donald trump. if you look at the figures, suburban districts that voted heavily for trump in 2016 flipped and voted for doug jones. there was also a very important election in virginia last month. the same thing happened.
it was a strong african—american vote. and a strong suburban vote. you could say roy moore is such a flawed candidate, we can't deduce anything from that. the idea of democrats winning an election in alabama at the moment would be beyond their wildest dreams. no—one wanted to predict this in washington. there are serious questions now about donald trump's judgment in terms of his decision to back this guy that everybody advised him not to back, except steve bannon. i think that this battle that has been happening in the party and will dominate the midterms next year, which is — do we stick with conservative republicans or go down the firebrand route, the kind of candidates represented by donald trump? i think we have been given an early answer. i think republicans have learned their lesson. they will be much more careful about who they choose in the midterms next year,
and that will make it more difficult for democrats. if there's a more sensible republican, it will be more difficult to win that seat. but trump still has a huge following. among his base, but nationally, it is very low. in alabama, his base still voted for roy moore. we're not talking about a massive election win. percentage—wise, it was still a small victory. there weren't as many people. a lot of people who voted for donald trump did not vote for the republican candidate in certain districts. in rural southern parts of alabama, they did. in the suburbs and urban areas, they didn't. you saw people who had voted for trump then turning. that's the worry. trump's own election was very close. he didn't win the popular vote. it only takes something small and if these suburban voters are flipping, that is a worry
for the republicans. i take great comfort from the news that he is in a difficult state, because the rest of the world is wondering whither america? the unpredictability of the president it is a huge burden on the international scene and so the prospect of a republican party moderating itself to voting for someone else, it is huge news. it is good news. the uncertainty from trump is one of the biggest... the forces behind, it is the steve bannons and the whole circle. he is only a product of what they have been doing behind the scenes. the alt—right influence remains very strong. the core base is there. it will not win them an election. people forget how close it was when donald trump won. it doesn't take that much to push a democrat over the line. in the midterms, you have got senate seats open in states that trump won. that is going to be an uphill
struggle for the democrats. the other factor we are forgetting about is the russian investigation. how it will play out. you already see paul ryan, the republican leader, saying he is soul—searching. there is this report that he has been considering resigning or not running in november 2018. there is the feeling that if the republicans tried to go after special counsel, robert mueller, does he want to be fronting that? that will have a huge effect on how the november midterms play out. we don't know what else robert mueller is sitting on and what else he can come outwith. he has already come up with four indictments and has two cooperating with him.
i would not downplay how much additional indictments could affect the prospects for the republican party going forward. this week, there were two things going on — one was about the alabama election. but on a lot of conservative media channels, the talk was constantly about robert mueller's investigation and there is now a theory that the investigation against trump is biased. trump says it and his supporters do, and a lot of conservative media are saying it. trump went to an fbi graduation ceremony yesterday and on his way, he gave a speech saying the fbi were disgraceful, that he was going to fix things, that the hillary clinton investigation was a hoax and there was a witchhunt against him. we have an unprecedented breakdown in relations between fbi and the executive. but also, we have a concerted effort to delegitimise the mueller investigation. if he does find out anything negative about donald trump, donald trump's supporters are ready to say this investigation was flawed
and we don't trust the premise. it is a very serious issue. it is to do with this terrible, dangerous thing that has grown both in this country and the us, that the elite is plotting against the interests of the people. they play this every time. so again, it will be they are out to get donald trump, they have created this thing, this is a man who the people want and all of this rhetoric. trump won't win on this issue. i was heartened by hearing vladimir putin giving his press conference this week, where he decried himself about all the trouble that donald trump is happening. that seems to confirm for me that mr putin is deep in trouble about this connection with america. because he has his hands dirty because of the partly, already proven influence and interference of russia. the fact that mr putin is on the side of the donald trump camp, makes me feel
the investigation will come out all right. i read somewhere that they asked a group of americans outside the main big cities where russia was and three quarters of the people had never heard the word russia. we're talking about levels of ignorance that are really striking. you talk about the vote about the tax laws. that, assuming it goes through, will be trumpeted as his first big legislative victory. we know the arguments on both sides, but he and the administration will portray this as delivering on his election promises. he will score a victory on that front. however, what is unclear is how much that tax cut will be felt by voters by november 2018. some voters will feel it immediately, but it gives the democrats a platform
to campaign on. that this was a massive tax cut for the wealthy and for big corporations, and for trump himself. his businesses, it is remarkable how much he and his organisation would benefit from this tax cut. that has not been played up much. that gives them a natural platform to campaign on and it is incredibly unpopular, this tax cut. it is both corporate and personal. $1 trillion of corporate tax cuts. $1 trillion of it goes to the corporations. and the impact on the middle classes? $200 to $300 billion for individual tax cuts. again, a tax cut for the top earners, which is the latest. although it will cut taxes on middle and lower income,
those expire, and some won't necessarily feel that until they file their tax returns the following year. we've seen from previous tax cuts under 0bama, he gave a similar tax cut — average tax cut for individuals of $800 — and most people didn't notice it. if voters don't notice any real benefits from this tax cut and democrats are campaigning this was a massive cut for the rich, then that hands them a lot of firepower. 0k. an interesting note on which to end. thank you to all of you. that is all we have time for this week. join us next week if you can. thanks for watching, goodbye. hello there. monday morning starts off on a chilly note. there will certainly be more frost in rural spots with mist and fog too. high pressure building in from the south and that keeps the weather pretty quiet
during the day on monday. the mist and fog across parts of the north—west of england and down to the midlands should slowly clear. then lots of dry and bright weather, a bit more cloud across the far north and north—west of scotland, with some showers. temperatures range from a chilly four degrees in the east to eight or nine further west. monday evening, once the sun goes down, mist and fog forming quite widely, especially across central, southern and eastern parts of england, where there could be some dense patches of freezing fog temperatures here dipping below freezing even in the towns and cities. some of that fog across central, southern and eastern parts of the country could be problematic, causing disruption to travel first thing on tuesday morning. a cloudy, grey day on tuesday, but we will see a return to brighter conditions from the north during wednesday. bye— bye. welcome to bbc news, broadcasting to viewers in north america and around the globe. i'm duncan golestani. our top stories:
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