tv Dateline London BBC News May 31, 2020 11:30am-12:00pm BST
hello, this is bbc news. the headlines... a fifth night of protests in minneapolis, following the death of george floyd, a black man, in police custody. protestors and officers clash again despite a curfew. protests spread to at least 30 other us cities including seattle, where crowds have looted a department store. president trump blames looters and leftwing radicals for the unrest. after 10 weeks at home, more than two million people in england and wales who've been shielding during lockdown are told they can go outdoors. religious services resume. the al—aqsa mosque injerusalem reopens after two months,
and, later today, the pope will return to st. peter's basilica to celebrate mass. now on bbc news, it's time for dateline. welcome to dateline london. i'm carrie gracie. and this week — new normal or old normal? in the united states, president trump wants the old normal back, though he likes to call it "actual normal." in china, president xi is already reaching for a new normal, one which includes much tighter control over the people of hong kong. meanwhile, what kind of normal do the rest of us want and what kind can we have against the ever—present risk of a pandemic whose next
move we cannot predict? my guests on socially distanced screens — political commentator yasmin alibhai brown, and michael goldfarb of the podcast first rough draft of history. and here in the studio, observing the two—metre rule, the bbc‘s chief international correspondent lyse doucet. welcome to you all. now, old normal, new normal, i started there. we'll come to it in a moment, but first i want to talk about testing because the world health organisation keeps warning us we won't get any kind of normal without good testing. five months into this pandemic, what have we learned about good testing and which countries are getting it right? michael, can you start us off? what is interesting is, first of all, there does not seem to be a standard internationally of what constitutes good testing. every country seems to be reporting it in its own way. so, that is a problem, but what we can say
is that the earlier people start testing, government start testing citizens, the better the results have been. so if you look back into february, australia and new zealand were testing very heavily and they quickly reached the conclusion they had to go into lockdown and they are well past the first phase of this pandemic. south korea, which had experience of, you know, coronavirus—type things with sars and mers, was in a position to start testing straightaway. you know, the us has, in terms volume, a lot of tests, but they have not been as effective in both isolating where things... where the disease is and, two, creating a sense of knowledge. so we see that while in new york, which has been the epicentre of the world for a month, it is dying down there but spiking up in the middle of nowhere america, in missouri and in other places
in the middle of the country where the testing has been perhaps less rigid. lyse, just a word from you. michael was saying there is no standard for good testing at this point. is there a standard for bad testing? there is the world, as it is, to use a great british phase, we are where we are, and where we were when the global pandemic struck, it has shone a light on the divisions of the world. and how do they look when it comes to testing? take a country like yemen, where the figures produced by the international rescue committee said that 31 yemenis out of a million were being tested. 31. whereas germany, at the time that they did this analysis, was over 43,000. and britain also over 42,000. sometimes it is notjust a question of leadership and whether your countries or your scientists tell you to start testing. sometimes you are so poor and so lacking in resources and unable to compete as part of the global rush to resources that
you simply can't keep up with the testing that is needed. test, test, test, said dr tedros injanuary. and now he is saying that it should be a key consideration as you come out of lockdown. not only does testing and tracing allow you to treat the ill, it also gives you data to map the trajectory of where covid—19 is spreading. in countries where it has not yet reached the peak, there is not enough data to say who is getting it, where is it happening and how bad will it get? let's talk about that relation to the uk. yasmin, i want to bring you in at this point. the uk is obviously beginning to go back to where it was in early march when it still had a test and track programme. now it is going back to that in an attempt to come out of lockdown. how confident is it looking? the whole testing thing is a very interesting one and ijust want to go back
to germany, for example. one of the things that happened in germany was injanuary when the first whiff of this thing appeared. i think there was a scientist who was a technological whizz and he immediately started working on testing processes. and so they were ready, 40 million were ready, by the time germany was beginning to experience this in a big way. we didn't... we haven't done that. we have just started to do that, and what worries me is this: a political decision has been made to ease lockdown in britain, and i do believe it is a political and economic decision. and many scientists in this country, they don't feel it's...
they do feel it's too soon and some criticism has been levelled, and i don't know the science of this, about the testing that we have put into existence and we are pushing now. so it is quite worrying, but there is something else. it is not a panacea. japan does not test. japan has had very low numbers. there is an amazing woman, health minister in kerala who is, i think, you know, we've talked a lot about prime minister of new zealand, but this quiet woman has achieved the most remarkable thing in kerala which has 35 million people and fewer than 70 deaths. and they haven't used testing and tracing. they used other ways. what is the other way? i don't want to spend long on this, butjust tell us briefly. what i'm saying is testing and tracing is one very important thing, but where communities... and a lot of african countries have
this too because they have experienced epidemics before and pandemics, that they have got these systems of community communication and a kind of willingness to do the right thing for the greater good. and they have done that in kerala remarkably well. i mean, people should be talking about that, actually. it is an astonishing story. michael, your take on what we have just heard from yasmin, both the sense that yasmin‘s view this is a political decision in the uk rather than necessarily one that is guided by the scientists. on that and on these other forms of control of pandemic, other than a reliance on testing? i think yasmin on the second point brings up a really important point. one of the things we say in the who, and we may come to this later in the programme, the who is part of the architecture that the us has until the trump administration underwritten.
but it does not have and it has not presented a unified standard of what is good testing. in america, the centre for disease control, just in the last 36 hours, has discussed the antibody tests and they're saying they're actually not entirely reliable. so, we have a great overreliance sometimes on the science and i think that yasmin brings up a really interesting point by pointing to certain countries which still seem to survive politically as much on continuities of community inter—relations, rather than political ones. now, to come to britain, i just think that the chaos that we see constantly coming from this government means that, you know, in the end, politics is the one thing they sort of understand, and so they will make a decision. and, you know, internally, in the tory party, you don't have to spend too long on twitter
following all of its many strands of opinion, there is a sizeable group that has wanted to end lockdown for a while for economic reasons. they clearly hold sway at the moment and so we are moving towards the end of lockdown. i mean, in my neighbourhood, i should say, it is effectively over. not that you can go to a restaurant, but we've had exceptionally great weather and at seven o'clock last evening, if you walked through clissold park in london, n16, you would never have known that there were still a pandemic on. considering the throngs that were out there. so i think they are reflecting the impatience of much of the country and they have made a political decision. i agree with yasmin on that. just your thoughts on yasmin‘s points but also what the who saying, africa, for example, risks a silent epidemic because of the lack of testing. do you think they are overreliant on testing? well, look at what the leadership of africa are saying now.
take nigeria. a giant of a country. 200 million people. there are saying we don't have enough labs to test and the kenyan president is saying the test that you sent us don't work. "we tested it on a goat and a piece of fruit and they both tested positive for covid—19." south africa is doing some of the highest percentage of testing across the african continent but you have to wait two weeks for your test results. well, that is pretty useless because by the time you get your results you will have affected so many people or if you were negative you may now be positive. so there are weaknesses all the way. this is exposing the countries which simply were not ready. never mind that, of course, some african countries have dealt with previous epidemics, as have, as we have heard already, some southeast asian countries which learn the lessons. there is a global race for resources and not everybody is getting them. let's move on a bit to how to come out of lockdown, old normals, new normals and actual normals
as president trump calls them. president trump pining for something that went before but more than 100,000 americans are dead, more than 40 million are unemployed and now, this weekend, as if a pandemic and economic crisis were not enough, we see racialfault lines opening up with huge demonstrations and rioting in some american cities. so, politically, economically, which aspect of the old normals are still available for trump's america to go to? look, in the short term i don't think much will change because the thing about donald trump's presidency isn't that it changed anything. it revealed what had been going on under the surface. and the riots that have been going on over the weekend, they may burn themselves out, we don't know. but they come out of another spate of african—american men
being murdered and now we have the extra added technology that people can capture it on a smartphone and upload it to the internet. and so you can see what's happening. and people have just said, "no, enough." and they have come out. but, in a sense, that is the old normal. you have the medium term. the medium term is this, which is we are living through the most extraordinary mass lay—offs in history. everybody says it's worse than the great depression. in the great depression, from the crash of 1929, the peak unemployment was two years. this has happened in two months. and what we do know from the previous mass unemployment event, which was the crash of 2008, it was nearly a decade before wages began to approximate what they were pre—crash. so we are now looking
at the likelihood that 40—odd million people will spend more than a decade trying to get back to earning what they were earning the day before, so that is the medium term. and in the long term, i think that it comes back to the short term. we end up thinking about what the trump presidency has revealed to all americans and honestly, carrie, i have been in contact with colleagues who cover washington, live in washington, and to hear them, their despair and their sense that the country may really have some serious problems between now and election day, i think that is the new normal. which is, can america ever come back to something like what it was 15 or 20 years ago? much less three years ago, the day donald trump was sworn in. thank you for that concise historical and futurology essay.
yasmin, match that with a historical and futurological essay about the uk. can the uk come back to what it was 10, 20 years before? i think he gets the grey day for this, michael does. thank you. the thing is, it is important to look at the historical picture and i think that the great depression, and you know, it's absolutely correct, it took a while, but then the most intensely capitalistic country on earth, the united states of america, wasn't as severely economically divided as it is and it has been with the latest incarnation of capitalism, and that goes for us as well. you know, to see somebody like bezos, who owns amazon, earning, i don't know, £1 million per sneeze,
we never had that. so my wish, and i won't be alive then, my wish is the future, whatever the future is, comes back to its own norm because we've been through a very long period, a decade or more, possibly more, which has been quite abnormal even in terms of capitalism. and the kind of appropriation of a nation's wealth using this model has created. i mean, like we've seen, everywhere, inequality in britain has led to certain groups having more deaths per capita than the indigenous population, 0k? they were doing front—line
jobs, they are doing they live impoverished lives... their lives have been wasted in the name of what? so i think young people, i was talking to my daughter this morning, and young people are really seeing now that whatever comes next, it won't be what was. lyse, it won't be what was? this word normal is heavily charged. normal was not working for a lot of people. so a lot of people hope that this crisis means that we won't be going back to what is normal. this is a time for historians to reflect on what has gone before and there is some evidence to suggest that crises of this magnitude tend to reinforce what we already believed. so, to take it at the level, those who never liked rush hour and coming in and working in a big office like this now believe more than ever they don't want to do this. and those who love the office atmosphere love it even more. and even on an individual level, when i walk home from work now
i think, will i continue once they have a vaccine? will i continue to walk home from work or will i think, oh, well, i'lljust take the tube? this'll be a time for the engineers and the imagineers to build both the structures in which we live and the ideas by which we live and i think it is very difficult to say, i think people would hope that some of the way we lived will change and if of one of the ideas that was developing before this happened was capitalism as it was was not working. and i think now people realise that it is simply definitely is not working and some of the biggest capitalists are saying that. we're going to have to leave that bit of the conversation because we're going to talk about somebody who has got a very clear idea of one part of the future at least. let's turn to china and hong kong and while others are grappling with covid, beijing held its national congress last week and shocked the world by passing national security legislation for hong kong. critics say it will damage the autonomy that beijing promised hong kong under an international treaty until 2047. president trump said the us will now revoke hong kong's special trade and travel privileges
as the old hope that authoritarian china would model itself after a free hong kong has given way to acceptance that china is determined model hong kong after itself. well, let us start. who wants to take us away with china, hong kong? yasmin, do you think that analysis that china is no longer modelling itself after hong kong, if it ever did, but the other way round, that it wants hong kong to look like mainland china, that that is a fair analysis from trump? well, i never want to agree with donald trump at all. and i don't want to agree with him now. but to move away from him and his curious analysis of world problems, there is something very interesting happening, that the economic engine that was hong kong after the brits left, finally, after leaving it too late. and china was struggling to come out of its past and hanging on to communism but, you know, trying to catch up
with the economic progress other nations were making. today, china, mainland china, the chinese system has proved, again for a smaller number of people than the entire population, has become a powerhouse. and if you go to anywhere in africa, lyse will know this, china is there. china is doing... ..just phenomenally well in terms of its economic development. so then you begin to see the relationship with hong kong beginning to shift. i think they are wrong to more or less take over hong kong and take away its freedoms. but it was going to happen. and it is happening because china is so... ..is now a hugely powerful presence and we should be worried about that. all of us, not just
people in hong kong. michael, the united states, really, obviously the superpower which otherwise in normal circumstances or in the past might have had something to say about it, trump has had something to say about it, but what more can he do? well, there is not much he can do. this is a very strange week to follow this all because secretary of state mike pompeo came out and spoke first and said, "oh, well, we now regard hong kong as not essentially being a different entity, it is part of china and we will treat it as such." and then two days later the foreign office, there was a joint statement between the us and britain and some other allied countries trying to soft—pedal that. what does it mean? nobody knows. the most interesting comment i've seen from hong kong is people in hong kong feel like the child of a couple who battled each other and they are the ones who are getting the damage. they are the ones being kicked
while mum and dad fight. and i think that is an image to take with us. what's going on is, yes, china under xi has been slightly predatory and willing to test just how far the declaration that it signed with britain back in 1997, due to run until 2047, is how far the west is willing to defend it. and clearly, not all that far. but this is also something that goes back to when donald trump took office. he appointed a guy named peter navarro as his trade representative and he is an academic from california who has long been very anti—china. he thinks china takes advantage of world trade rules, plays fast and loose, steals american intellectual property. and he found a lot of people in the administration, and there are many american
businessmen, who agree. they have been spoiling for a fight but they don't know how to conduct it and so you end up with hong kong being caught in the middle. so what happens next? well, just this week, a certain number of foreign students from china will now not be allowed to come to the us. we will see if this continues. a streaming away of wealthy hong kong people. hong kong citizens, to the uk, which has offered limited form of citizenship and, carrie, you probably know the details better than anyone. so we will see more people coming here trying to get their money out of hong kong. and i don't know. china is rich, rich, rich. hong kong is its financial centre. is xi prepared to make shanghai a financial centre now to rival hong kong? i don't know. these are questions we wait for the answers to. lyse, any chance, do you think,
that the word can unite in such a way as to put meaningful pressure on china to actually change that policy inside hong kong or do you think that is a foregone conclusion now? we should really be asking you this question. you're the one best placed. i am asking questions today. it has been decades where western countries have juggled the balanced human rights and economics has tended to win. it is interesting that the united states, australia, canada, uk, came up with a joint statement criticising this. that's a show of solidarity. canada under huge pressure because they have just said that the cfo of huawei can be extradited to the united states. and they have two canadians and who are being held in secret prisons in china, so there is a lot of human rights at stake. under the 1997 handover those passport holders are not allowed to have full citizenship. will britain then change the rules? yasmin will know about that.
they changed the rules in uganda where they let in thousands who were fleeing from idi amin in 1972. so where there is a will, there's a way. as you know better than i do, the party represents the people but when it comes down to it, the party comes first and the party has understood they have got to deal with hong kong. and it does not represent the percentage of the economy that it did at the time of the handover. hong kong's financial allure for china, it is not as big as it was. they won't mind if some democracy activists decide to come to britain. they will be less likely, they don't want to see the entrepreneurs and investors coming here, so they will be alsojuggling the balance between the two. i've left only a tiny moment at the end to discuss, i think we willjust... after something cheerful, it has been another sombre week, a sombre programme. each of you just tell me something that has lifted your spirit and you've really only got
a sentence or at most two sentences in which to do it. yasmin, we you go first. i was talking to my daughter and she said something very interesting. she said, what is going to change for young people is we will be happy to work at home but we no longer want to be on our screens in leisure time. we will want to be with human beings. i think that is really great. that is encouraging. michael? just the weather. people who see this internationally, if you knew how good the weather in britain has been during this pandemic, you would not pity us in the least. that is exactly what i was going to say. there were nine days of sunshine across the whole summer one year. this has been brilliant and let's hope for sunny days ahead. you have all been brilliant. that's it from dateline london this week.
it has been a very sunny spring and a pretty dry may for many. the final day of the month brings more warmth, more sunshine and more dry weather across the country. as we go through this afternoon, we will see some areas of apache sarah whether cloud is developing across england and wales. —— patchy cloud. a breeze will make it feel a little bit cool to the coast. not bad for this time of year. with shelter in inverness, more like 25 degrees. the warmest weather in northern ireland will be
found here. east coast of england on the call side, exposed to that breeze, but on the midlands and west country, some spots will get up to 26 degrees. strong sunshine with high you the levels and pollen levels. clear skies overhead tonight except for this bit of fog which is likely to work into some coasts of eastern scotland and north—east england. temperatures between seven and i3 england. temperatures between seven and 13 degrees for most. we might start off with some list tomorrow. should tend to retreat as day goes on. just a very small chance of an afternoon shower across scotland or northern ireland. those temperatures again at19 to northern ireland. those temperatures again at 19 to 25 degrees across most parts of the uk. things change as we head into tuesday. the frontal system starts to sink in across scotla nd system starts to sink in across scotland bringing outbreaks of rain
southwards. that could turn fairly heavy for a time, and behind it to the north of it, notice where the winds are coming from. they are coming down from the north. that will introduce some cooler. temperatures in the north—west highlands much cooler than they have been over the past couple of days. 27, maybe 28 degrees towards the south—east. cooler sweeping southwards later in the week across all parts of the uk. they will be some outbreaks of rain, perhaps not an awful lot of rain down towards the south, but still some and we really could do with it.
this is bbc news with the latest headlines for viewers in the uk and around the world. us protests spread from minneapolis to at least 30 different cities — following the death of george floyd, a black man, in police custody. president trump blames looters, and left wing radicals for the unrest. after ten weeks at home, more than two million people in england and wales who've been shielding during lockdown, are told they can go outdoors. the uk government has defended its decision to ease lockdown measures in england. because we have made that progress, steadily, slowly, surely, week in, week out, we can carefully take the