tv Dateline London BBC News November 1, 2020 2:30am-3:01am GMT
our top stories: boris johnson announces a four—week national lockdown in england. he says from thursday people will largely be restricted to their homes. bars and restau ra nts their homes. bars and restaurants will close. rescue teams in turkey are working through the night to pull survivors out of the rubble of buildings crossed in front of‘s earthquake. the mayor of the city of is mia has confirmed 38 people have died, more than 100 have been pulled out alive, the turkish president has also visited the scene.
no—one bbc news, —— now on bbc news, dateline london. hello, and welcome to the programme that brings together some of the uk's leading commentators and foreign correspondents whose stories are published back home — dateline london. this week, is coronavirus extinguishing not only lives and jobs but also our appetite for polarised populist politics? within days, if the polls are right, we could see the end of the extraordinary trump era. here in the uk, borisjohnson‘s conservative party is five points behind in one poll and jeremy corbyn, labour's former leader has been suspended from the party.
amidst a crisis, do we crave the conventional politics and duller virtues of competence and compassion rather than the swagger and promise of the populist? after the 2008 financial crisis, angela merkel in germany survived whilst other incumbent governments fell. is that a template for how politics will settle after covid—19? joining me this week ned temko from christian science monitor, and jeffrey kofman, the north american writer and broadcaster, and here in the studio, jo coburn, presenter of the bbc‘s politics live. thank you all very much forjoining me today, and we're going to begin with the seismic event of the week. the us election is this tuesday, november 3rd — but has much of it already happened 7 over 80 million people have already voted. more have already cast their ballot in texas than did overall in 2016 and we still have polling day to come. if there is a very high turnout, what does that mean? but first, let's turn
to the big question today, the covid question. is it fundamentally shifting the basis for everyone's political choices at the moment? and jeffrey kofman, i'm going to start with you if i may on that question. do you think that the way people are thinking about who to vote for now is simply not about which personality they like, which grand vision they like, but who they think is going to get the immediatejob done? i don't think you can separate this questions. i think clearly, you know, for five years we have talked about on this programme when trump would hit that tipping point, when the american people would stop believing or accepting what he says, when that teflon presidency would be seen for what it is and i think... inaudible it's taken a pandemic, it's taken covid to expose that. we've seen the numbers grow, the deaths grow. trump insisting even this week the us is turning a corner when there isjust simply no evidence of that, in fact, every indication
is that things are getting worse. so, i think there were a number of factors involved. 0ne, people are voting early because of the pandemic, because of social distancing. two, there is a huge amount of engagement. people are very, very polarised, obviously, on trump and they want to make sure their vote counts. they've heard him talk about trying to challenging votes and there is all sorts of talk about making it difficult for people, so i think it's fair to say that people are voting for two reasons. they want to voice their displeasure with trump — or their support, if that's the case — and they want to make sure their vote is done in as safe a way as possible. and, ned temko, of course we cannot predict with any certainty, given polling fiascos in the past, who is going to win the us presidency, but what's your sense as to whether there is a move away from populist leaders? as for the united states, i think it's worth remembering that the polls, although they
got a very bad reputation after 2016, were in fact very, very accurate on a national level, and the polling shortcomings were in these battleground states. and it would take a braver man than i to predict a biden victory. certainly all the polling and the stability of biden‘s lead, particularly in these key states, makes it look good for biden and kamala harris. the other key indicator, by the way, and jeffrey alluded to it, is that much of the republican focus has been on trying to depress the vote, and, if that doesn't work, to challenge votes once they've been cast, so i think all of the kind of litmus indications, without making a prediction, are looking better for biden than trump. now, briefly, your other question, i do agree with your point.
i don't think we can't predict the long—term political consequences any more than we can predict the course of covid, obviously, but not just. .. the trends in the united states but recent election results, particularly in new zealand, jacinda ardern's landslide victory for her labour party, suggests that people do want competence and, as you said, i think this is often understated, they want compassion in their leaders, too, and the extremists on the left and right aren't great at compassion. and, jo coburn, there's been much talk of the trump—boris johnson sort of link, similarity in styles. if there is a switch at the top — in the administration
in the white house — and you have met the administration in the white house — how will that change the, sort of, fundamental relationship between the uk and the us? well, it may not fundamentally change it in the sense that there will be a relationship, but there is no doubt that the boris johnson administration in the uk has started to pivot, at least behind—the—scenes, with a potential biden administration. as you say, we can't say with any certainty what will happen there. there are a couple of things that i will say. we know already that the democrats don't like brexit, and brexit was the fundamental issue for borisjohnson at the last election, and those negotiations are still ongoing. we've heard rhetoric from nancy pelosi about the fact that they are extremely worried about anything that might threaten the northern ireland peace process, the good friday agreement and that protocol. there is another reason for there not being quite as much diplomatic engagement as you might have expected with an opposition, as we would call it in the uk, and that is because of sensitivities around alleged russian interference in the 2016 election. so, all of that diplomatic work that would have been going on, and if you put covid in the mix, too, hasn't been quite at the forefront you might have expected with the onset of an election in the us.
now, as you have said, much has been made of the sort of personal link between donald trump and boris johnson and the fact that many people think they campaign ina similarstyle. it is all about the personality, the big campaign mottos, and it's interesting actually, this idea of, perhaps, populist—style leadership being under threat by covid, because that sort of campaigning doesn't work that well in a pandemic because you can't campaign against covid. so the idea of make america great again, get brexit done, there isn't really an equivalent when it comes to dealing with a health pandemic. yes. i mean, it didn't stop the government obviously having their slogans, but people still wanted to follow the detailed tracking of what they were doing and see. all politicians are following the detail of what they're doing in that sense. jeff kofman, i mean, the one big question of course, that comes out of of the change in the white house, is whether populist leaders globally, will, i dunno, somehow look and feel different.
so, if trump goes, does it change the perception of how borisjohnson is received in the uk? how bolsonaro is received, or others around the world? i mean, what happens in the us does have profound influence, doesn't it? of course it does. i think there are a number of factors to consider here. one is, i want to believe your earlier question that the extremes of populism, the kind of anti—scientific rhetoric, the dismissal of climate change, will go with a trump defeat, if that's what we see on tuesday night. but, you know, there are a number of things that also need to be reined in, and social media is one of them. we are in a very different world than we were eight years ago. facebook and twitter claim that they're controlling things but they're not, they really aren't, it's open season for anyone to say anything, and until we figure out how to have freedom of speech without freedom of false information,
we still have a problem with this kind of fake news that is populating and polluting so much of social media. it's misinforming people and it's inciting people, so simply changing leaders is not going to be enough. we have to wrestle with how to regulate without suppressing speech. i think that there is a global fatigue, i think it's fair to say, at least on the part of a lot of people, that these polarising leaders, we see the cost, we see the toll, but it's going to take a lot more than that. you know, bolsonaro is still in place. borisjohnson may have — may be behind in the polls here, but, you know, he's years away from an election. yes, and ned temko, it's really important to say that trump is still full of energy, he is campaigning in a number of states this weekend. we should not dismiss his chances of getting a second term. what do you think that the potential high turnout does to the balance of the votes?
well, all the indications so far from the information we have about the early voters is that a disproportionate number of them is drawn from first—time voters, a lot of them are young, so at least past experience suggests they're more likely to lean democratic. it's going to come down, quite frankly, to these three states that trump flipped in 2016, and that's michigan, wisconsin and pennsylvania. because if biden was leading in all three — with the caveat that the polls could be wrong, of course — if biden retains those for the democrats, the fact is he will be the next president of the united states. jeffrey kofman, what do you think of the high potential turnout? i mean, 80 million plus already voting. what does that do? i think it's really interesting to — and i respect ned's caution. you know, none of us
have a crystal ball and we all have been wrong before, and i genuinely believed that hillary clinton would win. and when you're not actually in the heartland, when you're not travelling the country it's impossible to have a sense of what's actually going on, but let's be clear — consistently for months now biden has had an eight to ten point lead in the polls in every poll. i mean, fox news this week had biden ahead 9% over trump. that is way beyond the margin of error, and as much as i agree with ned about those three states, we're also talking about solely republican states like georgia and texas flipping, and if trump loses even one of those, it's really difficult to see a route for the white house. so, you know, ithink for the anti—trump people, and that's a lot of americans, the headline that they relish on wednesday morning's new york post is: you're fired with a picture of donald trump, or the word loser. we may not know, it really depends how big the margins are, but there is a chance that we will see a landslide
with a clear biden victory. we always have to qualify it, we always have to be humble about the reality of what actually happens, but there are strong indications that that's where we're heading. 0k. it is going to be a fascinating few days and, of course, covid in the background of all events at the moment, but to the specific handling of the pandemic, this weekend it looks as if europe is moving towards second lockdowns in a number of countries with some political leaders saying they have been surprised by the rate of the increase — but shouldn't they have predicted this? are they always behind the curve playing catch—up? and what exactly are the lessons from east asia? i'm going to begin withjo, because we are looking at some changes, potentially, in the uk at the moment. yes. nothing fully confirmed. no. but certainly a lot of european countries also facing the same challenges. there is an almighty battle going on in the uk, in government. boris johnson, as we all know, is wanting to cling on firmly
to his tiered, regional approach, which we've seen in other european countries, too. the idea being, why would you lock down in cornwall in the south—west of england, which has far fewer cases than the north—east of england? and the same with east anglia. it's too blunt an instrument, he said, too brutal, and yet literally in the last sort of day or so we have seen the sort of battles between probably the health secretary and the prime minister. the health secretary looking at the figures that have come out in the last, sort of, 36 hours, the modelling that shows the rate of increase in infection rates in parts of england are going at a faster rate than even the worst—case scenario. to caveat that, that is without any further government action. now, ironically, there was already discussion of a potential national lockdown. borisjohnson parked it, but it looks as if they are going to be forced into doing what they said they wouldn't
do, they didn't want to do, and i think there are phrases sort of floating around the ether, like, "we may have to lockdown in november to save december," "christmas is looming," and although it might sound a bit frivolous, it is actually quite an important consideration. the other two things to remember that in the mix at the moment is the pressure on the nhs. if you remember in the 'first wave' as we call it, the pandemic in march, it was all about stopping the national health service being overwhelmed. well, hospital beds are filling up in parts of the country, and we are obviously approaching winter, and that is going to be a key consideration for the government, if and when they make an announcement about a national lockdown — which would be for a month, by the way, not two weeks, if it happens. pressure, as you say from other european countries, ireland's been in one form of lockdown for a while, switzerland, france just recently and other countries are taking more stringing measures, so it seems like the pressure is building. not least, of course,
in the other regions of the uk as well in northern ireland and wales. so, let's see what is actually announced and what unfolds, but it looks as if boris johnson is clinging on to his tiered approach by his fingernails. jeffrey kofman, when we compare what is going on in europe and the us with what's going on in east asia, is the style of government, is this culture, what is behind the stark differences? it is so interesting to look at the numbers in places like south korea and taiwan where they've literally had a few hundred deaths. these are large countries and, really, it comes down to a number of factors but most of them cultural. in large parts of asia, elderly people are not in care homes, they are living with family, so there aren't these opportunities for the virus to spread through elderly people in the same way. the compliance with face masks is traditional, and also i think the searing
experience of sars in 2003 prepared these countries for... ..it pushed them to create response units for pandemics and so they were much better prepared, and the populace understood that this was not a political thing, this was a scientific issue that had to be taken seriously and so compliance and facemasks simply has not been an issue. so all of those things conspire, and i think when you flip that and look at how it's been handled here in the uk and the kind of mixed messages, one of the things about epidemiology that's very, very clear and we see out of the various national responses around the world is that clear messaging that people can understand and believe is critical for compliance, and, on that front it's really been a national tragedy in the uk to see how confusing and complicated. i mean, even today, 15 people can go to weddings, but 30 people can go to funerals. i mean, why?
why is that a difference? why is it safer to go to a funeral? so people grasp here to understand, what's the logic? why should i follow the rules that make no sense? jo? it's interesting, this idea of the logic because you're absolutely right, people will put those sorts of examples forward in the way we've just heard, including this 10pm curfew. i've heard all sorts of things like, "coronavirus can't tell the time so why do you have a ten o'clock curfew rather than 11 o'clock?" the government would say it is not about the strict science of some of these measures. they would argue it is about reducing the amount of contact time, the amount of socialising, it is a sort of nudge. it's the idea — whether that is right or wrong i make no judgment at all — but the idea is to stop people perhaps drinking in pubs longer than they would like to... 0r, sorry, longer than the government would like them to, then you lose your inhibitions, then you forget
about social distancing, then you forget about washing your hands. everything has been about this government trying to say, "just do a little less of all this stuff," and then hope that somehow contact will reduce and so will the infection rates. and ned, that's the point, isn't it? in europe and the us governments have said we want to allow a little more flexibility, we want to treat you as grown—ups so you can live your life a bit for as long as possible? well, that may be the intent but we have models for good behaviour, and notjust in east asia, but i come back to new zealand, or indeed to new york state after the terrible ordeal at the beginning of the pandemic there, and that is the model that seems to work. it is a firm leadership and, as jeffrey and jo both say, clear messaging, and,
absent that, you have to rely, when you do these more nuanced, do a little this, do a little that, you have to rely on broad popular trust in the people who are delivering that message, and one of the problems that borisjohnson's government faces is that trust has eroded and, in a way, ironically, a full lockdown might be an easier message to deliver then a somewhat more confused and nuanced picture. jo? can ijust respond to a couple of things ned said? i mean, ned is right, but the example, though, ofjacinda ardern in new zealand was one of eliminating the virus. now, that is slightly different to sort of suppressing it, to trying to live with it in the way ned was sort of saying that the uk government has tried to do. again, you make ajudgment about whether that's the right policy or not. i don't think they were ever pursuing elimination, because if you where you would have followed the sorts of policies that jacinda arden did, which, she closed off the island of new zealand.
can ijust, that's absolutely night except that is why i raised new york as a parallel. politically, the imperative seems to be the same thing, that in free societies where you don't have the china option of basically ordering people to do things, there's the complex challenge of communicating in a way that establishes clarity and trust. south korea and japan are free societies though and they've managed much better than, you know, some european nations, haven't they? but, anyway, we're going to move on to continue our theme of what kind of political leadership we do want at the moment, because in the uk this week, another really interesting political event. the former labour leader jeremy corbyn was suspended from the party after failing to fully accept the findings of an independent report
by the ehrc into anti—semitism. it was a dramatic, important moment, and a sign that sir keir starmer, the new labour leader, a more sober, serious leader, means business when he says the party is under new management. but, of course, the british general election isn't due for another 11—5 years, and if, by then we are, hopefully past the covid crisis, will we want quiet focused leadership in the style of starmer, angela merkel orjoe biden, ora return to charisma and vision? jeff — the potential passing on of the trump era, and certainly the suspension for now, you know, moving on from the corbyn leadership, is there something about that in the sign of the times at the moment? this is a really, really interesting move that's happened in the labour party, and very, very unexpected. a kind of internal reckoning with a really ugly history of anti—semitism. jeremy corbyn's muddled response really pushed the party into a corner, and the fact that he didn't get
away with it is really significant. the fact that the party actually stood up to him and said, "you know what, you can't dismiss this and minimise it the way you are — that's what you did as leader, that's what helped cost us the election, enough already. " i would not expect a national reckoning with donald trump within the republican party. i think that is just too tall an order, it is not the way that american politics work. i think there will be a lot of soul—searching if donald trump loses. i think that a lot of republicans, in fact pretty much every republican in the senate, has sold his or her soul to support trump. they have been terrified of him, they have been absolutely cowed by him, and now the party, if they lose, has to come to terms with what exactly they have left in terms of moral principles and where they're going to take it, but i don't think we're going to see something on that level, where the trumpists are pushed out or forced
to acknowledge the huge, how they compromised the country and their party. and ned temko, for you, just again on the corbyn question, the fact that the left are comprehensively pushed out of leadership, you know, corbyn refusing to accept the report findings in full, and very, very tough action when taken by the new labour leader. very tough action then taken by the new labour leader. does that have international wider resonance, do you think? i think potentially it may down the line, but, as all of us have said, an election reckoning is some distance away. what i would say is you are right to call keir starmer cautious. he's lawyerly, he is a lawyer. i think he would have far preferred jeremy corbyn
to discreetly shut up when this report came out and to move on, because he is in control of the party now and the party apparatus, and i think he, in a sense was politically forced into this. he said quite explicitly that in drawing a line under this anti—semitism, or attempting to draw a line under a long and tangled recent history of anti—semitic incidents and complaints, he wanted to make sure that we do not underestimate or brush this aside, and when corybn, in effect, did just that i see he had little option but to at least suspend him. jo, briefly, is this the end of the left, potentially, in the labour party or the start of a civil war? well, i think the start of a civil war might be exaggerated, because, actually, if you look at some of the reaction from allies ofjeremy corbyn, yes, there has been a response, reinstate jeremy corbyn, the suspension is wrong. we've heard this from the former shadow chancellor,
john mcdonnell, i think there's a petition going from some other former shadow cabinet members, but len mccluskey, a key supporter, the general of the unite union, a huge backer of the labour party already threatening to withdraw funding and, i think, perhaps has taken away something like 10%. in years gone by, that would have been massive, to withdraw funding from the labour party. i think this is a fight, actually, keir starmer doesn't mind having. it might help him. asjeffrey and ned have both said, there's time. there's time for keir starmer to unite. people in the party want to look forward, they want to take on the conservatives, and this might help him. jo coburn, ned temko, jeffrey kofman — thank you all very much indeed forjoining us today on dateline london. we are back next week at the same time, when we might, of course, know the name of the next president of the united states. bye for now.
hello. storm aiden brought torrential rain and gales to a large swathe of the uk on saturday. those strong winds really whipping up the waves, particularly across southern and western coasts. but as the rain eased and the skies cleared, it's been an opportunity through the night for many to see the blue moon — a second full moon this month — but it's only a brief respite from the rain. there's more to come overnight and into sunday. still a number of met office warnings in place for both the rain and the wind, and all the details are on our website. so this is how sunday shapes up. this is the area of low pressure responsible for storm aiden, now pulling away northwards. a second area of low pressure to the north—west of the uk, and notice how the isobars are tightly packed together. so it's another windy day as we start the day. for many, very wet as well. that rain will clear away
eastwards and behind it, some spells of sunshine, although also some showers piling in from the west. and then another band of more persistent rain arriving into northern ireland, southern scotland, northern england, the midlands and wales, maybe south—west england later in the day, some heavy and persistent rain also across the western side of scotland. temperatures range from ten to 17 celsius. it may not always feel that way, given the wind and the rain. and those winds still very much a feature, particularly across western scotland, where they could still exceed 70 miles an hour in terms of gusts. and that rain keeps on falling to parts of northern england, wales and the midlands as we go through sunday night and into monday, also pushing into parts of south—west england as well, slowly starting to ease. and we start the new week very mild indeed — overnight temperatures not that much different from what we will see in the daytime. so this is where we are on monday. that frontal system starting to pull away but still showers or longer spells of rain pushing in from the west and still another windy day, so it's quite a messy picture to start the new week. if you like the weekend weather, it'sjust lingering into the new week. some places may manage to stay
dry but those showers never too far away. and temperatures again in a range from 10 to 17 celsius, so we are still fairly mild, but not for much longer. the winds definitely are still a feature, still quite gusty but gradually easing down, and that process will continue as we go through tuesday and into wednesday because, finally, we start to see an area of high pressure starting to build across the atlantic and heading our way, so that will start to settle things down. the winds will become lighter, it will generally become drier but with that, it will also turn colder, both by day and by night.
welcome to bbc news. i'm james reynolds. our top stories: boris johnson announces a four—week national lockdown in england. he says "no responsible prime minister" could ignore the surging rates of coronavirus infection. the virus is doubling faster than we can conceivably add capacity, and so now is the time to take action, because there is no alternative. as the last weekend of campaigning hots up, trump and biden make a last bid to voters in swing states that could be key to winning the white house. bond, james bond. the film world pays tribute to sir sean connery, the originaljames bond, who's died at the age of 90. and despite coronavirus fears,