tv Dateline London BBC News June 13, 2022 3:30am-4:01am BST
this is bbc news. the headlines: a bipartisan group of us senators have reached an agreement on gun safety reform, following the latest school shooting in texas. their proposals include tougher background checks for buyers under the age of 21. the measures fall short of the changes demanded by president biden. there have been significant gains for a new left wing alliance, in the first round of france's parliamentary elections. president macron�*s centrist grouping is still expected to win the most seats in next week's run—off vote. marine le pen�*s right—wing national rally are in third place. the british government is preparing to publish legislation which would give ministers the power to override the post—brexit trading arrangements with the eu. downing street wants to change the northern ireland protocol, which unionists don't
like because it, in effect, puts a border down the irish sea. now on bbc news, it's time for dateline london. shaun chuckles. hello, and welcome to the programme which brings together leading uk commentators with the foreign correspondents who write, blog and broadcast from the dateline london. this week — political apologies and their consequences. 40% of borisjohnson�*s mps say it isn't enough to say sorry — he should quit. we'll be discussing why history may be on the british prime minister's side. and in africa, the king
of belgium voices his "deepest "regret" over the "abuse and humiliation" caused in what is now the drc by his family and other belgians. why do those who colonised find it so hard to say sorry? in the studio are stefanie bolzen, uk and ireland correspondent for the german media group die welt, marc roche, who writes for the french news magazine le point, and adam raphael, who began reporting on uk politics in 1976 — the last year to date in which a british prime minister left office by choice. lovely to see you all. thank you very much for being with us. let me start with you, adam, on the question of boris�*s apparent survival — and, certainly, survival for now. he says he's getting on with the job. is this just a display of kind of what one might call �*boris bravura' or is the prime minister kind of right to think that his enemies perhaps moved a bit too soon? well, they may have moved too soon to kick him out but, actually, i think his position is unsustainable and my own view is that he will be out before the end of the year.
the fact is if you look at the simple maths of it, 211 voted for boris. but of that 211, 170, no less, are the payroll vote. so, he has sort of a0 or 50 independent votes. well, the people who voted against him, they got 148 — that's three times as many, so three times as independent tory mps voted against him. that is unsustainable. and if you look at what happened in the past to iain duncan smith, to theresa may, tojohn major, they all were out very soon after confidence votes — and, of course, mrs thatcher was challenged for the leadership as well and she was out as well. so, once a party is totally divided, as the conservative party is now, it's extremely difficult to recover. the other interesting thing — and this sounds hostile to boris, who i've known for many, many years and find charming and funny, like many others — he always has lied himself out
of trouble and he continues to lie. but what worries me about him now as it's notjust lying, it's almost fantasy politics. so, he describes his — this result as "extremely positive, "decisive, conclusive" and as though it was some sort of triumph. well, successful liars, at least you've got to have a plausible story. you mustn't be found out immediately. and i think he's beginning to lose his touch. now, quite apart from any of that, he's faced by a horrendous political situation. he's got two by—elections, which he is quite capable of losing, coming up in tiverton and in wakefield. and he's got a cost of living crisis in this country which we haven't seen since post—war britain. so, i — i would be really very surprised if he was able to sustain his position because the conservative party, one thing it does do very well, it has — it has a link
and a range to power. and if they think boris is a loser, as i think they're beginning to realise that will he be at the next election they will get rid of him. stefanie, what did you make of this result and how did you try to explain it to your audience? i honestly have been a bit more cautious about announcing that this is now the last chapter, because there have been so many last chapters in the last two years almost... shaun chuckles. ..and it felt a bit... almost like a book of last chapters! yes — i mean, it felt a bit like groundhog day. you've seen this all before. you see the prime minister sitting down with the cabinet again and saying, "now, we will really do what is in interest "of the people" and so, i'm cautious. i wouldn't bet any money — i know the brits really love betting. i always will lose, so i rather don't it. shaun chuckles. but its's also — there's a lot of historic — historical parallels and — for example, with theresa may, but that was a completely different circumstance. there was one faction
of the parliamentary group that really wanted her out and they succeeded and they were very targeted. while with this revolution, or rebellion, against boris, it was very difficult to describe. lots of wings standing up and saying, "we are not happy "with this any more". but then again, he's an extraordinary politician. he's different to every one else, so maybe he still might be around for the next election. marc, do you have an explanation for readers in france and in belgium of the political phenomena that is boris johnson? well, the problem i face is that the french are i divided about him. on the one hand, they like his sort of politics, he's funny, i he's a francophile, i he's a francophone. he's just the opposite - of a stuffy french politician like macron or like - hollande or like sarkozy, so they like that. on the other hand, - they perceive him as a liar because of brexit. he's provoking a terrible - crisis with the european union,
coming by revoking de facto . the northern ireland protocol. yeah, that legislation apparently will be published on monday — we'll find out what is in it. yeah, and he's responsible for the worst crisis - in bilateral relationships i between france and the uk since de gaulle refused i the brits in the european community, so, it's divided. but more and more people i are telling me, when they ask me about boris, they tell me, "he's dead, isn't he? - "he cannot survive i being a serial liar" — because, of course, in french politics, l one never lies! laughter. adam, there is an argument, isn't there, that precisely because this rebellion was so broad, that it lacked the depth and the focus? and in a sense now, the rebels have now played their hand. any other mp who might oppose him might go, "actually, well, what's the point of declaring myself? "i'll simply be frozen out
by number 10 and we're not "going to get rid of him anyway". he is so stubborn and determined and he could even — i mean, because he now has the power again because the fixed—term parliaments act has been revoked — if his party became really difficult, he could — he could just take his appeal directly to the country. go to the queen, ask for parliament to be dissolved — she constitutionally would have to accept that. he goes to the country and he basically defies his own rebels. i mean, he's that kind of risk—taker. he is a risk—taker, but that will be one risk too many because to stage an election in defiance of his own party... i think one has got to start listening to what the tory associations are saying all around the country. and one of the reasons why this big vote against him was as large as it was was because they'd been back to their constituencies and they'd listened to their own loyal, true conservative members — and they, frankly, are horrified by what has been going on. now, if the situation in this country was better in terms of the economy, in terms of other areas, it'sjust possible he might be able to, i think, survive it.
but the fact is we are in for a really, really rough situation now. i think the really valid point you make, though, shaun, is that you're quite right — this was a very disparate opposition to him. there isn't a focus to it and that's why i think the next few months are going to be extremely messy but very interesting journalistically. yeah, i mean, plenty for you guys to write about. let's move on to the economy because that is the one aspect of this that he can't control, however he might wish to. we had the oecd report this week, marc roche, saying that the british economy will perform next year the worst of all the g7 countries. but russia. except russia — and you could argue that russia has extenuating circumstances. no longer g20. its economy is effectively being frozen out of the world economy by sanctions and so on. that's not the uk's problem, but what is the uk's problem? what do you think? well... i mean, you've been studying the british economy and its strengths and
weaknesses for many years. i wrote a piece this week, saying that britain is again the sick man of europe. i this is the ottoman empire before world war i, - but it was also the situation before thatcher took over. in the '70s. stagflation, inflation at 10%, growth down 5% in the last l quarter of 2021. and the oecd is predicting no growth next year. and no growth at all, strikes repetitive, . a commercial war with europe looming, if not already - there because of brexit,| and the only thing he has to provide is going back to imperial measure? l shaun chuckles. this — this delusion - of grandeur, of nostalgia, while the economy is going nowhere is quite typical- of borisjohnson. very pessimistic- about the economy — that could bring him down. i agree with you. i think you've summed
it up very well. i think the economy is in a terrible state and the difficulty for johnson, he's not really — and i think the conservative party are beginning to realise — he's not actually really a conservative, he's a johnsonian. shaun laughs. and that's one of the reasons for this degree of great distrust of what he's up to. there is no trust for him and he's confronted by some incredibly difficult decisions. the conservatives are traditionally a tax—cutting party. they cannot cut taxes at this moment, unless they started borrowing huge sums of money — which, in itself, would be profoundly unconservative. there is no way out of this cul—de—sac that he's — i'm afraid — he finds himself in. that's through no fault of his own, but his character defects, i'm afraid, plus the fact that this is probably the weakest cabinet i have seen since post—war britain, it doesn't really help. i — i have no confidence that they're going to get out of this mess. i mean, it's — i've been not here — not as long reporting as you have, if i may say,
but one of the first things that i — the first reporting i did was, of course, going to the north and being taken by the british government to see the northern powerhouse — that was the key word of the day — so, if you let every new government — and don't forget, the conservatives are now in power for 12 years and every new prime minister has a new idea for how to do real structural reform. and there's a lot of nice slogans and with boris johnson, it was "let's get brexit done" and "level the country up" — especially the north — but there hasn't been done anything. and i think if you look — i mean, here in london, we're living quite well. yes. but if you go further north, there is real poverty there. children are — do not have to eat — now with the energy prices, parents have to choose whether they heat their house or give their children food. many children get to school in the morning and are hungry. so, this is the real avalanche that's coming and now, we're in summer. let's get to autumn and winterand then, ok, it's a very boring — very wasted word, the autumn or winter of discontent — but i'm really worried what's coming.
just in terms of the economic options, the oecd effectively have given the british government cover, haven't they? if he wanted to back away from some of his policy choices already, like the increases in taxation that are planned in the next few months, he could do it but one wonders whether he has — his party would tolerate that, given the divisions that have been on display in the last few months. well, the problem is - the governor of the bank of england said 80% of the factors of this inflation is external- with absolutely no control. so, he has control of 20%, i so he could stop the tax hike, he could do, on this 20%, something. i the problem is that, you know, what sortj of conservative is he? he wants to — he promised a cut in tax, which is completely- ridiculous because we know that he doesn't want - a supply—side economy. the only way i think. he could get a bit out is helping the people most affected by it, i by giving money.
but the chancellor... printing money. but the chancellor needs... get inflation more. i mean, the prime minister not only said this week, adam, on his visit to blackpool, "you can't spend your way out of recession. "you can't tax your way to lower inflation". i mean, he's starting to revert, in terms of his language, at least, to perhaps more thatcherite slogans and it's clear that rishi sunak, his chancellor, takes a more traditionally conservative view. i mean, these tensions have the potential to explode quite damagingly for government, don't they? well, i think he couldn't take the resignation of his chancellor. i think that will be one of the things. it would just... because he's now too weak. ..so he's got to go along. boris is a really opportunistic politician. i did once ask him — i said, "boris, how do you come "to your views? because they're a sort of a mixture. and he said, "oh, it's easy".
he said, "i just find out what the wheelers are thinking" — that was his second wife's — "and i go 180 degrees opposite and i can't go wrong". shaun laughs. now, that was a typical boris joke but actually, he's very journalistic. and journalists — maybe marc has very firm views — but mostjournalists are very, very floating voters. they go all over the place on policy. so does boris. he's a total opportunist. he doesn't have really clear, deep beliefs. and the conservative party — certainly, they are beginning to understand this. it's perhaps why none of us have gone into politics — can you imagine the damage we would've done with our inconsistent views? i have to say, talking about opportunism, he reminds me of no—one such much as david lloyd george, the great liberal prime minister who ended up leading a conservative coalition government until conservative mps threw him out — 100 years ago this year. wow. now, let's talk about belgium, in particular, and this
question of imperial legacy, marc. king — the king of the belgians — or king of belgium, as i should possibly style him — was in the drc, the democratic republic of congo, this week. why, and what was different about this visit? well, it's the first time - you have a king of belgium — belgium was terrible - at colonising — not that there are good ones — but they might i have been among the worst ones with the exploitation - of the people of the congo and the wealth and the minerals | of the congo that built belgium| as a superpower at the end of the 19th century - and beginning- of the 20th century. he went there to apologise. but he said exactly, - "we denounce unacceptable "regime based on paternalism and discrimination— "and racism". well, he didn't. really apologise. he just condemned it. and did he bring...?
that almost makes him sound like he's a third party. yes. that "it wasn't us — i'm looking from the outside". in a way, you know, a louvre. imean... and it was his family directly, because it was initially... it was — belonged to leopold ii... i right. ..which was his family, - the saxe—coburg and gothas. and, but what did he i bring to the congolese? he didn't bring money as compensation. - no, belgium can't afford that at the moment. - he brings a few artefacts - from the museum of the congo in tervuren and a toothl of lumumba, the last... ..who was the first democratic prime minister. first democratic prime minister killed by the belgians _ and the americans because he was... j so, he's bringing these two things — a few artefacts - and the tooth of lumumba, and he said, "it's done". i he hasn't apologised, he has condemned. . and, you know, iwent recently to brussels, l the statues of leopold ii -
are everywhere and there's not a plaque on this marvellous building in the centre - of brussels which have been| built because of colonialism. not an explanation, - so nothing has changed. i think belgium, like most - countries — with some exception — cannot cope with its colonial past. . is it — but you think money is quite a big part of this — the fear that it would somehow open the gates to massive compensation claims? yes, and the compensation will be massive because . the minerals, you know — gold, diamonds. - yes. rubber, everything — all the resources. rubber, everything, _ so the compensations can run. the problem is the congolese are not very well—equipped i to get these compensations. they won't go to court and so, at the end, the belgians- will get away with it. stefanie, germany faced this dilemma and it took a different route. can you explain the background to that, because it's only a couple of years ago, wasn't it?
ja, i mean, it's not too long ago — i think it was spring 2021 — that, actually, berlin, the government — it was still then angela merkel — agreed with the government of namibia for compensations and also did an official apology and they had been negotiating for quite some years about the money that germany was going to pay and i think it was more than a billion euro, which goes into lots of projects in the country. but i think, in a way, germany is a bit of a unique case, if i may say, in europe — and for good reason because of our history, of the nazi history and because of the holocaust — and so, i really think — i'm one of the germans of the generations who really grew up and was educated with knowing in a almost sometimes, i think, for children... too much detail, yeah. ..too harsh way, too much detail — what the germans did to the jews, to the russians, to the ukrainians and to millions of people in europe and beyond. and so, i think we do not find it difficult to say sorry because we know there have been
atrocities and you — you — while it's difficult to acknowledge what you've done but then, you can move on. if you don't do this, if you don't honestly can say, "this was so wrong and we are sorry," your country cannot move on. i'm very conscious of the fact that we are four white europeans sitting around this table, from — all of us from what were colonised nations. adam, this is a live issue for the british, isn't it? we saw it with the royal visit by the cambridges to the caribbean earlier this year, which was supposed to be about marking the queen's jubilee but actually turned into an argument about legacy and their response was thought to be a bit tone deaf, frankly, to some of their appeals. yeah. we've had countries saying that they are now leaving the commonwealth and ending their links with the queen as head of state, in part driven by this issue. have the british yet found a way to address this, do you think? i'm not sure they have but i suspect i'm tone deaf on this issue, too, though. i am not sure the word 'sorry�* is a very helpful word. the vikings weren't sorry
when they plundered this country in whenever it was. countries have their history and parts of british colonial history are undoubtedly reprehensible. we did some terrible things. part of british colonial history we can be proud of. and i think one has to face up to the facts of what one did and what one didn't do and where the feelings were but it is a terrible mistake to judge everything by — in retrospect from the standards of today. that doesn't mean to say you hide what you've done or it shouldn't be acknowledged, what was done at the time, but i am wary of 'sorry�*. i'm not wary of reparations, if they can be shown that you need to make good in terms of relationships what has happened in the past, but this word 'sorry�* is just too easy a word — i think you just have to face up to your history. no, by the way, just - a correction — any choice how
strong the link still - is with the commonwealth is because the countries who are getting rid - of the queen as head of state... _ ..are staying in the commonwealth — you're quite right, yeah. ..are staying - in the commonwealth. and that shows how strong this... - you're correct. a good point, yes. ..that strong link, this colonial link is still, i because what is - the commonwealth? it's the remnants of the colonies. i i'm interested in this because i think — i mean, certainly, when i was growing up in the '80s, we weren't really talked about the other side of the global links. we didn't talk much about colonisation. we talked about the scramble for africa as a historians�* debate... against the french. this is — this is from the — yes! — this is from the book called legacy of violence, which was published this year, by caroline elkins, who's an american professor, and she did some research on actual british government documents and this is a quote — it's not a pleasant quote, but i think it's important in the context of this about some of the violence that was used against those who — who suffered as a result of this in terms of the violence that was used against them. i'm just going to try and find, if i can find the right bit of this...
i don't think i can, but essentially, what she was saying was that there was real violence used and some of the violence was stuff that would be — that would be shameful to many people in this country if they knew the violence. some of those documents were hidden away in a government building and only appeared about ten years ago. crosstalk. the mau mau rebellion. yes. and that was an example of, effectively, the british establishment burying its legacy. look, i think all nations do want to hide things at times but i am just wary of this total sweep of colonial — all colonialism is bad — which there is a movement on that now. i don't think it's true. i think there were some very good things done during that period. isn't it is easier to celebrate the achievements if you acknowledge the flaws? i think that's right, but i think marc's point of very — the commonwealth would not exist if britain's
record was so poor as has sometimes been portrayed. i find it difficult to say "there have been very good things done by colonialism". what do you mean, for example? what... ? well, in terms of education, in terms of commercialisation, in terms of trade, in terms of living standards. yeah, that's fine, but... ..and in terms of the british law. you know, i don't think one can totally ignore some of the things. it's not about — it's not about ignoring what — what has been achieved, but it's also about acknowledging what was wrong what you have done — and actually, i think, especially here you don't have to go very far, you only have to go to ireland and understand and have some empathy with the irish who now again feel that they — they almost go through a trauma of being let down by the english again. where does this come from? there's something in the collective memory that you have been let down by — by... but the queen apologised to the irish in 2011 - when she went... yeah, she did, and that was... why can't she apologise - to the commonwealth then? because i disagree with you — i think now we have in britain| a multicultural, multi—ethnic.
society and we cannot continue to have these - statues of slavery. i'm sorry, adam. one should get rid of them. it's another good point that britain has changed and perhaps our attitude need to change with it. i think that it is a very fair point and i'm not against discussion or, indeed, acknowledgement of what has happened — i'm all in favour of that — but the idea of tearing down cecil rhodes' statue from my old college in oxford — ridiculous! of course, in the end, they flunked it and they've — they've. .. we — we — you canjust haunt yourself with. .. crosstalk. don't symbols matter? hmm? don't symbols matter? symbols do matter, but the idea of some, you just tear something down and something is achieved by this — may i say, my granddaughter was partly responsible for tearing down the statue in bristol. so, you know, this divides families! laughter. i bet you have some very, very lively discussions, adam! the american — in the debate over statues in the southern
united states and over the union and the confederacy, turned out a lot of the statues weren't actually that old and had been set up at a later stage because people felt they wanted to be reminded of something that, for them, was a more glorious past. they weren't that contemporary at all. but a lot of statues have been kept but with plaques and other details and explanations. well, i'm all in favour of that, of trying to explain some of the background to what was going on. adam raphael, stefanie bolzen, marc roche, thank you all very much. thank you very much. more dateline london same time next week. goodbye. hello there. just as we saw over the weekend, the weather for the week ahead will be a tale of two halves. so, in the north, it was quite
unsettled, windy with showers. not as windy this week but remaining quite cloudy at times with some outbreaks of rain. getting a little warmer potentially later in the week but not as warm as it will be for england and wales. northampton fairly typical of many parts of england, seeing those temperatures pushing towards 30 degrees by the end of the week. the reason being the azores high is pushing its way northwards. so, we'll say goodbye to the low pressure that's brought the unusually windy weather through the weekend and a lot of showers. we will still have cloud approaching the west, though, towards dawn on a weak weather front. elsewhere, i think under the starry skies as the showers have been fading, just a little on the chilly side at 6 or 7 first thing. but plenty of sunshine to start with, then that tends to ease away as the cloud spills across scotland, bringing some patchy rain particularly to the highlands and the islands, perhaps the odd spot elsewhere and across northern england — northern ireland, too. so, england and wales will see the best of the sunshine, the lion's share of the sunshine again, but feeling warm when the sun does come out in parts of
northern ireland and scotland. just warmer further south. again in the south, some very high levels of pollen are forecast once again on monday, as well as strong sunshine. high levels of uv. in fact, this week we might see some very high levels of uv. through the night, then, we'ill continue to see — —— through the night, then, we'll continue to see — that's monday night — those weather fronts brushing close by the north and west, but for many with the clearer skies, the light winds again in rural spots 6s and 7s, 10s to 11 for the towns and the cities. plenty of sunshine follows, then, for england and wales on tuesday but again, for northern ireland but particularly for the north and west of scotland, rather more cloud, some patchy rain on that weather front close by but still, we're starting to pick those temperatures up further north and really building that heat across the bulk of england and pushing towards eastern wales. now, it's not the heat that we are seeing further south across iberia, where it'as been intense for a week or so now — at least 44 forecast — but we will find this week, as this high—pressure slips eastwards, we start to pull in a southerly wind, which just allows us to tap into some of that heat a little
this is bbc news, i'm simon pusey. our top stories: tougher background checks for gun buyers under the age of 21. could it be the beginning of the end for uncontrolled gun possession in the united states? in the wake of the latest school shooting in texas, a bi—partisan group of senators say they've agreed a framework for potential legislation on gun safety. gains for a new left—wing alliance in the first round of france's parliamentary elections. the african children being insulted and exploited for the entertainment of chinese social media viewers we have a special report. the british government says a new law overriding brexit trade arrangements with the european union will not undermine the northern ireland peace agreement. and are the machines about to take over? a senior tech engineer is put on leave after claiming