tv Dateline London BBC News November 22, 2021 3:30am-4:01am GMT
a number of people have been killed and more than 20 people injured, many of them children, after a car crashed into a parade in the city of waukesha in the us state of wisconsin. police are yet to confirm the exact number of fatalities. a suspect is in custody, the scene is now said to be safe. chinese tennis star peng shuai has spoken to officials from the international olympic committee on a video call. the ioc said ms peng assured them she was safe and well but wanted her privacy respected. she hadn't been seen since making sexual assault allegations against a former senior politician. chile's presidential election is heading for a run—off between candidates at the extremes of the political spectrum. the far right former congressmanjose antonio kast will face off next month against the left—wing former student leader gabriel boric.
now on bbc news, dateline london. hello, welcome to the programme which brings together leading uk commentators with the international correspondents who write, blog and broadcast to audiences at home from the dateline london. this week, the business of people smuggling to europe, russia's gas—powered foreign policy, and is being a british mp a full—time job? to discuss that, we are joined byjeffrey kofman, who has been a news anchor and foreign correspondent for broadcasters in his native canada and in the united states, marc roche, who writes for the french political and news weekly le point, and british political commentator steve richards, who is here in the studio. welcome to all of you. it's lovely to see you again.
brexit allowed the uk to take back control of, among other things, its borders. but this government has proved no more successful than its predecessors in stopping illegal migration. the problem may even be getting worse. on a single day last week, 1185 people risky pedals 1185 people risked perilous crossing in small boats from france to the east coast of england. the mystery is how they get into the schengen zone in the first place — eu countries between which you can travel without passport checks. with no effective means of stopping the exploitative trade in people smuggling, an australian—style solution is now under consideration — transferring them for processing to albania, on the other side of europe, and at no small expense. marc, how are the migrants who end up in and around calais in france thought to be getting there? it is very easy because, really, the point of the single market is free movement of people, so once you go in,
you can go anywhere. so you arrive in calais, because it is closest to britain. they all want to go to britain because you have family there, because they speak english, because with brexit and global britain, they think the roads are paved with gold. the problem is not a french problem, it is a british problem, and i think that for britain to solve that problem, they have to welcome them — that is a moral duty. the french cannot do anything. they do their best, but the fact is that the british have not even paid for the french policing. you said "once they get into the schengen zone" but it doesn't answer the question of how they get in in the first place, because they are not documented to get into any of the schengen countries. you know very well that the schengen countries
are quite permeable to people coming in. you go through greece or poland or italy, it is very easy for people to get in. the problem is they do not want to stay in the eu and also, there is no country wants to welcome them in the present climate between coronavirus and extreme right wing, so it is up to the british government to solve that problem, not the eu. steve, the people smugglers seem to have outfoxed notjust this government but a succession of previous governments. could out—of—country processing be a game changer? . doubt it. — this has always been an option. i remember when michael howard was leader of the conservative party in opposition. he came up with the idea of an island where this process could take place.
early in the century? yes. and tony blair, who was pretty defensive on this and wary of taking on the conservatives over this issue, said, "where is this island?" and it could not be specified. now we have heard about albania, but we have also heard about senior figures in albania saying they are not going to do this, so this has been a kind of constant thing that there would be a fantasy place where they could all gather and be processed, so i doubt whether that would be a solution. but when you look at australia, they had about 20,000 people a yearcoming in. the year after they did this off—country on some pretty grim islands — it has to be said — in the pacific, the numbers of people plummeted to 160. presumably, a few people smugglers being able to deliver their contract, getting you to the coast of britain, then people would stop giving them the money. yeah, but where is this
equivalent island? in other words, pointing out albania is still a country connected to europe. exactly. one of many interesting issues raised by this is that the key relationship for britain is actually not america, it's with france — and it is disastrous at the moment for the relationship — but this is the geographical neighbour to the uk. this is the country with many common interests in terms of security, similar size, economy, etc. and yet, the way through this is to engage with france. so it is very unfashionable to say it but just trying to score points against france, and vice versa, for political, electoral purposes, is crazy. it is in britain's interests to have a good relationship with france, and that is not a specified solution, but i think without that, there will be no solution.
jeffrey, priti patel, the home secretary, the interior minister, she is in washington at the moment. she had a meeting with her us opposite number. there is clearly common ground on this concern about migration and border control. whether people are coming from central america to try to get into the united states or they are coming from the middle east and africa to try to get into the uk or other parts of europe indeed, it costs them money. there is a real debate about how people are paying for this. is itjust remittances from relatives who already live in the country sending money back home? are they selling everything they have to try to get in? how is this trade being financed? that is a really interesting question and, so far, - we don't have a clear answer. but there are some patterns happening, and anticipatingl what i think will be our next conversation, if you look.
at what's happening - on the belarus—poland border with migrants, there i are not just fingerprints of alexander lukashenko, the dictator of belarus, i on this crisis, but also a direct link to putin. i putin knows how destabilising the migration issue is. - he saw it in 2015 — - it was one of the biggest issues that led to the vote in favour of brexit here. . so, it is fair to ask "is this just happening randomly? "are people just selling i their homes and surging, or is somebody - pulling the strings?" but also around brexit, - how was taking back the border control going, _ mr farage, mrjohnson? the rhetoric was easy, - the promises were inflated. it's clearly not something that can be solved easily and, -
frankly, i'm not sure i it can be solved at all, until you can figure out how these people are getting. here and somehow discourage it. but that is not going to happen easily. . look at the us — i it's a constant flow. people will recall that you were a brexit sceptic, and steve was as well. marc was that unusual thing, a european anglophile. i can even see a model of the queen behind you. as somebody who supported brexit, how would you respond to that? well, i support brexit because i thought that was the wish of the british people — and i was right in that way — but i never supported the mess that was coming next. it's quite clear that the europeans who left will be replaced by non—europeans, because the british government does not want non—europeans. so brexit failure is there.
the fact that they are not ready to open the frontier to replace the europeans who left — and many of them did, as we see now — and to welcome non—europeans... but they don't seem to want the non—europeans. one of the important things to go with steve, it is essential that the british are working with the french, because for france, it is a disaster, the situation. 0n the one hand, immigration is top of the agenda because of all the calais mess and what you see in belarus. the presidential election, more than 50% — two candidates of the extreme right and the hard right, more than 50% in the polls
is against immigration. with illegal immigration. marc, thank you very much. it would be a tragic mistake, the british prime minister observed this week, if russia embarked on what it called "military adventurism" on the borders of poland and ukraine. why would president putin take the risk? after all, the use of migrants as pawns on one external border of the european union, poland's, and the threats of gas supplies to bind moldova and ukraine closer, seems to be serving him pretty well. jeffrey, what exactly do you think vladimir putin's strategy here? vladimir putin has a habit of poking the west, - destabilising at every opportunity he can. l we've seen it with cyber wars, we have seen it.
with the annexation of crimea in 2014, the invasion - of ukraine. this is a particularly- vulnerable time in europe and the west. angela merkel is handing over power, france is heading - into an election, joe biden is yet to assert a russia i doctrine which shows where he stands. - he says he's hawkish, it's not clear. - putin is having a lot- of fun testing and pushing and conspiring, and this is what he does well. i he still feels, as do a lot- of russians of his generation, a sense of bitternessl about the break—up of the soviet union, _ the annexation of former soviet states into nato, and this. is just that continued poking, ribbing, provoking, testing of nato and of the west. . steve, we heard from president lukashenko of belarus at last on friday, speaking to the bbc and he basically said "i did not invite these migrants, but it is absolutely possible my troops were helping
them over the border or trying to get over the border into poland". the fact is it's now a humanitarian tragedy that is unfolding, and the poles don't seem to be helping very much because they are banning ngos, banning people from providing health care. they are basically saying "you cannot come and see what is going on here". is there a danger that the eu could end up looking like a villain in this? well, the eu, contrary to some of the mythologies — we won't go into brexit again — but contrary to some of the mythologies in the build—up to that referendum, has fairly limited autonomous power. so the eu does not have a collective foreign policy — that's why britain could back the war in iraq and france and germany did not. but this is effectively ending up as one of its member states, what it is doing on its border, and it reflects on all europeans.
indeed, they will have to work out what to do about it. but the point i was making in a way as the mechanisms, when there is an internal crisis, you see a humanitarian crisis now in one of its countries is not wholly formed, and so, yeah, it is a test for them. i think to say it is a failure for them at the moment is that there are many levers to pull and they have not pulled them. they have to get their act together quickly and try to do something. and you are right — because it is one of its members, there is obligation, but the mechanisms are not really in place. is part of this the constant thought in european minds and the minds of the diplomats and european leaders, what is putin up to? do we want to provoke? it was interesting that lukashenko said a few weeks ago "the next thing i could do is stop the gas getting to western europe, that
has to flow through the pipelines that come from russia". whether or not he is going to do that, the european response has been compromised by energy. whether to belarus or to russia. well, you know, the eu is really depending on russian gas — 35% of the consumption comes from russia. and, of course, the three countries that depend the most, more than 50% of their need is germany, france, and italy, and those are very important eu countries, so there is no leverage there. and there's also the suspension by the german regulator of the nord stream pipeline between russia and northern germany, which is not helping the situation. and the energy situation in general, it's really bad on the supply side. so there is absolutely
no powerfor the eu, as steve said, it has no defence policy in general. the only thing that could play, and the russians would be a bit worried about, is of course that europe has two good armies, two nuclear nations, two nations with a permanent seat on the security council — britain and france. but, of course, the french bashing by mrjohnson does not help. jeffrey, you mentioned this whole question of biden�*s policy being unclear, but it is clear that when putin massed troops on the ukrainian border, joe biden hastily agreed a summit and had this big theatrical event in geneva when suddenly, there was two politicians on the same status again, which i'm sure president putin was very pleased about. but i wonder if there's a danger of accidental crisis.
we are pushing the idea of ukraine getting membership of nato, the british said this week they will start selling weapons to ukraine — could putin be in a situation where he might act sooner rather than later, because he fears the consequences might happen later? he has already gone into part of ukraine, crimea. he went on to moldova, the so—called peacekeepers have never left. one wonders a bit about the stability here. sean, i think it would be. unwise to try to speculate on what putin's real motives are. - he did this in 2014 — _ he invaded, he annexed crimea. he did it in the spring — - put 80,000, 90,000 troops on the border, - then he pulled back. now he is doing it again. is he plain bluffing?�* is he just provoking? is he testing to see how much joe biden and the eu - will tolerate of this i kind of provocation? we simply don't know. but, of course, there's alwaysl the danger when you're talking about militaries, when you're talking about potential- invasions, that things go
wrong — that missiles . are fired, accidents - happen, people are killed and it escalates. you know, this is very. much on both sides a war for the hearts and minds of their people. - putin wants his people to - believe that he is a champion for mother russia and that he is going to reclaim its formerl glory, but to go back- to the belarus—poland migrant situation, there is also - a huge, huge public relations problem, because winter is setting in. _ and whether or not putin - and lukashenko have provoked this, it is going to be hugely problematic to defend not . letting people in if they are literally freezing to death l on the polish border. so putin's kind of weaponising of migration, this provocationl in ukraine. putin is playing a really hard ball right now and it is not . clear where this takes usj but it's a very frightening
situation, particularly- when you see the real lives at stake here. jeffrey, thank you very much. now, a fortnight ago, borisjohnson dragooned his parliamentary colleagues through the division lobbies in the house of commons to defend a friend and former minister who had been found to have breached the rules on outside interests. last week, as we discussed on dateline, mrjohnson changed his mind. the mp concerned, facing likely suspension, quit parliament altogether. this week, the prime minister has described his original position as "a total mistake" and announced a crackdown against mps taking second jobs. in the process, he has managed to unite the opposition and many in his own party in contempt for his leadership. steve, he described it as "having driven the car on a clear day into a ditch". who or what have been the casualties of that lamentable piece of political steering? have you got about half an hour? laughs. well, let's talk about his leadership. borisjohnson has become a cliche, he has often got away with things and remained incredibly popular. what we know for sure
at the moment is, as you have said, his own mps are deeply unhappy about the last two weeks, and that makes a tory prime minister more fragile. the tory parliamentary party has become as difficult to deal with in government as the labour parliamentary party used to be when they were in government a long time ago. that's one consequence. there's another consequence about whether the polls are shifting. there's conflicting evidence about that. but if they do, his great ace card, his a source of authority — a poll lead and a perception that he is a good election winner, goes. but then there is a wider issue about what the uk wants the westminster parliament to be doing and already, i think, the fashion for electing local people based on their contribution to local communities has led to less weighty representation in the house of commons. and by turning this into an issue about second
jobs, rather than an attempt by borisjohnson to help his mate, the tory mp owen paterson — who is now gone — means there is now a risk that you actually even narrower the pool further of those who want go into politics. so i do not think second jobs are inherently catastrophic for elected politicians but that could be a third consequence, that you narrow those who go into the commons — and that would be a bad thing. marc, it seems to have become almost a theological debate about how many hours and what sort ofjobs are acceptable. i mean, as an outsider and, as i say already, an anglophile — so somebody who has an affection for the uk and all the unusual things about its system — what's your take on this? is it a meaningful discussion we are having? well, it is, because, you know, one of the things i've admired since i arrived here,
it's the mps — the hard work that they do. also that link with their constituents — they are almost social workers, and the help they give and their local presence compared to the continent, where there is proportional representation and no—one knows your mp, and parliaments play very little role in checking the executive. so it's a very sad situation. it might be that they stop all outside jobs, except the ones who are not paid because they earn, compared to the continent, quite good money — £82,000 compared to 25,000 the median income in this country. so there's no need to do extra work on top of the heavy workload. but on the whole, i am a great defender of the british parliament, it is a
marvellous institution. the house of commons, not the house of lords. we will leave that for another program. steve, it might be helpful — because you talked about this kind of change in not necessarily the quality of mps, but the range of experiences — give us a kind of taxonomy of the tories. is there is the kind of distinction between the pre—johnson tories and the tories that have come in since his big, massive win in 2019? yeah, if you win in areas which were traditionally labour, you are bound to elect different types of mps and they, on this issue, are very clear — most of them are thrilled to be earning the level of income that an mp gets. whereas some of the older guard think, "oh, yeah, we can earn a lot more. "what the heck's going on that this is all being stopped?" so this is an example of quite a significant divide and this issue has thrown it up.
but i think other issues will do so, and would have done so, because this is highly unusual, what's happened — it has been called 'the red wall' and there's just sort of an acceptance that this has happened. but it remains remarkable that a party that, in the 19805, got nowhere near any of these seats, won loads of them and it's still being worked through, actually, what those implications are. and what the consequences are in policy terms, jeffrey, because one of the other things about the red wall in the north of england — the previously labour seats — announced this week on transport and train connections, which might seem very parochial to people watching around the world but actually seems to be a bit of a litmus test for this government. oh, it's not parochial at all. i mean, this is — everyj country has inequities. the economy of this country is so centralised in london i and the south, you know, l this north—south divide that you hear about so much. the concept — borisjohnson
ran on the principle - of levelling up. reaching out to the north, creating structures - so that the economies l of the north could grow in the 215t century, i and a big part of that is high—speed rail. the uk is so far behind spainl and france and so many other countries in high speed rail in europe, it's laughable. i and hsz, high speed 2 — the project under way . that he cut back this week —j he cut it back to the eastern side of the country, - up to leeds and all the way to edinburgh, but he kept- the arm going up to manchester through birmingham. he has now created an east—west divide in the north, _ and it is going — it has. not been received well. the notion that the country cannot afford it is being - countered with "you can't afford not to do this. - "you've got to build - an infrastructure for the 215t century" and that red wall that steve — the blue wall, - pardon me — that steve talked about, that knocked over-
the red wall in the last. election — ie, the election of so tories in traditional. labour seats — is really now in question, and certainly in the east, in places- like leeds and newcastle thatl had expected to be part of this new opportunity that's - going to take years to build — it's under construction now — and now he's dialled it back. | so, you know, borisjohnson ran on very few policies... _ jeffrey. ..taking back control- of the borders from migrants and levelling up. both of those - are now undermined. jeffrey, steve, marc, thank you all very much. lovely to talk to you all again. we are out of time. do join us next week the same time next week for dateline. have a good week. goodbye. hello. sunnier, colderweather by day means clearer,
frostier conditions at night. and for many, it will be a frost as monday begins, but a fine, dry, sunny day to come. now feeling chilly although temperatures are edging back closer to average for the time of year. we've lost that straight wind from the north and, around this area of high pressure, some less chilly air feeding in. and so temperatures willjust recover closer to average for this time of year. and it is high pressure and that means a lot of dry weather for the next couple days. so cloud going to increase as we will see in a moment. not much cloud around though first thing monday with the extent of the frost, just the north coast of northern ireland, far north of scotland and down the east coast of england avoiding that frost. northern scotland with cloud and breeze seeing patchy rain, some showers feeding in towards kent and sussex and the channel islands. cloud increasing in northern ireland during the day. but for most, it's another sunny day to come and feeling chilly, although temperatures not far from average. it's all relative compared of course with the really mild
autumn we've had so far. cloud increases from the north as we go through monday night and into tuesday morning, across scotland, northern ireland, into northern england and wales. the clearer skies in south wales, midlands and toward southern england is where we are most likely to have a frost on tuesday morning. there could also be some mist and fog patches. but frost is less widespread as tuesday begins. but there is more cloud around. despite the cloud, most places stay dry but still some patchy rain across parts of northern and western scotland. best of any lingering sunny spells in southern england, south wales, parts of the midlands too. more tens showing up on the chart here so temperatures have edged up a little. won't last long, though, because through wednesday there's another cold front moving southwards, for thursday we're into colder air coming down the north, at the end of the week we're watching this area of low pressure which is likely turn things windier and wetter. later this week, we're getting back into the colder air. as the wind picks up around that area of low pressure,
this is bbc news. welcome if you're watching here in the uk or around the globe. i'm david eades. our top stories: a number of people are killed after a car hits more than 20 people attending a parade in the us state of wisconsin. we are no longer looking for a suspect. we do have a person of interest in custody at the moment, but this is still a very fluid investigation. the missing chinese tennis player peng shuai tells olympic officials in a video call that she's safe and well belgium becomes the latest european country to see unrest over covid restrictions — violence breaks out in brussels after a march that drew 30,000 people.