tv Political Thinking with Nick... BBC News November 28, 2021 10:30am-11:01am GMT
one or two showers across scotland and northern ireland and mainly dry and northern ireland and mainly dry and bright afternoon here. temperatures between two and 8 degrees in most places. tonight we will continue to see some of those wintry showers affecting eastern part of england but this band of cloud and patchy rain moves into northern ireland and western scotland. a bit of snow on the leading edge as it runs into cold air. most of the starting monday with a frost but northern ireland and western scotland starting monday on a milder note and as this band of cloud and patchy rain sinks south—eastward through the day lee will introduce westerly winds and mild air. temperatures in belfast and glasgow 10 degrees tomorrow afternoon, compare with that with five in hull and five in norwich. now a bbc news, it is time for political thinking with nick
robinson. close your eyes for a second, try picturing the steps of 10 downing street. the prime minister. no, not boris johnson. keir starmer. if you can do that, if enough people can imagine the labour leader there on those steps he will have passed what the pollsters and the psychologists call the blank test. at my guest and political thinking this week is not one problem, but two. he's got to convince people he is ready to be prime minister but perhaps even more difficult, that his party is capable of winning
an election, ensuring that he actually gets the job. on this, the first on a new three series of political thinking, conversations, not interrogations with people shape our political thinking about what shapes there is. i am delighted to be by the leader of the opposition. second time on. i have encountered, i don't know if you have. 600 days it is today since you became labour leader. is this 600 days? i have been counting the days but i'm not sure i got to number 600. that is a lot of days. don't want to alarm you but that is more than halfway to the date of what might well be the next election in 2023. there are only 525 days until then. do you think you are even to convincing the country that you could be on the steps of downing street? we have done a lot of work in the last 18 months, 600 days that you mention. happened in 2019 with that general election result, that we needed to
change our party and also change our focus in terms of the country and we have done a lot of work to change the party. we have tackled anti—semitism and i think, really do think now people do not say the labour party is anti—semitic. they might say i should have done more than this differently but i don't think anybody would say, you haven't actually got to grips with that. i will come to that of the impact it has had on yourfamily because it has been a dramatic buy that up that mess you about the job that you have asked on political thinking, you told me it took quite a long time to get used to the transition from the courtroom to parliament. you are a guy who was brought up in the logical, ordered object of work. what is it like getting used to being a leader? i have done leadership roles all my life but context is everything so, you know, when i was a lawyer i lead a small team of four orfive people put together for the purpose of the case, all with a shared purpose which was to get the case over and done with and then
the team disintegrated. case, all with a shared purpose which was to get the case over and done with and then the team disintegrated. then of course i became the director of public prosecutions, leader across england and wales of five 6000 staff and i had to learn how you sort of pull a lever and get again, labour leader is a different context. hundreds of thousands of members, 200 or so mps and not many levers. that is the big difference between the leadership i had as director of public prosecutions. i could make things happen because at the power to do so. the difficulty of any leader of the opposition, that you don't have the power to make the change that you want to see so you've got to do it by other means. part of that has been trying to convince people, friends, it seems to me as well as foes, that you are not too much the lawyer still. that you can notjust have the forensic arguments, the reason, the rationally organised, you have got
the passion, they are still saying are a day, to you? come on ,show us the passion, show us what you really believe. anyone who comes into politics later in life as i have brings with them the experience they have got outside also has to adapt so, you know, i grew up all my working life dealing with evidence and facts and rational decisions. so, you know, i grew up all my working life dealing with evidence and facts and rational decisions. and then you go into politics and it's completely different and you have to adapt to that. politics is littered with people who shout very loudly about a problem and walk around time and time again shouting passionately in pointing and saying there is the problem. there is a problem. and people say, well, they are really passionate. if there is a different kind of passion which is the sort of gritty determination to say, well, that is a problem. i understand that. and my passion is that sort of determination to do something about it. stop walking around the problem i do something about it. we occasionally see these flashes of anger in prime minister's questions as you become, it seems to me, more
used to the way that works and of course finally got people behind you and in front of you which for a long time you didn't have. to take that point, nick, because just to ensure i meet the challenge that people put me because i remember in the early days of prime minister's questions when it was the middle of covid. very on this nobody in the chamber. and people said, oh, well, he may be all right in this arena but is for the prime minister will always win and he won't be able to adapt. i don't think people are saying that any more. they may have their view on whether what i'm doing is good, bad or indifferent but nobody now says well, he cannot handle the full chamber. and therefore some
of that criticism is, i think, i think, i have i have met. one of the moments i remember, what seemed to me like a flash of anger handle the full chamber. and therefore some of that criticism is, i think, i think, i have i have met. one of the moments i remember, what seemed to me like a flash of anger was when you mentioned your sister. did you mean to talk about her? no, ididn�*t. i was angry with the prime minister because we were discussing social care and in particular the pay and security of those who work in social care. and he frustrated me because he just didn't get it. what it is actually like to work as an insecure care work and my sister is an insecure care worker and i was angry because of shaking his head dismissively and i do know no, ididn�*t. angry because of shaking his head dismissively and i do know first—hand what it feels like. i did not mean to mention my sister because i've got two sisters and brother and they are very private, and they don't like any media intrusion and i therefore don't mention them very often at all. i'm quite careful and try to be protective of them. what is it about her experience, though, that you think produces a wider truth? well, it is understanding. she works in a care home is and is in very low papal touch
or whatever night shifts of 12 hours at a time. —— low pay. it is tough, hard work for which she gets very little reward and the bit i suppose needled or angered me in the last 18 months is else, she has had to self—isolate if she is ill or because family members are ill and because she has not got any sick pay provision in her contract of employment she's had to use all her holiday in orderjust to get to pay provision in her contract of employment she's had to use all her holiday in orderjust to get to isolation or periods of illness she has got no holiday left and i was really this is what it is like to be on an insecure contract, prime minister. you end up with no holiday because you had to take in order to get through self isolation orjust ordinary illness. as you say, you hesitated to talk about your sister. to talk about i think the first time you ever really spoke about your family was here on political thinking three years ago. i think it was, yes. there are some people who are
cynical when politicians talk about family who to humanise themselves. i think, i get the sense they were at the heart of your labour party conference speech. they are critical to how you see the world. how you see yourjob. the story for example of your mother he was sick for so very, very long. i think it was on your podcast four years ago when i first mentioned them. that reflects my reluctance to do so because again, they are private individuals and they are sadly passed away now. but they did have a profound impact on me and they kind of explain the person i am and in politics, you do have to show the person you are. my mum had still�*s disease, a very rare illness, when she was young. and she was very, very ill many, many times and that had a huge impact on me not to see someone who was very ill, although, in the end, she was so ill she couldn't move and eat unassisted or talk and could not talk to my children. butjust seeing the sort of person she was. determined and courage. she was told time and time again, you're not going to be able to walk again.
you're not going to be all right. shejust said i'm going to walk again. i'm going to get out. and it drove her. i remember, and this sums up my mum and is a lesson i carry with me for life. towards the end her life she had to have a leg amputated, everything it got so bad with him and i remember going to see her in hospital the day before the operation and it was classic my mum because a lot of people said, oh, you know, this could happen. i'm scared, it's awful. shejust said to me, i hope they don't cut the wrong blooming leg off. i carry that with me because sometimes you have to do
difficult things as leader of the labour party or you are put in difficult situations and i think if my mum can go into that operation that i must be able to get up and do whatever it is i've got to do. you also find yourself thinking about what she might have said? because sadly she never saw you in this job. i think she was all for doing and getting on with it.
and again, i hope you have inherited that from her which is, you know, get on and do it. she was also just a passionate defender of the nhs. you couldn't say a word against the nhs to my mum in any way, shape orform. an abiding memory i have of being in an intensive care unit and it was very touch and go and shejust held my hand and said, you won't let your dad go private, will you? she feel that if things got really, really bad there might be a temptation to try something else and she was not going to have it. i'd mow because for her that was crossing a line? it was a principle? it makes you work for the nhs production was a nurse that was her life line all of her life and it should something that she felt so strongly. nhs was everything to her. she cannot contemplate the idea of not using
the nhs. but that sense of public service of the nhs ran very very deeply with my mum and runs deeply with me. would you stop the use of private medicine? i don't think you could stop it go like that we do need more resources. we need to rethink health. if people are not going private? you like it would be a better country if we dealt with problems upstream of representative in the community and better technology in our hospitals and a proper ten year plan with the nhs with appropriate funding would be much better discussion about the nhs than the extent to which they need to be private or not. i fight there will be people listening who will say i am paying twice. i pay tax and measures, why does he object to that? this is almost like a discussion at private schools. i want the nhs and i want our school system to be so good that nobody feels that the need to go private in the first place. now, your mum had a big influence and it's clear your dad had a huge influence on you. although, as you told me a few years back and you have said since, not an easy relationship. not easy at all. a difficult relationship. i mean, he worked, he was a toolmaker. worked at a factory all of his life and i think it was here last
and that is said the routine was eight o'clock going into work, five o'clock coming back for his tea as he called it. back to six until ten o'clock at night. five days a week. punishing. and it is punishing. i worked with him for some time and there are things you don't and it is pretty dirty work. but there is a dignity and a skill in it. a toolmaker. but he was doing it in the factory. and pride and dignity and that skill that i carry with me. is investing in your speeches at the two rocks of my life, family and work. he wouldn't let you watch the telly most of the time, did he? the lake district, that was it. it was not tempestuous but, you know, reflecting in the three years or so since we had that discussion, and my dad and the influence he had, reveals other elements as well. because he worked in a factory, he felt that people look down on him. and, you know, if he was in a social setting, people inevitably say, what you do for a living? and when i got to him he would say, you know, i work in a could feel the conversation go dead as people did not know what to say. did you ever feel it? people say i am an accountant or i work here. then it came to my dad.
and he felt that people looked down on him, that they did not recognise the manual skill in is a huge amount of skill. and for him, that was something he carried quite heavily. the sense that he was being looked down on. we have the same thing actually with my wife was a lawyer as well. she left that to become a mentor in schools before she then went to the nhs. and we had a sense of why you giving up being a lawyer to become a child mentor, to help children in schools who need support in schools? the answer is because it is a lot more valuable in many respects to what lawyers do. that phrase looking down on is interesting and it was in your conference speech. you refer to voters who thought we were unpatriotic or irresponsible
or that we looked down on them. is that one of the reasons labour has an electoral mountain to climb? do you think, as a party, it feels to many voters, often people who did vote labour and then decided not to, that they are being looked down on, they are being sneered at? i think there is a sense of that and it is almost the same, in a wider sense, then my dad which is what is my daddy when he thought people looked down on him? he detached and pulled away and you could see that in parts of the country people use to vote labour have in a sense detached and pulled away from the labour party. and we talk a lot about the 2019 election and what the reasons are that we might have lost that we've all got our own ideas and theories on that but actually this and the labour party has been going on for a decade looked down on what way? a fear that you might say the wrong thing? i know that once you could get out you went out and met lots of voters. where they say to you, in theirfront rooms, i wish i could say this but he won't let me? it is not acceptable?
i think there is an element of that. people feel that there is only one right answer to this and therefore i better not say or i won't be i give a different answer. and that is consuming politics and i think sometimes in the labour party we do have a sense that there is any one right answer to this and nobody should hold a different view. this week of course you've got this terrible, terrible tragedy of people trying to make their way to a safe shelter perishing. it raises difficult political questions, doesn't it, though? there will be some his only thought is just sympathy, just thinking, how desperate do you need to be to do that? but there will be plenty of other people who also think, we'vejust got to sort our borders. we've got to get a decent immigration system. what is your reaction? my reaction is a human reaction. this is a tragedy. the idea of children being put into these flimsy boats and then dying is something which i think is very human and very real.
but we can't just wring our hands or do what the home secretary does which is to make yet another plan which is going to go we need to step up our work with the french authorities. i did not accept. there have been arrests today in relation to this particular incident. i find it really hard to believe that those arrests could have been made last week of the week before. i don't see, apart from the tragic deaths, that the evidence is different so ramp up the law enforcement against those that are making money from this human tragedy but also work with the french authorities not only in the camps in the northern part of france but also upstream to stop this terrible trade in human tragedy. we're talking now about refugees. in a sense, one of the challenges you faced as labour leader is dealing with the legacy of refugees from the second world war. this debate about anti—semitism which was so corrosive for the labour party. harder still for you because it is very personal, isn't it? well, it is in a sense that my wife's family are
jewish — so herfather is polish and he came overfrom poland. his family came over from poland. it is a jewish family. and you know, we are bringing up our children to understand their history, to understand their family and we observe some of the tradition so there is a personal element to it. people sometimes therefore assume the only reason keir feels really strongly about this is because there is a family link. that is completely wrong. that has not crossed my mind in relation to what we're doing and anti—semitism in the labour party. i feel profoundly that we had to rip it out which is what we have been doing. and that had little to do with my family but there is one element that in a sense tells you all you need to know which is, my wife, is not in the public domain. she appears with me at conference
and that sort of thing that she and that sort of thing but she observed that if you look at social media, and its connection with her is her name on my wife, jewish. and it is really interesting how that is most common connection that people make. it tells you a lot. it does and it must also be awkward for your children who are of an age when they will know about this. have you, over the dinner table, even on a friday night dinner because i know that your wife's father often comes for traditional friday night prayers, have you had to explain to them what this
anti—semitism thing is? we have had discussions about it and, including making sure they do understand where the family came from and what being jewish means. they are, they find it hard to understand why anybody would want to hate jews. their granddad is a jew. my wife's family are jewish and we have extended family and is real and so for them it is very hard to understand that kind of hatred. jeremy corbyn says of course it does not hate dues. he is passionate about the policies of the state of israel. without getting into that argument with him, do you still speak to him? i have not spoken tojeremy since the night before the report was published. into anti—semitism? that led to his expulsion from the parliamentary party? this was just over a year ago. i phoned him the night before
because i'd seen an embargoed copy of the report, just to assure him that i was going to take responsibility that rid of the labour party and i was going to set out what i was going to read of the labour party to put it right because i knew there would be a lot of focus on him. and so that was the last discussion that i had withjeremy. curiosity is at the party conference this year, i went to a big fringe meeting. jeremy corbyn. i went to a big rally on the seafront. jeremy corbyn. but he is not actually a labour mp. if you want to run again in the next election, will he be able to? he doesn't have the whip
at the moment so it he would not be run as a labour mp. but you mentioned conference. extraordinary, isn't it? the former labour leader won't be able to run as a labour mp would have do think that is likely to be the situation when the election is called? i don't know but at the moment that may be the case. that is him, in other words? he knows what he must do in order to move this forward. your shadow chancellor was in that seat, rachel reeves, she said she wanted to see luciana berger rejoin the labour party.
would it be a sign of success if she does, before the election? i would like to see luciana i feel that she can make that move. another thing rachel reeves said was that she had found it extraordinarily painful when she was rather emotional when she talked to me in that chair, when she was accused of being a traitor to her party. has it been painfulfor you? quite a left—wing student, as i recall, to be accused of being a traitor betraying your party? no. the betrayal is if our party doesn't win an election. i didn't come into politics to talk about betrayal and to have internal fights in the labour party. i came into politics to change lives in germany changed lives by going into power. in my first year as an mp i voted 172 times and we lost hundred and 71. now, you can tweet about it and you get lots of likes, you can pat yourself on the back and say brilliant. but if you lose every vote pretty well every day in parliament, you not change anybody�*s life at all. that sense is where your very different from jeremy corbyn. you're also, to make about the obvious point, rather different from borisjohnson. you accused him recently of corruption.
in effect. he is up to his neck in this. it is corrupt of one of your mps gets caught repeatedly breaking the rules and then view, the prime minister say, well, lets rip up the rules. but i accused him of being a coward and i actually chose that word partly reflecting what i could see was happening on the other side of the chamber in those debates in the last few weeks because, if i have learned anything about leadership and a director of public prosecutions, it is that when things go right and you get the plaudits. carry the can, which is when i was dpp if something went wrong i would be the one to answer on behalf of my team. and what are considered borisjohnson as he had engaged in yet as mp to do something they didn't want to do. clearly they didn't want to do it and then he turned and he didn't turn up to this day i was right or apologise. that is not leadership. just a few weeks before you said to the labour party conference, he is not a bad man, he is a trivial man. your description sounds like you think he is a bad man. like you think he is a bad why notjust say it if you think that?
it makes me angry. he makes me frustrated. it is a coward and identity is a but is he bad? he is not a leader. talk about angry. you are prime minister. you can change the country for the better. but what do you do? you make promises you can't keep, and don't really intend to keep. and you don't do the change that is needed. i feel very strongly if you're not going to deliver, if you're not to keep your promises, don't full—hit. you tell me three years ago that on the football pitch, you are quite vigorous. there is the passion on the football pitch then there is also, as i get older, the trick of, in your mind, thinking what you have just done is very skilful and brilliant but actually not the way your team—mates see it,
they describe it in a different way. there's still one thing. i can't stand losing either in the football pitch or politics or can stand losing so the football pitch everything is about the results. did we win or did we lose? i'm afraid i'm not into it was a great game. if you are on the pitch you on the pitch to win. keir starmer, leader of the labour party, thank you for joining me on political thinking. thank you. hello there. after the damage and disruption caused by storm arwen yesterday, today is going to be a much calmer affair with lighter winds but it will stay cold, and despite some autumn sunshine there will also be some wintry showers. this swirl of cloud here, that was storm arwen, that has cleared out into the near continent. still, though, our weather coming down from the north so a chilly feel
to proceedings and there are plenty of wintry showers around continuing to affect eastern coasts of england as we go through the day. one or two across north—east scotland. northern ireland looking fairly bright through the afternoon but this clump of rain, sleet and snow could give some wintry weather to quite low levels across parts of east wales and the midlands. through the afternoon temperatures in aberdeen getting up to just two degrees. still one or two showers clipping that east coast of scotland and affecting parts of north—east england as well. these wintry over high ground, yes, but perhaps to relatively low levels. mainly dry and bright for northern ireland. some of those wintry showers affecting east anglia again, to quite low levels. we could see a little bit of snow and wintry weather through parts of the west midlands into wales, that could well
give some snow, again to quite low levels. not as windy as it was yesterday, still quite breezy for those eastern coasts. as we go through this evening and tonight we keep some of those showers for eastern parts of england and it will bring this band of cloud and patchy rain into northern ireland and into western scotland, a bit of snow on the leading edge of that because it is running into some cold air. many of us having a frosty start to monday morning. it will be a milder start to the morning for parts of northern ireland and western scotland because as this band of cloud and patchy rain sinks south—eastwards, and notice a lot of the snow turning back to rain through the day, the wind direction will turn round to a westerly and that will bring milder conditions. so by the afternoon belfast, glasgow, stornoway ten degrees. compare that with just four or five for hull, for norwich, and for london. but that's where we will see some of the best of the sunshine through monday afternoon. but it is the milder conditions that will win out as we get on into tuesday. this frontal system will bring some outbreaks of rain, especially to the north—west of the uk. it will be fairly breezy as well but temperatures topping out this frontal system will bring some outbreaks of rain, especially to the north—west
of the uk. it will be fairly breezy as well but temperatures topping out at around 12 degrees. it will then turn a little cooler again through the middle part of the week. that's all from me for now. this is bbc news with the latest headlines for viewers in the uk and around the world. the uk government promises it will be christmas as normal despite the discovery of the omicron variant of coronavirus. from tuesday, people in england will once again have to wear masks in shops and on public transport, and the health secretary says ministers have acted as quickly as they could. what we do know is much more about our own country and i think speed at which we acted could not have been any faster. israel will ban the entry of all foreigners for two weeks to try to prevent the spread of the new omicron variant — one case has so far been confirmed in the country dozens of people who arrived at amsterdam's schipol airport from south africa on friday have covid—19. dutch health authorities are testing to see if it's the omicron variant