tv Dateline London BBC News April 30, 2022 11:30am-12:01pm BST
ukraine accuses russia of stealing several hundred thousand tonnes of grain from territory its forces occupy. the kremlin has denied any knowledge of the alleged grain theft. police officers searching for 33—year—old katie kenyon who went missing a week ago have found the body of a woman. a british mp accused of watching pornography in parliament rejects calls to resign — saying he will stand down if an inquiry finds him guilty. emergency workers are still counting the casualties after a deadly suicide attack during friday prayers in kabul. now on bbc news: dateline london.
hello, and welcome to dateline. i'm martine croxall. this week, we discuss whether there are any signs of meaningful peace talks in the war in ukraine, we look at the aftermath of the french presidential election and ask where europe goes now, and we look ahead to the uk local elections and ask, "could the outcome sink borisjohnson?" joining us in discussion tonight, here in the studio — at long last — the editor in chief of the gulf—based daily the national, mina al—oraibi. bet it feels good, mina, doesn't it? and you get your make—up done as well! the bbc�*s business editor simonjack, hot—footing in from whatever else he's been doing today. and dateline�*s long—serving expert on all things french, marc roche — formerly london correspondent of le monde and now le point. welcome to everybody. the united nations boss has had talks this week with presidents putin and zelensky. the us secretary of state and the us
defence secretery have been in kyiv. but what have these high—level diplomatic shuffles actually achieved? mina, you watch all of this very closely for your readers, and interpret it, contextualise it. what have you been telling them? the last few days, as you said, of diplomacy have been important to at least maintain the momentum of trying to get a solution, but we haven't seen anything tangible that brings this war to an end. for our readers, there is the primary development, which are the military developments on the ground, and of course the ukrainian people, what they're suffering. the fact that there was an attack on kyiv as the un secretary general was there was again an indication of how serious this is, not only for the poor ukrainian people who are suffering but also wider ramifications. so there's that immediate element. then there's the cost of oil going up, the fact that we worry about wheat imports in the middle east, for example. in egypt, 80% of wheat imports come
from ukraine and russia. likewise for lebanon, where it's at 90%. here in the uk, we're talking about cooking oil being a problem, because so much of the world's cooking oil and wheat is impacted by that. and then there's the bigger picture, which is that if we don't get peace in the next few weeks, what does this mean for the global order? and there's talk now that both president zelensky and president putin will be at the 620 summit in november. hopefully the war hasn't dragged out that long, but all indications are that it could have dragged out that long. so could diplomacy then actually wheeled the result? this year, indonesia is the president, trying to keep a somewhat neutral position, to push both the russians but also the americans to try to find a solution. the americans this week, marc, president biden has committed $33 billion for military,
economic and humanitarian aid, but at the same time, countries are still buying russian oil and gas. how do leaders square that circle? it is cancelling each other out, the aid and the fuel cost? first, things are going badly for putin because the west, the americans are giving masses of heavy armaments and aid, economic aid. also, the europeans are now much more united because the blackmail on gas, on poland and bulgaria, misfired, and the european commission has decided to buy gas through qatar, through the us, even through israel.
and thirdly, things are quite bad for russia on the insurance market because the russian crude cannot get interest from the lloyds of london. that's a decision the british government might take. all this is very negative, but at the same time, russia has the upper hand because europe are very divided between the hardline eastern europe and other europe, and much more thought is on a softer approach, like the german, and then the pro—russian, which we forget, which is greece, malta and cyprus. so that's an advantage for putin. and there's a big question about the effect of inflation and cost of living. exactly. that brings me onto what i was going
to talk to you about, simon, in terms of sanctions. how effective have they been? but down the track, there are ramifications notjust for president putin and his economy but the rest of us. true. one thing russia would consider a victory is they have managed i to split the european union - on their approach to how they're going to approach this gas problem. some have said they will pay in roubles, some have - said they would not, l so they have managed to put a crack in that. the sanctions are very damaging to the russian economy, - you could see output for 20% there. but i don't think enough i in the short term to deter vladimir putin in his endeavours. but i do think one of the other things, and you talk— about inflation, i think- that is the really big thing. everyone in the west hopes hopefully | in six to nine months, maybe a year, | i we will get some resolution andl everything will go back to normal, but i think the reality is it-
will never again in our lifetime be considered to be acceptable i strategically or politically to be that reliant on russian fuel. sources, and that means huge investment in renewables, finding other sources. - that means these energy prices we see are not - just a blip or a spike, - this is a step change in energy costs for western economies - which will take years and will take huge amounts of money out of the economy, - so i think the economic— ramifications are pretty long—term. i want to pick up on that. there was a lot of pressure in particularfrom the united states to stop investing in hydrocarbons, stop investing in the oil development and so forth, and so you had everybody on the back foot and then this crisis happened. the american policy of almost saying, "we need to wipe our hands of this, we can just transition easily" is not actually accurate, and so it is a very harsh lesson to learn. because it will stay with us for
years to come. cop26, climate summit, it seems quite a long time ago right now. i it does. marc, we have heard that leaders around the world are keen to express their pro—zelensky credentials, but we have had president putin saying, "if anybody interviews, you'll feel the force of our retaliation." there is only one language putin understands. it is strength. if you give away anything to putin, he will take advantage. i think the west should resist, like they do at the moment, by giving money and giving armaments to ukraine. and we shouldn't care about it. the only thing that worries me
is a certain ukraine fatigue. public opinion in the west has open—armed welcomed refugees. but there starts to be problem in belgium, in france, with people finding the cost and the difficulties, there could be fatigue on compassion and that would be terrible. can i pick up on that? they have repelled . them from the west. kyiv was seen as a victory. everybody has said, "let's give the ukrainian some arms." - our correspondent jeremy bowen saying, "what happens if russia. starts winning in the east? are you going to keep pushing armaments into there? - that is a very differentl proposition, politically, domestically, to sell at home." a western flank is a different prospect, isn't it? i suppose what this has done
is bring nato together in a way, emmanuel macron hadn't been as warmly disposed to nato until this crisis. exactly, and during the campaign, against marine le pen, who wanted to get out of the military command, he said, "we have to reinforce nato," which for french people is surprising because macron has been a defender of european defence. we can see in the coming time nato killing this idea of european defence. and at the same time, it came a few months after the afghanistan withdrawal and no real stock—taking of what happened in afghanistan, and the fact that nato has almost swept that under the carpet, but we will see what happens with the nato summit. where there was supposed to be this global view for nato, now they're back to the traditional view. you ask me where i've been. i've been speaking to _ nikita khrushchev's granddaughter, which you can hear tomorrow. she felt the world was closerl
to nuclear war now than 1962. gives me no pleasure to report that and she may be wrong, _ but there you have it! what a name drop! sorry. anyway, we are glad you made it. france has re—elected macron as president, but not with great enthusiasm, it has to be said. his far—right opponent, marine le pen, says her vote share at 42% was unprecedented and still a victory for her party. marc, france is clearly divided. what does emmanuel macron do about that? i think france has never been so divided. it's generational, the young voting for le pen, the middle age and the old voting for macron. it's regional, the north and east, where you have all the industry, voting for le pen, while the south and the west, where you have
high—tech and services, voting for macron. it's social. you have the pro—lgbt and pro—#metoo, pro—black lives matter voting for macron, and the traditional catholics voting for le pen. it's divided on the whole line. more importantly, it's pushing macron, because of the first round the left doing so well, to a terrain which is not favourable to him, which is the centre—left. he believes in the regulation, in increasing retirement, etc, and suddenly he's there, and it means he will have to focus much more on internal affairs and on the question of immigration and all that than on his favourite patch, which is foreign affairs.
we've also got the legislative elections coming in france very soon, mina. 577 members of the national assembly to be voted for. if you don't hold the majority, as the president, that makes things — whether you're the french president, the american president, lots of leaders are finding this — it is hard to get your policies through... inafew in a few weeks�* time, will the french electorate go out and do what they usually do, which is support they usually do, which is support the party of the incumbent president, or do they actually, seeing the split that there is in the country, and that is the indication that we saw in the presidential elections, not deliver that form akron, which he will be suffering throughout to try to implement his policies? one of the issues, as an outsider and people looking towards france, is this idea that marine le pen was able to get the percentage
of votes above 40% was shocking. and so the question is, what is the long—term ramifications for france? but also the fact that the traditional parties as we know them have now gone, and so i think in countries like, for example, the uk, where it has to be the conservatives or labour predominantly. look at this. you have new parties shaping and dominating france. whether it�*s france or any other european economy at the moment, simon, though, the problems are the same, aren�*t they? a lot of leaders are grappling with those issues of cost—of—living crisis, fuel security, which we have already touched on. it is a nightmare scenario for any finance minister. i in france, i get people . asking me here in the uk, france capped its energy price rises at 4%, why can't we do that here? i i point out to them, _ they have state—controlled energy supply called edf which took a massive hit, - 8 billion at the time — it could be double that by now —
and that is a national asset, - |the shareholding, so the publicj in some way have paid for that. we talk about local elections, - we have some coming up in the uk which we may talk about — - any time where the electorate is getting poorer every day is a pretty toxic. political situation to be in. the political offer you make - to the citizens of any country is, i "stick with me, you'll be a biti better off by the time we finish than at the time we started," and it is hard to see how anyl politician can deliver on that... and by the way, madame le pen did the campaigning not on the veil for muslim women, not on the question of her links with russia and that sort of thing, only on the cost of living, and she got 42%. so it shows it is the foremost issue, and macron will have to take care of that,
despite the fact that, as you said, the energy price cap, inflation is much lower than here, there is more protection for workers. during the campaign, he said, we will have retirement above 65 instead of 60. now he can forget that. the problem as well, as you mentioned, we stopped thinking about afghanistan, because everybody threw themselves into ukraine, and that�*s what emmanuel macron did. the first round of the presidential elections, he was barely visible, wasn�*t he? and again, the turf he is comfortable on is foreign policy, that great statesman role. but he won�*t be able to get away from the problems that are facing every world leader at the moment. again, for him going forward, he has pledged to try to bring the country together, as many politicians do, but there is no clear path into how he will bring the country together. what role might there be
for the third—place finisher? the role of the prime minister, with that big climate change remit — how tempted would macron be to put him in that post? he cannot put him in that post, it is the french electorate who have to decide, and jean—luc melenchon almost beat le pen. it would have been a much more interesting election. what was possible but not probable is that he has the majority or that macron, and then becomes prime minister, and then you have a completely... one on the right and the other on the left. it would be for france a very bad time. but the polls show at the moment
that macron will have the majority, because generally people vote the same way for the presidency as the parliamentary election, but surprises can happen. indeed, they certainly can. let�*s carry on talking about different elections. because as simon said, next week, there�*re local elections here in the uk. borisjohnson is expected to lose a lot of support. butjust how bad are the results likely to be? and will they be enough to trigger a vote of no confidence by the tories in the prime minister? often in the middle of a national government�*s term, the electorate are keen to give the incumbent government a bloody nose. how likely is that? a couple of issues here, for the one thing is that, you are right, - these are local elections, they are city councils, -
county councils, where people get | to express their democratically... j how they're feeling i about life in general, and that can be seen... the particular importance of this | one is that everyone is looking, | including borisjohnson's own mps, they are still not sure _ whether the man who delivered a massive majority is still- an electoral asset, or through various| scandals, partygate, - etc, or if he is a liability. obviously the papers, left and right, — obviously the papers, left and right, will_ obviously the papers, left and right, will give _ obviously the papers, left and right, will give him— obviously the papers, left and right, will give him a - obviously the papers, left and right, will give him a good - obviously the papers, left and - right, will give him a good kicking. he has not been tested yet about what his electoral. brand is still worth. so people will be looking for that and everybody will be _ looking like hawks at it. however, many of the seats were won by labour in times when labour- was doing very well, _ so the potential for a massive...
in terms of huge numbers of county councils and city councils moving to labour, many of them already are, so to seem _ there won't be this kind of wave, i but there will be little pockets i in those red wall seats, seats that used to vote | labour, year after year, - generation after generation, which voted conservative, i there will be little pockets. will it be a sea change? i'm not sure it will deliver a definitive verdict - on boris johnson's electorial brand as prime minister. - we have to remember, in northern ireland, it is different again, because they�*re looking to get their devolved government in stormont up and running again. because that has been rather dysfunctional for a long time. how is borisjohnson regarded in the gulf, mina? he has made a big thing about, "let�*s forget about partygate, let�*s get on the business," and he has had a lot of praise from volodymyr zelensky on support the uk has given to ukraine. he�*s quite popular in ukraine, forsure. the way they look at him in the gulf is trying to understand if he will last as a politician.
the uk�*s position as a country is still hugely important and influential in the gulf, so borisjohnson really benefits from that rather than borisjohnson himself delivering it. on the contrary, if you had a stronger prime minister, the ties would be quite strong, because of the absence of the us at the moment when it comes to the gulf. so in some ways, he could do better, but given all his domestic woes, it�*s a wait—and—see situation. when he went to india, he tried to stage all these moments, but it really did not go very far, and again the indians are looking to the uk because of traditional ties with india rather than borisjohnson himself really furthering much of these relationships. what�*s important is, again, for the local elections, the way people see this is that, what does this mean for the government, but also how will the rise in cost—of—living, how will inflation actually impact this government? and a strong economy like the uk�*s, compared to other countries which are going to suffer much more
from the rising possible in cost around the world. local politicians might have nothing to do with fixing these national problems at all, marc, but that�*s what people choose to vote on in some cases. local elections are very often a protest vote on national issues, and i find borisjohnson extremely vulnerable not only because of partygate but for the first time you see a possible successor coming up. the defence secretary ben wallace, the foreign secretary liz truss were not really considered. now they're being taken seriously. the problem is he has to expect no gift from the europeans, because brexit is still... it is still the issue that
divides england and the uk from the european union. on all the things on brexit, he will be blocked by the european union, so he can expect nothing on this side of the channel. it's interesting. i think we have seen... you talk about, "there's not much talk about brexit." - i i think people are being cagey,| because they think that ship has sailed, but there is emerging - evidence that trade as a percentage of the uk's economy has fallen two and a half times faster _ than any other g7 economy. you've had the uk, _ they were supposed to have these border checks coming in the same way as they come out. they've decided after many years, they're saying, - "given what's going on, - we're not going to bother," so it is no surprise that if you look to europe, i the conservative government
is not going to find _ too many friends there, - but again the question will be, and you made that point, can you...? do people blame their local- councillor who may be conservative for the fact that global gas prices have hit historic- levels and are doing so around the world? or do they want their bins collected more often? - and those councils, who have to provide those local services like your bins being taken out, local services — they are struggling for money, aren�*t they? do they put up business rates and drive more businesses out of business? or do they reduce their aspirations when it comes to services? because they�*ve not got the money. we have in this country, as you do in europe, - in many countries, an energy price cap for retail customers. _
and it does not exist for government offices, for businesses, _ so if you're running social housing projects where you have - to keep the heating on, _ if you're running social care homes, the economics are disastroys at the moment, and i- think that is where... those are the kind of services - where people feel the energy crisis and what is going on actually. hits their life, and whether they blame their local councillors, - whether they blame borisjohnson or whether they blame vladimir putin for that will be quite _ an interesting thing to see next week. i quite a few people who choose from in the blame game! for those who feel strongly about partygate, and whether they can trust the conservatives or not, it really will come down to emotions and trust. this is a way to get that message across, so i think in some cases, if people do blame the war in ukraine or global developments, they want to say, but in the past year, we no longer trust the conservatives in the way we did before, and that shows much more in local politics than on the national level. "i could not visit my- mother in a care home."
exactly. if there is a way to get it out. and the other question is, where is labour? and if you had a strong opposition party, i don�*t know how this government would survive, and the lib dems. can they make a comeback? i think those kinds of dynamics will be interesting. it is notjust the national or local, it is down to the personal. that is all we have time for this week. thank you to our panelists, mina, marc and simon. thank you for watching. dojoin us again next do join us again next week. same time, same place. goodbye. hello, there. another bank holiday weekend, but as
a weekend of contrasting weather conditions. plenty of sunshine across england and wales despite a light frost first thing this morning. but it is a different story further north and west. a weather front bringing cloud and rain into scotland and northern ireland today. here it is, and you can see a few more isobars around that low. breezy conditions here is the high pressure moves that little further south. that is gradually drifting its way eastwards and it is going to mask any early morning rightness in the scottish borders. the winds will strengthen and some of that rain is quite heavy. the best of the sunshine certainly for england and wales here with light winds, and thatis wales here with light winds, and that is likely that we are not going to see as much cloud coming in off the north sea so or sunshine here on those exposed east coasts. temperatures are likely to peak around 17 degrees. not the case under the cloud and rain. through
the night tonight, that sinks south and it pushes a blanket of cloud with it. head of that rain, so frost free on sunday morning. outbreaks of rain. there is still going to be some heavy bursts on western parts of wales, but is that front sinks south it will weaken off, fragment. but a different story will stop into scotland and northern ireland, it is going to be brighter and a little bit warmer. highs of 17 degrees here on sunday afternoon. indie bank holiday monday, largely dry for most of us. cloud could be an issue. and a northerly wind will start to pick up a northerly wind will start to pick up in the far north of scotland and could trigger a few showers perhaps down through the scottish borders and pennines, but it will bring a cooler feel to the weather. 7—10
this is bbc news — these are the latest headlines in the uk and around the world... moscow claims that more than! million people have been evacuated from ukraine to russia since the start of the conflict. ukraine accuses russia of stealing several hundred thousand tonnes of grain from territory its forces occupy. the kremlin has denied any knowledge of the alleged theft. iam ben i am ben brown live in the ukrainian capital of kyiv. i will have the latest on the heavy in fighting in the eastern front, donbas. police officers searching for 33—year—old katie kenyon — who went missing a week ago — have found the body of a woman. emergency workers are still counting the casualties after a deadly suicide attack during friday prayers in kabul.