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tv   Dateline London  BBC News  October 22, 2017 11:30am-12:01pm BST

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' away away and ' away and get 'away and get a clear away and get a gradual improvement from the west. temperatures are edging up, a sign of things to come, more about that in halfan of things to come, more about that in half an hour. hello, this is bbc news. the headlines: communities secretary sajid javid says the government should think about borrowing more to invest in housing. the government's considering ways of making buying and selling houses faster and less stressful in england and wales. the shadow brexit secretary, sir keir starmer, has warned that unless the government makes changes to the eu withdrawal bill, labour will side with conservative rebels to try to inflict a defeat. spain's foreign minister has dismissed claims that his government is carrying out a coup by stripping the catalan government of its powers. now on bbc news, it's dateline london.
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hello and welcome to dateline london. i'm jane hill. this week we discuss spain's constitutional crisis in catalonia. the continuing brexit negotiations. has there been perhaps some movement this week? and with one of the leading middle east analysts around our table, could we be witnessing the beginning of the end of the war in syria? my guests are the times columnist david aaronovitch. the north american writer and broadcaster jeffrey kofman mina al—oraibi, the new editor—in—chief of abu dhabi's the national. and from spain's la razon, celia maza de pablo. a warm welcome to all of you.
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let's start in spain. spain is in the midst of a huge constitutional crisis. as we go to air, an emergency cabinet meeting is discussing suspending catalonia's autonomy in the wake of the independence referendum — which was declared unconstitutional by the courts — and the violence that surrounded it. it will be the first time in spain's four decades of democracy that madrid has aimed to effectively sack a regional government and call fresh elections. are people going to take to the streets again? celia, do you approach this with nervousness? without any doubt we are living through the most important constitutional crisis in the history of spain. the central government is going to trigger article 155 of the constitution. this is going to be the first time that we are going to see this scenario in recent history.
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it is a new scenario for everyone. that's why it is so important, the special meeting of the cabinet today. article 155, that by the way was inspired by the german model, there are similar articles around a lot of countries in the european union, the article says that if the legal and constitutional framework is broken, the government can use any package of measures within the law to return this legal framework. but the problem is there is no specific case and about the measures. that is why it is so important, the meeting. the spanish president is going to discuss the measure which had been agreed with the main parties of the opposition. that is important.
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mariano rajoy knows he needs cross—party support? he has the support of the main parties of the opposition. that is an important point. and later this package of measures... it is different from the point of view in spain because it is an elected chamber. the package of measures will be passed and will be approved. the spanish president has the majority. we don't know the details. but i presume that the central government is going to take control of the catalan police, for example, finance, for example. we don't know the details, but i assume this is going to be a very smooth process with the goal to have catalan election is probably injanuary.
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we have to see what is going to be the answer from the catalan president. that is the thing. you say you hope it is going to be a smooth process. everybody remembers the horrific scenes that we saw just a couple of weeks ago surrounding the referendum. one never wants to pre—empt violence, but what is your personal concern about that? obviously, the article 155 will escalate the tension. the catalan president says he is going to declare independence. he is in a very difficult position. he has a lot of pressure from his own party. he knows they do not have international support. but having said that, there is a lot of pressure to have again this protest in the streets. we are going to have a very
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interesting few days ahead. my hope is that we don't want to see the same violence in the streets. those pictures were horrendous for the spanish brand. but see what happens in the days ahead. i think it's inevitable, sadly, that this elevation of tension is going to be the consequence. for those who believe in catalonian separatism this position of almost martial law will be their perception of what is happening, and that is simply going to elevate tension. it is going to polarise people. it is going to motivate them against the central government. it feels like we are heading for a very incendiary time. obviously, the violence is horrible, and everybody condemns the violence. but it is important not to focus on this thing. it is horrendous what happened three weeks ago.
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but the important thing is that the spanish constitutional framework is broken and the spanish government has to do something to restore the unity of spain. obviously, a lot of people in the united kingdom has a lot of sympathy right now for the catalan people who want independence. but i think it is important to follow the rules. it is important to say that this referendum was illegal by the constitutional court. it's important to focus on the legal and constitutional framework of this important crisis in spain. it is important to remember that 90% of those who voted for independence wanted it but they only represented 43% of those who can vote. a 43% turnout. exactly. this is one of the problems when you have a turnout that is less than the majority.
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if we were to accept that, then even the result itself should not say that all of catalonia wants independence, and therefore everybody is behind it. one of the fears is that if we say that regional elections are the solution injanuary, then are there enough people on the ground in leadership to say, let's push for a reversal of this? and can you reverse it after they actually signed a declaration of independence? this is one of the problems. the first few days of escalation after the referendum output both sides in an almost impossible situation to try to come back. that is when you need visionary leadership. we will be talking about this in the coming days and weeks. thank you, celia. we will see what emerges. let's talk about the continue at brexit negotiations. britain's prime minister theresa may was in brussels twice this week. and while eu leaders said at the end of their summit that there hasn't been enough progress
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to begin trade talks, european council president donald tusk said reports of a deadlock were exaggerated. it appears we may now be looking at discussions about trade beginning in december. david, there seems to have been a shift this week? from fascinating catalonia to boring brexit. you would say that, but we can't say that. no, you can't. what i thought was interesting this week was the way in which the most powerful leaders in europe clustered around theresa may to give her some support and say, "we understand, we kind of get it, we see just how bad this is for you." but this week we have also had this photograph of her sitting alone at that table covered with lilies. somebody tweeted that this looks like the biggest coffin in the world that she is sitting next to. that is a bit how this can sometimes feel.
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we may know what we're leaving, but we don't know what we are going to. and we don't know a timetable. we are talking about whether or not we can get to the business whereby we can begin to discuss properly the transitional deal, which we might have in order to get us back to a deal we have no idea what it will be. brexit means brexit. that is it. theresa may has assured us that she knows the direction. genuinely, was there not something of a shift this week? are you saying it was purely because they felt sorry for her because things are tricky domestically? there are conciliatory noises from a lot of european leaders that we have not heard before. emmanuel macron said that the problem was that nobody has explained to the british people what brexit actually means. that is how incredibly sympathetic they all are.
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the problem is that the fundamentals do not change on this. they are not going to change. when we are trying to look at the end deal, we could have maybe a transitional deal which we could agree after agreeing the money and so on, but we have no idea what we are going to do about ireland, which is the third aspect of this. but absolutely the european union reiterated time and time again the four freedoms are indivisible. you can't have the same access to the single market that you used to have membership effectively of, unless you have significantly signed up to freedom of movement. if that is the sticking point, that will put us outside the mechanisms of the single market, and that is so economically damaging for us. there are brexiteers carefully counting our words to find out who is pro—brexit and who is not,
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because they are preparing further we were betrayed scenario, with the wicked bbc playing their part. count me out. i'm doing the bad thing. i'm selling the country. is it such a desperate state of affairs that the fact we think they could be getting close to negotiations is seen as a shift, positive momentum? that is part of this position. it is not about being pro—brexit or anti—brexit. it is such a difficult situation uk has put itself in. brexit is brexit. this is happening. let's find out how to negotiate a way. that is the only single shift. the sinking in that this is going to happen. even though there are still voices that say we could not have the brexit. they are the minority. this notion that things are certainly better and the sun is coming out on these negotiations, there is a sense she is such a lame—duck prime minister,
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that if we kick her now, and she falls, could they end up with borisjohnson or someone worse? in brussels and elsewhere they are saying, "we better be careful here. " "in a position of power but we can't keep feeding on her because it could get worse. " do you think they care that much about british domestic politics? i think there have to understand consequence. it is pretty clear that far from being the iron lady, she's the hollow lady, and she is in charge. another election or another leadership race in the tory party could lead to unknown consequences. and those consequences inevitably have ripples in europe. they have all the aces in their hands. they don't need to play them all right now. i'm giving her some leveraged. the head of goldman sachs really threw some oil on the fire this week with a little playful tweet
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from frankfurt saying, "quite nice here and i think i'll be spending a lot more time here." not the first time banks have done that kind of thing? no, we now know that 13,000 high—paying jobs from the financial district of london are leaving london. goldman sachs has 6000 employees in london. they are talking about moving a thousand. this is a real consequence. those jobs and other jobs will fail, too. these are real consequences. i grew up in canada in the 1970s during the quebec independence movement. that is when the bank of montreal moved to toronto. its head office. you are going to see consequences to uncertainty. quebec left but montreal is still paying. i see parallels.
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i would like to say something about what you said first. the european union is worried about the domestic issues in the united kingdom. but right now the european union, i think that they are going to focus on the interest from the european union, because from their perspective it's like, ok, the united kingdom wants brexit, so we try to have the best deal. it is very important in this line to remember emmanuel macron's sentenced this week about how we a re halfway close to this financial settlement that he says is the key part to go for the second phase and discuss. obviously they are on the way to have disagreement. but they are not going to accept anything in order to
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avoid internal crisis or domestic situation in the united kingdom. briefly on that point, is it still an ardent fundamentally about the divorce bill? i know we have talked about this a long time, but... we will probably settle the amount of money in the next few months. they are not telling us what the amount actually is so that the brexiteers in the tory party don't get to whine about it. but that's all. this isn't1% of what brexit actually means. resolving that may unlock quite a lot. doesn't resolve anything. itjust means you will move onto the next phase. it's like one of those ridiculous computer games. you do move onto the next phase. we have to leave that topic. we will be talking about it again.
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we will see how much has moved on next time. so the syrian city of raqqa has finally been wrested from the grasp of so—called islamic state, by the us—backed alliance of kurdish—arab syrian democratic forces. more than 3,000 bombs have fallen on the city this year, devastating homes and public buildings. the united nations has warned that around 300,000 people who've fled have "enormous needs" in nearby camps. mina, from your vantage point in the gulf, is this the beginning of the end of the war in syria? well, the beginning of the end of isis perhaps. and that follows after the battle of mosul. this week was the one year anniversary since the battle of mosul was launched to liberate the biggest holding of isis in iraq.
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now you have the same in syria. in that sense it is an important moment. but if we are talking about the war in syria, the war in syria was never about isis. isis became a by—product. if you go back to the root causes of what happened in syria, it continues and is is even worse. we have turkish troops in idlib. iraq has militia all over syria and have now got a stronghold in damascus and the surrounding area. the parties that are there and armed continue and are strengthened. and we are nowhere near a political resolution to try to at least preserve lives in syria. i think raqqa is a moment to take stock. but it is not this victory were we can see syria coming together again. what is devastating as you do have 300,000 civilians living on sheer terror in raqqa. there isn't much sympathy for ordinary people who need shelter, need to be taken care of.
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they are barely now getting some of the international humanitarian organisations and the un delivering the most basic foodstuffs. that is nowhere near a resolution. and because you still have got at its heart all the different interests at play in syria not seeing eye to eye, you don't see this as a moment of silverline in and we can move forward. you are absolutely right. if you saw be devastating droll images of ragot, there is no city. it is a place on a map. it is an important milestone but we shouldn't overstate it. where is the plan to rebuild? where is the consensus and how these people are going to rebuild their lives? and if they don't, the problem that led to the rise of isis is still there. that is a very good point. you may know better, after mosul fell, the cameras moved on and we have not been back.
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we should now pay a bit of attention to what is happening in mosul. there is a supposedly unitary government for iraq. the kurdish problem notwithstanding. you have got literally trenches being dug because you are thinking the kurds and arabs may face off. for example, mosul has lost internet connection because they were connected to kirkuk. hardly any water is reaching people. the scale of the problem is so huge, you have gotjust under a million people not knowing what happens next. you are right in that we really have to look back and say, how are people's lies being rebuilt? this unitary government is facing such pressure with this ill—advised referendum that is happening. that is not discussing whether the kurds should have a state of their own, but they are pushing forward.
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in raqqa, you have the sdf, the majority of the leadership are kurds. raqqa is a predominantly arab city. the fight that was there is nothing to do with the pkk. it antagonises the turks. you have all these different identities and believes crashing together and nobody is seeing how we're going to build a future together. in raqqa, to put that inflammatory image up to say that the kurds are getting ready for their federal state in syria and iraq, only means that the weapons we used against isis can be turned on other people. it is important to note that isis still has a significant presence in afghanistan and syria. the idea that isis is dead, it would be premature to announce that. one of the biggest worries
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right now is what happens after the defeat in raqqa. there are a lot of questions about what is going to happen if foreign fighters in isis are returned to their original countries. i don't know if raqqa will have i direct consequence in terms of this thread in europe. in terms of people fighting for is coming back to the uk, america etc? they should never have been allowed to fight in a place with such a security vacuum. the onus really is on turkey in large part. how are they going to cross over? there is a sense of concern about the return of foreign fighters. this is why you need more intelligence co—operation rather than a breakdown of relationships,
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in order to track those people and hold them. we also saw deals being done where you had isis fighters in bosses being transported to other parts of the country where deals would have been done by outside countries try to protect those they see can serve another purpose. unless countries are held to account to any passing of foreign fighters, we are in a lot of trouble. who is this? where does this start? whose responsibility is this? the americans are on the ground. they have soldiers inside. you have got kurdish fighters getting direct support from the west. you have got the iraqi government that is an internationally recognised. everybody is concerned about the iranian nuclear deal. nobody is asking what they are doing about the militia and what is happening in kirkuk, militia been backed by iran. you have got turkey that has been instrumental in terms of the border
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going back and forth. it is more controlled today. but they could do much more. you've got interpol. we do have international mechanisms. it drives me crazy that isis is seen as a bogeyman that can out with all of those i have just talked about. there is no way. there has to be some kind of complacency if not worse. there was a significant warning put out by our security services in the past couple of weeks that the threat level in the united kingdom, which must have something to do with their perception of returning people from the middle east. listening to people close to discussing it, i think there is quite a sophisticated understanding that there are different motivations in different people coming from there. i think you are right, actually. although we feel, for obvious reasons, in the international dimension of things, the issue of returned fighters isa
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relatively small one given the other risks in the region right now, which are so complicated for us and which we in the west play a significant role in. it is quite hard to compute. i think i'm going to be reading your newspaper from now on! i hope you do. we promise to distil all of this and try to tackle it. not wanting to pre—empt violence, but how does islamic state respond noted losing raqqa ? after mosul they tried to have several attacks in the west in order to maintain their rain of terror. there's strength comes from being able to terrorise. they are going to attempt large—scale attacks or even small—scale attacks to show they still exist. the leadership of isis it continues to be unknown where they are. they will try to put out voice messages to say they still exist. isis has become a franchise.
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in libya we don't know if there is a direct command of control between isis out of libya and raqqa. we go back to the point of social media. they use of internet. as long as more effort i put in to clamp down their ability to send out that message, hopefully their influence can be pulled down. they thought they could declare a caliphate. that was always a lie. it no longer exists in terms of territory. that is why security vacuum is from failed states cannot allow that might be allowed to continue. as long as we don't deal with the root causes, we will have these ongoing battles. thank you very much to all of you. fascinating discussions. see you again. that's all we have time for this week. do join us again next week same time, same place, but for now thank you for watching and goodbye.
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it's a run—of—the—mill autumnal, blustery day at there. it is clear from this picture in hampshire we have storm brian across the british isles, now sitting out in the north sea. still enough to produce a blustery day. a wet morning for many of us. showers in scotland, northern ireland is. it turns dryer this afternoon, writer and an aerial showers working its way through
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south west england into wales. some of us will see the sun in scotland. northern ireland faring well. still some showers in western parts. improving towards the other side of the pennines. an aerial showers working its way across south wales and south east england with sunny spells around here. football this afternoon at wembley, a good deal of cloud for the everton versus arsenal encounter. starting the evening with a scattering of showers, tending to see those fade away. the winds easing down and clearer skies, getting chilly, the eastern part of the country staying clearest for longest. milder air coming the country staying clearest for longest. milderair coming in, outbreaks of rain first in northern ireland, all that moving east during the day tomorrow. hill fog, low
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clouds, a murky picture. into the afternoon, easternmost parts of england holding onto cloud until sunset, but brightening up elsewhere, sunny spells, western scotla nd elsewhere, sunny spells, western scotland being a little warmer. vintages day, cloud spilling east, more towards northwest england, breezy on tuesday. temperatures edging up. rain at times this week, wind at times, breezy on occasion, and temperatures heading up, would feel like waterman during the second half of the week. this is bbc news, i'm shaun ley, the headlines at midday.
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communities secretary sajid javid says the government should think about borrowing more to invest in housing. we can sensibly borrow more to invest in the infrastructure. that leads to more housing and takes advantage of some of the record low interest rates that we have. the i think we should be considering that. ministers consider ways to make buying and selling houses faster, cheaper and less stressful. labour's brexit spokesperson says the party will back conservative rebels to force changes to the repeal bill. spain's foreign minister dismisses claims his government is carrying out a coup by stripping the catalan government of its powers. also in the next hour, lewis hamilton could win his fourth world title at today's united states grand prix. hamilton will clinch the title if he wins the race and rival sebastian vettel finishes lower than fifth.


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