severe food shortages. armed conflict is fuelling the crisis — many people are unable to grow food — and dozens of aid workers have been kidnapped and murdered. fire has swept through a hospital in south korea, killing more than 30 people. -- 40. the south korean president, moonjae—in, has held an emergency meeting to discuss the government's response. it's the second major fire in the country in little more a month. president trump has again threatened to stop aid to the palestinians unless they engage in peace talks with israel. he was speaking in davos, alongside the israeli prime minister. mr trump angered palestinians recently by recognising jerusalem as israel's capital. a former palestinian negotiator has accused him of leading the region towards chaos. now on bbc news, it's hardtalk. welcome to hardtalk. i'm sarah montague. my guest today is one of the big beasts of british politics.
known as the ‘father of the house‘ because he is the longest serving member of the commons, he's also held more cabinet posts than any other living british politician. and yet, ken clark says we are now in the maddest situation of his lifetime, and talks of a political system that is broken. it is one of the reasons he could not quite bring himself to retire at the last election, staying on to fight against brexit and for the conservative party. is it a fight he can win? ken clark, welcome to hardtalk.
glad to be here. now, you have served under four prime ministers — heath, thatcher, major and cameron — and yet, you say we are now in the maddest situation. what do you mean by that? well, because it's so chaotic and unpredictable. we got here by accident. nobody planned it. nobody thought that leave would win the referendum campaign. neither side did. nigel farage was as amazed as david cameron to find he had won. nobody had planned for it. both the political parties lost their traditional political support, too — or large parts of it. they have an activist organisations that do not represent their votes. voting patterns collapsed. an election produced no result whatsoever. instead of giving theresa may her majority. we win the old mining towns like mansfield, but we lose kensington. and we lose canterbury to the labour party. so let me sum it up. anyone who tells you —
in my opinion, if anybody tells you that they know what is going to happen to british politics over the next 12 months is deceiving themselves. it is impossible to predict. would you like to see another uk—wide vote, either on leaving the eu or, indeed, on the deal when it is done? i hope i never live to see another referendum held on any subject that people think should be given any constitutional force. it is an absurd way of running a modern and complicated country. particularly so when you have a big broad—brush yes—no question. should we leave, should we stay? within that are hundreds of complex subquestions of things that will be affected. a stupid three or four week campaign... you hate referendums so much that you think it was a mistake to have had one. parliamentary majority and
democracy! having had that one and acting on it, you would not say it should go back to the country to either sign off on the deal or to have a second vote on the question? if the remainers were to win next time, presumably we would have to shake hands and agree to try best of three. these are serious issues about the better governance of the country, about the well—being and prosperity of my children and grandchildren. but that... i believe in parliamentary democracy taking considered and grown—up decisions. 0k. but it is quite interesting — as an mp, you will get a vote next year. you were the only conservative mp to vote against article 50, the article that triggered the uk's exit from the eu. will you vote against any deal, whatever it looks like? no, no. i made it clear that i accept that parliament has decided. i mean, the referendum was advisory, in my opinion — thatis what the british constitution says. politically, people signed up
to it, but i hadn't. the parliament, by a big majority, decided to leave. the article 50 process started. we might stop it but i don't think the political class could possibly screw themselves up and this country into trying to stop it. in my opinion, given my values, we are doomed to leave. indeed. so there will possibly be a deal on the table, there may not be, but there will be a vote. will you vote in favour of the deal? if it is a good deal. if it is a bad deal, we still need to decide what sort of vote we get. let me sum it up and give you a short answerfor a change — i see myself as joining those trying to minimise the damage and get the best possible outcome of this undesirable situation that does the least damage to the future political standing of this country in the world and our economy. now, we still have to sort how what kind of vote parliament will have and i want a meaningful vote —
that is the phrase we all use — and by that, i think, the government must, after finishing the negotiations, get the approval of parliament before it ratifies the deal. if parliament rejects it, in my opinion, you go back to the negotiating table and see if you can negotiate something which you can get through british parliament. vote, —— but, and this is where it is different from article 50 vote, we could be in a situation where you are voting against the government, your own government — which is effectively a vote of no—confidence. and if others vote as you would want them to, the government could fall. i wonder if you are in a situation where you are more fearful of leaving the eu under certain terms than you are of a labour government and jeremy corbyn? it will not bring the government down. we had all this rubbish —
i voted against the government several times already. and i voted with the government more times than against it on european issues. nobody bothers to notice that. out if there is a deal on... could theresa may... it would be difficult then, unless she couldn't then negotiate a revision to the deal which would enable us to continue. it all depends on the circumstances at the time which no—one can foresee. we now have a five—year fixed term parliament act. we have a conservative — the only thing that all agree on is that they won an election. someone has to try to turn this vote into a confidence vote. not all votes are confident votes. no, but given the circumstances of the one... that is a big one, i agree. you may not like the deal that is on the table, but by voting against it, you are also inflicting... that would be a serious vote. it is possible but it does depend on the circumstances. sometimes, it may lead to a change of prime minister,
which i personally do not want. and it might lead to a change of government. the judgement that parliament needs to exercise is does it give — will it give the government of the day approval for this particular deal? i mean, nowadays, all events of this kind are surrounded by a far more hysterical entertainment nonsense about the personalities. what matters is the arrangements we are allowing the government to put into place for the future. but you are the person who points out the conservatives do not wa nt another election, and part of that is that they currently do not have a majority. do you think a conservative party, as things stand, could win another election? well, if there were one now, it would be a bigger gamble than another referendum. i have no idea. the public would be absolutely appalled if the political class called another election. at the moment, the public don't like either of the parties. i am asking you particularly about the state of the conservative party
at the moment. both parties are in a frightful mess. yes, but it is the conservative party... the public attitudes towards them are totally unpredictable. indeed. but if the conservative party, if it had to fight another election — we learned from the chairman of the campaign for conservative democracy that the membership, he reckons, is about 70,000. we don't know figures, because they have not provided figures forfour years. in my political career. and when comparing with... i don't exactly bring down the average age when i go to meetings, but i still do not feel out of place. and there are many, many fewer people than there used to be. comparing to a labour party that has half a million members as of last summer... they have mass membership of young lefties who are totally unrepresentative of their generation as well. 0k.
both sides, activists, do not represent the people who vote for them. indeed. as far as the conservatives are concerned, queen mary university did some research — nearly half the conservative party members are over 65, nine out of ten are middle class and two thirds are men. that is the difficulty for the conservative party. you know this party so well, and you have known it at different stages... i tick those boxes myself. there is a range of opinions amongst such people. but yes, i think everybody in the conservative party knows that we need to look back to what we can do to get back to younger people joining as activists in our party, and actually get back to winning support of young people electorally because the referendum, in particular, and the general election which was roughly the same, it divided the generations to a bizarre extent. there are plenty of people under the age of 50 who ought to be natural conservatives because of their approach to life and they are entrepreneurial, they are aspirational. they are all voting labour. we were winning aged disappointed
disgruntled white working class men in old industrial towns in the north. now, leaving aside the social differences, we must attract the sort of people in the younger generation who would benefit. people like you used to be. would a young ken clarkjoin the conservative party these days? no idea. that's the kind of difficult question i've been asked before! yes, i think i might. i mean, i — my views... i have always been driven by my views. i am a free market economist and combined with a social conscience. it needs to be regulated and run for benefit of everybody and i am internationalist, i am pro—european. .. and to use your own words, you are impeccably working class. you make the point... i believe in meritocracy and social mobility. i don't want to make a big deal of it, but that was kicking off the start of my book, my 0rigins.
i wonder what there is about the conservative party... as a young man... you, as a younger man — you make the point why young people who would have voted remain, as indeed you would have, why they would be attracted to the conservative party. it can only make itself more attractive. i was attracted because it was then the modernising and forward—looking party. the post—war politics in the post—war position of britain which had atrophied. it was hopeless. we had been a laughing stock after the suez canal. so droves of young people joined the conservative party because of the modernising thing they were doing. at the moment, the public are even more cynical and disillusioned with politics than i say young people were with traditional politics in the 1960s. and they live in very different... we should take an ambitious ideas of modernising the country, adjusting quickly enough
to the opportunities of the globalised economy, actually sorting out our place in the world, how do we, nowadays, defend our interests and values in wider politics, how do we make sure that get our population into modern industries that can thrive. indeed, and on those values of one nation conservativism which is something you have always espoused, a shorthand cliched phrase... it stands for uniting citizens around the idea that they have an obligation to each other. addressing the needs of all social classes and all of that. is that dead? no. i don't think it is dead. i think a large number of the public are attracted. it has not been mobilised very well. politics has become polarised and dominated by protest. it is becoming absolutely dominated by short—term media hysteria. not your programme but the worst of the media, not the best and we need to go back to getting
a grip on what is each party for, it is something that senior politicians... what does it seek to deliver? i would be attracted, i am attracted by the party that is most likely to deliver the kind of one nation thing you spoke about. is that your party at the moment? i think so. it could be made so. but we are going through a bad period. let's face it, both parties have taken a terirble battering. europe has been the poison in the system for about 25 years because it hopelessly divides both parties. the idea that either party is remotely united is ludicrous. that is a separate issue. because the other thing after the referendum that theresa may, the prime minister stood outside downing street and gave what many people said was a one nation speech, talking about the managing... i agree with every word of it. you agree with every single word. i do wonder if there is any evidence of that being reflected in what she has done
in the 18 months hence? here, i entirely agree with you. that was a splendid aspiration. it was a splendid vision of what the party was for. we need now the policy and the implementation of the policy that will enable us... but it has not happened. what has happened so far is not adequate and we are not going at an adequate pace. is there anything you would point to that you would say that is following through. 0n social aspiration and... ? yes, on the things that are important to you. she was also talking about capitalism and the people it has left behind, she was talking about that in the past few days. she has started talking about people dealing with those who take excessive pay out of their company when it is doing badly or pay no regard to the pension rights of workers. we are 18 months on and one
of the reason she may have talked about it is that we know from the chartered institute of personnel development and the higher pay centre, the average ftse 100 chief executive took home in the first three days of this year the salary of an average worker. corporate pay generally, i'm in the minority in the conservatives saying this, corporate pay has become a farce since the 2100s. i was a chair of the remuneration committee of several companies — we were in 0pposition and i got embarrassed about what the consultants were urging me and my colleagues to pay to executives. theresa may says she will deal with things, 18 months... if shareholder democracy doesn't work, then i would give them more power, i would make their votes binding, then we need to see what we can do to check by the way
of bonus when companies' performances don't justify it, no mathematicaljustification for it or when the payment of the executives is continuing to soar away and the government is performing badly. the department of business and treasury should be working on the mechanics for that, also i am a lawyer but the legal challenges of that... you make the point... that is the field i would open up. producing something compatible with free market economics. when i ask you about what theresa may has done, you point to something she said after 18 months, the likes of your follow mps, nick boles, ed vaizey, sarah walston, all talked about her timidity and her lack of ambition about her government, which means it constantly disappoints. there are people i often quite agree with, but on this occasion i think they are unfair to attribute that to theresa and her personality. the fact is, brexit is the elephant in the bath. it is dominating the political life of the nation to
an extraordinary extent. it is difficult to see how you escape from that, it is going to be the giant requirement of a government to deliver something on brexit for the next two years, and the conservative party hasn't yet sorted itself out over what compromise it's going to agree to pursue. so everything else gets pushed out. well, there is something... they are right. they are right to warn her that she has got to stop it all being pushed out, and i suspect if she were here she would agree in spades. she wants to do something other than brexit. she could follow the call by the foreign secretary, borisjohnson. £100 million to the nhs is the brexit dividend. boris is great at producing personal publicity day by day, it was a bridge and a channel. that is an attempt to rescue boris' reputation from the daft, inaccurate, dishonest figure he associated himself with during the campaign. that's just a boris thing.
speak to the chess purposes because the nhs needs money. ——julie for nhs —— purely for nhs purposes? he has obviously read a newspaper about people going on about spending in the nhs. that is just a boris thing. the nhs, it has got a lot of more money and the question is how much? you will never be able to satisfy anybody. as philip hammond and jeremy have been finding, when you put more money into the nhs nobody gives you slight credit for it and in any means, the lobbies come back asking for more and i have been secretary and chancellor, it has been like this for years. actually there is a case for more money for the nhs because the ageing population means demand is rising and changing. there is a case of not just giving them money, because then it gets blown and the pressure gets taken off,
great deal of change in the nhs, continual striving for higher performance is needed. that is being delivered by the government, actually. and so it's not a simple question of how much extra the opposition or lobby is now going to say they want after the last lot you gave them, it is what do you do with it? the treasury can'tjust throw money about, it does have debt and deficit problems. so you would push back on boris johnson? i would say which tax to put up, boris, which department will you take the money out of to give it to the nhs? to the serious people, i would say, given the public are totally resistant to paying any more tax nowadays for anything, i didn't have quite this problem when i was chancellor of the exchequer, they didn't expect all their budgets just to be given away as presents to everybody. we probably do need more revenue. social care first of all, and the nhs, particularly as you make them integrate, that is where you need money. where you are going to raise it
and how to responsibly raise it, and how we set about selling to a reluctant public that this is in the public interest. indeed. money they have got to pay. also, a public that feels it is disaffected notjust with politics, but also with capitalism. you make the point that you are effectively a social liberal but in economic terms, you have always been the free market end of the conservative party. i haven't changed my mind, for a0 years it's delivered magnificent improvement in living standards that we have seen and global polity has fallen the most in history until the 2008 crash. inequality and the sense of those who feel that they are left behind. how do you manage that? that is what we all neglected. those enthusiastically taking part in the great normality of the 1990s, with hindsight having been reproved by the public, what we ignored at our peril was this wasn't benefiting everybody. so what would you do now?
i would now address that question, which she has addressed in speeches. how? what would you do? i've talked about dealing with some of the corporate excesses, i think you've also got to address what are you going to do to switch on the economies of all those areas which the americans call " rust belt" places? how are you going to get more of the investment, more of the modern industry to go there, so steadily they can rejoin the modern world and derive the benefits from the globalised economy, which they can derive like everybody else? but at the moment, a lot of their electors are right in saying look around this town, you are doing nothing for us here. it was the regions and global growth thatjim 0'neill — lord 0'neill — the former chairman of goldman sachs pointed to in saying i may have got it wrong on brexit. he warned about the trouble for the economy in the short term, as did you. i didn't warn about trouble to the economy in the short term. you said it would be quite
unpleasant, i cannot tell you quite how severe but if it collapsed, you would have severe increase in inflation. that didn't happen, what happened was a severe increase in inflation. it meant medium wages declined. i didn't go on that rubbish. the national media... i don't normally carry on about the media, but the national reporting of the referendum was as disgraceful as campaigning parties on the both sides. all they did was report the rubbish on both sides. in the longer term now, can you see a route through this process where actually the uk, instead of having for years being awkwardly inside the eu, sits comfortably outside? yes, i would go back on the lancaster house speech, i think we should stay in the single market, i think we should stay in the customs union. i don't think the public were ever told we were leaving them. the leave campaigners in the referendum reassured them that trade would not change, our relationships would be the same
because the germans had to sell us their mercedes and the italians their prosecco. what on earth we have decided to leave the single market and the customs union for i cannot imagine because the public did not vote for that. no—one ever mentioned it to them. given that you at one stage were planning to stand down as an mp, but stayed on... that was in 2020 after a full parliament, i thought. so, will you stand down? i think this time, i will. the reason i stood, an election to come, did i retire three years earlier than intended? you will see brexit through? i am very glad i didn't miss this parliament. it can be chaotic, extraordinary, you may gather, i get pretty brassed off with some of the things going on in british politics. the sillier nonsense at the moment. actually, this parliament is going to decide some more
important questions about the future of this country and the well—being of future generations than practically any i served in. ken clark, thank you for coming on hardtalk. hello. friday will be the coldest day of the week, but with lighter winds, most of us seeing some sunshine at some stage of the day. 0ur perception may well be, as we are in between weather systems with lots of dry weather, it's the most pleasant weather day of the week but weather fronts are coming in for the weekend as we will show you in a moment. this is how it looks
for early risers. a few showers dotted about through parts of england and wales. and cold enough for a touch of frost where you've been clear for any period of time overnight, particularly across parts of scotland, into northern ireland and maybe north—west england, and some spots in wales as well. a few fog patches into northern ireland to begin the day will take a few hours to clear. and as i mentioned, a few showers dotted about, particularly through central and eastern parts of england. very hit and miss. by no means everybody will catch one, but be aware that's a possibility first thing in the morning. we are more likely to be seeing some sunny spells once the sun is up into wales and south—west england. and some spots will be around four or five degrees for 8 o'clock in the morning. not going to get too much higher during the day, but as you can see, there's a fair amount of sunshine around. though, even though the showers are going to clear away from central and eastern parts of england, some of us here will have more cloud compared with thursday. but even here, a few sunny spells coming through into the afternoon. fairly light winds and, as you see, temperatures top at around 11—5 degrees in scotland.
7—9 degrees the mildest parts of northern ireland, england and wales. going into the evening, though, the breeze starts to pick up and we get some outbreaks of rain running into northern ireland and western scotland, and that starts to push a little bit further east as we go on through friday night and into saturday morning. which means as saturday begins, a lot of those temperatures will be down the eastern side of the uk. and here, where we have been clear for any period of time, initially on friday night, there could well be a touch of frost developing. here's the big picture going into the weekend. 0ur weather fronts are coming in. as you can see, initially through western parts, with some heavier bursts as the day begins. it all starts to move eastwards. so even where you're starting the day, east anglia, south—east england, perhaps teased with some early sunshine, some outbreaks of rain moving into the afternoon, but light, quite patchy here. elsewhere, brightening up a bit as the afternoon goes on, once that rain has cleared away. further showers coming into northern scotland. it's a milder day but it's a windier day, and the wind picks up even further on saturday night and into the first part of sunday across the far north.
into the shetland isles, there could be some severe gales for a time. but the main story for the weekend will be the mild air in place, still with us on sunday. still though with a lot of cloud on sunday, patchy rain and drizzle across western parts and heavier rain in north—west scotland. mild and windy. this is the briefing. i'm david eades. our top story: selling america to the world. president trump's set to give his keynote speech at the world economic forum in davos. i'm sally bundock. a political powerhouse of attendees and top business bosses prepare for what president trump will deliver this afternoon. casey affleck pulls out of presenting an award at next month's 0scars. he's been under pressure over claims of sexual harassment, which he denies. the czech republic readies for the second round of the country's presidential election.