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tv   Dateline London  BBC News  January 27, 2018 4:30pm-5:01pm GMT

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the the weather prospects with ben. the favoured few got to see brightness today. for many more the skies have been quite dismal. overcast weather, outbreaks of rain, as we saw here in newquay, cornwall. that wet weather will continue to slide away to the south—east this evening. temporarily a zone of clear skies. very windy tonight over scotland, gusts up to 70 mph. more cloud will come back in from the south, outbreaks of rain, and exceptionally mild air. sunday gets off to a mild start. this slow—moving weather front with outbreaks of rain for central scotland. to the north of it, bright skies and showers, to the south lots of cloud and mild air. if the cloud breaks up and you see any sunshine, things could get up to 15 degrees. that will not last. rain pushes south on monday, leaving cooler weather behind it for the middle of the week. hello and a warm welcome
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to dateline london. the conversation has already begun. i'm jane hill. this week we ask — was anything achieved at the world economic forum in davos? what do the british chancellor's comments there tell us about brexit? and the situation on the syria—turkey border — what is the us going to do about its muddle in the middle east? my guests this week — henry chu, europe bureau chief of variety. eunice goes, the portuguese writer and journalist. and the british political commentator and author, steve richards. the french—algerian journalist, nabila ramdani. welcome to you all. we start in the swiss resort of davos, where donald trump was the first us president to attend the world economic
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forum for 18 years. his presence attracted an enormous amount of attention, just as he likes it. but was there just a shade less protectionism in his speech than had been anticipated? you'd have thought the gathering was all about trump. of course, the world's political and business elite was there too. emmanuel macron of france called for greater co—operation — so did germany's angela merkel. but was she overshadowed by him? and as for brexit, while theresa may was keen to discuss the issue of internet reform, her chancellor was ruffling feathers, not least in his own party, when he suggested that actually after march 2019, divergence between britain and the eu would be pretty modest. we will come onto brexit in a while. let's begin with the bigger picture, everything we heard at davos. henry, let's start with you. we will start with the president, the first visit for nearly 20 years. was it more conciliatory than the audience anticipated? i think people were anticipating
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a nativist speech, the kind of rhetoric we are used to from trump. it was more temperate. he said america first, but not america alone. the first president to visit for many years. he had never been invited before as a businessman until now, as president. you always have to be careful about rhetoric and policy with trump. he is hard to nail down. he says one thing one day, and his administration does another thing the next day. he said at davos, we are not protectionist in the scary way the press are portraying, and yet at the same time tariffs have been slapped on solar panels and washing machines from allies like south korea. it is hard to marry his rhetoric with the actions sometimes. did you pick up on a sigh of relief from other countries? what was your take
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on how he was received? i think it was clearly an effort to sound conciliatory. he made an effort to address that particular audience — businessmen, plutocrats et cetera. but he couldn't help but make a few slights against the media, and that didn't go down well with the audience. i think people were, as henry said, perhaps expecting a more nativist speech. that didn't come through. he is the president of the united states and maybe there is a bit of expectation that he is becoming house—trained, getting into the wording and the style of becoming president of the united states. but as henry also says, there is what he says and what the administration does. in terms of his attack on the media, he is still aware of his base back at home. being at davos, with a crowd of plutocrats, oligarchs,
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people with vast amounts of wealth, different from his core voters, he has to also make some sort of show that he still keeps those voters in mind. attacking the media is very popular with that base, as well as, i think he said, we should not forget those who have been left behind and forgotten. he had to make some sops in his speech. it was a well constructed speech. i don't know if he wrote it or somebody else did. it was still full of contradictions. he put a huge focus on the fact that he despised regulations and was getting rid of loads of them. but he is a regulator. immigration and his plans for that will involve bureaucracy coming out of the united states' ears. he praised tax cuts and condemned government. and yet he has pledged to be one of the biggest spenders apparently on infrastructure and capital
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spending of any president. like a lot of outsiders, he is not alone in this. his actual ideas, even in a relatively coherent speech, are wholly contradictory and confused. is there not a valid point though into the broader point when he says a thriving, prosperous american economy is good for the global economy? he is effectively saying everybody benefits. i must say davos is always conciliatory. there is something about the beautiful surroundings and the sense of varnished privilege that makes everybody relaxed and happy. donald trump in particular sounded as if he wanted to get on with everybody, to be nice and civilised towards everybody, and he was exceptionally fawning towards britain, continually saying what a great country he thinks it is. i think he feels a visit to the uk is very important to his legacy and he wants to be loved here. but the truth is that many millions of britons view him as a pariah
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and will let him know this when he eventually visits. i think the only group that trump expressed his usual venal prejudice towards at davos was the palestinians. at the time he was sitting next to his ideological ally and close friend, benyamin netanyahu, and he effectively said he wanted to stop millions of dollars of aid to palestinians because the palestinian authority showed disrespect towards mike pence, his vice president, during his recent visit to israel. so essentially donald trump accuses the palestinians of not being polite enough, as their land is stolen, as they are routinely murdered in their thousands, imprisoned in their hundreds, and undergo all manners of human rights abuses. there was no mention of the incredibly provocative decision to move the us embassy to jerusalem, while completely ignoring the palestinian right to eastjerusalem as the capital. i found it unsettling the way trump
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threatened to wash his hands of the entire peace process, making out he had enough of the boorish palestinians, while suggesting they should accept their fate and be polite towards the billions of dollars poured into israel to ruin their lives. and we will certainly talk about that on another day. davos is the world economic forum. that is what it is. away from trump, is this a glorious talking shop? is this just an opportunity for people to get together and network? does it achieve anything? i think it is the place where politicians present their visions. it is where the plutocrats of the world feel good about themselves. for three days they will discuss inequality, refugees, all the problems of the world that
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very often they have contributed to create, but they are there discussing potential solutions. for the politicians it is the perfect platform to talk about their visions. that was clearly the case of emmanuel macron, the french president, who used the opportunity to say that france is back and it is a france that will lead in europe. very different for theresa may, the british prime minister. she seems really out of place in davos. it is a place of posturing. she is not a prime minister who likes to posture. she feels very uncomfortable. she looks very uncomfortable. she is also not a visionary. that has been one of her greatest handicaps as a prime minister. and she doesn't seem to like the attention, which is something very strange for a politician who reached the heights of political power. normally politicians are very vain. and sometimes in a very good manner.
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you could say it is quite striking that she is like that. absolutely. it is fascinating because what her chancellor said in davos caused all kinds of ructions back here, the use of the word modest. it is remarkable. yeah, and what eunice said about theresa may, that is very perceptive. in britain and the united states we tend to elect actors as prime ministers. they love the performance of politics and the art of politics. they spend a lot of time reflecting on their own role on the stage. she is a publicly awkward, shy figure, who clearly doesn't like that side of politics, and it's unusual in britain to have that kind of prime minister. on philip hammond, in fairness to hammond, what he said does not necessarily contradict the government's position. it is still so vague on brexit. virtually anything can be said and could fit in. so what he said, he subsequently defended by saying, but we are hoping to have as close to a free trade agreement as possible with the rest of the european union.
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but what isn't clear is how that becomes possible. so he can pop up and say, don't worry, things can be pretty much the same. that is true. that is the government aim. but they still are at the have their cake and eat it phase of their objectives. equally you could have another hardline brexit minister say, we must have the right from march of next year to start trading with other countries as a separate country outside the single market, outside the customs union. that implies a very big break with the rest of the european union. so we are more or less a year away from this happening. and actually, you could have two wildly different interpretations
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from different senior cabinet ministers of what will happen. they can both claim it is close to government policy because government policy is so imprecise. this circles right back to theresa may. if you had a strong enough prime minister who was able to exert discipline and have a unified vision for a cabinet, it doesn't mean you have no dissent, but it means you can manage it in a way she hasn't, we wouldn't be in this position and we would be further along in terms of negotiations the fact that anyone can say anything and it somehow seems consonant with government policy means you don't have a policy at all. if you are a policy of everywhere, you are a policy of nowhere, just like she said of citizenship. how much longer until a decision has to be made? it has to come down one way or the other, ultimately, doesn't it? it looks like theresa may is hoping to get to march 2019, she will be going through the transition period that might take three years, without any clear vision of what brexit actually means. this is what i think she hopes for.
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i think psychologically brexiteers will insist something very big happens in march 2019. the indications are that very little will happen and in fact britain will continue to muddle through a transition period while there is no certainty in the meantime. there is no concrete policies. this to me shows what a vague concept brexit always was. there has never been an impression of britain ending its dealings with the european union. i think people who voted to leave knew what they thought they were voting for. i think the in and out referendum, for many, was possible. britain is redefining its relationship with the eu, which is very different from leaving the eu completely. in fairness to theresa may, even if she was replaced, and there is talk about that, it is beginning to happen again
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among conservative mps, it is very hard to see, even a titan who enjoyed the theatre of politics, and had a clear idea of what form brexit should take, could get a deal through this particular house of commons. now it might be in the end that she gets quite a bad deal. and it still gets through the house of commons because of various factors. but if the deal is defeated in the house of commons then the united kingdom is in an extraordinary constitutional crisis. a hung parliament is not impossible. i think if she were to be replaced that would throw the negotiations into complete disarray. there would be a tory leadership contest. there are presumably lots of people making that point in the party? you talk to people in the party in westminster all the time. are people saying that would be more disruptive
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than what is happening now? there would be some stirring, saying this is going so badly wrong that we have to act. but most people i speak to still say it would disrupt the negotiations. the brexiteers, some of them say, that might jeopardise brexit, which is what they have been waiting for since they were six months old! if we do this, that could happen et cetera. it is not that unusual with british prime ministers. quite a few have been kept in place for many years for fear of the alternative being worse. that keeps her in place for now. politics is so febrile in the united kingdom, as in many other countries, that could change very quickly. it means at the moment she keeps the job. she has no full majority of her party in the house of commons because she chose to call an election which she effectively lost, and now we are in the situation we're in.
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it goes back to her again, doesn't it? there is no doubt the election is the context of everything. it is very unusual for a leader to lose a majority for a party and stay on. she stayed on. it explains the sort of enhanced authority ofjeremy corbyn. the election of last year changed everything in the uk. and of course it is the context of the precarious brexit talks. if she had a big majority, she could basically tell her party what form brexit should take — and she lost it. it does seem like a particularly precarious period at the moment. thank you for now. for the last week, turkey has been sending tanks into northwestern syria to fight the kurdish ypg militia. though turkey is sheltering
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three million refugees from the seven—year—long civil war in syria, it is alarmed by the ypg, which it regards as terrorists linked to the banned pkk, carving out land along the long border between the two countries. turkey is the us‘s nato ally. the kurds have been a support to the us in the drive to eliminate so—called islamic state. the us, therefore, appears to be on two sides in one war. what happens now? president erdogan on friday actually declared he might expand this offensive. first off, the us role in this, is it in a mudddle? what does it do to resolve it? i think we can spend plenty of time working out how donald trump gets out of a muddle. the truth is everything about him seems to be based on muddle.
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he is arguably the most inconsistent, confused and thoroughly unprincipled us president in history. that is saying something. muddling along is a phrase that suits him perfectly. his policies are based on pettiness and mood swings. the reality is that the kurds are a decidedly unusual ally to trump's america. they want to get rid of borders. and they are anti—islamist, which has become a byword for anti—islam. anybody who is anti—islam is ok by donald trump. that is why he ended up supporting britain first, although he has apparently apologised. turkey is a nato ally. and america will be duty—bound to support them, even though the turks generally view the kurds as terrorists. you mentioned the pkk. it has been calling for an independent kurdish state
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within turkey for decades. but it is also lending military support to the kurds currently fighting in syria, but also in iraq. it is a listed terrorist organisation, notjust by turkey, but also by several states and organisations, including nato, the us, and the european union. the fudge is that kurdish militia groups come in a number of different varieties. america will continue backing what they view as the good kurds to try to wipe out groups like isis. we have to remember that america have been palling up to fight a common enemy. more recently in libya, they supported the rebels, many of whom were affiliated with al-qaeda. we also must bear in mind that a lot
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of that logistical support that will be provided in theatres of war will be covered. donald trump's america will be offering logistical support without anybody, let alone the turks, knowing about it. he will keep instructing his commanders to do what they have to do. it is notjust the us, though, is it? all western nations, if they had to pick one primary aim in that region, everybody wants to eliminate so—called islamic state. that is something an awful lot of countries agree on. absolutely. knowing your enemy is the famous saying about the art of war. it shows how difficult it is to identify your enemies nowadays. we have got into such a complicated — you know, the world is so complicated, especially in the middle east, where it is hard to identify where the alliances lie, and we have, increasingly, groups
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substituting for traditional armies. i want to talk about rex tillerson‘s speech. we need to think about what triggered this reaction from turkey. it is essentially the united states going back on promises made a few years ago. "our support of the kurdish militia is only going so far." in recent weeks, we have the us announcing they are going to build a 30,000—strong border separating turkey from syria. and that is essentially seen as a massive threat by turkey. if we add to that the us's recognition of jerusalem as the capital of israel, this is something that profoundly irritated turkey. turkey was quite instrumental in making sure there would be a vote against the united states at the united nations. there is quite a lot of dissonance between turkey
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and the united states. turkey is becoming very strategic in its relations with russia as well. and of course they are — and you would think the trump administration would understand that, the way they see it — they are securing their border. you would think the administration in america would understand the importance of a border. not that i ever feel like absolving the trump administration of anything, but it was under obama that we first started to support the kurds as our proxies in that fight. the us choosing questionable allies to prosecute the war against isis has been true from the beginning. we have also partnered with islamic radicals in the region. the good ones, we somehow decided. this dates back before the trump aministration, now trump finds himself in the middle of this morass. rex tillerson has been talking
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about it again this week. did you detect any shift in us policy? did it become clearer? i didn't detect a shift in us policy overall. the obama administration was looking at this as a longer term project. it was a shift from donald trump's own vision of no more foreign entanglements, being much more isolationist. what rex tillerson said was that we are going to be in there for the long haul, diplomatically and militarily, to help build syria. this is what donald trump said he wanted to get us out of. whether they have devoted resources to that is another story. do they have a strategy? i'm not sure they do. this is all part and parcel of wider american — notjust trump — wider american muddle in that region and getting ourselves into a quagmire that we haven't figured out how to extract ourselves from. if there aren't the resources to back up what rex tillerson
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said, they're hoping to bolster regional actors? i think... what we know is that these allegiances can and do change over time. just look at how gaddafi was a close ally of the west before they turned on him. if i were the kurds, i would be very guarded, that the us may turn on them as well, once they feel theirjob has been done. historically, powerful nations have always used other groups as cannon fodder. there is nothing new there, frankly. and with president erdogan on friday saying this could intensify, the tanks will keep rolling across the border, this continues with the world watching on? i think it's going to be quite dangerous if he continues pushing.
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unfortunately, in the wider context of us—turkey relations, they haven't been worse in a long time. besides this conflict, there is a sense in turkey of a conspiracy on the part of some in the us of trying to overthrow the erdogan government, because there is a cleric who resides in the us who was probably behind the coup that was put down a couple of years ago. i think this whole situation is now at a point where nobody really kind of knows how to get out it. it'll be interesting to see how the nato member states will react. with a defence of turkey? the european dimension, that is also fraying. the cooperation between turkey and the european union is fraying. will london and paris come to help or at least support erdogan? that is something we will watch in the coming weeks. thank you very much to all of you.
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that's all we have time for on dateline london this week. we'll be back with more passionate debate next week at the same time. thanks for being with us today. goodbye. not the most inspiring of days today. we have had some pretty mild weather to enjoy. with that mild air which has been
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pumping its way in from the south west, across northern areas, this curl of cloud is an area of low pressure to the north of scotland at the moment, and here we will see some strong winds through the evening, gusts of 60—80 mph for the far north of the mainland, the western and northern isles. some clear spells overnight, turning chilly, but then more cloud from the south—west by the end of the night, misty, murky conditions, very mild, starting tomorrow morning at 10—11 degrees. that is because we will have this mile south—westerly airflow, but trapped within the south—westerly wind will be a weather front. it is south—westerly wind will be a weatherfront. it is not south—westerly wind will be a weather front. it is not able to move weather front. it is not able to m ove very weather front. it is not able to move very far north or south, just sitting in place across the same parts of central and southern scotla nd parts of central and southern scotland right through the day. nine o'clock in the morning, soggy for glasgow and edinburgh, but mild. northern ireland, northern england,
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patchy rain. coming further south, pledge of dry weather with cloud, drizzle over hills and coasts. —— plenty. but look at the starting temperatures, ten or 11 degrees. where we keep the cloud across central and southern areas through the day, despite the cloud, looking at 12-13 the day, despite the cloud, looking at 12—13 degrees. but to the east of high ground, where we get shelter and the skies brightened, highs of 14 and the skies brightened, highs of 1a or 15 degrees. all the while the wind continues, rain falling across central and southern scotland. into sunday night, the weather front has been meandering across scotland, it finally pushes southwards, taking rain with it, and during monday, yes, heavy rain, but behind it some colder air from yes, heavy rain, but behind it some colder airfrom the yes, heavy rain, but behind it some colder air from the north—west. yes, heavy rain, but behind it some colder airfrom the north—west. so temperatures dipping away as the day goes on on monday, 5—9 degrees once we get into the sunshine, some wintry showers as well. decent day
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on tuesday, largely dry, but chilly on tuesday, largely dry, but chilly on wednesday, showers from the west, some of them wintry. plenty more details for where you are on the bbc weather website. this is bbc news. the headlines at five: all current rape cases to be urgently reviewed to ensure evidence has been disclosed. there is a need for more training for police officers and prosecutors. but disclosure is not new. it has been there since 1986. police and prosecutors should know what they have to do. at least 95 people have been killed and 150 injured in a bombing in the afghan capital, kabul. the taliban say they carried out the attack. three teenage boys have been killed, when they were hit by a car in west london. a man has been arrested. also in this hour, paris is on high alert for flooding. record rainfall has caused the river seine to burst its banks, in one of the wettest januarys in paris in more than a century.
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this is the scene live in the french capital.


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