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tv   Meet the Author  BBC News  April 28, 2018 10:45pm-11:01pm BST

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"we“ ‘e‘ei‘i “a isn't going to happen for millennials, it'sjust isn't going to happen for millennials, it's just not, isn't going to happen for millennials, it'sjust not, and that's something that's going to shift policy, should be taken into account, and we can build homes, but we need to talk about this reality. and its own investigation into intergenerational fairness, and its own investigation into intergenerationalfairness, which does beg the question... and we are living longer as well. it's something that i think will be uppermost in the minds at the local elections this week, because i think there is a lot of anger about the impossibility of getting onto the housing ladder, whether you are single or a family. just a quick word on the express. a message that we must charm donald trump. this is for the sake of walmart or something else? we've got to make nice to trump! the only way to charm trump is to make sure there is nobody in the street when he comes, or they are wearing hats and waving banners, he gets the gold coat and everything, but that ain't going to happen, soi everything, but that ain't going to happen, so i don't know how you can
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charm trump. he's already made up his mind, is coming here to check and see if theresa may is on the trump train, and to make sure that she is because, if not, he's not going to give her a deal. this guy is transactional, and he wants the whole thing. and we are not going to give it to him. i suspect we are going to give it to him. he wants to going to give it to him. he wants to go through the streets. wants to go down the mall. i suspect there will be pomp and circumstance and some great outfits... he wants to get in the coach with the guards, the whole thing. he ain't getting that in silence! i will be there. he's not going to get that. he wants that. he wants deference. we are going to have to leave it with the thought of whether or not the uk is going to give donald trump deference. that's it for the papers this hour. bonnie and anne will be back at 11:30pm for another look at the papers. next on bbc news,
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it's meet the author. his first codename was orphan, a man on his own. but in donald maclean, the soviet union had recruited one of the best spies it ever had in the west. his name, along with guy burgess and kim philby, became a byword for determined treachery. admired by his colleagues as a meticulous and brilliant diplomat, he was also a convinced ideologue — but one with a wayward, carousing spirit. decades after his flight to moscow in 1951, we are still dealing with what roland philipps describes as the "enigma" of donald maclean, in his revelatory new biography, a spy named orphan. the enigma.
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we are so familiar with this man, and the cambridge spies. we have read the story so often. what is it that you discovered is still uncertain, still unsaid, still unknown, still waiting to be put in front of us? the enigma of donald maclean to me was that a man who was an intense patriot and a fabulous civil servant, who went to the top of the foreign office, could at the same time be the single most productive spy of the 1930s and 19405 for moscow. and how he was able to hold those two things in check for most of his life is, to me, the fascination at the centre of it. let's just recap for oui’ younger viewers. he famously fled in 1951 with guy burgess. off they went to moscow. a huge scandal. it was the beginning of the unravelling of the story that ensnared kim philby, in the end.
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he fled to moscow in the 19605. but in the period between the 1930s and the early 19505, donald maclean had been stealing and passing to the russians hundreds and hundreds of documents. it was extraordinary. yes, thousands of documents. the most damaging, he served at the british embassy in washington between 19114 in 19118, where he gave away, by no means all that he gave away has been decoded to this day, but he certainly gave away the preparation for the yalta conference that decided the shape of post—war europe. after the war, he had an access all areas pass to the atomic energy commission. he was able to say exactly how many bombs the americans were able to build. and i believe he thereby enabled the soviets to build their own bomb two years ahead of what was expected. he was in on the planning of nato. he gave away absolutely everything,
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particularly between 19114 and 19118. you say he was a patriot. but he became an ideological servant of the soviet union. after he fled he didn't show any reluctance to make his life in moscow, to support the soviet union, until the day of his death. how could he hold those two things in balance? i think until the cold war got under way properly, after 1945, he could tell himself he was working for an ally, which russia indeed was. and throughout his life, and also in moscow in the last 30 years of his life, he believed that communism was the only way towards world peace. so in fact, in his mind, his work as a diplomat for britain was not that far away from his ideology in that he believed that peace would be the outcome. we are talking about him now as a man who had enormous
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self—control and self—discipline. but there was also a side to him which was extraordinarily uncontrolled — wild, drunken binges of a gargantuan nature. absolutely. his last drunken binge, when he was in a foreign posting, was in cairo in 1950. he and his great friend philip toynbee drank six bottles of gin before passing out, trashing a us diplomat‘s flat. and yet what struck me as extraordinary was one of the ways i got into the book was through the newly released files, these previously classified files from the national archives, and that simply did not go on his record at all. because they wanted to cover up for a colleague they respected? they respected him. he was a brilliant diplomat, they said he had a watchmaker‘s mind. they wouldn't have believed it of him, and they wanted to cover it up.
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the other shocking thing which came out in the files about that particular incident was that they blamed his american wife. they said, "you know how these americans like to hit it up." so there's this extraordinary insular empire view, and his bosses were people of the empire. you have a personal connection, because your grandfather was his boss towards the end. and presumably, like all people in the foreign office, he admired him as somebody who could do the job very well? absolutely. and my grandfather went to the very top of the foreign office, he got the equivalentjobs at a much older age than maclean, which makes me think that maclean certainly would have gone to the top of the foreign office. my grandfather was one of the circle who were told. when they had incontrovertible evidence that he had been spying, he was one of the people who was told, and was told to act as normal. so maclean, who by then was head
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of the american department in the foreign office — during the korean war, extraordinarily enough — asked for the day off, and my grandfather, who had been told to act as normal, said "of course." and that was the day that he escaped to russia. because what the diplomats were not told was that although m15 were watching him, the watchers waved him off at the train every evening when he went home to his house in kent, and they didn't watch him at weekends, because they thought they would be too noticeable in the village where he lived. so although they were told he was being watched, not at all. one of the extraordinary aspects of this book, which is a gripping story, is the role played by his wife melinda, who has been a shadowy figure in previous tellings of this story. as somebody who was there, and presumably betrayed, and her husband just disappeared.
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you portray it in a different light, basically saying that she was in on it, if not from the beginning, certainly for most of it? yes. i found material where donald maclean said that when he first met her in paris in 1939, that she thought he was rather a dull diplomat, and it was then that he told her he was also working for the communists. and she fell in with that. but after his defection she was very much pitied as the betrayed wife, as you say, the deserted woman with a young family. but the papers that came out of the national archives, which included the telephone wireta ps, indicated that actually she was very much in on the defection. she pretended not to know who this man guy burgess was, who went off with her husband, but the wiretaps showed her lying on the telephone two days after he went, to her mother—in—law, without saying that
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donald had taken off. so it does paint her in a different light. and of course, several years later she herself went to russia, just after stalin died, when it would have been safer for her, and then the establishment were really astonished. why is it that we remain so gripped by this story, the outcome of which we all know? i think it is because it was the first enormous crack in the establishment. that he could do this, which i think is why the establishment also failed to spot him, because they couldn't bear this fact. the fact that he could betray his country so monumentally — we all thought we were being run by people who knew what they were doing. one last question.
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if he had welcomed you or somebody like you in moscow, and you sat down and had a drink with him, not one of his famous binges butjust an ordinary social drink, what do you think he would have been like? i think he would have been quite austere. politically very committed. and socially committed, too. i don't think he would have got many jokes, but i think he would have felt he was a man of enormous integrity and a very, very fascinating figure. roland philipps, author of a spy named orphan: the enigma of donald maclean, thank you very much. thank you. hello. we've had a real mixture of weather across the uk today. some sunshine across the north—west of the country, although there was a bit of cloud bubbling up through the afternoon. it brought a few passing showers to the cumbrian fells,
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and across scotland and northern ireland as well. you can see that shower cloud building. further south, it was a different story across the bulk of england. we had extensive cloud from a weather front that continued to bring outbreaks of rain throughout the afternoon across eastern counties of england. big puddles on the ground as well. the ground is saturated and, with more heavy rain in the forecast over the coming couple of days, we could see some localised flooding as we head into monday. before we get there, for the night, we'll keep cloudy skies across eastern areas of england. not too low here, but a cold night further north and west, with skies clearing, and there will be some pockets of frost by the end of the night in rural parts of scotland. for sunday, this cloud is probably thick enough across the hills of south—east england, maybe the chilterns and the downs, to bring some morning spots of rain, so it could be quite a damp day for some across the south—east. later in the afternoon, we'll see a band of rain working in. it could be quite heavy and strengthening winds will make it feel a bit cooler. for the north—west, some sunshine
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and slow—moving showers, particularly focused in northern ireland. through sunday night, this area of low pressure spins up from the south. it's not going to be bringing us warm air — instead, heavy outbreaks of rain. it's notjust rain causing concern on monday. it's also going to be windy, with gales developing around eastern areas, and it's going to feel cold, like a winter's morning, rather than a morning we expect from the middle of spring. there is that wet weather pushing its way in across eastern areas of england during the morning. a cold morning, as you can see from these temperatures. that band of rain is going to be working in, but there is uncertainty about how far west it reaches. on this western edge of rain, we could well see over high ground a little bit of sleet or even snow mixed in with it, would you believe. it wouldn't settle, but it shows you how cold it is going to be. as i say, there is uncertainty how far west this band of rain gets. it might stay a bit further east, mainly focused across eastern counties of england as we head through the afternoon, but temperatures really struggling. with some sunshine further north and west, it won't be too bad. for tuesday, the cloud and rain still there,
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gradually easing away. something a bit brighter further west, but another cold day down the eastern coast. that's your weather. this is bbc news.
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the headlines at 11: sainsbury‘s and asda are in advanced talks to merge, in a deal which would see them overtake the market leader, tesco. alfie evans, the terminally ill toddler at the centre of a long legal battle about his hospital treatment, has died. senior tories rally around the home secretary amber rudd after she says she wasn't aware of targets for deporting illegal immigrants. tens of thousands take to the streets in spain after a court acquits five men of raping a teenager — convicting them of sexual abuse instead. also in the next hour, we'll be taking a look at tomorrow's front pages.


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