tv Dateline London BBC News June 17, 2018 2:30am-3:01am BST
the so—called video referee has made its world cup debut, helping france defeat australia 2—1. police in moscow are questioning a man after a taxi veered into pedestrians near red square. some of those hurt by mexican football fans. there's been fresh violence in nicaragua just a day after the governent and opposition called a ceasefire. eight people died on saturday, including six members of one family whose home was burned down at dawn. there have been protests in greece after that prime minister alexis tsipras survived a no—confidence vote brought by the opposition after he struck a controversial deal over the renaming of neighbouring macedonia. now on bbc news, it's dateline london. hello and welcome to dateline,
where each week some of the uk's best known columnists debate the week's big stories with journalists whose dateline is london, as they report those events to the world beyond. my my guests around the table this week. we have the north american writer and broadcaster geoffrey coffman. british coal in at —— political commentator steve richards. a warm welcome to all of you. at westminster, my goodness, particularly turbulent week around
all things around brexit. there was an amendment put forward about giving parliament vote on any meaningful brexit deal. earlier in the week, the secretary of state decided not to. so much remains uncertain. one thing we know is that the white paper won't now be published in time for the european council summit later this month. it is hard to know where to begin after the week we have had. if it is possible to summarise, where on earth are we after this week? no further forward in terms of the ending of this brexit. it is like an netflix vox except where no one knows the ending, including all the main players. —— like an netflix box set. theresa may is a fragile prime minister, negotiating the terms of
what britain will propose to the european union with a divided cabinet, a hung parliament, a divided parliamentary party, and this will happen again and again. you mentioned the vote on an meaningful vote, when the brexit deal is put to the house of commons. that was surreal because the vote will be meaningful. laughter in other words, if she is defeated on the deal, which is possible, the idea she stands up and says, "thank you very much for defeating me, we now just to leave without a deal" is a fantasy. she will have no authority to do anything. the maybe she'll win the vote, that is meaningful because it means britain will be leaving. this is a multilayered game where anything, frankly, could happen. and i think it is a game, what's happening here and we saw it
this week, the hardline brexiteers are hoping to run out the clock. they are gaining her and her weakness. and the majority in parliament who are soft brexiteers or remainers and hoping, that now that we are within months, not even a year... nine months. all of the clarity we kept being promised is as cloudy as ever. david davis and borisjohnson and the other hardliners are really hoping that if they can just keep kicking this down, the deadline will approach, "no, we don't have a deal! out we are" and we don't have a say. but to what end? what happens to trade? the commons vote was ultimately about... it meant theresa may was able to persuade all but two of our mps to back her brexit. it was a minor triumph but as steve said, she still remains a pretty vulnerable figure with a bitterly divided conservative party. i would suspect she spent most of last week, trying to convince david davis not to resign.
similarly, would—be rebels such as dominic grieve would have been encouraged to toe the line. yes, the government scraped through, without a defeat, but not without a price. there were climb—downs by the government on amendments and it was hard to know in many ways who exactly had won. but the division within the conservative party also reflects a very divided society, two years on from the brexit vote. and the kind of antagonistic we are seen within the conservative party. —— two years on from the brexit vote. i am an african and ugandan in london watching and i am enjoying watching this tragicomedy. it's like the british people are just walking towards the cliff, not knowing where they're going. what amazes me is how... you know, you taught us democracy and all those types of things.
parliament represent the people. it amazes me how the prime minister and cabinet have to fight to take over the power of parliament, for fear that it's not going to do what they want. anyway, i think the difference between what happens here and what happens in a country like uganda is that whatever the scenario later on that emerges, britain will still survive because of the institutions that you have and so one. take for example uganda, if we were in such a situation where you don't have institutions, you don't have democracy, presidents do what they want, killing people all over the place... it would end a very, very tragically. what i say it is a tragicomedy, in britain, you will end up in the front. i don't want to scare people but i think scotland might go away one day and ireland might go away one day. because of brexit. but little england will survive. it will try to assume
its imperial role later ron. try to save the commonwealth... that's an edition of dateline perhaps a few years ago. scottish mps leaving prime minister's questions. the first minister of scotland, nicola sturgeon, is trying to use brexit to fuel the argument again for independence and a second referendum. a majority of scottish people voted to stay in the eu. the messier it gets, the more she will use it. there is no evidence yet that there is any more renewed momentum towards that. the voting polls does not suggest a big shift yet. but she is obviously hoping... i think she is sceptical stance in parliament. she would have authorised this one in westminster. they are trying to dramatise it any
possible way they can, a westminster against scotland. you know, "how dare westminster behave this way and treat scotland with such contempt"? that is a framing which might, might at some point renew interest in a second referendum on independence. that's one of the many, many wild cards flying around. what i don't think will happen is a no deal. theresa may is convinced that would be a catastrophe, as an example. there is no majority in the house of commons for it. precisely. even if she loses on her deal, parliament would allow their to be known deal. —— parliament won't allow. they will be a constitutional crisis. but, one way or another, there will be a scramble to extend the deadline of this article 50 and try to sort it out. yeah. i would put money... it is very dangerous to do anything in this world. but do it anyway! there will be no no deal, something will happen.
it is possible that we may look at a scenario where, really... the way the prime minister is going at the moment, she is is a brexiteer one day and the next day and remainer, the government may have to fall and we end up in a new election. but we have a divided opposition as well! that's right. that brings up the deafening silence of the labour party. you talk about the strength of the institutions, parliament depends on a vigorous and vocal, loyal opposition. jeremy corbyn's indifference, at best, to brexit, leaves his party with no clear vision and no clear alternative. with all the vulnerabilities of theresa may, any other labour leader would have been able, i think, to have toppled her. but people are so afraid of him, within her party, as well, that this is allowed to perpetuate itself.
that is why i would call the whole situation a slow motion crisis. it seems to be going on indefinitely, with no obvious solution in sight. i agree with steve, the scenario of a no deal prospect is highly unlikely. but isn't there a deep irony, though, in the brexiteers who are obsessed with taking back control, you know, having missed sneering attitude towards the scottish issues. you might think they might have a bit more sympathy towards the scottish national party, but instead, they keep baiting them. that's quite unhealthy for the entire debate. they would say it's about sovereignty. one final thought. it is crystal ball time, steve, another vote in the commons this week. theresa may having to corral the troops to chequers, taking the inner cabinet to chequers, the country retreat to debate this. there is a lot happening
in the next few weeks. yes. i know people have been saying this for the last two years, but this really is the beginning of the end sequence. each week is going to contain all kinds of dramas. this coming week, as you say, there will be another vote on the meaningful vote. it is like something out of monty python's flying circus. keep up at the back! it is a comedy! you are right. the cabinet at too divided to publish the white paper on brexit before the summit —— the cabinet are. it will resolve nothing. then they will agree on their "position " because it is not clear what that means. then presumably, the white paper will be published but that will be difficult. there are more difficult votes in july. and then the most difficult bit of all begins, which is the negotiation
between the uk and the rest of the european union. yes. this is just trying to clarify britain's position. there are many, many other countries involved, that is what we forget. this is a very mean thing to do to you, but a quick, final thought about the leader herself, the prime minister herself. how many times have we all sat around this table saying, she is vulnerable, she is vulnerable. your thoughts at the end of a difficult week? more likely than not she will carry on until the end of this process. but it cannot be definite. because of the fragilities we have been talking about. a replaced leader changes nothing of the things that we have been talking about, the context. she's so lucky that this brexit... if there wasn't brexit, i think she would have gone, not the scandals and all of these things. if it wasn't brexit, she is happy it is brexit but... i have a feeling... i wouldn't describe her as happy! we take your point! plenty more, to discuss next week,
i suspect, given the time when steve is outlined. a very busy week. president trump declared, this week, that the nuclear issue with north korea is "largely solved". that is a quote. he met kimjong—un in singapore, where the two leaders signed a document, which committed the communist state to de—nuclearisation of the korean peninsula. analysts, though, pointed out there's no reference to "verification" in the pledge, the us president later saying: "that is because he only had been there one day and the two men had agreed it all". that was because he'd only been there one day and anyway that had all been agreed. donald trump went on to take south korea, and his own armed forces, by surprise, by saying that the us‘s regular joint military manoeuvres with the south would stop. they're very expensive, apparently. which is what an awful lot of goods may be about to become, because on friday, he announced that 25% tariffs would be slapped on $50 billion worth of chinese products from july.
jeffrey, let's start with the summit. we heard the word historic so many times this week, i have outlined some of the negatives, but the very fact that it took place, that's a positive? a source of optimism? easy for those who don't like trump to bash him. and easy for those who love him to revere him. you are right, let's give him credit for doing one thing. 70 years of stalemate and old—style politics and diplomacy got us nowhere with the koreas. he has made headway. whether or not his bold statements that it is now a settled issue or close to that, we will see. i think he is covered. if six months from now he said, i tried, i got us further, i looked him in the eye, he said we could trust him but we can't. i don't think he's going to pay a price for that. what's more worrisome is that he's
really shown his true colours in the last couple of weeks. for those of us who are sceptical, to say the least, of his values and his trajection or projection of american values, we have seen that this is a man who would much rather be in the company of dictators and demagogues rather than democrats if there was any doubt, we saw on fox newsjust yesterday when he stood up in front of the white house and said, i have to paraphrase, i don't have the precise words but he essentially said that kim jong—un's people listen to him, i wish my people listened to like that. and then he said to cnn, that wasjust being sarcastic, i wasjoking, but we have all been caught in those moments. the week before, with the g7 and his slapping of the european leaders and justin trudeau in canada, he just doesn't want namby— pamby politics —— and offensive comments
on the european leaders. he is a response to that. it's very interesting. that phrase of yours, he is somebody who wants to dine and perhaps get into bed with dictators. as africans, we are completely at a loss to understand what trump's approach to africa is, what the policy is. we see him dining and going into bed with dictators. i come from uganda. we have a brutal dictator. whose only value is to america, he takes out troops to somalia to fight islamists and so on. but he is brutal. no democracy. our people are dying. 30 years and he's just changed the constitution, taking away the 75—year age limit. he is a terrible dictator. trump, he is continuing to give him arms and so on. i would like to ask,
you see him going to north korea. that's nothing to me. it's total nonsense. but what is his approach to different world matters like africa? like uganda? i think he freelances this, you give him too much credit, there is no approach! it is seat of the pants diplomacy in the most powerful office of the world. i would certainly qualify your optimism, though. i think the summit was certainly successful as a media jamboree. it had the feel of a reality tv spectacular. that is how trump likes it. kim jong—un's appearances in front of the foreign media are rare of the foreign media are very rare indeed, he would have been quite happy to exchange smiles. there wasn't quite a bromance even though trump was in his element. but he loves those big pr exercises, which ultimately come to be unchallenging and simplistic.
his view of the world is in terms of deals. no doubt, he would have his eyes on the nobel peace prize for getting together with his worst enemy and cooking up yet another deal. with a very simple objective being world peace. his supporters would say that if kim jong—un follows through on the document he signed and if we start seeing some evidence of denuclearisation, that is something that previous leaders have not managed. that is where the problem lies, because theyjointly signed documents. both men committed to it. it is supposed to be a dismantling of north korean peninsula, nuclear, getting rid of all nuclear weapons, including potential american weapons. far from a pledge of what america wanted and what trump's advisers wanted, full dismantlement. ultimately, america didn't get that. i think he does deserve some credit for recognising what, i gather, i'm no expert on north korea, were early indications of some willingness
to move on some issues. not, i'm sure, denuclearisation. but a willingness to engage. i read that the, sort of, early over chores came more from north korea. —— overtures came from. it reminds me, you remember the early 1990s when the british government sensed there were changes in the ira and theyjust leapt on it. quite brave to do, so credit for that. it is fascinating. you could make a play or a film out of the last few days. that meeting with the g7. yes. his disdain for these weak kneed leaders of democracy. merkel struggling with her coalition, it might implode at any moment. theresa may might be gone this week. and he just find it irritating. he didn't even want to be there.
and he prefers dictators, because you can do the deal. these people are going to be around for 30 years possibly. and hejust prefers it. the juxtaposition was revealing. the unstated story is who actually should take, you know, the respect and value of doing this? i think it is more to do with south korea, the president of south korea came to power. remember they had the conflict with america when he said i want to talk to the north. he campaigned on that. he won elections on that and he has followed through. yes. i would think that it is more to do with korean people, whether it's north korea or south korea, they want to come together. tired of a state of war. trump isjust stealing the glory.
he is shining when i don't think he needs the credit. i would disagree. more self—conscious presidents would be aware, you know. three months ago he threatened to nuke the entire country, trump, in some speech or other. now he is in negotiations with a leader who he personally insulted, i can't remember. he would argue that is his gamesmanship and that is what he would argue was what got him to the table. and he may be right. maybe, there were other factors. because he is not self—conscious or consistent or coherent, it sometimes creates space for him to leap in when opportunities arise. jeffrey, a quick thought on the "trade war," a phrase used again a lot this week, the trade tariffs he talked about with china, they are not due to come in untiljuly. are we going to see any movement? because there are plenty of analysts telling him it is a bad idea. it is. he is talking about adding tariffs to the eu and canada on cars at 25%. he sees his role as putting up
walls around the us. "why are we importing cars? we make great cars in america." semiconductors from china, we don't need them. but the problem is, as you say, it is a very simplistic worldview. in an interconnected global economy, though semiconductors are part of a supply chain that feeds american industry. even his own administration people are saying, this isn't really viable. china immediately responded with counter tariffs. i don't think it's a trade war yet but it certainly sets the stage for one. the question is, with steel tariffs in the eu and canada, is he wrapping it up so that we have a trade war? only 12% of the us economy goes into trade. americans consume 70%, or 88% of what they produce. they are quite insulated, apart from this supply
chain issue, from trade. that will return in weeks to come. in yemen, the biggest battle so far in the country's civil war has been continuing for control of the vital port of houdayda, which is the entry point for about three quarters of all aid for the country. more than 22 million people need humanitarian assistance, with more than 8 million people at risk of starvation. the united nations failed to find a diplomatic path to head off the assault, one element of a three—year conflict between a saudi—led coalition and iranian—aligned houthi rebels. nabila, just over a three—year war that has gone under—reported, what is your take on the situation there now? this latest, vital battle for the port. the saudi—led forces are calling the attack on houdayda a golden victory. but it threatens what already a catastrophe catastrophic war. —— what is already a catastrophic war. it is a horrendous conflict. it started more than three years ago. yemen was already the
poorest arab nation. it is now the world's worst humanitarian disaster. it could become far, far worse. the un reiterated that this week. houdayda is a crucial port for those defending it, notjust those but for military reasons. goods such as water, food, and medicine enter the country through the port. effectively, the essentials are being distributed to 18 million yemenis, two thirds of the population. if the port is destroyed, which seems very possible, all these essentials wouldn't be able to go through. all the humanitarian aid. but even now, two thirds of the 29 million yemeni population suffers from food insecurity. with 50,000 children who died of hunger and related illnesses last year alone. i million people in yemen have cholera. the fall of houdayda could threaten
mass starvation and the threat of even more disease. one of the worst aspects of this is that the west knows very little about what is going on with these devastating starvation figures. and the intricacies about an increasingly tangled conflict. i don't think the west knows little, they know. they see it, the reports are just too many. uganda, nobody talks about our tragedy. yemen is in the news every day. people have reported extensively about this. what this shows is the hypocrisy of western politics. i'm sorry to say. i always believed in virtues of democracy from the west and so on. but if the west was not supporting saudi arabia in the way it's doing and blinding its eyes to the tragedy that is happening in places
like yemen, we would have a very different situation. but if the west is motivated to sell arms, in spite of, for example, human rights violations in saudi arabia itself. apart from what the saudi led coalition is doing in yemen. there is a real need for a rethink on global politics in terms of, you know, what do we do to stop these things? it is all driven by these interests, to sell arms, to make money, in spite of people dying. it's exacerbated and i think you're entirely right, but it is exacerbated by the fact that this is a proxy war between iran, saudi arabia and we know what america things of iran. we know trump enjoys banquets with the saudis and being lavished in palaces. the moral leadership and the voice of europe is silent on this. theresa may is too busy covering her brexit agenda.
you're right, saudi arabia has a blank cheque on this. the antipathy towards iran fuels saudi arabia's power in this. we must, regrettably, leave it there. which partly speaks to our point but we will discuss this again. thank you, good to see you. thanks for watching. do join us again, next week, same time, same place. goodbye. clear skies overnight across much of the uk but he clouds are rolling in and it looks like sunday is going to be pretty overcast for most of us. let's look at the satellite image and see where the brakes in the cloud are, where they have been in the last few hours. this is going to be right on top of us during the course of the day, so not quite so sunny this sunday. the forecasts from about six o'clock in the morning shows the clear skies across eastern and northern parts of the country, but here in the west the clouds will be thick enough to bring a little bit of light rain or drizzle. the temperatures, weather
you are in the south or the north, will be more or less the same. we are talking about the high teens. the best of the weather on sunday will be across the north and the east of scotland, i think the best chance of sunshine here, for example, in aberdeen. as we head into the week it looks like things will be warming up in the south significantly. in the north, however, it will remain unsettled. hello and welcome to bbc news. a little bit of history was made at the football world cup in russia on saturday — the first use of the so—called video assistant referee. france were the beneficiaries — awarded a penalty in their match against australia. elsewhere, iceland continued their impressive form at recent international tournaments, holding argentina to a 1—1 draw. there were also wins for denmark and croatia, as the bbc‘s tim allman reports. chanting: ole, ole, ole!