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tv   Dateline London  BBC News  August 8, 2020 11:30am-12:01pm BST

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would go into political reform. how much influence does the formal colonial power still have in terms of domestic politics? well, i think it is interesting to talk about the influence fans might be having in helping lebanon out of its current misery. there is so much more to explain the bond between france and lebanon and i think we need to talk about about this because when you look at the pictures that we have seen, 36 hours after the explosion, a political demonstration in the streets of beirut. neither the lebanese president or senior ministers from lebanon where seen in the streets of
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beirut. it took a french president to be there. and it says a lot. and you see it goes as far... of course you see it goes as far... of course you can mention the french protectorate of lebanon. that lasted only 20 years from 1923 until 1943 but there is much more and it is not so but there is much more and it is not so much in terms of diplomatic or strategic terms. it is in terms of feelings and in international relations we don't talk enough about the links between people, the affection between france and lebanon. in the influence of president macro could actually be quite decisive because he talks about the emergency aid relief but there is the future. and the people of lebanon started it back in 0ctober. they want a political clear out in france can help. just one
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example, in 2005 when the president was assassinated, france was behind the creation of an international tribunal through the un and two months later the syrian army left lebanon. 50 there months later the syrian army left lebanon. so there is a lot that fans can do. thank you for being clear on that and giving us so much background and history education. jeff, i mean, notably not on the streets of beirut 36 hours after the blast was president trump. now, obviously a superpower in the middle east for all these decades. president trump of course said something about a bomb attack which was then rowed back on by his officials. some aid is arriving from the us but what is the us role here? i not think there is much of one. us influence in the middle east has been on the wane for some time after the iraq war in particular but it is not trying to do anything particularly in the middle east any more. there is no palestinian or
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israeli plan that the us is putting in. syria is a mass in the us basically is checked out of that. the policy in around is to impose sanctions, which does not have the support of allies. sol sanctions, which does not have the support of allies. so i don't think we will see an awful lot of american attempts to be influential here. there is no domestic lobby for it. though, there is a substantial lebanese diaspora in the us it is not politically organised. there is a difficulty because the us considers a terrorist organisation present in lebanon. i would expect this is all going to be a kind of stasis and it is what allows president macron to do what he has. it can be a star because there is no american wants to show up. you have aborted from inside lebanon
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yourself. take us to the events on the ground. how do you assess the events of the past few days? i was last there a few years ago reporting on the syrian refugee crisis. 1.5 million syrians sheltering in lebanon. that shows the generosity of spirit of the people there, a top of palestinian refugees. i've always thought of lebanon as a country which is blessed with wonderful people. but is blighted with a ruling elite which is frankly, pretty appalling. the question is what happened on tuesday, will that change anything? and i take the point that president macron and the french can do. certainly in the short term. i, however, feel, in the longer term, we are not going to see that much change and i think that is partly because the international community has too much on its plate already. yes, president macron in the short term can lead a coalition that will perhaps force systemic changes in terms of economic reforms and transparency and that kind of
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thing in return for aid and for financial assistance. but longer term we are talking about the global coronavirus crisis here. it is killed well over a million people across the globe. we're talking about an economic situation globally thatis about an economic situation globally that is worse than has been the case for over a century. the international community other things oi'i international community other things on its plate and sadly, i would suggest that lebanon is a way down the list of priorities. just go back to agnes and jeff on that. that is a stark assessment there from clive. agnes, obviously president macron is getting an international donor conference together talking about conditions for opening the purse strings. ido for opening the purse strings. i do think his prospects are there? well, i mean, i'm tempted to share the pessimism when you think about lebanon. can it go worse? this is when something can happen and temperament, when he said, well,
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this is a moment we have reached the button. 0n the 4th of august, nothing can be the same. because the situation is so dire when you think about half the population below the poverty line, 80% of the currency lost in less than a year. so now what he is proposing to do is to lead an international coalition of donors and that actually might trigger the return of the gulf states in it because they abandoned lebanon thinking, you know, it is in the hands of iran and his brother and they don't want to have anything to do with it any more. and then the imf and the eu but there lebanese government needs to do the rest. i think there is something a young energetic president like president
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macron. he managed to convince angela merkel. it took three years. and he pulled it off. so, you never know, i am choosing to be positive here. just coming back to your point about the united states because you set out in fairly stark terms the limits of us aspiration in the region now but the us still does have strategic objectives and has friends. strategic rivals in terms of iran, can achieve any objectives in this region if it allows lebanon to become a failed state? if you look at the way it is defining it now it is essentially negative. it is to stop iran from
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making trouble but really, regime changes the long—term goal, think you would say. and it is being done not through using alliances but through using sanctions and the countries don't like their sanctions much but countries don't want themselves to be subject to american sanctions by breaking american sanctions. it can be done without a lot of the lion support. there is not a peace process. israel and the us are close together and if israel wa nts us are close together and if israel wants the us to take some active role to help lebanon i'm sure it would be glad to do so. i imagine the purse strings will be lifted to some degree emergency aid will be distributed officially by the american military but in terms of long term coalition building you just don't see that on the agenda of the trump administration. of just don't see that on the agenda of the trump administration. 0fjoe biden becomes president i'm sure we will revert to a more traditional foreign policy by the us would like to be the sort of general share of the table no matter what the problem is. that is going to take some time
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to get organised. i think it would be an optimistic thing for countries around the middle east besides lebanon if the us were to become more involved in a sustained way, but we are a fair way off from that happening. thank you. 0n just one day last week 235 migrants, some of them in small inflatable vessels, made the sea crossing from france to britain. among them were a pregnant woman and many small children. migrant arrivals this year are already double those for the whole of last year and the government is reported to be drawing up plans for the royal navy to turn back migrant boats before they reach british beaches.ap london blames paris, clive you mentioned the refugees in lebanon. here we have a british government who said there would not
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be any of these crossings are very few by this time, it said that late last year. what has happened? it is a very good question. the weather has been great and the seas have been, and that has encouraged people to get out on the water. you have also got the slightly more scattered nature of the migrant situation, as it were, across northern france. in the last few years you have seen the dismantling of certain camps and that means that the problem is a little less manageable, as far as the venture is concerned. as far as the venture is concerned. as far as the british are concerned who did have their own border force agents working with the french in those camps. now it is much more scattered so camps. now it is much more scattered so the smugglers and those people who are taking money to get these people across the channel. they are in heaven, frankly. you have also got to the international maritime laws. the law of the sea. which means that if you are a migrant or someone means that if you are a migrant or someone fleeing persecution you get
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into the territorial waters of any particular country, that country has to pick you up and then you can apply for asylum. and, obviously, these migrants are getting into british territorial waters than it is the responsibility of the british to have to deal with them and that is the problem we have and that is the f that the brits are getting or the f that the brits are getting or the british government, i should say, is getting frustrated about because it wants the french to do more. what is the french view on this? well, if you compare the newspapers, just reading the newspapers france and britain on that subject it is quite amazing to see the front page for the daily mail or the times today when, in france, it isjust a tiny piece, a tiny item inside the newspaper. i don't think that my coming, britain can deal with a few hundred or even a few thousand migrants crossing the channel over the summer for the reasons clive
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mentioned. and i am not sure it should be front page news, really, because britain has more important are pressing matters to deal with so thatis are pressing matters to deal with so that is one thing. of course, i mean, it is almost going to be difficult. priti patel met a few weeks ago with her french counterpart. they set up another joint franco british scope with office rs joint franco british scope with officers from both countries but in the end when you have people who have come from so far away and are ready to die to reach the uk and some of them are economic migrants, others political asylum seekers, they need to be processed. and you can'tjust... are they need to be processed. and you can't just... are they they need to be processed. and you can'tjust... are they ready they need to be processed. and you can't just... are they ready to they need to be processed. and you can'tjust... are they ready to die and that is what they tell the tried to stop them. in the english channel, they threatened to go in
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the water. and you have to to save them first. and of course divisions of opinion on the uk, jeff, on this, with some saying, well, it would just be cheaper to buy them a ferry ticket then all the effort put into policing the channel while yet accepting them. and other saying, let's get the royal navy out on some discussion about whether the government is considering getting the royal navy back out to turn people away. you are able where does the law stand on all of this? the law is very clear. if you are on the high seas and a bad boat and someone comes across today have to pick you up. and if a british government vessel does it they are going to be processed by the british government. now, the french coastguard, who intercepts them close to the shores of france and had them back that is one thing. to find them in the territorial waters of britain and try to hurt them back to france is
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illegal. they must be processed in an orderly fashion. there are agreements to take migrants back to the countries that have allowed them to get from wherever they have come from, may be through germany or france, to britain. those countries are supposed to take them back from but in an orderly process. and so, i mean, ido but in an orderly process. and so, i mean, i do think it is overblown. there were 4000 this year. that is out of 49,000 refugees that britain has processed and out of 700,000 long—term migrants britain has accepted. and british refugee acceptances are one third of germany's and one half of france and spain. it is a rousing incentive for the conservative party but it is not, i think, an the conservative party but it is not, ithink, an impending the conservative party but it is not, i think, an impending disaster for the british state may be some communities in southern england that find it hard to process a lot of people but it is something that is manageable and the duty, legally as clear. clive, let's just open this out
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beyond the kind of cross channel blame game that is being presented in of the media to the wider forces at play here. at the start of the pandemic we had a lot of migration was on hold because of movement restrictions but how is the pandemic trying to movement of migrants at the moment. it is a paradox, isn't it? you would think that because of covid19 it? you would think that because of covid 19 the borders have been shut down button so it will be difficult for migrants to get on boats and across the sea but actually, covid has exacerbated the problem was that these people are already desperate and deafening persecution. they are even more desperate now because those areas, say in libya of parts of eritrea, as these people are fleeing the continent of africa to try to get towards europe, cross the mediterranean, the little bits of work that they may have been able to pick up on the economy in those areas has been gone because of covid. so these people are now even
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more desperate to get mediterranean and we are hearing that to the red cross in libya has been making the point that more people have been driven out of the country despite the economic situation there because of covid. they are now getting a debate, getting across to greece and to italy and from there, they are trying to move further north to germany, france and ultimately, to the united kingdom. that's why we are seeing how covid has influenced this whole situation. and agnes, give us a european perspective on this. the european commission was planning a kind of pan— eu strategy so planning a kind of pan— eu strategy so that there was not all the name—calling and divisions across europe the last time displayed is a massive issue. where has this got to? well, not very far. as you said, we have had a pandemic since. and so, the focus has been put somewhere else. but
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really, perhaps what the eu should look at first is to dismantle the criminal gangs and that trafficking industry. it has become extremely violent towards the migrants and refugees. and so, when you think refugees. and so, when you think refugees must pay £3000 to be on that dinghy boat with the hope of crossing the channel, this is appalling. and so, but of course, since talking about the english channel in france and britain, there is brexit looming so the eu might come up with a great strategy at some point in the future but what about the british border? should it still remain in calais, in the northern shore of france? 0r still remain in calais, in the northern shore of france? or should it be in kent? so i think that will be the next question for the government. we are going to leave that question put up we have to move on. it may be unhelpful
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to talk about a hierarchy of suffering from coronavirus, but the longer this goes on the clearer it becomes that different groups suffer in different ways and are impacted to differing degrees by policies to contain the pandemic. generationally, the contrast is stark. the elderly are most medically vulnerable, the young may prove most economically scarred. do you think it is becoming clear at all the impact on the generation moving into the workplace now, possibly in their very late teens or early 20s, some of the challenges that they face on the extent to which these are long term as a result effects of the pandemic? well, i am result effects of the pandemic? well, iam reminded result effects of the pandemic? well, i am reminded of the quote about what was thought about the french revolution and in the 1960s he said, too soon to tell. i think
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these are huge social things that are going to be working themselves out for a while. i think you can draw some useful analogies with the last great economic crisis during 2008 which had a very outsized effect on young peoples patterns of employment, which has persisted for that generation. the knocks they took at the beginning of their careers have continued. and it is interesting in the us and the uk at least, the economic effects of the pandemic have been felt most acutely in the industries like hospitality and retail where young people tend to be dominate for their firstjobs. i would expect this is going to have a long—term effect. you can certainly see university campuses are being upended, the nature of long—term teaching, whether there will be in—person universities to the same extent, how much they cost, the same extent, how much they cost, the big issue in the us, very hard
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to see how that is going to play out. there is also, however, very interesting poll in the us among young people, 60% said that they felt pa rt young people, 60% said that they felt part of a movement because of covid and 80% said that covid had instructed them that politics affected their daily lives in a much more pungent way than they had realised previously. so it is possible this will lead to greater activism and civic involvement in the medium term. what you think on that? great activism? do you a stronger sense of cohesion and purpose? there is always strong activity in france so i'm not worried about french people not committing to political activities with the pandemic, quite the opposite. it will be a positive and positive for people who can reassess their lives at whatever age they are. every generation has challenges and good
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things happening to them. asjeff said, there are core industries, looking at theatre in the uk a lot of people have to cherish careers and for some of them it is going to be heartbreaking, really. but it is a question, the beginning of the pandemic the french writer was asked whether, everything will change after the pandemic and he said whether, everything will change afterthe pandemic and he said no, everything will be the same except it is going to be slightly worse. so it is going to be slightly worse. so it depends. and it will be positive for some and negative for others. i think we should be careful. using planes on the planet will be quiet and peaceful again. we will probably
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resume some very bad habits but perhaps not all of them. clive, you've done a lot of reporting on the antiracism following george floyd's death in minneapolis and then we have obviously seen climate change activism which has been very strong and we saw thatjust before the pandemic. you agree with agnes do you think there is something different among this generation? i'm going to be optimistic in a way that agnes was pessimisticjust then. i came across an article online recently that talked about the death of fashion. you know, young people no longer interested in the latest trends, apparently. they realise that there may be more important things in life. the idea that you would spend half a day's salary going out on a saturday night or on a friday night, the end of the week was critical to your life, going out, dancing, all that kind of stuff. locked on a stick and a lot of that away and young people that i've come across have said, i don't actually miss this. and you at the
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black lives matter protest and the campaign to promote climate activism and climate change and you see young people getting more and more involved and more and more engaged. iam involved and more and more engaged. i am positive about the younger generation now as a result of the pandemic making them realise that actually, there are other out there that are important, notjust the latest hemline. what about, just a blip on the other direction, do you think there is a danger that might be had at beginning of this that the coronavirus will be the great leveller because everyone could be a victim. but actually, since then, there's been a lot of discussion about the ways in which it has inequalities. generationally, in terms of income. in an already unequal world. what's your view on that question mark is there any sign that question mark is there any sign that political leaders have got a handle on that? i think you can see in the stimulus packages that have
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been put forward in the major countries, at least. and also in developing countries. a willingness to spend big in a way that the orthodoxy of the 19905 and 2000 i5 that debt would kill that you and the bond market would come and destroy everything about you if you ever spent. has obviously been disproved by the pandemic. the government spending big and bigger spending on the bottom of the social hierarchy as well as the middle and the top. i think the pent—up demand to do better in that way, more infrastructure, more education, hey, we can afford this and you've shown us we can afford this and you've shown us in these few months that might be possible. i think that could be a very salutary long term effect of what has happened in covid. it has not happened yet. everyone is still around and finding out what the long—term political effects are. having a big question i'm question i'm afraid i'm now going to have to
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cut you off because i've got to get out on time and i have not even let agnes and clive have a word on that but thank you to you all. it has been great as usual having you on the that is it for dateline london for this week. we are back next week same place same time. thank you for watching. the heat and humidity yesterday across many central and southern parts of the uk was probably too much for many to bear. it is our top temperatures of 36.4 celsius in a couple of locations across the south—east. it was warm widely but parts of wales, northern ireland and scotla nd parts of wales, northern ireland and scotland were cooler because of cloud and showers. for the weekend
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it looks like it is going to be mainly dry and sunny thanks to high pressure again. the heatwave continues across southern portions of the uk. high pressure pushing out into the north sea dragging in a breeze. some eastern coasts there will be cooler for this afternoon. there will be variable amount of cloud and the chance of a shallot developing across north—west england in the north midlands but most places will be dry and sunny and it is going to be quite warm, too. light winds for many. that easterly breeze will be fairly noticeable across coastal towns there and it is going to be a hot stove parts of england and wales. high 20s widely. the low to mid 30s in the south—east. high teens, low 20s for scotla nd south—east. high teens, low 20s for scotland and northern ireland. co mforta ble scotland and northern ireland. comfortable here in the sunshine. as we head through tonight we will start to see low cloud rolling in from the north sea and a little bit of drizzle with that. it is going to blanket in the warmth so it will be a very warm and muggy night
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particularly in the south—east. a bit cooler and fresher for scotland and northern ireland. the sunday we start off with on a bit of a grey note. maybe a few spots of drizzle around but it looks like that cloud will just melt away as the around but it looks like that cloud willjust melt away as the sun gets going on it and much of the country will be dry and sunny into the afternoon, perhaps the cloud lingering on into the north—east coast where there will be that cool breeze. a warm day for many but again heatwave in the southeast with temperatures of 33 degrees or so in the london area. as we move into next week we start to see that under the low going to produce and ten showers and thunderstorms across the uk through next week. there will be hit and mist showers. not everyone will get them and there will be some warm sunshine in between but humidity will be quite high as well. a greater threat of thundery showers will be across england and wales and you will notice, as we move through the week, there's temperatures gradually coming down, especially across the south.
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this is bbc news with the latest headlines for viewers in the uk and around the world. anger grows in beirut where more than 60 people are still missing and thousands homeless following tuesday's explosion. more anti—government protests are expected later today. the uk government increases the pressure on france to stop the large number of migrants crossing the english channel in small boats, including record numbers of unaccompanied children. the use of face masks in england and scotland is expanded with coverings now compulsory at cinemas, museums and place of worship. the black box is recovered from the air india plane which skidded off the runway and split into two parts at an airport in kerala, killing at least twenty people, including both pilots.

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