tv Dateline London BBC News March 7, 2021 11:30am-12:01pm GMT
by islamic state militants. the royal family marks commonwealth dayjust hours before the duke and duchess of sussex's interview with oprah winfrey. the five—year jail sentence imposed by iran on the british—iranian woman, nazanin zaghari—ratcliffe, officially ends today, but it still isn't clear whether she'll actually be released. now on bbc news, dateline london. hello and welcome to dateline london, bringing together correspondents filing around the world from the uk, and bbc expertise.
i'm geeta guru—murthy. this week, with nations around the world facing tough questions on how to pay for the pandemic, many are talking about a green recovery. there was little evidence of that in this week's budget here in the uk — was it a missed opportunity? britain is ahead of the eu on vaccines, so are the europeans getting their house in order? no sign of that in the royal household, as everyone braces for that interview with harry and meghan. what will they reveal about the inner workings of the royal family? is their timing disrespectful with the duke of edinburgh still in hospital? and what role does race play in this whole sorry saga? with me is thomas kielinger, long—time correspondent at die welt, and steve richards, writer and broadcaster. and here in the studio, at a safe social distance, the bbc�*s chief environment correspondentjustin rowlatt. thanks to you all forjoining me and a very warm welcome. two reports here have criticised
the government on its plan to meet climate change targets. the cop26 summit is due to be held in november in scotland, but this week's budget didn't bring much in terms of a green recovery. is government going to pay companies and individuals to do more to switch to electric cars and public transport, to use heat pumps instead of gas boilers, and insulate our leaky homes? how is the uk faring compared with its global neighbours? justin, the government says both reports out this week are inaccurate and unfair. is it possible to get a sense of how committed they are to the green agenda? publicly, very committed. last year boris produced a ten point green plan, he described it as a green industrial revolution. a huge increase in wind turbines, switching to electric vehicles, that kind of thing. so the government rhetoric is very strong on the green issue but this budget was very short
on headline green initiatives. we saw an infrastructure bank, £12 billion to fund new green developments. a commitment that the bank of england take into account the net zero pledge when it makes policy. but they froze fuel duty, 11 years in a row it has been frozen. in effect, that is an opportunity for a carbon tax foregone. and the effort you mentioned to green our homes. a quarter of carbon emissions come from heating homes. switching from gas heating that most british homes have, with heat pumps, that kind of thing, is going to cost a huge amount of money. the climate change committee says £4 billion per year. they had an initiative for green homes, tiny take up, campaigners have said it is the worst administered green scheme ever. and yet no more money for that, no suggestion it would be reorganised in the budget.
campaigners at the public accounts committee saying there is no plan to achieve, no articulated plan anyway, to be fair, to achieve this zero ambition by 2050. steve, is that because the government is still too focused onjobs, the balance between austerity and spending, and itjust hasn't got the capacity at the moment to do more on the green agenda? or is it that they will do more in the coming months? i think it's a combination of the two. and another factor as well. the other factor is important. nearly everybody in politics is in theory committed to a green revolution, almost. you have the conservative leadership, the labour leadership and so on. but the test is always, are you willing to implement policies that might at least in the short—term involve voters
thinking what the heck are they doing with this? a good example being increasing fuel duty. and they avoid it. more generally with the budget, i think it was partly a product, lockdown in the uk, we are still in lockdown even though there is hopefully light around the corner. so it was partly to deal with the ongoing consequences of lockdown. and then it became a more sort of george osborne austerity—type budget coming up in the near future. but beyond that it didn't do very much. as well as the green dimension, there was no real reference to social care, which is a huge issue in the united kingdom. and with the nhs, another big issue, one of the sort of controversies arising from the budget was a very tiny pay rise for nhs workers. so it avoided some of the huge
issues whirling around the uk and other areas, of course, with the green issue. and it focused more on the pandemic and the aftermath in quite narrow ways. thomas, in germany of course, green politics has had more of a voice, partly because of the political system there. what was your sense looking at the budget here this week? the conservatives got a poll bounce, but as steve mentioned, criticism over spending on the help front and criticism also on the lack of green policy that came out of the government, not only this week but in recent weeks. i have a lot of sympathy- for what steve just said, there is a problem with the government as a whole and the _ financial situation. we have to do first things first. as the poll was sympathetic to what was put forward - by rishi sunak, it shows people - are more interested at the moment in immediate respite _
from the problems, that is to say that the furlough has to be - extended, self—employed people, as it were, injection of more money. so all sorts of immediate problems are staring people in the face. - some of the green issue _ unfortunately has to be postponed. there is going to be a reviewl in september, in the autumn. i trust something will give. on the other hand, you know, there is a bit of a silver lining i when it comes to the ecology and green policies. _ i am talking about the freeport east hydrogen hub which has been - given a green light, which will continuel with decarbonisation projects, wind farms and so forth, - with zero technologies, - and hydrogen as a future fuel. so that is beginning| to come to the fore.
other than that, i agree this was not the time i to go wholeheartedly. into the green project. justin, in the last few years in this country, some of the measures on this has come through this. it has come through higher bills on the energy front, that is how we have seen change. is it the private sector where change has to come? if you look at wind turbines, the prime minister has made a huge amendment to increase in wind energy because the private sector sees an opportunity and is willing to pourfinance in. the same with electric vehicles. the government committed to phasing out petrol and diesel cars by 2030 with some exceptions for hybrids. companies now committing to switch over to electric vehicles far faster
because they recognise that technology is changing and they need to get in there quickly to see the market. ford, general motors, volkswagen all committing to switch to electric vehicles. so there you see the private sector taking the lead because they see a huge opportunity. heating homes is a very difficult issue. gas central heating is very efficient. the electric heat pumps, which most people regard as the alternative, they don't deliver the ready heat that gas does. they are less easy, they are expensive as well, so they are hard to persuade consumers to take on. therefore there is an argument that we need to encourage subsidies to get consumers to switch over. we haven't seen the government come up with a plan that works or enough money to persuade 30 million homes in britain to switch over, the scale of switchover that we need.
so in some areas there does need to be subsidy and we are not seeing the chancellor coming forward and offering that money. steve, is that a surprise, we know for example that boris�*s fiance carrie symons is interested in the whole green agenda, zac goldsmith also part of the conservative party, very committed to this agenda. is it something the government has to deliver on? are there not many votes in this? as i said in my earlier answer, theoretically virtually everyone you meet in politics is interested and committed to this agenda. the issue is how? in the end, i suspect it does have to be government driven. there is quite a debate about the nature of this government. is it more status than recent tory governments or not? particularly with the chancellor rishi sunak,
who on the whole is perceived as a more sort of orthodox thatcherite, rather than a statist. borisjohnson thinks he is like roosevelt, a big spender, the new deal. but there is no evidence yet of the scale of the demand for the climate change issues. insulation is a very interesting example. i am sitting in a room, i am freezing, it is like being in siberia. but in a way, the motive has to be driven by the government to get these things sorted out, i suspect. it takes tough spending decisions, tough tax decisions, and on the whole these have tended to be avoided so far. steve, thanks for now. the eu has vaccinated about one tenth of its population, compared with a third here. what does that mean for its huge summer tourism season? can we travel even if we haven't been vaccinated?
and why has the rollout been so slow? thomas, what's gone wrong with the famed german efficiency? famed indeed! it is now more a case of the famed german inefficiency. _ it is a bureaucratic- problem to begin with, we are a country of 17 governments, one in berlin and 16 _ regional governments, - and they couldn't agree among themselves how to distribute the vaccine in the first. - secondly, there was this unfortunate laspersion cast against astrazeneca,| of which we have quite a lot - of doses waiting to be administered. and from emmanuel macron in france, and others in my country, _ they began to say, this is not safe and efficient for the over—65s. - so 85% of our doses of astrazeneca, until early this week, _ they lay around on use, - and probably were destroyed
or became useless. only this week how the government officially declared this particular - vaccination safe for over—65s. when britain had vaccinated - 20 million people, germans began to push for astrazeneca. it is quite true, to use - boris johnson's language, you can say that germany vacillates while britain vaccinates. _ and he who vaccinates . quickly,can lift lockdown restrictions more quickly too. so we are lagging - behind unfortunately. but we are trying to catch up. we are johnny—come—latelys when it comes to speedy vaccination. - does this vindicate the brexiteers who some have said, look, britain has ploughed on much faster as an independent nation than the eu, which has come unstuck with this joint approach? no, i think brexit is a red herring on this issue.
the uk was technically, because it was the transitional year when the uk government ordered these vaccines, individual governments had the space to do it. and indeed some eu members are now operating individually and getting vaccines in from various different sources. so it wasn't really to do with brexit and the eu. it is interesting to see which member countries, and indeed britain, have flourished in different areas of this response to the nightmare. britain was hopeless early on, germany was fairly successful at keeping the death rate low. why? in terms of vaccines, obviously the government did the right thing in commissioning loads of vaccines in advance. interesting what thomas was saying, in many ways the way germany is structured is often cited as a model for delivery. in this case, having the national health service as a way of distributing the vaccine
and being co—ordinated has proven to be highly successful. so some things have worked here, other things have failed catastrophically. learning the lessons of both will be part, i think, of owning the future politically when the whole sort of perspective is acquired over what's happened here and in the rest of europe. justin, you were a south asia correspondent based in india. india has been delivering vaccines to africa and south asia in general. the rate of distribution in many parts of the world is very different and it's going to cause problems in future, isn't it? it is, in order to have a successful global response we need people vaccinated as soon as possible to minimize the chance of variants developing. there are global institutions set up to distribute vaccines. inevitably, the richer countries that deal with pharmaceutical
companies early are likely to get the vaccine first. inevitably they will vaccinate their population first, but the good news is there is a huge vaccine surplus, if you add up the vaccines around the world, they are much more effective than we expected. we forget that. early on people didn't predict they would be anywhere near this good. so we are in quite a good position globally but it will take a while to vaccinate the world. we will be following that across our output. if you're in need of some distraction from all this, the british royalfamily are doing their bit. when the duke and duchess of sussex gave up their royal duties, it was both the culmination of a briefing war and the start of a new one. buckingham palace is now investigating accusations of bullying by meghan, and harry says his fear of the destructive press intrusion that plagued his mother, now being repeated with his wife, is partly what drove him to leave the country.
where is the right and wrong in this family saga? and what does it tell us about the nature of modern monarchy, and racism in the uk? steve, how worried should the royal family be about bombshell revelations? the oprah winfrey interview? they are obviously worried, because elements of the institution have been grieving intensively against the duo who have given the interview. ——have been briefing intensively against the duo who have given the interview. clearly there is a capacity here for further storms in the way there was during the diana era, when she started speaking out in quite extraordinary ways. so they are obviously concerned. so interesting the nature of celebrity and fame. i've always been intrigued by the degree to which the royal family themselves attract this fascination, even that we hardly know them. they are caricatures, really. and now this couple, who are not really part of it any more, even more famous, curiously.
so it is interesting in that sense. clearly the british press have it in for the duo. my sympathies are wholly with them, the duo. why do you think the british press have got it in for them? partly because they have taken on newspapers in ways that i think are wholly legitimate. i know they use the newspapers to promote themselves, but that doesn't actually mean the newspapers have the right to then hammer them every moment. i think there are echoes there, and he clearly feels it, with diana and what happened to her. i don't think the british newspapers should have newspapers should have the right to destroy people or appear to destroy them. so in that sense i think they have every right to feel aggrieved. it is up to us if we watch it and get excited by it. i promise you, i love celebrity,
i'm not excited by it but i know there will be global hysteria over it, which in itself is quite interesting. will you be watching it, thomas? i will be, but i'm slightly dissenting from steve, l because the duchess in particular more than harry— is playing with fire. she has no idea about the cultural differences when you join - the royal family and when you are i an independent woman in california. when her freedom was curtailed within the royal family, - what did she think she would get? could she set up an independent news line with herself as a reigning - monarch of news as it were? now, she keeps on talking i about how she was curtailed and infringed upon and so forth. now she says she is liberated. there is a great degree
of naivety on her part. i she overplays the defiance she is now putting forward| of being able to stand up for herself, by forgetting that she should have been more modest as she entered - the royal family, and played - by the rules for a bit longer rather than immediately wanting out. and now as it were playing i the adversary of the culture. someone the other day- called her a nice nickname, she doesn't really belong in any | sense in the traditional context| i of the world family and the placel she would have to occupy within it. that is more to the pity, _ because it continues this unholy row which the queen herself must be terribly upset about. _ it does a disservice i to her own prestige. but in the end the royal couple in california will rue the day. they played up their own plight.
quite so publicly and constantly. some of the public in britain- are feeling, when are we going to be liberated from these two - who put their own qualms so much to centre stage of world publicity? they were a couple that wanted privacy in california, _ but did everything to promote the publicity of their case. - there is a lot of hypocrisy. involved, and more the pity. everyone wants to jump in because everyone has a view. justin, the question of race has been raised. younger people identify more with harry and meghan. she is the first modern royal family member who identifies as biracial, and she has been vilified in parts of the press, hasn't she? i am not sure whether it is because of her race or not. remember at her wedding which celebrated her heritage, it was welcomed and really enjoyed by the british people. everybody said this is a breath of fresh air, a modern monarchy, remember. so i don't think race is a clear—cut issue.
going back to what thomas said, what is really interesting is the palace's response, suddenly producing these allegations of bullying. i think it is really odd that they want to go in fighting like this. harry is a troubled young man, they feel upset by the way they have been treated by the royal family. but wouldn't the dignified thing be to say, we love harry, meghan is a wonderful woman? it is really odd that the palace are going in fighting. that could be the most damaging thing for the royal family. we all know that in conflicts like this, no one comes out looking better. so it seems odd they are ramping up the conflict. you haven't watched the crown, have you? a little bit! in that, the queen defines her role as not having a personality and that is how she thinks the monarchy has succeeded,
by whitewashing any personality and just being a bland figurehead. the approach they are taking to harry and meghan is not part of that. steve, briefly, do you think race is a factor in the way meghan has been treated in particular? i think it's more to do with the fact they are shaking up this institution, which i think is perfectly healthy as far as it is of any great significance. it is an institution which occasionally does need challenging from within. although my understanding is it's no longer from within. they are in america, they have sought or been formally excluded. ——they are in america, they have been sort of formally excluded. so they are kind of speaking for themselves. the layers of hypocrisy are many. the british public have just heard this approval, disapproving of them doing interviews, but they will sit there watching the interview. thomas, the duke of edinburgh
is still in hospital. many will feel the timing, obviously they couldn't control that, but should they have pulled the interview out of respect for the queen? it's unfortunate that it is i a coincidence with the duke of edinburgh being ill in hospital. it's very hard to suggest that anyone who has put so much into preparing this interview would cancel it on account l of the duke's health status. this may continue for quite a while, well beyond his 100th birthday. - your own version of your own qualms and complaints, owing _ i think in this case, the young couple can go ahead with it, i philip is a redoubtable survivor who we hope will see more - than his 100th birthday.
this is an investment in the hope, the interview going forward, - that everything will be ok for the time being with i prince philip in hospital. justin, it does raise questions in a serious way about the future of the royal family. the queen is held in universal respect. but other members of the family have had lots of questions raised about them. as steve says, this is a modernising moment like diana's death. we could see a new, more open monarchy come from it. but i come back to the point, part of the role of the monarchy is to be bland and exist quietly. pageantry, palaces, at the centre of what they do for britain. i think this kind of conflict cannot be good for them. thank you all so much
forjoining us today. shaun ley is here next week. from me, for now, goodbye. hello, it is another largely dry day out there for most parts of the uk, not everywhere, temperatures still a little bit down on what we'd expect this time of the year, so really through the rest of today expect a fairly chilly feel to the weather but there will be some spells of sunshine breaking through. other areas going to be seeing a little bit more on the way of cloud so it's a bit hit and miss in terms of cloud amounts out there today. fairy cloudy skies across parts
of eastern england for a time, probably the best of the sunshine, wales, down towards the south—west, too. northern ireland clouding over from the west through the day, and scotland, some sunshine in the south but patchy outbreaks of rain further north. seven or eight degrees across england and wales. scotland and northern ireland about eight to ten celsius through the afternoon. into the evening hours we will keep the cloud and patchy rain for northern ireland and scotland and some of that will sink into northern england overnight, too. further south across england and wales clear spells around. it will be another cold night with a touch of frost, particularly for wales. southern england as well. temperatures getting down to a few degrees below freezing here but staying above freezing in the north underneath all that cloud. a bit of a north—south split to the weather tomorrow. cloudy skies for northern ireland, northern england and scotland with patchy rain at times but further south across england and wales you should stay dry through the day with some sunshine and temperatures for most of us will be a few degrees up compared to the weekend, so it's been quite chilly recently. still about eight or perhaps 10 degrees or so through the course of monday saw things starting to turn a little bit milder. it's going to be all change
through the week ahead because we are going to be losing high pressure that's been in charge for a while now and that will open the doors for atlantic low pressure to start to move in but it will be quite a gradual transition. so tuesday itself predominantly dry. the best of the sunshine towards east anglia and the south—east, cloud increasing from the west, the breeze picking up too ahead of this area of rain that sweeps in through tuesday night. but before it gets there, ten or 11 degrees, a reasonably springlike day, i think, for tuesday. overnight into that's when this first low pressure system with lots of isobars on it, when the spell of weather works its way west to east across the uk followed hot on the heels by another deep area of low pressure potentially bringing some fairly stormy weather, also introducing milder air through the middle of the week so the yellows and orange colours returning to the map with that milder air mass. the next couple of days, mostly dry, fairly chilly, things turning mail but potentially quite stormy weather on the cards from midweek onwards.
this is bbc news — with the latest headlines for viewers in the uk and around the world. schools in england are reopening to all pupils tomorrow — borisjohnson describes it as "the first step" in moving closer to normality. on the third day of his historic trip to iraq — pope francis visits a church in the northern town of qaraqosh which was devastated by islamic state militants. the royal family marks commonwealth day — just hours before the duke and duchess of sussex's interview with oprah winfrey.