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tv   Dateline London  BBC News  August 1, 2021 2:30am-3:00am BST

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the un food agency says several trucks carrying emergency aid to tigray in northern ethiopia have reached the regional capital mekelle. they were part of a convoy that got stuck for several weeks. around 5 million people in the region rely on emergency assistance, with 400,000 living in famine conditions. on day eight of the tokyo 0lympics, it was a clean sweep forjamaica in the women's 100m final with elaine thompson—herah taking the title. it's her second successive olympic gold in the event. and belinda bencic became the first swiss woman to win an olympic tennis gold medal. now on bbc news, dateline london.
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hello and welcome to the programme, which brings together leading commentators in the uk with the foreign correspondents who write, blog and broadcast to audiences back home from the dateline: london. this week — the unvaccinated become the unloved, and is democracy bound to wither in the arid lands of north africa and the middle east? let me introduce our dateline panel. mina al—0raibi's family originated in iraq. she's editor—in—chief of the national in abu dhabi. ned temko, from the christian science monitor, was born in the united states but has spent much of his career reporting from the uk. with me in the studio, the british political commentator steve richards, who hosts the podcast rock �*n�* roll politics. welcome to you all. lovely to have you with us this evening. now, "a pandemic of the unvaccinated" —
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the phrase used by us presidentjoe biden on thursday illustrates a growing frustration among political leaders in countries fortunate enough to have stocks of covid vaccine that this hasn't been the escape hatch from pandemic they'd hoped for. in france, president macron has told the unvaccinated they won't be allowed into restaurants. in the uk, they could be excluded from football stadia. president biden announced that employees of the federal government who decline to be vaccinated will have to wear masks, keep physically distanced from their colleagues and be tested once or twice a week. earlier, he'd praised the republican governor of alabama kay ivey. she had said "it's time to start blaming the unvaccinated folks that are letting us down". ned, less carrot, plenty of stick around, and it's not just in the united states. what do you think that tells us? i think, as you said earlier, it's a window into the huge frustration that governments in countries that are lucky enough to have stocks of vaccine and the ability to put the vaccine into arms
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has so far fallen far short and the other thing it reflects is, quite frankly, a new urgency because there have been reports, even in the last 2a hours, based on an in—house assessment by the centers for disease prevention in the united states, suggesting this delta variant — the one that originated in india but is now prevalent pretty much all over the world — is not only more transmissible, it's much, much, much more transmissible than had been assumed. and it's also capable of infecting and being passed on by fully vaccinated people almost as easily as by those who have not been vaccinated.
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so i think there's a sense of the clock ticking, and i think that's what you're seeing. and i think we will see more and more efforts by governments to try and ramp up the number of vaccinated people. steve, michael gove, one of the british cabinet ministers, said this week people who aren't vaccinated are selfish. is there a danger that this desire to push people towards vaccination could actually ultimately be counterproductive? not least in the politics, in the uk case, of the conservative party, where there's big pressure on borisjohnson to lift regulations, to lift rules, to let freedom flourish? no. i mean, i think, first of all, what michael gove said really is a statement of the obvious. and there might be a backlash with a small proportion of — well, maybe a biggish proportion of the tory parliamentary party, but not elsewhere in the house of commons. so there are two
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separate issues. the politics of it within the conservative party, and what needs to be done to vaccinate younger people who are reluctant. and what needs to be done — and here, even the libertarianish boris johnson seems to be in agreement — is they need to get those vaccinations. now, here the government is sort of doing it by saying, "if you don't, you might have to show a vaccine passport in nightclubs and so on". there needs to be more of that, clearly — as we are seeing elsewhere in france and other places, the united states with talk of $100 to get vaccinated — to make sure we don't get an epidemic of the unvaccinated. so it seems to me he was making an absolutely straightforward observation. the question is now whether further measures are needed, irrespective of the mood of a percentage of the conservative parliamentary party. mina, i suppose one argument
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they can use to push back against those who say come on, you know, the frustration of all these restrictions is the impact it's had on the economy, is to point to the imf report this week which suggested economic recovery and the strength of it is dependent on vaccination and how quickly you can move back to normality. absolutely. it's clear now that vaccines are integral to economic. recovery, in addition to - continuing with mask wearing. it's been interesting to see . certain countries that had high levels of vaccines making i decisions to take off masks and are now saying no, we're actually going to need them. | one thing to keep in mind is the picture is still not . clear how we're going to get out of the pandemic, - but what is clear is vaccines. can bring down the numbers. the imf's report was also quite interesting because it showed i the disparity between - the countries that can't afford to have these vaccines fast| enough and those that can. so, advanced economies. that have on average 40% of their populations vaccinated
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are recovering much quicker. than emerging economies that, frankly, have not been able - to vaccinate more than 10% to 15% of their populations. so, in a way, this idea - that we can ignore the vaccines and see an economic. recovery is impossible. yeah, the figures — i think, for the second quarter in the us 6.5% sounds very healthy, but it had been predicted quarter two was going to be 8.5%. whether that is directly linked to vaccines is for others to debate. but ned, we've now mentioned michael gove talking about shame. we had kay ivey talking about blame. does this kind of language give any cause, should it give us any cause for unease? do you think we are going to turn the unvaccinated into some sort of social pariahs? well, i'm with steve in the sense that in some sense this is a statement of the blindingly obvious, that i think it's now such a broad consensus that no matter what else we need to get out of this pandemic,
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vaccination as broadly as possible is part of it. i think the more interesting question it perhaps raises — and it's a debate that's ongoing in the united states — is whether that kind of language will work. in other words, the key is how do you get vaccine—hesitant people to get jabbed ? and it's a mix now of financial inducements and various other things. my suspicion is, particularly with new information coming about the delta variant, i think we may see a shift in the messaging in some countries away from presenting vaccination as something you do for someone else — the way kay ivey said, "you are letting us down" — and hone in on it a little bit like the anti—smoking campaigns of recent years as a matter of self—interest, simple self—interest, because the vaccinations may or may not
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be effective against the delta variant in terms of transmission, but they remain — and cross fingers they will remain — very, very effective in keeping you out of the hospital and keeping you from dying of this illness. and i think that will increasingly be core to the public messaging about this. steve, we saw a bit of that in northern ireland where they have a lower rate of vaccination than other parts of the uk and health chiefs saying, "this could have consequences — if we are getting high hospitalisations now, it might mean other treatments can't be provided". that's sort of playing to that instinct, isn't it? "because i might need that treatment, my mum might need that treatment, my friend might need it — maybe i do need to get vaccinated." yeah. i mean if, to return to michael gove, people are being selfish, appeal to selfish instincts might be one way of encouraging them to take the vaccine. but i think there are limits to exhortation when faced with resistance. it's very interesting
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talking about smoking. for years and years, the warning "smoking kills" and all the rest of it, but it was actually a smoking ban that stopped people from smoking in pubs and restaurants and public transport. it did take that extra, and it might have to take more forms of — compulsion is a terrible word to use because it immediately sounds so negative, but exhortation might not be enough with some young people. and then what do you do? and there are many other levers to pull, including more extensive use of vaccine passports and all the rest of it. now, my sense is that might be necessary, that words alone might not do it — given it is so obvious it makes a difference and yet, there is this resistance. and it's quite a significant level of resistance amongst some younger people. stevem thanks very much. thank you to all of you on that. now, covid unrest lies behind the political turmoil which has roiled tunisia, the one country where multi—party democracy appeared to have established
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deep roots during the arab spring. president kais saied suspended the legislature and fired the prime minister sunday. his actions — a coup, some said — followed a day of mass street protests in defiance of the pandemic lockdown. mina, what's gone wrong in tunisia, and is the president's response proportionate, do you think? what's going on in tunisia has been going on for several- months now, and some people would say even years. - the covid—19 response has, in large part, been laggingl behind what peoplel had been expecting. you've had deaths on average reaching 180 per day - of a population i of only 11 million. you've hospitals turning people away because they have - suffered. and this has been happening primarily in the last three . of four months, i so it's not as soon as the pandemic hit, - when many countries around the world struggled - to deal with the pandemic, this is actually more _ than a year after the pandemic was declared, the country is still struggling. -
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in addition to that, - there is a real problem of corruption - inside of tunisia. the president himself has said you're looking at around $4.6i billion that's been swindled away. i people's day—to—day lives have not improved since i the revolution more than a decade ago i and covid—19, of course, exacerbated it. - now, what the president has| done, he said would suspend parliament for 30 days — - the first week is about to end of that 30 days — and then has said we must work at - fighting corruption, - getting better governance. and in general, people| in tunisia support that, and they feel— tired because the parliament and government has largely been spending most of its time - squabbling amongst itself. so there's a sense that we need somebody to bring all these - elements together and make it work. | however, what makes tunisia a success story is also - because it is a pluralistic- society, and that's important. in addition to the fact that - you have strong trade unions,
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you have strong civil society — that actually even predates i the revolution- of a decade ago — and those actors are still playing a prominent role| and have said _ they will watch what has happened but, frankly, - haven't come out in support of the government, which means that there is a problem _ with the former not only- prime minister but parliament and all the make—up . of the political system. so civil society is holding i its breath, but also saying we must be careful that power isn't consolidated only- in the presidency. and so far, the president has said he doesn't plan- to consolidate _ power only for him, but that measures have to happen, particularly _ against corruption. soa so a lot of the problems that have — so a lot of the problems that have happened _ so a lot of the problems that have happened is _ so a lot of the problems that have happened is due - so a lot of the problems that have happened is due to - have happened is due to corruption. _ as mina said, that's a problem that's existed for years and goes back well beyond the arab spring revolution of 2011. is there a danger, though, that the response becomes a default — "oh, look, what we need is a strong leader, someone who will get things done"?
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i think there is, and i think, and i hope we can take at face value the president's words that he doesn't want to consolidate power in his own hands but i think mina is right — the trade unions, other civil groups will, one hopes, be keeping an eye on this because, for all its faults, tunisia was the last semblance of a functioning democracy — although it didn't function very well — to come out of the arab spring, so i think the stakes are fairly high. covid has a potential, doesn't it, steve richards, to be a really significant threat to incumbents? yeah, and it dominates the politics, sadly, and all democracies at the moment. it's very hard to make judgements about the longer—term implications of any current polling situation anywhere. i think you are going to mention australia, for example, where the
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government was perceived to have done quite well early on. and now, it's perceived to be done quite badly because they don't have the vaccines, they're still cocooned with people not allowed in or out. still have these persistent regular lockdown. regular lockdown is in big cities. so inevitably, the incumbent suffers, and the main opposition party labour are ahead in the polls. you can see something of that happening in the united kingdom. polls here are unreliable narrators. but during the sort of euphoria of the vaccine rollout, the tories were miles ahead as the incumbent. now whether there are doubts about opening up and some of the incoherence of policymaking is a bit clearer, the polls are narrowing. to make sense of politics in any democracy at the moment,
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you have to weigh in the freakish conditions we've all been living in for the last 18 months. we aren't out of yet. how is it going down in iraq? that's a democracy with enough problems to deal with and enough troubles to establish itself after the saddam hussein regime, after the american—led invasion. how much has covid complicated the picture there? well, it's complicated i people's lives incredibly. the political picture, - as you know, is already quite difficult, but we've seen again how corruption . and mismanagement lead i to people losing their lives. we've had two major hospital fires due to oxygen cylindersl catching fire, and therefore . the entire hospital not having the right sprinklers, - in two different cities only about seven weeks apart. we had dozens of. deaths and injuries. so, it shows you that we don'tl have the underpinnings of good governance and we don't have the underpinnings. of actually setting up publici sectors that serve the public rather than its own political agenda. .
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and trying to win votes _ by sending money here and there to influence people, - it doesn't serve the purpose of serving people. sadly, that's - what we see in iraq. numbers are rising. you were talking about. 7000—8000 cases a day, and iraq doesn't do much- testing, so when we say seven to 8000, it's usually| about 40 to 50,000. to get those thousands. it's much wider than . what's being reported. iraq also has a lot i of vaccine hesitancy. you're looking at 2% to 3% l of people getting vaccinated. there was a problem initially getting vaccine support - but they have now had some shipments delivered, - but people are still hesitant, which as we are seeing -
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around the world... we had this visit by the prime minister to washington, and the announcement byjoe biden. about the end of an american military presence in iraq. what are the implications of that decision? what's interesting is americans and iraqis have agreed it's- troops that are ending... i which means they're still going i to have 2—3000 american troops. importantly, nato increased its mission and the prime minister went to see president biden, but before that he had beenl in brussels where he metl with the secretary general of nato and nato is keyl to keeping its presence. it's a different story _ from afghanistan, which could be much more complicated. there is some american presence i in iraq, however those militias. and iranian backed groups. are working hard to make it very uncomfortable forl the americans and nato to maintain even that small troop presencej as they want to be able - to stamp their own influence. was interesting in that - meeting his present biden had a little paper in his hand, i and it had two bullet points, one was that the us - is willing to respond to. one was the us was willing to respond to attacks - on its interest, and two thatl iran maybe considering those attacks which is worrying, because that means iraql would become another opponent.
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what was interesting in that. meeting his present biden had a little paper in his hand, i and it had two bullet points, one was that the us - is willing to respond to. one was the us was willing to respond to attacks - on its interest, and two thatl iran maybe considering those attacks which is worrying, because that means iraql would become another opponent. ned, last thought on this. contrasting outcomes in iraq and afghanistan, does that suggest the americans have written off afghanistan as an area of interest and their focus remains on iraq? i think it's probably a bit more complicated than that. i think there is a real sense of retreat, like after the vietnam war. still hanging over from the iraq war. in washington, it's very hard to get consensus in favour
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of significant military involvement, particularly in the middle east. i think in that sense, it's kind of a political triumph to leave some presence in iraq. i think the more general shift is away from the middle east and europe to a certain extent, and this new primary foreign policy focusing on the asia—pacific region and china. that's one for another day. and now to the �*any other business' at the end of every agenda. in the case of dateline, it's the opportunity for each of you to tell us about a story or an angle on a story you think has not received sufficient attention so far. ned, do you want to kick us off? i will, and this will sound
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weird because i'm got a kick off with the olympics, which has been giving a fair amount of coverage. not the medals and not even the winners. i'm always transfixed and moved by some of the personal stories that risk getting overlooked or forgotten of those who don't win. in this, i include two remarkable young women. naomi 0saka, simone biles, both of whom in different circumstances did not win medals and very courageously and articulately talked about the issues of mental health and pressures which are too often overlooked. helen glover, a brit, mid 30s, a champion in rowing in the past, who decided after having three kids to make one last crack at getting a medal. i was a moved when she just missed and she and her partner came in fourth just outside the bronze medal position. she made a point which is too often overlooked. she said the reward is knowing that we crossed the line and gave it our all.
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the frustration and defeat would've been coming away and thinking we had more and we didn't give it. it's kind of put things in context and it reminds us that it's not all about winning, it's not all about the medals. absolutely. true 0lympian spirit, that. to train to your best and perform to your utmost and take part and accept defeat as with the same cheerfulness as victory. modesty from the irish rovers as well, their victory this week. mina? i want to say, please pay| attention to paralympics. for me, i think the story i don't think it's gettingl enough attention, they have been protesting in iran, - particularly there have been at least nine deaths - and 171 arrests. people are not.
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paying attention. there are several cities that have protests, - and unfortunately, their voice is not being heard. _ in the times, they said they think the era of water wars could be up in the times, they said they think the era of water wars could be upon us sooner rather than later. iran aside, do you feel some resonance with that? do you feel like a war is over natural resources are likely to get more of an issue in the coming decades? they already have. a lot of the protests _ where people are facing power shortages, you see that and so many parts. - water wars in the fight over natural resources for actual| survival are going to increasej unfortunately with the impact of climate change. we talked about that a bit last week in the context of the german storms and the unsettled weather continuing in many parts of the world.
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steve ? yeah, the new head of the body called nhs england was appointed this week. for england, that should be a huge political story. in theory nhs england runs the legendary nhs. but there is a question to how much this new head of the current deputy, amanda prichard, how much power she will have because the government has held to account for the running of the nhs. the health secretary in theory is going to take more power back with some reforms going through government at the moment. but is the current new health secretary keen on that idea? if not him, who does hold full account? whenever the question is posed, who is responsible for what? who is in charge for what? be it the bbc, a football club, the nhs, there's trouble ahead. it has not been clear for a long time the divisions of responsibility. the covid press briefings that used to happen in the uk twice
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or three times a week, there was never one where there was a health secretary and the head of nhs england standing together, because they wouldn't be sure which of the two should answer the questions. they are both theoretically responsible for a lot of it. terrifying to give contradictory answer. both started speaking at the same time. so these blurred lines will be a big issue on reflecting on what happens next with the nhs and the role of nhs england so supposedly theoretically powerful, will be in question, as it has been all the way through this dance between elected politicians and those non—elected people they asked to run the nhs.
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this applies to so many institutions in england in this era. when the question cannot be coherently answered as to who is responsible for what, trouble ahead for any institution. around the world. steve richards, mina al—0raibi and ned temko, thank you very much for being with us on this week's dateline. that's it for dateline london for this week. i was reminded when ned mentioned helen glover, won gold in london and rio and came forth this time, set a lockdown project that's gone too far. from all of us, goodbye.
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hello. between the showers on saturday, we reached 23 celsius in suffolk. we had nine hours of sunshine in parts of cornwall. that is often the case when we have sunny spells and showers. the north york moors saw about 17 mm of rain from the showers during saturday as well and they haven't altogether died out through the night because we've got the complication of a weather front. what it is is cooler in the north. temperatures into a single figures in rural parts of scotland and northern ireland. that's because we're behind this cold weather front. as i say, that's complicating our sunny spells and scattered showers scenario because we've actually got rather more cloud to start across parts of northern england, showers following on that brisk wind into the north and east of scotland but fewer showers further west across scotland, very few showers for northern ireland generally speaking and further west, but they will break out both on our weather front and further south. it looks like the most potent showers during the day on sunday are likely across southern and eastern parts of the uk, slow—moving with hail and thunder and lightning. once again torrential downpours, we need to keep
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an eye on those. and temperatures generally will be a degree or so down on those of saturday because of that northerly breeze although a fairly light breeze in southern areas, as i say. and those showers will rumble on and through this evening and for a start tonight, but then they do fade away. we lose that weather front away from southern and eastern areas and it'll be a fresher night for all, i think. we'll notice that difference by the time we get to monday morning. but some brightness and sunshine and a relatively quiet start to the week. 0ur weather front�*s not too far away in the south, so that's going to provide the focal point again for a few showers and perhaps developing over the cumbrian mountains and up into snowdonia in wales, one or two not far away from northern ireland, and western scotland should be fine and dry but still cool in the north and east with that gentle northerly drift which gets cut off by our slight ridge of high pressure for a time late monday into tuesday. but then, we're looking at the atlantic influence coming in from midweek on which is going to be difficult to pinpoint the detail at this stage. so, don't take this as read but it does look more unsettled again as we go through the midweek and beyond period. that, as you can see,
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illustrated here on our weather charts with more showers and longer spells of rain appearing, and even some showers to start the week as i say in southern areas and across wales in particular. so, yes, fewer showers, a little bit quieter to start the week, still quite cool and it stays cool with more wind and rain later.
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this is bbc news. i'm rich preston. our top stories: gunfire. fierce fighting in afghanistan — three cities are battling the taliban. with the taliban emboldened, peace talks stalled, everyone�*s worried that in the coming weeks, the violence is going to get even worse. day nine of the tokyo olympics is under way. later, we'll discover who'll claim usain bolt�*s crown. and as the uk's latest satellite goes into orbit, can it maintain its position as a world leader in space tech?
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