Thursday 7 February
You're listening to Midori house. First broadcast on the seventh of February two thousand nine hundred thousand a monocle twenty four. Hello and welcome to Midori house coming to you live from studio one here in London. I'm Juliet foster and on today's show I've been wondering what the special place in the whole looks like for those who promoted it without even a sketch of a plan how to carry safely Donald Tooth's outspoken criticism of Brexit tear politicians has ruffled feathers in the United Kingdom. But as British Prime Minister, Theresa may returns to Brussels can shoot least steer her country back to purgatory Germany promises to pay more cash into NATO's budget, but will that satisfy Donald Trump who's accused, but they're not not giving enough. My guests Sebastian borger, and James Rojas will be discussing this. And the days are the top stories, including the findings of a Royal commission lease to the resignation of two senior executives from a major. Australian Bank are well commissions the best way to bring the powerful to account. All that. Plus better late the never seventy years after refusing to publish his essay, defending English cooking. The British Council says sorry to the author. George Orwell muscle to come here on Midori house with me Juliette foster. Welcome to Midori house. My guess today. I'll Sebastian borger the London correspondent for the Turkish beagle. And James Rogers, he's head of international journalism. Studies at City University, London, gentlemen, welcome both of you to the program now with just fifty days to go until Britain leaves the European Union. The pressure on Prime Minister, Theresa may is intensifying. She's in Brussels, hoping to arm twist the EU into accepting a revised version of her withdrawal agreement yet has both sides look for a breakthrough. It's also clear that Europe's patients has finally worn thin European Council. President Donald tusk provoked the IRA of British politicians and the media when he spoke often die quotes a special place in hell for those who promoted Brexit without even a sketch of a plan of how to carry it out safely. A question really to both of you, Donald is a streetwise politician. So why would he say this knowing that it's going to encourage if you like an adverse reaction in the u k? A more importantly went to reason may as having a pint in the last chance saloon. Well on image. Julia. Surprised with prime minister has how the point over the last couple of years to need it every politician. These days is very very wise to the way the media would have portrayed this. Mr tuszca. No doubt knew that his words would probably end up being taken slightly out of context. It's on those irresistible things for headlines. Nevertheless, you know, he does make a very serious point. I think as far as reaction in this country goes media reaction, political reaction popular reaction like so many other things. Now, it depends largely on the way that you voted in the two thousand sixteen referendum a lot of people who voted remain will say, yes, he has a very very good point here. A lot of people who voted leaving. We saw that. Even for members of the cabinet yesterday was saying, well, this is why we want to leave the European Union. We don't want to be bullied and spoken to like that. So whether it's helpful to the processes one matter, but I think it is it is fairly Frank expression of how strongly people feel at this stage. Of course, it's not helpful. But we. We I think we can agree on the, of course, it was entirely scripted. I have no doubt about that. But it was informed by his meeting with the Irish T. Shocker lever at car just before that press conference where he said it where he talked about hell, and that's got nothing to do with both of those countries. Poland in Ireland, traditionally being Catholic it, but it's got everything to do with the fact that I think for the first time Brussels is now concentrating on the effect that no deal, the chaos Brexit that we're heading for I fear, and we'll have not only on on Britain, which to some extent is par for the course, I suppose, but on the Republic of Ireland, and and how how much the European Union will have to invest to to keep the Irish economy afloat and the Irish. People fed and waters. I mean seriously. This is going to be very awkward, and this is a very important point as well. Because the the the Brexit backstop. We'll certainly the concept to the backstop was something that was very much absent or certainly appear to be absent in the run-up to this referendum because the emphasis was on immigration. It was on the national health service. And there was no talk about about the backstop, and that's key. Because one of the signatures to that is the United States of America. I mean, I think this is you know, remain is in particularly that misters Cuza point. And I think so so fat to say, and we saw this in some of the reactions in majorly in the days after the referendum, however, much they may actually know how to house wanted to where most of the leaf campaign is did not expect to win this referendum. Nothing. The allegation that this was on clans. Nobody knew exactly what leave looked like. Because I haven't been set out before an argument was put forward by those people in this country campaigning for a second referendum nothing. They have been largely. Born out. I think James, I think it's worse. I think there was a deliberate decision by the leave camp. Not to spell out. What's what's Brexit would look like because they didn't expect to win that didn't feel they need a too much. Too much worse against the cost. They they realized that hap- they spelled it out. They would have been you know, taken down on the details. And and their case would have been fairly quickly fallen upon would have fairly quickly fallen apart. So so so I think that was at that was part of the strategy brilliant strategy. You may argue, but but obviously devastate let's take another point of Mr. two's criticisms because he he wasn't just looking at those Brexit, Erin, Pitt and he MP's there's a veiled reference there to the European research group, which is a conservative group of MP's in in the in the government, basically who all pushing hard for for that Brexit without without without agreements. But he also criticized remains as well because he despaired what he saw his rather weak lack of leadership and the tax equally blistering because they they were pretty mild compared to the the religious imagery that was used before where I'm gonna thing. This is this really is in a. I don't think this is helpful tool because this is this is a criticism of something that may or may not have happened three years ago in a very very different circumstances. I don't think anybody who's some people who directly involved in the league leave campaign may try to justify their actions. But I don't think anybody thinks he was done, particularly well and having spoken some people who campaign for it. They will point to many errors. It's not useful to direct. But the point that he's making though is that there is a weak leadership at the heart of the remain team this Lomas. Not leadership is the lack of leadership will decisiveness is there than perhaps it makes the inevitability of overhauled Brexit more of a certain team. But again, it tells you something about the misconception that is in both Brussels and some other countries, and I'm afraid I will have to include my own that that people were still thinking this decision is reversible. And of course, any decision is reversible. But I I I'm afraid the the problems of the last few weeks it particularly parliament have shown up how how terribly difficult the case is for a second referendum in in fact, to the to the extent that they don't even table the relevant amendments anymore to to the government built. So so, and I think Brussels, of course, being used to countries reconsidering. Think of Denmark, ninety to think of Ireland two thousand one think of island two thousand eight and may have thought that Britain would reconsider. I always thought John Major the former prime minister was ride when he said the British people, even if they make a terrible mistake, which I think this is a too proud and too stubborn to reverse. Down the road. But he let let's look at what's happening now in Brussels because MRs may is there she's hoping she cannot truly have this revamped re tweaked version of her withdrawal dill that that somehow or other it will be accepted by by the EU the signs so far not looking promising, but everybody has to be optimistic. But there is a train of thought in Britain has to be optimists. What one can be mildly optimism. But the point about it, though, is that a lot of the people have been saying miss country. Will you know, the only these things to announcement? It's always possible you can pull a last minute. Robbie town to the hat is easy. Look. I mean, the the problem is, and I think that's where to ski and young awry, the problem is not can we get the EU twenty seven to agree on something which will be difficult enough. And and also I can only say beware of what you wish for because if you open that treaty, then than I can already see the Spanish shouting g brought her again, and the and the French the French talking about fish, and and all that kind of the so beware for it. But but even if they did then the the problem that they point to is will may be able to get the deal through parliament. No, she won't. We know that we we know she's got a hard core of I'd say two to three dozen idiots in her own in her own party. Who will vote down anything? She brings home. Let's not beat about the Bush. It's ridiculous. Absolutely. No way unless she moved. Towards labor, and of course, corporate has opened the door to that customs union guarantees on worker's rights, blah, blah, blah, and immediately she Scott one hundred and fifty labor backbench. Let's let's look at a possible scenario because one of the accusations that some have made against her James is that he's deliberately trying to run down the clock. So in other words, we end up having a hall Brexit. Whether we like it or not who will be blamed for this. Would it be British politicians for what some regard as inept negotiating or will it be the Europeans who carry the can for being inflexible? Now is exactly the same the way that you interpret Mr. to comments as pretending xactly on what you're inclined to believe in the first place remains will say this the and particularly room remains who naturally labor, a liberal Democrat votes will say this was entirely defaults to conservative party their own the process from start to finish and they failed to deliver. And they made a terrible mess of it. However, I'm quite. Certainly large proportions of people within the conservative party of us who voted leave will say, well, look this. This is what the European Union's all about. You know, they tried which tried to set our own course in they've done their best to frustrating. So I'm afraid there are many many things in this country now, which your your opinion is pre decided upon what we are predisposed to think about Britain's relationship with the rest of Europe. So I think that is exactly how the blame will be poked proportion. However, this turns out the end of the day Sebastian a lot of this is done through through the prism of optics. Isn't it it's going to look and particularly the generations how they're going to judge it? And and of course, the British media overwhelmingly supported Brexit, and therefore will blame the European Union. I I have no doubt whatsoever. Okay. Then let's move on now to Germany because Germany has told NATO it will stand by its promise to boost defense spending to one and a half percent of GDP or sixty billion euros by twenty twenty four yet achieving that goal wound be easy. A leaked finance minister your portrait veal the tax revenue. News. We're expected to rise by less than expected in the coming years because of a slowing economy at the same time a one half percent spend is less than the two percent benchmark which America believes aligns members should be putting into the NATO pot. So if Germany com deliver on that promise Sebastian to look as if it's trying to dodge its responsibility. So at the slack can be picked up hills where fairly accurate representational false. Look. I mean, the first thing is, of course, we amongst many other nations of Germany amongst many other nations agreed to two thousand fourteen at the NATO summit in Wales to up the spending to two percent. Two percent. Not one point five two percent of GDP. And I find it slightly worrying that they could kind of go around saying proudly. Well, isn't that great that we're going to raise it to one and a half of sorry? You've you promised to raise too. To percents in that sense. Don, Donald Trump. Sorry. I was gonna say Toscano. Donald Trump is entirely right entirely, right? In saying you promised Dow keep your keep your promise and deliver. Now second thing, of course, is it's difficult to to from a from basis of I think one point two at the moment of GDP it to to up spending in in such a way in in a in a in a in an intelligent way, where you don't just buy in any any old tanks and airplanes, but you've got to sort of structure your forces in in a new way. And that'll take time am I wonder I mean, also politically it's difficult because there is a large part of the German public, which is entirely, you know, was was brought up on pacifism, and and is entirely against any military spending. And totally ignores the fact, of course, that this is one of the biggest. Exporting nations in the world, and and has a certain responsibility towards both its region and beyond and I guess the other question which arises from this James is why does spending half to be financial because Germany will so engages in NATO initiatives. There are no military activities. Also fall deployments in countries like Afghanistan. So on these Justice valid as opening a wallet. And throwing cash report. Sebastian makes an excellent point about the undertaken, which was which was given them particularly the wider context of a world in which President Trump has questioned the value of NATO, which he always compares the amounts which other NATO members demand to their budgets, which they commit to NATO compares unfavourably with a three and a half percent. The United States spends on defense. And I think in a world where perception is means as much as reality. This is a problem for Germany tuna percents targets, a very you could imagine Donald Trump tweeting, these these are very simple figures that lend themselves very clearly to to one of his tweets in this off our the day overnights. And so I think it is going to be a problem. But I think Sebastian also made a very good point about you know, what is war these days. How should military's equipment sells? Let's take the example of the way that you know, there's been concern in some quarters about whether Russia might try to move troops into some of the Baltic nations in what waters Russia has actually done their most Ron. Easterby in two thousand seven with a row with Estonia over the moving for Soviet woman Morial was to mount to cyber attack. So is it really that sensible to go buying lots and lots of hardware when modern war in Europe is not going to just be about mistakes. In two thousand eight in Georgia. Wasn't it? I agree. I totally that conflict was actually remarkable for the huge sums of both some spent both sides spent with western public relations firms to try to make that point. Anyway, at the Ralph not she committed in your own troops on the ground proxies. And I agree that German. Cyber capacity is capability is woefully am nonexistent, more or less, and and all the all the accounting measures about 'em talking about I mean, that's the other thing that a lot of the the German public talks about well, we spend a lot of money on on development aid, which in its own way. Is is peace preserving, but it doesn't it doesn't matter matchup. You've got to put more money into the military. That's no doubt about. I mean, we've been talking, of course, about Donald Trump, and he's the edifice in the room metaphorically speaking, I guess, but I mean. But that's the point the point is he's he's basically said, look, you know, I'm I'm putting in about three percent. I think is the US contribution. And you know, the Americans have complained in the pulsed and Trump is really wrong with that battle on. I mean to be fair. I it was George Bush, George W Bush was Obama Trump says it in a much more forceful and to some is unpleasant way fine. But the the the promises said, and you've got to you've got to keep it. And actually, I mean, it's not in the end. What does that two percent promise matter? What matters. I think is that Europe is is is a region of stability in a very unstable. We are confronted on our border with Russia, which is which is a pretty dodgy country. These days we have lots of problems in in in neighboring regions. We and we need an and whatever whatever, however, well, we do peacekeeping within the European Union. There are other unpleasant people around the world, and we've got to be we've got to be able to face them down as well. James that if Germany is going to row back from this commitment because as Sebastian said, you have the NATO summit in Wales it signed up to these terms. Two percent, it sets a pretty bad precedent, doesn't it that? If other countries just say, well, look if Germany's going to do that, then hey, we might as well for those suit thing there is a risk of that. Although, unfortunately, wouldn't be the first or the last international conference when pixel of Bill. As the backdrop as well. And bellicose president is. Well, yes, no. I think it is. And I think that's why I mean, these are leaked documents one has to be slightly circumspect about how these find the winds. The media is this something that's trying out as a policy and they want to le- deliberately or was it. A conscientious civil servant who wants to bring domestic politics as well. The finance ministry saying, you know, that the defenseman is MS minister from the line saying are needing more money. The finds ministry say basically saying I we haven't got the money. It's ridiculous. 'cause they have the money if they want to spend it. I mean, the only good thing, I suppose, we if we we are watching with mixed feelings how the euro-zone economy is going down at the mall. And then of course, if you spend sixty billion on the military that'll be a higher percentage of your GDP wanted if you okay? Well, someone's got to juggle the coin somewhere. But you're listening to Madari house here with meat Judy at foster Mike S, Sebastian borger and James Rogers coming up next all Royal commissions, the most effective way of bringing the powerful to account when they do wrong. What is it like to be a city forgotten and rediscovered Monaco films travels to Gooden San in South Korea to bear witness to its urban revival in natives and newcomers creating quirky buzz out spaces and a bright future for this charming coastal outpost? Goodson building on the past playing now in the film section at Monaco dot com. Still with me on Sebastian borger and James Rojas. Australia's banking sector has been left. Wheeling this week after the shock resignation of two senior executives from one of the country's top for banks. The chairman and the CEO of National Australia Bank were forced to step down after a Royal commission inquiry into industry wrongdoing. Single them out the scathing criticism as the four hundred former fees Fano service, sinks in many commentators believe the scandal. Could only have come to light because all that will commission James are they right while it probably looks like nothing sometimes examples went public inquires of this night show. Do hit the target. We've had quite a few examples in recent years in number of industries, whether it was self regulating on that in many cases, meant basically, non regulating an on this occasion. It certainly seems that those people who are singled out by these senior. Actors have accepted responsibility and have resigned. So in that sense. It has, you know, rooted out this bad practice, and it does seem to have had an effect pretty much every industry makes a plea at some point one example and things in this country is the media that's been something been through a lot in the last ten years. Exactly might please to Bill out to self-regulate, but it doesn't always work terribly. Well, and it seems in this case the public inquiry will the Royal commissions. I call them in Australia seems to have done the trick certainly to the extent that these executives entertain responsibility for their actions. But I think the point is is that yes, they took responsibility very, very grudgingly. Because we stood back and say, well, we didn't do anything wrong. And you've got you've got hold of the wrong. End of the stick case. There's no sign of contrition is is interesting because I I mean, I've, I'm Australia tragic as my. Relatives over there. We'll say so I've I've come and gone for thirty five years now, and there have been a number of Royal commissions in Australia, which I think move the political debate along along along way on on the aborigines on the the mistreatment of children who had been sent over in the forties and fifties or on not least on sexual crime in in churches. And so this is only the latest example finally enough. I mean, I'm I'm watching Britain fairly carefully for for a quarter of century. Now, I can't remember that Britain had a Royal commission. Even though Britain has royalty. You know, it's always a public inquiries of some sort of another. And and so that seems ought to. Of course, we don't not having royalty. We don't have Royal commissions. But we have parliamentary. Investigations which have also and Germany which have also sometimes, you know, really cracked an issue like that. That's that is young begging. Now, if we talk about banking in particular, of course, we had the parliamentary commission on banking here in in the UK in twenty twelve thirteen which I think was effective in the way. It's it looked towards the future at short tried to try to split half investment banks from from retail Bank is cetera. But but but I think the misdemeanors of of the period until the financial crash and beyond still hasn't been dealt with. That was the point isn't it James? Yes, it's great having these commissions public enquiries, call them what you will shining. A light confirming suspicions that something rotten has occurred in a structure, but it is when there is no legal accountability that people can walk away with a nice payoffs at cetera. And go and live quietly. Okay. And this is not a weakness that some of these some of these key in Guam role commissions should have legal POWs are things Sebastian was very good point about talking about the the financial crisis. Because I think that's really changed a lot of people's perceptions. I note for the Reuters report on this story sister, the last shareholders meeting eighty eight point one percent of the shell is voted against the executives having their bonuses. So oversee the Royal Commission's findings that to that's accent, a very much in tune with popular opinion. But yes, I mean, of course, enquiries like this and criminal matters are two completely different ones and other people involved in this case of denied any wrongdoing they've accepted responsibility for things which may have gone wrong while they're there. But from there to actually, you know, a criminal case, it's a lot of people have light see in relations, the financial crisis is quite so long stab. Okay. Well, let's move on now to finally story because I think it's fair to say that sorry seems to be the hardest word for the. Council which has taken seventy years to apologize to the author. George Orwell for refusing to publish one of his essays Orwell whose works include animal farm and the road to Wigan pin wrote in defense of English cooking in nineteen forty six. However, the council decided it would be quote, unwise to publish it of the hungry winter of nineteen forty five and wartime food rationing I'll have to confess that. When I I read this story. I foot won't visit a little bit of political correctness hip, but not quite political correctness. But it's the spirit of it. And it's it's interesting to see, but some sort of a onset was there even back then in the doctor. He's of the nineteen forties. The immediate post war years surpassed in well. First of all, I think it's great to keep the maim George overall in the public debate. Because it it it might get some younger people to take out one of his books and delight in his wonderful. Title English prose. And I've I've been particularly enjoyed recently his essay on how to make the best Cup of tea. So that that's a related related issue. And but but you know, I can totally understand. I always remember my parents saying in in Germany, and I I I'm not sure I don't think it was very different here in Britain. The worst winter was not there wasn't no wind during the war was as bad as the the the one or infected two winters after the war, forty five forty six forty six forty seven and two two then it could have maybe I looked a little bit sort of or quits to people's very considerate. But then you have to ask yourself, James. He wrote this article seventy years ago, they decided not to publish it. Because they've been very sensitive to to the conditions that people were going. At the time say what's the point because all receive it? And the challenge is all because he was a good hat. Good journalist he thought. Well, okay. Then you haven't published it fine. I'll go onto the next client. I think it's interesting the property as a point here because I mean, one thing he writes about in the essay how much British Christine relies on animal fat and sugar. Now, I would imagine if you had lived through this very very lean winter and terrible time in European history. You're probably crying out for animal fat and sugar and probably couldn't get nearly as much as you would have liked Suga was rationed in this country into the nineteen fifties. You know, my my m- my mother talking about, you know, my my daughter's come believe how few sweets granny had when she was little because the sugar was rationed. But I think, you know, I think oh, well, it's very good at having read. You know, I looked up bits of today as when I've his PROST shines through crystal. One does he would make partic- cuisine. The range has to he wrote another Evening Standard evening newspaper here in London about the perfect pub, which you know, the sting in the tail of that article is it doesn't exist. He goes through describing what the perfect British pub would habit. It's called the moon under water. And then the Andy says, actually, this pub doesn't exist, and I've looked for everywhere. I think now gastro pubs of craft beer pubs. He might think things are gonna we've it takes on the other way. Sorry, say something different after no deal Brexit's. We're never gonna get away from. We. But I mean seriously in the twenty years that I've been in this country. It's changed immeasurably to the better. No doubt about it. I mean apart from of course, that that Britain absorbed, the the casino of its immigrants carry it will which was then which was then talked about by Robin Cook, the former foreign secretary s the English national national. In the ninety nine hundred. And but but but but also, I mean, all that's a good grades salads. You making my mouth water. Now's so we're going to bring it to an end because we have sadly reached the end of today's show, but Sebastian Borgen, James Rojas. Thank you, both the joining us here at Madari house and today's show was produced by Augustine much, Larry researched by for an under Augusto Pacheco. And Rory Goodrich has studio manager was Christie Evans, more music next nine thousand nine hundred dollars. It's the est, and we'll have more on the day's main stories on the daily at twenty two hundred Midori houses back at the same time tomorrow that is eighteen hundred London time from me shoot. At foster goodbye.