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 Election 2019: on the campaign trail with Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn

Today in Focus

33:26 min | 8 months ago

Election 2019: on the campaign trail with Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn

"Today following Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn on the election campaign trail and and wildfires in Australia. Reach dangerous new levels as most Johnson given booze for this campaign he claims to have done he has been spotted sipping zipping through bits here and there on the campaign trail the Guardians. Deputy political editor Rowena Mason has spent this election election campaign criss crossing the country on the tail of Conservative leader. Boris Johnson close enough to watch his daily habits unnoticed. His optimism awesome about the likely outcome and I was on the tour bus last week. Boris Johnson in a huddle with journalists started talking Greek to us it was very ah cheerful excitable form and it just gave you the sense that even though he was saying that he wasn't really measuring the curse in Jaffna refuse to answer any questions about life in Downing Street the impression he was giving was he was pretty confident about where he was heading. Political editor have Stewart has been traveling with Labor leader. Jeremy Corbyn we know enough traveling around on trains watching how he keeps calm. As the tension builds a picture on Jeremy Cubans twitter feed and it was him on a train down to to an event on the coast in the South West somewhere and he was staring out the train window a lovely rainbow and I thought that I could imagine his aides thinking you know this is a great way to sort sort of calm him down and getting back into that Nice twinkly relaxed mood that where he owns his questions well and comes over much better. There are just two days to go until we vote in a momentous election. The decision made on Thursday could tip Britain straight into brexit under under a conservative government that has shifted to the right Aussie Labor offer. A second referendum and immediately start start to re nationalize key industries. The choice has rarely been so struck from the Guardian. I'm initiative Astana today in focus this on the campaign trail with Boris Johnson. And Jeremy Corbyn Heather if you can cast your mind back to the very start of this campaign. What was the mood like for the Labor leadership but then I went to the sort flown events today? We launched the most ambitious and radical campaign. Our country has ever say it was very upbeat. Lively in the art center The big audience. There was a real sense of these eon usual kind of temptation soundtrack and temptations. Yeah yeah they live with this sort of no. That's the wrong in Burton type. Tell him about the song right. Let's see this again Tom. I turned up about a half an hour for its stars. Didn't get a seat so I stood at the back trying to You Know Sit Cross legged getting fun story on my laptop in the Kuban question. It's a labor seat but with a small but to see the clouds were obsolete. Partially Wild Wild there was there was a woman named me middle-age woman you knew -lating thing us the word which account you can't do that means he's a real kind of almost desperation things can be better. Shouldn't be better. Shouldn't we have a different kind of world. which was the message that went down well in twenty seventeen and here it was? It was like a greatest hits feeling about the mentioned on the first week of the campaign didn't go well for the stories. Didn't it was pretty disastrous stress. Because of Jacob Rees Mocks Comments About Grenfell Tower when he was suggesting that people who took the advice of the fire service and stayed where they were talking common. Sense a a I think if either of us were whatever the fire brigade said we would leave a burning building that was the first real blow to their campaign since then I'm Jake rees-mogg a very close ally abortions effectively being benched Geno. I texted him just just after he'd made those comments to see if he would do a guardian event and he replied in many things. That is a very tempting invitation but I plan hardly to leave Somerset during the campaign and that has been worn out because he is only very rarely been spotted by several several reporters at being sent to look for him. I think I saw a Selfie at stonehenge. The other day then there was another could Husky and that was a Alan cans. Welsh L. Secretary resigned over some actions by one of his former aides in connection to a rape trial. He was accused of sabotaging today. He wrote to the Prime Prime Minister. This is a very sensitive matter and in light of continued speculation. I write to tender my resignation. As Secretary of State for Wales. He added that he was confident. He would be cleared of wrongdoing. If you talk to Tori strategist now. What they say is that they really tried to be ruthless about dealing with those two two incidents that the time forcing degrees to apologize straight away and then take him off the pitch and Allen Kearns doing a similar thing even though it was damaging to the campaign in Wales? That's the typical philosophy of Lynton crosby. WHO's a Tory election guru and a close friend? Boris Johnson of getting barnacles off the boat. That's how is being referred to internally He may have got those barnacles off the bait but it certainly didn't immediately improve. I mean you were on the campaign trail and one of the early things. That seem quite bad. Was it was major flooding cutting across the north of England and the Midlands and it took Boris Johnson. Quite a few days to get. We want to know why they took so long. Five days for us to really flat-footed of the prime minister to have taken quite a lot of time to go out to you. Shine to also have seemed to minimized it as a problem where eh not saying. It was a national emergency straightaway. It seemed that the campaign was really floundering at that. Point will lay feeling quite smug at that point. Yeah I think they were and I think there were aspects of. This is a close team around Jeremy. Corbyn effectively run a general election campaign before and it really did feel in those early days. The the Tories were making a series of sort of terrible missteps. That labor were able to capitalize on and they also quite quickly alighted on this idea of connecting brexit and Boris Johnson's version of Brexit. With the threat to the NHA. So we've now got evidence that under Boris Johnson the NHS is on table and will be up for sale two very strong issues that they got out there early. The peasants business running the campaign for the tourism cooled Isaac Libido he is former right hand man to Lynton crosby and very much seems to be in the crosby. I te mold of running elections actions which is safety first and having a small number of slogans that you hammer away over and over and over again we can get brexit done. We go seven days Brexit get it done by January thirty first and come out. Let's get brexit done. My friends get on with our P probably identify identify that with his campaign. Now he's got a small number of policies really that he's talking about all the time. Which are the twenty thousand police officers? We elite say the streets to be getting and the fifty thousand nurses which it subsequently emerged that not all of them will be new nurses qualifying beam thus retained his pad down the number of things. He's talking about a very slim number of things and that was reflected as well in the manifested through. She came quite late in the campaign again to minimize the potential for mistakes. Let's for sensible moderate tax cutting one nation conservative government. And take this country. Ford's thank you very much and it really honed down into these very few areas that he wants to focus on and of course returning people to Brexit and this idea uh-huh because after brexit done by January thirty even though of course it will drag on for years and years and years and have a in two thousand seventeen. The digital campaign for Labor was a massive thing is not the same this time round again. Yeah you've still got people in South side putting out very nice little slick videos and also there's a videographer. Who goes around? I'm with Cuban and takes little videos off him just launched on new manifesto. So I thought I'd take sixty seconds to run through his many. The policies of the mental is also putting out its own material of which is including I think more attacks against Boris Johnson. Johnson which is something that Jeremy Corbyn has tended personally to stay away from in that first interview. He did with him. He said they go wego high. But you've seen other senior diaper figures do that and you've certainly seen that in this multimedia material to say Boris Johnson lacks. A moral. Compass is like saying that the flat society lacks an actual compass to our we jealous in fact of Labour's incredible online out pope but they have made some changes in comparison to previous elections. They've got these two young dish leary's from New Zealand. Excellent and one of the hallmarks is shaky camera videos of Boris Johnson. Talking about his way. Like T- Varsha. I'm I'm good. How you what's been on your mind today with? The prime minister has been doing a lot of facebook life direct to the viewers type of many videos that spread across facebook. Good afternoon needed. I'm speaking to you live from my desk in Downing Street. And what media outlets in front of the line for interviews in the garden afraid not in front of the queue for major interviews have been the son which had a full absolute run through day on the campaign aim trial with or is Johnson. Day I I think genetic bunch late now I I. I sometimes succumbed flap Jax. We haven't been given a chance to have an in-depth grilling of him. But we've had a couple of questions as we asked him about his reaction to the London Bridge terror attack and politicizing it and which is what he was accused of pages by David Barrett. The father of Jack Merit. I'm GonNa Start Jack Merits. Let's father David Moore has said your response to the London. Bridge attack has been beyond disgusting and you also question. The Tory manifesto launch left the prime minister floundering. What was that about what happened was the conservatives changed their twitter handle from conservative? HQ to fact check UK's masquerading the fact is an independent fact checking and they go a whole heap of criticism including from Proper authentic fact checking organizations on twitter. South I'm afraid that the The twitter sphere is not really my My province but I what I what I can say is that I'm informed that don't the Labor have some sort of operation which is reinvested. Yes I was slowly taken by surprise probably because I was pretty sure he wasn't going to kill me for a question. They were sort of thrown off balance by the question. It's then started pretending that he had no idea what I was talking about. I I will. I will praise myself of the details of this but when it comes to as I say when it comes to trust import and then rambling on on about the content of the snark. There is one loose like the the hunting of the snark or the quest. The onset of Fermat's it's lost theorem more the riddle of the Sphinx. The Bermuda Triangle. He was like twitter. Look loud and the revealing thing is actually that. I'd also exactly not the same question a week earlier. Off Camera Sensing unexplained exactly what had happened. He didn't know what you did in terms of the media strategy more broadly. I mean I was amazed that when we tried item fail to get Jeremy Corbyn onto namesake's they said they haven't spoken to a single podcast so presumably it's quite traditional. Yeah I think is what tradition in a way. They've done plenty of those how's set-piece broadcasting's fees including of course that mom with Andrew Nailed it. Some Boris Johnson has dodged. Wouldn't you like to take this opportunity tonight to apologize apologize to the British Jewish community for what happened. What else I is this? I am determined that our society will be safe for people of all. Oh face I don KNAPP was aside Jeremy Corbyn he was tired. I think he can be a bit techy. He can bear defensive. Can I explain what we're trying to do you. Have you been given plenty of time to do. I asked you if you wanted to. He can also be Roy and warm and very happy to answer questions. I asked him a question last week at a press conference otherwise about brexit about Anti Semitism. And you know he owns a very robustly. But in that Neil interview you saw less pleasant side of him unfortunately that was the clip that then got shown on. Have I got news for you on the Friday. Night as a representation of Labor's campaign for that week Rowena Corbin and clearly felt stung by his under Neil interview. Not least because Labor for Boris Johnson was going to do as well in fact the prime minister. Although he's done head to head debates is refusing to do this despite all the other leaders putting themselves up for grilling that's bad. Isn't it bad for the BBC and bad for him is terrible really and an acknowledgement. That Andrew Nail is a very ferocious interviewer. They were furious when Andrea Neil had a popper. Ah Boris Johnson that went viral and has probably now been watch more on twitter. The actual program would have been. We have an interview prepared oven. Ready as Mister Johnson likes to say the theme running through our questions is trust and why so many times in his career in politics journalism critics and sometimes even those close to oh him of deemed him to be untrustworthy. It's just one of those things I think. The Tory campaign. We'll have taken the calculation that they can just get away with effectively because qualified people won't know Andrew Neil and the difference between him and other interviews. They might see him. Doing some debates awesome more softball programs such as this this morning. Good Morning Philip Scofield and Holly Willoughby although they were very tough on on Jeremy Corbyn and they did manage to get. I wanted to apologize for his comments about Muslim. Woman wearing full face veil being like letterboxes. I think what people want to know is what are we gonNA do now. What is going to be prime minister? Why would you say something like that coop? Industrial of questions at press conferences and he does take questions from a wide set of publications and I should also say you. You and I have both been at press conferences. In the past. I think where journalists have been booed or criticized and they've made a point at pretty much every 'cause I've been to this time of saying about about jumping. Donald said it very strongly the other day it's journalists job to ask questions and we will not do. I think it's dawned on them that that's not a very comradely approach. And he's not a great. Look Okay so you you know front the key for a sit down but you have got up close and personal with Boris Johnson in this campaign. I mean I wouldn't say that US us. Bus does usually two of them one. As the broadcasters one has the print journalists on it and then prime minister travel separately in a privately chauffered car but we have been following him around. We went to very safe Tory seat. Actually in Seoul's Bray he was allowed out by his mind is to do a walk amongst the general public. I think they wanted somewhere where the public would probably be more supportive of empathy within a marginal seat. He wounded around the Christmas market and his the middle of the day since quitnow older people who seem fairly excited about adding selfish with him a it was a mixed reception where few people shouting Stop Brexit or shame Komo knew. How does he react to that? He just ignores it. He just moves on and look for the next fatal changes one of the key. Parts of Labour's campaign seems to be these policy launches at which Corbin might speak and take questions. Were they like labor is good at running these events right so they're fairly slate is a theme to them. There's often a sort of handout document. This usually the local candidate and perhaps perhaps one of a small group of prominent front benches. So that's kind of narrow group of people who have been rolled out in this campaign over and over and over again again. They are back along Baylee they are and Raina. They are Richard Bergen. All of these are northern voices. Is there not super remaining voices so people like kiss dominant Emmy thumper for example. Here we heard from a lot during the travails in parliament. Though we've heard a lot less for them Jessica the bus. I have had one brief moment on the bus. They don't make a habit of taking journalists on the bus in a way. It's a kind of private space for Jeremy Corbyn to be able to relax and for them to be able to talk about strategy and deal with issues not the no into Ski Journal. No absolutely not said there was one occasion. I'm where I was offered a quick interview with Angela. Rainier it was when Labor launched national education service in this chance to go back into education later on in life. And you're gonNA give speech and they said well yes you can interview her but only if you jump on the bus which took us from Blackpool football club the town center I think looked tape afterwards and it was SORTA twelve minutes of conversation with aren somewhere a little bit further down the bus. Was Jeremy Corbyn talking to his aid. Soften very early starts. Then you're sort of shipped out somewhere. You're not quite sure where you're going. Because the advisers are very keep it very close but usually these kind of events held workplaces like factory of Brexit supporting businessmen and so the workforce there even though they're giving a question and answer session then not really incentivized to ask anything particularly testing tough. The exception to that actually was a Kentucky side. He was Depot and some of the questions. That were really tough. One of them off to all you can cut tax everybody talks. Do you mean low tax for people like you you tax for people like us question coincide with God that he accidentally let slip one of his major manifesto policies. which was he was planning to raise the national insurance? I showed are. We're going to be cutting a national insurance Up to twelve thousand everything points to it being a mistake. They've always was thrown into the disarray and pulling Brokaw's interviews go up to speed and what the policy actually was. It must be interesting to watch how Jeremy Binns advisors behavior around him. It was one of an IRA dot and I'm sort of wondering aim with my laptop and bits of paraphernalia getting ready. And and an eight comes out. And sort of shuffles me out of the way because Jerry's about to arrive with with a lot of hand gestures beckoning books Jeremy's about to arrive. And they want a nice clear klay short of him coming into the building. Because that's part of the footage they want. They have police protection for the campaign. And I think he's I think he's quite enjoy that they say bounce. Get there on time you these police outriders you make sure that you get up and down the aim one in double quick time or whatever and obviously I was joking about getting up close impersonal too. And but you have been able to watch Boris Johnson at fairly close quarters join this election campaign and historically. He's always kind of used his charisma. Let's get out of difficult awkward situations you know when he was abroad during the London. Riots he came back brandishing a broom and suggesting he was helping the cleanup. He got stuck on a zip wire and just sort of manage to laugh it off but do you think since he's been prime minister. All of that doesn't really work for him. He hasn't played the clown quite so much but off camera still sort of joshing around and very different from previous Prime Minister Mister. He would waste maintain. Some degree of distance on the campaign trail of the reaction of the public is to sort of see him in some sort of long. Lost friend. shouting Boris Boris Atom. And trying to get cell field trying to give him a hug and then on the other hand you get a very visceral angry angry reaction from people shouting shame and liar and protesting outside all of his events. Does that bother him talking to people close to him. Yeah I think. His image of himself is very different from other people's image of him. He is used to when he was mayor of London. Failing like he was as a populist list politician but people have such strong feelings about the referendum and his behavior in it. I think it came as a shock to him. After that point he wasn't as as popular as he remembered during his campaigns and perhaps most prominently in recent times very serious questions about his relationship with Jennifer Gray who appears that he had an affair with over for years and yet she was winning contracts that were linked to the mayor of London. While he's been shrugging off these accusations by his personal life in front of the cameras is is something that Labour candidates have been exploiting a lot on the doorstep and several of them have told me that he doesn't go down well with women voters in particular Sheila. I'm at every opportunity. The bringing up his personal relationships including his inability to answer the question of how many children he's got and they claim that This is something that really is quite putting two women. Voters have the review ever seen Labor candidates mentioned Boris Johnson's personal life on the doorstep. I have seen it and I haven't seen Jeremy Corbyn do it and that's something that's really important to remember. Is that while. I'm trading Jeremy Corbyn around looking at the sort of overarching strategy and they're rushing message. Each individual candidates are very much honing their own messages on the doorstep and and using whichever aspect of Boris Johnson's disadvantages. They can. How does Jeremy Corbyn get treated by the public when you've seen him walking around sir? It's very divided. I've been on events with him where he gets an incredibly warm reception a bit like we saw in two thousand seventeen and then other occasions so the day when I interviewed Angie Raynor and then we sorta stop the Labor Boston. Blackpool town centre. I sort of stood around for well. He gave a speech and I mean there was a car that slowdown roll down. The window beeped. Its whole hole and a number of Gestures laid out the passenger window. There was another woman who came out and berated. WanNa Jeremy Corbyn advisors about you know how could he lay a wreath at the remembrance. Sunday service when he doesn't support our troops. It was a very short stop. It was only five or ten minutes but there was a lot of hostility. There you know. He acknowledges they asked him about this list. Bates from Channel Four asked him. I've been talking to work until voters up and down the country and a lot of them. Say I don't not Jeremy Corbyn with which is something candidates you here on the doorstep and he said some people like Marmite and some people don't like it but I think it's good for you one of the few tongue-in-cheek moments of the press conference but it was a sort of a riot knowledge moment that he is quite a divisive figure and he knows he doesn't go down well in every household in the country. Rowena Kuban is admitting he's divisive on the doorstep and it's it's pretty clear from what you've said to us that the same is true for Boris. Johnson People WanNA get selfie with him more berate him as an offensive liar as we reach the end of this campaign. It seems that the Tories are pretty confident. Yesterday Johnson was a fish market in grimsby which hasn't had a tory. M P since nineteen forty five live but as you say it's not been a perfect campaign has it. In terms of the polling. Since the beginning of the campaign conservatives have dropped slightly and and Labour had gone out so the gap in the polls has narrowed but not as much as it did in the two thousand seventeen campaign and with a few days to go the gap. It's still possibly enough for burst Johnson to win a majority. Have a where calling you late on Monday. Because I know you've made it onto the Labour bus again. You've been out with Jeremy. Corbyn interviewing him for the Guardian. And it's interesting because we've just been hearing about how Labor remains stubbornly behind in the polls. What's the mood Jimmy? Kobe by Relax Knox today. I'll have to say I was speaking to him off the big rally. He did in Bristol which is really a sort of geeing up the activist type event. You know there were like a couple thousand people though bt gave a speech not cheering you know normally sunny day home crown fields to it and he was quite relaxed on the bus chassis. You know one point. We're going to this country site on the outskirts of Stroud. Any kind of breaks into what sounds like the country China coach tour and on your white ladies and dental and you know if they were very relaxed because this is coming to an end. But don't know so. I often of course what what you do on Friday morning. If you don't win you know there's been speculation that you might Step aside what interests that question will fighting is to win it We also talks talks about. What are the big stories in the news today? which is this poor little for your old life? He was pictured on the front of the daddy there this morning. Nine in a corridor at a hospital in AIDS with chips and things coming out of him because there wasn't any beds and it was a very audience. Isn't this morning where the prime minister will show a picture of that foyer by journalists and refuse to look at it only owned and to reporters away from him and puts it in his pocket which was just they felt like a symbolic moments or else Jimmy Kuban about that who you know. He wouldn't behave like that and he thought it was a very old but interestingly didn't do titians would have Dunham really go for Jones note and you know I said to him Shoot you if attacked I. Don't this is something you hear from Labor inside. It's quite. I think we really not going for Johnson wanting to talk him and I said Jeremy Copen Hall to land blows endorsed jumping and he really sort of made a bit of a face look impressed. That's the tool and said I'm not a boxer. You know some people would like me to be more more attacking up but it's not my style and it's quite interesting because it seems to me to encapsulate you like quite a bit about the way Labor folks campaign that was political editor Heather Stewart and deputy Rohingya Mason. You need to be following Bam and the rest of their brilliant Westminster team including Andrew Hendry Sparrow with his politics light blog over the next few days and beyond Goto Guardian Dot Com coming up Guardian Australia's Gabrielle Jackson Jackson on life under wildfire. Smoke now. Wildfires are not new for Australia but this year the sheer scale and distribution of fires is affecting the country like never before but while smoke-filled cities and burning rainforests provoking an unprecedented national conversation on Climate Change Guardian Audion Australia's Gabrielle. Jackson isn't sure that politicians or the media Aleksandra The smart smells like everything is on fire good slack. An acidic kind of metallic tastes in the back of your throat. I've lived in Sydney for thirty years. I've never seen anything like could. The city is just covered in blankets of smoke. The kind of get into your lungs. I've worked up and thought my house was on fire. I actually had had to get up out of my bid and check every window to save fazal burning around me because the smoke was so thick in my house. These fires vias a unprecedented in terms of the number of hectares burnt the area that has burnt so fast. Since the start of this fire season is three point nine million hectares that's bigger than wiles whilst he has always had bushfires but usually it's a concern of people who live in the country or live in forested stood areas now that the smoke is descending on cities it's really felt all the way around the country and it's not just that the FIS happening in one place vice as is usually the case fires happening in Western Australia. South Australia Victoria. Tasmania New South Wales Queensland. All at the same time what's burning now how is what eucalypt forests and actually sub tropical rainforests. We've never seen fires of this intensity in the places that they're burning running now and at Scorza via fix on the ecosystem and the ecology of those areas in one part of the New South Wales. They predict that about three hundred fifty. Koalas have died. You clips Have evolved to regenerate quickly but the fires of so harsh the ecologist holiest actually don't know how long it will take to regenerate this time and whether the Kuala population there can even survive Australia has baning quite severe drought in eastern parts of the country. For at least five five. He is this so much dry matter on the ground that can catch a lot easily. Are the three lightning strikes all through things like electricity power lines falling down Alan sparking FIS. You can't draw a direct line between climate change and these particular bushfires but climate change will make bushfires more severe and more intense and they make the bushfire season longer. So what we saw these see for the first time is the first week of spring a subtropical rainforest in Queensland Slam was on fire. That's that's crazy. We have a situation in Australia where the climate change debate has become really party political for for ten years. The conservative government coalition has just not been able to come up with a real climate change policy six years ago. They a Bait Labor on the back of a promise to repeal carbon tax a Labor government had put in place. A lot of the media is in support of a a government not having a real climate change policy. It's hard to say how things can change but the school climate strikes. I think have been really really positive. In terms of how many people have turned out. And how strongly young people feel about this issue and for that reason. I think it's not possible. Oh frustration governments to continue for much longer without some kind of policy so that was Gabrielle. Jackson Associate News editor at Guardian Australia. Before we finish today. I want to tell you that recently our very own Akzo so Kakuta won the Gold Award for best sound designer at the audio production awards beating an amazing lineup of nominees. I hope you can tell from today's focus episodes. Just how brilliant he is. We're really proud of him. That's it for today but keep listening we take you through this momentous political week. My thanks to Heather Stewart Rowena Mason and Gabrielle Jackson. This episode was produced by Hanna. More and Courtney Yousef sound design was by Axel Kukuchi. The executive producers are still may not and Nicole Jackson. We'll be back tomorrow

Mister Johnson Jeremy Corbyn Labor prime minister Brexit Jeremy Jeremy Corbyn Heather Prime Minister Australia twitter Boris Boris Atom Political editor Guardians London Alan cans Rowena Corbin Lynton crosby Jaffna