Skip to main content

tv   HAR Dtalk  BBC News  October 2, 2018 12:30am-1:01am BST

12:30 am
after an earthquake and tsunami. four days on, some remote areas are only now being reached, rescuers are struggling with a shortage of heavy equipment as they try to reach victims calling out from the ruins of collapsed buildings. the dead are being buried in mass graves. the death toll currently stands at more than 840 but as emergency operations gain access to remote areas, there are fears the number of dead could end up in the thousands. and this story is trending on bbc.com — as president trump says he wants a comprehensive fbi investigation into his supreme court nominee brett kavanaugh, a former classmate of the judge says he has not been telling the truth about his drinking in his past. stay with bbc world news. now on bbc news, hardtalk‘s stephen sackur speaks to yanis va roufakis. welcome to hardtalk.
12:31 am
i'm stephen sackur. the old certainties in european politics are crumbling. voters seem fed up with a long—established supremacy of the parties of centre—right and centre—left. the politics of identity and raw emotion have fuelled populist insurgencies from italy to sweden, to eastern europe. mostly it is the right, not the left, in the ascendant. well, my guest is yanis varoufakis, greece's radical leftist finance minister at the height of the economic crisis, and an advocate of a new global progressive politics. but is he losing the argument in europe? yanis va roufakis,
12:32 am
welcome to hardtalk. you still play a political role. you have a new political party, which you are determined to make a force in greece and in europe. but would you accept that as a radical, as a leftist, the tide in europe, the tide of public opinion is running against you? absolutely. civilisation is in retreat. we are experiencing a new, a post—modern 1930s moment. the liberal establishment has made a mess of it. they have been insisting on policies that are failing, left, right and centre, and they are crumbling, like the weimar republic. thankfully not with the brownshirts of the streets yet, but we have the nationalist neo—fascist international rising across europe.
12:33 am
look at the salvini phenomenon in italy and so on. we are losing the battle. this is why this is the time to regroup across a broad alliance of progressives, democrat, liberals, left—wingers, that have civilisation at the heart. before we drill down into the detail of that analysis, i do want to ask you whether you think it is justifiable to, as so many progressives and leftists do, use this trope about europe today looking like europe in the 1930s. historian niall ferguson addressed that recently, saying it is nonsense and lazy. if one takes one example, that is italy, you've just mentioned mr salvini, you talked about neo—fascism. the truth is that since mr salvini came to power, and i spoke to him the other day on hardtalk, he actually has abandoned many of his more radical positions, particularly on leaving the eurozone. well, he hasn't. he has strategically placed this on the back burner for a year. and we can discuss this next year.
12:34 am
but what he has primarily done is that he has used the same storyline from the 1930s of promising the average italian, whose income has been, per capita, falling for 20 years, there's no doubt about that, to restore his pride back byjuxtaposing him against the foreigner, the migrant, even the italian roma. this is exactly the same as the 1930s, so niall ferguson can... it isn't exactly the same as the 1930s. in italy... i didn't say it is exactly the same, i said a post—modern version of it. thankfully, history does not repeat itself exactly. the point is, you need in a sense, to set this idea up to make the case for your own radical, leftist, progressive politics. and i put it to you that there is a fundamental exaggeration. when you talk about this post—modern crisis in europe — look at germany, look at france, look even at italy, look even
12:35 am
at sweden — where yes, the far—right democrats did well, but 83% of the nation didn't vote for them. you're setting up a notion of europe in crisis which simply isn't true. i wish you were right. but i don't think you are. the fascists and the parochials and the extreme nationalists do not need to win government in order to change the complexion of europe. look at, for instance, france, where le pen never won the elysee, but, nevertheless, she infected the right wing party of the republicans, so much so that on social issues, civil liberties, even the socialist party voted for legislation that would make mrs le pen exceptionally proud. this is how it works. they do reasonably well and then push the whole political spectrum in an antiliberal and rabid nationalist direction. to the extent that now we have a fragmentation of the european union. all right. so if the alarm bells and the emergency sirens
12:36 am
are going off all across europe, how come, that in your own country, greece, right now, if one looks at the opinion polls, out in front is the new democracy party, the mainstream age—old centre—right party. your old party, syriza, who you worked for as finance minister, the radical leftist government of the moment, they're struggling in the polls, but your own even more radical progressive offering, your new party, you're struggling to get even a single percentage point of the vote in the latest opinion polls. well, i would say that is unfair, because we have just started the party. judge us at the election, that is the only opinion poll. especially for a party that is not known to exist in greece at the moment. but take my point. allow me to address the point directly. firstly, firstly, the real winners of opinion polls are the apathy
12:37 am
and discontent with the political system. the majority of greeks today declare through opinion pollsters that they're not going to participate in the democratic triumph celebration at the ballot box. that is the greatest defeat of democracy. people who actually say that they're going to vote for the mainstream parties that you mentioned, they will do this defensively. they will not do it with any degree of enthusiasm. the democratic system can only function when citizens are engaged. at the moment, citizens across europe are becoming disengaged from the political process. this is something that we should all worry about, as long as we are democrats. you are a democrat, right? committed, passionate... because sometimes you talk about direct action and you point towards other ways in which people can alter the political landscape. but to be clear, you're absolutely, four—square a democrat. i am staunchly a democrat. let's. ..
12:38 am
and stephen, i grew up in a dictatorship. i value nothing more than the rule of law, than democratic process. and direct action that you mentioned is absolutely essential. participating in town hall meetings, participating in workplace democracy, these are the pillars of a liberal democratic process. we have spoken before about what happened in 2015, when, for about nine months, i believe, you were finance minister. i don't want to rehearse the whole thing again. 5.5, you're exaggerating. was it really? well, maybe itjust seemed longer. it was very compressed. that's for sure! looking back from the perspective given by being in september of 2018, can you now acknowledge that actually, alexis tsipras and his syriza government took the right decisions? absolutely not. i wish i did. because the one thing i would love to do more than anything is leave the political scene and, you know, write my books, and read poetry and applaud
12:39 am
alexis tsipras, or whoever else happens in power, so to speak, or in government. but look, look, look... but the suggestion is exactly... look at the reality... well, let's look at the reality. let's look at the reality, yes. yes, look at the reality. greece has finally escaped... really? ..from the boot of the troika, the imf, the eu. really? no, no, no, we have not. yes, really. let's look at the facts, shall we? let's look at the facts. greece has massive debt, but greece can now shape its own economic future. no, it can't, who told you that? greece is bankrupt. mr tsipras said just the other month when finally the bailout conditions were lifted, "a new beginning, an historic break with the past." and he's already started talking about his own economic policy with tax breaks, higher social benefits. but you've met many politicians in your life. i don't believe you're so gullible as to expect a politician to tell
12:40 am
you the truth, especially when he's presiding over a complete catastrophe. one in two families in greece as we speak have no—one working in them. one in two families, i will repeat this, have no one working in them. one third of the working greeks are receiving less than 384 euros a month in a country which is not cheap. we have about 10—15,000 youngsters, well—educated ones, leaving the country, migrating, every month. to consider this to be a success story, and, by the way, we are still in the...under the thumb of the troika. if they follow your alternative, walking away from the debt, defying the germans and the european union. i never propose to walk away. if your philosophy and defiance had been adopted, greece would have, ultimately, been insolvent, crashed out of the eurozone, and the condition of those families you talk about today would be even worse. firstly, i'm on record for making proposals regarding the debt that even the international monetary fund has considered and described as very sensible. never walking away from them,
12:41 am
i was proposing very technically—competent debt swaps that could have made the debt payable so that we wouldn't need to destroy the private sector with tax rates and rates for social security payments which, stephen, listen to this, 75% of profits, a small business now has to pay the state 75% of profits. you don't have to be left wing or right wing to realise that this is what you do to a country when you want to destroy it. let's just stick to what is happening in europe today. in so many countries, the radical left proposition does not appear to be appealing to — if i can put it this way — the left—behind, the alienated working class, those who are feeling insecure, angry, disappointed and neglected. those sorts of people, whether you talk about trump's america or in europe, those sorts of people appear to feel more of a connection with parties of the populist, nationalist right.
12:42 am
why is the left—wing proposition not appealing to them? because it does not square up. because the left has failed to put forward a progressive agenda that makes people think, "ah—ha, this might work." this is a terrible failure on behalf of the left. and it is essential that those of us who identify themselves as left—wingers begin with self—criticism. and that is why — and let me answer your question specifically — we have failed to put forward a kind of new deal agenda that extends beyond ideological borderlines and national borderlines. europe today needs what fdr, franklin roosevelt, did in 1932—33, a new dealfor the united states. we need a new deal for europe. and unless we create an alliance across national borders, and across the standard party political divisions, we're going to fail and the only beneficiaries will be the ones who turn one proud people against the other, the northern europeans against the southern europeans, the europeans against the africans, or the syrians. and, indeed, europeans against europeans. yeah, politics is very much
12:43 am
about emotion as well as rationality and logic. when you put forward your proposition and to flesh it out a little bit, you've talked about a new international monetary system that must be created, an international wealth fund. you've even talked about an international digital currency that could ensure that your new fair world of finance had its own sort of electronic currency. all of this, i would put you, doesn't get to the emotional heart of where politics is today. it is those people who are talking about the dangers of
12:44 am
mass immigration, those who are talking about the need for secure borders — they're the people in europe who appear to connect with so many of the voters. you are quite right. this is why we need... why aren't you doing it? why isnt‘ the left addressing the issue of immigration? the reason why some of us created a democracy in europe movement in europe, which seeks to be a movement bringing together not just the left but also liberals, even progressive conservatives, those of us who are eager to agree on a believable, credible, progressive agenda for europe, this is why we created diem25, because we don't believe the left has what it takes at the moment. crosstalk. but let me answer your point. because you made a good point. you made the point that it is important to combine two things — emotion and rationality. and this is what we're trying to do. what we say to people who are lured by the nationalist narrative of secure borders, of the anti—migrant narrative... what is your proposition to people who are genuinely concerned? at the emotional level, what we say to them is we need to take our countries back.
12:45 am
we need to get our towns back. but to get our towns and our countries back, we have to get our europe back because problems with private debt, mortgages, with public debt, with low levels of investment in good qualityjobs and uberisation of labour markets, they cannot be sorted out at the level of italy or at the level of england for that matter, at the level of germany. we have to look at these problems together and have a programme. so hang on, let me stop you there. what you just said is really important. so at heart you are a multilateralist, and for all of your critique of the eu when you were finance minister, you seem to be saying we still need multilateral, even globalist solutions — and i come back to all the stuff you write about global greed investment programmes, globalfair trade deals, global minimum living wages imposed on all countries. stephen, you're talking to somebody who paraded up and down this country
12:46 am
before thejune 2016 referendum, and i campaigned feverishly against brexit, and in favour of remain, even though no—one can accuse me of being a lapdog of brussels. because of what you're saying, that we need... but my point is that you are out of tune with the spirit of the times. people are thinking very much, it seems, in terms of nationalism, in terms of their borders, their security. and here are you, proposing all of these new, multilateral, extremely ambitious global institutions. except — except — except that firstly, they would work in contrast and juxtaposition to the current institutions, that are failing. how can you be confident that they would work? let's have a debate about what is on the table. by the way, i am a collector. i borrow from the best. you mentioned the digital international currency. that's not my idea, that isjohn maynard keynes in 19114, it wasn't digital back then. well, you've updated it somewhat. but that's what we must do.
12:47 am
what is this "we" — "we must do"? we have just discussed for much of this interview the problems facing the european union because of a deficit, you do not recognise the legitimacy of eu institutions, yet here we are talking about "we" being some sort of global institution that sets up its own currency. who is this "we"? let me answer the question. in may 2019, our movement is going to stand in the european parliament elections, and we're going to stand in greece, we're going to stand with our friends and colleagues in denmark, of the alternative party, we're going to stand in poland with a feminist—led political progressive party, we're going to run in elections in italy against salvini. that's who we are, and our challenge is how to create a narrative of inclusiveness that is completely humanistic, anti—nationalist nationalist and internationalist. 0k, and you've just laid out that you're going to fight in elections, and as, let's face it,
12:48 am
you said you're a democrat. you're going to walk the walk as well as talk the talk and i respect that, but if one looks at current polling, and as you say, diem has been around for a couple of years, but you are new, so the fact that you are scoring virtually zero in the polls, we'll let that pass. it's bankrupt for polling organisations to carry out polls. what i want to get to is this. the only country in europe right now where the left, in its more radicalform, is actually doing well, or at least gaining traction with a significant part of the population, is in the united kingdom. indeed. so what makes — and you know the uk very well. what, in yourview, makes jeremy corbyn‘s labour party different from so many of the other left movements in europe and across the world today? well, brexit has had a lot to do with it, because brexit has been a slap in the face of progressives.
12:49 am
independently of what their view about what brexit is. well, i was going to say the labour party position about brexit is extremely confused. so i can't see how... well, it is because it is a confusing issue. if you are not confused about brexit, you are fanatical. i can't see how brexit can be the driver of the momentum. what brexit did was it created a realisation in this country that british democracy and its role in the world cannot be taken for granted. it needs to be reinvented, and this is — this is a — let's look at the bright side. this gives the people of britain an opportunity to reconsider their position in the world, and i believe that jeremy has been doing a very good job at recognising that the last 30 years of privatisation, of moving towards a business model that effectively tied the economy's growth onto bubbles, on the housing bubble and on the city of london,
12:50 am
and he is causing a reassessment of this. interesting, and so you would say — because you talked about the last generation of politicians in the uk who in your view played that sort of neo—liberal economic game. you would say that tony blair was in no way a left—of—centre politician, would you? what does it mean? 0n the one hand, he was, because he gave a little money to the national health service, money that the tories starved the national health service of. but at the very same time, he did it by aligning himself fully with the city of london, turning a blind eye to the private money minting of the private banks, and creating the circumstances that led to 2008 and to
12:51 am
the collapse in 2008. what i'm getting to is that john mcdonnell, the current shadow chancellor of the exchequer here in the uk, hasjust made a big speech where he's painted a picture of a radical economic programme, including, just one example, the mandatory imposition on business in the uk of a need to have 10% of their shares given to the workers in the company. the dividends would then go to those workers, and there would be a cap on the amount of dividend to be received by each worker, and the excess beyond that would go to the government. so it would actually be a huge new corporate tax. it would fundamentally change the relationship between the state and the corporate centre in the uk, in a very sort of left—of—centre way. do you really believe the british people are going to vote for that? i think so. and i'm very glad to have heard john mcdonnell put forward the idea. have you talked tojohn mcdonnell about that programme? because it mirrors things you've been saying for some time. i am proposing a social wealth fund where10% of the shares after every capital raising by companies go into a public wealth funds, and the dividends are distributed in the form of a universal basic dividend.
12:52 am
whereas the labour party is divvying them up amongst the workers within those corporations. but what i think is very important — remember this is not even in the manifesto yet. this is part of the liberal party conference, it may go in the manifesto, i hope it does. it is a fairly interesting discussion though, that we must have, even the tories must have, about the division between capital and labour. put it differently, stephen. once upon a time, when an industrialist bought a machine, that machine belonged to the industrialist, and the industrialist could claim the profits that the machine produced for the company. but these days of google and facebook, every time you search on your google search engine for something, you are providing capital to google, and no—one is getting the returns for that except for google. we have to reconsider property rights over the returns of capital,
12:53 am
and the labour party is the only party in the world that is doing this. this is the answer to your question "why is it that jeremy corbyn‘s labour party are picking up votes and support, unlike other left wing parties around the world?" ok, so for you, definitely, the uk labour party represents a beacon of hope. but throughout this interview, you have been saying we must do this, we must do that, and i have been pointing out that actually, in the real world and the world of politics and opinion polls, your ideas are not adding very much traction, if we leave aside the united kingdom. i disagree with you. so my point to you is, is there a point where you at some point say to yourself democratic politics doesn't work? we're going to find new ways. 0ne labour mp said recently "we need to topple this government. if we can't do it at the ballot box, we will do it with a general strike by working with the trade unions." is that your kind of politics? well, firstly, a strike is not illegal, the last time i checked. i am not saying it is illegal, i am saying is that your view
12:54 am
of where your kind of politics needs to go? firstly, let's be very clear because these are dangerous politics with the rise of extremists around the world and we have to be very be in a language and in the way that we support democracy. so to answer directly, i am going to quote from winston churchill, "the democratic process is pretty awful, it is pretty nasty, but it is the best of all alternatives, and we have to be prepared to defend it with our lives." i think that is a pretty straightforward a nswer to your question. now, whether strikes are part of the political democratic process, i believe that they are. and on that note, we have to end. yanis varoufakis, i thank you very much for being on hardtalk. thank you. hello.
12:55 am
after a rather chilly start to october, it will feel a bit warmer for many of us in the day ahead. there's an area of milder, warmer air that's been moving into the uk between these two weather fronts, but the weather fronts close by mean that there's a good deal of cloud around to begin tuesday, and for some of us it will be rather damp, particularly from northern ireland into parts of england and wales. this is how it looks for early risers. north—east england into scotland, there will be some sunshine around to start the day, but there will be a few showers running through northern scotland on through the day. and even where you begin the cloud, northern ireland, across a large part of england and wales, for many of us it will turn brighter during the day. but we could still see patchy rain in southern parts of northern ireland, north wales and for some into north—west england
12:56 am
and the west midlands. here is the temperature at a:00pm in the afternoon, white arrows indicate average wind speeds here for the day, you can see the temperatures, a good few degrees higher than they were on monday for many. the stronger the wind, the further north we get. though, into north—east england and scotland, the black arrows indicate the wind gusts in excess of a0 miles an hour, and 60 miles an hour in northern scotland and the northern isles, with those showers rattling on through. but for many of us, it'll be a dry afternoon, brightening up a little bit. some clear skies developing on tuesday night through, particularly, the eastern side of the uk. this is where we will see the lowest temperatures going into wednesday morning. further west, well, temperatures will be holding up, with an area of cloud producing patchy rain for northern ireland and into western scotland. let's take a look at wednesday's big picture. high pressure is close by, but running around the north of that, we've got low pressure north of the uk, and a trailing weather front bringing some cloud and a bit of patchy rain,
12:57 am
particularly into the western side of scotland. and some of the rain might turn heavier late in the day into the north—west in particular. elsewhere, rather cloudy wednesday, some bright or sunny spells developing, probably the best of those will be in eastern england, and temperatures still into the high teens in the warm spots. now, thursday morning could well start with some fog affecting parts of southern england. it could be dense in places, rather more active in northern ireland and scotland, as another weather front moves in, and some heavy rain beginning to move southwards evidently into parts of northern england with the wind strengthening once again. just a quick tease as we look towards the weekend. we could have low pressure close by. a chance to see some heavy rain in some spots, and turning a bit cooler too. we'll keep you updated. i'm rico hizon in singapore. the headlines — mass burials for victims of indonesia's earthquake and tsunami. the death toll is more than 840 — but could end up in the thousands. as the rescue operation continues,
12:58 am
we report from palu where food and fuel are in increasingly short supply. this town enters its fourth day without power and clean water. people are getting desperate. i'm babita sharma in london. also in the programme — supreme court nominee brett kavanaugh is accused of lying under oath about heavy drinking. president trump calls for a comprehensive fbi investigation. and two scientists who discovered how to fight cancer
12:59 am
1:00 am

44 Views

info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on