Marilyn Stowe on BBC News: coercive control, torture and Tesco
Senior Partner Marilyn Stowe returned to BBC News to discuss the headlines. She appeared on The Papers, which is presented by Clive Myrie.
They talked about the possible criminalisation of coercive control within relationships, the American torture scandal, what to do about Tesco and the bitterly cold weather.
MJS – Marilyn Stowe
AA – Anne Ashworth, Assistant Editor of The Times
CM – Clive Myrie
CM Right, lets begin. Marilyn, The Times, along with, well most of the broadsheets, leading on this senate report, and The Times though going for a different a different angle, CIA Agents should be charged over torture, what do you make of this?
MJS Well the more you read about what’s supposed to have happened, the horror, the nightmare, the awful inexcusable torture, the more actually I feel how amazing it is that the Americans have actually brought this out into the public domain at all. I know that The Times here are calling for the agents to be charged, whether that will happen or not, who knows but the very fact
CM Is it less likely to happen in the States than it would over here, I think there’s only one
MJS Well, well
CM There’s only one agent who seems who appears to have been named
AA The UN is calling for them to be charged now I can’t imagine a body like the UN would demand such a thing unless it knew it were feasible to bring these people to court for what they did
MJS No, I don’t think so
CM Well America hasn’t even signed up has it
CM to the package
MJS I mean, I mean there were similar calls weren’t there in Britain a couple of years ago for MI5 Agents to be prosecuted, it never happened. I would be very surprised if it happened over in America
CM Well America hasn’t signed up to the ICC I think, that’s right, isn’t it, the International Criminal Court
MJS Well I am not am American lawyer but I would be very surprised if this did end up in Court. But the point is that actually I should imagine there are a lot of people who are very concerned about what the potential impact could be for Americans across the world tonight because this is so very horrific but on the other hand it’s the moral high ground and good for them.
CM Well yeah but it’s a very narrow line though Anne isn’t it because as I mean as Marilyn was saying I mean the details here are barbaric
AA How, you could summarise this as we tortured, we lied about it but however many times I read these stories tonight you feel anew the absolute horror of what was done and was done in our name supposedly to keep us all safe from further attacks and it did not seem, it has not had that effect and it seems as if there was no evidence or any confessions produced from it that were of any use despite what the CIA claimed and how this will unfold over the next few weeks, over the next few months, over the next few years in the way in which the West is perceived, how can we know today.
MJS Well I mean it’s taken two years to get to this.
CM Well and huge rows as well
AA and, and a report that runs to many, many pages of which we’ve only seen around about four hundred about five hundred and about six million individual documents which were quite often not exact in their detail and somewhat sketchy and also the employment of contractors whose activities may not yet be clear exactly what they did
CM Well including those two psychotherapists who were advising the CIA
CM Who were paid $81 million but the sadism of this though Anne what do you think the backlash do you think against this especially at this time of year in the run up to Christmas.
AA Yes I mean America has acceded the moral high ground over this and there will be consequences
MJS But it’s got it back it’s got it back I think with the publicity
AA You think by the promotion of this
MJS I do I think
CM Well yes but this is sitting in a television studio
MJS I think
MJS And I think there will be a lot of Americans who will be saying look what happened to us look what we went through 9/11 horrific
AA Indeed on the day when Kate and Will visited the
AA 9/11 memorial
MJS Absolutely let’s not forget that for the publication of this though I take my hat off to them and also for what Senator McCain said, I think that he said a Republican Senator said this had to be published and he is a man who has been tortured.
CM OK just I mean on a completely lighter note The Times has got this brilliant picture of Professor Stephen Hawking and Eddie Redmayne who is playing him in the film and we were just saying earlier
AA We like his
CM Can we show you that picture
MJS We like his suit
AA We do
MJS We do like his suit and we also we also wish that James Bond would have been wearing something similar instead of
CM It’s a bit too
MJS a sweater
CM It is a bit too natty isn’t it for James Bond
MJS Well I don’t know
AA A great
MJS Well I don’t know I think he looks quite nice
AA A great piece of British tailoring there on show.
CM OK. On really to The Independent and well you know every headline really just tries to get close to this America’s day of shame. Anne the what about the fact that the White House this report claims wasn’t informed I mean do you see that some sort of political
AA Ooh I see that as hugely significant. What is the CIA for, to take the bullet, it’s taken the bullet for the White House Bush he might have known a bit but you know we didn’t tell him everything they were as evasive as possible
MJS Except the CIA are actually strongly criticising this report they are certainly saying this isn’t correct they aren’t saying yes we agree
CM No they they are
MJS and they are saying
CM they are actually saying it has produced some good intelligence which
CM other deaths
MJS and it is a Democratic report it’s not sort of backed by the Republicans is it
AA We’ll be arguing
MJS You know not by all of them
AA We’ll be arguing about the rights and wrongs of this for the next decade
AA This is a real turning point in American history this is what American children will be studying in 10, 20, 100 years’ time. I think it’s a most extraordinary night if nothing else and basically The Independent and the Daily Mail are exactly saying the same thing America’s headline, The Independent’s headline ‘America’s Day of Shame’, the Daily Mail ‘Shaming of the West’
CM Yes, Yes and also covers up Britain’s role so you know the ramifications of this because we were listed
CM along with many other countries as locations for CIA interrogation
CM Not necessarily enhanced interrogation, we’ve got that Gibson enquiry here as well haven’t we Anne which started in 2010 which has been shelved a couple of years ago
AA Do you think, I suspect there might be claims for that well people will be saying that needs to be revived the Gibson Committee needs to
CM We were speaking to ………. earlier but the NGO’s but he was saying
AA the NGO’s refused to take part
CM refused to take part and one doesn’t know quite why this is all a mystery, it’s like fog all around us exactly what happened
MJS but doesn’t there have to be an element of mystery I mean we have security services for a reason they’re are there to protect us these people have gone clearly way, way over
CM But the whole thing about the security agencies is that they are subject to the law
MJS They are
AA They must be accountable
MJS and I agree but I think
CM but what seems to have happened here is that they have got some operatives who are just
CM Who are
AA Who are employed by independent contractors who don’t seem to have needed to obey any rules in what they did and indeed some of the agents seem to have cried when they beheld what was being these torture which would go on for days and days
MJS It’s barbaric
CM OK, right on to well, something, something completely different a good old political ding dong, um of yeah, the party boss UKipper ‘ She’s done me up like a UKipper’ better not get too much into the claim and counterclaim well apart from the fact that it’s, it’s embarrassing and the worse sort of headlines for UKIP but presumably the Tories and Labour will be will be rather enjoying this.
MJS On a different topic Theresa May wants to introduce
CM Well hang on that’s, that’s well, I know, well OK
MJS Nothing to do with this let’s make it clear
CM Let’s, lets just explain what this story is about and then
AA Can I just say that
CM then we’ll come onto something that is not really related at all
AA whatever the nature of the relationship how they communicated each other with each other was anything but romantic. These texts, you are, is this you know what has happened to the sonnet what has happened to the wonderful love letter the text has killed it all.
CM Yes do you
CM Do you still write your love letters you don’t do it by email
AA I still think that people ought to write and if this is what romance is nowadays it doesn’t sound that great
AA Whatever the rights and wrongs of that situation
AA and whether
AA there was a relationship or not
CM so basically suspension this particular woman saying that she was there were sexual advances against her and him denying it, so that’s, that’s the story. OK but
MJS And these are politicians
CM So, so and
MJS These are politicians
CM He is a senior member of UKIP isnt he, so £70,000 a year, Roger Bird and anyway it’s claimed and counterclaimed. Anyway on a completely
CM separate note Marilyn
MJS completely, coercive control should it be a criminal offence?
CM Well Theresa May is
MJS She is saying it should be
MJS I have my own views about that
CM What’s your views
MJS Because coercive control all boils down to he said/she said and anyway
MJS if somebody is being abusive, leave
CM Some people can’t though can they
MJS Well I think that where violence isn’t involved I think it’s easier to leave. I don’t think you have to put up with it
CM Yeah, so I mean what do you think the chances are of this getting through
CM You do
MJS I do and then I think the evidential issue is going to be quite, quite difficult, who do you believe, do you believe the woman do you believe the man, are you more likely to believe the woman because she’s possibly smaller, looks weaker and may not be. It’s a tough one.
AA so what you would say is that the law is going into places in relationships
MJS That perhaps it shouldn’t go, criminalising coercive control, I, I have my concerns
CM What sort of consultation has taken place with the industry on this though
MJS Well I think there are differing views, there are feminists who think that coercive control should absolutely become a criminal offence
CM But has the Home Office actually come to you
MJS Yes I think it is I think it’s going to be included into new legislation
CM No, no but has it come to you for consultation in terms of you know your advice
CM You have
CM Oh publicly. Right, and OK, well shall we go on to something else
CM Yes, unless you want to spend, no, no. OK. FT, Anne
AA Yes, Tesco, oh boy the woes of Tesco under its new Chief Executive there’s been another profits warning the shares are down
CM Fourth profit warning in a
CM In a year, 12 months
AA And the share prices going further down but the, the feeling is is that Dave Lewis, the new Chief Executive, nick named Drastic Dave, is getting all the bad news out there and so that he can be wreathed in glory when he revives his business and he is trying, the man has employed six thousand more people in these stores and I’m sure that the next thing that will happen will be real price cutting because we haven’t seen massive discounting yet at Tesco that must be the next weapon in his armoury.
CM To just try and find out which market they are in because if you are trapped in the middle it’s hopeless isn’t it
MJS Well if I was in charge of Tesco I would change the whole lot. I would completely rebrand.
MJS I would change the
CM Change the colour
CM Change the logos
MJS I would change the colour, change the lighting which is horrible I would change the fact that the doors are always wide open and its freezing cold when you walk round there
CM Is that because it’s always busy.
MJS No I don’t think so, I just think it’s grotty, it needs a real good shake up
AA And that is indeed what he is intending to give it but he has to get all the bad news out there
AA and indeed there seems to have been a problem with creative accounting at this group.
CM Yes OK, it’s funny isn’t it the sort of nick names these Chief Executives have, they are always quite sort of bullish and sort of full of testosterone, Drastic Dave not dainty Dave or anything like that you known not delicate Dave. Where do we go next. On to the Express. Yes
AA The weather
MJS The weather
AA It’s gonna be cold
MJS It already is
AA really cold
MJS in Yorkshire, it is freezing
AA You are all so tough up there aren’t you
MJS We’ve got our boots on
CM Did you come down
MJS I came down today on a freezing cold train
CM OK, well it’s been quite cold in …….. as well
MJS No nothing like what it is
CM No, OK well look the Express is saying yesterday we are going to have a weather bomb and that seems to have been confirmed by everyone and then icy blasts it says to bring up to six inches warned the Met Office and then inside we have a lovely picture don’t we.
AA Yes, it’s a gorgeous picture. And you know it is winter, we can expect it to be cold, what is this shock about there being inclement weather at this time of year, we want snow, we want hoarfrosts, we want gorgeous sunsets
MJS We do but we don’t want freezing and then floods do we
AA Do we not, I don’t think that anybody is talking about that it’s just going to be
CM Well it depends how much snow there is. But actually this it’s such a lovely picture isn’t it. We don’t often actually look at the pictures and who it who did it, it’s a picture by Robert Peel, Jeff Robinson and Rick Findler but no the most beautiful picture the sort of picture you would expect on The Independent maybe a few years ago on the front.
AA Its put weather on the front page and it will always promote a discussion cos everybody has got a view on it and it is quite nice to take a break with the weather here from all the horror
AA on the other front pages which have made really sombre reading this evening.
CM Yes they have. On that note thank you very much indeed Marilyn and Anne, very nice to see you.