Coercive control, torture and tesco

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December 10, 2014

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.

 Video Transcript

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

MJS     No

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.

AA      Yes

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

AA      Yes

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

AA      Yes

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

MJS     Absolutely

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.

MJS     Yes

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

MJS     Yes

CM      prevented

MJS     Exactly

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

MJS     Yes

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

MJS     Yes

CM      along with many other countries as locations for CIA interrogation

AA      Yes

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

MJS     rogue

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.

Coercive control

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

AA      it’s

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

CM      OK

AA      Whatever the rights and wrongs of that situation

CM      so

AA      and whether

CM      So

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

MJS     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

CM      Right

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

CM      Yes

MJS     if somebody is being abusive, leave

CM      Some people can’t though can they

AA      no

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

MJS     Strong

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

MJS     I have made my views known

CM      You have

MJS     Publicly

CM      Oh publicly.  Right, and OK, well shall we go on to something else

MJS     Certainly

CM      Yes, unless you want to spend, no, no.  OK.  FT, Anne


AA      Well

CM      Tesco

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

AA      Yes

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.

CM      Right

MJS     I would change the

CM      Change the colour

MJS     interior,

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

MJS     Yes

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    Well

AA      really,

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

CM      Exactly

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.



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