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Steve Hilton on Making Politics "More Human"; Focus on FIFA Chief after Indictments; Imagine a World. Aired 2-2:30p ET
Aired May 28, 2015 - 14:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
FRED PLEITGEN, CNN HOST (voice-over): Tonight: attacks and defiance as many top football officials call for Sepp Blatter to resign; he appears to
stand firm. The former head of England's Football Association joins me live.
And people power: as David Cameron starts his charm offensive in Europe, his former adviser tells me politics needs to be more human.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STEVE HILTON, FMR STRATEGIST FOR DAVID CAMERON: What's happening is you're seeing a whole bunch of giant entities taking over with systems and
processes that are big and bureaucratic and far removed from the human scale interactions that I think work best for people.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PLEITGEN: Good evening, everyone, and welcome to the program. I'm Fred Pleitgen, in for Christiane all this week.
Courting support and giving a warning: David Cameron is looking for friends in continental Europe. The British prime minister is on a two-day
tour of four European capitals. His mission: to renegotiate the U.K.'s relationship with the European Union.
And you might say there's a bit of "good cop, bad cop" dynamic emerging as Mr. Cameron spreads the charm his foreign secretary has been talking tough,
saying Britain will vote to leave the E.U. if Brussels doesn't agree to Mr. Cameron's reforms.
PM wants to fulfill a campaign promise to hold a referendum on E.U. membership by 2017. Today U.K. voters found out what they'll be asked,
quote, "Should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union?"
I've been talking to David Cameron's former chief strategist, Steve Hilton, who's out with a new book, called "More Human," about putting more power
into voters' hands. I started by asking him how that might happen.
PLEITGEN: Steve Hilton, welcome to the program. Thanks for joining us.
HILTON: It's great to be here.
PLEITGEN: Now your book, called "More Human," it really details how politics should become more human.
What exactly does that mean? Give us some outlines because some of it seems quite revolutionary.
HILTON: Well I think it's politics but it's also government. It's the public services like schools and health care and welfare services that
But it's business as well, and I think in all of these areas that affect people's lives, what's happening is you're seeing a whole bunch of giant
entities taking over with systems and processes that are big and bureaucratic and far removed from the human scale interactions that I think
work best for people.
So I think we need to break up big businesses, get government closer to people; for example, in the U.K., with more elected mayors that are closer
to communities, and make public services more personalized and responsive to individuals.
PLEITGEN: How does that work? Because it seems like some of that is the opposite of today's system.
And there were some people, when your book came out, who criticized and said, you know, when he was in politics, he always had these big ideas and
they were very difficult to fit into the system.
And it was actually a TV show here, called "The Thick of It," that had a character that sort of seemed like you.
I want to play for our viewers a quick clip of that and then we can talk about how realistic it was.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No filtering on our first thoughts. We're policy jamming here.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK, 24/7 parliament.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, sorry, a little bit of mental housekeeping.
There is only positivity in the circle.
When someone makes a suggestion, we say, "yes, and."
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes and what?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, we could -- we could make a noise.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What noise would you suggest, Mary?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes and ho.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Great.
Let's run with that.
"Yes and ho."
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: 24/7 Parliament.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes and ho.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Pay the unemployed to drive ambulances.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes and ho.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Free thermals for the elderly.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes and ho.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PLEITGEN: Did you get top-level ministers and advisers to do stuff like that?
HILTON: That wasn't a very accurate portrayal of what went on. It's very funny, but the truth is that when you're in government, I think it is
important that you try and bring in new ways of doing things because it's quite clear that the old ways aren't working.
When you have decade after decade of government spending a lot of money, for example, on something like poverty and you still have millions of poor
people in countries right across the world; the old systems just simply aren't working --
PLEITGEN: -- because one of the criticisms that you have of the current political system is that no matter who's in power, the system still
controls the way things are run.
I have a quote from your book here, where it says, "In the U.K., centralization is a gift to the vested interests, is a democracy in name
only, operating on behalf of a tiny elite, no matter the electoral outcome. I know because I was part of it."
You believe that the system needs fundamental change.
HILTON: Yes, because what you've got going on -- and it's not just in the U.K. You see it in Europe with the E.U. You see it in America. You see
it right across the world.
The concentration of power, political power and economic power, with big businesses --
PLEITGEN: So you're for putting more decision-making in the power of very local government?
HILTON: Yes. But it's also in the area of businesses, where you've got these vast corporations that actually are beyond any kind of real
PLEITGEN: Now you're obviously a very good friend of David Cameron. You have been for a very long time. You're very close to him.
Were you surprised at the election results here?
Because it surprised many people, didn't it?
HILTON: I was surprised, frankly. I was very confident that he would remain as prime minister because it was clear to me that the public wanted
that to happen, that they didn't want to move to Ed Miliband --
PLEITGEN: Why do you think that is?
PLEITGEN: There was a lot of criticism about the government for a very long time.
HILTON: Well, but if you look at the big thing that happened over the last five years in the U.K., David Cameron delivered what he said. He said that
he would deliver a strong government that would get -- that would rescue the economy and get things back on track. That's basically what happened.
PLEITGEN: What do you think about the new agenda that was just outlined? Especially -- there's two things that stand out. There's obviously trying
to renegotiate Britain's deal with the E.U.
And the other thing that stands out to a lot of international people is Britain's stance on immigration, because many people come here. But also
if you look at the realm of refugee, with the refugee crisis going on in Europe right now, it seems that Britain's on the way to becoming more
HILTON: I'm not sure that's right. I think the prime minister has a very strong sense of Britain as an open trading country that engages with the
world. And in fact, the argument about Europe is part of that.
I think you can see that the way that the E.U. concentrates power and removes it from the people who are affected by those decisions, that's a
big reason he wants to renegotiate the relationship.
But what I would say is I would urge them to go further and faster in the direction that they've set out with this new legislative program.
PLEITGEN: What about you?
Would you ever consider running for office?
I mean, you have all these ideas to reshape society, to reshape the way politics are done and you say the best way to do it is to do it locally.
And obviously there's a lot of local places here that you could --
PLEITGEN: -- put your hat in the ring for.
HILTON: That's right. I think that one day that's something I'd like to do. Right now, I'm very focused on building my business in California.
But one day, there's a possibility that a job may become vacant here in the U.K., particularly in the area of city leadership.
I think that's the set of issues and challenges where I have the best experience and the most to offer.
So if the vacancy in a city for the mayor became available somewhere, then perhaps that's something I'd -- something I'd consider at some point.
PLEITGEN: When you look back on your time with David Cameron, you see him now, how do you feel about what he's done, how he's doing?
Is that still in the spirit of what you two had essentially set out to do?
HILTON: Yes, I'm just incredibly proud of him. I think he's been a really outstanding prime minister.
First of all, he did something that hasn't been done for years. He held together a coalition government that did some really serious work, first of
all, in turning the economy around and rescuing it from the crisis that it was in.
But actually, even while all that was going on, leading a reform program that actually really changed the way government works, the way public
services are delivered.
Now I would say we could do more and go faster in that direction. And that's what I think he wants to do in this next five years.
PLEITGEN: Steve Hilton, thank you for joining the program.
HILTON: Thank you.
PLEITGEN: So Steve Hilton is clearly a man with intimate knowledge of David Cameron and his Conservatives and also of course, as we've just seen, a
vision for the future. But today it was his old boss, David Cameron, looking to the future of FIFA, British Prime Minister Cameron saying that
he wants the sponsors to abandon FIFA if Sepp Blatter does not step down.
And as is almost the norm these days, Russian President Vladimir Putin had a completely different opinion and it seems to be the exact opposite of
this, many of his Western counterparts. Here is Putin talking up his FIFA pal, Sepp Blatter.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VLADIMIR PUTIN, PRESIDENT OF RUSSIA (through translator): We know that pressure has been exerted on him to ban the World Cup in 2018 in Russia.
We know his position, which has nothing to do with some special relationship of FIFA and Russia. This is his general position of
principle, sport and politics should be separate.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PLEITGEN: And after a break, I'll speak with the former chairman of England's Football Association -- what should the future hold for FIFA?
That's up next.
PLEITGEN: Welcome back to the program and will Sepp Blatter survive? That's a question on everyone's mind a day before crucial FIFA elections
and the day after dual corruption investigations and 14 American indictments laid low his organization so long accused of shady dealings.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEPP BLATTER, FIFA HEAD: Many people hold me ultimately responsible for the actions and the replication of the global football community. Me or I
cannot monitor everyone all of the time. I must stress that those who are corrupt in football are in a thin minority, like in society. But like in
society, they must be caught and held responsible for their actions.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PLEITGEN: And ever defiant, FIFA says elections for president will go forward on Friday. Meanwhile the head of Europe's delegation, UEFA, says
Blatter must go. But he's been good to a lot of people over the years and his reelection by FIFA's 209 members still seems likely. It appears only
two outside forces can affect Blatter's future now. One is the U.S. Justice Department, which so far has left him unscathed and FIFA's all-
important corporate sponsors, the multibillion-dollar lifeline.
Visa offered the strongest statement so far, even threatening to pull out if changes aren't made. But so far all they've offered is words.
My next guest says the bad culture at FIFA needs to be torn up from its roots and that includes purging all of the top leadership. Lord Triesman
is a former chairman of England's Football Association and led the country's bid to hold the World Cup in 2018.
But he resigned after someone leaked a private conversation in which he reportedly accused rival countries of conspiring in bribery.
Sir, welcome to the program and clearly dealing with FIFA, dealing with football can cause a lot of frustration, as we've seen there. It seemed as
though FIFA was very defiant today; Sepp Blatter was very defiant.
What do you make of everything that happened on this day?
Well, I think the entire history is that Sepp Blatter doesn't know when something is so embarrassing that any normal person would resign.
If it were in corporate life or political life, he would not survive this kind of outrage and, indeed, many of the outrages in the past.
But he will come. He has made friendships; he's provided huge sums of money to very many of the associations around the world. And they'll
continue to vote for him. They won't want the gravy train to stop.
PLEITGEN: Because it's one of the things where people keep saying, well, he has no other choice but to resign. But Sepp Blatter has been in trouble
in the past. And he's clung to his chair and he's waited for things to pass.
And you're right. Because of the voting process at FIFA, there are many who support him. And he still has a lot of support.
I want to look at one sound bite -- because we spoke to the head of the Nigerian Football Federation today -- who explained a little bit why so
many support him. Let's listen to that real quick.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You think that it's making every country, no matter how small, it makes all the countries look very important, maybe even feel
equal, like a big -- it also make them to benefit, equal benefits. So that's why I think most countries naturally just love this guy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PLEITGEN: So he says that he makes them benefit. That's why many people love this guy.
Is that the case?
TRIESMAN: Well, he has unquestionably spread a lot of money around the football associations in the world, especially the poorer ones. And some
of them are tiny countries with 5,000 populations. But --
PLEITGEN: But a vote.
TRIESMAN: -- but a vote, the same as Germany with 80 million or us with 60 million. And those votes can be racked up. The truth is that it'll never
be an internal process that gets rid of Sepp Blatter. It'll be some external forces. And at the moment there's a great chance of that because
I think the United States has shown the greatest courage I think I've seen any public authority show in a very long time.
PLEITGEN: One organization that you've been calling on to take a stronger stance has been the strongest organization in FIFA, which is UEFA. And it
seemed as though today Michel Platini not only gave a strong warning to Sepp Blatter but told him that this is the end of the line. We're going to
listen into one sound bite from him as well.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHEL PLATINI, UEFA PRESIDENT (through translator): We went to his office and renewed my advice to him to go and that he should resign, that he
should realize the moment was not a good one and to have the courage, honesty and grandeur to realize that it wasn't good.
He said to me, "Michael, we know each other and like each other. But it's too late."
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PLEITGEN: Now you've called on UEFA to boycott the World Cups in 2018 and 2022.
Is this the kind of thing that you've been longing to see?
TRIESMAN: Well, I'm longing to see a football administration around the world that isn't corrupt and with everybody taking part. But if we can't
achieve that, then some really very dramatic things, some very drastic things have to happen.
And I think that the force of UEFA, which has got so many of the great contestant countries, so much of the money that's in football, would have a
very dramatic effect. It would be disliked by people in other parts of the world. I understand that. It wouldn't be welcomed in Asia. It wouldn't
be welcomed in Africa. But the fact is that somebody, as the United States prosecuting authorities have done, has to draw a line in the sand and say
this is over. We've got decades of corruption. This isn't a one-off.
PLEITGEN: What's it like? Because I mean, you had to deal with this process as you were -- as the head of the FA, that when you putting
together the World Cup -- I mean, there were some outrageous stories that we heard from you about one guy asking for knighthood in return for our
TRIESMAN: Well, one of the things I learned is that even if you make these reports in Parliament, people arrive in the courts to sue you for libel,
despite the fact that it's something that parliamentarians are allowed to do.
So I'm not going to go back over that ground for those reasons. It's been four years of legal battles and very unpleasant ones.
But the truth is that I said that I would report on things that had happened. I didn't even report on the rumors, which went way beyond things
that I saw at first-hand.
But I did see a great many people around the football world who would casually describe what various people were taking, the amounts of money,
the various privileges that they were taking.
And this was a description which I'd been candid about, so description of a Mafia family.
PLEITGEN: So you've described FIFA as a rogue state.
What do you think it would take to reform the organization? Because the big question is can FIFA reform itself? Can it come from the inside? Sepp
Blatter today said that corruption should have no place, that all of this needs to be rooted out.
Or will it take a strong legal process from the outside?
TRIESMAN: Well, you could bind a book of the times that Sepp Blatter has said that. It goes back over a very long time. Of course it can't reform
itself. Its culture is thoroughly corruption. And a very corrupt culture will always succeed against any sort of process that people try to produce.
The things that would change it are firstly successful prosecutions by proper state authorities, not internal processes in FIFA.
Secondly, I think the Swiss need to think about whether they want to be the host to organizations which have got long histories of criminality. And
that is the allegation and the Swiss should attend to it.
The third is the sponsors. And there's no doubt in my mind that these great world brands should be thinking very hard as the --
PLEITGEN: They've already had a lot of negative publicity around the World Cup 2010, especially, though, around the World Cup 2014 as well.
Are they -- do you think that they're really rethinking this? I mean, we've seen the statements from Visa. But I mean, it's a big event. It's a
lot of money.
TRIESMAN: It is. And the temptation to hang on in there and get the publicity that goes with the World Cup will be very great. But we have
seen big sponsors do this before.
After the Salt Lake City Olympics, the Winter Olympics, the IOC was threatened by its sponsors with withdrawal of pretty much all of the money.
And that was the very first time the IOC took reform seriously and made significant reforms.
I don't think you can do it by an internal process. I would rather football could put its own house in order. But I don't believe it can be
done. So these are the options. UEFA, most certainly; the United States authorities --
PLEITGEN: That's what I was going to ask you about, because it, as we've said, before Sepp Blatter has gone through a lot of crises; FIFA has long
had sort of an air of untouchability.
How afraid are they of America?
Because America is a big entity to take on, isn't it?
TRIESMAN: Well, it's an entity that only a fool would take on. It's determined. It's sufficiently brave. It's got a very long reach. And it
doesn't give up on these things. And that is what's needed if you're going to have a transparent world and you're going to have people doing things in
a decent way, which is not corrupt.
I think FIFA should think very, very hard because this is an opponent, unlike some others, that will not go away.
PLEITGEN: Do you think that there is a chance that the World Cup's 2018 and 2022 will be -- that it'll be a new bidding process?
TRIESMAN: I think there is an outside chance of it if the major Europeans who would be involved say they're no longer prepared to play in those
venues and in these circumstances.
A World Cup without Italy or France or Germany or England, I think these would be -- Spain, of course, who won relatively recently -- these would be
World Cups which would very, very hollow events. Nobody, I think, would say that's what we want to sponsor or that's what we'll want to go and
PLEITGEN: And of course latching on directly to that question, what do you think the chances are of Sepp Blatter being in office after this weekend?
Because UEFA says it's now backing the other candidate, Prince Al-Hussein (ph).
What do you think?
Well, I think Sepp Blatter will be elected. And I think there are too many people who feel that they owe him too much. And they also think that if it
continues, they will continue to benefit from him being there. They've got many strong incentives for keeping him there.
And in a way nothing embarrasses him --
PLEITGEN: That's been quite surprising. The press conference that happened right after all this went on, where they said this is good for
FIFA; we look forward to this -- it seemed a little audacious, didn't it?
TRIESMAN: Well, it does. But you know, if you go back over the allegations of the last four years or even further to the last president,
these kinds of statements are always made every time someone blows the whistle. But it hasn't had any impact. Nothing has changed.
I hope you'll bear with me. I always thought if you have a very bad culture, it is a boxing match and a very bad culture was one of the
contestants and processes were the others, the culture would win it by a knockout in the first round of every bout. And that's what always happens
PLEITGEN: All right. Lord Triesman, thank you very much for joining the program.
TRIESMAN: Thank you very much.
PLEITGEN: And after a break, we look at an India where inhumane heat is causing grief on the entire subcontinent. It's coming up next.
PLEITGEN: And finally tonight, imagine a world blurred by heat. Sadly, it's one that's all too visible in India as blistering temperatures reach
around 50 degrees Celsius. The punishing heat wave has killed 1,400 people in less than two weeks. It's melting the tarmac off the city streets and
sending the subcontinent animals into disarray.
The government recommends people don't leave their houses between midday and 4:00 pm, but for the nation's poorest, that simply isn't an option.
Their homes offer no shelter; only one-third of India's population has access to electricity for fans.
Luckily, human compassion offers some respite. In New Delhi, cool water is being handed out by volunteers in particular to bus drivers, who have to
drive through the scorching heat. The heat wave originally was triggered by an early end to India's pre-monsoon showers and strong, dry winds
blowing in from the northwestern desert.
There is hope that salvation will come from above soon. India's monsoon season is just at the corner with rains predicted to start in the coming
And that's it for our program tonight. And remember you can always see the whole show online at amanpour.com, and follow me on Facebook and Twitter.
Thank you for watching and goodbye from London.