13/06/2011 Daily Politics


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Afternoon, folks, welcome to the Daily Politics, on a day that Ed


Miliband goes on the offensive. After days of bad headlines and


revelations about his relationship with his brother, the Labour leader


will attempt to gain the initiative with a speech that gets tough on


those who abuse the benefits system. We will ask how secure he is in his


position. The Lib Dems seem to be smiling,


but what about the rest of us? As more details emerge about the


proposed changes to the health bill, we will get the thoughts of two


professionals who work in the NHS. And despite months of NATO


bombardment, Colonel Gaddafi remains clinging to power, so are


we any closer to an endgame in Progress is slow and steady. But


strategy is working. All that in the next half-hour. If


you have any thoughts or comments on anything we are discussing, you


can send them to us at With us for the whole programme is


the journalist and historian, Max Hastings. Welcome to the show. A


little bit later today, we should get more of an idea about the


proposed changes to the government's health reforms.


Professor Steve Field, who headed a two-month consultation on the plans,


has just officially handed over his recommendations to David Cameron,


the details of which are expected to be made public later this


afternoon. Earlier this morning, the Prime Minister briefed his new


MPs on the proposed changes. He's facing a potential rebellion from


some of his backbenchers, who are worried that the bill will be too


watered down. Let's get more on this from our political


correspondent. Tell us what the nature of these changes will be?


Professor Steve Field has been at these listening exercises, along


with David Cameron for much of the time. So I think we will see a


report that follows the trend of thinking so that there will be


wider commissioning boards, not just doctors, but other health


professionals as well, limits to the involvement of the private


sector to make sure they do not just cherry-pick the easy bits.


Some relaxation on the deadline requiring these changes to the way


the NHS works. And interestingly, looking again at this role of the


health secretary said that he or she in a future government retains


the overall responsibility to make sure the NHS is available to


everyone in the country, free of charge at the point of need. Those


are the directions we have been seeing these changes moving, and


that is what we expect to hear from Steve Field. If that is what we get,


it will be endorsed by the Government. The Lib Dems will be


quick to claim credit for these changes. How much of a role have


they played in getting everything we written? They have been crowing


about how successful they have been in getting these changes through,


to the irritation of a lot of Conservative MPs. They certainly


did have an influence, but I think David Cameron looked at the


opposition to the changes from a number of different directions,


from health professionals, from the Liberal Democrats, but also across


the spectrum where there was concern about how this would work.


And I think he took a deep breath and decided it was better to take


the flak he has taken for doing that to get the change is right.


There are concerns on the Conservative benches not just that


the reforms have been watered down to appease the Lib Dems, but that


as a result we have something that will not deliver the efficiencies


the NHS needs. There is a concern that if you relax the deadline as


to how quickly this has to happen and if you restrict the involvement


of the private sector, you do not get the efficiencies that will be


needed if the NHS is to save �20 billion over four years.


With me now is Mike Farrar, who is the chief executive of the NHS


Confederation, and Sir Richard Thompson, from the Royal College of


Physicians. So, job done. It does not feel like that. We are still


waiting for the detail. It will make life easier for you. Well, we


believe the pause is right. It is important that people are listened


to. Most of the points we have been talking to reform about are about


patient interest. They are about defending patients' interest


through these changes. Are you happy with the changes? From what I


have heard, a lot of the changes are things we have asked for, yes.


Will you now back the Bill? I have to see the result. But if it is


generally along the lines where by competition will now be severely


limited, the deadline for moving to GP commissioning by 2013 will go,


if it is along these lines...? those are improvements. It is no


longer much of a reform, what is the point of it now? There are some


important things that are part of this. Clinicians are taking part.


There are public health changes. We have been asking for a more


intelligent application of the ideology. Competition can be good


in the interests of patients, but sometimes it destabilises, so we


need an intelligent debate between competition and integration and


collaboration. It is difficult to find out why Cameron plunged into


this issue so quickly. Professor Tony King said to me a while ago,


why didn't they give themselves more time to learn how to govern


her before they went this way? I have not forgotten one of Cameron's


team saying a few months ago, I am beginning to understand how


Hitler's generals felt when they heard he was going to invade Russia


when I heard we were going to do NHS reform. It is one of those


problems that surely they could have seen coming. I have not


figured out why they wanted to go so fast. Most of what is now being


proposed could be done with existing legislation, could it not?


The elephant in the room is the increasing load on the health


service, both primary and secondary care. I do not think these things


will solve that problem. Public health will take a long time to


produce improvements. But to be fair to the reforms, they encourage


integration between primary and secondary care. They should not be


separation between hospitals and community services. But the


business about competition, which was at the core of this bill at one


stage, the buyers of Health were to be the doctors, and they could


choose from an array of providers. That was clear-cut. People like you


and the Lib Dems did not like it, although they argued for it in


opposition. That is kind of fudge to now. You talked about


competition and collaboration. I do not understand where one begins and


the other Wrens. This is a huge industry, covering a multiplicity


of different interventions. In stroke care, you want centres of


excellence that can deal with things quickly and concentrate


expertise. There is a lot of care where primary and secondary care


should work together closely. But there are other areas where if it


was my mother, I would not want her to be covered by a poor-quality


service if there was something better available. You want a choice


in those aspects. We are saying that you can be intelligent rather


than ideological about this. The ideology has got him away sometimes


of what should be about patient interest. A lot of work is already


done privately. 20% of renal dialysis is done that way. I am not


against it. DUP I would want to integrate it more. If you are going


to have your hip operation down the road in a competitive private


hospital, you have not got the back at you need if things go wrong.


it seems to be much ado about nothing in the end. We have had


this institutional argument, which the Government has essentially lost.


The big issue has been raised that there is a �20 billion shortfall in


the years to come. That has not been resolved. Exactly. The Big


Issue is surely whether we are any nearer to making ends meet in


having an affordable health system? The answer has to be no. Personally,


I think eventually more money will have to be put into the health


service. We are way below the level of funding in America. I cannot


figure why they did not give themselves more time to think this


through. I know the answer to that, but I have not got time to tell you.


They differ being with us. Now, how was your weekend? Good?


Bad? Average? I had a barbecue. So-called, I had


to serve it inside. Well, whatever happened, I bet it can't have been


half as bad as Ed Miliband's. Headline after headline gave us


graphic details about his relationship with his brother,


senior Labour figures' apparent unhappiness with his leadership


style and allegations concerning scheming with Ed Balls to remove


Tony Blair as Prime Minister. Surely not. Mr Miliband is making a


keynote speech this afternoon, outlining his plans for the future


direction of the Labour Party. No pressure there, then. Anita can


give us more. Rain may have stopped play at the


tennis yesterday, but it didn't put an end to the troubles that Ed


Miliband has been facing. He was lobbed some tricky balls over the


weekend. That has raised further questions about his ability to play


the right shots when it comes to leading the Labour Party. He was


put on the back foot by leaks to the Daily Telegraph linking him to


involvement with moves back in 2005 to remove Tony Blair and replace


him with Gordon Brown. He was served another tricky shot


following the leak of his brother David Miliband's leadership


acceptance speech that never was. This led to more accusations from


some that his brother would be a better leader. Further body blows


came from a new book serialised in a Sunday paper that claims that


David Miliband is unhappy about Labour's direction under Ed's


leadership and that they are barely on speaking terms. And he has also


had below-the-belt shots from unnamed critics briefing against


him in the papers. Today, Ed Miliband is going to try to put all


these dropped points behind him. He's making a speech that focuses


on responsibility, arguing that those at the top and bottom of


society should be responsible for their actions, although whether the


speech is going to be an ace remains to be seen.


With us now is the shadow health secretary John Healey and John


McTernan, who was Tony Blair's political secretary.


John Healey, what problems, if any, have there been with the Miliband


strategy so far? The problem we all face is what all leaders of


opposition space in the early days after losing in government. It is


hard to get through to the public. It took David Cameron time to


establish himself in the public mind. This speech from Ed Miliband


today will help to do that. He is one of the few politicians that


sees the long game and some of the long-term challenges we have to


face as a country. This is part of his programme to make those


arguments to the public. Maybe it will be a speech in which he admits


that the last Labour government screwed up. It will be based on


what Ed Miliband has said from the start, which is that you do not


lose elections if you lose connection with people. This is


based on a sense that in government, Labour lost some connection with


people who need to believe that a Labour government is on their side.


He will talk today about some of the things that trouble people most


in the tail-end of the last Labour government. Are you happy with this


beach? Will it make a difference? One speech does not change things.


The Labour Party's problem was the polling that found that most voters


thought Labour stood for lone parents and immigrants in the last


election. Somebody has to stand for them. It would be good to stand for


a broader coalition if you are going to represent the British


people. The gap missing in Ed's politics is symbolic policies,


policies which indicate whose side he is really on. If you get a job,


you should look back bank be looked at more seriously for council


housing rather than council housing being simply for welfare recipients.


If you'd better yourself, the state should be backing you. That is a


more powerful signal. But at the same time, we understand that he


will vote against the welfare reforms, correct? We have said we


will take the welfare reforms the Government are planning on their


merits. One of the big flaws in what the Government is planning is


that it hits a lot of disabled people very hard. Perhaps even the


Government is starting to rethink those plans. But are you going to


vote against the principle of the reforms? We will challenge the bill


in the way it is needed in the areas that are needed. Where the


government is doing the right thing, we will give them our backing. That


is what Ed Miliband said, responsible opposition. These


reforms had a 65% approval rating among Labour voters. Why would you


vote against them. Reforming welfare is a fundamental thing the


Labour Party has to embrace. that is at the committee stage.


Labour, under Douglas Alexander, embraced a huge number of welfare


reform changes in principle as well as practice. Liam Byrne has been


saying similar things. He has gone further than Iain Duncan Smith in


some areas. We need to see the Labour front bench in totality


expressing its commitment to the welfare reforms and going beyond


You had 13 years to do it and you did nothing but tinker with it.


That's unfare. After 13 years, 5 million people of working age are


not working. Incapacity benefit was reformed, fundamentally. It's still


over 2 million. The stock is now growing. If you were to explain to


the average person what de Miliband Labour Party stands for, what would


it be? I think the three big arguments that Ed is trying to make


it a signal to that. There are millions in Middle Britain at the


moment who are badly squeezed. They are squeezed because of the cost of


fuel, the cost of food, housing, the cost of living, because of


their power and heating is going up. Their incomes, even when they are


struggling and working, are static. A governor of the Bank of England


has told us all of that. What would you do about it? Big government is


making it worse by cutting some of the tax credit, child care support.


In the end, failing to have an economy that is growing strongly


and producing jobs. The second important thing for Ed is that


sometimes he feels, and he's right about this, that we have lost sight


of what pulls us together as a community. The third thing is that,


for the first time, I think a lot of people are worried that the


promise that Britain has always held to the next generation, that


the opportunities for them are going to be better than they were


for parents and grandparents, is failing. One of the things you and


I have got from being around a long time is that one knows how quickly


things can turn around for politicians. Although Ed Miliband


is making a fist of it at the moment, I would have thought that


three of four years down the track, even as we going to another General


Election, with the lightly circumstances in which a great many


people in this country are going to find themselves, living standards


going nowhere, and only a small minority of people getting


unbelievably rich, I would have thought that somewhere, I wouldn't


write the Labour Party off. We remember people writing of the


Tories five years ago. I wouldn't write it off at all. It's not


Labour in 1983, it's not the Tories in 1997. They only need a small


swing to win. That's why and tried to work out what the Labour Party


stands for. Who said in 2010, with a fine night that the question or


the answer, what we are for, nor why we are needed. That is what we


need to put right. I don't know, I wouldn't win one of your mugs for


the answer. Most people just steal them. It was David Miliband, and


he's right, that is still the problem? Our conversation started


from that very basis, I set myself in the first answer to the question.


One of the problems in Labour at the tail-end of the last government,


after 13 years, many people felt that they couldn't see and hear


themselves, what we were doing, what they were saying. It was the


bankers that bankrupted the country. It was Gordon Brown, he did a


pretty good job of it. Before the bankers, globally, drovers to the


brink of worldwide collapse, the deficit and the debt... Labour


supporters have said they will not support Labour until it admits how


badly it screwed up. Before we went into that global recession, driven


by banker recklessness, the debt we carried as a nation and the deficit


was lower than when we talk over from the Tories. -- took over.


you think there has to be more a confession that we got it wrong?


think Labour needs to regain economic credibility. It could be


what Gordon did before 1997, when he said we would match the Tory


spending plans, it's got to be something simple and understandable,


a new fiscal rule that takes the issue of the table. That was David


Miliband's speech that he never gave? It's a fundamental thing. The


danger for Labour is to get trapped in the economics. The next election


will be based on values. Labour's biggest problem is a pass to stand


for the values of... Stop saying Middle Britain, they've got to


stand up for middle-class people. They are going to get a bad ride


from this government. If Labour becomes the party of the middle


classes, they can win in 2015. Shouldn't Ed Miliband now deliver


the David Miliband speech that was never delivered? Did you follow


that, I almost got lost. He is not David Miliband, he delivers his own


speeches. It was a good speech from David Miliband. If David Miliband


had won that leadership, he would have delivered that speech. Ed


earth is his own man, and he will deliver his own speech. As tough as


it is, especially Labour in opposition... Were you aware,


working in Downing Street, that in the throes of the worst terrorist


attack experienced by this country that Ed Balls and Ed Miliband were


trying to get rid of your leader? No one in Downing Street would be


surprised by those memos. If only he had governed by his memos,


rather than the way that he did. only the spelling of our political


leaders was better. They have presided over the education system


and a. It is two-finger typing. wasn't just his spelling either.


was educated in Scotland, my spelling is rather good. Back in


the good old days! Or all of you would bad spelling, see us


afterwards. The grave situation in Syria is


leading to increasing calls for... Lino... For Britain to intervene.


Is it the right course of action when NATO seems to be increasingly


bombed -- bogged down in Libya. The campaign appears, from the outside,


to have reached something of a stalemate. Is it going to be


successful and how long will Senator Bourdais, more than 10,000


flying missions and hundreds of tanks, munition dumps and control


centres destroyed. -- 74 days. And yet, at least nominally, Colonel


Gaddafi remains in power in Libya. The NATO mission in Libya has three


main aims. To stop the regime of maintaining arms, protect civilians


and enforce a no-fly zone. In reality, there is a 4th aim. To do


what the opposition wants and rid the country of its leader. How


close are we to toppling Gaddafi? think at the moment we would be


lucky if Gaddafi disappeared quickly. We would be lucky if he


disappeared because we would basically have to hit him with a


missile, he would have to be in one of the command centres which was


struck. If I was a betting man, I wouldn't bet a lot of money, but


I'd bet the stalemate would continue for some time to come.


the chances are that Gaddafi is going to be around for a while.


However tempting it might be, pursuing by any means necessary


policy is not an option. If Gaddafi is actively commanding troops, if


he's in a command centre and killed by a missile, I suppose that


something which might be a legitimate act of war. But to set


out to assassinate him, I think, would be dangerous. It's something


that I would be morally very uncomfortable with. According to a


former British ambassador to Libya, one that was in the country very


recently, the NATO strategy may be slow but it is what is wanted on


the ground. More of the same was the message that I was given in


Benghazi when I asked them what we should be doing next. That was a


few weeks ago. But I believe that is still the message we are getting.


I would say that progress is slow and steady. It's slow, but the


strategy is working. In conflict, you can't be sure what is going to


happen. But I feel confident that with his right to continue.


According to some, it's a long game, not just the fate of one man, that


really matters. I believe we should be in that region for a very long


time. It's the edge of the Mediterranean, the edge of Europe.


If they become more politically stable, if their economy develops,


it's good for us, it's good for them and it's something we could be


deeply proud of. It could be one of our great contributions for a


generation. What we mustn't do is get so impatient at the turn us all


into a military issue. For these protesters outside the Libyan


embassy in London, change can't come too soon. For the rest of the


world, it's not about getting Gaddafi, it's about getting it


right. We are joined now by the Libyan


historian and author of Dr Faraj Najem, who has links with the anti-


Gaddafi forces. Max Hastings is still with us, with his expertise.


First of all, let's start the way we always start. You've got family


there. What is your update from the ground? Well, the news I am getting,


as recent as yesterday, it's very horrific. Gaddafi is using what


they call it weapon of mass destruction, gang rape. He is


turning against the women of those about opposing him. The stories are


too graphic to tell your audience. We have heard from Luis Moreno Camp


Hope, talking about Viagra being distributed to Gaddafi forces. The


Libyan government says it has repulsed an attempt by Libyan


rebels to take Zawiya. If they are making strategic gains like that,


then does that mean that your forces, the forces that are


fighting commander the losing side? Don't forget, Zawiya was supposed


to have been neutralised months ago. Yet the people there managed to


rise up again and turn against him. It's still a battle, as we speak,


they are still fighting. The forces are coming down from the mountain.


Misrata, they managed to push them out of the city. They are making


some gains. The noose is tightening around his neck. Do you want more


than airstrikes? I think we need to arm the opposition. We need to


allow them to protect their own civilians. They are the ones that


are just basically taking the arms from Gaddafi's Security Brigades


and trying to push them back. bring in Max Hastings. You can't


just win this with air strikes alone. I've always thought that the


West and the rebels would eventually be successful in getting


Gaddafi out. The question is, was it wise for Britain to get so far


out in front, almost alone on this? My own scepticism about this wasn't


based on any... Gaddafi is obviously a very bad man, the world


will be a slightly better place when he goes, that Americans,


including senior ones, so that their concerns, their unwillingness


to be paid -- tracked into this by David Cameron, it was based on


whether we were supporting the cause of freedom or just the weaker


side on a Libyan civil war? The intelligence is still very weak. It


would be very rash to pre-empt this, but it may be that when Gaddafi


goes and I still think he will, we will discover that the Libyans in


Tripoli say it is wonderful and get together with the Libyans in


Benghazi. With a bit of reluctant assistance from the Americans, we


will half a responsibility for sorting out what is likely to be an


unholy mess. We will talk about the nature of what is left behind, you


say you're sure he will go, how long do you think it will take?


can't put a timescale on that. But I don't think this regime can


withstand the level of attrition they are taking. It's what happens


after they go. It's always been the worry in some of our minds. David


Cameron wanted to go and do a good idea to -- good deed, it will be a


good deed getting rid of Gaddafi. But if you are going to play grown-


up policies, rather than logistics policies, just a strategy, you have


to see this through. Make it easier, supply arms, that would make the


end come more swiftly? You are skating per to close to the edge of


That you are skating close to the UN resolution. What you need is


more heavy weapons. People have to be trained to use them. Who is


going to do that? We are running out of time. It does seem as if the


international community is really saying, right, rebels, it's now up


to you? Yes, they are saying it. Benghazi, especially in the east,


it's open. The intelligence services are there, the journalists


are there and they are clear about what these people are up to. They


are really up to a democratic free Libya. This is very clear, we need


to get rid of this man who is awful to everyone else. Sorry, we are out


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