23/06/2011 Daily Politics


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Morning, Fox, will come to the Daily Politics. Robin Hood Clegg


says he wants to give you the banks, but is it any more than political


posturing? He is friends with huskies, we know that, but his any


peace in Europe are voting against his Government's policy on the


environment. What is the Prime Minister going to do about it?


Going Dutch, our students are making big savings by studying


abroad. And MPs prepared to vote to ban on wild animals from circuses,


but is the centuries of tradition really cruel? The Republic want us,


they support us, and we really ought to be listening to the people


of vote with their feet. -- the public want us.


All of that is coming out in the next half hour. With us for the


duration is writer, broadcaster and Labour peer Joan Bakewell. Lovely


to have you on the programme. whenever Nick Clegg goes abroad, he


makes an announcement! He probably has nothing else to do, idling away


hours with journalists on the plane. It seems that is largely unreported


trip to Brazil, he did not know he was there, did you? It has inspired


the Deputy Prime Minister to launch a scheme which would see shares in


the nationalised banks, the Royal Bank and Lloyds, distributed to the


taxpayers who bailed them out in the first place. It is not clear


how it will go down with the Chancellor, because it seems Mr on


Thorn was banking on using the profits of reselling the banks to


help improve the public finances. - - Mr Osborne. Here's a thought, cut


our taxes before the next election! Do Chancellors do that? It comes


from an idea that was put forward originally by Lib Dem MP Stephen


Williams, who joins us now. Welcome. Hello! Let me just clarify this, is


it an official Lib Dem policy to do this, but not yet coalition policy?


It is not officially Lib Dem policy yet until our party conference


discusses it, because that is the way we make policy, but it has been


pretty well endorsed by everyone who matters in the party from the


Deputy Prime Minister down. You may remember, Andrew, I launched this


pamphlet on your programme back in March. It is an idea that has been


gathering momentum. Even John Redwood, who was on television this


morning, said he was in broad support. Is it an idea whose time


has come? I think so, and more people are coming on board when


they see it is popular. There are not many people who I have spoken


to in the last six months who, after the conversation, say, no, I


don't like that. It is popular, and it makes a clear link between the


nationalisation of the banks and the benefit when they return to


profitability in the near future. That is interesting. You think the


banks are ready to return to the private sector? I think the


preparations need to be made now for when they are ready. The share


prices are still pretty much in the debt. Yes, but those share prices


are probably artificially depressed at the moment because there is no


real knowledge of expectation as to what the government is going to do


with the two enormous holdings that it has in these banks. Once the


Government makes its intentions clear, at the share prices will


rally to some extent, but the main driver is the profitability of the


banks themselves. Do you really want to lumber all of us with bank


shares just on the brink of a European sovereign debt crisis?


These banks have balance sheets full of a new toxic waste called


European sovereign debt. We would not be lumbered with them. The


state owns these bank shares at the moment, so we have already got them.


I mean the individuals. Treasury would only dispose of


these shares when either it knows it can do so at a profit in terms


of a normal privatisation that you and I will remember from the


Thatcher and John Major era, all to do it in his rather more


imaginative way, where every citizen gets the benefit. We can


only do it when the market conditions are right. We are not


there yet, but we must be optimistic that both are these


banks, which have been saved by the taxpayer, they have been in


intensive care, and pretty soon they will be ready to return to the


private sector, which is where they belong. I want to do that in a way


in which everyone can benefit. quick questions before I get our


guest's reaction. You say it is not yet Lib Dem policy, but the


manifesto policy was, we will turn Northern Rock into a building


society. You did not get away on that, did you? We will have to wait


and see what happens. It has been privatised. It may well be sold to


an existing building society, of course. There are many options.


Unlikely. Let me ask you this. Who would get these shares? Every


citizen? That is the model I have proposed. How would we do find


that? If your name is on the electoral roll? That is the way I


suggested. Electro role has more holes than a Swiss cheese. -- the


electoral roll. I would say it is pretty robust. There would have to


be some clean-up operations. Students and MPs would get two sets


of shares! I think we would be caught out! There Ahsan is used


with the Elektra Register, but it remains the only complete dataset


of all 46 million adults in the UK. -- there our son is used with the


collector of register. What do you think? I think it is a bit of a


gimmick. A gimmick! Offer people �1,000, they are going to like it,


they are going to be very pleased with it. If it is every citizen,


that includes people who do not pay taxes, and there is already lots of


talk about people saying, you mean people who do not pay taxes are


going to get his bonus, too? Also, we already Tony Banks, don't we?


Isn't that the point of the purchase? -- owned by the banks.


What they are doing is making us into shareholders and privatising


the banks by giving us the money. I think we should all get together as


shareholders, go to the shareholders' meeting and vote down


the bonuses and the pay of the chief executive. That would be a


case of doing it. Stephen Williams, keeps in touch with us. OK.


regard the Daily Politics as your outlet for taking this debate on!


That is very kind of you. Now, the government is committed to


increasing our target for reducing CO2 emissions from 20% down to 30%


by 2020, which is far enough in the future of one of the current bunch


to be held accountable if it does that happen. But it will not apply


to the heart head generated in this studio, which is preserved by


national statute. -- hot air. Some MEPs are planning to vote against


the Government's policy today. Anita has the details. I will do my


best to explain. You are right, David Cameron has repeatedly said


he wants the commission to be the greenest government ever, so in his


bunny hugging coalition agreement, he said he wanted to raise the EU


carbon cutting target from 20% up to 30% by 2020. Today, there is


this non-binding European Parliament vote that calls for the


target to be raised. All well and good, not really, because the


Conservative MEPs are threatening to blow smoke all over the Prime


Minister's green credentials by voting against raising the target.


Led by Martin Callanan, they say a higher target would harm business,


and that any unilateral action would put Europe at a competitive


disadvantage to rivals like China. Martin Callanan is also not


particularly bothered by the coalition's flower-power, sharing


agreement, saying, we are not in coalition with the Lib Dems in the


European Parliament. At PMQs, Mr Cameron reiterated that he was


committed to the 30% target, and in his words, nothing is going to


change that. He added, I will work on my any pace. So the question


today is, do those MEPs feel a little bit like they have been work


done? Andrew is going to find out. It is a very good question. We


asked for a minister to defend the Government's support for this 30%


target, but strangely none was available. We are delighted to be


joined from Brussels by a Conservative MEP Roger Helmer, and


in the studio in Westminster we have Liberal Democrat MP Duncan


Hames. Well can do both. Roger Helmer, are you voting against


these targets because you think they are economically damaging or


because you do not think Climate Change Act is such a big deal?


you may be surprised that I am voting against them because I think


they are bad for the environment. These proposals do not make sense


in economic or environmental terms. They will simply drive jobs,


production and investment out of the EU entirely, and into other


jurisdictions with lower standards. Instead of one tonne of CO2 in


Britain, you would get two tonnes in China. I cannot see how that is


any good for the environment or for anybody except the Chinese. Duncan


Hames, there is a trend for heavy industry to leave Europe and go to


the emerging markets. If you put on these heavy targets which will


raise the cost of doing business here, you simply reinforce that


trend. Well, he is way behind the curve in this debate if he does not


think China is trying to reduce the carpet intensity of its own


economic activity. But not a 30% target like ours, they open a new


coalmine every week. We need to make sure we have the jobs which


will be sustainable in the future. What you say to his point that jobs


would go? The Tory position in Europe has more to do with the fact


that their only friends in the European Parliament are a right-


wing Polish party who are worried about their jobs. He is putting


their interests ahead of British economic policy, which is


astounding. Lay the ball, not the man. Never mind his Polish allies,


answer his question. If you make these targets to strike, stricter


than anybody else, as ours are at 30%, we will lose jobs to the


emerging markets. What is the counter argument, that is all I'm


asking. The whole point of negotiations across Europe is to


ensure that within a larger economic bloc, there is a level


playing field. That is why we are working with you on a common target.


That is why we are trying to work internationally, and frankly to say


that we should not take part in international agreements, that we


should sign with whoever the lifeguards in this debate is not


really in the interests of our We in Britain now have this tougher


target of 30%, when it at least makes sense to get a level playing


field if we went along with the rest of Europe having that targets,


too? Well, the whole idea of a 30% target is, of course, absurd. The


Liberal Democrat wants to lead on this issue, but nobody else is


following. I'm not voting to be nice to our Polish colleagues,


although I'm happy to be nice to them. I'm voting for a common sense


policy in Britain. What is the answer to my question? If you would


stop playing the man and start playing the ball, what is the


answer to my point? We have got this very tough standard, so it


would be helpful if the rest of Europe had a tough standard as well.


Well, some of my colleagues would be prepared to vote for 30% if the


rest of the world went for it. But the rest of the world is not going


for 30%. We should not have 30%. We will not be able to deliver, and


the sooner that the coalition government recognises that its


policies do not make sense, do not do any good for the environment and


are damaging the economy and are going to force homers into fuel


poverty, pensioners will literally die because of what we are doing in


terms of bringing policies. This whole programme needs to be


reviewed. There is a growing head of steam, both within Brussels and


in Westminster, to look at it again. We cannot go on with this folly.


a time when fuel prices are rising rapidly, we have just seen huge


increases with Scottish Power, and we also know that the poorer you


are, the more of your income you have to spend on fuel as well as


food, does it make sense for greens like you to be having the fuel


bills of ordinary people who are struggling to afford it? You're


already adding �200 on to the average fuel bill with these


policies. Prices are rising in line with the oil price, and what we


need for those people is to get energy bills off the fossil fuel


them. Even if prices keep going up, we can get energy bills down


through measures such as the Green deal, which we are putting through


Parliament at this moment. I will repeat this again. Energy bills are


already rising because of world oil and gas prices, and because nuclear


power is in retreat at the moment. You are increasing that rise. It is


rising even more because of your green policies. Well, it is. It all


depends on the oil price level. make electricity companies by twice


the market rate for onshore wind power, three times for offshore. Is


it fair to poor people that you are increasing their bills in that way?


What is there for poorer people is the Green deal on energy, which


will ensure that we reduce energy consumption and their energy bills.


Whilst we cannot control prices, we can work to reduce people's bills,


which addresses the very concerns about fuel poverty which you quite


reasonably raised. There is no sign that bills will fall and the future.


Under this measure, they will rise. Not if we do not get them off the


oil crisis. Nothing you are doing well do that. The Prime Minister


said he would work a new, have you been worked over? -- he would work


We haven't been worked over. I have heard nothing from London. As far


as I know, my colleagues haven't. see. There's been no pressure. Can


I go back on that last point? Andrew, you were right about wind


power. It is disingenuous to say prices for electricity are lining


with the oil price. No, they are not. They are rising much higher.


All right. A lot of old people die from the cold in winter? There are


a lot of other ways of keeping people alive rather than juggling


oil prices. Quite clearly, the Green Agenda is a long-term agenda.


To be dicing around with short-term consequences as a way of blocking


the long-term engagement is folly. We have to take on the long-term


issues. Is it right to be increasing the fuel bills of the


old and poor at a time when their fuel bills are already rising?


way to tackle that is to deal with the problems of the old and poor


which after all caused many other remedies too. Other people can bear


the burden who can afford it. you for that. Give us a call if the


Prime Minister threatens you at any stage. I will let you know! Thank


you. Now, here is a question: Why spend �9,000 an English university


Ze agree when you can get a cheaper degree somewhere else in Europe? --


degree when you can get a cheaper degree somewhere else in Europe?


The University of Groningen is a particularly popular destination


for British students where numbers have increased from a handful a few


years ago to more than 100 thousand-of-this year. Paul Henley


sampled the student life -- 100,000 this year. Paul Henley sampled the


student life. Choosing to study abroad doesn't necessarily mean you


have to give up the familiar comfort of a student night out.


This man is finishing his first year at Groningen University. He is


from St Albans. At a Dutch student comedy night with his friends and


flatmates, some of the jokes might be lost in translation. I'll take


care of the booze, lady! A few pints probably help. LAUGHTER


Netherlands is one of the few places in Europe you can study


entirely in English and get by in daily life without the local


language. And you can live quite cheaply here. Welcome to my humble


abode. He shares a big flat with three other students paying just


over �400 a month. This is Adrian's corner! He missed his A-level grade


force the university he wanted in the UK, heard about the Dutch


option and realised he was on to a winner, even if it meant being a


pioneer. It feels unique, it feels like I am doing some independent.


Groningen is in the top 150 of most university world rankings,


somewhere on a par with Liverpool or Leeds in the UK. Once you know


the facts, it seems less a question of why study in the Netherlands


than why not? His annual tuition fee of �1,500 sounds good compared


to the �9,000 in the UK. It sounds better when you know he can claim


it back from the Dutch government. If he works eight hours a week, he


can also get a grant of �250 a month and free rail travel anywhere


in the country. That is out of gratitude, he's chosen to have


Dutch lessons. Dutch universities aren't part of the British UCAS


system yet but they are working on it and applying doesn't sound


complicated. You contact us through the website. If A-levels are


sufficient, you are admitted. higher education might still be an


unusual one for a British person, but maybe not for long. I would


recommend it. Surprised more people haven't come here. Joan Bakewell is


still with us. Norman Tebbit did say "get on your bike" but he


didn't mean sending some of our brightest people to the Netherlands.


What do you make of it? I think it is a wonderful idea. The more


students across Europe that go to each other's universities the more


we will understand each other. I think it will be wonderful. Getting


on your bike will be perfect for Amsterdam. Won't it be one-way


traffic? If they can get an education for free, or very


subsidised, we are charging �9,000 a year, who is going to come here?


Well, there are lots of people now among our student body who want to


go to universities who might well find a better niche abroad. I think


that would be to spread the culture. I mean, we have too many students


really than our universities can take. I think that would be a


terrific way of spreading the load and bringing other students here


who might be specialists in particular subjects which we are


particularly good. Specialists or rich? Doesn't the matter of tuition


fees going up - we have had that argument many times. Does it mean


we are the bastions for rich people's education? That is so. So


we do have a two tier system. So let the market decide. Let the


students go abroad and see that they get a good education for less


and if we believe in a market economy, it should come right.


the market decide? If the market decides and there are numerous


courses which will no longer be offered in this country because the


market says you don't earn that much when you do them, and you are


not... You don't have to pay back your student loan of course. You


only pay back your student loan when you have made a good living


out of having the degree. You are comfortable with the fact there is


not an even playing field in Europe? I'm - that is an


abstraction. I like the idea of a lot of young people going to each


other's country to study. Before any of you start tweeting,


we are aware that European students do not pay fees at Scottish


universities. Before you start tweeting further, we are aware that


English students do pay fees at Scottish universities. When it


comes to plates, you keep spinning them. A circus cliche? Yes, but


this story is about circuses. A cross-party group of MPs will


attempt to change the law banning the use of wild animals in circuses


in England. Yes, only England. It is Westminster. It's a practice


they believe to be cruel. The Government prefers a licensing


regime and as Adam Fleming discovered, circuses that use lions,


tigers and elephants, they vigorously defend the practice.


Recently pitched up in this field in Surrey, the Great British Circus,


its owner is one of the few who still keeps wild animals. General


Motors has gone bust and I am still here. The public want us. They


support us. We really ought to be listening to the people who vote


with their feet. The punters here do seem happy. Mostly. I can see


both sides but as long as everything is by the book, it's


fair. I do like to see animals in the wild. I love the animals.


Martin wouldn't allow our cameras behind-the-scenes but he showed me


where the animals were kept. Back there, there are five tigers,


camels, llamas, even some reindeer. They are all in cages, some of them


with electric fences, but they have all got shade and water and to this


untrained eye they didn't look unhealthy. That won't reassure


concerned MPs and campaigners who say this amounts to mistreatment.


And nowadays protesters are as much a part of circus life as clowns and


candy floss. They point to secret filming like this from earlier this


year, an elephant called Ann from another zoo. The courts are daily


full of pet owners who don't care for their animals properly. Since


1932, there have been seven cases of mistreatment of animals, seven.


Seven too many, but compared with the rest of the animal-keeping


world, it is not a bad record. These horses are domesticated so


don't count as wild animals. The Government's preferred solution to


all this is a new system of licences, but that is not enough


for the backbenchers pushing for a total ban. Welcome to big tent


politics. See what he did there? We are


joined by the Conservative MP Mark Pritchard who wants to see a ban on


the use of non-domestic animals in circuses. There seems to be a


three-line whip out to block your move. Why? That is something for


the Whip's Office. I am rather surprised. 92% of the public want


to see a ban on wild animals in circuses, 64% of MPs said they want


to see a ban. An Early Day Motion has attracted over 200 MPs. It is


in the top ten of Early Day Motions. There is wide support for a ban,


not only in Parliament, but also outside of Parliament. In view of


that level of support, why would your leader want to thwart your


ambition? I have seen some of the rumour mill on the blogs, I'm not


going to comment on conversations I may or may not have had with


officials from Number Ten. A lot of colleagues have telephoned me this


morning and say they are rather perplexed why Number Ten have taken


a personal interest in this. The Government is very busy given we


are at war in two places, we have a public deficit to deal with, and


yet they are applying a three-line whip on the ban, the use of wild


animals in circuses. Have you been told Mark, get into line here?


not going to comment on what conversations I may or may not have


had. Yes, then? I get calls from all sorts of people in different


parts of the party all of the time. That is a question perhaps you need


to put to Number Ten. All I do know is that there's wide support for


this ban. I'm very perplexed why there's been a three-line whip put


on my motion. The Government tabled an amendment to my motion which


wouldn't bring aboutliness Let's talk about the amendment. What does


the amendment suggest? What is the Government's plan? I have had my


run-ins with Mr Speaker as Andrew knows. I have to put on record here


today on live television Mr Speaker has once again proven that he is a


champion for Parliament and a champion for the backbenchers.


Despite the fact 44 Members of Parliament signed the amendment


which would have blocked my motion being voted upon, the speaker has


not selected that amendment. It was a Government amendment Theyskens'


Theory got to 44 MPs. That is -- amendment which they got to 44 MPs


to sign. Forget about the mechanics. I won't ask you again. But in such


an important time in Parliament, what is the argument that is being


put forward by those who seek to thwart you as to why they are


trying to thwart you? I will answer that. I will address the licensing


point. The proposal is a licence of circuses. The problem is it will


give a green light for an import of a new generation of animals so


tigers, elephants, lions, zebras and camels. However well they may


or may not be treated, the fact is they are travelling all the time in


very cramped conditions, both housed and transported in cramped


conditions. I want to see an end to that. You don't know why they are


thwarting you? The Government is saying, the statement on 19th May,


the parliamentary secretary came along and told the House, the fact


is the Government is saying that European Services Directive is


being breached, it is not. Thank you very much. A quick comment from


you? Circuses have moved on. The most successful circuses rely on


the brilliant ability of trapeze artists and that is what we want to


see. Thank you. Beware of the revenge of the clowns! The Guess


The Year - 1961, the year of the Bay of Pigs. You have to pick a


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