24/06/2011 Daily Politics


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Hello, welcome to the Daily Politics on Friday. Ed Miliband


wants to ditch elections to the Shadow Cabinet. A rejection of


internal party democracy or a strong leader exerting authority?


A test for all the parties in the by-election next week, we have been


too Inverclyde to find out if Labour can hold off the SNP.


And chaos in Greece, some say the single currency itself is under


threat, but Tony Blair tells us he And joining me throughout the


programme, the Guardian's Zoe Williams and the Telegraph's Peter


Oborne. To discuss Ed Miliband's desire to the Shadow Cabinet, Jan


Royall and Jeremy Corbyn, welcome. Peter 01, is indeed doing the right


thing? It is an outdated way of electing people. He should just


choose his own team. It is against the constitution of the Labour


Party, and I think it is a disappointing affront to democracy,


in a funny way. It shows Ed Miliband is adopting the Brownite


methodology... Blair did not do it. He has gone further than black,


amazingly enough. Centralisation, hostile to democracy, controlling


power for the leadership. It is a really retrograde move. It is


presented by modernisers, but it is really old fashioned, it is the old


politics. The new politics is democracy, having to market took --


having democratic elections to the Shadow Cabinet. Fairly passionate,


rather surprising. I'm surprised you are so passion about it, I must


say. I would think that the impulse would be, because nobody pays that


much attention to the Shadow Cabinet elections unless there is a


huge amount of conflict, and then everything is mired in who hates


whom and blah blah blah. It really withdraws from the message. I think


that is probably what Ed Miliband is thinking. All the talk of


backbiting and who Ed Balls hates next... Isn't that the point?


Members of the Shadow Cabinet, or people would like to be members,


should not be spending their time trying to get support from fellow


MPs. They should be trying to push forward won a message from the


Labour Party. All of that would go if they start having elections.


have not noticed one person showing any interest. It is a non-issue.


What it is his contrary to the whole direction of travel in


Parliament. After the reforms of last year, parliament reduced


patronage, increased elections, increased accountability, backbench


committees, election of the Shadow Cabinet, and then Ed chooses who


will fill each portfolio. What is wrong with that? What is wrong with


that degree of accountability? will not argue that he should be


able to choose the team he wants, he should be able to choose the


people that will best put forward the message and with whom he gets


on. The bid devilment of the British parliamentary system is


patronage. The package in -- the patronage of party leaders and the


establishment as a whole. We are playing straight into that whole


agenda by ending elections for the PLP and saying the leader will


choose. That means any new MP, the first thing, be nice to the leader,


agree with the leader, support the leader, put your brain on hold.


Jeremy says that there is nobody politicking to get into the Shadow


Cabinet, because that is because there is no election this year.


Well, quite. La steer it dominated the PLP for months. -- last year.


Everyone was inward-looking, to see what they should be doing. What


about the point that it is anti- democratic? This is to do with


internal party organisation. It is not anti-democratic. I was there in


the 1980s, and I know the frustrations of a leader who cannot


have the people he needs in the shadow cabinet. When Tony Blair got


to Downing Street, there were many disappointed people because they


had been in the Shadow Cabinet but when not in the Cabinet. This is an


internal party organisational issue. Isn't it just moving with the


times? This is about party politics. The times are going in exactly the


other direction. In Parliament, not necessarily with the party. I am


not sure about that. The whole debate about resounding Labour is


about empowering conference and constituency parties. 60,000 people


joined Labour for a cause, not to be actors on a stage. Peter. It is


unfair to be personal, but Baroness Royall started life as a Labour


Party press person, an apparatchik. Never elected to anything in your


life. You are the political class in action, which is out to


disenfranchise. Let Baroness Royall answer that! I am here because I


think it is a jolly good... No-one has selected due to be here. I put


my hands up, I have stood for election, no one has elected me. I


am also seeking election to the House of Lords. Double standards.


Absolutely not, we are talking about an internal party structure,


not democracy for the wider public. You're not saying that you should


have been elected by the rest of the party, she should have been


elected by the public. I was elected by my peers, I should say.


Can I just asked Jan Royall a question? Do you agree with Harriet


Harman that one of the top job should be occupied by a woman?


Why is Harriet Harman agreeing to getting rid of an scrapping the


quota of women in the Shadow Cabinet? I do not know what


discussions have gone on between add and Harriet Harman. I have to


say, I have not discussed this with Ed, but it is right and proper that


he should have, in his shadow cabinet, whomsoever he wants to


have, but it is important that at the top you have a man and a woman.


Jeremy? I agree with a quota for places for women, I agree with


elections to the Shadow Cabinet, and I think that the patronage of


the leader undermines the PLP and democracy. We are all elected as


Labour MPs. You think it is strange that Harriet Harman, who has been


such a proponent of women's rights and representation, has not


subjected to get here are getting rid of the quota? If she might have


done, but she might have been overruled. I hope she objected,


because when there was a consultation that went around


saying, what did you think about the quota for women? I replied that


I supported it, as I suspect a lot of other MPs did. There are no


elections to the Shadow Cabinet this year, and I think Ed has


panicked and thought, I have to get his pass the conference now. Labour


MPs heard about this last night, and there will be a vote on Monday


night. I think it is really important. This is a good time to


do it. We are talking about resounding Labour, there is a


national policy forum on Saturday, then it would go to the NEC asked


to conference. How many party members have asked for an end to


elections to the Shadow Cabinet? I suspect very few. Everyone is


saying that Ed Miliband should show more leadership, but he cannot if


he is taken up with battles within Cabinet. Is he? You lead by taking


a party with you, you lead from the front and on policy. But the party


is so rebellious, I do not see all these MPs thinking for themselves.


I beg your pardon! There is no need to be personal! It does not make


that much difference. You did not see the shadow cabinet diverting


from the party line under Tony Blair. The former MP for Cannock


produced reforms in parliament which are very good. They have made


MPs much more involved, there is more accountability, the election


of the Speaker, very good, and we support that, we applauded, it is


democratising Parliament. What are we doing with the PLP? It is not


very sensible at all. We are talking about Ed Miliband having a


Shadow Cabinet that he wants, so that they can take forward...


would get that anyway. He needs to take forward the policies that he


once so that we can win elections. He would get the Shadow Cabinet he


wants anyway, because the word goes around that the leader wants who he


wants. Is that do you voted for, Jeremy? It wasn't, and it never


will be. I have been in the PR before long time, and I have seen


the way that leaders and opposition have managed to get the Shadow


Cabinet they want. So what is the problem? If they are going to


dictate who they want... It is the safety bath of democracy. Thank you


very much. Labour's problems are not just


confined to who is in the Shadow Cabinet and how they get there. The


party's traditional base, the working class, is shrinking.


Deborah Mattinson, who did a lot of bowling for Gordon Brown, has been


looking at how this affects politics and political strategy. I


will be talking to her in a moment, but first what has the research


found out? The vast majority, nearly three-quarters, say they are


middle-class. Less than one and four claim to be working class.


Absolutely no one said that they were upper-class. While the


majority of the working class were still vote Labour, most of them


feel all politicians do not understand them and they are far


less likely to vote than the middle classes. The work will classes --


the working classes see Tony Blair as having moved the Labour Party


away from the working class, while Margaret Thatcher is seen as a hero


for selling them their hat council houses but a villain for closing


down traditional industries. The working class are also desperate to


be distinguished from the lower class, the spongers and antisocial


yobs who politicians regularly referred to when talking about


responsibility. Deborah Mattinson is here now. From Manchester, we


are joined by conservative MP Graham Evans, who was proud of his


working-class roots. Deborah Mattinson, how important his class


in politics today? I think it still matters a lot. What we are finding,


particularly with the working-class self- identifiers in our sample,


was that they feel stuck. They feel that they cannot go anywhere, that


they are getting a very rough deal. They cannot go anywhere


politically? There is no social mobility. They feel they cannot go


anywhere, and they feel that they are clinging on to what they have


with their fingernails, and they are desperately trying to stop


themselves from dropping down into this 4th class that they identify,


the lower class, the underclass, the chap class. They feel that


there is a real risk that they could topple over the edge at any


point. How does that affect them politically? How do they vote?


are more likely to say they vote Labour, but the truth is that a lot


of them will not vote at all. Half of the worst of of the working


class simply will not vote. It is something we have seen in turnouts


in safe Labour seats, turnout slipping away. They feel that all


politicians are all the same, that they are all looking after their


own careers, nobody understands people like them. But crucially,


Carlos do not vote atoll. Graham Evans, as far as you are concerned,


you feel there is an assumption from voters that Labour is the


party of the working class? Yes, to a certain extent. When I was


campaigning in a working-class area in general elections, I was


surprised that most people had not actually met a politician on their


doorstep. They were really quite surprised not just to see a


politician on their doorstep but a Conservative politician. What did


that mean? Does it mean they would ever be likely to vote


Conservative? As the only Conservative on the Mersey estuary,


I think there may be something in that. I believe that a lot of


people who did not ordinarily vote Conservative or did not vote


Conservative at all, they met me on the doorstep, they gave me the


benefit of the doubt and gave me a chance in Parliament. All parties


are guilty of not going out onto the streets and on to the doorstep


and campaigning at that level. of the problems, though, for Labour


in particular, from the research that Deborah Mattinson has got, is


this dramatic reversal of the middle-class support for Labour


going to the Conservatives. Sure, and I think there is a problem with


the Labour Party's support in particular, in which, with Tony


Blair's thing of everybody being middle class, they managed to


criminalise poverty, because the only people who were not what the


ASBO classes. I think a lot of people kind of sort New Labour as


having such a strong identification with the middle classes that they


had no real time for anything. Their only policies were designed


to draw people into the middle class, rather than make things


better for people in the working class. I do not think that is quite


true. In a way, that is a distinction that working-class


identifiers are very keen to make themselves. Working class is about


work. Asked people and focus groups to bring in a symbol of their class,


and middle-class people brought along lifestyle things. Working-


class people bought the tools of their trade, work boots, gloves.


There is a real class that feels neglected. I certainly do not think


that the country things like that, but that is an new line


representative for a long time. Listening to your report about the


end of social mobility and people stuck in effectively a ghetto, this


was after 10 years of the Labour government. It is so shaming, what


Blair was like, that he turned his back quite deliberately or naked


electrical reasons on the working class. Isn't that what you have to


do politically? Appeal to the biggest class? He won three


elections. It was a decision made by a Labour Prime Minister to turn


his back on the working class. As a result, you are seeing this


fascinating thing is that they will not vote. The danger is they will


turn away from conventional politics and go to the BNP. I did


ask about that, and there's not much evidence of it. I had a lot of


photographs of politicians to show them, and I gave up. They barely


recognise David Cameron, let alone anyone else, and I'm not joking.


The point that Graham Evans made was that they had not seen a


politician at all. Worryingly for the Conservatives, it is a lack of


presence electorally in a lot of the northern towns and cities. Can


that be dealt with? You mentioned Manchester and Liverpool, but we


have Trafford council, which is an outstanding Conservative council,


but Labour have an irrelevance across the country. There won no


councillors in the south-east, the south-west and East Anglia. We


always talk about the city centres, but Labour have an irrelevance in


Do you think the Conservatives, is it worth them bothering trying to


make deep inroads into the other towns and cities in the North? Yes.


I'm living proof that if Conservatives campaign in the


cities, and traditional working class areas, he will elect a


Conservative MP. When ip was growing up on a council estate, the


clue is in the name - working class. We all worked. I don't remember any


families out of work. I don't remember any benefits. What we have


now with the working classs is they live next door to people on


benefits. When people get up, goo the right things, alarm clock


Britain, they will find when they are off to work they will see the


curtains drawn of their next door neighbours. That wasn't around when


I was growing up in the 1970s. terms of welfare reforms, is it


wrong to lump the working class together, whereas this is a


distinction between people who work and people they see as benefits


cheats and scroungers? There are, a lot of people in our sample were


not working themselves. We had young, teenage mums in our sample,


people who were on sick leave, and so on. I asked them what was the


difference between you and scroungers and they said it was


because they wanted to work. It is about reaching out to people who


feel they want to work but aren't getting a leg up. Deborah Mattinson


and Graham Evans, thank you. Ed Miliband is facing his MPs next


week about ditching the shadow cabinet elections. Labour in a


majority of 14,000 in Inverclyde but in the Scottish elections last


month the SNP slashed that back to 5 00 votes in the nearest


constituency. Now there is an election following the death of the


MP, David Cairns. The history of this seat is dominated by


shipbuilding, and voting for Labour. Labour held on to this constituency


at last year's general election, winning 56 % of the vote, giving


them a majority of more than 14,000. But since then, Scottish politics


has changed considerably, with the SNP winning a historic majority at


the Scottish Parliament a couple of months ago. This campaign is being


scrutinised for whether the SNP can build on their recent bounce,


whether Labour can still hit the sweet spot in its heard land, and


whether the coalition parties aft Westminster can stay relevant north


of the border, and, trivia fans, it is the birthplace of James Watt,


father of the Industrial Revolution, and soon to be the face on the new


�50. Do you know who is on the back of it? It looks like James Watt.


Congratulations, a local boy done good. It is my grand-dad?. Looks


like him. Famous local resident from the past. Steam enjoin gins?


Oh, jaims -- James Watt. Steam engine? Damn it! I knew I should


have paid attention in science lessons. Do you recognise that


person? It is Adam Smith. Or is it James Watt. If you had �50 to spend


on each constituent what would you spend it on? Getting jobs. They are


telling me it is jobs and employment they are looking for.


think the most important thing for people round here is the issue of


jobs. I would spend it on collectively on regeneration rating


and reindustrialising Inverclyde. Probably give them a discount on


the council tax, particularly for pensioners, that's something that's


hitting them quite hard. The �50 I would spnd on trying to create jobs.


And I would encourage small and medium-sized enterprises. So, with


little to divide the candidates on the issues, who is the smart, fake


money on? Labour. Did you reckon? Yes. It probably will be Labour but


I would like to see the SNP getting in We are due a wee change. I don't


think Labour has done much. The Tories have not done much, so why


not give the SNP a chance. Would bet �50 on them winning? If you


gave us 50 quid! The Scottish nationalists do have support here.


If they can turn this from a safe Labour seat to a marginal, or win


it, the landscape of Scottish Perhaps the most important issue of


the day, even the year, is whether the economic crisis in Greece could


pull down the European economy and even endanger the euro itself.


David Cameron is in Brussels today meeting the Greek Prime Minister.


Many Euro-sceptics who were always opposed to the single currency are


saying, "I told you so." But former Prime Minister Tony Blair still


thinks Britain should join in future when the economic conditions


are right. This is him talking to Jon Sopel in an interview tobacco


broadcast in full on Sunday's Politics Show. I was always


absolutely in favour of doing it politically and still am, by the


way. I've always said since it is an economic union the economics


have got to be right. Now, I don't actually take the view that some


take that Britain joining if euro in the past or now would be a


disaster. However, I always said, unless you can make a compelling


case for it economically you'll never win a referendum on it. And


the case for Britain joining isn't compelling. It may become that at a


certain point. You can see the full interview with Tony Blair on Sunday


at 11 o'clock. Peter Oborne, Tony Blair is still sticking to his guns


on the euro. A few weeks back, that reminds me of the man a few weeks


ago who predict the end of the world. And that is Tony Blair. He


still won't learn. It is impossible to pin down, these pro-euros.


as you might. Hasn't he got Gordon Brown to thank for that? He kept


them out of the euro. I know this is the fashionable thing to say,


but if you can present me from a quote from Mr Brown to say the euro


is other than a good thing, I would be interested to see it. There is


nothing on the record from Mr Brown saying the euro would be... He kept


himself off the record during that entire period. You may be better


informed what goes on behind the scenes, but I have this view...


think he is being sarcastic. Do you find it surprising that Tony Blair


is still saying that if the economic conditions were right we


should join the euro? For the economic conditions to be right the


eurozone would have to restabilise, and we would need to know there


would never be a bust again. This is pie in the sky stuff. He can say


what he likes and he knows the economic conditions would not be


right. You said recently you feel David Cameron is the most pro-


European Tory leader since Ted Heath? Yes. Where is your evidence


for that If you can provide me with any evidence that as Prime Minister


he's done a single think that could be construed azure o sceptic...


Back in the French Foreign Minister to go to the IMF and turn, where


she will allow the IMF to be the vehicle for the eurozone countries.


He kept us out of the Greek bail- out. There'll be support for that


Backing a French leader of the IMF is not pro-euro. It is not wanting


somebody from a developing European nation not to do something sudden


than you weren't expecting. There is a debate between the old


countries - Europe - and India, China, Brazil, South Africa,


Nigeria. It is fascinating that Britain has backed France, who've


traditionally owned that job. What's your other evidence?


first thing he did in office when he signed us up to Alistair


Darling's final act, to squander �12 billion of taxpayers money in


sending good money after bad. that Ireland? No, the stability


fund in May last year. There's a whole load of other examples. The


failure of the European arrest warrant. He has turned into a


classic Prime Minister in office. Do you think so? No, this is


ridiculous. He couldn't have come in and immediately vetoed the


stabilisation fund. He could have done. It is British involvement in


it. If something had gone wrong Europe would have rightly turned


round and said, you've got obligations here. You can't just


wave your new theories around in the middle of a financial crisis.


Time for a look back at some of the stories that have caught our eyes


over the last few days. U-turn? What U-turn? Justice


Secretary Ken Clarke denied he backed down despite dropping plans


forerly ier sentences for guilty pleas. The military warned that


action in Libya was putting the armed services under pressure.


One massive U-turn the Government did admit, if only for ten minutes,


was William Hague's decision to water down cuts to the World


Service. Victory for backbenchers as Mark


Pritchard won the day to ban wild circus animals. I'm not going to be


kowtowed by the whips or the Prime Minister of my country. But there


was no reprieve for the wild animals of Number Ten. David


Cameron has confirmed that Larry the Downing Street cat has made his


first kill. He's a good mouser. He's caught three mice, verifiable.


Careerly, the Larry is not for turning.


Larry doing the job he was employed to do. Mark Pritchard made a


passionate plea in the House of Commons. He wasn't going to be


pressurised or kowtowed. Downing Street doesn't recognise their


description of their conversation. He said Downing Street always talks


to MPs, which is good to know! They are always putting pressure on MPs


to do what they want? It does. The Pritchard thing is emblematic of


what happens now. There is an insurgent parliamentary party.


There are mutterings about the whips' office and the chief whip in


particular. There's a storm brewing and Pritchard is a manifestation of


that. But the storm brewing is coming from a very different


quarter on very different issues. It is interesting that it came out.


I think there is some curious game going on here which we won't see


for ages, where he's been sent out as a stunt really, a gegsary stunt,


so the true rebellion -- a diversionary stunt, so the true


rebel yont isn't seen. -- rebellion. They are trying to present a


narrative of what the relationship is between Cameron and his MPs, and


the backbenchers and how he reads them the riot Act but they stick


with their consciences. It is a beautiful Jilly Cooper mar tiv.


This is a conspiracy -- narrative. This is a conspiracy from the


Guardian. Is this a habit, the U- turn. In their hurry to get as much


policy done as possible, is the coalition Government sigh it is


wise, considered Government and Ministers that make decisions and


they can backtrack on them? defence of listening, if he didn't


he would be accused of being dogmatic. I don't see this yet as


being a huge political problem, although I do think there are real


arguments inside Downing Street about the pace of public service


reform. Nobody from Downing Street needs to prove that they can U-turn.


They U-turn like dancing bears! If I can stick with the circus analogy.


In their defence, not on anything really important. On the economy,


on cuts, on welfare reform, and on education. These are the three big


narrative stories. That's all for this week. It was a great debate in


the chamber yesterday about banning wild animals in circuss. We'll be


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