07/07/2011 Daily Politics


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Good afternoon, folks. Welcome to the Daily Politics. Every day, it


seems to get worse and worse. Just when you think they have plumped


the very depths, there is another revelation. Today, we discover that


the families of British forces who died in action may have had their


mobiles hacked by the News of the World. If it follows yesterday's


news that they were listening in to Milly Dowler's mobile and


allegations they were paying police officers to give information.


will have the latest developments. David Cameron chaired cabinet this


morning in cabinets -- Downing Street. What inquiries will we have


into this and will any of the mud end up sticking to him?


All of that in the next half-hour. With us for the whole programme


today is the businessman, entrepreneur and Dragon, James Caan.


We will get on to the big story of the day, phone hacking, in just a


moment. I can tell you that the Bank of England is leaving interest


rates unchanged. It is not a big surprise, James, but how one feels


about interest rates depends how you are in the economy. If you a


saver, you like them to go up, and if you are a businessman, you would


like them to stay where they are. This is the 28th month in a row


where interest rates have stayed where they are. From an economic


perspective, it is the right decision because the UK economy is


still struggling along but you cannot afford a risk to put the


interest rates up now. It would not be the right decision. Would you go


as far as the Institute of Directors who say they will freeze


them for the year? The problem is the economy is so volatile. With


the crisis in Greece and the Middle East crisis, that our acts around


the world which need to be controlled. If you can predict


those you would have a blanket statement. For the Bank of England,


it is better to have the flexibility to move when they need


to. Do you think interest rates are something which can control


inflation? There is a discussion about how much they are of a useful


tool. The Bank of England had predicted inflation at 2%, it is


currently running at 4.5 %. Consumer spending has dropped


considerably. It has resulted in High Street brands like Habitat and


Jane Norman collapsing. I do not think the answer is to increase


interest rates because you will impact economic growth which right


now, I think is more important. you worried about what is going on


in Europe? I think we are all concerned. Right now, economically,


we cannot afford the euro to collapse. The events around Greece


and Ireland have sent shockwaves around the economy because the euro


is such a critical part of global business today that you have one of


these countries collapsing, and let me tell you, it will have a


profound effect on everybody else. James, thank you. Stay with us


because you are talking about things which have had a profound


effect. I cannot remember a story which has had such a big impact on


what we do and how we do it. The phone hacking row is one of those


things which is not going away. It was our lead story yesterday and


again today. The Times reports that five journalists and newspaper


executives suspected of involvement in this scandal are expected to be


arrested in the next few days. In last night's debate in the House of


Commons, the anger on the backbenches was very plain for all


to see. Managerial and executive negligence


is tantamount to complicity in this case. I believe that if Rebekah


Brooks had a single shred of decency, she would now resign. God


knows, if it was a minister that were in the spotlight at the moment,


she would be demanding their head on a plate. Were they to apply to


run a minicab firm in London, they would not receive a licence. If


they are not fit and proper people to run a mini cab firm, how can


they be a fit and proper out fit to take over a monopoly of a whole


television channel. I have to say, the relish with which the


revelations have been greeted by some seeking to take on the Murdoch


empire or engage in political pot shots strikes me as opportunistic.


The Sun newspaper was out of control when it printed blatant


lies about Hillsborough. News International lied to the country


in 1989 and it seems it distil lying to the country now. I really


do hope on Sunday the News of the World gets its real punishment with


a complete and total slump in sales. Mr James Murdoch and Rebekah Brooks


now have to accept their culpability and they will have to


face the full force of the law. Their behaviour to the most


vulnerable, their knowledge of law- breaking and their failure to act,


their links with the criminal underworld, their attempt to cover


up law-breaking and pay for people's silence, tell world all we


need to know about their character. So that was the Commons yesterday.


For the latest we can cross to Jo Coburn. What has been happening


today? There have been a number of things. There has been political


reaction and shock to the allegations you mention that the


beginning. Allegations that the mobile phones of families of


Britain's war dead may have been hacked into. They are just


allegations reported by the Telegraph. That could indicate


spreading the net even wider. In terms of the inquiries that have


been talked about, it now seems likely that the government will


announce some sort of judge led inquiry into the police handling of


the original inquiry into police hacking and the relationship with


the media. It has not been confirmed but we have heard from


sources at Number Ten, the Deputy Prime Minister has talked about it,


we have had the Labour leader Ed Miliband calling for it and in the


House of Lords in the last half an hour, Baroness Rawlings seemed to


imply that would happen. Along with that it would mean witnesses would


be compelled to appear and swear under oath. That would be almost


like a court, if you like. We would have to wait and see in terms of


timing. There may be another inquiry into the media itself, into


the ethics of the media, a broader investigation and again, that has


yet to be confirmed. The Labour leader in the House of Lords asked


a question calling for the suspension of consideration by the


government into the takeover by BSkyB by News Corporation. The


response from the government was a consultation on that by the


Secretary of State Jeremy Hunt finishes tomorrow and then there


would be time and the words were, he will not rush to make his


decision, because the last thing he will want to do is make a decision


in this current climate. Interesting, thank you.


We are joined now by the Daily Telegraph's Peter Oborne and the


Conservative MP, Damian Collins, a member of the Culture and Media


Select Committee. David Cameron is in the sewer because of his News


International friends, the Prime Minister has been horribly


compromised, irrevocably damaged, these are your words. You put in


the boot into the Prime Minister, does he deserve it? The tragedy for


David Cameron is he got far too close to News International. He


made a terrible decision. He was warned against it. He was told what


Andy Coulson had done, he was the former editor of the News of the


World, and he made him his director of communications. Then he


developed and fostered this close relationship with Rebekah Wade, the


frankly disgusting woman who is chief executive of News


International, who herself was chief executive of the News of the


World, and has brought out these disgusting revelations we have


heard over the last few days. David Cameron has lost any moral sense.


He can recover up to a point if he handles this problem properly,


ethically and honourably. These are allegations as yet. There have been


denied so find yet you are talking about and incestuous collection of


power-hungry, a moral Londoners, is it just the preserve of David


Cameron that he was close to these people or was he doing what


everybody was doing at the time? You and I have different values. I


believe that a British Prime Minister should not associate with


cheap and shoddy people, let's name them. Rebekah Brooks, the chief


executive of News International, Matthew Freud, the spare man,


Elisabeth Murdoch, James Murdoch who signed the hush money deal to


keep people quiet. This is the Prime Minister degrading himself,


associating with this wretched set of a moral Londoners around


Chipping Norton. It is not what we expect from a Conservative Prime


Minister. Let's turn to our conservative friend Damian Collins,


how much of this mud sticks? I read Peter's article. I enjoyed his rich


use of language but I am angry about the disgusting allegations


that have been made, the awful charges which are there which I


think everybody in the country is angry about. My judgment is, what


action is the Prime Minister taking? The government is committed


the fact that the Metropolitan police have not put the resources


behind this. The reason there has been a drip, drip, drip of new


allegations is because this was never properly investigated.


you interested in what is to be done about this? The Prime Minister


was asked directly yesterday to distance himself from Rebekah


Brooks, to call for her head on a plate, Ed Miliband had no


hesitation in doing that, your leader did not. He is quite clear


that if the charges against Rebekah Brooks are brought and successfully,


it is not just the case of her resigning from her post, but facing


prosecution. The Prime Minister has made it clear that these are


discussed in allegations. I don't think anyone would argue that these


are discussed in allegations. Nobody would say it was a good


thing to hack into the phone of a dead girl. But the question Peter


Oborne is posing, why is he not do more to name names when the Leader


of the Opposition has no problem in doing that? The problem is, for any


Prime Minister, when put these questions, they do not just give a


personal view, they say what the government will do about it. And as


Prime Minister, what is the best action to restore confidence in the


country and that is what he has done. The failure to show any kind


of moral leadership in this is what is so disgraceful with David


Cameron. At every stage, he has been behind the curve. He hired


coarsen but only when the revelations about what had happened


was Andy Coulson had to go. Ed Miliband has called for Rebekah


Brooks to consider her position. The Prime Minister is behind the


curve, he is backing Rebekah Brooks. He is morally revolting. I don't


think you can say he is backing Rebekah Brooks. He was very clear


about the process and if she is part of the process, she will have


to go. I want to bring Ben Bradshaw into this. He was Culture Secretary


under the last Labour government. It is hard for you to claim the


moral high ground here because for such a long time, it was Labour


backbenchers, the Guardian which was talking about this and they


were doing it in isolation. I did not hear the Labour leader talking


about that them? We had a discussion in Cabinet about whether


to have a public inquiry and as Alan Johnson made clear in the


Commons yesterday, that was blocked by the police and Gordon Brown had


the added political difficulty that he was seen as a weakened Prime


Minister. If he had gone down that route they would have been a hail


storm from the Murdoch press and the other hostile media that we


were trying to find a diversion. I think the important thing now is


that the government must stop this takeover of BSkyB by News Corp. In


an -- the consultation finishes tomorrow. It would be completely


disgraceful to waive this through as the Prime Minister and Jeremy


Hunt have said they would do. will come in to the BSkyB takeover


in a moment but isn't it nonsense for a leader to stand up in the


Commons and say how disgusted he is when he also beats a path to News


International. He was at the same garden parties as David Cameron.


Every Prime Minister has to lead -- every Prime Minister and leader has


to meet a leaders of the media. There is a difference between that


and going hunting, shooting and fishing with Rebekah Brooks and the


county set. Do you spread the Meyer further? Ben Bradshaw is being


entirely disingenuous here. Ed Miliband attended the party in full


knowledge that two criminal investigations were going on into


News International. The idea that he would do that with any business


shows Ben Bradshaw has lost any What should happen next with the


BSkyB takeover? Because of the issues of phone hacking, some


people are saying we should refer to the Competition Commission. You


refer to them if there are competition grounds of media


plurality that you have to investigate. The issue here is the


fit and proper person test. His Rupert Murdoch fit and proper to


take this on? Ofcom can draw on this at any time, today, tomorrow,


after the merger if it goes ahead. A do we need an inquiry with a


judge and bonuses? What would be satisfactory? You would expect an


independent judge to lead it. the accusation that you have lost


the plot on the subject of Ed Miliband's relationship with them,


what do you say to that? It is very different to that of David Cameron,


who is close friends with these people. It is not good enough to


pass the buck to Ofcom. Jeremy Hunt should have preferred this to the


Competition Commission originally. I would have done this and we said


we would when we were in Government. News Corporation conveniently


delayed the application until the change in Government, knowing that


Jeremy Hunt would have waved it through. Busy ducking the issue?


believed in summary decision making. Jeremy Hunt has to apply the legal


process. He said he was minded to refer it. I think there are good


reasons why he might consider he did not need to refer it on


competition grounds. The issue of the fit and proper person test is


different. What would you do in a position of the culture secretary


with a takeover like this in the offing? One of the things that


concerns me slightly is how much control you want one organisation


to have over British media in this country. Already he is in charge of


the Sun, News of the World, Sky. I think that we are sitting back and


allowing somebody to have too much control. I think it is not just a


competition issue but a monopoly issue. We will leave it there.


Thank you to Ben Bradshaw and Peter Tobin. Please e-mail and send us


your comments. The last entrepreneurial thing I


did was Selside photographs of Andrew, which did not go very well.


-- sells signed photographs of Andrew. The Government wants more


of us to be entrepreneurs, but who is responsible for that? The


Government, the Apprentice or Dragons' Den? We have been watching


business television to find out. other dragons. Five of Britain's


wealthiest and most enterprising business leaders. They have rake in


millions in pounds and viewers another but entrepreneurship into


prime time. The Government wants to turn the entire country into an


enormous version of Dragons' Den. At the moment around a quarter of a


million new businesses are created every year, and increasing that


number is a key part of the coalition's plan for recovery.


need to see a country where businesses are starting up on every


street in every town, where entrepreneurs are everywhere. Where


economic dynamism isn't just about tycoons in glass towers, but about


men and women who start small but think big. The dragons that sit in


these chairs have serious power to make or break an entrepreneur of by


deciding whether to invest in them or not. The Government has far less


power than that. According to the serial entrepreneur behind


megabucks brands like Pizza Express. The Government can get out of the


way, deregulate, create a healthy tax environment, and to a degree


can encourage through promoting role models. But ultimately it is


about thousands of individuals making independent decisions.


instead David Cameron is relying on the founder of start-up Britain, a


scheme which allows things like discounted broadband and mentoring


for small businesses, run by the private sector. The one to see more


positive signals around entrepreneurship in Britain. -- we


want to see. You can go to any careers fair and see Starting Your


Own business as an option that has not looked down on, or seen as an


intolerable risk. Something anyone can can sow -- can consider.


that means creating a culture of enterprise. Does that mean that the


dragons in the down have more power than the ministers in the Cabinet?


Four of James? That is terrifying! That film makes a good point. Being


an entrepreneur is not actually an option. It is not something that we


encourage young people to think about as an option. When you talk


to young people, the idea of being an entrepreneur is always something


someone else should do. It is not an obvious choice, like being a


doctor or an accountant. But if you look at the impact that


entrepreneurship has on the economy, you know, we have in this country


for 0.9 million businesses today that are qualified as small and


medium-sized businesses. If you get them to just tier one person each,


you would eradicate unemployment. - - hire one person each. The impact


on the economy is massive, so why are we not doing more? Getting


schools and colleges to have entrepreneurship opportunities,


encouraging young people? I passionately believe it is the


future of this country. Margaret Thatcher's description was this is


a nation of shopkeepers. That concept of entrepreneurship is


critical to what we do. You want to know why we don't do more. We are


obviously getting something wrong. What is it? Do we not have the


right environment for them to flourish in? Do we not support them


long enough one they are starting out? Are the sort of people that


entrepreneurs are the kind of people but of self- drivers, that


don't want any help, that don't take no for an answer? What are we


getting wrong? I will give credit where it is due and the current


Government is doing a lot. Whether it is backing enterprise, Start-up


Britain, the recent website set up for mentors, where the banks have


got together to give support. The Government has launched a �2


million fund to invest in small businesses. There is the enterprise


loan guarantee scheme. There are a number of initiatives and I have


met a number of people that have said they can now raise capital to


start businesses because of these facilities that are available. I


think it is more the grass roots level, to get the concept amerced


in people's minds. Like when you are 16, you are thinking about


being a doctor or an accountant, so we need to introduce the idea


earlier so more people take it up. If you are facing a safe bet, about


to leave school or university, and you are trained in an industry that


already exists, on the other hand, what might put people off is the


economic climate that we are in. don't agree with that. If you are


an entrepreneur, whether the market was good or bad, you are or you are


not. When I started out, the odds were stacked against me. When Lord


Sugar started out, the odds were stacked against him. It is not the


environment that makes too successful, but you drive and


passion, which is what you should focus on.


Here is a question for you. Who holds the real power in this


country? Who holds the power when deciding a general election? It is


not the man, but the girls. I have dispatched my man's to the board.


Tories used to say that women were their secret weapon, but I don't


mean Maggie. The secret to Tory success has been their appeal to


women voters. The fact that more women voted for the party than men


when the party was winning outright majorities. Stay with me.


Historically the Tories had been billed on girl power. I mean not


enough girls=no power. It is said that if women had not been given


the vote, Labour would have won every election from 1945 to 1979.


Let's look at the figures. In the 1979 election, the Conservatives


had a staggering 12% point lead among women, putting Maggie in


Number 10. By 1992, the Tories still had the result 10 percentage


points over Labour, which delivered John Major. But in 2005, Labour won


the women's vote by six points, keeping Tony Blair in Downing


Street. The lead is important but it is coming down. In 2010, David


Cameron secured the four point victory among women, which was


smaller than his majority among men, which denied him an overall


majority. They latest opinion poll suggests that twice as many voters


think Labour best understand women compared to the Tories. That could


be a problem. You did that very well! Peter,


should the Conservatives really be worried about this dip in support


from women? I think they should be. If one takes the recent phenomena,


there is no point worrying about what happened 50 years ago, what


the opinion poll at surveyors think is that women are more nervous


about the economy, family income is, at about jobs, than the men. These


people are feeling insecure during the slow recovery from recession.


That is more strongly felt among women than men and is translating


into a greater swing since the election to Labour among women.


it is feeling things more acutely than caring about so-called women's


things? Yes. There is some mythology. On most things, women


and men have roughly the same views. Looking at our data, there are two


things where they are experiencing divergence. One of them is Libya.


With issues of war, men are more than Hove than women. That is


playing into it. It is principally in security. How worried are you,


Harriet? We recognise the coalition Government inherited a dire


economic situation and economic issues will be at the forefront for


both women and men. The steps we are taking this year are very much


to do with getting the deficit under control. Are you worried


about losing the support of women? I don't want an assessment of the


economy. How are you are addressing it? All politicians won support


from women and men, of course they do. Let's look at some of the


issues that drain support. Raising the pension age for women, cutting


child benefit, Ken Clarke appearing to so that some RECs were less


serious than others. Even David Cameron are saying calm down, dear.


These have not helped your cause. If you would like me to tackle some


of those in turn. Child benefit, correct. 90% of child benefit is


received by women and I am one of those women. I am making �65,000 a


year, a higher-rate taxpayer, why in straitened times would money be


given to women like me? It is right that we look at higher rate


taxpayers as an area where we can reduce spending. Do women feel


justifiably pummelled by recent legislation? Clearly I think it has


been controversial but I agree with Harriet that there are two asides


to the coin. If from an economic point of view you are saying that


we need to cut spending because the Government does not have any cash,


they need to look at the options available, and you are a higher


rate earned and you frankly don't need it, then is -- it is prudent


to look at it. We are lifting people out of income tax altogether.


Because women make less than men on average, sadly, that benefits more


women than men. When we have had Women's organisations on the show,


they always say that they care about the same things that are in


the top 10 concerns of the populace. Are we unique in that? In America,


it do women have different concerns? It is strikingly


different in America. Traditionally women asked more conservative than


men. Women are more Democrat than men in the United States. Barack


Obama had a huge amount of support from women. In Britain we have a


male motorist union tradition. -- Labour wrist. Thank you. As usual


we did not have the chance to pick our guess the year winner. The


answer was 1985, and I know you all were screaming the answer. Can you


pick the winner? And the winner is... Nystatin bass from Britain.


For Andrew has been missing today but he will be back tonight for


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