22/09/2011 Daily Politics


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Afternoon, folks. Welcome to the Daily Politics. We are back from


Birmingham and not an emergency motion or a warm glass of cheap


white wine in sight! But it is not all good news. The economy is back


in intensive care and the Bank of England is preparing for emergency


action. Again! But what, if anything, will reassure the


markets? The Travellers of Dale Farm await tomorrow's High Court


decision. If it goes against them, they face eviction. The leader of


the council will join us. And, David Cameron is in America, urging


all and sundry to visit this country? So what slogan is he using


to sell Broken Britain to the Yanks? Will Cool Britannia ride


And with us for the duration, Toby Young, former writer for the Modern


Review and Vanity Fair. And now the co-founder of the West London Free


School, which has just opened in Welcome to the programme. So, first


up, Toby. You are the man who persuaded Vanity Fair to do that


big splash on Cool Britannia. Take a look at all these. This is the


new advertising campaign David Cameron is launching in New York.


The slogan - is GREAT - in capital letters - Britain - You're invited.


These are some of the posters. Not quite the broken Britain theme he's


What do you think? They looked OK. When we had the conversation at


Vanity Fair, we were sitting around the table, trying to persuade them


that Britain was back. They imagined that detecting where does


zeitgeist did, the forensic scientific process, divining rods


and putting up antennae, it is about whether you can say it


confidently enough. If you can do that make you can persuade


everybody it is back and it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Does it


have the better bring about it, Cool Britannia? Great Britain has


been around for longer. Americans refer to us as Great Britain.


this a slightly different thing? Great Britain is being sold to the


Americans. Cool Britannia was a mark-making politics cool as well.


It was about Number 10 getting involved. -- about making. Tony


Blair hesitated about being photographed by Vanity Fair. It was


before he had been elected. It came up at the beginning of 1997, just


before the election. John Major could have claimed credit for


having created this phenomenon. He was the Prime Minister at the time.


Tony Blair was talking about, wouldn't we be crediting John Major


with it? In the end he was persuaded that Labour would be


profiting in this. I did not realise about John Major being the


true architect of Cool Britannia. There was a sense of optimism in


1997. The economy was on the rise. The economy was going well and


there was a lot of creativity going on in the British culture. That is


true. That certainly does not seem to be as pronounced now. I think


that, given the Olympics are coming up, and things are pretty grim in


America as well, I do not think that tourism will fall of next year.


There were the riots. They talked about Britain having a broken


society. It seems incongruous to say, it is great here. Parts of


society can be broken but overall it is a great country. What can we


expect any Prime Minister - a Labour, Liberal or conservative -


to do? Do not think the broken society bit is overplayed? I'm not


sure how widely that is played abroad. The Government of trying to


do something to restore confidence in Britain in the wake of the riots.


Can you remember where that phrase came from, Cool Britannia? I do not


know. It came from a band. They coined the phrase. I can assure you,


they were not cool. You had all their records, didn't you? I did.


I'm not singing any of them. The Business Secretary, Vince Cable,


gave a pretty gloomy assessment of our economic prospects at his party


conference. It is all grey skies ahead, he warned. There are no


sunny uplands in sight. In fact, he told us all to don our flak jackets


and tin hats. This, he said, is war. We now face a crisis that is the


economic equivalent of war and this is not a time for business as usual


or politics as usual. You never mistake him for a rate of sunshine.


The International Monetary Fund has been warning that the world economy


is entering a dangerous new phase. Well, last night, the Americans


launched Operation Twist - a $400 billion offensive, trying to


prevent the world's biggest economy sliding back into recession. The


Federal Reserve hopes the new campaign can prevent a dangerous


phase turning into a full-scale slump. In Europe, Greece is still


in retreat. Prime Minister George Papandreou is still trying to


negotiate another �96 billion to get the country through the next


month or two. Economic growth forecasts in the Eurozone have been


slashed. Down from 2% to 1.6%. But some think even that might turn out


to be optimistic. And here at home, growth forecasts are also on the


slide. Down from 1.5% to 1.1%. Down again for the third time in a year.


The IMF is normally pretty keen on cutting back deficits. But this


lack of growth has got it worried. Because if there is no growth,


there is not much in the way of tax receipts. And paying off the


deficit gets more difficult still. In a recent report, the IMF said


that if this goes on, David Cameron and Angela Merkel should consider


delaying some of their planned adjustment in Britain and Germany.


That's IMF speak for easing back on the cuts. And we now know that the


Bank of England came close to ordering a second round of what is


called quantitative easing at their meeting last month. That's printing


money and spreading it around to you and me. The papers are calling


it Operation QE2. So, that's Vince Cable's war crisis. And it most


certainly won't be over by Christmas. With us now is the


Shadow Business minister, Labour's Chuka Umunna. And for the


Conservatives, Matt Hancock - a former Bank of England economist


and ex chief of staff to George Osborne. He is just a humble MP


these days. His career has obviously hit the buffers. Under


the last Labour but -- government, when the printing of money was


beginning, George Osborne said, printing money is the last resort


of desperate governments, when all other policies have failed. So,


you're desperate and all other policies have failed... Gordon


Brown certainly got us into a desperate state. At the root of


this is the debt crisis. We need to understand this is a debt crisis


before we can think about how to get out of it. We have the highest


amount of debt as a proportion of our income of any major government


in a country ever. We know that. Buy your own words, although George


Osborne said them, I suspect they are your words, you wrote them, the


fact we now seem to be heading for a second round of quantitative


easing is a sign that all your existing policies have failed and


that we are desperate. Well, we were in a desperate situation.


are in it again? Look at what is going on around the world! In the


euro area they have a debt crisis and a cordon Asian crisis of have


to get out of it. The Americans are in a very difficult position. What


we do have here is a clear plan to tackle the debt. We have always


been straightforward about the fact that the best way out of the debt


crisis is to face the debt - have a plan to do with them - and allow


monetary policy to act and keep the economy going on the right track.


It is up to the Bank of England. As the minutes yesterday showed they


have talking about whether they need to do quantitative easing.


Labour position is that spending has been cut by too much, too


quickly. Is that a rough summary? That is right. If you look at the


figures we got from the ONS last week, as a result of that, 111,000


jobs further weight in the public sector. Only 41,000 where created


in the private sector. Let me ask you this, if I have categorised the


position correctly. I had two further questions. By how much has


government spending been cut in the current year and how much would you


cut it? I cannot give you the exact figure for the current year.


cannot. I will give it to them. Government spending in this


financial year - 2011/2012 - has been cut in total by 0.7%. By how


much less would you cut it? As I said, I am not able to give you the


exact figure. That is not much anyway. You're looking at a


proportion of GDP. No, overall public spending. Are you really


saying that is too much, too quickly? There is still a big


difference between what we're proposing and they are proposing.


They are imposing �10 million more of taxes in the form of the VAT


rise. That will cost about �450 a year. You have got them to-ing �30


million more worth of cuts. Would you not do these cuts? -- �230


million. Public spending is only going down by 0.7% this year. It


seems you have not got much latitude to do less. It is not


being cut by much anyway. Would you cut it a tall and increase


spending? I cannot give you a specific figure. -- at all. We


would look to reduce the deficit - half the deficit - over the course


of the parliament instead of eliminating it. The big thing that


is affecting the economy at the moment is conflict. It is the


question of what people think will happen in the future. I do not


think there will be much confidence. The Spending Review was announced


in October of last year. We saw confidence nosedived -- nosedive.


We were talking about the international context. We have seen


our economies claimed more than any other country in the G7, apart from


Japan, which of course had the earthquake. We are seeing a


detrimental impact on the economy. In the last quarter, it was not


good but UK growth was the second- fastest in the GDP. You are talking


about decimal points. It was 0.2%. You do not get confidence by not


having a plan. He cannot tell you what the Labour Party plan is.


me hear from Toby Young. I will give you some decimal points. The


IMF did revise down its forecast by 0.1%. It also revised down the


spend forecast -- Spain will cost to 0.8% and the Italian broadcast


by 0.6%. -- forecast. There is no major Western economy in which you


can have great confidence, with the possible exception of Germany.


we just rise above this petty point-scoring? Any of us can do


that. There is a very serious crisis going on. It is very serious


in the eurozone. It is very serious in America. Far better is to have a


plan that involves all of the... Having a plan to get to deal with


government debts but also allowing the economy to be managed by the


Bank of England. That is a very clear plan this government has. In


this great crisis... Tell me one major economic indicator for this


The business investment has been doing better than others. It is on


it back. This morning, there was a survey of manufacturing


expectations, which was reasonably positive. Let's not say it...


working? You need a plan that will work. We have seen record borrowing


in August, and you have seen... should be in favour of that, so why


are you complaining? Matthew has been saying they have a plan and it


is working, and that is to reduce the deficit by a large amount. But


it isn't working. In the last year of the Labour government, borrowing


came in �20 billion lower than forecast, because the last Labour


government had a plan and it was working. The golden economic


heritage. We are going to have to leave it there. You got the last


word in! OK, I'll do it!


It is often said that politicians need thick skins, not least when


accused of things they wish they hadn't done in their youth. 15


years ago, some things, particularly admitting taking drugs,


might have wrecked a promising career. Is that still true today,


or does it matter less these days? Dear, oh dear, oh dear. The things


people get up to. And how gleefully it is reported, and how we shake


our heads. Or do we? You see, with these now infamous allegations


about Chancellor George Osborne, the dominatrix call girl and


cocaine, allegations he has always strongly denied, we haven't


actually had legions of calls for his resignation, or to hang his


head in shame. In fact, all we have had his some rather bad political


teasing. The Chancellor of the Exchequer has lashed himself to the


mast. Non for the first time, perhaps.


heard that George Osborne is keen to get on the show as well. He


wants to do a line dance. When you have stitched up your sides, ask


yourself this. Have we, as an electorate, accepted the President


of Jacqui Smith in 2007, the first serving Home Secretary to admit she


smoked cannabis as a student. 40 years earlier, the position David


Cameron took when asked about drugs. I didn't spend the early years of


my life thinking, I better not do anything because one day I might be


a politician, because I didn't know I might be a politician. I haven't


answered the question because I think it is all in the past and I


don't think you have to answer it. Louise Mensch dealt with


allegations she took drugs with a humorously frank response.


Basically admitting it. It is the cover-up that will kill a


politician, not the crime. The public want to see be honest, it is


better to be honest and cover it up and admit it three years later. It


was a long time ago, I said it was the idiotic behaviour of youth, but


there are awful lot of people, politicians, broadcasters, probably


judges, who have had the same peccadilloes in their youth and


have grown out of it, and I genuinely believe the public does


Top I don't think it is less on morality. In fact it is rather more


on variety. People want to know where a key -- on morality. People


want to know why politician stands on global warming, capital


punishment, but they are not so bothered about those ordinary


private life things. If the defence of youth is one we now accept,


where is the cut-off? I can't say where youth ends, but it is like


the famous definition of pornography by the Supreme Court


justice, I know it when I see it. At some point, you are regarded you


should have done your growing up, I can't say when that is. The key


cut-off point is when you enter public life and stand for office,


and your legislating on things like drugs legislation. You can do it in


your youth but not when you are a politician. Amidst this story, you


might have expected me to make some bad puns along the lines of


government whips all things not to be sniffed at. But I am not going


to do that. I draw the line somewhere.


Is Louise Mensch right? Does the public not care about indiscretions


and bad behaviour before we get into politics? I don't think they


care as much as they did and if they do, I don't think they should.


I thought this might come up, I did a bit of doodling. -- Google in.


Political Lord Roseberry used to take cocaine, when it was legal,


before speaking in the House of Commons. Kennedy, of course, was on


such a massive cocktail of drugs that during the Cuban missile


crisis, he rattled whenever he got up. What is a point of morality?


we rule people out of high office on the grounds of a slightly


chequered past, we would be restricting the pool of politicians


to a very narrow group, and some of the best people are people who have


dallied with trucks in the past. Not wanting to be a cynic, but --


drugs in the past. Going back to this idea of being tough on drug-


taking, youngsters who have committed crimes, it might strike


people as a bit strange, David Cameron, Louise Mensch, saying this


was my misspent youth, you can't chastise me now. When we are


resting people for doing that same thing -- arresting people. It is


hypocritical and that is why I'm in favour of decriminalising or less


all drugs. You don't think it ruins the political message in that


sense? I don't think so. I don't think George Osborne is identified


with a particularly draconian, say no to drugs policy. I don't think


it is particularly relevant. Once in politics? Then I think you are


under obligation to give it up and leave it behind you. I hope they


are listening. And live a chaste and perfect life,


like us. Tomorrow, the High Court will


decide whether or not to allow the bailiffs back into Dale Farm in


Basildon. The site is owned and occupied by a community of


travellers. They bought it from a car scrapyard dealer in 1996. But


the local council says that part of the site, which is in the green


belt, has been developed without the necessary planning permissions.


This has all been going on for more than a decade. On Monday, the court,


at the last minute, granted the residence and order which prevented


their lives from beginning to clear the site. A whole load of other


protesters who joined in, they claim to be there in solidarity.


There is always the danger it could turn nasty. With me, the leader of


Basildon Council, Tony Ball, and Yvonne MacNamara, who speaks for


the Irish Travellers Movement in Britain. Welcome. If you look at


this from the outside, part of the site got planning permission, has


been developed, and isn't going to be touched. The other part didn't,


and you have to get out. What is wrong with that? There is a lot


wrong with it. Firstly, morally, it legally, it economically, this is


very wrong. Two weeks ago, I sat in a caravan, trying to explain to an


11-year-old, Eileen O'Brien, who has written the letter to David


Cameron, why she can no longer live in Dale Farm in a caravan... Isn't


that the fault of her parents for being in an area which doesn't have


planning permission? No. I delete what is happening here, is there is


a national shortage of travellers' Every local authority in this


country has a statutory requirement to identify need. When they


identified the needs of the local Gypsy Traveller community, which


Basildon have done, they tend to leave that report sitting on the


shelf gathering dust, they don't implement it. Basildon Council


themselves have identified there is a need for 62, that is minimum...


There is a need for a lot of things, it doesn't justify breaking the law.


A lot of people don't have homes in this country and meet them, but


they don't break the law. Nobody is advocating that people should break


the law. But when people are absolutely desperate, local


authorities are not providing the homes. Let me... Let me bring in a


local authority here. This has been going on for 10 years. You are now


going to have to move families who have been there for a long while.


Given the length of it, and given that part of the site is legal and


has planning permission, why don't you draw a line under it and say,


the whole side will now be covered. -- the whole site. We have learned


lessons, it won't happen again, but the whole site will be subject to


planning, they will be allowed to stay there and we will enforce


rigorously, every other part of the law. To a certain extent you have


answered your own question, where do you draw the line? I am saying


you do it here. Why? The site was developed illegally in 2001. We all


know we need to get planning permission before we develop. That


cannot be seen to be rewarded, and it is a question of equality for


everybody. What will stop someone making a similar case, if they


wanted their grandmother to move in with them, and building a home in


their garden? There has to be consistency. I agree there is a


national shortage, but that can't be a reason for them taking the law


into your own hands. Why don't you provide the sites for the people?


Basildon is the largest provider in his Essex. I want to ask you this.


What I think a lot of people don't understand. If this is a travelling


community, why are they fighting so hard to stay put? This shows a huge


gap in information. The ethnic identity is the tablet community,


yes. Under the -- traveller community. Under the race Relations


Act they are protected. I am committed to your question. Why do


they want accommodation? I am coming to it. Allow me to answer


the question. They have a right to allow for self-determination but we


have conflicting pieces of legislation, that if the travellers


travel the highways and byways of this country, there are no longer a


transient sites provided. Local authorities are not providing the


transient sites for them. Are they no longer travellers? Are they


going to become permanent They are travellers. They are


continuously being harassed and moved on. There is no place else


for them to go. I am missing something, if they want a permanent


place to go, it would seem they are no longer travellers question of


you are a Scottish man? OK. Because you have come to live here in


London, it doesn't automatically mean you are now an Englishman. You


are still a Scottish month. Traveller is the ethnic identity of


Are you still determined, despite the dangers of violence and the


fact that families and old people will be moved, to get them out. I


come back to my original point. Would it not be better to say, we


have all learnt lessons from this prolonged case, we're not going to


have a fight over it, we are going to draw the line here and move on?


Many things that are forgotten are the actual reasons. Is this an


appropriate place to have 52 pots, plus over 30... You gave them half


of it, and it was a car dealership. -- 52 plots. A scrapyard. A very


small part of it had a licence to be a scrap dealership.


significant part. That was illegally and large and we enforced


against that. I understand that the travellers might have bought... But


with rights becomes as -- come responsibilities. A brief talk from


youth, Toby Young. Presumably you would like to have lots of


transient sides that you can travel to and from two, rather than one


permanent site, and your argument is we need this, because we're not


allowed to go anywhere else. Absolutely not allowed. If there is


If there is a national shortage, people need somewhere to live


during the winter as well. The children need to go to school.


afraid we have run out of time but I thank you both for being with us.


Just time to give you the answer to yesterday's guess the year


competition. It was 1982. You recognised the Falklands War, Tony


Blair fighting and losing the Beckinsale by-election. You get to


pick the winner. Just read out the name. Bill Horrocks from Aberdeen.


Well done. We will send the mug to you. That is it for today. That's


all for today. Thanks to all our guests, especially to the Toad-


meister - as he's called on Twitter - Toby Young. I am back tonight for


the first This Week in ages, where I will be joined by Michael


Portillo, Jacqui Smith and Charles Kennedy. Leading fiddle-meister


Nigel Kennedy will speaking up for travellers and American comedian


Reginald D Hunter will be casting an eye over national stereotypes.


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