Jo Coburn has the top political stories of the day.
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Hello and welcome to the Daily Politics. Britain is basking in
autumn sunshine and Tory ministers are showing a bit of leg ahead of
their party conference. They are saying that the speed limits on our
motorways could go up to 80 miles an hour. That will please Mondeo
Man! But the green lobby is angry, saying carbon emissions will soar.
We are also told the weekly bin collection is back. There will be
extra money for councils if they take our rubbish away every seven
days. So, are fortnightly collections a thing of the past?
Meanwhile, Adam is on his travels, almost exactly half way across the
Irish Sea. I am in the Isle of Man for the island's slightly less
famous race - the general election And with me throughout today's
programme, Kevin Maguire of the Daily Mirror and Rachel Sylvester
of the Times. We are just looking ahead to the Tory conference. It
has already started, hasn't it? When you think there are huge
things going on that the economic crisis, the eurozone in meltdown. I
think they will have to come up with a bit more. It will set the
agenda of the weekend. Ministers will hope they are popular.
Rachel says, is it also an indication they have not got any
money? They have to do this populist thing that does not cost
any money. Is there anything else left in the magic box? They are
talking rubbish before they meet in Manchester. Both very populist
issues. I believe with them on both. It is fair to deflect the attention
from austerity and the fact they do not like the Liberal Democrats.
Europe has to rear its head. This Conservative Party is as Euro-
sceptic as it was. You can see them frothing at the mouth. What an
image! If this is window-dressing, what do you think will be the
messages from David Cameron and George Osborne? They need to come
up with a package on growth. We have interviewed Philip Hammond. He
is saying it is good for business and good for growth. The Transport
Department is an economic department. I'm not sure how you
get bins into Kriss Akabusi. There is no Plan B but there is a gross
in Plan A. -- growth. The pressure is building internationally from
the IMF and others. This plant is not working. -- plan. How can a
shift and do something else when they say it our original plan is
right? How can you do that while shifting? It is a tricky position.
They want to take credit for responding to the growing economic
crisis but they do not want to say they were wrong. They cannot do
that because they do not want to lose credibility. George Osborne is
a politician. He is good at strategy. He will have an icon what
the opinion polls are saying and what people are feeling. -- an eye
on. He is feeling the pressure, when you look at him. He has aged
visibly. We were talking about this a few days ago. I'll do it under a
lot of pressure or are they relax because there is no real challenge
from Labour? -- are they under a lot of pressure? They have not got
that much political pressure. have the Liberal Democrats on board.
They can see those figures. They are terrified of the double-dip
recession because they will get the blame. That could change the whole
political atmosphere. Will there be aid David Cameron moment? He will
make a point of mentioning Margaret Thatcher. He will emphasise it.
internal government battles go, this one was supposed to have been
an epic! It will, no doubt, come to be known as the Battle of the Bins.
And now, it seems, we have a winner. Today, the Local Government
Secretary, Eric Pickles, is trumpeting the return of the weekly
bin collection. More than half the local authorities in England no
longer pick up the remains of your chicken tikka masala every seven
days - something Mr Pickles once declared the basic right of every
Englishman. Weekly collections had been around since 1875 but they
started to disappear under the last government, for reasons of cost and
in order to encourage recycling. The Tories fought the last election
promising to bring them back with householders complaining of
horrible smells, fly-tipping and rats. But back in June, the
Environment Secretary, Caroline Spelman, stepped in. She said this
would all cost far too much, at least �130 million a year. And
things rapidly got a bit unpleasant. Why don't you spend less time
speaking to your officials and more time listening to the electorate?,
Mr Pickles apparently said. And the two ministers stopped speaking. So
today we hear that 250 million of new money has been found down the
back of a sofa somewhere. Weekly bin collections are back. The
horrid smells and rats are banished. And the worries about extra costs
are simply rubbish. Or are they? And joining us is the Local
Government Minister, Bob Neill. Was Caroline Spelman wrong when she
said weakly bin collections cost too much? You have been listening
to too much Westminster gossip. They have been working jointly on
it right the way through. Both of them supported the announcement
that we said we would have a review and where Catt a way to go with
local authorities to encourage them to bring back weekly bin
collections. -- work out. Are you really trying to tell me and tell
the viewers that there has been no rift over this? It is a
departmental victory for Eric Pickles. It is in the nature of
journalists... And it is in the nature of politicians... It is a
case of two government ministers working well together. We have been
making economies consistently in the running cost of our departments.
It is savings within our current budgets. We can use them for an
initiative which will be very popular with people. Nothing wrong
with that. It will make a difference to the quality of
service. Why don't you let local councils decide what to do? It
flies in the face of your localism strategy. That is what we are doing.
We are letting local councils decide. Eric Pickles has already
said, we will encourage them, otherwise there will suffer at the
ballot box, to bring back weekly bin collections. Encouraging is not
the same as telling. Under the previous government, local councils
were being very directly financially penalised if they did
not go down a one size fits all model. We are saying we do not want
to have a financial obstacle to going back to weekly collections,
if that is what you and your residents think is the right thing.
We are giving them the choice. All the evidence suggests that most
people particularly want the smelly stuff taken away on his weekly
basis. I think they will listen to the electorate when it comes to
election time. Why not just give them the money? Let them make the
decision about where they would like to spend part of that �250
million, if they want to spend it on mental health strategy, why
don't you do that? The department has been able to provide some money
and we are determined we are keeping a promise. That is a shop
with some politicians. We made a promise we will find a means of
helping local authorities to move back to more weekly collections
where they thought it appropriate. That is what we are doing.
Government made such a big deal about saying, we will distance
ourselves from decisions being made at a local level. They are
dictating from the top. It is populist and popular as well. He
kept the great straight face when he said there were no rows between
Eric Pickles and Caroline Spelman. Can anyone afford to buy anything
to put in the rubbish anyway? It is popular. I hope the sums are being
done right. If it is �250,000,000.18000000 households do
not get weekly collections, it means about �30. Can you get an
extra 26 collections out of that? think you can if you use it
cleverly. The median cost of four likely as opposed to weekly, it
does not cost any more. A lot of councils are caught in clever
contracts. Part of the tests is, are you going to encourage
recycling and get better value for money? Can I just clarify? When you
talk about weekly bin collections might have come up all the rubbish
or you collect the main rubbish but all the recycling is still done on
a fortnightly basis? What we're saying is they should have the
opportunity to go back to weekly. That should vary from place to
place. Her all the rubbish? It will be a local decision. If you think
about it, the City of Westminster has a huge volume of rubbish. They
collect the rubbish several times a week. In my area, like cures, they
take fruits double wave weakly. -- like yours, they'd take the rubbish
away weekly. Most of these councils will be Tory councils who want the
fortnightly collections. They are going to tell them when Tory
councils what to do. Want to make of it? There is a wider thing about
localism. -- what do you make of it? You realise you will get the
blame for every local decision. You realise the idea of letting
everything go and letting people make the decisions is a nightmare
if you are going to take responsibility. It is going to come
across on other issues as well. They need to control it from the
centre. What if local councils make the wrong decision?! Are you saying
that on some issues you're stepping in because the timing is good? You
keep -- you need something to give to your party faithful.
understand the point from Rachel. It is very much compatible with
localism. We are reversing the situation we inherited from the
previous government. They were marked down if they did not move to
fortnightly collections. They were being obliged through various
directives which were being scrapped. We scrapped a lot of the
directives which said to have to move to smaller been sizes and
fining people -- bin. What about rows and rows of unattractive
wheelie bins being left out? thing we're keen to use this money
for is to encourage new technologies. One particular
technology is about the Cannich ingestion. In one of The bin, it
gets taken away to separate the recyclable things from the non
recyclable. You are still going to get these things. At the moment
local authorities do not have any incentive to move away from that.
The technology needs to be there were one bin takes the lot. It is
said to be another dad get in the heart of local decision-making.
think they ought to be listening to the electorate. In Windsor and
Maidenhead they have done it locally. Recycling has gone up 35%.
We will see you at conference no doubt. So, did you stay up all of
last night for the results of the most nail-biting general election
in a generation? Don't worry, you have not fallen in to some weird
time warp. Our neighbours on the yesterday. We sent Adam to
# This is my island in the sun... Besides motorbikes and low taxes,
what do you know about the Isle of Man? It is a British Crown
dependency, like the Channel Islands. That means the united
Kingdom is responsible for defence and foreign affairs. The government
here is responsible for pretty much everything else. You will notice
from their own money that the Queen is still head of state. This week
we have had election fever here. More than 60 candidates have been
competing for 24 seats here at the oldest parliament in the world.
This is our parliament, which was established in 979. This is the
lower house. What is different from Westminster is that here, they do
not really do political parties. Most members are independent.
all about size. How our Yes. Works is because it is small. You could
not do it in a very large Parliament, like Westminster. Here,
it is very small, the constituency is small, generally. Which means
campaigns tend to be small, with friends and family mucking in.
just giving moral support. My uncle is running. My uncle is running as
well. Pieces of paper going through the post or delivered through
letterboxes, but more often than not, it is family who do it.
this fairly new party is rolling in with the island's first ever battle
bus. They have 10 candidates, and they want to break open a system
which they think is a bit too insular. The problem is, going back
to what it was when I was a youngster, as far as, it is not
what you know, it is who you know. It is the patronage of so many
aspects, as far as I have seen. There have been some changes,
though. This young man can cast a ballot because five years ago, the
Ireland gave the vote to 16- to 17- year-olds. That was quick. Yes, it
is a bit intimidating, but apart from that it was all right. I think
it is about time that the franchise was extended to our age group.
Because at 16, you do start to get that interest in politics. And what
was the biggest issue at the hustings? Us. The British
Government as we negotiated an agreement to share revenues from
VAT, which means the island is facing cuts of more than �100
million a year. All the results are coming in, and if you want to know
which candidates got in to the parliament on the Isle of Man, then
go to the website. The members will decide which one of them becomes
the chief minister next month. Earlier, we were talking about
bringing back weekly bin collections. The other hot
political story this morning, ahead of the Tory conference, is the news
that ministers are planning to raise the speed limit on motorways
in England and Wales to 80mph. I don't know if that means we will
have to slam on the brakes as we crossed the border to Scotland.
Starting with you, Sean O'Grady, where is the evidence that this
will actually have significant economic benefits? You just have to
think about it. If you're late for a meeting, if an important
component for a factory is late, or stocks for a supermarket, that
causes economic damage. The faster the goods move around the economy,
the more the economy generates income and wealth. Will it make
that much of the difference? It may well do, if you fall very late for
a meeting or a flight or something like that, it could well make a big
difference. But isn't safety the key here? Depending on the figures,
for example, Brake say there will be 10% more casualties. They claim
that, but nobody actually knows. The general trend in road
casualties in the UK and Europe I think is favourably downwards, and
in Germany, on the autobahn, I think they have a lower rate of tax.
The statistics we have got say the opposite, they say there are twice
as many fatalities in Germany, the same as France, compared with us.
The it is important that technology has overtaken the speed limit. Cars
nowadays are built to do far more than 70mph. In 1965, when it was
brought in, hardly any were capable of doing that speed. But now, they
are capable of doing it, and doing it safely. You have got can --
cruise control, regulating the distance from the current front.
These safety features were not in existence in 1965. Are you
convinced by these safety arguments? I am not a safety expert,
I do not know. Let us hear these arguments, if they have got them.
Appraisal of road schemes used to be done on archaic and silly
assumptions, and this decision seems to be done on the same basis.
Basically, those rules would say, if you have got a barrel of oil,
Burnet, it is good for the economy. Well, we are now importing oil, and
every extra gallon burnt on the motorways is something we will have
to import. We will have to do so either from unstable regimes or
from places where it is quite difficult to get it out. This is
why we think it is a bad decision, not the safety, we do not know
about safety at Greenpeace, but what we do know about is the
environment. Why would we want to try and make it worse, carbon
emissions? Speed and the environment are now the coupled,
because of new technology. If you take electric cars, for example...
You get the electricity from wind power or nuclear power, it is
completely green, no matter what speed they go at. Cars are far
cleaner and more economical and environmentally friendly than ever
before. Sure, the direction of travel is towards cleaner cars,
which is great. But if we're going to be predominantly dependent on
the internal combustion engine for another decade, possibly two, the
figures are roughly that going at 80mph compared with the money, you
will burn 20% more fuel. More research says that if you just
enforce the existing speed limit, then you get about a million tonnes
of carbon saving. When you put that through... And you criminalise half
the drivers on the motorway. We do not say that because loads of
people are using drugs, we should decriminalise them. On drugs and
Speed, that is probably not true, actually. I do not see any evidence
that this government is looking to treat -- to decriminalise drugs.
The point I'm trying to make is about whether this is a good
decision in the current context, and whether government should be
setting standards of performance and behaviour which contributes to
a good society, in the round. And this is a bad decision. That is the
key, it is it a good decision in the current context? If you look to
the future, in the end, might it be a decision with foresight, really?
The law has to keep up with the reality. Philip Hammond's most
persuasive point is that more than half of drivers actually go at
80mph. In Denmark, when they raised the speed limit by 10mph, in fact,
the speed only went up by 2.5mph, because people were already going
at that speed. But will it not make it de facto 90mph? They say not.
The police could decide not to raise that higher. And most people
actually drive at a level which they believe to be saved, I think.
It is not really to do with technology or business or the
environment. It is personal behaviour? People will not drive a
huge amount faster. Is this going to be a fight between two
departments, the transport department, and the Department for
Environment, Food and Rural Affairs? It could be, but I think
David Cameron has come a long way since he was trying to put
windmills on his house. The Department of Transport will win,
because it will be popular. There are drivers in cars which are safer,
cleaner and on nice clear roads in good weather, and they're having to
go along at 70mph. Are you were read you have lost this argument?
Well, it is not about being popular. It is about being responsible.
Weariness situation where we have a carbon budget, a legally-binding
carbon budget. If we increase the emissions from roads, we have got
to decrease them from other areas. If you increase the emissions from
cars, which you do not have to do, he did not have to do this, you
have got to reduce it from somewhere else. Why don't we all
just get her horse and carts? have got to thank our guests are
very much for coming in. Before we go, let's have a quick speed
With the country basking in an Indian summer, it was Labour's turn
to shine at their party conference. Ed Balls was in bullish form the
football field. But the Balmy weather must have affected his mood,
as he apologised for Labour's failure to regulate the banks. But
what of Ed Miliband? There was plenty of red meet for the left of
the party in his speech, as he attacked predator businesses. But
he seemed keen to emphasise who he wasn't. I'm not Tony Blair. Have
they already forgotten who won them three elections? Away from
conference, the eurozone crisis rumbled on. Angela Merkel won a
crucial vote in the Bundestag. In Liverpool, a reminder that it is
tough at the top. How could eight macro be expected to remember the
name of the front runner to become Labour leader in a little country
called Scotland? Ken Macintosh, yes. There for the grace of God go I.
Just quickly, intelligence on Shadow Cabinet reshuffle? Either he
does it in the next 10 days, during the Tory conference or just after.
Who would you like to see? I think Rachel Reeves has done very well,
Tristram Hunt has done very well. Some of the new MPs I think he
should promote. This is the stage at which he has still got a few
years till the election, so he could experiment. Yes, but you want
a bit of momentum. I thought he took a step forward at his
conference, but not a big step. He needs to be doing better,
unquestionably. So, get that team together, and hope it works. You do
not want to experiment too much. Next week, what will they be doing,
do you think, in the Shadow Cabinet, trying to think of ways to get the
attention of the electorate? think they should not worry about
next week. They have had their week in the sun. When Parliament comes
back, then they should think about what to do. Do you think they were
cheering in Tory Central Office when that speech was going on?
actually. It was idealistic but there was the risk of looking
really naive. How do you differentiate between good business
and bad business? It is the argument, don't give the
corporation tax cuts to banks, who wrecked the economy, give it to
manufacturing, people who make things. But he had not thought it
through, it was difficult for Labour people to come up with
specific examples on the spot. Maybe you need to give them some
coaching. I have got enough problems. That's all for this week.
Don't forget to watch Jon Sopel and The Politics Show on Sunday, when
he will be speaking to the chairman of the Tory Party, head of their
conference. Andrew and myself will be back next week. Just time for
one last look at one other highlight from the Labour