13/10/2011 Daily Politics


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Afternoon folks. Welcome to the Daily Politics. The moment of


victory in Libya looks imminent. The new government there's on the


brink of saying the country is clear Gaddafy's forces. Meanwhile,


here at home, the Defence Secretary, Liam Fox, is still under fire. Can


you continue if the job? continuing to do what is needed,


focusing on defence issues. Thank you very much. We'll have the


latest. We'll also take a look at what's happened to crime in Croydon


after the summer riots. Have all the arrests made an impact on how


safe it is to walk the streets? And it's that time again - the


Westminster Dog of the Year. We'll find out which pooch is top dog.


There's no dog in the studio this year. I'm told that Foxy Knoxy's


agent has been holding out for double money. All that in the next


half hour. Joining us throughout the programme, the former MP for


Tatton, war correspondent and now poet, Martin Bell. Good to be here.


Published last week. But first, the Foreign Secretary, William Hague,


is expected to make a statement in the Commons within the next few


minutes. It's on the latest situation in Libya and there is


speculation that he'll say that it is almost clear of resistance to


the new government. Meanwhile, Liam Fox is still being staked out by


half of Fleet Street here at home. Within the last few moments MPs had


this to say about the Defence Secretary in the House of Commons.


Yesterday, the Prime Minister promised to look -- to publish a


list of meetings with the Defence Secretary and Adam Werritty. When


will this list be published? Following the BBC's revelations of


secretive wealthy donors running a shadow operation at the heart of


one of Whitehall's most sensitive government departments, what are


the implications for accountibility and probity? On her first question,


I'm sure the Prime Minister will honour the undertaking he gave


yesterday on the list of visits to ministers. That is as soon as the


information has been dealt with. On the earth -- other issue, the


Cabinet Secretary is dealing with all issues and will complete his


inquiry as soon as he can. George Young there. We are


expecting the Foreign Secretary to make a statement probably including


some in terms of declaring victory or at least Libya free. Is it


difficult to determine that moment of victory, if you like, in these


sorts of circumstances? Yes, I think in a long-running war, which


doesn't necessarily involve regular forces, and a lot of rumours, but


these ones are holding out. I think the moment of victory has just


about arrived. As forceful humanitarian interventions go, I


think this one has worked. Would you say you were a fan generally of


a policy of liberal intervention? The Government will say it has been


hugely successful and they did the right thing? Is it legal and


proportion nailt and supported and doable? -- proportionate and


supported and doable? This one has. It has not been America-led and the


boots on the ground are those of the Lybians. That is the difference,


looking back to Bosnia, boots on the ground become key or not as it


was in Libya? That depends how they are used. We had 34,000 UN troops


on the ground at the time of the Srebrenica massacre. Each case is


different. Finally we got it right and good for those. Very different


from Iraq? Totally and Afghanistan. I don't see how we could have stood


back and see that happen to beng. He said he would go from --


Benghazi. He said he would go from house to house and grab people out


and kill them. He would have done, since he has previous. We are


always criticising politicians, but when they get it right, give them


the cid. Liam Fox - I -- credit. Liam Fox, we have a rough idea. The


picture is clear now that there were clearly a group of Tories,


quite wealthy, very wealthy in some cases and they were bank rolling a


Shadow office in the shape of Mr Werritty. Because Liam Fox didn't


quite trust the Cameroons or the Civil Service and they were very


pro-Israel and they were Thatcherite in tradition and that


seems to be what happened. Is that a sacking offence? I think his


position is untenable. I think we can wait a few more days and if it


turns out that Mr Werritty got any monetary advantage from his


friendship with Dr Fox. The people I'm concerned for are those out


deployed in far-flung places. This has to be distracting for the


Defence Secretary. His judgment has to be called into question. I think


we have a few more days. I'm in favour of not hounding people, but


it will become clear in a very short time. I will be surprised if


in a week's time he's still in his post. I thought at the weekend he


might well survive. As the week's gone on and this drip, drip and we


have now found out what has happened and Mr Werritty's position


becomes more obvious, it does seem that the ministerial rules have


been bent, if not broken? Yes. As previous explanations come to be


shot full of holes and people say things when turn out to be not


entirely true. It's the old case of the cover-up doing the damage.


shall see. It will be another weekend of news stories, no doubt.


We all remember the riots. The pictures scarred the towns and


cities are still in our memories. These pictures are from Croydon.


This morning, as guidelines have been published for people involved


in rioting, Gavin Barwell, a Croydon MP, claims to have seen


evidence that crime has now gone down dramatically in the area. We


have going to speak to him in one moment, but first here is Jo on how


the courts delts withlet aftermath. Following the -- dealt with the


aftermath. Following the riots, 1 ,715 had appeared in court and 73%


had a previous caution or conviction. This chimed with Ken


Clarke, when he said that a hardcore of criminal classes were


involved. The courts got tough. 43% of offenders tried at a


Magistrates' Court received an immediate custodial sentence,


compared to 12% for similar offences in England and Wales in


2010. The average custodial sentence was 5.1 months, compared


to 2.5 the year before. At Crown Court the average sentence was 18.5


months, compared with 11.3 months in 2010. Now, new proposals have


been set out by the Sentencing Council for England and Wales. They


are designed to take into account the harm inflicted on the victim.


Under the new guidelines, those who are guilty of domestic burglaries,


who normally get up to 26 weeks in jail, could see a sentence of up to


two years, if the crime took place during a riot. Gavin Barwell is now


with us. Welcome to the programme. This is a first for you? It is.


Let's get straight to the fact in this. What figures have you seen


and what do they tell us? I've seen some figures from my borough


commander in Croydon, which show if you look at the four-week period


after the riots and the period including the riots, there has been


a significant reduction in property crime. You would expect that. There


has been a reduction of 20% in violent crime. That shows very


clearly it seems to me that putting the offenders away has worked in


terms of reducing crime in the short term. I understand that. I'm


puzzled by the period comparison if it tells us very much. You are


saying the first period includes the riots? It does. Wouldn't a


better comparison be, say, the four weeks after the riots, with four


weeks in June or in April? Sure. I hope when we get the investigation


complete we'll see all of that data. On the property crime you are


making a perfectly fair point, because it's an unfair comparison,


but there were very few offences of violent crime on 8th August, that


people have been prosecuted for. It shows a significant reduction.


conclusion do you draw from this? I they we are offered on crime and


punishment a false choice, with some saying we need to put people


away for longer and others say prison doesn't work, we need to


improve rehabilitation and I think there is merit in both. Prison does


work in the short term. It gets them off the streets and make


Croydon a safer place, but as Ken Clarke argues in the longer term,


it doesn't change people's behaviour patterns, so when they


come out they are very likely to reoffend. What I'll argue this


afternoon in the House is we are being offered a false choice.


Obviously, it is axiomatic, if you put the guys away there will be


less crime on the streets. Couldn't there be a play that after a riot


and you see this in the United States also, people are exhausted,


even the criminals are exhausted, and they need a rest? Sure. Also,


there are lots of police around and there is lots of publicity and you


lie low. By the way, I've nicked all this stuff and I have to fence


it, so I'm busy doing that. Surely there must be an element of post-


riot exhaustion? There is an effect that we saw more policing after the


riots than on the day itself. What we'll need to see is data for the


next few months while people are serving sentences to see if the


effect is prolonged. My constituents want to see the


maintenance of the visible policing. Why are we dependent on you coming


to us with this information, which I understand is unofficial and it


was leaked to you. Why - if this was a programme in New York we


would be able to through their computer system tell you that crime


precinct by precinct in the past 24 hours officially. Why don't we have


that here? We are beginning to get it. The Government has started the


crime mapping process, but there is a time lag. Historically, there has


been far too little information that has allowed people to make the


mapgz. There is the time lag -- mappings. There is the time lag


that won't help that. We'll get the internal recrew across London and


that will give myself and people like yourselves a lot more data.


I say, I can see the point that crime's going down because a lot of


the rioters with previous convictions have been put away and


the streets a bit safer for a while. Even if you put them away for


longer than you normally do, they will get out and they won't have


been in prison long enough for rehabilitation to matter, so


doesn't crime spike up again? agree with what Ken Clarke says.


The initial story - You don't agree with him on not putting people away,


do you? We are seeing that the guidelines are going to be a bit


tougher, but permly I would like to see us go further still. I think


also one of the things that very clear from the evidence is far from


being spontaneous, in Croydon there was a significant organisation and


gang culture was at the core of what happened in our town, so I'm


very much looking forward to the stailt from Iain Duncan Smith and


the Home Secretary about -- statement from Iain Duncan Smith


and the Home Secretary about that. One final question to you for the


moment, we know from international experience and we know now from coy


done, that if you put a lot of police on the streets crime tends


to fall. And your government is cutting police numbers. That can't


be right, can it? In London this year we have seen a slight increase,


but there is a danger going forward. Boris, as I tried to establish at


the Tory conference, Boris Johnson and the Home Secretary can't be


right. If he says he has 1,000 more police officers and he needs it to


keep it down, so if you take 16,000 away in the rest of the country and


that won't effect crime, one or the other is wrong? The Prime


Minister's response was that we would see far more officers on the


streets. Clearly, numbers is an issue. And you are cutting the


numbers? My view is the police can't be expempt from savings and


there are ways of saving without cutting numbers, but I've made it


clear to the Prime Minister in the House that I would not favour


anything that is actually going to reduce the front-line policing in


my town. My constituents don't want to see that. Let me bring in Martin


Bell in. What is your take? I used to be the BBC's riots correspondent.


I have been from Chicago to Belfast. You didn't wear a helmet?


certainly didn't. We had no body armour. The most serious riots


never go on for four days because people get completely exhausted.


Has Croydon recovered from the sense of shock? No, I think the


damage to the reputation as a town and also the knowledge that living


in the town there are people who are behaving like this in the


community is going to take a long I think of Croydon as an affluent


suburb. It is a very mixed community. There is some damage but


there is also a positive side to this story. There were huge numbers


of people look came out to help to clear up at the store. And they are


going to rebuild it? Yes. If you look at the way that Manchester


recovered from the IRA attack, these things can be turned into a


positive. That is the job - to turn it around.


Croydon was Nicholas Sarkozy's favourite town. He compared it with


Paris. That was before the riots! Thank you for coming on.


MPs will always tell you about ha- ha the work - the 14-hour days, the


pressure to get re-elected - and that is all before they even think


about climbing the greasy pole to the top. -- MPs will always tell


you about how hard they work. According to a recent report, we


should be encouraged in our MPs to be lazier. -- encouraging our MPs.


Don't be fooled by appearances, life at Westminster can be jolly


tough sometimes, especially if you're an MP. There is all that


"here, here close good business to get the hang of, then they expect


you to turn up to vote at all ours of the day and night. There is a


school of thought that says that the best way to get to the top in


politics is to do less. Peter Taylor reckons that the future


belongs to the lazy. Malaysia's air negative term. I think it is a


positive thing. There is an approach to doing things in the


most efficient way. It is a combination of intelligence and


laziness. And you can achieve so much more by going that way.


good in theory, but has anyone actually got to the top and stayed


there without trying too hard? classic example is Ronald Reagan,


who was unbelievably lazy. People would go to visit him and he would


talk also -- for several Lars and give them a tour of the White House.


-- for several hours. How do you do it? If you want to be this standard,


good and conscientious MP, you do all your local staff, supporting


the surgeries and so forth. If you want to become Prime Minister, you


want to fork is higher. It is about networking and socialising and been


involved in the big, important stuff. Are some of the new members


of Labour's sham -- Shadow Cabinet real-life examples? People have


leapt into the Shadow Cabinet, having been newcomers a year ago or


18 months ago. It is probably a good idea because it will allow


them to learn their briefs and be ready for office if Labour ever


gets back in our lifetime. Finally, do not be embarrassed by your


lethargy, embrace Europe in a laziness. -- you're in our laziness.


I think it is the right approach. Next time you see a politician or


reporter taking the weight off their feet, remember they are not


being lazy, they are just being efficient. Honest!


Wake up, Andrew! It is like the Daily Politics and


ideas room. Were you Ali c m p or


unproductively busy? I did not sufficiently understand the


procedures of the House of Commons so I made a very slow start but I


think I got there in the end. I discovered that too many people


were discovered -- expecting me to be a super councillor. A you were


in a unique position. It is true that people who are successful and


efficient with their time get more done and do not get overstretched


in the same way as other people. The classic clip from that was


Thatcher and Reagan. I was the correspondent in Washington during


that political romance. He worked very short hours. For the first six


years he she came over every year - - for the first six years she came


over every year. Firstly, she told him up what she thought and then


have told him what he thought. -- and then told him. I interviewed


him in the Oval Office ones. I forget what it was, some important


issue, and he said, Andrew, you are quite right - it is so serious it


is giving me sleepless afternoons. How could you be that relaxed, even


if you did surround yourself with very good people? Surely, as head


of state, you have to do a certain amount of legwork. He concentrated


on the ceremonious things. He was the best communicator until the


President incumbent. He loved been commander-in-chief, and he let


other people to the functioning part. Until about 1986 it went well.


I had to persuade people that this was not as stupid person but a


formidable operator. One of the examples here was that Gordon Brown


used to have the reputation, and he used to say, I will strive harder,


work harder. In the end, he did not achieve things. Even when he went


on holiday in Suffolk he said, I have got to get on with the job.


The whole idea was to get away with it -- away from it.


At some stage, he was getting up so early that he met himself going to


bed. It is the worst thing to do. What you really need is a good


night's sleep, think about it a bit and then get on with it. You cannot


drive yourself into the ground. David Cameron is seen now as a


slightly more relaxed type. He does not do quite the number of hours.


Does it matter? You guys are in the loop. Has he got it right now?


I think, on a day-to-day basis, it seems more manageable. There will


be those who will argue that he has not been hungry enough and does not


work hard enough. If you end up in the House of


Commons it is quite hard work. you had no support system. You need


a party. I had the best Parliamentary Secretary ever.


For the uninitiated, to letter -- Twitter is a way of texting your


thoughts to the world, or at least those who follow you. Some MPs have


got fed up with others staring at their mobile phones the whole time


during debates, so they have put down a motion to ban a habit. It is


due to be debated any time now. I caught up with Luciana Berger, who


likes to tweet, and James Gray, who wants her to stop. I started by


asking James Gray if all mobile devices should be banned. They


should be used for the business in hand. You can use them for urgent


messages coming in or going out. I was recently chairing a committee


upstairs about pensions and benefits reform. Two-thirds of


people and the committee were staring at a device of some sort.


That just means they are not concentrating on the debate in


question. From outside, it looks terrible, looking at all these


people in the chamber fiddling with electronic devices. Let us use them


for a minimal amount of time, maybe the odd tweak here and there, maybe


instead of using paper, but do not let us have a chamber full of


people staring at screens. You have a point there. It is distracting if


people are staring at the screen. Surely they cannot be concentrating


on the debate. The main motion we are discussing today specifically


says that we should only use hand- held devices with decorum. That is


the main point back. I am concerned about the amendment being proposed


which says that you can only send and receive urgent messages. That


will prevent MPs from Tooting. That is what I am going to talk about in


the debate. What does it mean, all with decorum? People can still sit


there and use electronic devices and it will not be, in their view,


with decorum. It is also going to deal with what is and is not an


urgent message. As MPs, we take responsibility for what we do or do


not do in the chamber. I except that me and my colleagues will do


that and, therefore, debate -- the debate today is about what that


should be. There is a bit of self- regulation there, James. You cannot


ask people what they are doing. If the chairman knows that you should


only be using these devices for work that is going on in the


chamber and he sees someone doing something that is not pertinent, he


can intervene and say, the rules of the House are that you should not


be doing that. If we do not get my amendment through today we will


find that the chamber of a House of Commons and the committees will be


full of people doing things with their devices. It will look


terrible from the point of view of people outside looking in. We get


complaints at the moment that no- one is in the chamber. Look to the


future and the complaint will be, all right, they are in the chamber


but they are not paying attention to the debate. I would like to see


minimal use of them just for the purposes of concentrating on the


debate in hand. Why do you think that meeting has taken off in the


world it -- in the way it has? live in the 21st century ad


tweeting is just one way of better engaging and communicating with our


constituency to whom we are accountable. The response is that I


have had, and I have asked the question of whether we should


continue to tweet, -- the responses that I have had our that people


find it engaging. The death lobby in particular finds it useful.


Who do you follow most of all? follow and lots of people. Mostly


it is organisations and people in and around my constituency. And you,


James? I am never sure who is looking and who is listening to


what one says on Twitter. I am not a dinosaur, I look at it. I think


there is plenty of room for Twitter and all of these other things. The


question is about how much of it should be done during a technical


debate in the House of Commons. We should be listening to detailed


arguments, coming up with alternative views, and not fiddling


about with electronic devices. Let us pick up on that point might.


The issue is whether you should be tweeting from the chamber. What is


your view? If you ever go to war with the British Army, you will


find commanders telling people to minimise and concentrate on the


business in hand. It is very depressing in the House divide


people not paying any attention at all. They did not have Twitter in


those days. What is the point of having a debate if people do not


listen to it? Except that Luciana's point is that they are did --


tweeting about the debate itself. But how do you not?


Before we go we have to announce the winner of the yesterday's Guess


the Year competition. It was Susan Emmett from All Saints near Brigg.


Thank you to all other guests. I will be back later but it -- way to


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