14/10/2011 Daily Politics


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Hello and welcome to the Daily Politics on Friday, where we'll be


asking the difficult question: Just how do you stabilise the world


economy? That's the question finance ministers from the G20


countries will be hoping to answer, as they meet in Paris. This morning,


Spain's long-term debt was downgraded for a second time in a


week. We'll be asking, should the eurozone survive?


Fantastic Dr Fox has survived the week. We'll be analysing the latest


twist and turns as his friend Mr Werritty faces more questions today.


Happy birthday Glenda Slagg, HP sauce and Street of Shame. We'll be


celebrating Private Eye's 50th birthday.


There are definitely front covers I have seen him...


And, Oliver Letwin has kindly donated next weeks cover! Mr


Cameron's right-hand man has apparently been caught dumping


With me today are Anushka Asthana from the Times, and Paul Waugh,


editor of Politics Home. Welcome. First this morning, let's turn our


eyes to St James's Park, where, according to today's Daily Mirror,


the Cabinet Office Minister Oliver Letwin has been throwing away


sensitive documents in the park's bins. The paper alleges Mr Letwin


disposed of more than 100 papers in a number of different bins. A


government spokeswoman said Mr Letwin often worked in the park,


and none of the material was sensitive. We did ask Mr Letwin to


come on the Daily Politics. He declined, but we have his Shadow,


Labour's Michael Dugger with us from Leeds.


The defence is this is not sensitive information, we should


not be worried. We need an investigation to find that what


this information was, what classification it was in terms of


its clearance. Also, how often this has happened. Most people would


find it incredible that the minister is so as a touch he thinks


it is OK to disregard the normal procedures all ministers must


follow her and all civil servants must follow, by leading information


in this way. He has duties as a constituency MP, and


responsibilities under data protection to look after the data


of his constituents who have written to him privately. It just


shows how out of touch they have become. Sir Malcolm Rifkind, a


friend and colleague, it says a copy of the letter sent to him


published by the Daily Mirror, doesn't amount to anything but


communication between two backbenchers. That is rather


complacent. The reports I have read says of this information may deal


with counter-terrorism and intelligence. Most people watching


will think that is reasonably sensitive. We need an investigation.


This does need to take their responsibilities seriously, and


stop acting in what is such a cavalier manner. Oliver Letwin is


an intelligent man, it seems bizarre that he would chuck away


sensitive documents in a park been. There is a famous phrase, it is


amazing how stupid clever people can be. There are very clear


procedures governing the conduct of ministers in relation to how they


handle government correspondence and information. And he should have


followed those. We need an investigation to find out what is


out there and why he hasn't done that.


Paul Waugh, he does have a point. He does. Oliver Letwin, a likeable


and smart Minister, but accident- prone as it seems. He is using an


orthodox filing system of Park bins which will amaze most people. The


Cabinet Office but trees in his more seriously than most people


have overnight. They have changed their line. The Cabinet Office will


be looking into this. It is not a matter of saying, these are not


classified documents. Information Commissioner's office


is looking into this, they take pictures of data protection


seriously and have the power of ordering a fine of �500,000.


can't say that actually happening. Idea this is serious but the person


most likely to find these letters was a journalist from the Daily


Mirror! The photographs are hilarious. There is a funny side to


this story, and like the idea spend in the morning in the park before


work, I might do it myself. That in itself is not a crime! Number 10


were relaxed, saying, with a straight face, most of the business


Mr Letwin does in the park his constituency based. That won't wash


for very long. It won't with his constituents. The material that


related to his constituents is Fraser's did to those people it


belongs to. I do not think they will appreciate the fact he has


been throwing that into the bin. Finance ministers from the G20


countries are meeting in Paris to discuss how to stabilise the world


economy. Representatives from eurozone countries are expected to


come under further pressure to come up with a credible plan to tackle


the mounting debt crisis. Our correspondent, Hugh Schofield, is


in Paris. How likely is a credible plan likely to emerge?


It is not going to emerge here. Simply because there are two very


important meetings coming up, where they will save their ammunition for,


next Sunday, the European summit delayed for a week. There is an


awful a matter of expedition building up around that, where the


Commission President and the German and French leaders are expected to


come together to announce this big plan which they think will provide


the shock and or to the market that will see us through. On top of that,


the G20 actual summit in Cannes, a week after that, again, that will


be digesting the European plan. This meeting here it is clearly


important as a preparatory step but we shouldn't expect anything out of


this meeting. Even if they agree, they won't announce anything, they


will wait for these two bigger meetings. Time is of the essence.


Would we not even hear about any extension to the stability fund, or


any more extension in terms of bailing out Greece? We can


definitely see what is beginning to emerge. Quite clearly from the


signals we are getting, there is this big plan as has been turned,


built around three things. A kind of structured default for Greece,


in which creditors, like the banks, accept more than the 21% haircut


than what has already been agreed. Some kind of structured default


which Keats crease in the euro. Then, beefing up the bail-out fund


now that Slovakia has got new powers, but those powers aren't


enough, so they will be beefed up again with leverage in. The IMF


will use its financial muscle to put more money into that. The third


thing is, recapitalising the banks. If the banks need a bigger hair cut


they will need more cash. Joining me from west London is the


Conservative MP and chairman of his party's Economic Affairs Committee,


John Redwood. We have just heard what is being


discussed in terms of recapitalising Europe's banks,


extending the stability fund. You have compared the euro to the ERM


in terms of not worth saving. Should the eurozone just collapse?


I don't want it to collapse but an orderly reduction in members would


be the best way for all of the European economies. Several of the


weaker countries cannot live within the disciplines sensibly proposed


at the beginning of the scheme. It would be better to let them get out,


devalue, and compete their way back to prosperity. But they're not


going to do that. The problems of the big banks' scheme is it will


slow growth further in Europe. The bans will respond by saying the


anyway is to lend even less. But, if you shore up the banks? They


won't be attacking these weaker countries. Then the eurozone crisis


does begin to diminish? On the contrary, what they have in mind is


shoring up the banks with more money from taxpayers and from week


sovereigns. For the states that don't have the money to do that.


The danger is the banks will do most of the adjustment by lending


less when we need growth and recovery. Everybody knows the way


out of this is a faster growth rate for the euro and other countries in


the west. This is the opposite of a growth agenda. The government has


been saying the way to growth is to have a strong, functioning eurozone.


You are saying those countries should default. You are talking


about Italy, Greece, Portugal, Spain. How much would that cost?


wasn't saying they should default, but a limited number of countries


should have a planned exit from the euro so they can re-establish their


own currencies. Certainly that should be done for Greece


immediately. So they can have a competitive exchange rate which


allows them to compete with Germany. Default is much more problematic.


The euro scheme members now seem to want a default for Greece. I think


that is hazardous, for losses in the banking system and send a


message that countries can go on spending beyond their means and one


day they can turn around and say to all the investors, bad luck, we


have stolen your money. A thank you for the moment.


What you think, this idea they should be organising their exit,


the weaker currencies, out on the euro, and growth will hopefully


come? Politically in Britain, what this


has provided to the Euro-sceptics, but it clear in the Conservative


Party, is a strong argument it wasn't right in the first place.


Part of that argument was some economies would not behave in a way


necessary for this to continue. Therefore, that argument is very


persuasive. But we don't have much of a say in it? To an extent, this


is Germany and France deciding. The Germans aren't necessarily going to


back beside it even if taxpayers are not keen of throwing their


money at the problem. George Osborne is pushing hard for


the long-term structural changes. But the big business will be at the


EU summit. This week, David Cameron and Chris Grayling have said the


rise in unemployment in the UK it is a direct result of the


continuing economic uncertainty in the eurozone. So this matters to


Britain hugely. What David Cameron once in his to push this through.


How do you understand this being carried out? What is it David


Cameron can expect when we are on the margins of this issue? David


Cameron will be successful and will adopt a proposal. The problem is,


they will do it reluctantly and with all sorts of the tell, not


properly settled. To put so much money into buttressing these


countries that have borrowed too much and these weak banks, the


markets will give up and say, you can get yourself through. What they


have got to do is to solve the underlying problem, to tackle the


excess deficits in the sovereign countries. But this will give them


time, won't it? To look at those structural problems in those


countries. The question is, how much more time do they need? We


have been telling them intensively over the last year and they have


wasted month after month and not done what was needed. In the case


of Greece, where they start to do what looks but the rump -- the


right things, they create a vicious circle spiralling downwards because


the country cannot compete. What employers are you having on the


leadership? They are not doing what you want them to do? We are having


influence on the leadership, we have been saying consistently we


must not put more British money at risk. And they have agreed to that.


We are saying we need to give hard advice to them, if they wish to


maintain their currency, then of course they have to take tough


decisions and get German discipline into the budgets of all the Latin


countries. That is democratically very difficult. They had better get


on and do it. Euro-sceptics, apart from agreeing British money should


not going, much more they cannot do. I think George Osborne is quite


pragmatic about this. We are not in a situation where we have as much


influence as we might have had. Equally, this is very important for


Britain, it will have a huge impact on jobs and growth at home. They're


not going to do what John Redwood is proposing? I suspect George


Osborne would love privately to go ahead with what John Redwood is


proposing. John makes a good point about the value of currency. What


pressures most economic recoveries is a devaluation, which is what


happened post 1993, and over the last year. That is why British


exports are finally batting hard for Britain. If you pull out of the


euro, countries like Greece will Any way read thank you very much.


It cost 1.50. If you make the front cover you have probably had a bad


week. It is fifty years old. What I am a reader and a fan. I think I


first sort of discovered it over the Dear Bill letter which were


very funny when Margaret Thatcher was doing the job I do now. There


were front covers I have seen and thought "My God, how could they?"


the main thing is it is funny. If you can't laugh at yourself you


shouldn't do this job. particularly like this cover here


you have the Queen saying what is obviously is a mass murderer and


the Queen is saying "How very interesting." I used to read it as


a teenager, and it was no question, it is a really important thorn in


the side of politician, and that from dition of great investigative


journalism. Humorous journalism. Journalism that pokes fun at


politicians is part of a free society. That is one of my


favourite clover covers. Crow can see why. It hits it on the head.


You can't help laughing. Some weeks are better than others but every


week especially in my trade you are very glad you have read it. I am


particularly proud of the sketch they did of my committee when we


took evidence from Max Mosley, talking about the revelations of


what he had been doing, where I was referred to as Sir John


Whippingdale. This is vintage Private Eye. I laughed out loud at


the front cover of Private Eye after our disastrous local election


results this May. I am not sure if of Hilary clip on the and Obama


looking at the televised thing of the attack on the Bin Laden


compound and a bubble say ing "Those poor Liberal Democrats." I


saw it in my local news agent. I did stick this one up on the pin


board, I just thought, that kind of double joke of popularity of down


on the Abbey and the situation. What is good about Private Eye is


the memory that can go back through Margaret Thatcher makes these kind


of references or cross references you wouldn't necessarily think of


yourself. I people I am amazed it is 50679 I think I have probably


been reading it for 40 years which makes me a real saddo P Saddo. Such


fond memories there of Private Eye. We have a Private Eye cover girl


with us, Edwina Currie is in Manchester. Edwina Currie, we have


been hearing memories from politicians and journalist, do you


like or loathe it? Oh, I love Private Eye. I think we should be


very proud we have this. As a British institution. I have been on


the front cover four times. Lucky you! My favourite was when I


resigned from Government over eggs, and they had a cover of me, holding


a tray of eggs that had been taken previously somewhere else, with the


egg bubble saying "I'm off. And me saying so am I." I couldn't put it


better myself. How does it feel when you find yourself on the front


cover, albeit four times? Well, you kind of know in that week that you


are going to be on the front cover of Private Eye. You have been in


the new, you know, Oliver Letwin or Dr Fox or whoever, they will be on


the front coverment you know this is going to happen. You hope they


are not too cruel. You know they will be cruel and accurate, very


accurate. That is the essence of Private Eye. They tell the truth,


when politicians try to hide it and cover it up. Yes, so the sting is


there. Why do you think it survived so long, until 50 in fact? I think


it survived so long because a large number of people believe in our


democracy and freedoms, and much of that depends on susing out the


truth, the essence of stories that are going on behind the scenes they


have 300,000 subscribing peep, and that is enough for them to be


independent, they take hardly any advertising bg they are not


involved in the commercial world, they can be independent and that is


the essence of their strength. don't suppose you expect to be back


in after your exit from Strictly Come Dancing. I would be delighted.


I would have a fifth cover. Tell us what was it like in Strictly Come


Dancing? Well, Strictly is a world of its own. It's a complete fantasy.


Like politics at the time. You are hoping for the vote. You pretend


yourself as well as you can, you try to hide the mid riff and you


hope you put your feet in the right place. Usually you are not.


thought it was unfair they got rid of you so early on. Going back


briefly to the Private Eye are there any columns or characters you


like and loved?. These days I tend to look at the local Government


ones very carefully, because a lot of money is going to local


Government and you find to your surprise, actually the Fire Service


don't own their fire trucks and they are beholden to somebody else


or in the NHS there is a reason why this particular hospital is in


trouble that a lot of money is going into something they shouldn't


be spending money on. It is only Private Eye and their reams and


reams of informers, inside informers that get that information


out. And they are usually right. Stay us with -- stay with us a bit.


Anushka Asthana you been in Private Eye? Greatest moment of my career


unfortunately not the front-page, but you know you have made it.


was it? Was it Hugh Grant. When Slovakia was joining the EU. Had


been sent to find out about people coming over here, and, in my


travels hadn't found many people coming so I had written up my piece,


got on the plane, and back in the office in London, they had taken


some copy from the wiefrs somebody coming into Heathrow and it said,


one of the people trickling into Heathrow was such and such with the


quote, and I had got in under fancy that because the Sunday people had


the same quote as one of the people flooding in. There you go. You made


it. Have you Paul? I haven't. Someone who works in new media how


wonderful it is that Private Eye is an inI can institution, it is only


print based. The internet site is none existent. There is a story


that somebody once saw a computer and went in and unplugged it from


the wall, because they don't like to be on line. I can see why and it


works for them. It is a fantastic investigative vehicle, no problem.


Particularly what we are learning about it it would be nice if


Leveson took evidence from Mr Hislop. I am sure. It would add


sauce to goose. Does Private Eye have any good competitors these


days? No, they are a bunch of overgrown public schoolboys with


wits and brains and energy and they don't give a toss what anybody


thinks there is no competitor. Private Eye rules maybe for another


50 years, thank you for joining us. Ryan Giggs and Wayne Rooney have


made the headlines this week, a couple from Wisbech won over �100


million in the Lottery and millions of black Bri users got angry. So


let us look back at the week. The story shows no sign of fizzling out


but Defence Secretary Liam Fox has survived a full question of


questions over the role of his self-styled adviser Adam Werritty.


An inquiry is under way and Dr Fox claims it is business as usual.


am continuing to do what is needed, is that the Defence Secretary


focuses on defence issues. government's watered-down bill for


reforming the NHS is dividing opinion, but survived an attempt to


derail it in the House of Lords. Ed Miliband's been showing off the new


look Shadow Cabinet. But is it a case of, as Private Eye might put


it, who they? Unemployment has hit%, the highest rate for 17 years.


David Cameron says he won't switch to Plan B but promises action.


accept we have to do more, to get our economy moving, to get jobs for


our people. It is a case of half strike for Hetton-le-Hole -- Oliver


Letwin. Not only does he fail to recycle official documents he has


been filing them in bins in a London park. Well, time to talk


about Liam Fox I think. He has survived another week, are you


surprised or not? I am surprised that the Prime Minister has allowed


himself so much rope with which to hang Oliver Letwin. Oliver Letwin


or Liam Fox. Sorry Liam Fox. They are keeping the fox inquiry as


enough as possible. Saying all unanswered questions will be


answered. That is ominous for him. There are lots of unanswered


questions. We seem to have heard this week, or certainly suggestion


there was a sort of parallel Foreign Office policy being driven


or funded certainly by sympathisers of Liam Fox who bank rolled Adam


Werritty. I mean, how has that gone down? I think it looks terrible. We


always say does something pass the smell test, clearly this does


notment the reason he is surviving so far is we are not quite there,


in terms of the fact perhaps that will make him go. But I am


surprised he has lasted this long, because there has been a clear


problem with his judgment over this. I... Is one of the issues though


his position in the party? I mean the 1922 committee of backbenches


have invited him to speak to show they are supporting him. It might


be dangerous politically, to get rid of him. There is no question


that is a fact for the Prime Minister and this isn't just about


an interpretation of the Ministerial Code. There is a wider


issue about his judgment which the Prime Minister will want to hone in


on. Did he make a serious misjudgment in not informing civil


servants about his close contacts to Adam Werritty and if he knew at


all about where it Werritty's financial links, that is difficult.


Having said that the Prime Minister is trying to be fair throughout the


process, he is trying to set a pattern where he does not sack


people, and he gives them the benefit of the doubt and goes


through due process. That is interesting. It's a different


approach from previous Governments you have to say, but it has its own


danger which is the perception of a lack of grip. That is something he


won't want to... That is the question that is beginning to be


raised because David Cameron said something to try and allude to


strong leadership as if it is coming into question. I think he


looks indecisive as a result of it. That said, there have been a number


of scandals involving Liberal Democrat councillors and they


haven't gone. The problem David Cameron has got is the right of his


party don't want to see a different rule for their man. The other side


of this though is if Liam Fox survives is he in a weak position


and perhaps not the figure from the right of the party they want to


have in their cabinet any more? Liberal Democrat point is a good


one isn't it. Look at Vince Cable. One might have argued his comments


over Murdoch were enough potentially for action to have been


taken and you have to be seen as even handled. He wasn't even


reshuffled. I think what is important that the newspapers,


every day are doing a better job and investigating Liam Fox han the


Cabinet office, and that is really significant, given in the post


hacking era that we live in, the newspapers are supposed to be the


ones that that are weak and yet when it came to Vince Cable and


Liam Fox, it is newspaper nas are driving this and Number Ten knows


that. That is all from us this week. Good luck Wales tomorrow, I will be


back on Monday for more daily politic, in the meantime I leave


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