07/11/2011 Daily Politics


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Afternoon, folks, welcome to the Daily Politics.


There have been no major headaches at the Home Office since Theresa


May took charge, but is she about to face her first tough test? The


Home Secretary is due to make a statement to the Commons later


following reports that staff at the UK Border Agency secretly relaxed


identity checks on people arriving in the country this summer.


Greece gets a new government of national unity. Its first task will


be to ratify the new European financial rescue package. We'll be


asking will it be enough to avert a eurozone crisis?


Now here's a questions for you - has the market slipped its moral


moorings? We hope to give you an answer.


And handbags at dawn as the parties All that in the next half hour and


with me for the whole programme today is academic, writer,


broadcaster, Germaine Greer, and the former editor of the Sun,


Kelvin Mackenzie. First this morning, let's turn our


attention to the eurozone and Greece because politicians are


meeting to appoint a new prime minister after parties agreed to


form a unity government. The new coalition will need to approve the


EU bail out package proposed by European leaders to rescue Greece


from its debt crisis. Let's say we get this unity government and they


agree the bail out package, are you reassured the eurozone crisis will


be sorted? I don't think there's enough money to sort out Greece,


let alone Italy. If the reports are true, the government may have to


write a cheque for 40 billion. Danny Alexander says that is


drawing their liabilities. If this government wants to become the most


disliked government I can ever remember, right that cheque for 40


billion without going through the Commons to seek permission and that


will be the end of Cameron, the end of the coalition, the people will


never forgive them, I promise you that. Apart from that apocalyptic


view, returning to Greece and Italy, that possibly is a bigger problem.


Now the discussions are about eurozone breaking up, is that


likely? There are various aspects that never get touched on. One is,


I think Greece has a fairly big black economy. It also has people


unwilling to pay taxes. They say they have a relaxed view to paying


taxes. That puts them in direct conflict with the EU, which has


done its best to cut down on the black economy. The interesting


thing about that is that Italy has an even bigger black economy. It is


a safe bet that given the present situation, people are resorting to


it more and more. You can't even barter under EU regulations. It is


illegal. The problem is they are saying even if the eurozone breaks


up, that is the problem, structural problems within these countries


will persist. Joining me now is the economist


Marie Diron from Ernst And Young. What is your prediction as this


crisis unfolds? We think the most likely scenario is the eurozone


will stay in its current shape because a break-up would lead to a


chain of negative of its -- affects. That is why we think that despite


difficult negotiations within Greece, Italy and the eurozone as a


whole, policy makers will do their utmost to keep the eurozone in its


current form. You say that is the least bad scenario, the worst


scenario is the eurozone breaking up, but the G20 were just talking


about the break-up of the eurozone. They economists say a break-up of


the euro would not be a catastrophe. It is a possibility that we can't


exclude and that is why we have carried out analysis. We think it


would be a very negative scenario. The channels through which the


economy would be damaged would be via increased uncertainty in


financial markets, share prices would plunge, trade would collapse.


Maybe similar to what we saw in 2008 and 2009. That is why this


crisis would transmit to a global crisis. As we are looking at


uncertainty in Greece and the problem of Italy trying to service


its debt, which is growing daily, and they will probably also have to


be bailed out, is that any better than what you have just described?


It is a costly crisis to solve. There have been problems developing


in the eurozone due to inappropriate structures throughout


the last decade. Now it will be a very costly and protracted crisis


to resolve, but the alternative is even more costly. We think it is in


the interests of everyone to preserve the eurozone in its


current state and to take this crisis as an opportunity to reform


and to implement changes in these economies that have not been


carried out for the last 10 years. Thank you. On that basis we have to


stick a long the current half, do you agree with that? I don't. The


issue there is why should I give a damn about Greece? Even Sarkozy


said Greece should never have been allowed into the eurozone and the


only reason they got in was because they got Goldman Sachs to write a


cricket book about their accounts. I would send some of the bill to


Goldman Sachs and say to Greece, it is in your nature, you don't want


to pay tax, I don't want to pay tax, but the bottom line is, why are we


always going to write the cheque? It hasn't worked for us. Sarkozy


said we are not -- an island nation. Germany and France, it is just a


line in the sand. It is time we faced up to the fact we don't 1


euros. You are grimacing. Well, Britain doesn't want the euro, but


the other country that didn't on the roof is Switzerland. Has there


been a run on the Swiss currency? You can bet your bottom dollar that


money is moving now fast, including money from the oil-rich Arab states,


money from China. I want to know where the money is going. Once you


tell me that, I think I know what to do next. Countries within the


eurozone, the government argueds we are not paying for this, even if we


are contributing to the IMF. In that sense we are still outside the


zone and so we are away from it. What about if the eurozone does


break-up? If we have the drachma come back to Greece. Let's say


Italy becomes a problem, that will affect us. It will do. These are


issues for each individual country. People say if it collapses, so does


a whole of the European project. That is what she's saying. She is


an Economist, what do they know? You quoted another collection of


economists who say the opposite. My sense is we are quite capable of


growing our own canoe. We can't control each individual Prime


Minister. They all make promises and they all want to retain their


individual country's standards of living. It is not possible. I have


enough debts of my own, I don't want any Greek or Italian debt.


will have to stop you there, we will talk about your debts later!


Now it's time for our daily quiz and today it has an ethical


dimension. That's because a report on the morality of City workers is


being released right now. It's been written by the former banker, Ken


Costa, who was appointed by the Bishop of London. But what does Mr


Costa, a committed Christian, think is the best system to create growth


At the end of the show we'll give you the correct answer. On that


very note, about capitalism, Ed Miliband says the protest at St


Paul's reflects the feelings of millions that the Community and the


country are not working for them. - - the economy. Is he right?


would be difficult to know how many people think it because it is not a


very big demonstration. It is not exactly shaking the foundations of


the state. It is kind of a stalemate. However, those of us who


don't understand money, most of us, have been bewildered about how


money was expected to grow money. And about the use of leverage, for


example. We saw banking depart from its own basic principles, but


banking didn't pick up the tab, ordinary people, pension funds


picked up the tab. People are very bitter about this. Some people


think charging interest is itself immoral. If you think of the


Islamic approach to the lending of money. Banking was invented by a


group of people who have been blamed for just about everything


that has gone wrong in the last couple of millennia. Banking has


got itself to a stage where it is less useful vanities noxious and


that has to be fixed. It has tapped into the consciousness of a lot of


people. Maybe there are not many people there, but people are


worried and they think capitalism is to some extent a bit of an evil.


Well, yes, I didn't hear any of these complaints between 1994 and


2007 when everybody was going on 7,000 holidays and living in


massive houses. It goes like this, the economy. We have good times and


bad times. Thanks to e-mail and Twitter, nobody is prepared to


accept the bad times. Banks over Lent, but people over-borrowed. It


is about people wanting what they think is free money. When it came


to paying it back, they couldn't. Should politicians regulate more?


Kelvin does have a point, people don't want to be told what to do


with their money. Should governments and politicians say we


are going to meet you and banks be better regulated so we don't have


what is happening now happen again? We have been told the problem


wasn't a lack of regulation in the banking industry. The banking


industry was over-regulated. The banking industry has its own


principles and it has to admit it departed from them. One of the


things Ken Costa has raised is that maximising profit should be the


only issue for shareholders, do you agree? So many people have been


forced to contribute to fault of those people. They did


what they were told. They were told to save and now they're being


punished. That is part of where the anger comes from. But it affects


older people and older people tend to be patient in these


circumstances. Coming back to your point about people not accepting


the bad times, do you think things will change? It will come and go


and politicians, there's nothing they can really do? To start with


politicians are not in charge of anything and they don't have the


brains. There's many more brains in the City working on Monday and many


more brains in manufacturing and the world I know, small-time


entrepreneurs. They are clever people. But they have winners and


losers. Politicians should stop saying we are going to increase


your standard of living, that will not happen. Every morning they


should get up and say how can we cut spending at the centre so we


can leave more money for ordinary people to spend it in a manner they


want. Leave me alone. We will leave you alone but only for a moment!


Spare a thought for the Home Secretary. When the Home Office is


in the news, it's almost never going to be good, and so it is with


Theresa May and a brewing scandal surrounding the UK Border Agency.


The problems began at the beginning of the summer when, in an attempt


to bring down the queues, UK Border Officials were told they didn't


have to check the biometric chips have to check the biometric chips


of passports of European citizens. There have been reports in the


press that this order came from the Immigration Minister Damian Green


and he was backed by the Home Secretary Theresa May. It's now


been alleged, however, that there was an instruction to staff to do


the same for people coming in from outside the EU, leading to fears


that criminals could have entered the country. The Public and


Commercial Services Union has claimed the controls were relaxed


to compensate for staffing cuts. So far three senior officials,


including Brodie Clarke, who's the head of the UK Border Force, have


been suspended and Theresa May is said to have reacted to allegations


with "incredulity and fury". The Home Secretary will make a


statement in the Commons this afternoon where she'll face


questions over who knew what at the Home Office and whether anyone who


posed a threat to the UK came into the country. Yvette Cooper, who's


the Shadow Home Secretary, has called on the Home Office to launch


a wide ranging independent inquiry and has said all documents and


correspondence relating to the correspondence relating to the


passport checks be published. I'm joined now by the Conservative MP


Mark Reckless, who sits on the Home Affairs Select Committee, and the


Shadow Home Office Minister Chris Bryant. Are you surprised and


worried that there was top level agreement to relax controls on EU


citizens? I'm a little surprised it wasn't reported to Parliament, but


I think the relaxation for non- EU people is much more serious. With


the EU, there's little we can do, even if we apprehend people, but


non-EU, the situation there was relaxation is very serious and the


suggestion ministers were not aware is even more serious. How clear was


the message given to UK Borders Agency staff? If they were saying


relax the restrictions on EU nationals, we've got to cut down


those queues, do you know exactly what was said to the staff? It


I am looking forward to finding out more this afternoon but I would be


very surprised if ministers had authorised this for non-EU people.


In my dealings with the Home Office, it seems there was a culture of


impunity at the top of the Civil Service. The previous head of


British Airways was not fit for purpose but she was promoted, and I


think there should be parliamentary confirmation hearings for all


senior civil servants to root out the problems. Do you accept there


was a lot of political pressure? Over the last six months there were


endless statements by politicians saying we have to encourage economy


and boost tourism, cut down the queues and that means general


relaxation. But we have with the biometrics, we have serious


advances in technology. If you compare the numbers to other


agencies overseas doing this work, or what it would take in the


private sector, I think it is a serious problem with management at


the top and ministers need to sort that out directly. Nothing to do


with the cuts? I think we need to get some details are out. We need


to know exactly what was signed off by it either Damian Green or


Theresa May this summer because there have been different versions


about whether it was EU or non-EU citizens. I think it is dangerous


to say we will waive all the non-EU citizens the room. You can't do the


proper risk assessment in terms of potential criminals and terrorists


coming into the country. Do you expect every passenger coming into


the UK to be seen by an immigration officer? I would be -- I would


prefer the biometric cheque to be done. But if you expect every


passenger to be checked, we have already got statements here from


the Immigration Service Union saying that is supposed to happen


but there aren't enough staff to cover certain planes or freight


traffic. I don't think it is a question of staff will stop that is


what they are saying. Clearly the union will stand up for its members,


but what I have seen of the UK BAe is that it is still not fit for


purpose. If ministers decide EU citizens can be waved through, and


secondly may well indeed have said that none the you citizens should


be waved through, I want to know why has Theresa May not been out


there explaining what will be happening? She will be making a


statement this afternoon. She could have already published this


information. If government doesn't give enough resources to UK British


Airways to make sure there is enough staff are there to be able


to pass every passport over the machines, then you are bound to


have these problems. One of the biggest concerns for the public is


even if it was only for EU citizens, we don't know who has come into the


country over those some warmth. That reflects free movement of


people within the EU. We should have border controls properly


enforced against all countries. This is precisely so we can take


action against criminals or terrorists. I am confused, I have


always gone straight through. I could be the Great Train robber, in


fact some people think I am. I get sailed through so I don't see what


the issue is. May I observed as a non- EU passport holder who doesn't


hold a British passport either, that I have never waved through. I


have to queue, so it is news to me there has been any attempt to


shorten the queues. Sometimes we have a UK residents queue, which is


amazing, otherwise we are waiting for hours. We also have to fill out


a landing card, what do they do with them? I suppose there will


reach is you definitely are checked when you are going through, we are


yet to establish what the order was in terms of non e u but it comes


back to this question about non-EU citizens. If people were waved


through, we can't know who was coming into the country. I have


gone through biometric and the old fashioned method. Bizarrely, the


old-fashioned method is faster than the single laying biometrics. I am


puzzled us to who has been affected. I don't know any non-EU citizens, I


don't hang around with them. Yes, you do! He was it who has been


damaged in this manner? If Damian Green has given the go-ahead to non


e us to sail through passport control, that would be utterly


wrong. -- to none at the you citizens. At the queues are


dreadful - what is the problem? need to make sure the UK Border


Agency has enough resources to make sure there are not long queues and


that they don't have to cut corners in order to cut queues. I think


that means this applies to both types of citizens, biometric


passport should be passed over. will be hearing from Theresa May


this afternoon. Thank you. If you hate it, you call it


positive discrimination. If you love it, it's positive action. But


no matter what it's called, all the main parties are trying to do


something to increase the number of women in their ranks. That's


because polling shows that women are more likely to be undecided


about who to vote for compared to Meet the wife of the great


grandfather of the stepfather of the wife of David Cameron, Nancy


Astor, more relevantly in 1919 she became the first woman ever to take


a seat in the Commons. By 1931, there were more, but these days


Britain is not exactly a leading the world with the number of women


in Parliament. Westminster is 22% female, behind Pakistan's


parliament, 22.2% female. Photo opportunities have not moved on


since their days, but Labour has been responsible for a big increase


in the visibility of women at Westminster. Thanks to all-women


short lists for candidates, the front bench has been recently


refreshed with lots of women on it. Labour's deputy leader has been


holding hand back only all-female meetings at the Shadow Cabinet.


idea that she is running some sort of parallel shadow cabinet within


the party, I don't think that is what she is trying to do. She is


creating a space where, as women in the parliamentary party, we can


come together and talk about issues from our particular perspective.


Amen allowed to come along? Some of them are women only, girls want to


get together for a cup of tea sometimes. The issue for David


Cameron is that his popularity amongst Women is falling, according


to internal party polling, hence why a lady MP was never far from


his side at the conference. Years ago he made a pledge that a third


of his first government would be female, then raging some of his MPs.


I ask for female MPs and they say I don't want to be there as


Parliament quota, I want to be there on my ability. I feel enraged


that a third of the Cabinet has to be women because of a quota. It is


nonsense, doesn't bear a resemblance what is right for the


country. Nick Clegg has the teacher -- the T-shirt, but very few female


MPs. He is signing up people to be super candidates for the next


election. The career of Westminster's first lady didn't end


to well, and the party leader who fails to keep in tune with what


women want could suffer the same fate.


Germaine Greer, David Cameron has a women's problem, according to


internal polling. What can he do about it? The problem it is his


party, Parliament itself. You remember when he made the blunder


calling no been frustrated. His problem was the immediate go for,


it wasn't even a double entendre, it was a 1 1/2 entendre, and they


went berserk. Asexual lies that particular member of Parliament


because she is blonde. She is in her 50s with grown-up children, she


was accused of a one-night stand, and that is his problem. Parliament


is a profoundly unpleasant experience for many of the women


who enter it. They have stood down and stood down. If you look at the


original Blair's Babes in take, many of them walked away. They


couldn't learn the ropes because nobody would teach them and they


didn't understand the system of patronage, horse-trading, making


alliances. What do you do - change what happens first. You need to


attract more women, but you're saying you need to change the


manner in which Parliament is run. The women I know are cleverer than


the men. Women MPs? Women MPs as well. The women I know are clever,


ballsy and pushy. The problem seems to me that when they get defeated


at the moment, when they get defeated, they don't get preferment,


something doesn't happen, they begin to think about whether this


is for them. I just wonder whether they have got to be as tough and


clever as they are away from the house inside the house. I have no


doubt, looking out the current intake of Conservative women MPs


that I know, that they will be the leaders of tomorrow. Is that


because they are younger and this is a new generation? Blair's Babes


was part of the political class that existed at that time. Do you


think they will stay the course? One of the problems of being


younger is you will be treated and used as a junior. You will be


dragooned into supporting policies you are only partly in favour of.


The important thing is who write the agenda, and the women don't get


to write the agenda because that is to do with patronage. Hold on a


second, what about Margaret Thatcher? She wrote an agenda that


has gone around the world 30 times. It is not a question of intellect,


long-term ambition - are they prepared to take a punch on the


nose? If so, they are fantastic. is tougher than that. Margaret


Thatcher is an example. Tony Blair leaves politics and is now a


billionaire. What does Margaret do? She went lecturing in the United


States. She didn't get any of the lucrative board positions offered


to politicians leaving power. She was outside the loop. She wasn't


able to exploit the connections everybody else does. She played the


politics game absolutely on face value. She was never part of the


inner circle. Just before we go, we have got to find the answer to our


quiz. Ken Costa has been asked by the Bishop of London to look at how


a form of ethical capitalism could work. But what does Mr Costa - a


Christan and an investment banker - think is the best system to create


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