07/11/2011 Daily Politics


07/11/2011

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LineFromTo

Afternoon, folks, welcome to the Daily Politics.

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

:00:25.:00:28.

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

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

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following reports that staff at the UK Border Agency secretly relaxed

:00:34.:00:40.

identity checks on people arriving in the country this summer.

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

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

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asking will it be enough to avert a eurozone crisis?

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

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moorings? We hope to give you an answer.

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:01:13.:01:14.

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

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

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

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

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attention to the eurozone and Greece because politicians are

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meeting to appoint a new prime minister after parties agreed to

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

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EU bail out package proposed by European leaders to rescue Greece

:01:38.:01:48.
:01:48.:01:50.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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billion without going through the Commons to seek permission and that

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

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

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

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Now the discussions are about eurozone breaking up, is that

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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will persist. Joining me now is the economist

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

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

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

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

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difficult negotiations within Greece, Italy and the eurozone as a

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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economy would be damaged would be via increased uncertainty in

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

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

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

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uncertainty in Greece and the problem of Italy trying to service

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

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

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

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in the eurozone due to inappropriate structures throughout

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

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

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the interests of everyone to preserve the eurozone in its

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

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and to implement changes in these economies that have not been

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

:09:27.:09:32.

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

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

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

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

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

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group of people who have been blamed for just about everything

:09:54.:09:58.

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

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

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

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

:10:17.:10:22.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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with their money. Should governments and politicians say we

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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forced to contribute to fault of those people. They did

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

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

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older people and older people tend to be patient in these

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circumstances. Coming back to your point about people not accepting

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

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

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

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

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

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

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losers. Politicians should stop saying we are going to increase

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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press that this order came from the Immigration Minister Damian Green

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

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

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

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that criminals could have entered the country. The Public and

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Commercial Services Union has claimed the controls were relaxed

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

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

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

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

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statement in the Commons this afternoon where she'll face

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

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

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

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a wide ranging independent inquiry and has said all documents and

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correspondence relating to the correspondence relating to the

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

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

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Shadow Home Office Minister Chris Bryant. Are you surprised and

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

:15:07.:15:17.
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I am looking forward to finding out more this afternoon but I would be

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

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

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

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:15:43.:15:46.

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

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think there should be parliamentary confirmation hearings for all

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

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

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endless statements by politicians saying we have to encourage economy

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

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

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advances in technology. If you compare the numbers to other

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

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

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

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

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

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Theresa May this summer because there have been different versions

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

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

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proper risk assessment in terms of potential criminals and terrorists

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

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

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

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

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the Immigration Service Union saying that is supposed to happen

:17:30.:17:34.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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statement this afternoon. She could have already published this

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

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

:18:24.:18:29.

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

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

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

:18:39.:18:43.

country over those some warmth. That reflects free movement of

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people within the EU. We should have border controls properly

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

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

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

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

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

:19:22.:19:27.

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

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

:19:33.:19:40.

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

:19:40.:19:44.

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

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

:19:52.:19:57.

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

:19:57.:20:01.

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

:20:01.:20:07.

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

:20:07.:20:10.

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

:20:10.:20:16.

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

:20:16.:20:23.

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

:20:23.:20:30.

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

:20:30.:20:37.

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

:20:37.:20:43.

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

:20:43.:20:48.

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

:20:48.:20:54.

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

:20:54.:21:00.

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

:21:00.:21:04.

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

:21:04.:21:08.

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

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that means this applies to both types of citizens, biometric

:21:18.:21:24.

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

:21:24.:21:29.

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

:21:29.:21:32.

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

:21:32.:21:35.

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

:21:35.:21:38.

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

:21:38.:21:40.

because polling shows that women are more likely to be undecided

:21:40.:21:50.
:21:50.:21:55.

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

:21:55.:21:58.

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

:21:58.:22:03.

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

:22:03.:22:09.

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

:22:09.:22:12.

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

:22:12.:22:21.

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

:22:21.:22:31.
:22:31.:22:35.

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

:22:35.:22:39.

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

:22:39.:22:43.

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

:22:43.:22:48.

short lists for candidates, the front bench has been recently

:22:48.:22:53.

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

:22:53.:22:58.

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

:22:58.:23:02.

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

:23:02.:23:07.

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

:23:07.:23:12.

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

:23:12.:23:17.

come together and talk about issues from our particular perspective.

:23:17.:23:23.

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

:23:23.:23:28.

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

:23:28.:23:32.

Cameron is that his popularity amongst Women is falling, according

:23:32.:23:36.

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

:23:36.:23:41.

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

:23:41.:23:45.

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

:23:45.:23:50.

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

:23:50.:23:55.

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

:23:55.:24:00.

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

:24:01.:24:03.

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

:24:03.:24:13.

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

:24:13.:24:18.

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

:24:18.:24:23.

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

:24:23.:24:27.

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

:24:27.:24:33.

women want could suffer the same fate.

:24:33.:24:38.

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

:24:38.:24:43.

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

:24:43.:24:53.
:24:53.:24:55.

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

:24:55.:25:02.

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

:25:02.:25:08.

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

:25:08.:25:13.

went berserk. Asexual lies that particular member of Parliament

:25:13.:25:17.

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

:25:17.:25:23.

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

:25:23.:25:27.

is a profoundly unpleasant experience for many of the women

:25:27.:25:34.

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

:25:34.:25:39.

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

:25:39.:25:43.

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

:25:43.:25:47.

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

:25:47.:25:56.

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

:25:56.:25:59.

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

:25:59.:26:05.

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

:26:05.:26:15.
:26:15.:26:22.

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

:26:22.:26:29.

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

:26:29.:26:33.

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

:26:33.:26:37.

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

:26:37.:26:43.

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

:26:43.:26:47.

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

:26:47.:26:52.

doubt, looking out the current intake of Conservative women MPs

:26:52.:26:58.

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

:26:58.:27:03.

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

:27:03.:27:09.

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

:27:09.:27:13.

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

:27:14.:27:17.

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

:27:17.:27:22.

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

:27:22.:27:27.

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

:27:27.:27:32.

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

:27:32.:27:36.

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

:27:36.:27:44.

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

:27:44.:27:48.

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

:27:48.:27:54.

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

:27:54.:27:59.

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

:27:59.:28:04.

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

:28:04.:28:08.

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

:28:08.:28:15.

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

:28:15.:28:18.

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

:28:18.:28:25.

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

:28:25.:28:35.

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

:28:35.:28:44.

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

:28:44.:28:47.

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

:28:47.:28:51.

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

:28:51.:28:56.

Good morning from Westminster.

The Home Secretary is due to make a statement to the Commons following reports that staff at the UK Border Agency secretly relaxed identity checks on people arriving in the country this summer. We will hear from Conservative MP Mark Reckless who sits on the Home Affairs Select Committee and the Shadow Home Office Minister Chris Bryant.

Greece gets a new government of national unity. It's first task will be to ratify the new European financial rescue package. We'll hear from Ernst And Young economist Marie Diron.

And as the parties show off their feminine side. Jo will discuss this with academic, writer, broadcaster Germaine Greer, and the Sun former editor Kelvin Mackenzie.


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