08/11/2011 Daily Politics


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08/11/2011

Andrew Neil and Jo Coburn have the top political stories of the day, including spreading contagion in the eurozone, UK immigration controls, and plans for a high-speed rail link.


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Good afternoon. Welcome to The Daily Politics. The contagion in

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the eurozone continues to spread. Italy's cost of borrowing source to

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record levels. Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi faces losing a

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vote in the Italian parliament this afternoon. We will bring you the

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latest. Back home, is the career of Home

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Secretary, Theresa May, in jeopardy. Jed she told the Commons that

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immigration officials acted without her authority when they lifted

:00:51.:00:56.

controls for non-European nationals. Today she is grilled by the select

:00:56.:00:58.

commity. The Government's ambitious plans

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for a �32 billion high-speed rail link between London and Birmingham

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are dammed with faint praise in a report published today. We will

:01:06.:01:16.
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debate the pros and the cons of these ambitious plans.

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Our Trade Minister, Lord Digby Jones is with us.

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The yield on Italian bonds reach the 6.6% yesterday. Not a good omen.

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The mark of Berlusconi. This yield is the interest they pay on money

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that they borrow, called the yield, it reached today, I think, this

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morning, 6.74%, it is the highest level that these yields have been

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at since Italy joined the euro. Italy has debts of, let me get it

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right, 1.9 trillion euro, almost 2 trillion euros. As a huge economy,

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that dwarfs Greece, and it has more bonds that any country in the world,

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other than America and Japan. That is a lot of dent to service. It is

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thought to be too big for the other eurocountries to bail out if it

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goes pear-shaped. If Italy goes down it could be catastrophic. The

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Chancellor, George Osborne, called on colleagues to be clear about

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their intention at the next big meeting. The eurozone needs to show

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the world it can stand behind its currency. We can't wait upon

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developments in Athens and Rome. We have to make progress here in

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Brussels. If we don't, that will continue to have a very damaging

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effect on the entire European economy, including the British

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economy, and certainly speaking as the British Finance Minister, the

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best possible boost the British economy could have this autumn

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would be a resolution of the eurozone crisis. That was the

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Chancellor, George Osborne, the political situation in Italy is

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also deteriorating. The future of Italian Prime Minister, Silvio

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Berlusconi, looks in doubt, with support ebbing away at home. He

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faces losing a vote in the Italian parliament this afternoon, bringing

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yet more political uncertainty to the eurozone. Let's get the latest

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from our correspondent in Rome. Is it inevitable now that

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Berlusconi will go? Not if you listen to Mr Berlusconi himself.

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He's all over the Italian media this morning, talking about

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fighting on. All weekend he says that he has the number, he has a

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majority, he is going forward, he's not going anywhere. There is

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speculation that there have been just two many defections from his

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side of the House, and that he really maybe in trouble. What we

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will see in the afternoon is a vote on a budget measure, important that

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it goes ahead. The opposition may not try to vote it down, the

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opposition may abstain. We should get a good sense of whether Mr

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Berlusconi is right, whether he really does have the numbers he

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needs to continue to govern Italy. If doesn't, then you might expect a

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confidence motion within days from the opposition, and then it would

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seem possible that Mr Berlusconi would go down to humiliating defeat,

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if he didn't resign beforehand. It is all to be played for in the

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hours ahead. Economically, is it hitting home that actually Italy's

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detects are so big, that the rest of Europe wouldn't be able to bail

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them out any way? I think the analysts, the thinkers, the

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politicians, and many people of that ilk are acutely aware, and

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desperately worried when you speak to any politician about the way

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ahead for Italy at the moment, on the streets people aren't just

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quite as wired into the intricacies of the bond markets. Ordinary

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people on the street feel the economy is seizing up, there are

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fewer opportunities, life is getting harder. If you say to them,

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do you believe this country is on course for something like Greece,

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they tend to think, surely not. This country is rich, just two big

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to be badly managed into that - too big to be badly managed into that

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sort of situation. Digby Jones, I put it to you, getting rid of Mr

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Berlusconi, it may be a necessary condition for moving forward, but

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it is anything but a sufficient condition? Absolutely right. It

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will kick the can down the road. But at the end of the day, the

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western democracies have got to understand that for years we have

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all paid ourselves money we have never earned. And if you stop a guy

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on the street, in Italy or outside St Paul's, they will all blame the

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bankers. This is different to that. The 2008 recession you can blame

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the bankers for that, you could, a lot of other reasons too, this is

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about actually the other way round, the bankers have plugged the gap

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for years, so democratic politicians can say to people, you

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can have lots and lots of prizes and we are not making the money.

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Italy has its private savings profile fine, it is not a prove lig

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gate nation personally, people save, what it is, is they have paid

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themselves money they have never earned as a nation. Only Zimbabwe

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has had a lower growth profile, on an average over ten years, than

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Italy. It has not grown. At home f the income coming in isn't

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sufficient for your credit card, your overdraft and mortgage, you go

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bust. In business, if you are not selling enough, and you have lots

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of debt, you go bust. Countries are no different. What you have is

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Italy's growth over ten years has been very, very poor, their debt,

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their public spending, their pensions, health, education, their

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roads, has been high, gap, plug it with debt. Suddenly, everybody

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around Europe is going, can't afford all this, and there is no

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growth profile to get them out of it. No politician, elected instead

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of Berlusconi will give them an answer other tharpbgs pay your tax,

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because payment of tax is a voluntary event in Italy. So pay

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your tax, and sorry, you can't retire at 55, you will have to pay

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more in all you do, and you will have less. Same in Greece, same in

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France. I have to say, same in Britain. That is your issue.

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problem I suggest in Italy, before Berlusconi, in 50 years Italy had

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49 different prime ministers, that is hardly a recipe for financial

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stability. And they are now talking of putting in, not an elected

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politician, but Mr Monti, a technocrat, a euopean commissioner,

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he will have no democratic legitimacy, there will be

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demonstrations on the street. Isn't it heading at some stage for a

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default? Historically, that is why Italy has said we will join the

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euro in the morning, we don't mind taking rules and regulations from

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Brussels, we don't intend to comply. Why? Deep in their souls, they know

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they don't have prime ministers who have ever led their nation. Having

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a technocrat, I would submit, is going to make no difference, at the

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end of the day they will go on the street and stop it happening.

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Therefore, whether you manage it within the euro, or whether you

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come out of the euro, there will, and I think you are right, there

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will be a form of default. You can't afford it pay the debt back.

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The fundamental problem, given the sums of money we are talking about,

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next year the Italians have 300 billion of their euros of debt

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comes to maturity, they can only pay that back by borrowing another

:08:34.:08:44.
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300 billion. It is a bit like a popbzcy scheme the Italian

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Government - popbz did I scheme the Italian Government, and there is -

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Ponzi scheme the Italian Government, and no nation or group of nations

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can pay them out? No European leader will say, vote for me, I

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will close your libraries, and give the money to Italy. Turkeys don't

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vote for Christmas, that is why there will be a default, because

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there isn't enough money to bail them out. The IMF has been sent to

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Rome to monitor Mr Berlusconi's behaviour, I'm told a few women's

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groups will have to monitor his behaviour too.

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They will take their place in the queue. It is the daily quiz,

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sticking with yuerpbgs the question for today is which basic food stuff

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has the EU announced must have the ingredients listed on the packaging.

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Peanut, eggs, honey or potatoes. At the end of the show, Digby will

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give us the right answer. What is the ingredient of an egg,

:09:49.:09:59.
:09:59.:10:04.

but an egg, how many committees him, it might have been a trick

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question. There is a joke on the Internet at the expense of Theresa

:10:08.:10:15.

May, it is knock, knock. Who's there? Come in.

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Miss May is under fire after it was revealed that border controls were

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waved on non-nationals. Yesterday she revealed they were acting

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without her knowledge, then we extended a scheme that was only

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intended to apply to non-EU passport holders. I didn't given my

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authorisation to any of these decision, indeed, I told officials

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explicitly that the pilot was to go no further than we agreed. As a

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result of these unauthorised actions, we will never know how

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many people entered the country who should have been prevented from

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doing so after being flagged by the warnings index. That was May, in

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just under half an hour, the Home Secretary will face another

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grilling. This time from MPs on the Home Affairs Select Committee. I'm

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joined now by our correspondent. How hard a time will she get?

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would be Home Secretary, first you have to go through that in the

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House of Commons. There was one moment where she simply didn't seem

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sure where her pilot was being applied across the country. You

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look at your diary for the next day and think things can only get

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better, and you see you have the Home Affairs Select Committee with

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Keith Vaz, that will be a joy. No, of course it won't be eezy, the

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opposition are looking at this - easy, the opposition are looking at

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the simple response, it was the officials that done it, I didn't

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know. The obvious response from the opposition is why didn't you know.

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We can accept you were ignorant, how can you be ignorant and

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competent at the same time. To prove it doesn't rain but pour on

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the Home Office tower, the UK borders agency are facing legal

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action from a kpwroup of language schools who said they were wrongly

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included on a list of groups banned from bringing people into the

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country. She will come under political pressure today, I have

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been shown a memo sent by the head of UK BA, last week it was sent, I

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got to see it this morning. It says any relaxation from the rules will

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need his personal authority, his personal authorisation. I can tell

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you this, she is in trouble now for relaxations, if come Christmas time

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we have queues of two, three, four hours time at immigration control,

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she will be in trouble for that. Just briefly, adding to her woe, in

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political terms, how dangerous is it for her? As long as she can

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stick to this line, that actually it wasn't something she knew about,

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that cannot be eroded. Frankly, as long as she puts up a little bit

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more of a tough and convincing performance in the select committee

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than maybe she did at points yesterday. Maybe if she can take a

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more substantive look at the questions and not engage wholly in

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the Labour bashing, which certainly didn't get the hackles up, but the

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confidence of some Labour backbenchers yesterday, she should

:13:08.:13:12.

be fine. She has the Prime Minister's backing. We need more

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fact before we have a dead duck Home Secretary on our hands. There

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will be plenty of people in journalism and the opposition

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trying to find out damaging things. We are joined by Alp Mehmet, a

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former British ambassador, before that an immigration official

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himself. He's now the vice chairman of Migration Watch. Welcome to the

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programme. There seem to be rather big basic contradictions in what

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Theresa May has said, and then what seems to have come out of leaked

:13:37.:13:41.

document from the border agency. She said that this was a pilot

:13:41.:13:48.

scheme, except it applied to every single port and airport, she then

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said that there was strict instruction that is the pilot was

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to go no further in terms of relaxation than European passport

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holders, but the document says that actually senior managers could give

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further measures at local ports and airports, they could go further

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than she actually said. It was done for more risk-based assessments on

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security, but the instruction on the document says it is to prevent

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the excessive queuing to beat the summer traffic. What will people

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make, it is hugely embarrassing? is hugely embarrassing for Theresa

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May, shy will be the first to be the first to acknowledge. That I

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was an immigration officer 30 years ago. Queues at ports is nothing UN

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the pressure to get people through the ports quickly was happening in

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the 1970s and 1980s, that is something always going on. I

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personally would not exaggerate the problem here. Which problem?

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problem of the fact that a lot of people may have got in who didn't

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get in. The fact is, we're not interested in children, we're not

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interested in groups, we are not interested in a lot of people that

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take up time. Now, I'm not suggesting we should do away with

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controls, on the contrary, controls should remain there, if that means

:15:03.:15:07.

people going through the controls more slowly, then so be it. But,

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I'm not sure that this is as much of a problem as is being made out.

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Except, as our correspondent said there, this is about what she knew

:15:16.:15:21.

in her competence, isn't it. It seems to me she didn't know how

:15:21.:15:25.

widespread the pilot was, sheer she herself in the Commons said, I

:15:25.:15:29.

don't know - she herself in the Commons said I don't know how many

:15:29.:15:31.

terrorist suspects and illegal immigrants have entered the public.

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That won't reassure the public? won't. What I'm saying is whatever

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the instructions were, and whatever the civil servants took upon

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themselves to do, common sense should have prevailed. Those, they

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had suspicions about, should not have been allowed to go through it.

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I'm pretty sure that didn't happen, frankly. Really, just based on

:15:54.:15:56.

experience? Based on experience, no immigration official would let

:15:56.:15:59.

people through that they had serious concerns about. Would they

:15:59.:16:01.

be able to tell if they weren't even looking at the passports of

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some of these people? Well, of course you can tell, experience

:16:06.:16:09.

tells you the sort of people that you will be interested in from

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their movements, from the answers that they give. But you are blaming

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staff a little bit like May and border officials and saying it is

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down to them and they should have discretion, and no political

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message was coming through. These leaked documents seem to suggest

:16:24.:16:27.

that there was an instruction from on high, that not only said it

:16:27.:16:33.

should apply to European passport holders, that it shouldn't just be

:16:33.:16:36.

limited, but people should make up their own minds, and they could

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take the measures themselves, if that was a political instruction,

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surely they were carrying them out? What I'm saying is whatever

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instructions went out, the actual controls should not have been

:16:50.:16:53.

compromised, I don't believe it is compromised to the extent it is

:16:53.:16:56.

suggested. In terms of business, we have been told it is drag on

:16:56.:16:59.

business, lots of business people don't like Heathrow, they would

:16:59.:17:04.

like to come through quicker than they do. You can see the competing

:17:04.:17:07.

priorities here, if they were trying to reduce queue the over

:17:07.:17:13.

summer months? I wouldn't put the business issue that high in terms

:17:13.:17:17.

of want ago more efficient Heathrow, any more than a tourist or you and

:17:17.:17:21.

I. With business it is the granting of visas beforehand, it is the all

:17:21.:17:24.

security check that is take ages to get somebody from India into your

:17:24.:17:29.

business in Britain. That's the issue for business. The issue at

:17:29.:17:34.

Heathrow is a much wider issue from letting people in and looking at

:17:34.:17:37.

the passport. The problem with Heathrow is it is not fit for

:17:37.:17:43.

purpose in the 21st century. much danger do you believe she's

:17:43.:17:48.

in? I'm with these two gentlemen. I reckon if nobody points the finger

:17:48.:17:52.

at the fact she knew, and if we see heads roll at the top of the Civil

:17:52.:17:56.

Service, for want of a better word, I think she's fine. I do worry when

:17:56.:17:59.

I heard the words, "she has the complete backing of the Prime

:17:59.:18:06.

Minister", that's like confidence in a football manager. I believe

:18:06.:18:11.

she's doing a good job in many areas, she can't have the causal

:18:11.:18:17.

link. Do civil servants always listen to their ministers? No.

:18:17.:18:23.

I see, so we're all agreed on that! I was the minister and I say no. He

:18:23.:18:28.

have the civil servant and he says yes. Who is telling the truth?

:18:28.:18:32.

remember one civil servant saying to me, you go in and say that, and

:18:32.:18:39.

you're on your own. The Home Office has a pretty terrible reputation,

:18:39.:18:43.

all home secretaries fear what is going on. Going back to the UK

:18:43.:18:47.

Border Agency, they have been pill lorryed and knocked about over the

:18:47.:18:51.

last few years, we ought to look at what is happened to them under the

:18:51.:18:56.

previous administration, mostly that does take and need a close

:18:56.:18:59.

look. Will it make it more difficult for cuts to be carried

:18:59.:19:06.

out at the border agencies? Definitely. I wish politicians

:19:06.:19:10.

would talk about cuts meaning fewer people. They don't mean work hard

:19:10.:19:15.

with fewer people, they mean work more cleverly. Use your existing or

:19:15.:19:18.

less resource, think about how you use it and work for cleverly. Don't

:19:18.:19:23.

just cut money, that means fewer people, but we're going to try to

:19:23.:19:25.

do the same thing in the same way. The result is what you have seen

:19:25.:19:29.

today. I vouch that was what he was telling us when he was a minister.

:19:29.:19:35.

I used to constantly say, work more cleverly. Don't just try to put

:19:35.:19:40.

people there. That will be the mantra.

:19:40.:19:44.

Try getting through JFK without an American passport!

:19:44.:19:47.

To some it is a white elephant which will spoil the countryside

:19:47.:19:51.

and eat up tax-payers' money, to others it is the green alternative

:19:51.:19:57.

to air travel, which will cat plult our antiquated public transport

:19:57.:20:02.

system into the 21st century and provide an economic bust. It will

:20:02.:20:08.

still eat up a lot of tax-payers' money. This morning plans for a new

:20:08.:20:12.

high-speed network between London and Birmingham, have won the

:20:12.:20:16.

lukewarm support of the transport committee. Tell us more.

:20:16.:20:19.

All aboard, because the Transport Select Committee says there is a

:20:19.:20:25.

good case for the line known as HS2, the �32 billion scheme, which will

:20:26.:20:31.

link London and the Midlands on a new network, with speeds of up to

:20:31.:20:34.

250 miles an hour, with plans to extend it to the north. The group

:20:34.:20:39.

of MPs said it is obvious the economic impacts of high-speed rail

:20:39.:20:43.

can vary and are not easily predicted, and HS2 could be the

:20:43.:20:47.

catalyst for these benefits. They accepted the proposed route is

:20:47.:20:52.

likely to have substantial impacts on those living along it, and it is

:20:52.:20:56.

unfortunate, it crosses the Chilterns, the Tory heartland and

:20:56.:20:59.

an area of outstanding national beauty. There could be adverse

:20:59.:21:02.

consequences for local communities. It is very necessary to consider

:21:03.:21:10.

those as well. It is wrong to cast gate as nimbus people who are

:21:10.:21:17.

simply expressing legitimate concerns about their local areas.

:21:17.:21:21.

The committee says the Government should commit to extending it to

:21:21.:21:25.

Leeds and Manchester before firmly committing the route. And building

:21:25.:21:32.

a network between north to south should be a priority.

:21:32.:21:37.

I'm joined by Andrea Leadsom, her constituently will be affected by

:21:37.:21:42.

the proposed route. Welcome. This is a pretty milk and water

:21:42.:21:48.

endorsement from these MPs. Yes. And I think rightly too. Where I am

:21:48.:21:52.

on this is that I think it is an excellent thing to have it built. I

:21:52.:21:55.

think it should be committed to leads and Manchester and glass go,

:21:55.:22:05.

and go to the country, and go to parliamently people on the plan.

:22:05.:22:09.

Make sure people will understand you will cut out slots at airports

:22:09.:22:12.

and cut out air pollution and grow economies on the route. Three big

:22:12.:22:19.

problems, it is not cost, firstly, let no-one in Birmingham think this

:22:19.:22:23.

will really bust the Birmingham economy. It will make Birmingham

:22:23.:22:29.

the most northern suburb of London. Why is that a big thing? It is not.

:22:29.:22:33.

Why do you want to spend all that moneyen to? You have to get more

:22:33.:22:37.

money and structure into the nation than we have. If you go on to Leeds

:22:37.:22:42.

and Manchester and grow a high- speed network network you will take

:22:42.:22:49.

people off motorways and aircraft. It is �32 billion, that only gets

:22:49.:22:53.

you to Birmingham? Right, second point, this is where this lady and

:22:53.:22:57.

I might find common ground. I cannot understand why, if you have

:22:57.:23:01.

a pollution corridor already there, called the M40 and the Chiltern

:23:01.:23:06.

line, why don't you build this, and yes, if someone says it costs more

:23:06.:23:10.

money to iron out the curves and put the tunnels in, so be it, spend

:23:10.:23:14.

the money. Don't go and rape a load of virgin countryside to do this,

:23:14.:23:18.

that is the important thing. Hold on, I don't want a monolougue. I

:23:18.:23:21.

would like to bring in our other guest. You are against it whatever

:23:21.:23:27.

the route is? I am. If it went via Wales would you be in favour of it?

:23:27.:23:32.

No, when you look at what the transport select committee is

:23:32.:23:37.

saying, they are concluding it is a good thing, but all the points

:23:37.:23:39.

suggest the conclusion should be a bad thing. They said the business

:23:39.:23:45.

space is spurious because it is based on time-saving on a train,

:23:45.:23:48.

they said there is no environmental case. They said the length of time

:23:48.:23:51.

it will take to build the thing is a non-starter, 20 years, there is

:23:51.:23:55.

no commitment beyond the Midlands at this point in time. The

:23:55.:24:00.

conclusion I draw from the report is they shouldn't be supporting it.

:24:00.:24:05.

If you have your way we will end up the only major European country of

:24:05.:24:10.

any size without a high-speed network? It is not true, our Inter

:24:10.:24:15.

City 125s are high-speed. Not if you travel in Spain and France?

:24:15.:24:21.

you look at their situation if you go off the high-speed network, you

:24:21.:24:26.

are on to slow train services. In the UK, our Inter City 125s, when

:24:26.:24:29.

you bear in mind the small geographic area we have, they

:24:29.:24:33.

servant purpose of getting us between cities very fast. We are

:24:33.:24:38.

talking �32 billion, that exclude the spur to Heathrow, and having to

:24:38.:24:43.

build a new underground. If you are bringing in 2,000 more people into

:24:43.:24:47.

Euston, the Victorian line can't cope now, led alone those

:24:47.:24:50.

increasing numbers. The costs are a tiny proportion of the reality of

:24:50.:24:54.

building this thing. I did a trip to Birmingham a couple

:24:54.:24:58.

of weeks ago, it took an hour and 20 minutes. People knock British

:24:58.:25:02.

trains, it was a perfect trip, an hour and 20 minutes, it was

:25:02.:25:05.

relaxing, I had Wi-Fi, somebody brought me a cup of coffee, I got

:25:05.:25:10.

some work done. I do it a lot. don't we, instead of spending �32

:25:10.:25:14.

billion, which you and I know will be �60 billion at the end of the

:25:14.:25:17.

day, just to get to Birmingham. Take a fraction of that money and

:25:17.:25:23.

improve the existing line? I think. Make it an hour instead of an hour

:25:23.:25:27.

and 20 minutes. There is only so much you can do an engineer would

:25:27.:25:32.

tell us, with existing lines, and you can only get it down to a

:25:32.:25:35.

certain speed, or up to a certain speed because of the he can listing

:25:35.:25:38.

line. What I'm saying, for a fraction of the money, you could

:25:38.:25:42.

actually do so much by building something in the same corridor.

:25:42.:25:45.

That is something that they don't seem to have thought about. They

:25:45.:25:49.

haven't, they have rejected it? Quite. Why? Because they think it

:25:49.:25:54.

will cost more in the end, because it is not a corridor to city and a

:25:54.:25:59.

high-speed line. They say costs are tie tight. Nobody flies to

:25:59.:26:03.

Birmingham already, the only real gains are if Manchester and Leeds

:26:03.:26:08.

and up to Scotland. But you don't save anything on pollution in that,

:26:08.:26:12.

every slot that Heathrow gives up for Glasgow and Edinburgh, there

:26:12.:26:16.

are few domestic flights out of Heathrow now, will go to new lines,

:26:16.:26:26.

to Shanghai, and quango dong, and Rio, there is no - Qandong, Rio.

:26:26.:26:28.

Nobody pretends there is an environmental argument now. There

:26:28.:26:32.

is a key point, if you are determined to go high-speed, the

:26:32.:26:38.

environmental impact is far greater than if you did to 160-180mph,

:26:38.:26:42.

which is faster than we already V if you lock at a combination of

:26:42.:26:47.

sorting out pinch points and improving speed on existing trains,

:26:47.:26:50.

and potentially adding another line part of the way, perhaps as far as

:26:50.:26:54.

the Midlands, so you can then free up the existing West Coast Mainline,

:26:54.:26:58.

to go to the northern cities, with a much better service there, it

:26:58.:27:03.

would be a far cheaper thing. The key thing is, if you go with high-

:27:03.:27:07.

speed rail you are not sorting out anything in 2026, we can't wait

:27:07.:27:14.

until then. I broke the story in the Sunday Times about CrossRail in

:27:14.:27:16.

1986, it is now 2011, they are still trying to build it. In your

:27:16.:27:22.

heart of hearts, do you think the high-speed rail network will ever

:27:22.:27:25.

be built? Do you want to phone a friend. We haven't got time?

:27:25.:27:31.

think it will. Do you, what about you? Funnily enough, given where we

:27:31.:27:34.

both come from, I don't think it won't. I'm beginning to think that

:27:34.:27:37.

too, and I always thought it would. I'm more in favour too.

:27:37.:27:41.

Thank you for being with us. There is time to find out the

:27:41.:27:46.

answer to the quiz, the answer was which basic food stuff has the EU

:27:46.:27:50.

announced might have the ingredients listed on the package,

:27:50.:27:55.

is the peanuts, eggs, honey or potatoes. I didn't know about this

:27:55.:28:02.

until I sat down. I opened a packet of peanuts the other day, on the

:28:02.:28:08.

back of t I said on the back of it, it says the ingredients, may

:28:08.:28:17.

contain nuts, on that basis nuts. You're wrong, it is honey. What

:28:17.:28:22.

else is there. They have pollen on their feet, and it may be GM pollen,

:28:22.:28:25.

that is the problem. That is exactly right.

:28:25.:28:31.

sovereign debt crisis and this is what Europe has to worry about. All

:28:31.:28:35.

right, thanks to all our guests, especially to Digby Jones for being

:28:35.:28:39.

our guest of the day. We will be here tomorrow with all the big

:28:39.:28:42.

Andrew Neil and Jo Coburn have the top political stories of the day.

The contagion in the eurozone spreads: Italy's cost of borrowing soars and PM Silvio Berlusconi faces losing a vote in the Italian parliament.

Theresa May told the House of Commons that immigration officials acted without her authority when they lifted controls for non-European nationals and she is about to be grilled by the select committee. Andrew and Jo talk to Alp Mehmet, an ex-ambassador and immigration official who is now Migration Watch's vice chairman.

The government's ambitious plans for a high-speed rail linking north with south are damned with faint praise in a report. Andrew and Jo debate the pros and cons of the ambitious plans and hear from Andrea Leadsom MP.

Plus a film with political cartoonist Peter Brookes on whether the traditional art of sending up politicians will survive the digital age?

The guest of the day is Lord Jones of Birmingham, aka Digby Jones.