01/12/2011 Daily Politics


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Afternoon folks, welcome to the Daily Politics. Talks to try to


resolve the public sector pensions dispute are resuming after


yesterday's mass walk out. The four main education unions are attending


planned weekly talks at the Department of Education. Earlier a


government minister hinted there was a "realistic possibility of


reaching a deal". EU foreign ministers are discussing further


diplomatic reprisals against Iran, after mobs attacked the British


embassy in Tehran. John Prescott says he wants to "stop the clock


and save the planet". We'll be talking to him ahead of his trip to


the climate change conference in South Africa. Not Hull! And yes, I


know, it could all go horribly wrong. But we'll be removing two


MPs' Movember moustaches live. There will be blood on the full


today! -- floor. Yes, all that coming up in the next half hour of


television gold and with us for the duration we have the Associate


Editor of the Indpendent, Sean O'Grady. Welcome. Now first this


morning let's talk about the banks because share prices have risen


around the world after a group of the biggest central banks, led by


the US Federal Reserve, announced plans to support the banks. The


move followed talk of a new credit crunch amid fears of a break-up of


the euro. Last night, a Downing Street official said Britain was


already "experiencing a credit cunch". It is clear that the US


Federal Reserve Board the banking system was about to freeze up, that


the American money markets were dump in their assets in European


banks and that the European banks were unable to borrow the -- to


borrow dollars? That is right, and I think this has been a concern for


months amongst bankers and Treasuries, this is another credit


crunch. There have been signs of it for long time. That means the banks


are so worried about each other that they will no longer lend to


each other because of the risk of not getting their money back.


it is what happened post Lehman Brothers. A exactly, and then at


the banks got together -- exactly, and then the banks got together to


offer liquidity. They did what it took, that is what is happening now,


it is right, it is a problem with the Americans not lending money


into the European banks. European banks not lending to British banks,


vice versa. That is the crisis, the credit crunch, a second wave, like


a double dip. But the second phase that comes after is more worrying,


because if the banks are not willing to lend to each other, what


happens afterwards is they're not willing to lend to us, to buy her


house, car, whatever. -- a house. The Governor of the Bank of England


was part of this, he stressed this morning that central banks could


help with liquidity, keeping money in the system, but could not help


with solvency. In other words, going bust. That is right, that is


an important distinction. It is a bit like a man in a pub, if you


have a billionaire who goes in and has lost his wallet, or forgotten


it, he can't buy a drink, that is a liquidity problem. If you have a


man in negative equity who owes a lot on his credit card but can


still buy a pint in a pub, he has not got a liquidity problem, but a


solvency problem. That is the difference. Just like when the


banks were insolvent, we now have the issue where some banks may be


insolvent but more importantly, some countries are insolvent.


Greece is pretty much insolvent. Portugal as well. That's right.


They are unable to meet the bills and are basically going bust. The


central bank's money will not solve that. Died before explaining it.


The ASH thank you for explaining it. -- thank you. Now following


yesterday's public sector strike, a fresh attempt is being made to


resolve the dispute about changes to public sector pensions. The main


teaching unions whose action led to about two thirds of schools being


closed are currently holding talks with government officials. Tomorrow,


the health service unions will hold a similar meeting. Our


Correspondent Vicky Young is at Westminster. Has the strike changed


anything? It is interesting given that both sides cannot even agree


on the number of people who walked out, you're whipping there was not


much room for progress. But there are individual scheme talks going


on and they are due to continue doing so. The Cabinet Office


Minister has said in the past the talks are intensive and making


progress, but the union leaders I have spoken to today have said they


would regard these more has fact- finding missions rather than


negotiations. What happens next is how much pressure the unions will


come under to find a deal. They will have to think about whether


there will be more strike action in the New Year, the risk is they


alienate public opinion, people who put up with the disruption


yesterday, would be put up with a series of ongoing strikes with


schools being closed over the coming months? There is also the


issue of the pressure on the workers, and losing their pay every


day they go on strike. I think that is a problem for the unions and


something they will have to tackle in the New Year now.


Frankie. -- thank you. We can speak to the Pensions Minister Steve Webb


and Karen Jennings who's the Assistant General Secretary at the


union Unison. What was actually achieved, apart from people losing


a day of pay? It was a great day, hundreds of thousands out in town.


The government called it a damp squib. I think may have misjudged


it, public support was extraordinary. Many Poles have


demonstrated that. -- polls. Danny Alexander came before the House of


Commons and announced concessions. Iping when the Government takes in


what happened yesterday I hope talks will progress further.


Talking to the education unions today, if they are offered further


concessions, if a better deal is put on the table you would, I


presume, advise them to take it whatever happens with other unions?


They are in discussions, of course of they can get a better deal - in


fact, if they can get a better deal in discussions, it bodes well for


discussions elsewhere. But the indication seems to be they may try


to do deals and pick of that union and not give better deals to the


others. But you would support a deal that would go better for


education? We would not expect education trade unions to forgo a


deal they were getting. We are in a sector negotiations but in central


discussions There are still quite a lot for us to do, particularly on


issues around 750,000 part-time workers he will have to pay that


full contribution and if they cannot afford to they will pour out


of those schemes which will threaten the very schemes


themselves. Can you just tell us now, for part-time workers are


earning �15,000 a year or less, they will be worse off? What has


happened is the architecture is common across the schemes, working


longer is common, putting mooring is common. There is a lack of


clarity over that. Lower-paid workers pay less, then each


individual scheme is negotiated one how that is delivered so scheme by


scheme they will look at the issue you have raised... But there is a


general point here about part-time workers because the indication from


the government is it is wound up to its full time equivalent, if you


worry part-time worker in the NHS one just under �15,000, you will be


hit. The majority of people affected are in local government


and that scheme is looking at that. Yesterday we were told there were


no negotiations going on, yet today there is negotiations going on


arranged long before the strikes. Their essential negotiations is


what we were talking about. there were sector by sector talks


going on. We have said that. The local government talks stopped


because local government employers stopped because they were not


getting any information from the Treasury. The discussions we have


been having have been absent of any figures we have to talk around, so


really they have not been negotiating, there have been


discussions. Government ministers are saying they are positive and


optimistic about a deal, are you? We have to see what the figures are


saying. There seems to be a disconnect between what the unions


feel about these negotiations and the government. Are they getting


closer? We are continuing to talk but we are not getting closer,


There is more work to be done. in terms of the strike, the


government said before and if it went ahead the Deal and concession


that was made would be taken off the table. Has it been? I am not


involved in the discussions so cannot give a straight answer but


there is a danger we get into the mind you sure of this and lose the


big picture. Somebody carried a placard yesterday saying leave my


pension alone, what they were saying is I want somebody else to


pay for it. There is a danger we going to the fine detail, but the


main picture is we have to work longer and put more money in, that


is the thing that will not change, but the details are being


negotiated. Are the Lib Dems happy? I you have the that low-paid


workers have lost out on tax credit to pay for the Contra the


government announced? That is not what happened. Everybody on a low-


income in this country because they are unemployed, sick, elderly got


the full 5.2 per cent increase that the Lib Dems press for. The youth


contract is an excellent initiative which was part of the whole Oughton


package, so it was not like this tweak... I am not sure how they


would -- that is how they would see it. Jeremy Clarkson's comments


about strikers, saying they should be shot, he would take them outside


and execute them. It was a joke? was more of a joke of -- it was


more than a joke, it is how he makes a living, I do not know if


anybody has noticed that. He makes outrageous claims about things. It


is a great way to make a living. I wish I was good at it. Better to


ignore it, is it? I think it is incitement to violence, anger, I


think there are BBC journalists, correspondents who have been sacked


for worse. For somebody close to the Prime Minister it is extremely


ill-tempered and nasty. We are certainly going to take legal


action, or look to see what action can be taken. One word in your


response? A stupid thing to say, he should apologise and we should get


on with our lives. He said he wanted them shot in front of their


families, I thought I would get that on a record. -- the record.


Now lets' turn our eyes to Iran because EU foreign minsters are in


Brussels where they're discussing further diplomatic reprisals


against the country after mobs attacked the British embassy in


Tehran. Jo bring us up to date. Then I will chat to Jack Straw.


This is the situation - on Tuesday this week the British Embassy was


in Tehran, it was daubed by demonstrators, angry at the big


government -- at the government's decision to impose further


sanctions on Iran. The new measures came about after concerns over


their nuclear programme. David Cameron warned of serious


consequences for Iran and the UK pulled a number of diplomatic staff


out of the country. Last night the Foreign Secretary went a step


further and ordered the immediate closure of the Iranian embassy in


London, expelling all their diplomats from the country.


Europe's foreign ministers are meeting Brussels today, and talk of


new measures on around look likely to dominate. France, Germany and


the Netherlands have all recalled their ambassadors from Tehran for


consultations and William Hague is pushing for stronger sanctions.


This is what he said earlier... hope you'll agree today that


additional measures that will be an intensification of the economic


pressure on Iran, peaceful, legitimate, economic pressure,


particularly to increase the isolation of the Iranian financial


sector. But that is to be discussed at the meeting. We continue later


what we decided to do. Jack Straw is with us. Our Britain's relations


with Iran back in the freezer? -- They are for the moment. I am not


going to criticise William Hague. I know, having done that job, that


making those decisions is more difficult than commenting on them.


Foreign secretary's have more information than any observer. --


secretaries. I am concerned how we will restore some semblance of


relations, as we will have to. An independent economist said today,


very critical in terms of dependency with Iran, because we


know a lot about the country, we have some very good diplomats and


because the US has not had diplomatic relations there for over


30 years we have been able to provide information and


understanding of the Iranian system, not always do what the US wants us


to do, to the US and other key diplomatic allies. Tragically that


has now gone. It seems to be Alain Juppe, the French foreign


minister, has called for his actions quote on a scale that would


paralyse the regime. Is that going to happen? I do not know whether it


is going to happen. One question I have is whether it would have been


better to wait before the banking sanctions were imposed, which were


imposed by the US, Canada and the UK, until we had do you agreement


for does. Had that happened, the UK would have been less of an obvious


target and that the non uniformed thugs employed by the regime two


light the Gestapo. They once demonstrated against me in Tehran


when we were tried to have discussions with the Iranians. They


blocked our route out. This is by no means unusual. My colleague was


going to Lampard one of these guys. Then we got out. That is not very


diplomatic. I was told very firmly to stay in my car by the detected.


That would have spread the protests. The Iranian regime is in a high


degree of turmoil, that is known. There is very bad blood between the


supreme leader, who has huge power, and the allegedly democratically


elected President in 2009. One of my concerns over the past few years


is some of the steps the West has taken, particularly the US, have


been to play into the hands of the hardliners. There are opportunities


with the President to strengthen him and yet from the time when


President Bush lumped Iran in with Iraq and North Korea in the access


of evil that undermined the reformers. I saw their frustration.


You're a softly-softly approach did not get us anywhere. Iran


effectively is on the brink of having a bomb. My softly, softly


approach was getting somewhere. We got very close. It was the first


and best example of a co-ordinated, European Union foreign policy it.


You cannot put back the mistakes that were made in the past, but


there were concessions which we should have offered the Iranians.


It was not a sensible to lump a reformist President in Iran in


which Saddam Hussein and the madman running North Korea at the time.


That undermined them. We have to have negotiations with Iran. It is


plain they have made further progress in building up a nuclear


capability. Are you in any doubt it wants a bomb? I am not in any doubt


it wants a nuclear capability. There has always been doubts about


whether it also wants to develop a weapon. They have got missiles


anyway. A lot of the Iranians want a grand bargain with the West, and


they had an opportunity to do that when buy came in. I am not


criticising the Foreign Secretary, it is a difficult situation, and I


hope they are giving it thought in their Foreign Office, I am worried


about what exit strategy we have from this. Good to talk to you.


Now to a Daily Politics annual event. John Prescott talking about


climate change. The last time he appeared on the programme talking


about this subject was a year ago today. What has been happening in


the meantime? It is so an unseasonably warm, it


is practically the weather for shirtsleeves will stop you cannot


read too much into climate change based on one day's conditions. But


this year it is the 10 hottest on record, meaning that 13 of the


hottest have happened since 1997. That was when John Prescott helped


negotiate the Kyoto protocol which compelled nations to cut carbon


emissions between 2008 and 2012. With that end state rapidly


approaching, world leaders met in Copenhagen in 2009 to try and


thrash out a successor agreement. That was a washout. Now they are


giving it another go in Durban in South Africa, but hopes of an


agreement are not especially high because there are big disagreements


between countries. The EU wants negotiations to start now. India,


Brazil and the US do not want to start talking until 2015. Sceptics


who doubt the science have new allies in the shape of those who


think all this greenery is a break from economic growth. A former


Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott, welcome back to your show on your


anniversary appearance. How many of the climate change summits have you


been to? About four or five starting in Kyoto. Sky will


probably go on to Rio de Janeiro, the celebratory year. They never


hold them in places like car or Sellafield or Glasgow. I went to


Copenhagen and that was pretty freezing. It was not exotic. What


are the chances at Durban? Will it be as big a waste of time as the


others? It was impossible to keep the legal framework we agreed for


the industrial relations at Kyoto and you had to have a voluntary


framework. That has now come about. But also the voluntary when you


have got to get them to agree to these targets and we have got to


have a global agreement. My fear is now the rich countries,


particularly America and Canada, they are about to put the boot into


the poorest part of the world by saying they do not want to keep the


principles of Kyoto. Did they want it finish? They would like to see


it finished. It has never been renewed. When we did not finish the


negotiations on the EU membership, that stopped the clock. I am


proposing that the Kyoto agreement finishes in 2012, keep the


framework Boeing, freeze it on the quay at the principles and by 2015


complete the tops and hopefully get the agreement. $100 billion to go


annually into a green climate fun? That is essential because we have


to reduce greenhouse gases in the developing countries as well as the


developed. You need that money to make the transfer of technology it.


The we will not get 100 bn in this climate. I am sad to see that


America in the last few weeks, along with Saudi Arabia, have


decided not to contribute to the fund, so we will not have that at


Devon. The Saudis have said because these moves were reduced well


compensate -- consumption, they work compensation. They said that


at Kyoto. Kyoto is dead in the water. It is still an agreement and


we are one of the leading countries that has achieved the Kyoto targets.


How much of our share of the 100 billion would go in? These are


talks we hope to complete by the Rio de Janeiro next year. America


is a big part of it. While Bush was against it and they did not want to


be in Kyoto, we have now got Barack Obama it says he believes in the


science, but has totally failed to get any kind of thing going.


whole project is running out of steam. Kyoto is not going to be


renewed. The 100 billion is not going to happen, Copenhagen will


achieve nothing. You are throwing about these lines of achieving


nothing. If you look at Britain between the two governments we have


at a 24% cut in carbon. That is a success. We have 2 million more


jobs. That is Britain doing it without the summits. You have the


targets and you have the climate legislation to implement it, so we


have made movement. It is not as fast as we want, but it is right to


do it. If you think you have a problem with bankers, the science


is clear. It would be catastrophic. People have been listening to this


for so long. I am not commenting on whether it is right or wrong,


people have had enough of this and they do not take it as seriously


now and they think Copenhagen, at Rio de Janeiro, I just a waste of


time. I agree with John Prescott. He has had his differences with the


Independent newspaper and Twitter and other places. With everyone. I


wanted to thank and congratulate John Prescott for what he did


during his time in office on environmental progress. It was


fantastic work. The Independent has always been a green paper. Just


because you cannot get everything done and everyone to agree on every


issue does not mean you should not tried. Do we just sit back and say


you cannot do anything? You would be out of work and I would be out


of work. You are never be out of work. You re invent yourself all


the time. You are a one-man job creation scheme. You would be good


in the Government to create jobs. There were a million more jobs in


my time. We may be out of work after days. We try something


completely different and it is really different because with us in


the studio we had two MPs who want to shave their moustaches off. They


have been growing them for the charity Movember throughout the


month of November and they cannot wait to get rid of them. Here they


are, lambs to the slaughter. The Labour MP Ian Murray and the Lib


Dem MP Mike Crockhart and we are also joins, because we are not


going to before and this. Joins from Pall Mall Barbers. Are you


really desperate to get rid of them. Cannot wait. Absolutely. Was it


very difficult to grow? It was automatic. Mine was just stuck on.


Let's see how quick it is. We don't Was about the cuts the Liberal


Democrats are promising at the next election? I had to ask you that.


George, you can start on him as well. That only took about 30


seconds. It is fantastic. Will you do it next year? Absolutely not, it


raised a lot of money, but it was a big commitment. My one looks very


creepy because it will not grow here. I have tried it. I looked


like an incredibly sleazy character, so I have never tried again. I saw


all these people with beards and moustaches and I wondered what they


were doing! You are cleanly shaven. Well done and thank you for coming


on the programme. I am just glad I have got my hair on top. We have


got to pick the winner from yesterday's guess the year


competition. The answer was 1954. You have got to pick one out. It


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