01/12/2011 Daily Politics


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01/12/2011

EU foreign ministers are discussing further diplomatic reprisals against Iran, after mobs attacked the British embassy in Tehran. We talk to Jack Straw.


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LineFromTo

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

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resolve the public sector pensions dispute are resuming after

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

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planned weekly talks at the Department of Education. Earlier a

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government minister hinted there was a "realistic possibility of

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reaching a deal". EU foreign ministers are discussing further

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diplomatic reprisals against Iran, after mobs attacked the British

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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the American money markets were dump in their assets in European

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

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

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months amongst bankers and Treasuries, this is another credit

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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insolvent but more importantly, some countries are insolvent.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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closed are currently holding talks with government officials. Tomorrow,

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the health service unions will hold a similar meeting. Our

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Correspondent Vicky Young is at Westminster. Has the strike changed

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

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

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

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

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

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

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would regard these more has fact- finding missions rather than

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

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

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

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alienate public opinion, people who put up with the disruption

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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it, public support was extraordinary. Many Poles have

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

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Commons and announced concessions. Iping when the Government takes in

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what happened yesterday I hope talks will progress further.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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of those schemes which will threaten the very schemes

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

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

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happened is the architecture is common across the schemes, working

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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hit. The majority of people affected are in local government

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

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

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arranged long before the strikes. Their essential negotiations is

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

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

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because local government employers stopped because they were not

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getting any information from the Treasury. The discussions we have

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

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really they have not been negotiating, there have been

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discussions. Government ministers are saying they are positive and

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

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

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feel about these negotiations and the government. Are they getting

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

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

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

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

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involved in the discussions so cannot give a straight answer but

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

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big picture. Somebody carried a placard yesterday saying leave my

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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think there are BBC journalists, correspondents who have been sacked

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

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

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

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

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

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:12:34.:12:37.

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

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

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Brussels where they're discussing further diplomatic reprisals

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against the country after mobs attacked the British embassy in

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

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

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

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

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

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their nuclear programme. David Cameron warned of serious

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

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

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further and ordered the immediate closure of the Iranian embassy in

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London, expelling all their diplomats from the country.

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

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

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the Netherlands have all recalled their ambassadors from Tehran for

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consultations and William Hague is pushing for stronger sanctions.

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

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additional measures that will be an intensification of the economic

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pressure on Iran, peaceful, legitimate, economic pressure,

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particularly to increase the isolation of the Iranian financial

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

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

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:14:18.:14:19.

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

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

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making those decisions is more difficult than commenting on them.

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

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

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

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very critical in terms of dependency with Iran, because we

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

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because the US has not had diplomatic relations there for over

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30 years we have been able to provide information and

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

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

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:15:22.:15:26.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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:16:01.:16:03.

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

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

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light the Gestapo. They once demonstrated against me in Tehran

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

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:16:29.:16:29.

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

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

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

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

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

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:17:06.:17:07.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

:17:49.:17:56.

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

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

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

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there were concessions which we should have offered the Iranians.

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

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

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

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plain they have made further progress in building up a nuclear

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

:18:42.:18:46.

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

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

:18:52.:19:01.

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

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

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

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

:19:15.:19:20.

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

:19:20.:19:26.

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

:19:26.:19:30.

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

:19:30.:19:34.

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

:19:34.:19:38.

the meantime? It is so an unseasonably warm, it

:19:38.:19:42.

is practically the weather for shirtsleeves will stop you cannot

:19:42.:19:47.

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

:19:47.:19:53.

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

:19:53.:19:58.

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

:19:58.:20:02.

negotiate the Kyoto protocol which compelled nations to cut carbon

:20:02.:20:08.

emissions between 2008 and 2012. With that end state rapidly

:20:08.:20:14.

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

:20:14.:20:18.

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

:20:18.:20:22.

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

:20:22.:20:27.

agreement are not especially high because there are big disagreements

:20:27.:20:32.

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

:20:32.:20:38.

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

:20:38.:20:42.

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

:20:42.:20:49.

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

:20:49.:20:52.

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

:20:52.:20:57.

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

:20:57.:21:03.

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

:21:03.:21:10.

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

:21:10.:21:15.

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

:21:15.:21:20.

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

:21:20.:21:25.

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

:21:25.:21:32.

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

:21:33.:21:35.

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

:21:35.:21:40.

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

:21:40.:21:44.

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

:21:44.:21:49.

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

:21:49.:21:55.

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

:21:55.:21:58.

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

:21:58.:22:04.

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

:22:04.:22:11.

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

:22:11.:22:17.

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

:22:17.:22:22.

proposing that the Kyoto agreement finishes in 2012, keep the

:22:22.:22:28.

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

:22:28.:22:33.

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

:22:33.:22:38.

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

:22:38.:22:42.

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

:22:42.:22:47.

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

:22:47.:22:53.

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

:22:53.:22:56.

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

:22:56.:23:01.

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

:23:01.:23:07.

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

:23:07.:23:10.

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

:23:10.:23:18.

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

:23:18.:23:24.

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

:23:24.:23:29.

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

:23:29.:23:34.

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

:23:34.:23:42.

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

:23:42.:23:46.

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

:23:46.:23:51.

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

:23:51.:23:55.

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

:23:55.:24:00.

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

:24:00.:24:04.

achieve nothing. You are throwing about these lines of achieving

:24:04.:24:09.

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

:24:09.:24:15.

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

:24:15.:24:20.

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

:24:20.:24:23.

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

:24:23.:24:28.

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

:24:28.:24:33.

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

:24:33.:24:39.

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

:24:39.:24:45.

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

:24:45.:24:49.

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

:24:49.:24:54.

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

:24:54.:25:01.

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

:25:01.:25:09.

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

:25:09.:25:14.

wanted to thank and congratulate John Prescott for what he did

:25:14.:25:19.

during his time in office on environmental progress. It was

:25:19.:25:23.

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

:25:23.:25:27.

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

:25:27.:25:34.

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

:25:34.:25:38.

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

:25:38.:25:43.

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

:25:43.:25:49.

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

:25:49.:25:53.

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

:25:53.:26:00.

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

:26:00.:26:03.

completely different and it is really different because with us in

:26:03.:26:09.

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

:26:09.:26:12.

have been growing them for the charity Movember throughout the

:26:12.:26:16.

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

:26:16.:26:22.

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

:26:22.:26:31.

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

:26:31.:26:36.

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

:26:36.:26:42.

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

:26:42.:26:52.

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

:26:52.:27:02.
:27:02.:27:14.

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

:27:14.:27:23.

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

:27:23.:27:28.

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

:27:28.:27:36.

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

:27:36.:27:44.

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

:27:44.:27:53.

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

:27:53.:28:01.

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

:28:01.:28:06.

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

:28:06.:28:11.

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

:28:11.:28:18.

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

:28:18.:28:22.

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

:28:22.:28:31.

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

:28:31.:28:39.

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 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. We talk to Jack Straw.

John Prescott says he wants to 'stop the clock and save the planet'. We talk to him ahead of his trip to the climate change conference in South Africa.

And talking of cuts, we are joined by two MPs who are ready to lose their 'Movember' moustaches live on air.

With Andrew and Jo through the show is the Associate Editor of the Independent, Sean O'Grady.