05/12/2011 Daily Politics


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05/12/2011

As Gary McKinnon fights attempts to send him to the United States to face computer hacking charges, MPs debate a change in the law. Is it too easy to extradite Brits abroad?


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Afternoon folks, welcome to The Daily Politics. As Gary McKinnon

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fights attempts to send him to the United States to face computer

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hacking charges, MPs debate a change in the law - is it too easy

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Another week, another crunch meeting for the eurozone. President

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Sarkozy and Angela Merkel are meeting in Paris - but what's the

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The kids are hooked to their games consoles - the grown-ups to their

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smart phones. But could our obsession with these digital toys

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:01:05.:01:07.

be messing with our brains? We have now been in government for 500 days.

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Although, to be fair, it did take 499 of those for Gordon Brown to

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accept that he was no longer Prime Minister. The art of political

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speechwriting, and making sure they deliver them right. I'll be talking

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to one of David Cameron's former wordsmiths. And with us for the

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duration, the Prime Minister's former speechwriter Danny Kruger,

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who now runs a charity that works with prisoners, ex-offenders and

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young people at risk of crime. First this morning, MPs will debate

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a motion this afternoon which attempts to make it more difficult

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to extradite British citizens who are wanted for crimes committed

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abroad. The debate is inspired by the case of Gary McKinnon, who is

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alleged to have hacked Pentagon and NASA computer systems, and could

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face a prison sentence of up to 60 years if convicted. MPs claim this

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case highlights an intrinsic unfairness in the extradition

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treaty that's led to 25 British citizens being sent to the US but

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only five American citizens extradited to Britain. So, is it

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unfair? The figures suggest that there seems to be something unfair

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about the flowers of suspects. But this debate today, I understand, is

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also about a European aspect, which is parallel but unrelated. There is

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an assumption that simply because the European countries have their

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own rules, that they have a justice system which is as fair as ours.

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While I do not think the American system is corrupt or wrong, there

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seems to be something about the principle of any country being able

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to decide who was extradited and when. What we have is caught some

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ministers here being powerless to decide who should go abroad, and I

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think there's something wrong about that. There's justification for

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debating it. The Gary McKinnon case has been very emotive, it has been

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picked up by Fleet Street, he has his champions on this but it could

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be dangerous to change the law on the basis of one case. There's

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always human beings involved in these cases, and there's no reason

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why they should not talk about it. I think there is something wrong

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:03:41.:03:49.

about this case. It is really an Now, Italy's new Welfare Minister

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showed governments all over Europe how to use empathy to sell

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difficult austerity policies. She burst in to tears yesterday when

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announcing an increase in the retirement age to 66 - part of a 30

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billion euro package aimed at shoring up Italy's finances.

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Meanwhile the quest to resolve the wider eurozone crisis rolls on.

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French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel

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are meeting in Paris now to thrash out an agreement ahead of a crunch

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European Council meeting later on this week. We hope to speak to our

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Paris correspondent shortly, but let me try and explain what's going

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on first. Just before we came on air, I spoke to our Europe

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correspondent, Christian Fraser. It's the sheer complexity of

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decision-making in the eurozone and the wider EU - with 27 member

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countries, some of which even have their own elected government - that

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makes this crisis so difficult to resolve. It's not just the French

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and the Germans who have one eye on their own domestic political

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concerns - here in Britain, the debate is also hotting up over any

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potential treaty change.The American Ambassador here, Louis

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Susman, has told MPs that the current arrangements are working

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well for both countries. So should David Cameron be playing a straight

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hand and aiming to help his fellow players fix the euro, while

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:05:19.:05:24.

stopping the new euro union gaining too many powers? Or should he

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gamble that this is an opportunity to raise the stakes and demand the

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repatriation of powers from Europe that his party promised at the last

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:05:40.:05:43.

election and many of his MPs would like to see? And if there is a new

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treaty on the cards, will David Cameron be forced to play his trump

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card, and call a referendum, potentially threatening to wreck

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:05:59.:06:05.

the whole rubber? We can go over to Paris now, I spoke earlier to our

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Paris correspondent, and I asked him what was separating the French

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and German leaders. The German Chancellor obviously wants legally-

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binding limits on all eurozone countries, with automatic penalties

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for governments which break the budget rules. And she would like to

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take the decisions away from member countries, she would like the

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institutions of Europe to decide when those penalties are imposed.

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So perhaps there would be a move to get the European Court of Justice

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involved, there could be a stability commissioner, who would

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have an oversight of national spending plans and tax-and-spend

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policies in these countries. The French agree that there has to be a

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change in the system, because self- regulation obviously has failed.

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But they are nervous about transferring more power to Brussels.

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They would like to see power resting with the countries, perhaps

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in the shape of qualified majority voting. They would also like to see

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countries adopt decisions made within the round of the eurozone

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within their constitution, the so- called golden rule which President

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Sarkozy has talk about. Let's suppose that they do come to some

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kind of agreement, some kind of compromise, before the European

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Union summit later in the week - is there any evidence to indicate that

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the other members of the eurozone will be happy to have what is in

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essence their tax-and-spend policy controlled by an external body?

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I understand it, the smaller eurozone countries prefer the idea

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of Europe controlling that element of their budget, or having

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oversight, rather than Germany and France. Over the course of the last

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few months, they have been dictated to by Paris and Berlin. Politically,

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it looks better if it comes from Brussels. But obviously all

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governments have concerns about transferring powers to the centre,

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away from nationally elected governments. The problem I think

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also for the Germans is that unilaterally, they cannot be seen

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to be imposing austerity rules on the rest, so they do need the

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French alongside, although it is the Germans which are dictating the

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terms. Nonetheless, politically, it suits them to have the French

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alongside them, urging the others on. In that sense, President

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Sarkozy does have bargaining power. We're hearing that there will be I

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think an agreement between the two, probably to add something to the

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treaty, in the shape of a protocol, rather than root-and-branch reform

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of the Lisbon Treaty. With me now are the Conservative MPs Nadhim

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Zahawi and Bernard Jenkin. Let's assume, Bernard Jenkin, that the

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French and the Germans agree to some kind of fiscal union in order

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to attempt to keep the union together - what should the British

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response be to that? This represents a very fundamental

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change in our relationship with our European partners. It started at

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Maastricht, this is the conclusion. The Prime Minister says we should

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have had a referendum at Maastricht. Well, this is Maastricht plus. If

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we did not have a referendum then, we need one now. The question on

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the ballot paper is, do we support these terms of membership? Because

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we need to renegotiate our terms of membership. We have been asked to

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believe two completely incomprehensible things, firstly,

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that this does not represent any change in our terms of membership,

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and secondly, that when all of this is done and dusted, in two or three

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years' time, that's the time when we will go and renegotiate, when

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they have settled everything already. Those two propositions are

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ludicrous. But if the fiscal union applies only to members of the

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eurozone, of which we are not a part, why does it change our

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relationship with the wider European Union? We would not be

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bound by these fiscal laws. This is the the credit crunch point. This

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is about real power. At the moment, the institutions of the European

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Union are meant to serve all 27 member states. If, effectively,

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there is an economic state at the heart of the European Union, of 17

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members or maybe fewer, that is going to be their main

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preoccupation. They're already attacking the City of London, they

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already want a financial transactions tax, they already

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burdening our competitiveness with more and more regulation, they do

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not care about our interests. Are we seriously being asked to believe

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that we're going to have more influence in this new arrangement?

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Of course we are not, we're going to have far less influence, which

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is why ministers are talking about the threat to the single market. If

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now is not the time to renegotiate our membership, when will be a

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better time Question Time so, the theory is that come the time when

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it turns into a fiscal union, rather than just a monetary union,

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that is the time for Britain to reassess fundamentally its

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relationship with Europe? Bernard Jenkin is right to be passionate

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about this, but timing is everything. The point teammates,

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that there is going to be a paradigm shift in structures within

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Europe, everybody agrees about that. That will happen. But we need to

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see the detail of it. I think the timing, push and the crux of it, we

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are uniquely positioned, in Britain, I believe, more so than France, to

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put our arm around Germany and help them make the decisions they need

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to make to allow them to save the eurozone. Because their demons are

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the Weimar Republic of 1920, we are uniquely placed to help them.

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we are not close enough, our arm cannot reach that far. We are an

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economic powerhouse. Remember, we buy more from Europe... Did you

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hear the Autumn Statement last week?! We're having tough times,

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but we are still economically powerful. My point is that timing

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is everything. It is not the right time... You have just heard it,

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we're going to put our arms around Germany, and in a couple of years'

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time, Germany is going to agree to all of the things they have never

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agreed to for the last 20 years. This is ludicrous. This is the end

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game in Europe. This is the final act of desperation in the European

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integration project. One assumes that they are going to save the

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euro, but I very much doubt that myself. Unless we're going to

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negotiate and put our demands on the table now, when will we do it?

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If David Cameron was simply to say, look, this is so fundamental, this

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change in our relationship with the European Union, even though there

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is nothing which directly legally applies to us, this is so obviously

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the European Union changing the nature of itself, that we're going

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to have a referendum on this, and unless we can get the renegotiated

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terms which suit our national interests, we will be saying no.

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is unlikely, if the eurozone becomes a fiscal union, which means

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increasingly it will have a common tax policies, common budget deficit

:13:27.:13:31.

policies, Konnie regulations, all of which will be quite centralised,

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perhaps even quite onerous, it is unlikely they are going to agree to

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a kind of Hong Kong type Britain, deregulated, lower budget deficit,

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less government spending, floating off into the North Sea - they're

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not going to let that happen. not just Britain, you have got nine

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other countries, with Britain. some of them want to join the euro.

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Well, not all of them. A lot of them are legally bound to join the

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euro. Yes, but they have opted to be outside the euro. So, at the

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moment, there is an argument, essentially, for saving the

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eurozone countries first, and at the same time, as I said earlier,

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using that opportunity to negotiate a settlement which is advantageous

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to you, versus the eurozone countries. It sounds to me, Bernard

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Jenkin, from the Department of Honesty, do you not really think

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that if the eurozone goes ahead and becomes a fully fledged fiscal

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union, you basically think Britain should leave the EU. We do not want

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to leave the EU, for one simple reason. We are in something called

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customs union, and a lot of business depends upon that free

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movement of goods and services. But you do not have to beat in a

:14:50.:15:00.
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federation, or monetary union, to enjoy the benefits of that. We are

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looking at a completely different template of membership, but

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personally I would not advocate walking out of the customs union.

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But interestingly, Turkey is not a member of the European Union, and

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they have a customs union agreement with the European Union. That is

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the kind of new relationship I am talking about. We would not be a

:15:21.:15:31.
:15:31.:15:32.

member of the EU, we would be And what would that do took Nissan

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and other companies which invest here? We cannot give up our self

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government permanently which this is amounting to. Danny? Understand

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the Prime Minister has a responsibility as a Euro leader to

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save our biggest trading bloc from implosion and his mission this week

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is to try and renegotiate the eurozone and I think we should save

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the euro zone. The priority should be to save the eurozone because of

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that blows up the recession we are heading for turns into a

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depression? I don't think this is incompatible with saving the

:16:22.:16:25.

eurozone. The more flexibility we can give eurozone countries, the

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better for them. We can give them more flexibility if they give us

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the flexibility that we need as well. It is called quid pro quo.

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But his Latin! Who is closest to the Prime Minister on this issue?

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don't think we know the Prime Minister's mind. I don't know

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whether the Prime Minister believes we can save the euro. I think the

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Prime Minister knows the priority is to make sure that he acts. Is

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the closest to you or Bernard Jenkin? I think he is close to both

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of us. I would not like to see you fall out.

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Unaccustomed as I am, to public speaking, who wrote that? My guest

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of the day is not because he used to write the speeches for the Prime

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Minister. Now I come to think of it, I could blame the oratorical

:17:26.:17:29.

failings of this programme on the producers who write the scripts,

:17:29.:17:34.

rather than the chap who delivers them because obviously the delivery

:17:34.:17:37.

and timing is pretty close to perfection. Danny, perhaps you

:17:37.:17:41.

could give our producers a few words of advice on this. Here is

:17:41.:17:46.

somebody who writes his own scripts, Giles Dilnot on the art of

:17:46.:17:50.

political speech-writing. Sadly, there are not many who can

:17:50.:17:53.

do it but they do not do it alone. In the world of the political

:17:53.:17:59.

speech, the writers are also King's. You need a script editor, you need

:17:59.:18:03.

somebody who makes editor Errol -- editorial decisions, otherwise you

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have a script written by a committee which is not a good idea.

:18:07.:18:11.

A lot of Gordon Brown's speeches are like that. They are patchworks

:18:11.:18:15.

of a bit from this person, a bit from that person and even worse, a

:18:15.:18:19.

bit for this person and that person and you end up with no coherent

:18:19.:18:25.

argument. You do need one central writer but usually you will take

:18:25.:18:30.

the ketone from the person themselves. It will be about who

:18:30.:18:34.

has the strength, the judgment, the weight, the ideas for Britain's

:18:34.:18:39.

future in an uncertain world and we do. This party does. If you don't

:18:39.:18:47.

know what a central argument is, you do not have a good speech.

:18:47.:18:56.

Berate his speech for William Hague. Somehow, we managed to leave the

:18:56.:19:02.

key bit of his speech. He was congratulated by the Guardian so

:19:02.:19:10.

Leaving Las -- Even your mistakes can even work. High oratory has its

:19:10.:19:15.

place. A pastiche of Martin Luther King will not work on housing

:19:15.:19:22.

benefit so you have to write for the occasion. You have to write for

:19:22.:19:27.

the setting. You do not get to write I will fight them on the

:19:27.:19:32.

beaches very often. If the script is too heavy, what about a bit of

:19:32.:19:40.

at lib? The classic example was Tony Blair at the CBI. It is also

:19:40.:19:44.

why we cannot afford... That is probably the Chancellor on the

:19:44.:19:48.

phone there! By then he was so clear on speaking and what he

:19:48.:19:52.

wanted to say that actually we were no longer worried. And if you have

:19:52.:19:58.

got it, flaunt it. The image of Gordon Brown greeting his

:19:58.:20:03.

predecessor as an EU President was a Just William in 2008. The choking

:20:04.:20:10.

sensation as the words Mr President are forced out and then once in the

:20:10.:20:15.

Cabinet Room, the melodrama of when will you hand over to me all over

:20:15.:20:21.

again? When you work for William Hague, I think George Osborne said

:20:21.:20:25.

it was like taking free-kicks for Beckham and he is so good at him

:20:25.:20:29.

himself. Trying to be funny and failing is the worst thing you can

:20:29.:20:34.

do. We have been in government for 500 days although to be fair, it

:20:34.:20:40.

did take 499 of those for Gordon Brown to accept he was not Prime

:20:40.:20:45.

Minister. If you are not good at it and not funny, just don't do it.

:20:45.:20:51.

There you go, how to do it and how not to do it. Isn't it frustrating

:20:51.:20:55.

writing speeches, didn't -- don't you think you could do it better

:20:55.:21:00.

yourself? There is a bit of that. I left that job because ultimately,

:21:00.:21:05.

it is a terribly literary form unless you are writing the

:21:05.:21:10.

Gettysburg Address. The have three minutes to deliver, one simple

:21:10.:21:15.

point and it was an opportunity for hire oratory. Mostly you are

:21:15.:21:18.

talking about pretty mundane everyday things. The opportunities

:21:19.:21:24.

for literature are not great. going to say, Mr Blair, when we

:21:24.:21:29.

covered his party speeches, he in the end got rid of the verb. His

:21:29.:21:35.

speeches became almost a series of one-word sentences. I think it is

:21:35.:21:38.

actually OK if you are speaking, if you are delivering a speech.

:21:38.:21:45.

Because it comes better -- comes across better? Good communicators

:21:45.:21:50.

are good communicators. Blair could do it and Cameron can do it. One

:21:50.:21:55.

difficulty are always had was in the British political tradition, we

:21:55.:22:01.

do not do great oratory and except perhaps in times of the Second

:22:01.:22:05.

World War. You're writing boring stuff most of the time and you

:22:05.:22:09.

write great long speeches which are 20 minutes long, they bore

:22:09.:22:14.

everybody in the hall and they are ultimately only read by 20 or 30

:22:14.:22:17.

political journalists who are looking for the one or two lines

:22:17.:22:20.

which can be used in the headline. The main lines in the headline have

:22:20.:22:24.

been written by the press office and pre-release so what is the

:22:25.:22:29.

point of the 30 minutes? So you are glad you're not doing it any more!

:22:29.:22:35.

I can understand that. OK, where was I? Sorry, am I

:22:35.:22:40.

presenting a TV programme. I was reading some tweets. Is our

:22:40.:22:44.

constant exposure to computers having an impact on the human

:22:44.:22:50.

brain? I wouldn't have thought so. It is not expecting my brain. I

:22:50.:22:54.

think it might have. This evening, neuroscientist Susan Greenfield

:22:54.:22:59.

will use a debate in the House of Lords to ask the government to look

:22:59.:23:03.

into whether our brains are being changed by using things like this

:23:03.:23:11.

and playing games like this. think I am mad, but soon, you shall

:23:11.:23:21.
:23:21.:23:25.

see that every move, every strike, was meant to bring us to this.

:23:25.:23:33.

If he is back on the grid, then so are we.

:23:33.:23:38.

Attacks were triggered across Europe. Reports of the death toll

:23:38.:23:47.

are at 100. That was a clip from Modern Warfare

:23:47.:23:54.

3. It is the latest in a series called Call of Duty. I don't think

:23:54.:23:59.

anybody will mistake it for Andy Pandy. It sold 55 million copies

:23:59.:24:03.

around the world. I don't know if that should cheer you up or make

:24:03.:24:08.

you very, very depressed. It is the kind of video game which is often

:24:08.:24:13.

blamed for violent behaviour. It is one of the concerns that Susan

:24:13.:24:16.

Greenfield who joins me now has along with Tom Chivers. He writes

:24:16.:24:22.

about science for the Daily Telegraph. What impact do videos

:24:22.:24:27.

and games like that have on children's brains? That is a very

:24:27.:24:33.

big question. There is a lot of work going on about it. Let's look

:24:33.:24:38.

at a so called Metro analysis. This was 130 papers which encompasses

:24:38.:24:44.

130 subjects using 100 or so tests and the broad conclusion was there

:24:44.:24:47.

is an increase in aggression, an increase in recklessness, high

:24:47.:24:52.

levels of arousal and a decrease in social behaviour. However, this

:24:52.:24:57.

paper has been critique as biased. That is the nature of scientific

:24:57.:25:04.

evidence. Do you think it is right? As a neuroscientist, it is a given,

:25:04.:25:08.

the brain adapts to the environment. The human brain is exquisitely

:25:08.:25:13.

involved, more than any other species to adapt where it is placed.

:25:13.:25:19.

It follows that if the environment chefs with only hearing and vision

:25:19.:25:27.

being accessed, the brain will be changed. -- if the environment

:25:27.:25:32.

shifts. Let's unpack the different issues that comes from that. What

:25:32.:25:37.

do you say about that? I think you are right, no one disputes the

:25:37.:25:41.

brain changes to its environment. But that has always been the case

:25:41.:25:48.

and just because our environments involve lots of screens and

:25:48.:25:53.

computer games, that is accepted it will change our brains but there is

:25:53.:25:59.

a lot of evidence and studies into these things and as far as I am

:25:59.:26:04.

aware, there is no solid evidence either way. They have been some

:26:04.:26:12.

pieces which suggest. I would suspect that most parents would

:26:12.:26:16.

think instinctively, if my child has got a constant diet of this

:26:16.:26:21.

sort of thing, it must affect them in some way. Let's just think of

:26:21.:26:26.

two separate things. One is the anecdotal evidence and I am yet to

:26:26.:26:30.

make -- meet apparent he says it is great that they Kidd spent so much

:26:30.:26:34.

time on the computer. Secondly there are the statistics. In a

:26:34.:26:39.

recent study in the United States, between a child's 13th and 17th

:26:39.:26:46.

birthday, over half were spending 30 plus hours a week not giving

:26:46.:26:50.

someone a hug or looking summoning the ire or walking along the beach,

:26:50.:26:59.

not feeling the sun on your face -- not looking someone in the eye.

:26:59.:27:06.

That is not true. It is not true that 30 hours in front of a screen

:27:06.:27:11.

does not mean you are talking to a friend. You are not talking to a

:27:11.:27:18.

person, you're talking to a screen. You do not look them in the eye of.

:27:18.:27:25.

You do not do that when you talk on a phone. Their art some -- there is

:27:25.:27:30.

some evidence that people who have active lives on social media have

:27:30.:27:38.

active real lives as well. That would surprise me. Also, you look

:27:38.:27:44.

at other papers like a report from the United -- the University of

:27:44.:27:50.

Michigan. We can look at different papers. A whole point being that it

:27:50.:27:54.

is never the case in science way you have the conclusive paper. What

:27:54.:27:58.

you have to do is rate and evaluate and think and discuss and be

:27:58.:28:03.

specific in what you are asking. What I want to do this evening is

:28:03.:28:07.

ask the government for a co- ordinated initiative. Ordinary

:28:07.:28:10.

human beings who are not scientists, who are parents, teachers,

:28:10.:28:15.

employers, there is aiming for them to understand what is happening so

:28:15.:28:18.

they can question and challenge what is happening and we can go

:28:18.:28:24.

forwards. Our work with ex offenders and youths at risk and

:28:24.:28:28.

they spend a lot of time playing Call of Duty. They accept it is not

:28:28.:28:31.

good for their brains like they accept that smoking and cannabis is

:28:31.:28:37.

not good but they still do it. will come back to this. Thank you

:28:37.:28:41.

for joining us. That is it for today. Special

:28:41.:28:46.

As Gary McKinnon fights attempts to send him to the United States to face computer hacking charges, MPs debate a change in the law. Is it too easy to extradite Brits abroad?

Another week, another crunch meeting for the eurozone. President Sarkozy and Angela Merkel are meeting in Paris - but what's the best deal for the UK?

The kids are hooked to their games consoles - the grown-ups to their smart phones. But could our obsession with these digital toys be messing with our brains? We talk to Baroness Susan Greenfield and the Daily Telegraph's Tom Chivers.

Andrew discusses the art of political speechwriting with our guest of the day - the PM's former speechwriter Danny Kruger, who now runs a charity that works with prisoners, ex-offenders and young people at risk of crime.