15/12/2011 Daily Politics


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15/12/2011

Politics magazine. Helping Britain's troubled families; what music can do for politics; and Baroness Sally Morgan, Ofsted chair, discusses the exam system.


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Afternoon, folks. Welcome to the Daily Politics. In the aftermath of

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the summer's riots the Government promises to turn around the lives

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of Britain's 120,000 troubled families. Will their �450 million

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scheme do the trick? It's supposed to be the pupils who cheat, but,

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now, apparently the examiners are up to it. Can parents, pupils, and

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employers trust out exams system? Advent's a busy time for Santa and

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his elves. But not for MPs - the Government's not given them much to

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do. Still plenty of time to make the mincemeat, steam the puddings

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and stuff the turkey. And can pop music and politicians ever be a

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good combination? It is too dangerous for politicians to get

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involved in youth culture. They end up looking so old! Not sure if that

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was stiff or stuff the turkey! This is not one of these endless baking

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cooking programmes, this is the Daily Politics! All that in the

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next half-hour. And with us for the whole programme today is Baroness

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Sally Morgan, a Labour Peer, former advisor to Tony Blair, and now

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chair of the schools' inspectorate Ofsted. Welcome to the programme.

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Morning. And it's on a school- related matter that we begin.

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Because this morning the Education Select Committee have been hearing

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from the exams boards over allegations of cheating. The

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Telegraph newspaper recorded an examiner working for the Welsh exam

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board, WJEC, giving teachers prior knowledge of the content of exam

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papers and apparently admitting to cheating. The story comes amidst

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concerns that competition between exam boards has led to a dilution

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of standards. We have not cheated. We have not told them anything at

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all. Every individual in front of them achieves their best... We are

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not talking about teachers in the classroom. We are talking about

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examiners in an Examining Board, teaching the exam to teachers.

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are not teaching the exam to teachers. I mean, I quite... We are

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explaining a specification which is a number of words which some

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teachers will immediately pick up, grasp and get a hold of and others

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would say, you know, what does this particular statement mean? We have

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chosen to do this subject on the day Sally Morgan is here! A lot of

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people who read the Telegraph stuff and watched the secretly-taped

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video and so on, in addition to the details, teachers paying up to �230

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a day to attend seminars with chief examiners. It doesn't pass the

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smell test? I am pleased there is going to be a full investigation.

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That is not Ofsted, it is OFQAL. All of us... You don't regulate it?

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We don't regulate exams. So we have the wrong person?! Send her home!

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You are happy they are going to do it? On a personal basis, many moons

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ago I was a geography teacher so when I read the stuff in Telegraph

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about the geography teacher, I found it incredibly depressing. You

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want education to be as wide as possible and we have to see what

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OFQAL come up with. I hope there is a pretty radical look at the system.

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The exams system is now discredited, would you go that far? There is a

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real level of concern about it. We all know, if you have had kids who

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have gone through exams you know how much they put into exams and

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you know how much teachers put in to helping children prepare. So

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there's got to be a situation where there is real assurance for

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children, teachers and employers that the exams mean something.

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remember there was loads of discussion about past exam papers.

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Hasn't there always been a bit of it is more likely this is going to

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come up than that? Maybe not as we saw in that secretly-recorded film.

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But this idea that there is no communication... You are right. I

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can remember that, too. I can remember saying, "If volcanoes came

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up last year, maybe it is not going to come up next." I remember at

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school and at university, you could go into the library and look out

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the exam papers... It is whether or not this has gone over a line. I

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think it's commonsense. Everybody recognises there has to be - there

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is going to be guesswork and intelligence about what is likely

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to come up in an exam. It is about whether this has crossed the line.

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Does it play into a widely-held view beyond the teaching unions,

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who don't agree, that the exams have got easier? I don't buy that.

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Let me ask you this. Why is it now that the private schools who do the

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same A-levels as the state schools they are getting incredible pass

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rates like five times better than 30 years ago? They are not three or

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five times better. Standards have come up. I know there is

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controversy over that. But standards in schools have come up.

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Coursework has had an impact. I am sure there will be a longer review

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about the role of coursework. There is coursework. When we did exams...

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They were three-hour exams. It is very different now.

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universities say that an A in an A level no longer allows them to

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distinguish between good and bad. Those getting A-level maths to go

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to Cambridge have to do remedial courses. The other thing is...

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some of us went to university, you were interviewed by universities

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and that was an additional way of making an assessment.

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There were a lot of universities that did interviews at that point.

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Even though you are not from OFQAL, we are glad you are here! Now, how

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can Government turn around problem families? The cost to society in

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benefits, public services, policing and even prison is well documented.

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As are the grand gestures of past politicians. Now, David Cameron has

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unveiled his plans. Jo has more. Yes, Andrew, the aftermath of the

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summer riots refocused political thought on the UK's problem

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families. Now, the Government wants to use troubleshooters - a mixture

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of charity, council and private sector workers who will receive

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almost �450 million in taxpayers' money to help 120,000 troubled

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families in England. They will be expected to produce plans which

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could include targets to return parents to work, stop them from

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drinking or taking drugs, and ensuring children go to school. The

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troubleshooters will be paid an average of �3,750 for each family,

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with 60% of the money paid upfront and the remainder "on results". The

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Prime Minister explained how troubleshooters will help. They

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will see the family as a whole and get a plan of action together

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agreed with the family. This will be basic practical things, like

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getting the kids to school on time, properly fed. They are the building

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blocks of any orderly home and a responsible life. These things

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don't always cost a lot, but they make a big difference. Then they

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will get on top of the services, sorting out and sometimes fending

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off the 28 different state services that can come calling at the door.

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Not a string of well-meaning disconnected officials who end up

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treating the symptoms and not the causes. But a clear hard-headed

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recognition of how the family is going wrong and what the family

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members can do to take responsibility. We are joined by

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the Communities Minister and for Labour, Jack Dromey. Minister,

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these problem families already cost us �9 billion a year, �9,000

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million, there's still 120,000 of them. So why will another �450

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million make any difference? have a programme that has already

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begun. We have to accelerate that, make it happen all over the country.

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This is pump-priming money to tackle a deep-seated problem that's

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been going on for generations. do you pump-prime? You have heard

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the Prime Minister say we are going to place in each local authority

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area a troubleshooter, we will be working very closely with local

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authorities, the Probation Service, with education, with Criminal

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Justice System, social services take a tremendous hit from families

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and particularly young children who often for generation after

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generation are in a cycle which simply repeats itself. Is this

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troubleshooter going to knock on the doors and say, "Why are you not

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at work? Why is your kid not at school?" Is that what they are

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going to do? The most important thing is to co-ordinate...

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process? No, it is about real action to bring things together.

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is an interesting initiative. Tell us how it will work. There is a

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problem family - Jo's. Troubleshooter goes to Jo's door,

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if they can get through the debris, what will happen? The key thing is

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to make sure the children are at school and the opportunities for

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the family to develop their skills to get into work are there.

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understand that. We have to tackle the anti-social behaviour...

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Understand all that. Sorry to interrupt you. I understand the

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problem. I know about the problem. I'm just anxious to know what this

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person will do when faced with a troubled family. He won't go, or

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she won't go with a blank sheet of paper. They will have been the work

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with the Probation Service, with the education service, the social

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services beforehand so that it is clear for that particular family

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what needs to be done. So the people... It will be different in

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different places. The people aren't working, the kids are not at school.

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What does the troubleshooter do? The first thing is to get those

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children back into school. How does he do it? Can they force them to

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go? What we have got at the moment is a system where there are

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punishments and rewards but it is difficult to enforce them. So the

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troubleshooter's job is to make sure it is pulled together and it

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really does happen. It's some stick but also some carrot to make sure

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that those children are drawn into the system, the adults as well and

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the anti-social behaviour. We have seen it in examples across the

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country that you get a reduction in anti-social behaviour when there is

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that one-to-one engagement. You get children back into school. I can

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understand how one the one will help. Putting aside my inability to

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find out exactly how this will work, I assume that Labour supports the

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principle? Labour in power was always on about early intervention,

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getting in there. I was looking back at Gordon Brown's speech to

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the Labour Conference in 2007 - that is what my life is reading his

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old speeches! New one-to-one support led by the voluntary sector

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can make all the difference. That's what the Government's doing?

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are right. We acted in Government. The notion of early intervention -

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I see some of those families in my own constituency, deep-seated

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problems. Intergenerational? dad I know who lost his job four

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times in the 1980s and then lost his confidence, never worked again

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and no-one else has ever worked in that household for the 25 years

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subsequently. It is absolutely right that what you do is to have a

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focus on those families because they are not just a problem for

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themselves, they are also a problem for the communities in which they

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live. It's the people around them who are troubled? Sure. Is this a

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consensus I am seeing here? principle is a good one. We

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pioneered it. They also abolished Total Place, that brought together

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all the different agencies in areas where you get... Can I come to the

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practical problems? You asked how does it work? The idea of having a

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trusted person working with a family, helping that family and

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challenging that family is a good thing. I have seen it in my own

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constituency. There's three problems... A tough job. I wouldn't

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like it? Very tough job. There are three problems. Briefly.

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Government says this is what we want to do, we want to put in 40%,

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local government you put in 60%. The only problem about that,

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Birmingham cut �212 million from Birmingham City Council... This

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Andrew! The second thing is that early intervention in areas like

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children's centres, childcare, mental health, all of the things

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that matter to - you invest �1 now, you save �10 later on. Those

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services are being cutback by the Government. The third point is get

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people back into work without hesitation. Work should be central

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to people's lives. But just yesterday's figures that came out,

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Andrew, 500 extra people on the dole in my constituency. The floor

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is yours. Indeed. Listening to the chair of the Local Enterprise

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Centre for the West Midlands, they have vacancies they can't fill

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because they haven't got the skills. There is mass unemployment in

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Birmingham. I think Jack and I agree, but for the sake of this

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programme, he has to disagree! LAUGHTER The community budget

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programme has been running all year. What we have done is to give extra

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impetus beyond the pilot areas including Birmingham. Do local

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authorities have to chivvy up some of this �450 million? They will be

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saving as well. Some of the money they are putting into Children's

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Services, putting children into care, they will be able to save.

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it right you are saying to Birmingham, we will put in 40%, but

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you have to find 60%? No, the police service, the Probation

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Service, the budget is drawn from Government departments, nine

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Government departments, across Government. All right. We want to

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monitor this very carefully. It is interesting. This 120,000 troubled

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families, they do cause a lot of the crime, a lot of social unrest

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and they make life miserable for those around them. I think people

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watching this will only be convinced if this 120,000 figure is

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a real figure and whether it is Labour or Conservative, or Lib Dem,

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come back to us in five years' time and say, "It's now 90,000. There is

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still a way to go but we can say to you, we have moved 30,000 off the

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troubled list." I'm not sure they will be able to do that? The real

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issue for me is the children in those families. Some of whom

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obviously in the end are children who end up causing a lot of

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problems in schools for other children. In the end, they are very

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vulnerable. My question is whether or not really there is sufficient

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resource going into this. I'm convinced about early intervention.

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Have any of you seen the scheme? have seen what a real difference...

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No, have you seen the TV programme? None of you have? Correct.

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should all watch it. It should be compulsory viewing in the Lords and

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the Commons. It is on BBC Scotland. It's a documentry where they went

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into a real scheme full of troubled families and watch that before you

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:17:59.:18:00.

think you have any answers. I am sure it is on iPlayer. Thank you.

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Jo. Twas the week before the Christmas break and all through the

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House not a creature was stirring, not even an MP. Well, not quite.

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MPs have been holding backbench debates, but the legislation

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workload has certainly dropped off throughout December. A number of

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MPs have also taken the opportunity to start their foreign Christmas

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breaks early, jetting off to warmer climes as the temperatures in

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Westminster fall. So, is this a well deserved rest for our members

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and chance for the Lords to get their heads around legislation, or

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valuable debating time lost? Two MPs that haven't taken off are

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Labour MP Thomas Docherty and, back by popular demand, Conservative MP

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Peter Bone, who both join us now from the Commons. I hope you have

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left that spot since we saw you last, Peter Bone?! Oh yes. Is the

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Government slacking off before Christmas? It is unusual not to

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have anything to do? I don't think so. We have come from the Chamber

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where business questions are being discussed and there are demands

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from lots of MPs for more and more debate. I think it is rather good

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that the Government is enforcing more legislation through. We should

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have less legislation, better scrutiny and better Acts of

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Parliament. In terms of serious legislation, the Commons isn't and

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hasn't looked at anything particularly meaty for weeks?

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Government got it wrong? They had in a sense, that they rushed all

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their stuff through at the beginning to make an impact. We

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should have had more times to scrutinise that. We wouldn't be in

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the situation where we are now where the Lords is having to do

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most of the scrutiny. That is because the Government controls the

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business of the Commons and when we get to a House Business Committee,

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I think Parliament will improve. That is the reason for it. This is

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really just a screw-up in terms of timings and calendar, isn't it? The

:19:58.:20:01.

legislation has been looked at by the Commons and is now in the

:20:01.:20:07.

Lords? The Commons did not get enough time to do due diligence on

:20:07.:20:14.

these bills. Because the Government railroaded them through, they have

:20:14.:20:22.

gone to the House of Lords who are taking a part in the most badly-

:20:22.:20:27.

drafted bills. The Welfare Reform Bill was defeated and was led by a

:20:27.:20:30.

former Secretary of State for Social Security. Given Peter has

:20:30.:20:33.

nine bills that he is trying to introduce in the House of Commons

:20:33.:20:38.

in the week ahead, I think if anybody needs to look at their own

:20:38.:20:42.

regulation, it might be Peter. do you say to that? The Government

:20:42.:20:46.

was really poor in allowing Private Members' Bills. One of the things

:20:46.:20:50.

we have to do is to reform the House so a Private Members' Bill

:20:50.:20:56.

can be debated. Can I come back to this point? Ill-judged and badly-

:20:56.:20:59.

drafted legislation. That makes all of us cringe with the idea it is

:20:59.:21:05.

going to have to be redone, it will have to be re-debated? We are

:21:05.:21:12.

expecting some badly-drafted legislation to be passed here?

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It should have been the Commons? This started up under Blair and

:21:18.:21:22.

Brown when they introduced timetabling in the Commons. I would

:21:22.:21:27.

like our guest here to my left to support the idea of getting rid of

:21:27.:21:30.

programme motions because that's the problem, the Commons is

:21:30.:21:33.

restricted on the time it has for debate. That doesn't happen in the

:21:33.:21:37.

Lords. It was brought in by Labour. I would like to see that scrapped.

:21:37.:21:41.

We will talk to Sally Morgan about that in a minute. This is all

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fascinating for all of us in the Westminster village. Does the

:21:45.:21:49.

public really take an interest in terms of the sort of process of

:21:49.:21:53.

legislation and the timing that's devoted to it? The public has a

:21:53.:21:57.

right to know that why is it the Government's whips collapsed the

:21:57.:22:03.

business yesterday at 5.30 so they can go to a carol concert. Why did

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we finish last week at 5.00 so they could go to a Christmas party? It

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is not good for the taxpayer. that note, thank you both very much

:22:14.:22:18.

in the House of Commons and Happy Christmas. Happy Christmas.

:22:18.:22:23.

Lords seem to be coming into their own having plenty of time... We are

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not finishing at 5.00! We are starting at 10.00 and working

:22:28.:22:36.

through till 10.00 at night. We are doing detailed scrutiny of both the

:22:36.:22:41.

Health and Welfare Reform Bills. it badly drafted? There is real

:22:41.:22:46.

concern about the drafting. will be working right the way

:22:46.:22:50.

through? We are working through to the end of next Wednesday. Glad to

:22:50.:22:59.

hear it! That is great. We are not! Don't tell them! France could be

:22:59.:23:07.

losing its AAA status. Am I looking at the right camera? Remember Cool

:23:07.:23:12.

Britannia? A certain Prime Minister getting down with the kids,

:23:12.:23:16.

entertaining BRIT popstars at Downing Street? I'm sure Sally

:23:16.:23:24.

Morgan does. But does it work? Does a little bit of the stardust rub

:23:24.:23:28.

off on the politicians? Can a good tune change the way we vote? Here's

:23:28.:23:38.
:23:38.:23:43.

The music studios in London. Some of the biggest names in pop have

:23:43.:23:48.

prepared here. For a rock fan like me, I'm living the dream. There is

:23:48.:23:51.

nothing worse than gentlemen of a certain age pretending they are

:23:51.:23:55.

down with the kids and politicians are some of the worst offenders.

:23:55.:24:01.

Gordon Brown and the Arctic Monkeys? Really? There has always

:24:01.:24:05.

been the strong bond between music and politics. How powerful can a

:24:05.:24:10.

song be? Who better to ask than Professor John Street. He's written

:24:10.:24:20.
:24:20.:24:22.

a book called Music and Politics. If you think about music and

:24:22.:24:28.

musicians, you do see the use of music to drive political movements

:24:28.:24:32.

of some considerable significance and produce an effect.

:24:32.:24:39.

# Things can only get better. # Take this. Remind you of anything?

:24:39.:24:49.
:24:49.:24:50.

Me, too. A catchy tune can be a double edged sword. People point at

:24:50.:24:55.

Things Can Only Get Better so when ever you see a New Labour story

:24:55.:25:01.

clip on the TV, that will be the backdrop to it. It is easy to

:25:01.:25:05.

overplay the impact that those things had at the time. The trouble

:25:05.:25:13.

with that song is it is pathetic, it is an awful song. Ouch! Yet,

:25:13.:25:18.

politicians are drawn to pop music and musicians like moths to a flame.

:25:18.:25:26.

Do we like it? Politics is so desperately uncool at the moment.

:25:26.:25:31.

Even more so than it ever was. It is too dangerous for politicians to

:25:31.:25:36.

get involved in youth culture. you are not making any friends at

:25:36.:25:41.

Westminster! Professor Street and I may not be getting backstage at the

:25:41.:25:48.

next U2 gig. You can get pop stars that will put you off. Can we name

:25:48.:25:53.

names? Bono could put people off, the causes he was advocating,

:25:53.:25:58.

because he was almost too familiar, too much of a man who is always

:25:58.:26:02.

advocating causes. Sorry, Bono. If there is one song which shows the

:26:02.:26:07.

power of music can have over politics, it is this one:

:26:07.:26:15.

# Feed the world. # We were all young once! We're

:26:15.:26:18.

joined now by the Conservative MP and rock music fan who used to work

:26:18.:26:21.

in the music industry, Mike Weatherley. Welcome to the

:26:21.:26:25.

programme. Can you think of a song that has changed politics?

:26:25.:26:34.

necessarily a song. There are musicians that have. Frank Zappa

:26:34.:26:43.

campaigned against censorship. you think of one? Feed The World

:26:43.:26:49.

captured the public mood. You don't see much political protest songs in

:26:49.:26:53.

The X Factor? Music is about fun. This is true. That is what people

:26:53.:26:58.

want to hear. They don't want to be preached at quite often. You agree

:26:58.:27:04.

with that remark about Bono? A lot of people don't want to be preached

:27:04.:27:09.

at. They want to have fun with music. Creative people do want to

:27:09.:27:16.

give a message. Whose idea was Cool Britannia? Not mine! LAUGHTER Thank

:27:16.:27:24.

you! Dry your hands. You made a pledge to the people of Hove that

:27:24.:27:30.

you would wear your Iron Maiden T- shirt in the Commons, have you done

:27:30.:27:36.

so? I have. Westminster Hall I have. I asked the Speaker if he would

:27:36.:27:43.

give me permission, he said "no". They are very noisy! That's a genre

:27:43.:27:48.

that I particularly like. You don't often hear that word on this

:27:48.:27:54.

programme! Music is very important to our overseas earnings. We are

:27:54.:28:03.

world beaters at it! It would make it uncool. All right. Stand up for

:28:03.:28:08.

British music! We are the best! Time before we go to give you the

:28:08.:28:16.

answer to yesterday's Guess The Year competition. It was 1987. The

:28:16.:28:22.

first name gets one of our brand- new mugs. 11 more runners-up will

:28:22.:28:27.

get one of the old ones! You can pick the winner of the brand-new

:28:27.:28:34.

mug. This is the first-ever mug. Adam Williams, County Durham.

:28:34.:28:40.

get the first new mug. Thanks to all our guests. I'll be back

:28:40.:28:43.

tonight for This Week's Review of the Year with Michael Portillo,

:28:43.:28:50.

Diane Abbott and Charles Kennedy. And George Clooney! And tomorrow at

:28:50.:28:53.

noon, I'll be here with the final Daily Politics of 2011 and, as

:28:53.:28:56.

Presented by Andrew Neil and Jo Coburn.

In the aftermath of the summer's riots, the government promises to turn around the lives of Britain's 120,000 troubled families. Will their £450m scheme do the trick?

There's a look at what can music do for politics, and why some MPs have already fled Westminster for their Christmas holiday. Two who are still there - Labour's Thomas Docherty and Conservative Peter Bone - join us from the Commons.

Plus, Baroness Sally Morgan, the former advisor to Tony Blair, and now chair of the schools' inspectorate Ofsted, joins Andrew and Jo throughout the show. Can parents, pupils and employers can trust our exam system?