13/01/2012 Daily Politics


13/01/2012

Andrew Neil has the latest political news, interviews and debate. Guests include Trevor Kavanagh, Associate Editor of The Sun, and political commentator Gaby Hinsliff.


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Afternoon, Berks, welcome to the Daily Politics on Friday. Michael

:00:45.:00:49.

Gove is giving school heads the power to sack bad teachers within a

:00:49.:00:56.

term, so will this help improve children's education. David Cameron

:00:56.:00:59.

concedes the plans to remove child benefit from higher earners could

:00:59.:01:07.

be unfair. Is the Government about to rethink its policy? Back then it

:01:07.:01:16.

was about 80p a how the fuel protests make petrol prices a very

:01:16.:01:24.

political issue. All that coming up and with me

:01:24.:01:29.

today for the first Friday of the parliamentary year in 2012, Trevor

:01:29.:01:34.

Kavanagh of the Sun, and former political editor of the Observer,

:01:34.:01:38.

Gaby Hinsliff. The Education Secretary Michael

:01:38.:01:41.

Gove has announced plans to make it easier to sack poorly-performing

:01:42.:01:46.

teachers. The process currently takes at least one year, but under

:01:46.:01:49.

new procedures to be introduced from September, head teachers will

:01:49.:01:54.

be able to remove a bad teachers from the payroll in just one term.

:01:54.:01:59.

It is absolutely vital that we move on with underperforming teachers

:01:59.:02:03.

who are making life difficult for other staff. In the past it has

:02:03.:02:08.

taken up to a year to get rid of them. Now we have shortened the

:02:08.:02:14.

process so we should just take the term. Some of the old, lame excuses

:02:14.:02:17.

that were used where teachers pretended to go on the sick, to

:02:17.:02:21.

delay the process, they cannot do that anymore. We have got a

:02:21.:02:25.

determined focus on making sure that every moment children spend in

:02:25.:02:29.

the classroom is with a great teacher. Sacking bad teachers, that

:02:29.:02:35.

is not going to be popular with everybody, except the union

:02:35.:02:41.

leaders? It will be popular with parents. Nobody wants to see

:02:41.:02:44.

teachers fired up willy-nilly. They should have the same rights as

:02:44.:02:49.

everyone else. There must be a process. They also must be helped

:02:49.:02:54.

to improve. You do not want to see good teachers who need a good bit

:02:54.:02:59.

of help turn on the junk heap. end of state education was one of

:02:59.:03:06.

the things that was said. It is about time the unions for public

:03:06.:03:10.

services and for all people and the public sector were Cup to the fact

:03:10.:03:14.

that the public sector, the state education and health service, was

:03:14.:03:18.

set up for members of the public and not for union members and they

:03:18.:03:21.

should start thinking about the customers rather than their members.

:03:21.:03:28.

This is decades overdue. Clearly something is wrong with only 17 out

:03:28.:03:32.

of 400,000 teachers who were barred from applying for a teaching post

:03:32.:03:36.

in the last decade. There are many good teachers in this country, but

:03:36.:03:41.

it you have 400,000, they have got to be some bad ones by the lot of

:03:41.:03:47.

average. I was not sure about this idea of giving parents a greater

:03:47.:03:52.

role. That seemed a bit strange. was talking about parents coming

:03:52.:03:56.

into the classroom to look at lessons and a lot of parents go in

:03:56.:04:01.

to help children with reading. You get a chance to have a snoop around.

:04:01.:04:05.

I am not sure as a parent of a child in school I am not sure I

:04:05.:04:10.

would know exactly the difference. If a class is out of control, you

:04:10.:04:14.

can see it, but I do not know that difference between a great teacher

:04:14.:04:19.

and an ordinary teacher. The wonder how much substance there is to this.

:04:19.:04:24.

He says, they have to make a positive contribution to the wider

:04:24.:04:28.

life and ethos of the school. How do you measure that? It is down to

:04:28.:04:32.

the headmaster. If you have got good headmasters, there is no

:04:32.:04:36.

problem about identifying those teachers who are an adverse element

:04:36.:04:41.

in the classroom. Out of 400,000 teachers, the vast majority are

:04:41.:04:48.

good, industrious and creative. But it is in any work was a significant

:04:48.:04:53.

sector. The idea of only 17 losing their jobs when others have been

:04:53.:04:57.

shunted around from one school to the other... 17 were barred from

:04:57.:05:02.

applying for other jobs, but 211 have been struck off for misconduct

:05:02.:05:08.

in a decade. It is a small number for 400,000. It is astonishing it

:05:08.:05:12.

is misconduct. This will work if it is seen to raise teaching

:05:12.:05:17.

standards? Yes, without creating far too much upheaval and if you

:05:17.:05:21.

pick the right teachers. The hard ones are going to be the mediocre

:05:21.:05:27.

ones. I will be speaking to the Education Secretary Michael Gove on

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the first edition of a brand-new political programme on the BBC. We

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are on at lunchtime on Sunday politics on BBC One this Sunday at

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midday. It took us a long time to think up that name. The Prime

:05:42.:05:45.

Minister has been speaking to the Parliamentary House Magazine and

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revealed he is looking again at cuts to child benefit. He says,

:05:51.:05:56.

they are causing huge anxiety in these straitened times and many of

:05:56.:06:00.

David Cameron's own backbenchers have spoken out against the policy.

:06:00.:06:07.

What is going to change? From April 2013, Brummies where one parent

:06:07.:06:13.

earns more than �42,000 are set to lose their child benefit. That is

:06:13.:06:17.

�20.30 for the first child and �13.40 for every other child per

:06:17.:06:27.
:06:27.:06:46.

week, tax-free. When asked about the unfairness of this, David

:06:46.:06:56.
:06:56.:07:05.

Cameron said: But he said he did not want to, quote, impinge on the

:07:05.:07:09.

Chancellor's budget which is coming in March. The Chancellor has

:07:09.:07:14.

defended the cuts saying they would save up to �1 billion a year and it

:07:14.:07:20.

was tough but necessary. We spoke to some of the Prime Minister's own

:07:20.:07:25.

MPs in November and many urged him to look at it again. A couple came

:07:25.:07:29.

to see me who are very cross because they are a single income

:07:29.:07:32.

household and they will not get child benefit any more, but their

:07:32.:07:37.

income is literally just over the threshold, whereas their next-door

:07:37.:07:40.

neighbours have two incomes, they are under the higher tax rate

:07:40.:07:45.

threshold and they will still get it. My constituents are saying it

:07:45.:07:52.

has not been fairly applied. I need to see the detail on this, I have

:07:52.:07:56.

great concerns we do not dissuade people from taking that pay rise

:07:56.:08:00.

and puts them into the higher-rate tax band, but it means they use all

:08:00.:08:05.

their child benefit. That is from the Government's own backbenchers.

:08:05.:08:11.

This morning the Chancellor set to clarify matters and said higher

:08:11.:08:15.

rate taxpayers would still lose their benefit. We are very clear

:08:15.:08:21.

that it is fair that those who are better off in our society make a

:08:21.:08:24.

contribution to the saving of money we need to make to pay down the

:08:24.:08:29.

debt, so we will be removing child benefit from higher rate taxpayers.

:08:29.:08:33.

We have not set out how we are going to implement that, but the

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principle is it is not fair to ask someone who is earning �25,000 to

:08:39.:08:47.

pay for someone who is on �80,000 to get child benefit. That was the

:08:47.:08:50.

Chancellor after the Prime Minister had spoken. We are still not

:08:50.:08:56.

exactly clear what the policy is. Let's see if James Brown can

:08:56.:09:02.

enlighten us. Let's establish first, this cut in child benefit for

:09:02.:09:07.

higher earners, how much it will it save year by year if it goes ahead?

:09:07.:09:11.

The Government estimates that this measure will save about �2.4

:09:11.:09:18.

billion a year. It is going to take child benefit away from about 1.5

:09:18.:09:22.

million families, each of whom I losing between upwards of �1,000 a

:09:22.:09:32.
:09:32.:09:32.

year. 2.4 billion, as Ronald Reagan said, it soon adds up to real money.

:09:32.:09:37.

Does the Chancellor need this to keep his death as a target online?

:09:37.:09:40.

There are a lot of different things the Government could do if it

:09:40.:09:45.

wanted to save money and this is just one option. However, looking

:09:45.:09:48.

at the Public Finance numbers that came out in the Autumn Statement,

:09:49.:09:53.

there does not seem to be very much wriggle room at all in terms of

:09:53.:09:57.

meeting the Government's targets for a deficit reduction. Any

:09:57.:10:01.

relaxation of policy in this area would almost certainly have to be

:10:01.:10:05.

made up for by a tightening somewhere else. The principle of

:10:05.:10:09.

the policy is simple to understand. If you are in the higher rate tax

:10:09.:10:14.

bracket, you do not get child benefit. It is an easy thing to

:10:14.:10:18.

understand. When the Chancellor is talking about we have yet to look

:10:18.:10:21.

at the way we are going to implement it, what scope does he

:10:21.:10:26.

have? Well, the way the Chancellor is talking about it at the moment

:10:26.:10:30.

is that as soon as your income goes above the higher rate threshold,

:10:30.:10:38.

which is about �42,000 a year on an individual level, your family will

:10:38.:10:44.

complete you use your child benefit. They could try and introduce a more

:10:44.:10:48.

gradual way of taking away child benefit from these higher earners

:10:48.:10:52.

to raise the same amount of money. That means you would have to start

:10:53.:10:56.

taking it away from someone somewhat below the higher rate

:10:56.:11:01.

threshold. Alternatively, if you think this way of means testing

:11:01.:11:07.

based on individual income of parents is unfair, if you think a

:11:07.:11:11.

couple where they are both just below the higher rate threshold and

:11:11.:11:14.

would not be affected by this policy, you think they are better

:11:14.:11:19.

off than somebody in a single earner couple who is just above, if

:11:19.:11:24.

you want to means test it based on the joint income, you might want to

:11:24.:11:29.

consider perhaps getting rid of child benefit altogether and

:11:29.:11:33.

bringing that into the means tested benefits system we already have

:11:33.:11:38.

through something like the child tax credits. James Brown, thank you

:11:38.:11:42.

for explaining some of the background. We are joined in the

:11:42.:11:45.

studio by Charlotte Vere, a former Conservative parliamentary

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candidate and now runs a think-tank on women's issues. It was at a

:11:49.:11:53.

party conference I remember interviewing various Conservatives

:11:53.:11:57.

and when Mr Osborne announced this, we all pointed out to him the

:11:57.:12:02.

unfairness of the single earner family just being over the �42,000

:12:02.:12:10.

threshold, but having a total income of only 42, but two working

:12:10.:12:14.

parents earning a combined �80,000 and still getting the child benefit.

:12:14.:12:19.

We still seem to be where we were when we did all these interviews.

:12:19.:12:22.

completely agree and this is 15 months later and people are still

:12:22.:12:27.

pointing out the same issues. But what is very important is we look

:12:27.:12:30.

at the situation for the families where they have just one burner,

:12:30.:12:36.

the single families, or where you have one parent going out to work.

:12:36.:12:41.

There cliff edge is ridiculous, something has to be done. It is a

:12:41.:12:46.

pseud sum of money. You would have to earn a lot more, taxed at 40%,

:12:46.:12:51.

to be compensated in any way for the fall in child benefit. They

:12:51.:12:54.

will have to do something about this. But the other thing to

:12:54.:12:58.

remember is that many families where you have two incomes, they

:12:58.:13:05.

are not both on �40,000 a year. They might be on 30 and 16. I do

:13:05.:13:08.

not think the Government does enough to support those sorts of

:13:08.:13:14.

families. In that situation, adding together their income and taking

:13:14.:13:17.

away their benefit is not beneficial at all. We have to

:13:17.:13:23.

support women and men in the workplace. Staying at home is hard,

:13:23.:13:28.

being a working mum or dad is much tougher. I understand that, but

:13:28.:13:31.

what James Brown is talking about is that is typical of the mess that

:13:31.:13:37.

the Government ends up getting into. You come out with a policy that may

:13:37.:13:42.

be seen as fair or unfair, and is relatively simple to understand.

:13:42.:13:46.

Now they are talking about all sorts of tapering, relief, do it

:13:46.:13:51.

this way, do it that and it adds another 50 pages to the tax code

:13:51.:13:55.

and becomes a complete complicated mess and you end up with something

:13:55.:14:00.

Mrs Thatcher used to hate, a huge bureaucracy giving you money with

:14:00.:14:05.

one hand and a huge bureaucracy taking it away with another. That

:14:05.:14:09.

is where we could Ted if we make it too complicated. Could they not

:14:09.:14:15.

just junket? I think it is a good way to start looking at the child

:14:15.:14:19.

benefit. It was a breeding bonus after the war and was a very

:14:19.:14:23.

outdated benefit, we need to structure it. I understand that but

:14:23.:14:31.

I do not see any Government who has got the balls to do that. Do you?

:14:31.:14:37.

hope that some stage it is coming into the broader benefits system.

:14:37.:14:42.

did all these arguments two years ago. The Government did not quite

:14:42.:14:47.

anticipate how heard -- hire people were going to find the squeeze on

:14:47.:14:53.

their living standards. When people are already feeling food and energy

:14:53.:14:56.

and petrol is more expensive and their wages are not going up, they

:14:56.:15:01.

would look at this and think one might think. This his Ed Miliband's

:15:01.:15:06.

squeeze it middle. Maybe if you are on 42, you are not what some people

:15:06.:15:11.

would call the middle. These are families who feel they are being

:15:11.:15:17.

attacked on all sides by Government. 42 is not a lot of money.

:15:17.:15:24.

Absolutely not. It is not a huge sum in the metropolitan area. But

:15:24.:15:28.

any form of subsidy, whether it is welfare or anything else, is very

:15:28.:15:33.

easy to introduce at the beginning, it is a walk in the park. Any

:15:33.:15:37.

attempt to remodel it or reduce it after it is always going to produce

:15:37.:15:41.

an anomaly and howls of protest from those who are the victims of

:15:41.:15:45.

the anomaly. Women in particular who get the child benefit will not

:15:45.:15:51.

be happy with this. A recent study found that of the �2.3 billion to

:15:51.:15:56.

be raised from tax credit cards and caps on public sector pay, 73% of

:15:56.:16:02.

that, almost 1.7 billion, comes from women. Is this one of the

:16:02.:16:11.

reasons why the Prime Minister is Women get more from the Government

:16:11.:16:14.

in the first place. So the cuts will necessarily for heavier upon

:16:14.:16:19.

women. But the interesting thing about much of the research is that

:16:19.:16:24.

it assumes that all child benefits go to the mother. That is not

:16:24.:16:28.

necessarily true, and it is not up to the state to decide who should

:16:28.:16:33.

get those benefits. We have to look at them amongst the whole of the

:16:33.:16:36.

family's income. There are several things the government can do to

:16:36.:16:43.

mitigate this. This is not an attack on women. What do you think

:16:43.:16:47.

the Government should do about child benefit for higher earners?

:16:47.:16:57.

In has to be implemented. There should be a grace period. But then

:16:57.:17:01.

he does not get the savings. That will have to be found from

:17:01.:17:06.

elsewhere. At the moment, you cannot have a single earner family

:17:06.:17:14.

approaching �42,000 a year and then falling off a cliff. If I heard

:17:14.:17:18.

that and I realised I would not get the savings, but I would still be

:17:19.:17:22.

unpopular for doing this among the potential core Tory vote, I would

:17:22.:17:28.

wonder if I was the Prime Minister, if it is worth it? The more

:17:28.:17:34.

complicated it gets, the less money raised. Once it becomes complicated

:17:34.:17:41.

to raise, it becomes expensive. But it was important to the whole "we

:17:42.:17:46.

are all in this together" message that some things fell on higher

:17:46.:17:56.

rate taxpayers. Why do people only care about stay at her mother's?

:17:56.:18:01.

But the threshold is coming down. The 40% now covers several million

:18:01.:18:07.

people, for whom it was not intended. If you run an English

:18:07.:18:11.

department in a moderate sized comprehensive school, you are now

:18:11.:18:16.

in the 40% bracket. They are in it together. I think people who are

:18:16.:18:20.

earning �20,000 a year and struggling to get by might have

:18:20.:18:26.

limited sympathy for people earning �40,000. I wonder if the Chancellor

:18:26.:18:29.

has been caught by the failure of his economic policy to deliver in

:18:29.:18:35.

time. He kicked this into touch when he announced it for 2013. The

:18:35.:18:41.

announcement was that by 2013, the worst of the austerity would be

:18:41.:18:45.

over and he would be able to say I was going to do this, but I don't

:18:45.:18:50.

need to now. Now that is not going to happen. I am not sure that it

:18:50.:18:56.

ever was. Most people felt at the time that there was a missed

:18:57.:19:03.

opportunity to do really serious cuts, far deeper than they were,

:19:03.:19:07.

from the outset. That momentum was lost, and we are struggling to

:19:07.:19:12.

catch up. The markets will dictate this in the end. We must find

:19:12.:19:17.

savings. There is no point in saying we can pay for these

:19:17.:19:22.

anomalies by filtering them in and having a table. You will have to

:19:22.:19:26.

pay for that from somewhere else. We have to borrow every penny we

:19:26.:19:30.

spend, we have no money. I have a feeling this is going to

:19:30.:19:35.

rumble. I detect nuances of difference between the Prime

:19:35.:19:38.

Minister and the Chancellor on this. And now, can you imagine what would

:19:39.:19:42.

happen if our petrol pumps run out of fuel? Cast your mind back to

:19:42.:19:46.

2000, when a blockade by farmers and hauliers threatened to bring

:19:46.:19:50.

the UK to a standstill. They were protesting against the increasing

:19:50.:19:55.

price of fuel, which was then just over 80p a litre. Those were the

:19:55.:20:00.

days. So what impact did the protests have? Matt has put on a

:20:00.:20:09.

pair of wellies to find out. Here is after the storm.

:20:09.:20:15.

A dairy farmer. His name is David Handley. Had it not been for the

:20:15.:20:20.

few protests in the year 2000, he might have remained in obscurity

:20:20.:20:25.

with his pedigree Jersey cows. But David, along with other farmers and

:20:25.:20:31.

lorry drivers, wiped the smile off Tony Blair's face and came close to

:20:31.:20:39.

shutting Britain down. Adrenalin rush all the time. After the first

:20:39.:20:49.

24 hours, you really started to understand what was going on. The

:20:49.:20:54.

enthusiasm from people all over the country inspired you to keep going.

:20:54.:21:00.

We had to do what we set out to do, which was to make politicians

:21:00.:21:07.

realise that people are speaking to you. By the turn of the millennium,

:21:07.:21:14.

82% of petrol was tax. By September 2000, the haulage industry and many

:21:14.:21:19.

farmers have had enough. Slow- moving lorries jammed the roads.

:21:19.:21:24.

Tractors blockaded oil refineries, and COBRA met under the pavements

:21:25.:21:31.

of Whitehall as forecourts closed and the petrol started to run out.

:21:31.:21:33.

Three-quarters of the public supported the action, while the

:21:33.:21:38.

government insisted that they would not back down, but then did it in

:21:38.:21:43.

November 2000. David Hanley says the effects of the protests are

:21:43.:21:48.

still felt today. The fuel issue has raised its head in the media,

:21:48.:21:52.

and all of a sudden you get a very fast response from politicians. Ten

:21:52.:21:56.

years ago, that did not happen. They were standing back and waving

:21:57.:22:02.

two fingers at us. Not any more. What has changed since David was

:22:02.:22:07.

involved in the fuel protests 12 years ago? The tax take on petrol

:22:07.:22:14.

has fallen from 80% to about 60%. But the price of petrol has doubled.

:22:15.:22:20.

The issue of fuel prices is a ticking timebomb. It is much more

:22:20.:22:24.

important to most people in Britain than high-speed rail. The

:22:24.:22:28.

Government have not really address bad. Yes, they have frozen duty on

:22:28.:22:32.

some occasions and reduced it occasionally. They have done

:22:32.:22:39.

nothing about the transparency of fuel prices or a fair few duty

:22:39.:22:44.

stabiliser that brings fuel duty down when global prices go up.

:22:44.:22:49.

to clearly now, with global economic uncertainty, the Treasury

:22:49.:22:52.

has less room to manoeuvre on fuel duty because of public opinion. But

:22:53.:22:57.

the pure protests also changed the way government deals with a crisis.

:22:57.:23:03.

In 2000, they realised that nuclear weapons are no match for a bunch of

:23:03.:23:11.

blokes in tractors on mobile phones. A special appearance there by the

:23:11.:23:18.

cow. If I remember this fuel protesting 2000. It happened around

:23:18.:23:22.

the party conference season, and it was tough to get to them. It has

:23:22.:23:29.

had quite an impact. Over the years, governments of both persuasions

:23:29.:23:33.

have had to reduce the tax share. It has really seeped into public

:23:33.:23:38.

consciousness, firstly the idea that petrol is a massive bellwether.

:23:38.:23:42.

How much people have to pay for petrol makes a huge difference to

:23:42.:23:45.

how they feel about their quality of life. The other thing is the

:23:45.:23:49.

realisation that we were close to the edge. We did not realise how

:23:49.:23:53.

much we depended on fuel as part of the national infrastructure. How

:23:53.:23:57.

easy it was for three blokes in tractors to bring the nation to a

:23:57.:24:01.

halt. We were a day from not having enough fuel to run an ambulance

:24:01.:24:11.

service. Arthur Scargill must have been jealous. It seems that the

:24:11.:24:15.

protesters do know the difference between higher oil prices, which

:24:15.:24:20.

are set by world demand and supply, and higher prices that are high

:24:20.:24:26.

because the Government is taking a 2% of the tax. It has had an impact

:24:26.:24:31.

on reducing the level of tax -- they are taking 80%.

:24:31.:24:38.

groundswell of revolt has taken so long to reach the point of threat

:24:38.:24:41.

to the Government because when you pay for a tankful of petrol these

:24:41.:24:46.

days out of hard currency, you are forking out �80 to �90 to fill your

:24:46.:24:51.

tank. Even with a small car. It really hits home. The Sun has been

:24:52.:24:56.

campaigning for months now about fuel prices. We come back to the

:24:56.:25:01.

point where the Government cannot afford to reduce its impact --

:25:01.:25:05.

intake from fuel tax, because it has to cut spending. But they have

:25:05.:25:11.

all been cowed since 2000. It has had an impact on British politics.

:25:11.:25:15.

Fuel is so sensitive, because you do it every week. You fill the tank,

:25:15.:25:19.

and every time it is the same amount of fuel, so you can see how

:25:19.:25:26.

much it has gone up. You don't notice other costs rising so much.

:25:26.:25:30.

Anyway, it is the first week back for MPs from the Christmas holidays.

:25:30.:25:38.

How has it gone? Here is Adam with the week in 60 seconds.

:25:38.:25:42.

On Tuesday, the Transport Secretary Justine Greening ignored concerns

:25:43.:25:46.

from the Tory heartlands and gave the green light to high-speed rail.

:25:46.:25:54.

David Cameron's father-in-law, Lord Astor, called the project a trap

:25:54.:25:58.

for ministers. After last week's blockbusters row, Ed Miliband

:25:58.:26:02.

decided it was time for a relaunch, although he refused to call it that.

:26:02.:26:05.

There was a change in tactics when he told the country that in future,

:26:05.:26:08.

Labour would not just be about big spending.

:26:08.:26:11.

The three major parties joined forces to take on the nationalists

:26:11.:26:16.

north of the border over Scottish independence. This week, the battle

:26:16.:26:20.

commenced over the timing and wording of a referendum. We need a

:26:20.:26:24.

referendum which is built in Scotland. It is not a referendum

:26:24.:26:28.

they want. Meanwhile, the High Commission of India complained to

:26:28.:26:33.

the BBC over an episode of Top Gear filmed in India, featuring the

:26:33.:26:43.
:26:43.:26:43.

Prime Minister. Number 10 said the complaint was a matter for the BBC.

:26:43.:26:48.

A couple of minutes ago. Let's talk about Ed Miliband. How bad is it

:26:48.:26:52.

for the Labour leader? It is bad enough that every question about

:26:52.:26:58.

him starts with "how bad is it?" he is in a position where everything

:26:58.:27:02.

is seen through the prism of, it is a mess, what do we do about it? It

:27:02.:27:07.

is hard to get out of that defensive position. To break out of

:27:07.:27:11.

that, you need something more dramatic than what we have seen.

:27:11.:27:15.

Perfectly good speech, but it just did not fire. One Labour MP said to

:27:15.:27:19.

me that a lot of what he says is the right thing he should be saying.

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The problem is, he is saying it. Yes, it is Ed Miliband, not the

:27:24.:27:30.

Labour Party. He is dead in the water. It is that serious? Yes. I

:27:30.:27:37.

am not alone in that. He is a dead duck. There is no way Ed Miliband

:27:37.:27:42.

will be able to resuscitate his reputation to the point of leading

:27:42.:27:47.

his party to power. It may even be so bad that the Tories will win

:27:47.:27:51.

outright. Thanks to Ed Miliband. But Labour does not get rid of its

:27:52.:27:57.

leaders. We used to say that about the Lib Dems, and to have they got

:27:57.:28:02.

rid of three in quick succession! But Ed Miliband will have learnt

:28:02.:28:05.

that there is no outstanding sure- fire winner in the wings waiting to

:28:05.:28:10.

be brought on. People get excited about Yvette Cooper or even his

:28:10.:28:14.

brother, but neither is a guaranteed winner. He is not in the

:28:14.:28:18.

position that Iain Duncan Smith was in with Michael Portillo. Alistair

:28:18.:28:23.

Darling has emerged, perhaps against his better judgment, as a

:28:23.:28:29.

possible runner. But he has spoken for. It is an indication of how

:28:29.:28:33.

highly he is regarded. He is an elder statesman without being that

:28:33.:28:39.

old. Watch this space. That's it for this week. Thanks to my guests.

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