31/01/2012 Daily Politics


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Afternoon. Welcome to the Daily Politics. Has David Cameron got


another fight looming over Europe? He's facing accusations from his


backbenchers that he's weakened his opposition to the new pact between


25 of the 27 European Union countries. He'll be explaining his


position to the Commons later this afternoon.


Vocational subjects will no longer be in the school tables. HMS


Dauntless is to head to the faubg - - Falklands. There has been rising


tension. We'll have the latest. Is beautiful always best? We'll look


at one campaign to make us eat ugly vegetables. All that in the next


hour. With me for the start, is Steve Potter, strategy director of


Bibby Line Group. Welcome to the programme. That is the firm, that


among other activities, operates Costcutter shops. We hope to be


joined by the journalist and founder of the West London Free


School, Toby Young, who is stuck in traffic. A familiar story. If you


have questions, you can tweet us using the hash tag, askToby.


Starting with bankers' bonuses. Starting with Stephen Hester and Ed


Miliband has been touring the TV studios this morning. We'll see


what he had to say. I hope the Government does use its share


holding in the Royal Bank of Scotland, which it hasn't done, to


have more restraint across the board. I fear what has happened is


the bonus merry-go-round across the industry is unchecked. That is why


we have called a vote next Tuesday on a tax on the bonuses, because


the taxpayer deserves to get money back. That's while this carries on.


That was Ed Miliband. Steve Potter, everyone's had their penny's worth,


do you think Stephen Hester should have kept his bonus or did he do


the right thing? In the circumstances he did the right


thing this time. He has come out of this smelling of roses. He's got


sympathy from the other bankers for probably being the worst-paid


banker in the City. Sympathy from the public, because he's taken a


moral stance. In reference to Ed Miliband's comments, I think it's


time now to get in front of the game rather than having a trial by


media every time the question comes up. Does that mean it should be it?


There shouldn't be a look at bonuses across the board, that we


need to look at the whole culture. Do you think Stephen Hester has


done the symbolic thing and we should move on? No, we should look


at them. Being taxed and bonuses being absolutely clearly


performance related. It's difficult to argue with those things, but I


just need to repeat that it's important to set those goals up


front and not get into the position we've been in of somebody having


been awarded a bonus on a package they thought they were being


recruited on and a trial by media to judge whether they are allowed


to keep that. What about in your company? What are they like? Does


everyone at senior level get one? Is it reward-related in the sense


of performance? Absolutely. There are no bonuses in our economy which


are not -- company which are not so and especially relating to


performance over the long term. They are long term, so not built in


as an extension of your salary so you come in and you are always


going to get a bonus, just a question of how much? Absolutely


not, no. Performance-related. they stopping at the moment? Have


you been rowing back or are people getting them? Given that as a


company we are performing really well you would expect everybody in


the company to be rewarded fairly. Well, it's one of those issues that


you think will go on and on. It will be interesting so see what


happens over the months, as we hear of other bonuses, although not


necessarily-state-owned bankers. It's time for the quiz. The


question for today is which of these qualifications is currently


worth the equivalent of four GCSEs in school league tables? Is it A, a


fish husbandry, level-two certificate in nail technology,


horse care or a legal two award in travel and tourism. If you manage -


- if he manages to get here, Toby Young will give us the correct


answer. We will turn our eyes to Syria, because later today the Arab


League will ask the UN Security Council to back a resolution for


Bashar Al-Assad to transfer powers to his deputy. They say 5,000


people have been killed by the regime over past ten months.


Western states, including Britain, are backing the resolution, but


Russia, which has a veto, has said it's not happy with the draft.


Barbara Plett is at the UN and joins us now. Isn't that the


problem, Russia will not sign up and so there won't be an agreement


on this? That's been the problem before. It's been the problem for


about ten months now, because the Security Council has been


deadlocked on this issue. When the opportunity came up with the Arab


League Britain and other western states thought oh, this may be the


way to breakthrough this, because if the Arab League is coming to the


Security Council and asking for help, asking for support for a plan,


that it drew up on ending the crisis, it will be much more


difficult for Russia to continue to say no. That's why today the head


of the Arab League, as well as the Prime Minister are Qatar are coming


here to make their appeal in person and that's why Britain and other


states are sending their foreign ministers to back that up. That


might not be enough. That is true. If it isn't enough, where do they


go next? Well, I think if they are not able to pass this resolution in


front of the Security Council, the council options really are very


limited. I don't really see where they can go from here, because at


that point it becomes very different positions about what is


going on. It becomes an issue that you can't bridge with negotiation


and the basic difference, I think, is the fate of Bashar Al-Assad at


this point. The plan, the resolution, calls for a political


transition plan where he'll in effect hand power to the deputy to


oversee a national unit government. The Russians have said that sounds


like regime change and they don't want to give up support for Bashar


Al-Assad, because he's a strong ally, but also because they feel


that if this plan is imposed on Syria, with the Syrians rejecting


it, it would cause more violence and cause the civil war to escalate.


That's a very fundamental difference. If they are not able to


bridge that with the resolution, it's difficult to see how to do it


another way. What is your feeling in terms of being able to persuade


the Russians? Is there a sense it's possible? I think there is a sense


that if it is possible it would be in this way - by having a strong


call from the region, because the Security Council puts stock in


regional requests. These are countries which neighbour Syria and


they've come up with the plan mostly by consensus. Only one


country, Lebanon, disassociated itself from it. Having said that,


the statements coming from Russia about draft have been negative and


they've said this is really unacceptable and they've accused


the Security Council of moving in the wrong detection, so it's


difficult to see whether -- direction, so it is difficult to


see if Russia can accept this. There is going to be every attempt


to try to make it abstain, not veto the resolution. In the meantime,


the violence has got so bad, that the Arab League has had to take out


its monitors? That's right. The nations are using the situation on


the ground are trying to add pressure. They are saying the


situation is deteriorating very badly. It can't afford to stay


silent any more. Having said that, if the resolution is passed I don't


think anyone is under any illusion that the violence with industry, --


end, because the Security Council is not saying it will go in and try


to help to bring an end to the violence, but what the resolution


would do is put a lot of pressure on the government and in that


Syrians would be isolated because if Russia were not to veto, that


would be a message saying they were not supporting Syria in the way


they have been. That is really what the aim of the resolution is.


sort of attempt at military intervention by Arab armies, that


is very unlikely to happen, isn't it? Yes, I think that is very


unlikely. There had been a suggestion from the Prime Minister


of Qatar that some Arab peacekeepers be sent in, but nobody


took that up Any international intervention, people are very wary


about. I'm almost certain that wouldn't get through the Security


Council. There have been some suggestion that Turkey might, if


not send in troops, but create a buffer zone and carve out a safe


haven. Perhaps if the country descends into complete chaos that


may be an option, but if there is any military intervention it will


be very hard won and people are wary about intervening in Syria,


because of the delicate situation. Thank you.


Joining me now is the former Foreign Office minister, Mark


Malloch-Brown and the chief co- ordinator of the Syrian network for


human rights. Welcome to the programme. We have been hearing


from Barbara about the fact it could be very difficult to persuade


Russia to sign up to any resolution and without that presumably the


violence just continues and Syria draws closer to civil war? Well,


basically that is true, because the people there cannot tolerate any


more humiliation and on the other hand, the Free Syrian Army stated


their job is to protect the peaceful demonstrations, but there


are other people who are tempted on a daily basis by that access of


violence that they have only one solution, to hold arms and join the


Free Syrian Army and I think this balance would be broken very


shortly if the international community does not accept step in


to protect those civilians. Stepping in, you mean intervene in


a military way, not just diplomatically? No, there is a


point in the middle, which is different from the Libyan scenario.


It is proposed in three steps. The first, which is the humanitarian


corridors, to help those indirect victims, who are the few of this


furious mood to give them food and medical supplies. The twoing second


things, the buffer zone and no-fly zone which Wylfa sill Tate to break


up the main body of the Army, which is still waiting for the right time


to defect and dessert the Army and join the Free Syrian Army. Mark


Malloch-Brown, the violence is getting worse and there was a


terrible day yesterday. Just listening there, it doesn't sound


as if there is going to be a resolution. You are experienced.


Can Russia be pushed into this? think Russia's very, very worried


that it's the thin end of the wedge to a full intervention on regime


change and in that sense we are bearing the scars and price of lib


-- Libya. Obviously, the situation cannot continue and therefore, some


kind of compromise, which allows humanitarian safe havens and


corridors and their protection, but it absolutely has cast in stone


that it can't go further. That may ultimately be where we get to,


particularly if any troop involvement under the UN flag is of


Turks or Indonesians or malaisians or Bangladeshis, people -


Acceptable in that sense? Yes, so Turkey may or may not be as a


neighbour. I think the much more important point in a way is why has


this regime held on for as long as it has? An Aliadiere Wyatt -- as an


alwit priority, we wonder why they are hanging on. While it is people


fighting for their freedom, somehow that stability card has kept him in


power. What we have to say to people is that Bashar Al-Assad is


the barrier to stability. He's no longer the key and switch the


internal dynamic, but it's hard to do when everyone is fighting. We


need peace and dialogue as quickly as possible. That is not likely to


happen, is it? Taking the stability point, do you agree with that, that


there is a big body of public opinion that thinks that Bashar Al-


Assad actually keeps stability to some extent, a modicum, rather than


letting the mob rule and run Syria? No, this is not true, because from


the observations we have on daily basis from the ground, you can look


at all the minorities in general are - for example, the Kurds,


yesterday, they lost two dead persons. They are a big minority.


All the other minorities are feeling now this regime is not


viable any more. They were in the past, but now they start to change.


Do you think now there could be a situation where he may go


relatively quickly, if that turn, as you described it, publicly in


Syria, is that it happening? If we can switch that diealic, it is


critical to him -- dynamic, it is critical to him going. The way to


consolidate that is to try to resource peace. So you put in


humanitarian corridors and put in a political dialogue. Will he let Dow


that though? The fact that -- let you do that though? It is critical


to get everyone on side, but if there's a plan here for a


transition and evolutionary process which secures security and


stability and whose end point is a government that represents all


Syrians, then we are beginning to see the outlines of how we might


bet there, but it is actually Is it time to call on other groups


for some kind of ceasefire? I think this pitch needs to be directed to


the regime. I was saying, both sides. Well, the other side, they


are defectors from the army. They stated very clearly that the


responsibility is to protect civilians. If they are in a


defensive position, you cannot tell them, just leave your own people.


Today, 13 people have died under the rebels, in their houses, so


they cannot keep silent. So it is not practical? You are completely


right, it needs to be directed mainly at President Assad. He is


now the instigator of the primary violence. By point isn't that


everybody puts down their weapons and declares a ceasefire, there has


to be a political process to achieve that. I'm saying that the


Security Council and neighbours have to prioritise that. I think


that once the fighting stops, President Assad is finished. He is


only able to hold on in a situation of chaos, where he has the military


on his side and he can go on making this kind of argument. If we can


get to 8 and a half -- took a political argument, it is finished


for him. This regime is not viable without the iron grip on the


country, with the security forces and not just the military forces.


They are controlling the country, starting from the family and


spreading to the Haute Provence is. Do you think the international


response has been a adequate? they feel that they are confronting


Iran through Syria. They see Syria as the forefront of the Iranian


regime. They are afraid that they will create a bigger war in the


region. I think the best way is to approach that gradually, in a


different scenario, different from the Libyan one. So they try to


implement steps that can help the Syrians themselves to free


themselves by their own hands, without having this kind of


external interference. Why the international community does not


recognise the political body, the Syrian National Council, as the


main opposition, I don't know. They need to say that they recognise and


support them. That is what they did, to some extent, in Libya. Why is


that not happening? There is some contact with the Libyan -- Syrian


National Council now, we can move to beginning to recognise it. But


we need to unleash that kind of diplomatic campaign now. We are


both agreeing on the main point, that a fully fledged intervention,


of the Libyan kind, is really going to stir the flames. I agree that


Iran is a dangerous neighbourhood behind this regime, but it is even


more broadly that we have Hezbollah in Lebanon, it is a tinderbox and


it needs to be handled carefully. But none of the careful handling


can be an excuse for not getting to the endgame, which is a change of


leadership and regime in Syria. That has to happen. There is no way


back. OK, thank you very much. Now, from the Middle East to the


South Atlantic, where tensions have been increasing between Britain and


Argentina over the Falkland Islands. This morning we learned that the


Royal Navy is to send one of its newest warships to the area. At


Westminster, MPs have been debating the future of the disputed


territory. Ben Geoghegan is in central lobby. Yes, the Ministry of


Defence have been saying that this morning that the deployment of HMS


Dauntless is simply routine. But it does come at a time of rising


tension between Britain and Argentina, with Argentina at


demanding a renegotiation of sovereignty and setting up what the


Foreign Office have described today as an economic blockade against


Falklands island vessels in the region. Joining us is Guy Opperman,


the MP that organised today's debate, and also Lord West, the


commander of HMS ardent during the Falklands conflict. Before asking


about the debate, give us your assessment of how you read the


situation between Britain and Argentina. Where is this tension


going to lead us? There is certainly an economic blockade. It


was good in today's debate to see the entirety of the house


representing all aspects of the footprint -- different political


views, supporting the Falkland islanders and the Foreign Office,


who have worked very hard to ensure that the blockade is lifted so that


they can get on with the economic growth that has taken place. It is


a very strong Ireland, with very strong views on self-determination


and the way they should be going forward. A Lord West, we heard from


Jeremy Browne, the Foreign Office minister, saying that Argentina may


yet seek to intensify their pressure. Is that how you see it?


They may do, they may be doing some of this for internal regions.


to differ -- dangers? It is, if you get a splinter group of the


military, you sometimes think there was an opportunity and things can


happen. We have to be very robust in the way that we respond, which I


think the Government are doing. We have to be sure we get the defence


is right because there is no way we could recapture them as we could be


for, because we do not have the carrier aircraft. You agree with


what Sir Mike Jackson said at the weekend? Absolutely, I have said


it's a number of times. Is that a weakness that you think the


Government should not have allowed? I don't think they should have got


rid of Harrier jets, but the important thing is to make sure


that the islands are defender probably. It is a standing


commitment and inevitably, one of the Type 45 Destroyers will end up


there. What it does, because it is an amazing anti air warfare system,


if it is close to the island it can make sure that nothing can get to


the airfield very well. That is a step up. I'm sure the deployment is


routine, because we have so few of them, you have to use them


everywhere. In the debate today, you are calling for self-


determination to be written into law under the new White Paper that


the Government is bringing out. Why is that so important, when the


Government are making clear that there is no question about self-


determination for the people of the Falkland Islands? I welcome


completely that the Government are very supportive of the principle of


self-determination. I accept that it comes within United Nations


conventions. It would be a strong and reassuring decision by the


Government in the White Paper if they were to say to all of the


overseas territories with a settled population, of which there are well


over a dozen, that those people, in a natural law of this country, it


is their self-determination principle that decides what will


happen to the islands. There has been a history down the years, in


relation to Gibraltar or the Falkland Islands in the 1960s,


where the Government of the day has not necessarily been as supportive


and has been in negotiations that the islanders were not aware of.


While I accept that this government is very robust and resolute in its


support, I want to try to ensure that it does not waver in future.


Lord West, do you think there was a danger that it might waver?


Historically, if we look back, we were certainly wavering before 82.


I have to say, I rather support this. I was not aware it was going


on. I was delighted to see an article in The Or Observer, where


it showed that some of the entrants for the conflict, they had been


back and told their children, this place is not Argentine, they eat


fish and chips and they are very different. If that if Labour can


get over and it links in with self- determination, I think that would


be better than sabre-rattling and stupidity. The Argentinians are


friends, we want to trade with them and we would like a better


relationship. I believe the younger people of the Argentinian country


believe that. A good conciliatory note to end on. Thank you both very


much. What can be done to save the


British high street? In the last year, giants like mother where, --


Mothercare, H&M Bay and Habitat have closed stores. The Government


have appointed Mary Portas to carry out a review. We sent our own regal


reporter to survey the changing Most of us buy into the nostalgia


for the days when your high-street offered a butcher, hardware store


and Baker, separate shops, separate people, members of the community.


Not like today, with that parade of homogenised brands that seemingly


festoon the high street of any town. The story we are always sold is


that high street is dying, unable to deal with multiple competition


and full of boarded-up shops, unable to deal with the competition


of the supermarket, online shopping and the fact that customers just


don't have that much money any more. The only survivors being are those


that have radically changed their business plan. But is that actually


true? I think we have to remember that a lot of retailers were over-


represented on the high street. It is an extremely competitive market.


It is also very flat. For a lot of retailers, the only way to grow is


to steal a share from the competition. With that in mind, we


have to remember a lot of average retailers are out there. Over the


years, their brand has become muddled, they have been under too


much competition, whether from supermarkets or the internet, and,


as a result, when consumer spending becomes constrained, it is very


difficult to justify a place for these retailers. So, what we are


witnessing is pressure from the supermarket, internet and recession,


but it is commercial revolution, not high-street death. But that


does not make easy. It has to be acknowledged that if you are a


Tesco type company and have an army of lawyers and planning experts,


you can cut through the system like a knife through butter. Small


independent shops cannot. There was a case for balancing the playing


field, partly through democracy and partly through direct intervention.


We should be doing everything we can to create a mixed high street,


which is what people want. In its commercial jungle, does government?


At -- where the internet has a role, does government? Particularly early


when you look at interest rates for that high street, there are plenty


of things that the Government can do to help independent retailers.


The Government should at least create a two-tier system of


businesses, so we can encourage small and independent shops, the


ones that find themselves with their heads just above the surface,


that is something that can be done. That is something we should do.


joined now by the Conservative MP Jane Ellison, who wised -- used to


work for John Lewis. Just to pick up some of those points, isn't it a


case of survival of the fittest as far as shops on a high-speed car


concerned? Consumers make their choice, and some have to close?


are probably right. The reason we invested in Costcutter is that


shopping habits are changing and what people are looking for is


changing. We have an ageing population that don't necessarily


want to go to out-of-town superstores. People want to shop


little and often, which reflects the economic situation. Rising fuel


prices mean that people don't want to drive to do big shops. That is


one of the reasons why community shopping makes absolute sense.


are saying that high street should be doing well out of these


circumstances because more people are going there and go to out-of-


town shopping centres? To pick up at point, the danger is that we


look at the high street purely in the sense of retail. If they


continue to take that view, the high streets will die. We need to


take a wider perspective, thinking about town centres and local


community programmes to address things like infrastructure,


property and shops. Hospitals, you know, there is a whole wider


perspective which I think we need to look at. If they don't, do you


see, not the death of a high street, that sounds dramatic, the idea of


small independent shops not being able to survive? They will struggle,


yes. Jane Ellison, what can the Government do? The biggest problem


with businesses around me is the rates, the rent they have to pay on


the shop, that is why shops are closing. Is there anything that can


be done about that? Business rates and rents are two different issues.


I do want to say something about rent, because there was also a role


for landlords. I had the same experience as you. The Localism


Bill does give an opportunity, for the first time, full council to


have more control about what they do with business rates. Will that


bring them down? In some cases yes. But it is not just about councils


or governments. There is no one single answer to the problems the


high-street phases. You are right to say there is evolution going on.


Lots of people have to play their part. There has been a huge


democratic disconnect between local councils and local shops. Retailers


and shops do not vote. Up until now, there has been no relationship


between food they pay their business rates to. I think


reconnecting that is a good thing. It gives councils some flexibility.


But there is more to it than that. Surely a thriving High Street is a


good thing for a local council? Absolutely, but until you change


the system and the way that rates are collected and retained,


councils didn't have a direct interest in that. They do want it


to thrive. But in and out of town centre, the council was able to put


a large number of jobs on that and can say something began significant.


It is more incremental with the high street. Should they cap the


growth of out-of-town shopping centres? I know that is one of the


recommendations. I think the Government is looking at that. They


promised a response since bring. you think they should? They need to


look at it, but there is a real danger of thinking that is the


answer. It could be part of the answer? Looking at it could be part


of the answer. At the end of the day, it is successful because


consumers go there. What the Government should not be trying to


do is make people do something they don't want to do. Equally, what was


said in a film about the level playing field, that is really


important and there is a huge role to play for everybody. Landlords as


well. I would like to make that point. One of the reasons out of


town centres thrive is that they often have a single landlord, with


a single vision of the mix of shops they are trying to achieve. We


Should the Government get involved? It sounds like the Government is


trying to take a back view in sense of allowing people to make their


own decisions, but if we want the high streets to jive, if that is


the aim -- to survive, if that is the aim, shouldn't they want them


to proceed? Absolutely. That is the way to go forward. The point about


out-of-town superstores and shopping malls being under one


property owner or landlord means they can take decisions and have a


long-term vision. Absolutely, for the long term. Whereas, in high


streets and town centres, you have a whole raft of different parties


and it's difficult to bring them together to have one vision that


can take it forward for the next few years. That is a real role for


local authorities and all local MPs and councillors and shopkeepers


themselves. There is a real opportunity there, what Mary Portas


called the town teams. Thank you both very much.


From crisis on the high street, to crisis in our primary schools. Up


and down the country there are a shortage of places. In fact, in


some towns local councils are considering turning empty shops


into classrooms. What is to be done? We are having lots of babies.


Mainly as a result of immigration and a birth rate that is just


generally going up. It means the number of extra school and nursery


places we'll need to find by 2020 is 720,000. But, there are about


444,000 spare ones across the country, so it's not that bad,


right? Well, it is, because the places aren't in the right places.


They know that here in Winchester, where the local authority needs to


find space for an extra 80 children a year for the next several years


to cope with the number of people coming here. It's been a great


place for older people, but we are finding lots of older -- younger


people have discovered Winchester is better than London and they are


moving in with young families, producing more children and


therefore more pressure on the schools. Maybe and we are not too


sure, maybe there is a drift away from the private sector, so that is


all adding to the figures and meaning we are having to look at


the upper range of estimates rather than the mid-range of estimates.


How they'll cope is the talk of the town. At this school, they are


going to concrete over a playing field to build temporary classrooms,


which is causing concern at the school gates. For us, that would be


a 50% increase in pupil numbers, without any further infrastructure,


no increased hall, no increase in staff facilities. We are already


under severe pressure, because the building is about 80% of the size


it should be for the number on roll. The department for education say


they are trying to help by spending extra money, up to �4 billion


targeted at particular problem areas. They also say their policy


of allowing parents to set up so- called free schools should make a


difference too. Although there's no guarantee that will help here in


Winchester. I had a look at the spread of free schools, for example,


and most are secondary schools. Most of them are in areas where


there is not a shortage of places, so there is no matching of need and


where the money's been ploughed. Another solution could be to lift


the limit on class sizes, currently 30. But that would need a change in


the law. It is even less popular with parents. With us now and for


the rest of the programme, he's made it, yes, we are joined by the


author and educationalist Toby Young, who has apparently walked


and cycled and hot footing is from around the corner, Labour MP Lisa


Nandy, who is on the Education Select Committee. We'll go straight


in there. Toby Young, why is there such a shortage? The reason is two


fold. First, we are in the middle of a huge population boom and


secondly, the Labour Government didn't spend enough money on


primary places. Primary places are funded through what is called


basic-need funding and Labour cut it by 26% between 04 and 0. Even


though the Office for National Statistics, in 2007, reported that


we were experiencing the biggest baby boom in England and Wales for


three decades, Labour still cut basic spending up to 2010, so we


are reaping the world wind. Lisa Nandy, even I knew we were planning


for this boom in schoolchildren. Why didn't Labour do anything about


it? We did, because one of the pressures on primary schools across


the country is the lack of physical space. When you look at the


shortage of primary school places, it's a particular London problem.


It exists in other areas, but it's a particular problem in London and


Labour brought forward a programme to build primary schools, rebuild


them, �7 billion programme. Building schools for the future?


this was the primary capital places programme and this was specifically


around briemary schools and that was scrapped by -- primary schools


and that was scrapped by the coalition when they came into


office. While Toby is right and there was a failure of local


authorities to plan in some areas, there is also a real pressure on


primary school building as well. There is an acceptance there that


the planning wasn't there and now we have too many children. Isn't it


enough to give local authorities, taking the space issue in hand,


just to allow good performing schools to have extra classes? Some


of the schools around where I live do that already. That would be the


easiest and simplest and fastest way to take on extra children?


happening around the country. If you look at how much the present


Government spend on basic need in 2011, it was 1.3 billion compared


to almost a third of that in the last year that Labour was in office,


but free schools can be a very cost effective way. Why? Aren't they


more expensive because you can't plan, so you don't have an idea of


how many people are going to be taken on. You don't know where they


are going to be. We have seen how ineffective the planning system is.


We are currently in the middle of this huge crisis, but the reason it


can be more effective is partly because it's much more cost


effective. The average cost to a local authority of building a new


primary was nearly �8 million under Labour. My group, the West London


Free School is setting up a primary, we hope, which will hope in


Hammersmith and Fulham in 2013 for around one million. Cost effective


says Toby. The problem with that is Michael Gove has been very clear


that the purpose behind free schools is to provide parents with


more choice, so if you set them up in addition to fill places that


don't already exist, then you don't provide parents with choice. That


is why he's very much focused on improving free school applications


so far in areas where there is no shortage of places. He wants good


schools to flourish and bad schools to wither and die, and they are his


words. He was asked that question if the House of Commons in October


when he announced the 79 new free schools that were approved and over


80% where in areas where there is acute basic need, so it's not just


true what you said. The first lot, 24 free schools, that opened their


doors, 15 were in areas where there were no needs for further places.


Just hold it there. Don't go anywhere. The Education Secretary


has had a busy morning. He's been giching evidence to the education


select committee -- giving evidence from the education select you


committee and some of the questions were -- Education Select Committee


and some were tweeted in from the public. Some questions are inspired


by the twitter feed. 5,000-plus wanting to interact with you. We'll


go around, each of us, and if you can give us quick answers, that


would be great. If good requires pupil performance to exceed the


national average and if all schools must be good, how is this possible?


By getting better all the time. Thank you. It is possible, is it?


It is possible to get better all the time. Were you better at


literacy than numeracy? I can't remember. Can you set out the chain


of responsibility in academies? depends who the sponsor is. What


evidence do you have to indicate that the pupil premium is working?


We are gathering evidence and as Alex pointed out, given that it's a


relatively new thing, we'll come back to the committee and present


all the evidence we have in due course. Why is there not the


flexibility to allow summer-born pre-term children to delay their


entry to school by a year? That requires a long answer. You can


have a little bit longer. We want children to be in school learning


as quickly as possible. I very much treasure the King James Bible my


gran gave me when I was six. Have you got the - the project you have


to have one in every school, have you got it funded and don't you


think it can speak for itself and it doesn't need a foreword from


you? Yes and yes. Why should there be fewer parent governors on an


eabg governing body? There should be fewer overall. Can I ask a


favour? You very kindly provided me with some water, will you excuse me


for one second and I'll come back and answer questions. I'll be back


in a minute. That's hilarious. I have never seen a minister get up


in a Select Committee and go to the toilet. By the way, you can't go


until after the end of the programme. I'm telling you that.


Enoch Powell's advice was don't go to the toilet beforehand on


Question Time because if you want to pee you'll do much better.


you think he's gone to look at the answers. I was relieved he came


back. I know about that. That was Michael Gove in front of the


Education Select Committee, where he was being asked questions from


the public. We are not ones to miss an opportunity to jump on the


bandwagon. We have been asking for questions for tobacco and Lisa,. --


Toby and Lisa. Are you ready? Pencil or pen in your hand. This is


how much do you personally make out of the free school adventure or is


it pure altruism on your part? West London Free School is run by a


charity. None of us, none of the governors are paid everything. The


only money I've made out of becoming involved is by being


invited to appear on programmes like this. I haven't negotiated my


sum, but I'm hoping to get a mug. wouldn't hold out. This is the


negotiation for the mug. They've never given me a mug. I won't say


anything about that. If we give one to Toby we'll give one to you. Are


you for or against profit-making schools? This is the ideal from


countries like Sweden, give us your answer? I don't have a dogmatic


answer. I think the crucial thing is to use whichever providers can


deliver the best education and get the best value for money and in


Sweden the two largest commercial trends are the first and second


most successful providers of school. That sounds like you would be in


favour. Even though of course the coalition government said no to it.


They haven't said no to out- sourcing the operation of free


schools to full-profit companies or char ris. -- charities. You have


the option and it is very difficult because of the EU procurement rules.


We are not elected to get involved with that. I think every penny that


is made through running a school operation should go back into the


education for children. From Ronnie, is there anything that will


convince you that free schools were a bad idea in let's say in a few


years' time the exam results are down and any other research points


to it perhaps not having reached your high expectations, would that


make you question the whole ethos? I know you are not going to say


about bad results. One of the great beauties is that this enables


different groups to try out different things and in that way,


all these experiments and test beds we can find out what works and what


doesn't, discard what doesn't and duplicate what does. In that way


we'll drive up standards. You would go for good results. You would be


going for standard results? experiment that we are conducting


is trying to deliver a grammar school curriculum, just a core of


academic subjects complimented by art, music, drama and sport. We are


trying to deliver that to a genuinely mixed comprehensive group


of children and if we can succeed in getting better results I hope it


will be duplicated around the country. Lisa, if the standards and


results are impressive, will it make Labour look again at the idea


of backing and certainly supporting free schools? Yes. I think you get


good standards in every school. The other thing you have to look at is


what happens to those children not in that school, who may not be


subject today the same help and resources, but certainly if the


evidence bears out that free schools are a good thing, I think


that there is nobody who would say that school should be closed down.


The difficulty you have is that Michael Gove has pushed through


both the free schools and the academies programme very quickly.


The bill in which it is based went through the Commons in just a


matter of weeks under the powers normally reserved for terrorist


legislation and the difficulty with this is the phrase that Toby used.


This is an experiment. It's with children's lives and where children


are concerned that is not good If a child has an alternative


between being stuck in a school that has failed generations of


children or going to one that was untested but might produce better


results, why wouldn't that be a word experiment? I don't think the


answer is necessary to set up a new school, it is to improve the


existing one. This is a tricky one, this came from Alex, are you and


Heston Blumenthal actually the same person? Have you got time for a


quick anecdote? I was standing in a pub and a girl came up to me and


asked if she could have a picture. Just as a joke I said, do you


realise I am not Heston Blumenthal? They said they weren't going to


bother with the picture. Are you going to last me the same question?


No. The question for the quiz was which of these qualifications is


currently worth the equivalent of four GCSEs in school league tables?


Is it a Level 2 Diploma in fish husbandry, nail technology, horse


care or travel and tourism? Travel and tourism. I'd quite like it to


the horse care. It is! You were wrong. You left out one of the


finer vocational qualifications introduced by Labour, a level two


BTEC in personal effectiveness. Which, amongst other things, has a


module in how to claim benefits. Not exactly aspirational! I think


financial skills should be taught. Are you saying that vocational


qualifications should not be at the level GCSEs? They should, but you


have to distinguish between the Mickey Mouse subject you have just


described, there were over 3000 vocational qualifications. The ones


that are recognised will be reduced to 125. The notion that


qualifications and things like hair and beauty, travel and tourism,


that they are as valuable as a GCSE in history, science, it is just


nonsense. Do you agree? Yes, but the question for Michael Gove is


why he isn't taking steps to equalise the status of academic and


vocational qualifications. Labour commissioned the Tomlinson report,


which recommended one diploma way you could do academic or vocational,


or a mix of both, and it would give them equal status. I wish we had


implemented that. Michael Gove has no solution to this disparity,


except for rubbishing qualifications which, to a lot of


young people across the country, mean an awful lot.


In December, David Cameron found himself in a minority of one when


he said 'non' to plans to a new European treaty setting fiscal


rules and harmonising budgets. It must have been a novelty to be


joined by the Czech President, Vaclav Klaus. But what is it that


Britain is staying out of? 27 members have signed up to the


fiscal compact. Come -- countries have to balance budgets or keep


structural deficits below 0.5% of GDP. Failure to meet the rule will


trigger an automatic correction mechanism and the possibility of


fines of up to 0.1% of GDP. Potentially, billions of euros. The


new pact will be enforced the existing EU institutions, despite


David Cameron saying only a few weeks ago that using them would be


wrong. The hope is that it will restore confidence in the future of


the eurozone and prevent another debt crisis. Whether it has the


desired effect remains to be seen. I am joined from Brussels by Martin


Callanan, the Conservative leader in the European Parliament. Do you


feel let down by David Cameron over this issue of blocking the use of


European Union institutions by the new group? No, I think the Prime


Minister was being pragmatic. He was faced with two fundamental


problems. The first one is that we are in a coalition with the Liberal


Democrats and, as we know, they are keen to sign up to virtually


everything that Europe produces. The second problem is that in order


to stop this he would have to take legal action. He would have to do


that through the European Court of Justice. He would have to ask the


Court of Justice to rule on whether it itself should have the power to


do this. It is complicated legally and it could take years. He is


reserving his position. If there are attempts to encroach on the


single market or anything that affects British interests in the


future, that is an option. Why was there so much cheering by Tory


backbenchers at the time that this was some great hurrah? That wasn't


the only subject of the veto. What he did, and has still done, has


prevented a whole new section of the treaty being established, which


would have the risk of caucusing, eurozone members voting together


within the eurozone institutions and run the risk of damaging


Britain's interests in the single market. This treaty is outside of


the EU structures completely. The veto was effective, in that respect.


In a sense, if you look back at some of the quotes, was there


anything explicit in what David Cameron said after the veto? That


he was actually going to say that those institutions are could be


used to enforce that fiscal deal? think there was a number of


statements that lead people to imply that was being said.


Ultimately, it was presented as a veto. There was no treaty on the


table at that stage. It was a political agreement. There was no


detail to be talked about. He made it very clear that he would not be


bound by it and Britain was not going to accept it. I would not


just assume it is only the Czechs that would be against this. Other


countries have problems with it. Sweden have said they will sign it


as low as they are not bound by any of the conditions within it. A


number of member states will have to have a referendum or approval in


Parliament. I think a list of countries that don't approve will


be greater by the time we get to ratification. The Liberal Democrats


were right, for practical reasons and on an issue of policy and


principle, it was the right thing to do? David Cameron's position now


is the right way to go? The Liberal Democrat position is usually that


whatever is put in front of Britain, we have to sign it because we have


to be seen as good Europeans. David Cameron took exactly the right


position. He was initially backed by Nick Clegg, it was a position


agreed in advance by him. It was only afterwards that he started


getting lobbying by his own backbenchers and changed his


position. David Cameron is standing up for the interests of the UK.


He's taking a hard-headed, pragmatic decision about what is in


the UK interests. It's nice to have a Prime Minister like that, after


years of Labour role where they would also sign up to pretty much


anything. There has been a lot of debate


about what was expected from Euro- sceptics. That somehow when David


Cameron came back before Christmas, having vetoed signing up to this


treaty and then saying that he would not allow the new fiscal deal


to be using institutions of the European Union, that is what a


great success, this was David Cameron showing his strength. Who


misunderstood what? Did the Euro- sceptics get it wrong and try to


read more into it, or has David Cameron duped them? The reason


Euro-sceptics, and I count myself as one, were so delighted by David


Cameron using the veto, was because it signalled to our European


neighbours that we are not in favour of a shift away from what


the European Union is at the moment to a much more federalist situation,


a United States of Europe, if you like. I don't think that has


changed. The reason people like me are getting too worked up about


what happened yesterday is that there is a very good chance that


this trip he will never actually be ratified. It is due to decided its


present form in March. Even Sarkozy has said he will not sign it in


March because of the upcoming French presidential election. His


opponent might not either. Francois Hollande, who has a commanding lead


in the polls, in all likely the next President of France, he says


he wants to renegotiate it. There are problems in Sweden and


Czechoslovakia. It seems to me that it is unlikely this treaty will


ever be in force. Why get in an argument about the means in which


it would be enforced? If 25 of the 27 EU member states are in favour


of this dramatic sea-change towards a much more federalist United


States of Europe, that will bring forward the moment at which we


really need to decide whether we want to be part of the United


States of Europe or if we want to have a referendum.


Just time to explore the burning question of the day. Should we be


eating more ugly vegetables? You might scoff, but one MP is so angry


about the Maddox that it is challenged vegetables we throw away


that she wants to do something about it. In about that we will


talk to the lady in question. First, let's see what the public think.


What do you think this is? Something you smoke? Some vegetable


you cook? How I'd never seen it. don't know. A carrot? Parsnip, yes.


Not a parsnip. It is a vegetable. Potato? It's not! It is! It is a


beetroot. Beetroot? Yes. Would you buy a beetroot that looked like


that? No. I don't know. Would you buy one that looked like that?


not sure. Possibly not. I think I would, if I was going around and


knew what I was buying. Does it matter what food looks like to you?


It does help, I hate it covered in cellophane and everything. I like


it to look fresh. Does it matter to you that what a vegetable looks


like? Not really. After you have eaten it, it will not be much more


than that, when it? A parsnip will stop would you buy something that


looked like that? Maybe. It is too small for me. I prefer something


bigger. It doesn't matter to you that it doesn't look nice?


shape doesn't matter, just the size! De Laura Sandys is with us


now, as his cookery writer Stevie Parle. People just don't want to


eat ugly vegetables. I think they have been conditioned over many


years. I think ugly food must be eaten. But there is a bigger issue


about food prices rising. Over the next 20 years we are going to see a


50% increase in food prices. We waste about �50 a month, each


household. It cannot go on. There is really good food out there that


is being sent off to a fruit juice, processed food, which is delicious


to eat. Let's look at this tray. glorious selection! As a chef, do


you know what all of these are? course. We have a little test. What


is that? Beetroot. I cheated. I had to cut it open, just to see. Just


to check. That one? That is also a beetroot. You would use any of


these IND your cooking, but you're not serving them like that to the


customer? I don't think I would even mind serving them like that.


They are really quite beautiful. That is beautiful? Look at back-


pass dead. A It's all right! It's all right? I am glad that Lisa is


not here, this is what would be served in one of those profit-


making Swedish schools! I've got a feeling that these days eating this


kind of presentable vegetable is trendy. Farmers' markets, chefs,


it's so much of the market? Farmers' markets, foraging, I think


as a chef your priority is different. You're looking for taste.


You're looking for something that looks like you didn't buy it in the


supermarket. So, you are saying it is the fault of supermarkets? They


have everything looking the same? It's right through the supply chain.


Billions of pounds are wasted in food. We got to stop this. Value


food, food has been too cheap and now we have to value it in a


different way. We mustn't cut these beautiful, Oakley fruit and


vegetables out. You can have it. Are you feeling a bit hungry?


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