02/02/2012 Daily Politics


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Afternoon, folks, welcome to the Daily Politics. Is David Miliband


making a political comeback? He has broken his silence in the New


Statesman, warning his party and his brother not to shift too far to


the left or alienate business. Are we heading for a new bout of


fraternal strife? Prince William is going to the


Falklands to serve six weeks as a search-and-rescue pilot. But is his


job are about to be privatised? The government says it wants fewer


but better immigrants, we will be asking the Minister how he is going


to manage that. And has the entente cordiale turned


sour, we will be analysing the growing tensions between Messrs


Cameron and Sarkozy. All that in the next half-hour, and


with us for the duration is Emma Harrison, chairman of A4E, Action


for Employment. I did not know that! It describes itself as a


social purpose company, we could do with that on this show. It aims to


improve people's lives by helping them to find work, skills,


direction or whatever it is they need! We need you! He will be busy!


Very busy. But you have any thoughts of Commons and anything we


are discussing, you can send them to us. -- If you have any comments


David Miliband, the former Foreign Secretary, has been stirring things


up a wee bit in the Labour Party. In an article in the New Statesman,


he warns today that Labour is moving to part of the left and is


in danger of alienating business. - - moving too far. He has declined


to come onto the programme. Not for want of trying! But we did get


something, we have got former Labour and one and minister and


David Miliband supporter Tony McNulty, welcome to the programme.


-- Employment Minister. Why not -- why now? Ed Miliband has had a very


good week at the turn of the year, but the party has some way to go in


terms of redefining itself, and David's contribution is more than


welcome. His replying to an article that Roy Hattersley wrote in the


political Quarterly months ago. Even Roy Hattersley... Did you not


catch it?! I did not! Even Roy Hattersley has forgotten he wrote


it. That is quite a Redland, a device for him to get these ideas


out. -- Redland. If you look through this seven points, I do not


think there is much that Ed would disagree with. There is that he


can't and carry on tendency, he calls it the reassurance tender sea.


All you have got to do is keep quiet, the Tories will mess up and


we will be back. That way lies toxicity and murder. Ed, since the


conference, has dealt with predatory capitalism. David is


saying that productive capitalism matters as well. Half of the stuff


the same is only, look, there is a poor picture that we need to


appreciate. It is not an two Ed, by any stretch of imagination. What


planet are you one?! He says that every Labour member knows that the


Tories have done a serious job in black guarding Labour as fiscally


incontinent. We do. We had the detail of a leadership contest


straight after the election, during which time the Tories established


the lexicography of the discussion of the economy, and we have got to


row back from that. We started that process. What Ed Balls did Jay


weeks ago at the Fabian Society is bang in line with this article. --


two weeks ago. Her look me straight in the face, I want to see if your


nose gets bigger. Are you telling me Ed Miliband is over the moon


with this article? There is nothing he would disagree with. Are you


telling me he is over the moon with it? Ed understands there has to be


a way back for David. It could not be more unhelpful! At the last


election, this is in a week when Ed Miliband has been making all the


running by a strong anti-business rhetoric, and his brother points


out at the last election not a single major business endorse


Labour. We cannot afford that again. That is what he is talking about in


terms of balance. We will not win the next election as the anti-


business party. We will win it as the There is a productive bit of


capitalism, and we are the people who know what that vision and tails.


That is what David and Ed are talking about. All singing from the


same song sheet. A broadly, yes, but within that there is discussion.


You cannot put a cigarette paper between them! Of course you curd.


have just seen a squadron of pigs fly over this studio! Why does it


have to be either? Why can't we have and and? Why can't we have two


good people? Out there in normal land, not London land, people are


saying, if someone has got something to contribute, let them


contribute! Why doesn't Ed Miliband bring his brother back into the


Shadow Cabinet? A That is a matter of David. I think you should have


said Ed. Unlike commentators, I know which one is which! I think it


is a part of all David to say whether he wants to come back.


are told he will be a lot more active next week on a number of


fronts, we are going to hear a lot more from him, and not in his


comfort zone of foreign policy. hope so. I can see the Ed Miliband


people are really saying, we are so grateful for that! They will be, I


think. It is about the confidence to have a grown-up debate, that is


what the Labour Party is about. They want to see that the


politicians are having confident, grown-up debates, and this does not


impress the people. If no-one in the wonderful world of the Daily


Politics is saying it is Jo's show or Andrew's show, the strength is


that it is both of yours shows! is trying to turn the tables! It is


not going to work! Ed Miliband has shown he understands this with the


policy review. What does that mean?! There are lots out there


that show very clearly, there are about 10 or 12 points that Ed will


be absolutely sold on. It is about putting flesh and Labour's


direction for 2015, rather than 1975, and that has got to be right.


They then need to embrace notions of Merit, reward, developing


responsibility in tax and welfare. It is part of a discussion about


distribution. They are all over the place on welfare, against the cut,


for the cap. If the cap fits! they have been broadly in favour,


but not be limited cap that we have been talking about. It does work, I


think. The easiest thing to do, if you are a lazy journalist, is to do


what the Daily Telegraph it and write this over the front page as a


big row. This is kindergarten stuff for a journalist, but this serious


politics for the next election. invite you to go on the internet


and see that is just the Daily Telegraph! Kindergarten stuff for


journalists, I did not say that. You didn't! Bouquet! A new art


covering yourself here, aren't you? From the theatre of the absurd...


It is time for our daily quiz. The question for today, whose underwear


brought London to a standstill yesterday? We are raising the level


Should you need it, at the end of the show, Emma will give us the


correct answer! Don't say yet! There is only one person I am


hoping it is! Even Ed Miliband? Prince William is starting his


deployment in the Falkland Islands as an RAF search-and-rescue pilot,


but his presence on islands is increasing the tension between


Britain and Argentina with the Argentinian foreign ministry


stating that he will be in the uniform of the Conqueror. His


arrival follows news that the UK is sending the destroyer HMS Dauntless


to the region. Allan Little is at Port Stanley. Thank you for joining


us. You have been on the islands for the past few days, is their


tension? How are people feeling? This is not a very excitable place.


People are quite relaxed, quietly confident that there will be no


militarisation of this dispute with Argentina. Argentina is a very


different country now to 30 years ago, and the mood here is pretty


defined. It is very hard to find anyone who pretty much cares about


Argentine susceptibilities, Argentine sensibilities. I spoke to


a senior official of the Falkland Islands government yesterday, and I


asked Tim... He is the head of oil exploration, and I asked about


exploration as a provocation to Argentina, and he said, they can


see it as that, but it has got nothing to do with them, it is none


of their business, we are forging ahead, it is an exciting time. That


is not the voice of somebody who is afraid that an Argentine invasion


might lie at the end of this road that we are going down. If they are


not worried about that, is there any worry about the tour from the


Argentinian government about some kind of economic blockade? -- Cork.


There is anxiety about that, but at the same time there is a


bullishness, because so far it has not really work. A lot of South


American countries have bought into the idea of banning Falklands ships


from their ports, but the Argentines have not been very


successful and running their neighbours to the idea of a


portrait blockade with the Falkland Islands. -- full trade blockade.


This does not feel like an island community under siege, and they are


pleased with the nature of Prince William's stay on the island. It is


being sold to the world by Britain and the Falkland Islands assembly a


six-week tour of duty of Flight Lieutenant Wales, but at the same


time it is the future king coming to the Falkland Islands, and they


are seeing that as a quiet reassertion of Britain's commitment


to defending their self determination. Not that it would


escalate things. His arrival and sending HMS Dauntless, even if the


government says it is just routine. The government does say it is just


routine, they are very pleased that HMS Dauntless is coming, the people


here. The idea of British military protection is still very, very


important. 1982 casts a long shadow, and that idea that men came from


9,000 miles up -- miles away to defend their right to choose their


destiny is a living thing in the streets here in a Falkland Islands,


so they do not see that as an escalation but as the continuation


of Britain's 30 year commitment to defend them against any threat. But


there is no panic here, no sense of intimidation, no fear, really, that


this is going to turn into a military conflict. Allan Little,


thank you. There is a growing row in


Parliament over the future of search and rescue, which could have


an impact on Prince William's job. Ben Geoghegan is in the central


locking. This seems as though the RAF search


and rescue Service could become a thing of the past within the last


few years as the government tries to contract out that service in the


future. Part of the reason for that is the ageing Sea King helicopters,


which needs to be replaced, but it also raises the question about what


Prince William will do in the military in the future. Joining me


to discuss that is Patrick Mercer, a former military man, and Maria


Eagle, shadow transport spokesman. What is your view about this? The


whole process of replacing the helicopters began under Labour.


did, and of course they need replacing, they are getting to the


end of their life, and we began a PFI procurement to replace the kit.


What the government have done is replace that with a procurement to


contract out the entire service. So despite the fact that our military


have conducted the service in an exemplary fashion since the war,


shortly there will be no military involvement. That does raise the


issue about who is going to do this job, and of course we know that


Prince William and others will be redeployed within the military, but


what does that mean for the future of the service and the quality of


the services around our coastline? Patrick Mercer, can civilian


contractors do as good a job as the RAF? I do not know, and I think


Maria makes some very good points. Actually, they might, if nothing


else, to a cheaper job. I know it is not the same argument, but it is


a hugely important these days. There is no question that I would


like, and any other sensible person, would like the RAF and the role may


be to remain involved, but as a former soldier, if you told me that


cuts have to be made, would I prefer this sort of thing or combat


power to go, you will know my answer. It has got to be this sort


of soft service, rather than combat power. What sort of assurances can


the MoD asked for? His there a standardised system in place across


the military and into the civilian area to make sure that the training


is up to scratch, that they can perform the same things that the


Royal Navy and the Royal Air Force have been doing? I have no doubt


that the training for whichever of them takes this on will be


partially militarised anyway. There is all of that expertise in the


hands of the RAF and Navy, and it and it might make sense financially.


But yes, standards can be maintained, and of course there


will be competition between different companies do get the


contract in the first place. That is a good thing, and my only


concern is that civilian crews, and I do not want to pour aspersions,


might be slightly more risk averse and military crews. That is an


It is a concern, the MoD are handing this over to the Department


for Transport, and good and concerned about the chain of


command, what does it mean if the military needs somebody rescuing


offshore, will they have to go to a civilian service to do the rescue?


I think there are a number of questions which the Government


needs to answer before we go through with this. Military men are


very adaptable, I'm sure that those personnel who will need to be


redeployed will be found roles by the MoD, but it does leave


questions about how well safety around the coastline will be


maintained. There is a record of coastguard stations being closed,


emergency towing vessels being got rid of, and I think there are


questions the Government need to answer about safety around our


coast if this goes ahead. Briefly, what should Prince William do if it


comes to it that he's made redundant. He will not be. He is a


heavily trained, expensively trained, combat pilot, that is his


principle training. There are a number of different things that he


can do - helicopters and helicopter pilots are in huge demand. He will


not be made redundant, there is no doubt about that, I'm sure the


military will find a role for him. Thank you very much. We do not know


what Prince William's view on this issue is. It was reported in a


newspaper some time ago that he tried to lobby the Prime Minister


against his proposal. Now, should you be able to command a salary of


�31,000 to come and live in Britain? That is what Immigration


Minister Damian Green thinks. First, let's hear what he had to say this


morning. Today I want to speak about another key element in the


long-term transformation of British immigration policy, which is the


development of the principle of selectivity. We need to know not


just that the right numbers of people are coming here, but that


the right people are coming here. People who will benefit Britain,


not just people who will benefit from Britain. An immigration policy


which reflects a consensus about who should be able to come here,


and an immigration system that can actually deliver that, a legal


framework which reflects the will of Parliament while reflecting --


respecting our international obligations. And by the magic of


television, Damian Green joins us now. Welcome to The Daily Politics


- what happens if you're on less than �31,000? That is a particular


proposal, about not whether you can come here, but whether you can stay


here. We have been advising that we should look at a range of salaries,


from �31,000 to �49,000, to pick point below which people should not


be allowed to settle, because that is the best proxy for skills and


ability to contribute to the economy. The basis of what I was


saying this morning was that people who come here should be able to


make a contribution to British life, and that is one of the ways of


defusing the tension, if we know that everyone who's coming here can


actually make a positive contribution, then a loss of three


-- then a lot of the stresses and strains of the system in the past


will be dissipated. So, if you earn �27,000, you're not making a


positive contribution? You might be, we're not talking about people


coming here, we're talking about the link between coming here to


work for a few years, and settling here for ever. So, after a few


years, if you are not earning �31,000, you're out? It has not


been decided, but that was the recommended range from the Advisory


Committee. Do you agree with it? will know that when we make the


announcement in a few weeks' time. You do not know now? No, we have


not decided it, it will be announced in the course of the next


few weeks. If you marry a un EU citizen, do they have to earn


�31,000 to come in? -- a non-EU citizen. Again, it is the same


principle, you need to be able to play a role in British society.


What, the person coming in? Yes, we are saying that you should be able


to speak at least a smattering of English, so that you're not


completely isolated in your community. And also, you certainly


should not be able to come here with the expectation of living on


benefits from day one, many people would regard that as fair. How long


do you think this will last in front of the European Convention on


Human Rights, how long would you give it, five minutes? 15 minutes,


maximum? The other thing I was talking about in that clip was that


we will, as part of this process, look at family rights. It does not


say right to family life only if you are earn more than �25,000.


but one of the problems I was setting out this morning was that


for some weird reason, ever since Parliament passed the domestic


Human Rights Act in 1998, Parliament has given no direction


to judges about when does heckles from Europe should apply, and when


they should not. As a result, we have had a lot of judgments which


are very unpopular. The problem is, there is no kind of consistency or


coherence. One thing we will do as part of our announcements will be


to try to give much better and clearer guidance to judges. Because


I think this long-running row between Parliament and judges is


pretty unhealthy. Are you looking at all of these things, which I


find quite difficult to understand, and you yourself do not seem to


have made your mind upon them, is it because you're worried about


your target? The official data for net migration was more than 250,000


last year, and you have pledged to get it down to tens of thousands.


It was not last year it was actually the year before. Our


target is to get it down to tens of thousands by May 2015, at the end


of this Parliament, more than four years away. But you set a target


for net migration, in other words, the number of people leaving the


country minus the number of people coming in, but you have set an


immigration target which actually depends on British people


emigrating - what's the point of that? Because the actual use of


public services in this country, transport, health, education, that


depends on the size of the population, and the size of the


population depends on net migration. So, in practical terms, if you


actually want to defuse the tensions caused by too much


immigration, it is the net migration figure which matters.


more British people should leave? We want more British people to


leave Britain then we will hit our target! We want fewer people who


will not make a contribution to British life to come here. That is


what we can control. Will you come back and see us when we make up


your mind? -- when you make up your mind? A of course, but we have to


speak to Parliament first. It has been nicknamed the Pret effect,


after the Mayor of London wondered aloud why it was that there were


never any British people working for the upmarket sandwich chain? Is


it because British people are too surly to serve the crayfish and


rocket? Business agrees with Boris - four in 10 employers told the


Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development that they had hired


immigrants because young British people lack what are called soft


skills, things like punctuality, teamwork and the delivery of


service with a smile. consequence of the education system


in the past decade is that it has taught pupils to pass written


examinations - some of these customer-service skills are not


considered necessary to get on. This has resulted in fewer young


people having confidence in dealing with people, dealing with customers.


To find out whether actual young people agree, let's bribe them,


with some of Boris's favourite sandwiches. Would you like a


sandwich? Which one is chicken and bacon, sorry? Do you think it


should be taught at school, how to deal with people? I think it should


be, because no matter what profession you going to, you have


still got to deal with the retail world which we live in. I work in


five star Michelin restaurants, so I do not think it has got anything


to do with British young people. is handy to be taught in schools,


but it comes from parents as well. But is it even possible to teach


this stuff? This is the McDonald's University. This year, the burger


chain will create 2,500 new jobs, half of them for under-21s, many


who have never worked before. people are more natural. We find


that young people, some of them are lacking in confidence, so a lot of


it is about growing their confits - - confidence, as well as their


skills. There is nothing like working on a tale in McDonald's,


maintaining eye-contact with customers, to bring out those


skills. -- on a till. You have to be a team player, you have to have


a great attitude, you have to be polite. And customer-service, of


course. If I'm going to serve a customer, and I can make it a bit


more personal, ask have their day is going, it makes the whole


experience nicer. If somebody comes in, and they are from the phone,


don't get in their face too much, because it is a bit rude. If


somebody is happy, then you can be happy back. This week, thousands of


vocational courses lost their status as equivalent to GCSEs, so


it does not look like the Government has much appetite to


introduce school subjects which are almost softer side. A former head


of the CBI and Labour trade minister Digby Jones is with us now.


First of all, those soft skills - how important are they? The ability


to get on in life and talk to people and chat to people is number


one, I would say. One of the biggest problems, I might be


working with people who are long- term unemployed, some of them have


degrees, PhDs, but they have no social skills, and nobody wants to


employ them because they cannot connect you and cannot look at you


properly. It is absolutely important. But taking away the fact


that some personalities are more difficult to deal with than others,


is it a sign of failed parenting and bad schooling, or is it just


one of those things that people now need to be taught? There's lots of


different reasons, people having autism and stuff like that, but


there's whole generations coming through, there's work I have been


doing, where, if your mum and dad do not have your skills, then you


will not have those skills. We cannot just keep looking at the


schools for this. There are some kids really struggling who are not


getting this day in, day out, the ability to come in and shake


somebody's hand, look them in the face and chat to them. Do you think


that is the reason there are many more foreigners working in jobs


like sandwich chains? As you probably saw from my accent, I'm


not from London. If you go to Buxton or somewhere like that, it


is all English kids working in those shops. So this is a London


issue. But yes, it probably is. I meet lads in the streets who could


never ever get a job in a place like that, because they do not have


the social skills. So, what is the point of the Government trying to


bring down the status of some of these qualifications? I think that


is ideological. And shame on them, in many areas. Because what you


have got to do is to give emblems to these young people, and to the


employers, because it is a currency they understand, they understand a


GCSE. I will give you a good example, up at JCB, they have got


this academy, with kids in vocational courses, engineering,


this is stuff which British manufacturing needs. And they have


just taken away the GCSE. He is saying, what have I done all this


for?! The Government have tried to pander to a legitimate view about,


we do not want lots and lots of hairdressers, we would rather have


people who can be in manufacturing, and I am generalising. But they


have used an almighty sledgehammer to crack a nut. School does play a


role, more of a role that you say, actually, I think. A lack of male


teachers in primary schools, for instance, is a problem. But


families who are so dysfunctional, the young teenager has no contact


with anybody who's going to make him get confident, and so when they


start going for jobs, no confidence at all. Very, very briefly, because


we have got to move on in a few seconds, but in terms of what you


do, which the Government's work programme, is that a good thing?


is absolutely about confidence, self-esteem and how to carry on..


Are they getting jobs? Yes. And they are keeping their jobs, which


is what I came about. When people say they need good people, it is


not PhDs and rocket science. It is about good attitude, get in and go


home on time. We have been joined by viewers in Scotland, who have


been watching First Minister's Questions from Holyrood. Regular


viewers will know that the Welfare Reform Bill has been having a


sticky ride in the House of Commons. Yesterday it returned there where


some government concessions won the day. There is a bit of


parliamentary ping-pong going on between the House of Lords and the


The Government today has just burned a third of the savings they


proposed for this measure, because they got the policy wrong. They


have incorporated part of our amendment in their concessions


today, instituting an adjustment period. I want to show the


Secretary of State a better way to institute a principle on what


others agree. I am very interested any idea. -- in the idea. Is his


party going to say to the regulator that they would have exactly the


same amount of money that the government are proposing, or does


he think it should be more? does he say that is an acceptable


or long-term unemployed, when every day people's circumstances change?


They may change their job, they may lose their relationship or marriage,


and circumstances mean they have to move home. Why should the long-term


unemployed, often third generation, be exempt from the sort of real-


world that so many people living? We are also expected that we would


provide a grace period, a degree of transition for people who lose


their jobs and find their circumstances have changed


dramatically through no fault of their own. We will not penalise


those who are in work and doing the right thing. We will put in place a


nine-month grace period for those who have been a work for the


previous 12 months and lose their job through no fault of their own.


We have always intended to make this measure, and I'm happy to make


Joining me now, Labour MP and Conservative MP. Julian Brazier,


having accepted any of the changes the laws have made? I think the


government has struck about the right balance. There are many


lower-paid constituents in my constituency who justifiably resent


the fact that there are people being kept on benefits, some of


whom, for one reason or another, have not worked for many years, and


have a lifestyle that is very much better and more secure than theirs.


I think the Government is right to make these changes. It has made a


number of concessions to ensure that people who lose their jobs


through no fault of their own are not immediately penalise, but I


think it is absolutely right to be doing this. -- penalised. Could you


now answer my question? Have you accepted any of the changes the


Lords have made? Sorry, died personally accept them? As the


Government in the Commons accepted any of the changes the Lords have


made? Not in the way the laws have drafted them. The main change, as


you show it in your clip, that the government has made is that it has


allowed this nine-month grace period, and I think that the nine-


month grace period for those who lose their jobs is absolutely right.


But the wider point is... You have made the wider point, and I thank


you for that. Are you voting for, against or abstaining in any of


this? Well, the fact of the matter is, as was pointed out by my Labour


colleagues, this question of �26,000 applies in certain areas,


particularly in areas in London and one or two other places. The fact


of the matter is the bulk of that money goes to landlords, private


landlords, and it is very, very difficult for those who are going


to be adversely affected to find alternative accommodation. I do not


think we need lectures from the Government about unemployment and


the rest. The fact of the matter is that unemployment is growing, more


and more people are losing their jobs, and I think that what the


Government is doing once again his divide and rule, trying to


concentrate people's minds on other sections of workers, instead of the


bankers, the bonuses and tax evasion. That is fine, we have


heard the rhetoric from both sides. Are you for or against a cap of


�26,000? I would be very reluctant to have a cap unless it is quite


clearly very much on a regional basis. But bear in mind, we were


discussing other matters yesterday, other than this particular issue,


as you know. I understand that. He is the ping pong coming to an end?


Does this Bill go back to the Lords? Do you expect further


changes? Or is it coming to the end of the parliamentary road? I think


it is coming to the end of the parliamentary road, because there


are very substantial amounts of public money involved, so the


Commons can claim privilege honest. The central point is that we cannot


go on in a team of -- time of extreme recession with people


struggling, working very long hours, paying a lot of tax, and seeing


those one not in work and have not been for many years enjoying a


better standard of living than they are. But what the Conservative


Members of Parliament, including our friend here, being favour of


some control on landlords? Would they be in favour of rent control


and the rest of it? As I emphasised a moment ago, the fact of the


matter is that so much of this money which is being talked about


is absolutely going to private landlords, who are making fat


profits. That is why... I'm afraid, gentlemen, we are going to have to


leave it there. It is clear the debate is far from over. Thank you


for joining us. Anglo-French relations are known to


be a bit up-and-down, and every now and then even a little bit topsy-


turvy. With another summit looming, we thought it would be pertinent to


ask, how are the French President and the British Prime Minister


getting along? Jo! Well, things have been better! That


the many victims of the financial crisis, including the entente


cordiale between Britain and France. Only last autumn, relations between


Cameron and Sarkozy looked convivial. David and Nicola were


treated like heroes in Libya after leading the international action


against Colonel Gaddafi, but David Cameron's decision to veto a new EU


treaty led to a public snub by the French President he was said to


have called Mr Cameron and obstinate child and told him to


shut up. Then Mr Sarkozy began taking pot-shots at the British


economy, saying it has no industry any more. Yesterday we learnt that


the Indian government had chosen to buy a fleet of French jets over the


British build Eurofighter. Mr Sarkozy might not be around for


much longer, with the Socialist Francois Hollande the favourite in


May's presidential election. Mr Hollande does not like the EU


treaty either, but with signs that he may be even more hostile to the


City than Sarkozy, Mr Cameron might find that relations can only get


worse. Earlier I spoke to an MEP from Mr Hollande's Socialist Party


and began by asking if she wanted the treaty ripped up. This is


obviously the position that our candidate for the presidential


election has taken on behalf of our party. We believe it is important,


because we know that the current crisis in the eurozone is a crisis


not only about financial stability but also about the lack of growth.


The increasing divergence of competitiveness among member states,


some internal imbalances as well. We believe this treaty would only


add austerity to financial indiscipline. We need some


financial discipline, but we believe that growth will not result


only with financial discipline. We believe that you need to have


growth to allow financial discipline. So you want to spend


money, basically, you would like to see more money spent, and so you


are at odds with both Germany and Britain, because Mrs Merkel and


David Cameron want austerity as it is. No, but austerity on its own


will not allow us to get out of this crisis. Tell me, how can you


reimburse your debt if you do not create added value? This is all


about the debate, what it is about. If you want to go out of this


crisis, you need to have sustainable public finances, and to


do that you need some kind of growth. Do you have sympathy with


David Cameron's decision to veto the treaty? I think David Cameron


did not a very good thing, because I think his country is also very


much committed to the EU and to the health of the macro economy. I mean,


there are plenty of figures demonstrating how much the UK is


depending on the EU and the eurozone economies. I think he


would have been much better inside the discussion, but of course the


condition he had to put to be inside the discussion was not


acceptable. The request to the outside any financial legislation.


On that issue of the transaction tax, the financial transaction tax,


David Cameron and the leader of the opposition here are opposed to it


if it is not worldwide. Would you be willing to go ahead, leaving the


EU outside the tax? I think this would be bad news for the UK and


for France, and for the eurozone, the union as a whole. You know, in


the U: -- in the UK, you are a very clever and good proposal regarding


the banking sector, which is the Vickers Report. Drawing this line,


you should also accept that to have better supervision, better


regulation of the financial markets, you need to go all along the line.


To a separation between the deposit and the investment banking sector,


but also the transaction tax. This would be a really consistent


position. In terms of the treaty itself, if Germany does not want to


renegotiate and Angela Merkel does not seem to want to, what are you


going to do? They are the driving force. They are the driving force,


but I think they will need to have France on board, because you cannot


have the eurozone only decided in Berlin. This has never been the


case, and it will not be the case in the future. I think the fact


that Francois Hollande, our candidate for the Socialist Party,


has already foreseen the idea that there will be a renegotiation, that


allows us to prepare the people for this renegotiation and to define


the point where we will ask for this renegotiation. Our partners


will not be taken by surprise when we win the election on the sixth of


May! If Angela Merkel appears on the same platform as President


Sarkozy, which every indication is she well, what do you think of


that? Well, we will see how it helps President Sarkozy to win the


election, and I think it will not. I think French people are really


expecting Francois Hollande to become the next President of the


republic. Will he meets David Cameron when he comes to London?


will see! Anyhow, I have no doubt that if he comes, he will speak to


him about the financial transaction tax. So there will be a meeting,


you think? It could be. I and what about Ed Miliband, the leader of


the opposition? Well, I mean, he is our sister party, so I think that


will also be a very important meeting, but I have no idea about


the complete planning of this visit. Do you think, then, well, you are


predicting that Francois Hollande will win the election, but you ever


see the axis within the eurozone actually shifting? The Uno, I think


everybody is under pressure, because there is this debt crisis,


and everybody understands that the one who has the tool to put the


pressure is really in a strong position. But if you read what the


academics and experts tell you, whether it is the OECD, the IMF or


some people even in the Financial Times, they tell you that austerity


as such is not sustainable and will not be a solution in the long run


for the eurozone. I think if Francois Hollande, when he wins the


election, he will make Bogor at the political level this thing that is


really now very widespread in the public and in the academic world, I


think it can make the difference, and it will allow people who are


today under stress and under pressure, not allowing themselves


to really say what they think about these plans and this treaty, to be


more vocal. That is the view of the French


Socialist Party, favourites to win the presidential election. The


first round is in April, the second round is in May. We are joined to


talk about this by French journalist Agnes Poirier, who has


just got off the train from Paris and then got stuck in traffic, but


she made it, now auditioning for the Killing, you are dressed like


the detective! It is the Scandinavian programme. This bit


about Sarkozy and Cameron, a French president in trouble, it looks like


he's going to lose, a bit of Brit It is funny to look at them,


because it was a very short affair. And also, when David Cameron lost


his father, Sarkozy sent not the troops but the helicopter to get


him there on time. And they were the best of friends. And on 15th


September, both of them in Benghazi being acclaimed. And then it just


went downhill. But it is a bit of a one-sided divorce, Mr Cameron does


not say anything nasty about Mr so cosy, but Mr Sarkozy is very nasty


about our Prime Minister. -- Mr Sarkozy. He has told Cameron to


shut up, a period of silence for you, Britain doesn't produce


anything any more, which is factually wrong, because


manufacturing is a higher percentage of our GDP than it is in


France. For it is very low, anyway. Industrial production is higher in


Britain, its 15%. We just take the punches, because we don't care. He


is a failed, outgoing politician. Absolutely, although you do not


know it, because he is very good at bouncing back. He is a better


campaigner, I would say, than a President. But that's the way he is.


And also perhaps, that's the French way, being more straightforward


about what you think. Look at Nicolas Sarkozy, you know how he is,


he throws tantrums. He did say, apparently, reportedly, that David


Cameron was a spoilt brat, on December 9th. But Nicolas Sarkozy


is another brat, throwing tantrums. They wouldn't shake hands. Well,


apparently, yes. A French journalist once said to me, and


this sums up Anglo-French relations - the French do not like Britain,


but they like the British. And the British like France, but they don't


like the French - discuss! Is he rude to anyone else as leader?


That's the way he is. Is he rude to everybody? He is uncouth. He is


unlike any French president we have ever had. The guy is strange.


us, it is quite a remarkable proposition, that the German


Chancellor will come and campaign for the re-election of the French


President - the German Chancellor! I know, it sounds strange. Is that


a plus? I don't know, is it? But that's what he also did for her, so


I guess she's just returning the compliment. And since they have


seen each other more than he has seen his own wife in the last few


months, so she might as well. would you rather see, Carla Bruni


or Angela Merkel? I knew you were going to ask that question.


Socialist candidate, leading in the poles at the moment, Francois


Hollande, he is going to come to London, because London I think is


the fifth-biggest French city in the world. But most of the French


people here came to London to escape people like Francois


Hollande, he's not going to get many votes here. Well, you would be


surprised. First of all, a lot of people who voted for Sarkozy were


very disappointed very early on, almost a few hours after he was


elected. The honeymoon was two hours. Remember, it was 8pm, he had


just been elected, and he went to that very tacky restaurant on the


Champs Elysees, and we thought, oh, my God, we have made a mistake!


Tacky restaurant on the Champs Elysees, how could that happen? How


would you sum up Anglo-French relations? I would not dare, really.


I'm pleased to hear that he is rude to everyone, it is not just us. I


think they're a bit upset because our food got better, I think that


is one of the big problems. food did get better, but it only


had one way to go. And there is the one who is not getting much mention


on this side of the Channel, Marinne Le Penn, it is not beyond


the realms of possibility that she could come second. Yes, there is


another guy as well, who got 19% last night. He is more in the


middle. Yes, supposedly on the left for it very much at the centre. --


on the left but very much at the centre. Do not discount him.


think the French election is going to be fascinating. Anything can


happen. If anybody is watching in my home town in France, everybody


there is very friendly to the Brits. Thanks for rushing from the station.


You can relax now, get your breath back. Get out the sunblock,


everyone, it is time for the Lib Dem away day in Eastbourne. But


don't count on there being talent for ice-creams, there are some


serious issues which need to be discussed. We tried to get hold of


the agenda, but we were told to go away. Charming. So we have made up


our own. So, what is top of the agenda? First, there is the issue


of the Queen's Speech, which has been causing the once cosy


coalition considerable coalition considerable


consternation. Nick Clegg has made it clear that he would like the


Treasury to go further in lifting the income tax threshold. And the


reform of the House of Lords has been high on their agenda for some


time. But it has been reported that the Lib Dems are less keen on


Conservative suggestions regarding the deregulation agenda. Then there


is the question of the NHS and welfare reform. It has been


rumoured that a Cabinet reshuffle could be on the cards soon, and


Nick Clegg would no doubt like to see an old friend returned. And


then there is the holy grail of politics, poll ratings. And of


course, there is always something course, there is always something


on drugs. Joining us now, we have Mark Littlewood. First of all, what


is a Lib Dem a awake day like? They're quite fun and convivial


affairs, in my experience. I have been to two of them. I'm never


quite sure that the two I experienced actually got to the nub


of the issue. You would need more than a day for that I think for the


Liberal Democrats. Some people might have argued that a day was


too long, in times gone past. But not now? No, the reality is that


the poll ratings for the party are about 10%, so about half the voters


have left the course since the last election. I suppose the first two


years of coalition, Nick Clegg has said, hold your nerve. It does not


really amount to a strategy. They have got to think about who they


are speaking to. There has been this policy of differentiation from


the Conservatives, but this is not appealing to the merits of their


policy positions themselves. If you think about whether you want Euro-


enthusiasts, liberal on immigration, and at the same time, against the


bill but, it is a miracle that you're on 10%. -- against the


welfare cap. Just coming back to your point, looking at the poll


ratings, the time that has been spent in coalition, what is morale


going to be like? Have they held their nerve? It would seem that


they have, publicly. Yes, to some considerable degree, they have.


There is no great uprising within the banks. But I think they have


got to work out, David Laws put this quite well at the last


conference, they have got to work out whether the Liberal Democrats


are going to be the engine or the brake in the coalition. There is a


danger that they are the brake. They have got to find some areas on


which they can drive forward, some areas they can make their own.


they have differentiated themselves, with this unusual display from Nick


Clegg on the �10,000 threshold, which did not seem to have been


agreed by George Osborne - was that a good one to go on? Definitely, he


has found a point of differentiation which is popular.


It was not -- it was a Lib Dem policy at the last election, he has


not dreamt it out of thin air, and he is seem to be leading the charge


on that. If George Osborne brings it in, it will be chalked up as a


win for Nick Clegg. But I think he needs to go more in that direction.


Where else can he go? On welfare, it is difficult, they have had the


Lords live up about welfare, and on health, two biggie shoes, but they


will be painted as brakes, not as engines, on those issues. That's


true. I think they need to think about whether or not they are going


to defend the interests of small business. The Conservative Party,


rightly or wrongly, is often portrayed as a friend of big


business. The Liberal Democrats can be seen as being a party which is


against red tape and things like that, but we have not seen much of


that. I think if they stood up for small and medium sized enterprises,


tax exemptions, things like that, and were seen to be on the side of


the small entrepreneur, that is potentially a market which the


Liberal Democrats could tap into. Would that work for you, if they


followed that kind of agenda, Emma Harrison? Would it fit with the


kind of thing that you're doing on the work programme? It sounds


really interesting. I was just thinking about it, there is a whole


piece around health, which nobody has discussed yet, which is about,


what are the people want? For example, we want to be kept well,


we do not want to be fixed, we want not to get ill in the first place.


Start thinking about, how can you represent the voice of the consumer,


thinking, I do not want great big Health Service reforms, what are


you going to do to keep me well? Most of the jobs for the people I'm


working with, the long-term unemployed, they find their jobs in


small companies. So we need to do everything we can on that. Is the


banker bashing working, or do you think that is going to turn


slightly as far as public opinion is concerned? It is interesting, I


was thinking a few days ago I was the last man on the planet


defending Stephen Hester, and I think there has been a slight swing


back in public opinion, it was a bit too populist, a bit too much


politicians riding the crest of a wave, rather than making sound and


sensible economic decisions. the Liberal Democrats, that has


been quite a populist agenda for them. But if we're talking about


thugs, do you think a lot of them are disenchanted Labour supporters,


and if so, they cannot afford to lose most of those, can they?


cannot, but they probably have lost most of them. They have got to find


these sectors, and I think it is the small enterprise sector, a huge


1, to really make their own. It has really been only on the 10p tax


rate that they have done that so far. What about a mansion tax? Not


all Liberal Democrat politicians seem to be big fans of that? Yet


Vince Cable seems to be dead set on it? He does, but I think it will be


George Osborne's choice. I think the way that has been phrased is


pot of the problem. In fact it would apply to a lot of rather


small properties, not just Mansions, and interestingly, in a large


number of Liberal Democrat target seats, actually. I think there


should not be such a rhetoric about bashing the rich. If you want to


say, let's moves and taxation away from income and towards property,


then put it that way. Actually saying a mention tax, hitting


people in huge country estates, I think that is an unfortunate turn


of phrase. In terms of the election, do they still have to go for more


years of austerity, like the Conservatives? There is no Plan B,


they have got to stick to that, no question about it. Just time before


we go to find out the answer to our quiz question. Who was it that


brought London to a standstill yesterday? I am hoping it was David


Beckham. I think you're the Government. I was in London


yesterday, and I was not brought to a standstill, personally. Anyway,


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