02/03/2012 Daily Politics


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Afternoon, folks. Welcome to the Daily Politics. It is a big day in


Europe - again. This morning, 25 of the 27 countries in the EU signed


up to a new treaty committing them to tough new debt rules. Only


Britain and the Czech Republic haven't put pen to paper. But David


Cameron is not feeling isolated. In fact, he is claiming victory this


morning over his ideas on stimulating economic growth in


Europe. We will have the latest from Brussels, get reaction from


Westminster and hear why the Irish plan another referendum on this


latest treaty. And, as Labour gather for their Scottish


conference, Shadow Defence Secretary Jim Murphy joins us to


talk Europe, Scottish independence and what action needs to be taken


Riots on the streets? Petty crime making your life a misery? Bring


back national service. Well, the Government have. But there's no


marching and it is not compulsory. But should it be? We'll ask the


minister in charge of the Big Society idea that the Government


claim as a big success. And pity your poor MP, he or she is


suffering. No, it is not overwork, in fact it is the opposite, with


just one vote in the Commons in the last seven days. We will find out


why and ask what they are doing all All that in the next hour. And with


us for the duration, Vincent Moss of the Sunday Mirror and Sue


Cameron of the Daily Telegraph. Before we get under way, there have


been developments in the Chris Huhne court case this morning.


Let's go over to our correspondent, Tom Symonds, with the latest


outside Southwark Crown Court. What happened this morning? Well, this


was always going to be a procedural hearing. It was over in minutes.


The any new information was the fact the trial of Chris Huhne and


his former wife, Vicky Pryce, will take place in October. The press


pack turned out in force. Chris Huhne had to fight his way out into


a taxi. It is alleged that in 2003, when his car was registered as


speeding in Essex, he was driving and he passed the points to Vicky


Pryce and she accepted she could take the points she -- so he did


not have to. They are both charged with conspiracy to convert the


course of justice. We do not know if they will plead guilty or not


guilty. Sir, basically nothing happened this morning of serious


development. We do have the date for the trial, which will be


October. We will have enormous media interest in S. When will we


know when they will plead? It is very dangerous to predict how


anyone might plead in a case like this. They are jointly charged with


conspiracy and, therefore, the court will hear the case as it one.


They are facing individual charges. There is a case management hearing


in May but the trial is not until October and that is when the trial


will get under way. All eyes will be on the court in October. There


are pressures on the Chancellor with the budget just three weeks


away. From calls for the abolition of the 50p tax rate to alarm over


petrol prices reaching an all-time high, Mr Osborne is getting a lot


of advice but, economically and politically, does he really have


many options? We are hearing today that Mr Osborne will keep the 50 p


rate. We do not really know because it is a budget. It is likely that


he will, isn't it? I would have thought it is almost politically


impossible to have reduced the 50p. The gross between the rich and poor,


people are acutely aware of that. It only applies to people earning


over 150,000. Two said they would keep more money in their pockets


would be inflammatory at the moment. -- to say. The Liberal Democrats do


not want them to do it. Is that really the clinching argument or is


it political reality that even if the Lib Dems won a breathing down


his neck, he probably still would not do it in this budget? He may


give some direction of travel and say it is not raising that much


money and say, I am minded to do something towards the end of the


parliament. Give a signal but not do it. There is little room for


manoeuvre. It if it does not raise much money, and early evidence is


that it has not, we had one accountant on the show yesterday


who said he thought it would raise 5 billion. If it raised that, it


would be impossible to get rid of it. You could see a deal down the


road if it does not raise much money. The Lib Dems are saying, we


are going to cut the tax on income - on incentive - but we're going to


find ways of raising taxes on the property of the better off. I think


that is a possibility. It might easier to increase the number of


council tax bands. People are living in expensive houses should


pay more in that way. I still think, regardless of how much of how


little they 50 p raises, it is the signal it sends out to ordinary


voters. The politics are very difficult. We have just learnt the


price of unleaded petrol has reached a new high of 137.42 4p per


litre. So, it's another big day in Brussels. This morning, 25 of the


EU's 27 leaders signed the new Treaty on Stability, Coordination


and Governance in the Economic and Monetary Union, designed to prevent


a repeat of the current debt crisis. It will oblige the signatories to


legislate against a budget deficit None of them are near that at the


moment. The treaty will now go to the national parliaments for


ratification. Ireland has already said that it will hold a referendum


and others may follow. The only leaders not to sign were the Czech


Prime Minister, and, of course, David Cameron. Last night, Mr


Cameron formally raised objections that his ideas for cutting red tape


were not reflected in draft summit conclusions but, today, he said


that his growth plans would be incorporated in the final


communique after all. And here he is, speaking to journalists in


Brussels in the last hour. Before this summer, 11 other EU leaders


and myself set at an action plan for growth. Many more have backed


our plan since then. This is an unprecedented coalition. It brings


together countries from all four corners of Europe. It was not just


the traditional allies from the northern European countries, it


included Spain, Italy, Poland and many others. This letter has been


the main focus at this council. Together, the countries that signed


this letter, represent over half of the population of the EU. We made


it clear we should agree concrete steps at this meeting. Yesterday it


was frustrated that the drug summit communique did not do this. Today,


in Brussels, as you will see when the communique is published, we


have made our voice heard. It has been fundamentally rewritten in


line with our demands. The Prime Minister is claiming a great


political victory in Brussels. Sometimes it is true and sometimes


it is not. Let's go over to our political correspondent, Iain


Watson, in Brussels. You were telling us that it looked like


Herman van Rompuy and the Commission had basically ignored


the British-backed document. Now the Prime Minister is saying it is


at the centre of things. Unravel it for as. The truth lies somewhere in


between. David Cameron was keen to show he was not isolated. He turned


up early for the summit. Gordon Brown turned up late wants to sign


a treaty. 11 other countries had signed this letter, causing formal


steps to boost economic growth. Last night he said he was


frustrated because he was ignored. Today he said the communique had


been fundamentally rewritten to incorporate what he was looking for,


specifically timetables for lifting some EU regulations by 20th July 14


and he saw that as a significant step forward. Two countries he did


not mention were France and Germany. No soon as he claimed victory bend


Nicolas Sarkozy issued his own rebuttal. I am not a polyglot. This


is the sense of it. He said, he could not considered 10%, 15% of


the demands of David Cameron and the temptation for deregulation is


ever-present with Britain and Sweden and we do not want to see


that on the table. I have spoken to EU Commission sources who said that


David Cameron got about half of what he was asking for. That is a


negative view. It reflects a bit of scepticism. The Prime Minister is


wagging his finger at the rest of them at the EU summit. He was


claiming victory today. We should be doing more to claim alliances.


Nonetheless, let's be clear about this. The British government would


say, if we had not made a point of this and got this round-robin


together with 11 other countries, had it not been for the work of


officials behind the scenes, there is a possibility would have got


more warm words on gross but not what we need to boost the economy


in difficult economic times. -- Kriss Akabusi. Was it the intention


to ignore what Mr Cameron was asking for because it was not in


the original draft? He made a song and dance about it and said, all


right, we will write some extra bits into it. I saw at the original


draft. There were four pages about the need for economic growth. This


was only a draft and for circulation. We were always


prepared to beef it up. We have made more progress towards


deregulation than David Cameron is admitting. They saw being blunt


about it as a manufactured row. The Prime Minister said, I led the way


that it was not just me. Other countries like thin and stared up


at the summit and decided they were going to back this. -- finance. He


was not just playing to the domestic gallery. Herman van Rompuy


had just been re-elected as President of the Council for


another two-and-a-half years. David Cameron was trying to say, do not


just listen to France and Germany. The feature EU budget, that will be


negotiated. He says he has a guarantee of a proper discussion of


EU trade in July. Thank you very much. He is not a polyglot but he


is Scottish. And we are joined by Tory MP Stewart Jackson. He


resigned as a government job over Europe last autumn and Sharon


Bowles, Liberal Democrat MEP and chairwoman of the European


Parliament's Economic Affairs Committee. Sharon, let me come to


you. 25 of the 27 have approved the treaty. It has to be ratified but


it looks like it is going ahead. It calls for fiscal union, the


constitutional budget level laid down in law, and for more and more


central control of individual economies on fiscal matters. For


the foreseeable future, for this generation, all other means Britain


will not join the euro. I think if Britain were to join the euro, it


is a long way in the future. long? Certainly more than 10 years.


I think it is off the table currently. To my mind, a lot will


depend on what happens with eurobonds. If we get genuine


eurobonds were joint and several liability and deep and liquid bond


markets, there might come a point where that reflects upon what


happens to gilts and we might have to think about it again from that


point of view. Good luck with the Germans and that! It sounds as if


you are hankering for membership. We have had other ambitions as well.


I had interviewed every Lib Dem leader in recent memory and they


have all made Europe one of the defining issues of your party. That


ambition is not over. Hang on! We are in Europe. To join the euro?


still think there are potentially circumstances where the UK may


choose. The reasons worried did not join, some have been cured, like


the fact there was not enough discipline but the facts such


discipline would require much closer union, which was not to the


overall UK taste. That has increased. If you look at it


democratically, I think it is less likely to happen. You are shaking


your head. I just cannot believe this delusion of the Liberal


Democrats. They should be honest and say, had we listen to them, we


would be more less in the same position as Greece. What the euro


has done is inflicted policy and destitution on millions of Greek


citizens. It has not worked and it has not worked because essentially


it is a political project, driven by the bureaucratic European elite


you want to extend their power. It is not about trade. We are a


trading nation and a proud trading nation - the 5th biggest in the


world. We do not need to be in this high-tax customers Union. The


quicker the Liberal Democrats can understand the their way with the


rest of the population, the better. That seemed to be a mix-up of the


EU and Europe. That sometimes happens. I am talking about the


European Union. You want out of the European Union. I have not said


that. Let's ask her. I think for too long, you have to be over 55


years of age ever to have been asked whether you believe in


Britain having a close and what integrated approach to the European


Union. The answer to the question is quite straightforward - we


should have a referendum on future membership. How would you vote?


am still agnostic. You could abstain! I would vote one way of


the end of the stub it sounds to me want to vote No But cannot tell us.


We are not having a debate. The need to have a debate among


everyone. A moderate, well-informed What surprises me is anybody takes


any notice. Have part of the deal is Europe will increase its


employment rate by 75%, up to send 2%. The lisbon treaty said Europe


would be the technological powerhouse of the world by 2010. I


don't bake that happened, you just have to go to silicon Valley. Why


did people bother? It's all nonsense! They like to put targets


in as a headline. This time, there is quite a lot of work to try to


make things happen. 20 measures coming forward to actually do more


in the Single Market, remove the barriers still there, which should


help growth. If you had 20 pieces of legislation referred to, it


would stretch even your tolerance. There are much more positive moves.


It is a fantasy move. Herman Van Rompuy was tweeting, thank you for


re-electing the. I missed the election. Did you get a vote? Don't


you think the public is losing patience? They keep on going to


these summits, fight their internal battles. For the people watching


this programme, for 99.9%, it means next to nothing. It is right it


means next to nothing in a way. They have come up with a new


agreement setting strict agreements on the size of the deficit. Even


before they signed it, Spain and the Netherlands were saying, we are


sorry, we can't manage this. We are talking as if, having signed it, it


happens. The one they we know about Europe is, when they signed things,


that is just the beginning of the argument. Exactly, it is about


David Cameron playing to the domestic audience. His own party is


at war over this. He tried to veto it. He is widely ignored in Europe.


It is about shoring up the right wing of the Conservative Party.


There is a settled Euro-sceptic can sentence in the Conservative Party.


David Cameron is doing what people criticised him for in the past,


building a coalition around growth, low taxes, low regulation, with


other parties. We're now joined from Dublin by the


Irish Finance Minister Brian Hayes. Thank you for joining us. Am I


right in thinking that the legal advice, you might not want a


referendum as a government, but the legal advice made it inevitable you


have to have won under the Irish constitution? Good afternoon. The


advice the Attorney General gave the government this week was that,


on balance, a referendum should be held. We love those in Ireland,


asking people their views on Europe. The view of the government is, even


though this is an Inter governmental treaty, the


constitutional test is quite strong here in Ireland and the government


is going into this referendum in a positive position because it is


good for Ireland and Europe to pass this duty and make sure that the


mess created over the last number of years in Ireland and across the


eurozone never happens again. We need to put in place strong rules,


which get this crisis beyond, so we can move the agenda. 2012 should be


the agenda around growth and jobs and creating new prospects for


people. It is tough, it involves a considerable loss of sovereignty.


Your opponents may even exaggerate the loss of sovereignty. You have


to give up a lot of budget powers, even some tax powers. In Ireland,


Berlin seems to know about one of your budget agreements even before


the Irish. It is not plain sailing? It is not, the government knows


that. The great majority of people in this country no that the


continuation of the euro and the establishment of the euro is


crucial. We produce more than we can see him. We are exporting


country. The only way back for Ryland is to export our goods and


services and the best way it is with a strong attachment to hard


currency. We also have over 250,000 direct and indirect jobs in this


economy as a result of foreign direct investment, US and


multinationals who come to Ireland because of its good location and


quality of work force, also we are at the heart of the euro project.


To create any uncertainty in economic history would be crazy.


Most people realise, if we have to come back as a country, we need the


support of all European countries, support of the eurozone. A means of


doing that is part in this treaty. It is not going to be plain sailing.


I covered your referendum on the niece's treaty, I covered your


referendum -- Nice treat. -- and Lisbon. And you're lost. Will you


be forced to have a second referendum? This is unlike any


other referendum for the following reason. Once the requisite number


of countries in the eurozone implement the treaty, the treaty


goes on, without us. The question for us, do we have access to key


emergency funding which we may or may not require in the future? We


have a very precarious public finance position, a current budget


deficit, just under 10%, we have got to get that down to 3% by 2015.


It will be crazy for this country, in a circumstance where there could


be up to 750 billion in a special fund, as a stop gap for the euro,


if we couldn't have access. That is something Irish people will be


mindful of. Sorry to interrupt. To get clarification, are you saying,


even if you vote no, which Brussels which -- will regard as wrong, they


won't make you vote again in a second referendum? There won't be a


second referendum because no one will be making us do anything


because other countries will simply go off on their merry way and


create the conditions were the treaty can be established, without


us. This isn't about Brussels telling the Irish what to do, it is


about ourselves deciding what we want to do. There won't be any


second referendum, the Deputy Prime Minister has made that clear. This


and we wanted was to campaign on ensuring we don't get into this


mess again. It is good for Ireland, and good for Europe.


Coming back to London. On this treaty, it puts into law, into


constitutional amendment, the size your deficit can be. How does that


square with the Liberal Democrats? Your party is riddled with


Keynsians. They would say that is nonsense. If there is an over


arching problem, externally, there are get-out clauses in his duty. If


there is something... It strangely. It is not worth the paper it is


written on! The balanced budget aspect as far as I can see, don't


make a lot of difference to that we have already put partly into


legislation in the last round, where we had balanced budgets in


that. There is more that is coming in, in new legislation. The House


of Lords has said there is nothing in that treaty the UK could not


sign up to. Obviously, finds which applied to the eurozone would not


apply. -- fines. But all the rest to do with balanced budgets, we do.


The Maastricht criteria contained all the right rules, they are


already there. They were broken. Everyone knew Greece was fiddling.


The elephant in the room surely... And the UK helped France and


Germany escape when it came round to the vote. Surely, the Germans


are the influential people, they will dictate whether the European


Central Bank will be the lender of key resort. They are not willing to,


for political reasons. We should be focusing on a low regulation, this


is that institutions and power- broking in Europe.


If you're planning a trip to Dundee this weekend, watch out. The place


will be crawling with the great and the good from the Labour Party. Get


there early, and you might even bump into Ed Miliband, who's taking


the fight to Alex Salmond over independence with a speech this


afternoon. Among his many warm-up acts today will be Shadow Defence


Secretary Jim Murphy. We'll speak to him in a moment. First, here's a


flavour of Douglas Alexander's address to conference this morning.


As proud Scots, we may feel there is nowhere better, but we also


understand there is something bigger. And if, in the coming


century, our influence is to be increased and not diminished, our


global reach is to be extended not limited, we need the British


connection. So, in the months ahead, it will fall to Scottish Labour, to


every person gathered in this hall, to every party member in the


country, to say in the case that Scotland stands taller on the world


stage as part of Britain, we are stronger together and we would be


weaker apart. Douglas Alexander. Jim Murphy joins


us now, from the conference in Dundee. Is Scotland really up for


this fight for independence? Welcome to Dundee. I am looking at


the window, it is a lovely day. We meet in Dundee, is city with a


great history, through tough times. The Labour Party is up for it, not


for our own sake but for the people who are hurting in this city and


across the country. We lost an election in Scottish Parliament, we


didn't lose our sense of right and wrong or our self-confidence. We


have got to stop apologising, and take the fight to the two


governments we face, in the Commons and the Scottish Government.


they will be your allies in the fight for the union? On supporting


devolution, they will be our biggest ally, the truth, Logic,


common sense, the Scottish public. Folk hero know a good deal when


they see one. Ultimately, Scots are patriotic, fiercely so. A good deal


is getting a fantastic deal as part of the UK. Who will lead the Labour


The Scottish public. Which Labour leader will lead it? We will have


Johann Lamont at the head of it. You will have Johann Lamont as


leader of the Labour Party campaign for the union? Yes, there will be a


Labour Party campaign and an all- party campaign which will involve


people from all political parties. That is the way to do it. Come the


big debates for independence, if we have this referendum, not just on


Scottish television but network television throughout the British


Isles, many may be taken throughout the world given the importance of


where the United Kingdom stays together or not, who, in these


debates, will represent Labour up against Alex Salmond? Let's see who


the BBC invites! That is a cop out. Who do you offer? The clever you


invite will come on to your television. I know it makes good


telly for you and I to shout at one another hundreds of miles apart. No


one in Dundee or any street across Scotland is thinking, he will be in


the TV debate? What they want is a conversation about what separation


means, what interest rates would apply. Those other big questions we


will face. At some point we will get the issue of who will make the


debate in television studios. understand that. I would not have


to shout at you if you just answer the questions. I answered it but


you did not give me the answer. did not answer it. Who will lead


the campaign against Alex Salmond? There will be a team effort of all


the parties. I look forward to playing my part, I look forward to


Alistair Darling claimed his pack - - his part. Let's see who the BBC


it invites. That is an absurd one such. The viewers will make up


their minds. You said you were not share a platform with David Cameron


to save the Union, is that still true? I do not think it helped make


the argument for the United Kingdom. I saw Labour politicians doing that


on the first past the post and the eight the referendums. It is not my


politics. There will be an all- party campaign. This campaign will


be led in Scotland. David Cameron not be leading this campaign.


have called for an all-party campaign. That would imply all


three leaders of the mainstream parties should get together to


fight Scottish nationalists. You're saying despite the all-party


campaign, you would not appear with the Tories. The Labour Party, the


Conservative Party and the Lib Dems. Leaders and Scotland will come


together. It is not about taking on Alex Salmond, it is about making a


case for Scotland in the United Kingdom. If we can set aside the


personalities, it is about the substance. That is what the


nationalists want. They have the dominant individual who behaves


like the King of Scotland. That is not what this debate is about. Who


will set the interest rates? How big will the Army be, the Navy?


These are enormous issues which will decide the debate in Scotland.


It will be all party led by the three party leaders of the Scottish


party's. Thank you. We were led to get back to Dundee. Good luck in


finding a leader against Mr Salmond. There we have it. A Labour campaign


that does not have a leader. would cut this morning to find out


it was the BBC who had chosen Engelbert Humperdinck to be our


representative in Eurovision. thought he was dead actually! I am


glad he is not. He is not running to either a break-up or save the


Union. From listening to Jim Murphy there, they have not really got


someone to lead their sight of the argument. He is saying, although it


is about the future of the country, I will not appear but the Tories.


If I was Alex Salmond, Aled Brew up another coffee and say, we're off


to the races. -- I would brew up. The Conservatives and Labour in


Scotland have some very lightweight politicians. All the best a down in


Westminster. Possibly they should be repatriated to lead the campaign.


It needs decent politicians of that stature. Alex Salmond is a much


better politician. They need more heavyweight characters, the


Conservatives as well. What do you think about Johann Lamont leading


the campaign? She looks a very small figure when compared with


Alex Salmond. And, if you can't get enough of Scottish independence,


don't worry. I'll be interviewing First Minister Alex Salmond on the


Sunday Politics this Sunday at noon on BBC1. -- at 11:30am. These days,


if someone offered you the chance to pay university tuition fees of


�1,000, you'd probably bite their hand off. But, back in the early


days of the Blair government, their introduction caused outrage. Since


then, how we pay for higher education has proved a minefield


for both Labour and Coalition governments and it has got


increasingly expensive. But what does the man who first brought


tuition fees in think about where we are today and what has their


Student grants, here to stay it! Protests on the streets of London


and many other cities as well. Why? Tuition fees are being introduced


by the Government. It seems like a long time ago. Back in the early


days of New Labour, it was the job of David Blunkett to sell the idea


to a deeply sceptical public. People were genuinely and


understandably worried about the breach of the principle over the


previous 25 years of so-called free education. So, in the face of


pretty fierce opposition, upfront fees came in with concessions for


the less well off. In 2001, Labour promised there would be no top pubs.


Two years later they changed their minds. Tuition fees would be paid


after students graduated but they could be as much as �3,000 a year.


More furious protests and it almost brought down the Blair government.


Why did they do it? Tony and Gordon got cold feet. They started to feel


the wind of parents. Students would not be hit in that way but they did


not like the upfront contribution. The demo is of 2004 were repeated


six years later when the cap was raised by this government to �9,000.


David Blunkett voted against it but sets -- but accepts that Labour set


the tone. The pressure once you have changed the system and once


you could repeat the mantra there was no bump -- upfront payment -


therefore be the students paying at the time they could afford it -


that mantra immediately allowed the upward pressure to the point we


have seen today. The number of students applying to go to


university has dropped by 10%. Has the introduction of students' fees


rarely had the chilling effect expected? 18 euros have not had the


chance to go to university before. -- year olds. The number has gone


down by 4%. That is much less than many of us thought. The number of


students who are applying for more -- from more disadvantaged


backgrounds has been the smallest dip of them all. Could that move


away from the system of upfront fees? I think there is a real risk


that upfront payments would have put students off. We have a system


where you pay according to how much you earn. In many ways, it is more


socially progressive Foster how much you pay depends on what you


learn when you graduate. Looking back, does David Blunkett regret


being the man who brought in tuition fees? Yes and No. I regret


we have ended up with a situation with substantial fees, with a big


reduction in England of 10% in those applying for university from


autumn 2012. And a great deal of fear, I think, about what it means


about the introduction of fees and the contribution that was made


first aid by parents and in the feature by students. It has not


damaged universities. It has allowed substantial expansion. It


has allowed the maintenance of world-class quality. That really


does matter. And, to discuss all that, we are joined from Hull by


the chair of the Education Select Committee, Conservative MP Graham


Stuart. And the author and blogger Owen Jones is with us too. Welcome


to both of you. Application figures for 2012 show a minimal drop


overall. What was all the fuss about? There has been a drop. It is


too early to tell in terms of long- term prospects. This government has


scrapped 15,000 places this year. You have to take into account the


effect of scrapping of Educational Maintenance Allowance. Where is the


support to show that places and applications have dropped? It talks


about a drop in public services. When Labour induced top up fees, a


disappeared. In Scotland, you have free education and the drop is only


3%. Arts and humanities has had its funding completely withdrawn. The


Government has an ideological approach to these matters. Courses


such as arts and humanities are falling by the wayside. The whole


thing was that it would deter kids from the poorest backgrounds. You


turned out to be wrong. No, I did not turn out to be wrong.


Applications from kits from the poorest backgrounds barely


registered a drop at all. How much did they dropped by? 0.2%. That is


statistically insignificant. This is from a very low base. The top


5th richest students come at over a half applied for university. We are


talking about a very low base. Unless we're talking about a


dramatic expansion, we want lots of people from all backgrounds to go


to university, we will not achieve that if people are deterred by huge


amounts. The number of kids from poor backgrounds going to


university has barely changed. has not increased from a very low


base. I use saying that 0.2% is statistically significant? -- are


you saying? It is a low base. The scrapping of Educational


Maintenance Allowance - 49% of colleges in this country - have


reported a decline in student numbers. The poorest students are


not even going to six form. When will fees go up? When will these go


up? They have tripled in recent years. When do they go up again?


The important thing is people like Owen have gone on suggesting that


these were going up too far for those from disadvantaged


backgrounds. So -- statistics show they have not. In a system where


most people who go to university, we're going to do our best to close


the gap, it will continue to be dominated by people from better-off


families. We do not want people who never stood a chance of getting to


university and into work longer hours and pay more tax to subsidise


the rich to go to university. That is what left-wing people like Owen


have been arguing - they have been arguing it would put up the poor.


The new system is working. Universities will have 10% more


money by 2015. We have a more responsive university sector. We


hear from universities that the questions from students and they


come to the open days are much more focused. There is a lot more


attention to detail. Universities are having to respond. That is fine.


I question to you was how can future students of tomorrow and not


take it for granted that these will stay roughly in real terms where


they are and that we're not on an escalation of fees that will rise


and rise and rise and get to American levels? What we have is a


system where you do not have to pay until you earn decent money. If you


do not earn decent money, you do not have to pay at all. As long as


we have the right Progressive support in place, this system is


more progressive than the old one. It works out about five had and �40


the year less than the old system. You have to earn more money before


you start paying. We have a big improvement. As long as we have the


right framework in place, these should rise as and when required in


future. They should not be frozen for ever. They could be index-


linked? Well, we will need to look at what is politically and most


importantly education league Do these figures seen convincing?


agree with you. I do think we are still in quite troubled waters, it


will take a few more years before you can really see what is


happening. And it has always been the case, kids from disadvantaged


backgrounds found it difficult to get to university. I wouldn't have


gone to university if these fees were instituted. We're heading


towards an American system where you need a small fortune. Let us


see how things develop. The final word? The number of people from the


poorest backgrounds going to university is shockingly low. A


third of courses in England have disappeared since the introduction


of fees. If you're an MP, it's a hard life.


I'm not kidding. With constituency surgeries, a bulging post bag and


all those babies to kiss, it can be tough. So you'll be pleased to


learn that things are easing up over the road in the Commons. In


the past seven days, honourable members have only been called to


vote once. That was yesterday, and most of them are still having a lie


down to get over the shock. But not one man. Ealing MP Stephen Pound is


up and about, and joins us from College Green outside Parliament,


along with the Independent on Sunday's Matt Chorley.


So, you have nothing to do these days? I am grateful for your


concern. We have a great deal to do. However, there is an odd mood on


the floor of the chamber, Tumbleweed blowing down the


corridors. The government has lost control of the timetable. We had


the covers on recess and the Lords sitting, then the other way around.


This week, you know when you are desperate for business, we debate a


motion on protecting UK interest in respect to the Treaty on Stability,


Coordination and Governance, you know you were desperate men.


you on a one-line whip? No, there is an important debate next Monday


with a three-line whip. Because... Because it is a Labour debate! You


have to turn up for that. That was confidential! What is the mood up


like -- like it at Westminster? are lucky to find an MP. A lot of


them are working very hard in their constituencies. The fact we are


getting into almost the local election campaigning has nothing to


do with a fat it is difficult to find MPs at the moment. -- the fact.


It is a very good thing, the less law-making they do, the better!


Look at the Health Service Bill, most of which they didn't need


legislation for, it has got them into terrible trouble. It is much


better if they do not do too much law-making. Isn't it also the


product of coalition government, they are running out of things they


agree on to legislate on? They put all of the big bills, health,


welfare, that went into the Commons first. The Liberal Democrats wave


it through. When it got to the House of Lords it got into trouble.


There are over 1000 amendments to the health and welfare bill in the


House of Lords. When you have over 200 hours of scrutiny, you have


either made a catastrophic mistake, or you are so arrogant if you think


you can crash this through. We are approaching Belgium where they had


the best part of two years without a government. Gentle men, we know


you have nothing to do so we had better let you go see you can do


It it's a been half a century since the abolition of national service.


And whenever the bad behaviour of Britain's youth makes the headlines,


as it often does, the cry comes up to restore it. Enter the


government's National Citizens Service. How to fix a "broken


society"? Well the Prime Minister's big idea, unveiled just before the


general election, is the National Citizens Service. Not national


service, mind you. There's be no square-bashing on the march to


Dave's sunny uplands. Mr Cameron hailed the idea by referencing


Mahatma Gandhi's maxim that: "The best way to find yourself is to


lose yourself in the service of others." This summer, the programme


will be rolled out to 30,000 16 year olds. But eventually, the PM


wants all them to take part. The aim is a more responsible and


engaged youth. A goal even more pressing since last summers' riots.


Tell me, how many 16 year-olds are best in this country? 600,000 at


any one time, 8,000 took part in our pilot last year. And, how long


will it take to cover, to meet this goal of 600,000 being involved?


will take it a step at a time. 30,000 places will be made


available this year, in large part because we are so pleased with the


results last year. We are committed to 90,000 places in 2014. We have


to make a case for it to the Treasury and public, this is a


substantial involvement -- investment. Last year, nine out of


10 kids who took part said they would recommend it to their friends.


We are sitting on something very powerful. The current rate of


expansion will mean 23 years to get up to 600,000. We are starting with


something new. On the evidence we have had so far, it has had such a


positive impact on young people, building their confidence, the soft


skills employers have said they need, connecting them with their


communities and how to make a difference. If we continue down


this track, and build greater awareness, more people will come


forward. But, do you have a target date in your mind when you would


hope to see everybody covered? that is the long-term aspiration.


What I have in my mind is the 30,000 figure this year. Then may


have to make a case, it has to work for the taxpayer. Is there any


stage way you would consider making this compulsory. Not at this stage.


That is not the direction, our mission is to make it as compelling


as possible, so many more young people want to take part because


they see the value of it for themselves, their employers seek


its value. They understand it is not policy now. But, in your view,


sitting as you do at the moment, you would not consider making this


a compulsory scheme for 16 year- olds? That is the prime minister's


decision ultimately. It is not the intention. This started in 2005


when David Cameron became Leader of the Opposition. He wanted to do


more for young people. We are not good as a country helping young


people make that transition to adulthood. Can we, government,


charities, work together to construct a modern version of


national service which isn't compulsory, which doesn't have a


military dimension, which pressures kids together from different


backgrounds to have a, expense which challenges them and gives


them skills. If it is as good as you say. Why would you make it


compulsory? We want a track of proving its value to young people,


parents, schools, businesses and ultimately the tax payer. Our


belief is we can make it so compelling, it will become a rite


of passage for young people. think it sounds a good idea, I am


sure it will expand people's horizons, it will be useful and fun.


But, it only lasts three weeks. The old National Service used to last


for two years. I do not think putting people together, good idea


that it might be, it will cost �37 million? It is lovely, warm and


cuddly. You are slightly too old. What people want is jobs. It sounds


great but all young people want to hear is, how can I get a job? I


can't find work. A lot of young people are attracted to this


because they know it will look good on their CV. Employers say what


they're missing from young people are confidence. This programme is


helping to develop it. If it is only three weeks. They can pack a


lot into three weeks. We can pack and out into one out of


broadcasting. Time now to see what else has been happening over the


last seven days. Here's the week in 60 seconds.


The week started some nifty Lib Dem positioning on the Health Bill,


with Nick Clegg writing to Lib Dem activists promising to back more


amendments. I do not know whether he supports the bill or opposes it.


I support it. Oh, he supports it! Leveson finally showed us the money.


Exactly how much does it cost to buy a police horse? Sorry I mean


police force! Three �150,000 in cash. That is a lot of ponies. As


one protest came to a close, another stepped up a gear, as anti-


workfare campaigners occupied the golden arches.


While union leader Len McCLuskey declared he was going for gold,


with a plan to disrupt the Olympics. And, who said two wheels are better


than four? Boris Johnson unveiled his new Routemaster buses. Although


at �1 million a piece, it means he couldn't afford a driver.


What about the horse? It is a brilliant story. It will define the


whole inquiry. There was a Channel 4 comedy, the kind of thing you


would have expected in that. David Cameron was in Brussels wanted to


talk about the economy, and the question was, did you ride on


Rebekah Brooks's horse? And the answer was, yes. But the horse is


no longer, you can't even interviewed the horse. You see,


everybody is talking about it. wonder if it gave an exclusive


interview? Thanks to our guests. The One


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