23/03/2012 Daily Politics


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Afternoon, folks, welcome to the Daily Politics. So it's last orders


for cheap booze. The Prime Minister is worried about irresponsible


drinking and says he wants to put an end to scenes like this on our


streets. To that end, he wants to introduce a minimum price for


alcohol and a ban on cheap deals. The debate over the granny tax is


still raging, but is it really the chancellor's biggest Budget


blunder? We will be on the campaign trail in the Bradford West by-


election. And we will be getting to the


bottom of Speaker Bercow's kaleidoscopic speech about the


Queen. All that in the next hour. And with


us for the programme today are Iain Martin, who writes for the Sunday


Telegraph, and the Independent columnist Steve Richards. What a


dream team. If you have any thoughts or comments on anything we


are discussing, you can send them to us. Let's start with the biggest


political event of the week, George Osborne's third Budget. And it is


one that is still ruffling feathers and threatening the chancellor's


reputation as a master strategist. So was it a Budget for working


people or a budget for millionaires? A budget to clobber


the rich, or clobber a granny? Or was it, dare we say, just a bit of


a mess? I would go for the last of those questions. Surprisingly. I


have never understood why George Osborne is regarded as a master


strategist. I do not think it is based on March, be on when he


announced that he would abolish inheritance tax and stopped the


early election. But Mr Brown did bottle out. That was the moment on


which it was based. But more widely, I have never understood on what


basis is regarded as this tactical genius. I am mystified as to why he


did not put more work into the tactics of this Budget. Why didn't


he prepared the ground for taxing wealthy pensioners? Why didn't he


prepare more fully from his part? I am genuinely mystified. You would


have thought they would have talked about what they wanted the press to


say the next day and gone about getting it ready. But I see no


evidence of that. Is des two after the Budget any better than they


want? No, it seems to be getting worse. We have all seen budgets


unravel, but this one has been special. Those of us who have


written for years and questioned George Osborne's reputation as a


political genius are feeling a flush of vindication. When he was


in Washington last week on the Cameron-Obama jaunt, sophisticates


around Osborne said all was well and that he could afford to go to


America for a few days. Now it looks as though he should have been


in London, doing more work on the Budget. We will come on to the


substance of the so-called granny tax in a minute, but you can see


the problems it has caused. There is a broad case, however, for doing


what he is trying to do. But they made no effort to prepare the


ground, as Steve said. Everyone was taken by surprise. The can feel a


certain sympathy in that as the population ages and more people


would be on 70, it makes sense. But you have to make a big argument and


be honest about it. It is the way you do it. Any strategist could see


this. Six months before the Budget, start writing articles about


generation inequality. Then say there is a case for getting more


money of the pensioners who have done very well over the last few


years. And distinguish that not all pensioners are living in a scullery


with no money. Then you would get papers calling for a tax of this


kind. Then leaked the fact that you are thinking of doing it. If all


hell breaks loose, don't do it. If you sense that it is going in your


direction, you announce it to regretful country. I can see a job


offer coming your way. But it is not just the granny tax. That might


be excusable. It is the mess on child benefit, where rather than


admitting that they made a mistake and scrapping it, they have put in


its place something incredibly complex which creates a marginal


rate of tax for those between 50 and 60 if they dare to have kids of


up to 65%. Then look at the 40p. That is the real bombshell that


will do the most damage. When this government came to power, 3 million


people paid 40p tax. When they leave power, it will be 5 million


people. It is extraordinary that a Tory Chancellor is doing this.


he has several more budgets. This is a mid- term Budget, the last one


where as a Chancellor, you can take risks and do what you believe in


rather than what you think is electorally necessary. The next few


will be made much more with the election in mind. You are right,


the papers are just as bad as yesterday, but there was an old


maxim that budgets which are trashed the day after, by the


following week are praised. And budgets that are praised are


trashed the week after. I have always had that. We shall see the


Sunday papers this week. It will be interesting. So is the Sunday


Politics. Well, MPs spent most of yesterday


debating the Budget. Here is a flavour of what was said.


Yesterday's Budget was described by the Economist as more of a


newspaper review and a Budget. Another said the Budget had all the


leak free qualities of a teabag in a sieve. It might be quicker to


list what the papers did not publish beforehand. For the benefit


of the house,... The they call this a Robin Hood Budget! But they have


got it the wrong way round. Robin Hood took from the rich to give to


the poor. This Budget takes from low and middle-income families to


give to the rich. The Chancellor is not Robin Hood. He is the Sheriff


of Nottingham. As for jobs and growth, he couldn't give a Friar


Tuck, Mr Deputy Speaker. Being lectured now on how to manage an


economy is like being given a talk on seamanship by the captain of the


Costa Concordia, another believer in light touch steering. Can we


have a statement on the higher rate of tax? The Sun account on Twitter


is reporting that friends of the Prime Minister say he does pay the


higher rate of taxation. We have not heard from friends of the


Chancellor, or doesn't you have any left after mugging the nation's


grannies yesterday? Why should this outbreak of openness be confined to


members on this side of the house? I'll hope the honourable member


will try and persuade all his friends to be as open as he wants


us to be. Her So the so-called granny tax


dominated much of proceedings. We thought we would have our own


little debate about the measure today. Joining us now is the editor


at large of Saga magazine, Emma Soames, and Ed Howker, who wrote


The Jilted Generation. Emma Soames, the poor pensioners are not


affected by this, because they do not pay tax. Wealthy pensioners do


not get any benefit, because they do not get, they lose the allowance


anyway. So it is mainly the middle band of pensioners we are talking


about. Isn't there a case for a lining everybody's personal


allowance to be the same? people who are being affected by


this new age allowance are the people who have spent all their


lives working harder to build up modest amounts of savings. It is a


kick in the solar plexus that they build up these funds and then find


that in one rather throwaway line, not even called a tax, but a


simplification, that they will be �4 a week worse off. It is hitting


4 million pensioners. Those who are already pensioners will have their


tax-free threshold frozen at �10,500. In cash terms, they are


not losing out. The ones losing out are those who are about to become


pensioners. They would have had a tax-free threshold of �10,500 which


will now be �9,200. But it will rise after that. The intention is


to increase that by 2014-�10,000. But it will be frozen until that


happens for everybody. The threshold for existing


pensioners will be frozen, but for those who are just becoming


pensioners, their threshold will rise in line with everybody else's


firstly to �9,100 and then to �10,000. The reason it has had so


much impact, it is not the number of people affected, but if you are


64, you have done a lot of financial planning. You know you


will retire next year. You know you were probably worth -- be worse off


when not working. You may have seen a financial adviser and discovered


that what you thought you would get as a pension will not be anything


like it because of quantitative easing. But we agree that if there


are losers from this move, and there is no question about that,


the real losers are those who are about to become pensioners, rather


than existing pensioners, who will simply suffer a freeze on the


threshold. The yes, but those who are may freeze once inflation kicks


in, will also suffer. That is true, inflation is under 3% and falling,


so it may not be too bad for them. It will cost them about �83 a year


if you are an existing pensioner. When you are cutting taxes for


those earning over �150,000 a year, what is the point in going for


pensioners? I am not sure it is appropriate that the Government has


made that cut. But pensioners have done terribly well in the last ten


years. They have higher rising disposable income than young people.


Some of your arguments are powerful, because if you look at NUT rates


and the way in which pensioners' savings have not grown, they have


had trouble, but they are more successful than other parts of the


population. My pitch is straight forward. Young people trying real


trouble. 2 million under-thirties are unemployed. There are


opportunities are disappearing. It would be better to concentrate on


their needs and some of that pension a wealth was moved towards


creating jobs for them. So because of the way the economy has been


going, because it is tougher for young people now than it was for


the most recent generation, but not compared to the '20s and '30s,


there for all people, who have paid their taxes and worked all their


lives should suffer? De point is straight forward. We have a


colossal longevity problem in this country. We are living too long?


it is wonderful that we have a longevity problem. But it is a


problem for the Government, because they have not prepared for it.


Britain has a pay-as-you-go pension system, which means no savings have


been made for future generations. That means the current generations,


many of whom are unemployed, have to pay these bills. That is not


inappropriate. Of course pensioners should be treated well. In fact,


they are. They get a massive tax break because they do not pay


national insurance. They are not working. But when they are working,


they do not pay. Well, of course pensioners should have more


disposable income than 23-year-olds. Unless you are called Master Gates


almost good with. -- or Miss could win. They have worked all their


lives and save for maybe 35 years of their working life. It would be


worrying if they did not have disposable income. The way of


kicking down wealth is to allow it to happen to families, inheritance


and all the people being able to paddle their own can news and not


become a burden on their children, rather than having a big stick of


government saying that old people are using up too many bedrooms and


have to move out of their house, which is outrageous. We are


expecting people on welfare benefits to move out of their


houses. But they are not their I think we could all agree, what


the Government is doing his defence of the law not, but pensioners vote


and the turnout of pensioners is much higher than the average. They


are an important political constituency. Will this have an


impact? Yes, I think it is a massive political risk whatever you


think of the substance. I think there is a case that they do make a


higher contribution. Although M a powerfully explains the


implications for the losses they will make, everybody is making


losses at the moment. There's no reason why they should be excluded,


but there's always been a powerful political reason, which is they


vote, they pay attention. If do you think this will have a political


impact on pensioner's? I do. It is as much to do with the way it has


been handled as to do with... They are not fools, they feel patronised,


furious. It was the only thing in the Budget that was not trailed.


Who did he think... Just by calling it a simplification, people


wouldn't notice. What is your take? This will be one of the big


emerging themes of politics in the next 20 to 30 years, the sense of


inter-generational conflict and tension as society continues to age.


Our political parties and commentators haven't really started


to grapple with this. It will have all sorts of interesting


consequences. I think political leaders will become older. Why will


those who are still working aged 70, who will massively outnumbered the


young, why will they vote forever for 40 year-olds who seemed to be


learning on the job? It will force politicians to pick sides between


the young and the old. All right. We don't have time to talk about it,


but the Chancellor talked about linking the retirement age to


longevity, which means the retirement age could be rising


indefinitely. I totally agree with that and I also think the new


retirement model of people working flexibly and not falling off a


cliff edge... It is not either or any more. Exactly. Thank you. Time


for the daily quiz. Which of these will not cost any more as a result


A rotisserie chicken, hairdressers chairs, Jaffa cakes or hot Cornish


pasty East. Interestingly eclectic mix. Steve Andean, who are looking


bemused, will maybe give us the correct answer at the end of the


show. Easy to work out. Once, Chancellors sipped it when


they delivered their Budget, but now the Government worries it is


cheaper than the preferred tipple of choice at the despatch box these


days - water. So what's their solution? You've guessed it - they


want to lighten our pockets. According to the Home Secretary,


the Government wants to affect the cheapest end of alcohol that allows


people to do something called pre- loading - that's filling up with


alcohol before they go out. So what's the plan? The Government


wants to consult on a 40p minimum wants to consult on a 40p minimum


price per unit of alcohol. That means a �2.99 bottle of red wine,


containing 9.4 units of alcohol, would be priced up to �3.76. Cheap,


strong lager at 75p a can, with three units per can, would become


at least �1.20. It would also considerably increase the price on


bulk purchases. So, for example, two crates of 20 cans of cider


which could be bought for �20 at one point last year would now cost


at least �37.30. Government projections, based on a 40p minimum


price, show healthcare costs would drop by �30 million in the first


year and �93 million by the tenth year. There would be 50,600 fewer


crimes each year, saving �54 And 12,600 fewer violent crimes,


reducing costs by �37 million a year. You can believe these figures


if you want! Let's see what Theresa May had to say in the House of


Commons this morning. This strategy is targeted explicitly at dangerous


drinkers, problem pubs, irresponsible shops and harmful


drinks. Those who enjoy a quiet drink or two have nothing to fear


from these proposals. The local pub has nothing to fear, the


responsible off-licence has nothing to fear. We will help tackle


problem drinkers. We will help local areas deal with local


licensing problems. We will encourage the alcohol industry to


act responsibly and we will put a stop to the easy availability of


cheap booze that has blighted Britain for too long. The Home


Secretary and the measures will apply to England and Wales., and is


doing something similar, slightly ahead of what is doing -- happening


in England. We are joined by Testament and Jane Davies, the


Director of Public affairs at the British Retail Consortium. What


evidence is there that raising the price by these relatively small


amounts will affect how young people drink? It is pretty clear


that young people choose not to go to pubs, not to go into clubs, and


actually to buy alcohol in the supermarket or to get somebody else


to buy it for them in supermarkets and off-licences. Those who are


less responsible. If you can get to a point way you can buy a pint of


beer for 34p and cider for 48p, not been responsible pubs, we know we


need to do something. What is the evidence that increasing the price,


they will not simply move... In some of the prices, the change in a


bottle of wine is not that big. is not meant to be. Where's the


evidence that they will simply move their drinking habits or spend


more... A lot of it is price related. When the local supermarket


reduces the price, the sales go up. Supermarkets don't sell cheap booze


because they are feeling terribly generous, they do it because they


sell more. Have you been to Norway on a Friday night? And no. It is


�10 for a pint of beer in Oslo in some pubs. And there are a lot of


drunk people around. Why does price matter? It matters a lot. What is


really important is the local farmers who are selling side on


their premises and the local pubs who are trying to sell alcohol in


their hostelries in my area of Somerset. I used the example of


Juliet, the landlady of a local pub. She said she is outraged that the


Tesco up the road can sell for 34p a pint of fear. For competition.


she did that and she served to people who were drunk already, she


would lose her licence. The point of this is it is not to help your


pub landlord, it is to stop drugs and roaming the streets in the


evening in our city and town centres. -- drunks. Isn't it? Or


hidden subsidies to pubs. doesn't damage pubs. If you look at


the average hospital a Andy at the weekends, it is appalling. -- A and


D. I am trying to get the evidence where price would make a difference.


The accusation in your trade is that you are selling things


sometimes as loss-leaders and disgracefully low prices and you


should be more responsible. First of all, you don't make a successful


business out of selling at a loss. The vast majority of lines, even


when on promotion, are not loss- leaders. Secondly, we have to bear


in mind that we have prices here in the UK that of 50% higher than


throughout the rest of Europe. For it is not simply a matter of price.


Indeed, in Scotland, Alex Salmond has said that consumption in


Scotland is 20% higher than England when the prices are the same. This


is a cultural issue. Pricing will not be the silver bullet that


solves the problem. Let me give you three cities where booze is just as


plentiful and often cheaper than in London. New York, Dubai, Paris. And


you don't see gangs of drunks are roaming the streets in any of these


three cities. It is a cultural problem. What does it have to do


with it? The market is sensitive to price and young people, the ones we


really need to try to stop arming themselves and harming other people


and other people's property, they are sensitive to price. There's no


question. Why do you think in New York, for example, there are not


kids roaming the streets drunk. If you do, the police pick you up. You


will spend a night in jail and if you do it again, you will go to


jail. Yes. On our streets, that doesn't happen. We have a different


culture. Police are too soft. don't think so. They are much


tougher in New York and Paris and Dubai. I was listening to one of my


colleagues this morning talking about the 1898 in the Prince act


which is something else I would like to look at bringing into my


part of Somerset. You are just a Nani state interference. You want a


micro-manage halides. You want to fix the price of booze. What does


it have to do with you, you're a politician? It is about


protecting... Vast resources are being wasted on crimes related to


alcohol, resource is being wasted on the health systems, dealing with


people who were ill. Look at the explosion of people who need


treatment for liver disease. don't you just put the prices up a


bit? Retailing is a very competitive business, particularly


at the moment. One in four families are saying they run out of money by


the end of the month anyway. Making money out of people who then go on


the rampage on our streets late at night after buying products from


your members. Are you proud of that? 75% of men and four out of


five women drink responsibly. is not what we are talking about.


Consumption of alcohol is going down because of a lot of different


issues that are being taken forward to change that culture. We are


talking about those... The ones who drink responsibly on not pre-


loading on cheap cider and cheap beer. They are having a glass of


Chardonnay of an evening. They are also the ones with health problems.


At least they are not on the rampage and affecting me. Why don't


you just be responsible and put the prices of these really low priced


alcohol units up and then the interfering politicians would not


have to get involved? We are responsible. We have taken the lead


as the sector in insuring that people understand the number of


units there are in a drink. It is a competitive market. Her if you all


but the price up... It is dangerous if we start getting into territory


where it governments are dictating prices. What is your view? I think


we need maximum alcohol prices. The British have a problem with this,


but I don't think it is all about price, I think it is about culture.


Something changed in the British psyche 40 years ago. Youngsters


started drinking in this way, in a way their predecessors hadn't. That


can't just be about price. It might be a small factor, but something


deeper has happened culturally. Quite what the state to do things.


-- I want the state to do things. I wish they would tell me to stop


drinking as much mind as I do -- wine. Stop drinking! The smoking


ban was arguably one of the most important things the previous


government did. It was never in the manifesto, but it changed behaviour


for the better. If pricing makes a difference, and I suspect it will,


I supported. We shall see. We have run out of time. Thank you.


David Cameron is in Scotland today, where he's been addressing the


Scottish Conservatives' annual conference. This is what he had to


say. Not only can you love Scotland and love the United Kingdom, not


only can you drape yourself in the Saltire and the Union Jack, but let


me say this. You can be even prouder of your Scottish heritage


than your British heritage, as many in Scotland are, and still believe


that Scotland is better off in Britain. All of this is why this


Prime Minister and his party is going to fight for the United


Kingdom with everything we've got. That was the prime minister


speaking in Scotland. With us now is David Mundall, the


Scotland Office Minister. Why are the Scottish Tories so


useless? I don't accept that analysis. Everybody knows we have


had our difficulties, but at the UK general election, one in six people


in Scotland was voting Conservative. I'm in Troon, which has a council


run by the Conservatives. The Conservatives are representing


people in Scotland. We have to do better, we have a dynamic new


leader in Ruth Davidson who will turn around our fortunes, but we


have a big part to play in the campaign coming up to save the UK,


keep Scotland at the heart of the UK, and as David Cameron said, that


In the Westminster elections in 1997, the Scottish Tories were


wiped out. You had no MPs after that, is that right? We had no MPs


after 1997. But since 2005, I have been an MP here. How many do you


have now? We have me. I am the sole Conservative MP in Scotland. It is


not a position I sought, to be the sole MP, but one in six people in


Scotland did vote Conservative. 420,000 Scots voted Conservative in


the UK general election. So you have added one MP in 15 years, that


is your rate of progress. That means that to become a majority of


Scottish MPs, it would take you 450 years to become a majority again?


Is that your sense of purpose? are not setting out that prospect.


We want to grow the number of Conservative MPs in Scotland. We


want to grow the number of councillors. There are councillors


all over Scotland representing our party in local government. We have


16 MSPs in the Scottish parliament. Scottish Conservatives are speaking


out for Scotland on issues that represent our values. Of course we


want to do better. That is why we have a young leader who is


transforming our party's organisation and bringing forward a


new policy platform. And most importantly, putting us at the


centre of the debate around the future of Scotland. But I do not


see the progress you are talking about. You have gone from zero MPs


to one MP in 15 years. In 1999, you got 18 Conservatives elected on 15%


of the vote. In 2011, you got 15 elected on at 11.6% of the vote.


You have gone backwards. We do not suggest that things have been easy.


Or that we would not want to do better. That is why Ruth Davidson


has become our leader, with a platform of taking forward new


policies and new organisation, taking our message to the people of


Scotland. One of the ro most important things to do is to say to


people who have voted SNP on the basis of Conservative policies such


as low council tax and business rates is that their vote is


actually a vote to break up Britain. If you want to see these policies


pursued and keep the UK, you should vote Conservative. Give my regards


to that lovely town of Troon on the Ayrshire coast. Iain Martin, the


fact is that progress from the Scottish Conservatives has actually


been glacial or in reverse from the number of seats they have in the


Scottish parliament. And yet in Wales, the Conservatives have had a


comeback. Why in Wales and not Scotland? Is stars look as though


what happened in 1997 was not a blip, it was an extinction event.


The politics of the Thatcher period, now more than two decades ago,


still dominate Scottish politics. It is incredibly difficult, because


there is a consensus in Scottish politics. Difficult to get a


hearing for arguments about free- market saw education or health


reform of the kind that has been engaged in in England. Scotland is


substantially to the left, and the Tories have not made progress.


it is not just a setback, it could be extinction? I wonder. It is


fascinating hearing that interview, because the two of you know about


this, but you are reminded that politically, Scotland is so


different from England. It is extraordinary. But at some point,


the space will surely emerge for a party of the centre right. You


can't have a political debate where in effect, the three parties are


all on the centre-left. But people have been saying that for ten years,


and it has not happened. A large number of people who are natural


Tory voters all would be if they lived in the home counties, they


voted for Blair. They have now been snaffled by Alex Salmond. The


Liberal Democrats are extinct in Scottish politics. The Tories are


in trouble. It is a two party fight between Alex Salmond and a Labour


Party in trouble. There is little space for the Tories to get a


hearing. We shall see. This time next week, we will know


the result of the Bradford West by- election, caused by the resignation


due to ill health of Labour's Marsha Singh. He is in the running,


and what are the candidates talking about?


Bill Bryson once said bad for's role in life is to make every other


place in the world look better. -- Bradford's role is to make other


places look better. But not so fast, it is also carry capital of the UK,


home to one of Britain's largest Asian populations and the home town


of a member of chart-topping group one direction. Bradford's economy


is in serious trouble. Council job cuts and closures to local


businesses have meant the amount of people claiming jobseeker's


allowance in this constituency has gone up by almost a third over the


past year. Youth unemployment has gone up by 40%. Labour has a


majority of just under 6000 in Bradford West, but this was a key


target seats for the Tories in the last general election. It is the


kind of urban, ethnically diverse area they say they need to do


better in. We have just had a wonderful Budget for growth and


business. I will visit as many of the employers in this area as I can


to tell them about the initiatives we have to get young people into


work, particularly the work experience and the financial


incentives that will help them to take on a young person between 18


and 24. With rising unemployment, the Lib Dems may be facing the


consequences of going into government with the Tories. But


their candidate denies it. This is not a referendum on the coalition.


That comes in 2015, when everybody will get a say. This is about who


will be the best person to stand up for Bradford West. I have a record


of bringing money to the city and getting ministers here to see what


is happening. The UK Independence Party came second in the Barnsley


by-election last year. They hoped to perform well here as well.


want to get third place and beat the Lib Dems. And I think I can. I


am a local person. I have been in the area for over 50 years. I have


worked for the young and old, the vulnerable. I am aware of the


situations here and I would like to fight for Bradford West in


Westminster. But one man has come along to mix things up a bit. I


have come to a hustings at the University of Bradford. There are


two empty chairs on the stage. The Labour and Conservative candidates


did not want to take part. So welcome to the George Galloway show.


Parliament needs someone to represent the people who are


currently not represented there. All three of the main parties


support the war in Afghanistan, but most people in Britain don't. But


nobody is speaking up for them. you have promised your constituents


that if you win, you will be in Parliament and not of making


reality TV when you should be serving constituents? I was never


on a reality programme when I should have been serving


constituents. I served my constituents faithfully. That was


why I was elected five times to Parliament. It is not easy. You


should try it. Five parliamentary victories in three different


constituencies. Next Thursday, we might see another one. The Green


Party are also standing in Bradford West. We won't -- we are the only


party with a renewed deal and a plan to create thousands of new


jobs in areas such as green energy and also to create a new raft of 18


to 25-year-old entrepreneur's by freeing up money to get new


businesses off the ground. Labour candidate, Imran Hussain, is


deputy leader of the local council. He invited me for lunch with Andy


Burnham. I was hoping for one of those famous Currys, but he


insisted on a pizza, coincidentally at the birthplace of the


Independent Labour Party. I asked him if he was running scared from


George Galloway. No. I refused to share a platform. But I have said


this is a very short campaign. I will be out there, knocking on


doors, listening to people in these difficult times. That is the way I


want to go into this campaign. Unless there is a Lazarus-like


comeback from George Galloway, Labour would use a win in Bradford


West to show that they are picking up momentum, and hope it is true.


Be there are eight candidates standing in the Bradford West by-


Now, we are joined from Leeds by the BBC's political editor from


Yorkshire. What have been the highlights of the campaign? One of


the things has been George Galloway barnstorming at that meeting that I


was present at at the student Unite union. But while he is making an


impression that, where it was packed with Respect supporters, he


is not making much impression on the streets. This has been a Labour


seat since the '70s. There have never been large majorities. There


is a 6000 legacy from the previous popular Labour MP. It was a


marginal back in the general election. The Conservatives poured


lots of resources into it. The result was that the 3500 Labour


majority before the general election became 6000 after the


general election. Any sense yet on how the Budget in general and the


so-called granny tax are playing on the streets? In 30 years of


covering politics, I have never been to a by-election where Ray


Budget was slap-bang in the middle of it. David Cameron came yesterday


bearing gifts. In the Budget, there were a small number of cities that


were told they could have extra money to have super-fast broadband.


One of those was Bradford, funnily enough. He mentioned all sorts of


things. Today we had Ed Miliband in the constituency. Surprise,


surprise, he went for it cup of tea with a couple of pensioners. So the


Budget is high on the agenda. We are told Nick Clegg will not be


campaigning. We expect the deputy leader of that party to be a long


next week. It would be a major upset, particularly with Labour in


opposition now, if Labour was to lose this by-election. We never


know for sure, but is there any prospect of that? By-elections do


throw up surprises, but I would be very surprised if Labour does not


at least keep the majority it has. We are not seeing any surprises.


The only scenario would be if that George Galloway vote managed to


nibble away. Can the Conservatives then gallop up on the outside? They


were second last time, the Lib Dems a distant third. 6000 is


comfortable, but not overwhelming. The issue of dangerous dog was put


back in the public eye yesterday after a vicious attack in east


London injured five police officers, four seriously. Two of those


officers are still in hospital. One is reported to need a skin graft.


Specialist firearms officers were called in to shoot what has been


described as a pit-bull-type dog. The Government has already


committed itself to tackling the issue, promising an announcement on


measures before the end of the month. What needs to be done. Chris


Mason is on College Green with a Lib-Dem MP and a representative of


the postal workers' union, the CWU. Yes, there is a chequered history


when it comes to politicians and dangerous dogs. The legislation at


the moment, the Dangerous Dogs Act, dates back to 1991. There is a


sense that it is out of date. But many criticise that legislation for


being rushed to through a and a response to a media campaign in the


early '90s. It is a tricky one for the Government to grapple with in


terms of which up -- department is responsible. DEFRA, the Environment,


food and rural affairs department, calls the shots on this, which


seems odd. That may be why it takes a while to get to the bottom of


this and dream up a new idea. Let's chat with my two guests, the Lib


Dem MP Tom Brake and Dave Joyce from the Communication Workers'


Union. Dave, how bigger problem is Dangerous Dogs is a big problem. We


have been campaigning since 2008. We believe the coalition have had


plenty of time to do something and we want them to take action


urgently. 11 people have been killed by dogs in the UK in the


last five years, 23 postal workers have been attacked and injured by


dogs in the last four years and we want action now. Do you


specifically need new laws? We do. Since our campaign started, the


Scottish government agreed with us to change the law and have done so,


the Northern Ireland government have done the same, as has the


Welsh government. We now want Westminster to change the law. You


can get rid of at least eight or nine pieces of useless legislation


and get -- introduce one new-build. There's a suggestion that the


Government will conform with a package of measures that is short


of new legislation. How important his new legislation? What we need


to address is the Dangerous Dogs Act, the fact it doesn't apply on


private land, for instance. Communication workers have the


biggest problem there. We also need to look at the breeds affected. I


had a tragic case in my constituency of a woman who died as


a result of an attack by a Belgian mastiff, not one of the breeds


covered by the Dangerous Dogs Act. Would you be letting down people


like Dave and others if there is no specific new legislation? Can't be


done without it? We have to look at a range of measures on the table.


Microchipping could play a role. We could also look to earlier


intervention. One of the big problems with dogs, and this was


the case in my constituency, is people are worried about a dog, but


until it does something no action can be taken. Thank you both. A


very heated issue and plenty of discussion to come. There's a


patchwork of different laws around the UK related to this, but


specifically for England, we are expecting something from the


Government within a couple of weeks, but whether it stacks up to new


laws, we don't yet know. Thank you. Beautiful weather out


there in Westminster! Spring has sprung.


So it's been a busy old week. Stella McCartney launched her


Olympic uniform range. And very nice it is, too. The weather's been


absolutely lovely and there's been a heck of a lot happening at


Westminster. Here's Max with his 60 The Chancellor set out his economic


vision for the nation this week. It is goodbye 50p, hello granny tax.


Government's controversial proposals to reform the NHS in


England cleared their final parliamentary hurdle this week. The


bruised and battered Health and Social Care Bill finally got the


thumbs-up from MPs on Tuesday night. Her Majesty visited Parliament this


week, marking 60 years on the frame. A speech to both Houses of


Parliament was attended by a kaleidoscope of the great and good.


Are we about to see roads plc? In a speech on infrastructure, the prime


minister said there was an urgent need to repair England's roads. He


suggested private investors might stump up the cash. And after 11


years as a peer of the realm, Michael Heseltine graced the House


Making his maiden speech, I thought he had been a lot for ages! I


wanted to ask you about the health bill. It has been a terrible


experience for the coalition. I think some wish they had never


started in the first place. But it is going into law. I wondered


whether Labour might, by saying this is privatisation, this is the


end of the health service as we know it, fire and brimstone, Sodom


and Gomorrah, if in three years' time not much has changed, they


will have overplayed their hand. think a lot will have changed.


the worse? Yes, I do. This isn't the end of this story as a


political problem for the coalition. I think the Lib Dems will be in


real trouble in some of their seats because of their support for this,


albeit they claim they made it better. For legislative passage has


been extraordinary. We now have this weird Bill where all of the


amendments contradicted the original intentions of the bill. In


that sense it reminds me of the poll tax, where you had a very


simple piece of legislation, which was entirely contradicted by all of


the legislative amendments. All of the rebates... It countered what


the whole thing was meant to be about. They got it through, let's


got on with it, and it became a mess. I think it will be a mess on


the ground. Even if it is not directly responsible for some of


the things that will go wrong, it will create news stories and it


will be blamed. This is not the end of this story. If that is the case,


it is a running sore for the Government. Her absolutely.


Everything that goes wrong in the NHS, even if it had nothing to do


with this Bill, will be blamed on it. How many people, after this


extraordinary process, can actually explain what the Bill does? It is


one of the most extraordinary failings of political management


and communication I can remember. It will have implications for the


workings of the coalition. David Cameron is conscious that not


enough attention was paid to it, it was supposed to be bomb proved by


Oliver Letwin and it turned into a complete shambles. You will see


more power as a result drawn to the centre as Cameron will be looking


to avoid any repeat in other areas. If Oliver Letwin is trying to sell


you an air raid shelter, don't buy Now, to the burning question of the


week - do we live in a kaleidoscope world? And what makes the UK a


kaleidoscope country? Yes, it was all in the Speaker's address to the


Queen on Tuesday. We sent Adam out to see if he could make sense of it


Up it is the mystery gripping Westminster. Why did this because


say this before Her Majesty addressed parliament this week?


have become, to many of us, a kaleidoscope Queen of a


kaleidoscope country in a kaleidoscope Commonwealth.


obviously went down well with the prime minister, who then reference


it at PMQs. This is a kaleidoscope Budget. But it split public opinion.


Kaleidoscope is many colours, different shapes. The Queen over


the years has had to adapt to many changes. People know what a


kaleidoscope is and they know who the Queen is. But the two don't


relate to each other. I'm not sure what kaleidoscope Queen means, it


doesn't sound very polite to Her Majesty. Although one theory has


emerged. It turns up the Speaker is honorary President of an


international gay rights charity called the kaleidoscope Trust. So


was this just a big plug? Speaker is more than capable of


writing his own speeches and he did on this occasion. His choice of


language is up to him. At the kaleidoscope Trust, we chose the


word kaleidoscope because it does represent a bringing together of


the sort of diverse nature of Britain and what we would hope


would be the diverse nature of the world. A spokesman for Mr Bercow


told us that when he was building his kaleidoscope, he just meant it


as an image, and metaphor. But Mr Speaker has discovered that even a


speech created with the precision of as whips wash maker, if


delivered to an audience more cynical than anything, in front of


the monarch, can end up like Marmite. Loved and loathed.


There we go. Kaleidoscope is derived from three Greek words. An


observer of beautiful forms. Who said public service broadcasting


was dead?! Some people thought the speech was all right. Is it just


the cynical Westminster village that likes to have a go? It was a


speech that divided opinion. think that's pretty safe to say!


Whether a speech should be dividing opinion... It was fine as a


metaphor. What was more interesting, I'm told David Cameron is also


livid that John Bercow gave a special emergency debate on the NHS


bill the day before. But I think it was a lot of David Cameron to shows


such disdain in public at Prime Minister's Questions. Other leaders


have been really... There's no love lost between them. It is now the


Republic. We would have made more of that if it is not receded the


Budget. A public put-down. But from what I have seen of the criticism,


the main complaint, other than having fun at the word kaleidoscope,


which of course Tony Blair used immediately after 9/11 at the


Labour Party Conference... It just seemed the Speaker was


grandstanding in front of the Queen and it wasn't his day, it was the


Queen's Day. Exactly right. That was a much bigger problem than the


word kaleidoscope. All he had to do on this extraordinary day, the sun


was shining, Westminster Hall was looking extraordinary, or he had to


do was to stand up and say lords, ladies and gentlemen, I give you


the Queen. And sit down. They were there to hear her rather than


listen to him. I thought it was somewhat ill judged. Except that on


the hall on these occasions, would you get preceding the big event is


just a few banalities. I think he is an interesting Speaker. He has


done a lot to make the House of Commons relevant. He has certainly


allowed MPs to get their debates and he sided with Parliament


against the executive. His equivalent in the House of Lords,


she made a very distinguished speech, she had some strong points


in it, she didn't grandstand. Did she make some strong point? His


image of the kaleidoscope, whether you like it or not, has been


remembered. She talked about the diversity of the Commonwealth and


how the Queen to the Commonwealth duties seriously and had presided


over the changing country. Fair enough. I think the irritation from


David Cameron was partly that, but partly the other issues about


granting too many debates, which the Government finds awkward.


and Labour have been nip and tuck in the polls for a while. A poll in


the Sun shows Labour way ahead after the Budget. A sign of things


to come? I think it is. It is only one poll. This weekend will be


interesting. Sunday polls will be really interesting. Don't you to


forget. There's just time before we go to


find out the answer to our quiz. The question was - which of these


won't cost any more as a result of the chancellor's Budget?


Supermarket rotisserie chicken, hairdressers' chairs, Jaffa cakes,


or hot Cornish pasties. What is the answer? Blue nun? It is not on the


list. That will surely get a special rebate. Is it Jaffa cakes?


You are right. They are not cooked on the premises. Things like


Cornish pasty is are cooked on the premises and they will have more


VAT. Cornish pasty is a heated. The things that are heated. They are


cakes as well, not biscuits. Right. Cakes are not liable. I have no


idea. There's no VAT on cake. there not? The BBC's cake expert


has just informed me of that. She now says let them eat cake as well.


It is clearly easy, who said that government was micro-manage inquest


That's all for today. Thanks to our guests. The One O'Clock News is


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