27/04/2012 Daily Politics


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Afternoon and welcome to the Daily Politics. Did Culture Secretary


Jeremy Hunt break the ministerial code or not? Now a senior Liberal


Democrat has backed calls for an immediate inquiry into Jeremy


Hunt's dealings with Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation.


Wanted. Big hitter to defend the Tories. Who on earth would want to


be their man on the front line? Or woman?


And speaking of big hitters, will this former policeman be fighting


his way to City Hall? The Lib Dem candidate for London Mayor, Brian


Paddick, will be appearing. We need to identify a degree of


authenticity and compassion in the way we deal with this, otherwise


you just seem like you don't know what you or talking about.


Rupert Murdoch wasn't the only star of the show this week. We'll be


taking a look back at some glittering moments in the


Westminster village. All that in the next hour, coming up, public


service broadcasting in its -- at its finest.


With us for the duration veteran political journalist, Julia Langdon.


And the young whipper-snapper from the Times, Sam Coates. We will take


him down a peg or two! Welcome to you both. Now without further ado


lets talk about Rupert Murdoch, who apparently has no power and if he


had he wouldn't know how to use it. He knew nothing about phone hacking


and was the helpless victim of the phone hacking cover-up at the News


of the World. Poor fellow. And he was under oath! Hardly worth


mentioning at all in fact, but let's talk about him anyway. But


first here's some choice clips from the evidence he gave to the Leveson


Inquiry this week. There is no question in my mind that maybe even


the editor but certainly beyond that, someone took charge of a


cover-up. Some might say that all this picture is consistent with one


of a desire to cover up rather than a desire to expose. In minds like


yours, yes, perhaps. I am sorry. I take that back. Excuse me. Did you


have any discussions with Mr Jeremy Hunt about the bid? I don't believe


I have ever met him. I am not sure he didn't come to a dinner once a


couple of years ago. I certainly did not discuss it. When your son


told you about the replacement of Dr Vince Cable, did he tell you, we


have got someone better now? Words to that effect? I don't know if he


used those words. We couldn't have had anyone worse. I am sure he


didn't use those words precisely. I am communicating the gist of the


idea. He had Vince Cable, he was dead against News International.


You knew that on that 20 -- on December 21st, when it came out on


the BBC, so it must have passed through your mind. He has been


replaced by Jeremy Hunt, what is Jeremy Hunt like? Didn't you ask


your son? I may have. I don't remember. You must have done.


mustn't have done anything. I explained to you yesterday, I never


saw anything wrong in what we were doing, that it was a commonplace


transaction. A large one but a commonplace one. That was not the


question, Mr Murdoch. So why would I be worried about the politics of


it? Probably the last time Rupert Murdoch will be interrogated live


on British television. And we've got a couple of deputy


dogs with us now as well. For a first in British television ever,


appearing together, Deputy Chairman of the Conservative Party, Michael


Fallon, and the Deputy Chairman of the Labour Party, Tom Watson.


Welcome. This unique and ground- breaking piece of television.


Jeremy Hunt said he will give all the Leveson Inquiry e-mails between


himself and Adam Smith to Lord Leveson, isn't that enough? He has


obviously not sent any e-mails to him then. Are you that cynical? Yes.


You don't think he would want to put into the record any potentially


embarrassing communications? This is a ridiculous charade where the


Tory party are trying to stop a proper investigation. Michael will


have a row about it, he will defend the Tory line, and then in a couple


of weeks they will have to do it. The inquiry into Jeremy Hunt's


behaviour has gone to Lord Leveson, whose terms of the inquiry do not


cover the ministerial code. I think Tom Watson would be more cynical if


the government would doing its own inquiry. This inquiry is under way


by a senior judge. Jeremy Hunt was already due to appear before it.


Other politicians will appear later on, including politicians from that


side of the House, the previous government, and we will get to the


bottom of what happened. Lord Leveson was not a high it to judge


on the ministerial code, he is not an expert on that -- was not


employed to judge. You have someone who is an expert on the ministerial


code, who is paid to adjudicate on the ministerial code, and you have


not referred it to him. The because Lord Justice Leveson said the


better course was to allow the inquiry to proceed and he will be


able to weigh up the evidence and if anything comes from that that


needs to be investigated under the ministerial code, that will be done.


I have got the terms of reference for Lord Leveson. Where does it say


he should pass judgment on whether a minister has bridged the


ministerial code? Your Prime Minister raised the bar on


ministerial standards. He said, we will clear this up. Now you have a


guy whose adviser has Leeds these e-mails to a lobbyist for James


Murdoch and now you a say we are too scared to have an investigation.


-- you are saying. Do you think that will hold him up mind of the


people in the country? There is an investigation that is going on.


This Prime Minister set up the Leveson Inquiry. But he did not


give them the terms of reference to adjudicate on the ministerial code.


What the Prime Minister has done is set up an independent adviser on


the ministerial code, he is called Alex Allan, simple name,


straightforward man. Why he's been not allowed to rule on the


ministerial code? There is an inquiry... A but not on the


ministerial code, which Jeremy Hunt has been accused of breaking!


they are central to what Lord Leveson is inquiring into. If it


follows from this evidence that there is the specific issue under


the ministerial code that requires further explanation and examination


by Alex Allan, that will be done, but the first in is to let Jeremy


Hunt put forward the information... Why not to Alex Allan? The


ministerial code states clearly that ministers are responsible for


the behaviours and actions of their special advisers. Jeremy Hunt's


special adviser has resigned so therefore to work out why it and if


there has been a breach, why do we not ask the man that the people are


paying to police this ministerial code? Because we already have an


inquiry into the relationship between government and BSkyB under


way, headed by a senior judge, and he himself has said that the best


course would be to allow that inquiry to proceed, to see the


evidence and test Jeremy Hunt on the evidence and for him to give


his side of the story, and if it transpires there has been a breach,


that can be looked at. This is preposterous. The Conservative


chairman of the Public Administration Committee was the


independent adviser to see it. Simon Hughes of the Lib Dems wants


him to see it. The only person who does not want it is the prime


minister. The truth about this, everybody is running absolutely


terrified because they know they will be exposed for being a tied to


Rupert Murdoch, and that will happen to people in my party as


well by the way, but you are defending the indefensible today


and it is unacceptable and ludicrous. This government set up a


full inquiry, you never bothered to do that. I am not answering for my


predecessors. He was quite keen on the inquiry. This Prime Minister


have to take responsibility. A minister may have breached the


ministerial code and there is a procedure and you of running away


from it and even your own backbench Tory MPs and important members


within the Conservative Party say you were wrong. Let's go on to the


border story of Rupert Murdoch and his relationship with politics in


the UK. What did we learn this week, or what do we know now that we did


not know on Monday? We know that Rupert Murdoch has admitted there


was a cover-up at News International. We know he


disregarded parliament, the blackmail allegation was raised


with him when he gave evidence in July and he had forgotten about it


by the time he got in front of the judge this week. We know they are


fighting like rats and they are shooting each other left, right and


centre. What we don't know, what other contexts of the Burton


Copeland report...? News International have not given up


their privilege of that glory at report. Yes and if that report


identified wrong doing at the company in 2006, that might mean


the directors at News Corp are potentially questionable under an


act in the United States, and they may also be responsible for not


letting their shareholders no price-sensitive information so the


one thing he has got to do is published that Burton Copeland


report. Is it not significant that the two people Mr Murdoch appeared


to implicate him the cup a ruck, Colin Myler and Tom Crone, they


said they had briefed Mr Murdoch's son -- implicated in the cover-up.


Should we not see something thinner step in that? Everybody regards


anything to do with that Mr Murdoch as sinister. -- should we not see


something sinister in that? judge has got to look at this and


draw on it. His every Allsopp of the Conservatives for the -- is


every answer from any Conservative in the foreseeable future going to


be that we have to wait for the opinion of Lord Leveson? Are you


hiding behind Lord Leveson's robes or will you answer the question, of


what do you think the significance is of picking Tom Crone and Colin


Myler as the people responsible for the cover-up? Nobody is hiding from


Lord Leveson. On the contrary, all the politicians and key people from


News Corporation will be in front of him. Nobody is hiding. You off.


No. The Prime Minister will be appearing in front of him. It is


far better done, with great respect, by a judge inquiry than us


speculating on various bits of the evidence which we have not heard.


quite right so that's continued to speculate. -- so let's continue.


think it is enormously significant that the minister in question's


Permanent Secretary yesterday refused 10 times to say that the


man we had never heard of, Adam Smith, had behaved properly. He


refused to comment. I think it is enormously significant that Ofcom


is also dusting down the way it is looking at the BSkyB bid. They want


to look at hacking out to see if there is evidence to see if they


are not fit and proper persons... And if I was a better -- a betting


woman, which I am thank the Lord, to say that Jeremy Hunt will not be


there next week. Absolutely. Tuesday afternoon, the Prime


Minister decided that he wanted to keep Jeremy Hunt and a lot of stuff


that has flowed from that, comes from that decision. It is


significant that for instance people in government do not think


there will be a Jeremy Hunt Amex in the Levison report, there might not


be a section on him. It is unclear that it is his job to go into the


line by line details of a Minister's relationship with his


special adviser. That does not seem to cut it. I take a different view.


I do not think Jeremy Hunt will necessarily go. I think the


government have done an effective political and backroom job to make


sure there are not any unexploded bombs. Next week they will hand


over e-mails and texts which will not contain anything dangerous,


Downing Street Arkley on that. Actually I think there are not any


problems on Jeremy Hunt and he will probably end up staying in his job.


We shall see. What usually happens is the unknown bit. These stories


go places you never think so we Now we admire and love the


Financial Times on this programme. Daily Politics researchers are seen


scrapping over bits of pink paper from an early hour. Nothing to do


with the fact that the editor has been mentioned as a future director


general of the BBC, we have always just loved the Financial Times. But


we had to take umbrage at one article this week, that dubbed


Michael Fallon here, Minister for the Today Programme. Writers of the


FT, he's ours. The Daily politics! And Mr Fallon has certainly been


busy, batting for the government from dawn to dusk. Like one of


these Test-match opening batsman who you cannot get out. After all


it's not been the best of months for Mr Cameron. Some have asked,


where is Baroness Warsi, Mr Fallon's boss? After all, you can


be party chair, or you can be camera shy, you can't surely be


What is your reaction to those to resign? Two out of two isn't bad.


Though a charitable man, I find it... I find it harder to feel


sorry for Mr Kinnock. The more he That is a second Tory victory being


announced. So we have a rival for the leadership. I as party chairman


have enjoyed it because most party chairman end up with sniping and


So, why do we always get the monkey and not the organ grinder? You had


Baroness Warsi on this programme just two weeks ago, she was on


Newsnight, she did Question Time last week. She is up and down the


country. A rich you are on much more than her! Why is that? If all


the ministers worked as hard as her getting over the government's


message, we wouldn't be as far behind in the polls as we are. She


was on this programme last week. you were asked to take the


chairman's job, would you accept? We have got a party chairman.


if she was to fall on her sword, follow the ways of Adam Smith, I


don't mean the 18th century economy, if she was to do that, and her


position was to become vacant, would you be up for this? It is not


a yes or no, we have got a party chairman. So the answer is No. She


has these huge advantage at not being an MP, so she can get out in


the country, talking to activists, I saw her on Question Time last


week. I don't know if it has quite a big audience... Don't you slag


off this programme! She has been on all these programmes, putting the


government's message over. They pull the other cabinet minister --


if all the other cabinet ministers worked as hard as her, the


government would be better shape. Part of your party organisers


fundraisers, and it is beamed around the titanic event. Did you


serve the same food as on the night of the Titanic went down? You


invite Baroness Warsi and you hold it on Friday 13th. What could


possibly go wrong?! I wonder. I hadn't heard of that won't. But


there have been a lot of a titanic commemoration dinners. They need a


strong chairman? They have got two, actually. They are doing a good job.


It is a very typical, Sam Coates might agree, but governments get


rough periods, and people stop blaming the chairman. They take the


incoming fire, and you get this Corus. I'm glad you mentioned Sam


Coates. I will just refresh his memory. "he works 25 hours a day,


defending the indefensible, he gives a withering looks to certain


questions. He is what they need, not a crony. Baroness Warsi is


sackable. Please continue. course Michael is chairman in all


but name, because few people are willing... All of us want you to


get a pay rise, I don't know why you're resisting it! You should get


the chairman's salary. The point about this government is that it is


interesting how few are prepared... How few cabinet ministers come out


and make the core argument about why this government is doing while


it is doing. I'm thinking about the charity changes, explaining in


public why the change was made in the Budget, or the NHS changes.


There is always a bit missing in the speeches, justifying why the


changes are being made. So there is a bigger shyness about this crop of


politicians, about exploding to the public are difficult things they


are doing, they don't want to be boxed in and say difficult things,


but Michael is one of the few who does. One of the things going wrong


with this government, and is a reason why it is in trouble is


because they have not got the strategic situation sorted out of


who is doing what and where. George Osborne is in charge of policy


making, and bring the economy into the ground. Who is the chairman of


the Labour Party? I know my place. Harriet Harman. I don't want her


job, she is in charge, I do what she tells me. But he is the general


secretary? Ian McNicol. We used to have people in these executive


position to which stand up to the leadership of the party. That is


not happening at Central Office. used to have general secretary is


attacking their leader from there rostrum of the Labour Party


conference, we have moved beyond that. Michael Fallon, you have been


a good sport, so you will have the last word. I was trying to say, I


think Sam makes a good point, it is up to all ministers to defend the


government commission be left to Baroness Warsi ought to me. We saw


Michael go out on Wednesday defending the decision over Leveson,


and ministers have got to do that. It cannot be left to David Cameron


or George Osborne or Baroness Warsi. You have a train to catch. The


Harry Potter Express. constituency. Tom Watson, Michael


Fallon, thank you for being with us. Now, the last few days have seen


allegations of widespread postal fraud and vote harvesting in the


London borough of Tower Hamlets. Labour and Conservative councillors


have written to the Electoral Commission detailing instances


where they believe postal fraud may have occurred. The Electoral


Commission has passed the allegations on to the Metropolitan


Police who are now investigating. To find out more we can speak to


one of the MPs for the Tower Hamlets area, Labour's Jim


Fitzpatrick. Mr Fitzpatrick, thank you for joining us. Tell us what do


you know has been happening in Tower Hamlets? We have been


concerned for some time about allegations of voting


irregularities, there was a council by-election in the Spitalfields


ward, last week, and as a result of that, residents have registered a


number of concerns with some of my councillor colleagues over


potential voter fraud, coast applications, people suggested who


had voted, who had moved away or had died. Somebody who apparently


supposed to be in prison. I have got no idea ability -- the validity


of these allegations, but what we thought was appropriate to do was


pass on these concerns to the authorities, and the matter has


been referred to the Electoral Commission and the police, they are


investigating. It is up to the operative to examine the


allegations and see if there is any truth in them. In the working have


been giving, and the work of your colleagues in the local Labour


Party, do you have any sense, I know this is just anecdotal, but


any sense of how widespread you think this is? No, we haven't.


Tower Hamlets, as you know, is a dynamic, exciting political


landscape. We got rid of the BNP in 1993, we have got rid of the


Respect party, he has been resurrected in Bradford West, sadly,


but a lot of dynamism in Tower Hamlets politics. They're always a


distant and stories and anecdotes, but when a residents raised


concerns which to us seemed worth reporting, it is our duty to report


them to the authorities. It is a complicated political position in


Tower Hamlets. Let me summarise it for our viewers, and see if it is


relevant to potential fraud, but you have a Mayor who was in the


Labour Party, but isn't any more. He was backed by Ken Livingstone


against the Labour candidate to become a Mayor, and Mr Rahman is


now backing Mr Livingstone to be Mayor? Is that the situation,


roughly, and is that relevant? Could Livingstone didn't endorse


his candidature Je, but I understand Mr Rahman is supporting


can's campaign. He is looking at the two differences between Boris


and Ken Livingstone, and the Tower Hamlets, the biggest issue is


housing. Ken Livingstone's has a policy when he was Mayor was much


better for Tower Hamlets -- housing policy. So it is night and day


between the two on that core policy, so why would be surprised if people


in Tower Hamlets didn't support Ken Livingstone. But the London mayoral


election could be close, polls suggest it might be close, so


electoral irregularities become very serious. Should we be


suspicious, all right to be suspicious that so many people have


recently applied for postal votes in Tower Hamlets? Well, as I said


at the beginning, we have been concerned for some time, we monitor


the situation very carefully, we know that we have problems with


people joining the Labour Party over a number of years to have been


signed up, there are suggestions that their membership has been paid


by people who needed their boats to suggest candidates for local


government. We have worked very hard with the council and the


Electoral Registration Office declined Tower Hamlets's act up,


and when we get allegations such as those, we obviously want to make


sure that these are examined very closely. So if there is fraud, and


I am saying it if, it can be nailed, and those responsible can be held


to account and prosecuted vigorously, because this is the


essence of our democracy, to have openness, transparency and honesty.


I understand that, but we know the way it works with postal votes, it


ends up in a particular household, these postal votes are then


harvested, the people who have the bird macro are not the ones are


filling it in, NGC are all sorts of boats being filled in by the same


person or group. Is it the best way to make sure that doesn't happen is


to go back to the old system, you only got a postal vote if you were


not in the country at the time of the election? If you were going to


be in Tower Hamlets, you didn't have. This is dynamic democracy,


and there are changes all the time. The tightening up of the rules of


postal voting, making sure the applications are valid, and now the


requirements for signatures and date of birth, to validate the


forms, means they are more easily identifiable if they are fraudulent.


So if there are fraudulent forms being used, that should be able to


be demonstrated much more easily than previously, when people to


harvest them, and could send them in. So checking to see if the voter


still lives at the address, is alive, not in prison, if these


allegations can be checked by the authorities, that would clean the


act up, and in that instant, postal voting can be convenient for people,


especially those working, with children, shift workers. I did in


postal voting itself is a bad thing, -- I don't think postal voting


Sam Coates. Let me come to you first. In Tower Hamlets, if there


is an irregularity, the beneficiary is Ken Livingstone. That would seem


to be clear. If the election is very close, this is potentially a


huge story. We have seen during ministers make exactly that point.


-- Tory ministers. Postal fraud has been prevalent in Britain in


different parts of the country. Done by different groups. It is a


very serious matter and if the result is close, we could be


heading for the court. Eventually what is happening in Tower Hamlets


is there are two distinct parts of the Bangladeshi community and you


have different politicians using different tactics to try to get one


and the other side on board. You see this in Birmingham and you


probably saw it in Bradford with George Galloway, how reluctant


politicians are to spell out the claims of tactics they use when


they are in those areas, as opposed to how they talk about how they try


to attract those voters. Jim Fitzpatrick just said, I think they


preferred Ken Livingstone's manifesto. I suspect they have


specific techniques they use in Tower Hamlets that they do not want


to tell us about. Not only is postal voting a problem but


personification is also easy to do once you have people registered as


living in your house, and one of the allegations it there was seven


people registered living in one room in Tower Hamlets, and in this


recent by-election, someone in prison was on the register. The BBC


has been doing quite a lot of this in Tower Hamlets. Had the media,


have we not been alive enough to the corruption of our electoral


system? Quite right. It is very easy to do. I have a number of


people registered in my house who live abroad, I am met on it, and


they have a British address. -- I am their Auntie. No, I am not come


to personify them, if you are watching, officer! Personified,


that means you fill in the ballot papers of all the people


registered? Yes. Jim said to they can check signatures. How do they


know what people's signatures look like? People signed, yes, I am this


person. I could sign my niece's a dress if we wanted to. There is


more to go on this. We are talking about London, although it is


happening in other parts of the country. Tower Hamlets. Time now to


speak to another candidate for London Mayor and today it's the


turn of the Liberal Democrat contender, Brian Paddick. First,


let's take a look at some of his The former police commander wants


an increased emphasis on community sentencing and is proposing the


creation of a pay-back programme where criminals are made to do


community work like cleaning up graffiti.


Mr Paddick wants more training for police to help deal with rape


victims and more funding for support groups.


He wants a large house building programme and pledges to build


360,000 homes in a decade. And there are proposals for cheaper


fares for commuters travelling before 7.30am in the morning, as


well as a one-hour bus ticket so people can hop on and off busses


Brian Paddick joins me now. Welcome to the Daily Politics. Thank you.


Can I get your reaction to these allegations in Tower Hamlets?


moved address six months ago, because my post has been redirected


and I used to have a postal ballot, I now have a postal ballot at home


and a polling card for me to go in person and vote. It would be very


easy for unscrupulous people to vote often and vote early. So you


are sure of two! Of course I shall only be using one of those! These a


serious allegations about Tower Hamlets. Are we right to take them


seriously? Is this an endemic problem in parts of the country?


There is a serious problem that needs to be investigated if we are


to have confidence in the voting system that we have. The in Athens,


you are in a good position in with the election -- in a sense of. You


can, is what you want in the pretty certain knowledge that he will


never be asked to deliver. A similar question was put to George


Galloway a week before he won a by- election in Bradford. This could be


the year of four much reality TV show's stars, you never know! --


former. He wasn't on 5% of the opinion polls. You are out of date.


Has there been a late surge? A poll in the Telegraph today shows me on


10.3%. These postal votes really are working! When we did the BBC


London debate. Which you did very well, I have to say. Thank you, you


have more votes now. We spoke about housing with you and the other


candidates and I put a question to you that in a sense, our ambition


for house building in the capital has been quite limited. Even the


promises are not enough. You are promising more but 360,000 houses


over ten years in a city that many people think is already crowded.


Where will you put them? That number was not plucked out of thin


air. It is because we have identified brownfield sites, not


back gardens and green spaces, but brownfield sites, where you can


build these homes. Am I right in thinking that one of the powers


that is now coming to the London mayor is that the mayor's office is


responsible for the land bank, which is about 350 hectares, and


has a budget of over �3 billion? It is a big deal, housing policy?


mayor effectively have the same powers that the GLC used to have to


build social housing. The majority of that land we are talking about


are owned by the mayor. So we have the land already. 60% of the cost


of building homes in London is the land cost. Take that out of the


equation, you can build a 40% and therefore rent of 40% of the value.


But how can you pay? We can borrow from the City. Pension funds in


Europe and America invest in social housing. In the past it has been


office blocks. In this country it has been yet another Westfield


shopping centre. But economic times are tough. I would have thought


pension funds would have seen this as a much better bet financially to


invest in social housing and in the commercial sector. You say you will


be tough on crime, and have been a police background obviously helps


in that regard, but you have also said that police are wasted on


cannabis. It may be right, it may be wrong, but doesn't it undermine


your position as, I am a tough guy on crime and I know more about it


than you? People misunderstand this. When I was police commander in


Lambeth, local people said, crack cocaine and heroin is destroying


young people, we are not interested in them being arrested for small


amounts of cannabis for their own use. So we concentrated on


arresting people for hard drugs. I want the police concentrating on


local people's priorities. I was the police commander in Merton in


south London before I went to Lambeth. The crime was fairly low.


There was no question of not arresting people for cannabis


because we had a time to do that. In Lambeth, we had too much crime,


we will 100 police of his short, so it was priorities, and that is what


this campaign is about -- we were 100 police officers short. It all


seems so blue skies and apple pie and it all sounds wonderful, and it


isn't going to happen because it is Ken against Boris. Has that been


frustrating? The media particularly. Because we right personalities.


These are enormous personalities. - - we like personalities. And you


like a fight! But the public are fed up with these two scrapping.


You will benefit a bit from that but 10.3%, you know. It is not


gonna happen. That is what they said to George Galloway! I think


the Independent will do very well... Not according to the opinion polls.


She is behind the BNP and UKIP. is the media candidate. Sam Coates?


I was fascinated about what you said about Tower Hamlets. Do you


think if the result between Ken and Boris is very close and there is a


big amount of postal fraud in Tower Hamlets, do you think the election


could end up in the courts? That is always a possibility. Ken


Livingstone desperately wants it because he can't think of anything


else to do with his time. He has got his tax returns to do.


Boris Johnson is very, very ambitious. If it comes very close


and there is a possibility that borrowers can get it by taking up


this issue of voter fraud, it could end up in the court. Are you giving


any guidance to supporters on where they should put their second


preference? No, only on where they should put their first preference,


which is to vote Liberal Democrat. You may have a private one but you


will not say that. Is it true you go home at lunchtime to watch the


Daily Politics? Of course! It is essential viewing! I don't get to


do that every day obviously but I am very lucky because the campaign


headquarters is around the corner from where I live. They do allow me


to feed occasionally on this campaign, which is good. Your


campaign can afford it TV! I don't want to interrupt these very busy


people who have hard work to do so I would rather go home and watch it


there while I eat my sandwich. Brian Paddick, thank you.


Now, more elections. We go from London to Scotland. Voters are


being asked to choose who they want as their local councillor. But a


year after their sweeping victory in the Scottish Parliament in


Holyrood, will the SNP still manage to win new supporters? Or are they


now the incumbents? And how is Scottish Labour planning to fight


back? BBC Scotland's reporter, Laura Bicker, has been looking at


the battleground of Glasgow. This local election campaign needs


to be the fight back for Labour. But on the Clyde, they are bruised


and broken. Splits within the Glasgow party have led to a


breakaway group and Scottish Labour's new leader finds herself


with a real battle on her hand it's. Our test, not to presume that


people will vote, but to go and argue for every vote and that is


what has happened across Scotland. Labour members right across


Scotland, determined to get the message across that we will put the


priorities of people first. fight in Scotland is for more than


Glasgow's City Hall. 1200 council seats, all of them, up for grabs.


Most of the 32 local authorities are coalitions. The nationalists


take the lead in 14 of them. They want at least two more. If the F M


B do really well and pick -- if the SNP do really well and pick up


control of a couple more councils, then certainly Alex Salmond will be


able to say, the people of Scotland are still behind me, that mandate I


have got in terms of taking the country forward towards a


referendum has been reaffirmed. Westminster politics still cast a


long shadow over Scotland. The Liberal Democrat vote in some areas


collapsed. But they are hoping to win back at least some support.


are coming across a lot of people who voted SNP last year and are


worried about them using this as a stepping stone to independence, and


as a result, they will not vote for them. They do not want their


council services to be used as a tool to get the SNP their stated


policy of independence. That has changed since last year. But the


Conservatives say they offer something different. The other main


party manifestos are fairly similar. The Tories also think they could


win votes at the expense of their UK coalition partners. We have been


the fourth body of local government in Scotland since 1992. We expect


we will be the third and we will increase our voting share so we are


looking to improve. But it is the nationalists who on the march,


fielding more candidates than ever before. But can they really win


Glasgow? The SNP is fighting to win local elections in every single


part of Scotland, not just Glasgow. We believe people want good and


competent local government, in the same way they want competent


national government. The SNP is all about jobs, families and fairness.


Even if the SNP do not manage to take Glasgow, the fact that they


are being listened to in this city is a sign of how the political


landscape has changed. If the nationalists vote across Scotland


increases with them -- with a referendum looming, it could have


implications for Westminster and it is a voice that David Cameron and


the coalition cannot avoid. We can speak to our Scotland


It seems to me that the question in Scotland is whether the SNP are


still the insurgents or the incumbents, and whether they will


make huge gains. Let me start with Glasgow, what is the latest


thinking on how that will go? have to go back to 2007, it is one


of only two local authorities are where Labour won with an outright


majority, but they wouldn't have done so if the SNP had bothered to


field more candidates in a proportional election under the


single transferable vote. So you can be sure that the nationalists


are bothering to field more candidates this time, in the


meantime, they have won another national election, and have the


momentum of that behind them. So they certainly expect to pick up


extra seat, but in truth, under the system, no one party should have an


outright majority. A Labour hoped it will still finish as the largest


party, the SNP hope that they will finish in that position in the end.


It may be that there needs to be some haggling in Glasgow, and some


kind of coalition formed to run the city in the future. That in itself


will be a big change, because it has been a Labour-dominated city


for so many years. Have you the impression that in terms of the


campaigning, it is still the Scottish nationalists who have the


verve and the drive, and Labour is still very much on the defensive,


trying to repair itself on its -- from its recent miserable years?


think the Labour Party expect to be the second party of local


government after these elections this year, that is the position


they are in, and they don't expect this time around to get back into


first place. The SNP certainly broke the mould of Scottish


politics with the results they achieved in the Scottish parliament


last year, people will be looking at these elections are not just to


see what happens in each of the 32 local authorities, but the that


overall national picture, is the SNP juggernaut still chugging ahead


or it is starting to stall? Certainly for nationalists expect


to pick up extra council seats across the country, that is


important for them for another reason, because they are aiming for


the referendum on independence in 2014, and dump more councillors


they have locally, the less other parties have. -- de Mort


councillors that they have a locally. Just finally, what is the


revelation that not only is Alex Salmond of the only major


politician who will now be seen in public with Rupert Murdoch, but was


prepared to lobby on behalf of Mr Murdoch's company to get BSkyB,


what has been the implication of that for the campaigning for him?


Alex Salmond has had a bad week, trouble with two tycoons, Donald


Trump, who he has previously been close to, turning against him. I


don't think these dealings do him any favours, I don't think they


would in any vote, but we are talking about local government


elections, when the most motivated people are the only ones who tend


to turn out, and I guess different people in different places


Northwest Airlines Flight 253 for different reasons. In Edinburgh,


there is one big local election, with the runaway tram project,


people saying they were used polling day to punish the


politicians and parties they believe are responsible for that


particular mess. Thank you for that. The problem is that the trams do


not even work yet. After several hundred million pounds! There we go,


Glasgow, an important battleground, just as London is. We will be here


on the BBC on May 3rd. So, it's been a week of ups and downs. Two


penguins in Scarborough are said to be making a full recovery after a


break-in left them depressed. The Huddersfield MP, Barry Sheerman got


upset over a bacon butty and Prince William gave a passionate speech


demanding protection for endangered cats. Yes, it's been a busy few


days. Other things may have happened as well! Here's Susannah


It is official, we're in a double dip, but the government isn't


budging on austerity, recession or no recession. Was this the week of


the Murdoch's revenge? He told us Gordon Brown was an balanced, and


we found out how close the media mogul is to his papers. If any


politician wanted my opinions on major matters, they only had to


read the editorial in The Sun. other Murdoch put the culture


secretary in the firing line over the BSkyB bid. Jeremy Hunt has


dodged the bonnet so far. A rare bit of glitz and glamour at the


select committee, when Russell Brand Through in a gag about Abu


Qatada. We cannot run out of time. And his next, Theresa May? She may


not show up! And the baker's descended to tell the government is


a shambles of a budget was half- baked.


I knew other things had been happening, thanks! When the froth


has settled over Murdoch and the pastiche, and the charity tax and


so on, one thing doesn't go away, and may not for some time. The fact


we are in recession, and even if technically we come out of it again,


the best you can say is it this economy is flat mining, and the


political implications for coalition are enormous. When you


consider this government is in place and set itself up as the


government that will deal with the deficit, and recession means that


the deficit is not going to go away, they're not going to clear it by


the next election, I think there is a real political problem. The


politics over what to do about the deficit is becoming a rictus, they


have ossified between the stick with a Plan B -- plan a or not. I


think they're a lot of things you can be half way in between. But


undoubtedly come when you get to 2015, you will see the


Conservatives are attack from the right for not bringing down public


spending more, and attacked by Labour for not dealing with the


deficit. All of this is mounting up to be a significant political


challenge. The position they could find themselves in is, if it sticks


with Plan A, it is staffed, and did it doesn't, it is stuffed. Discuss!


Attic or probably find the government -- will probably find


the government coming up against it before then, this government will


not be hugely enthusiastic about these policies. In a way it is


lucky for Cameron that there has been at the Murdoch distraction of


this week, it hasn't played well for them either, but it has taken


away from this, which is by far the at standing political issue of our


day. -- the outstanding. It is in a sense, in terms of the fall-out,


which is why I emphasised Glasgow and London, because if Labour


cannot win with Mr Livingstone and his glass go to the SNP, on a 4th,


despite the ways of the government, the story becomes Ed Miliband again.


I think there is a national story to tell, but it is more mixed than


that. The Labour Party may never recover in Scotland and will find


it hard to form an overall government for the foreseeable


future, but also that the Conservatives in the North of


England and some parts of the South West are going backwards as well


for, and will not themselves be able to form a government. So I


suspect that what next Thursday will tell us is there isn't any


great queue and cry from one side or another, there is more of what


we saw in 2010 and we may be muddling through to another


coalition. And huge into the Peter both major parties. Which Mr Galic


capitalised on. And now for something completely different.


Being arrested isn't a lesson, it is just an AD appears to dig a blip.


You need to demonstrate an awareness of the situation. The


disease and condition of addiction does exacerbate it, if you were


taking expensive drugs, you will end up committing picking --


committing a crime, but we need to identify a degree of compassion,


otherwise you look what you don't know what you're talking about. You


can tell what party they are in from their questions. What about


the victims of the crime! I think all the parties are interested in


that. Of course we are, we're not saying, ignore the victims. We are


running out of time. Time is in for that, we cannot run out of time.


Who is next, Theresa May, she may not show up! It is not quite a


variety show have fostered the EU are providing a bit of variety,


making it more like Dad's Army. You have a 4.5 million twitter dollars,


having gone through addiction and Rehabilitation, what is your


message to young people who want to get involved in drugs, what could


you say to them about the effect it has? My message isn't for young


people, it is by people who have this condition up addiction. If you


have that condition, there is help available for you, and I recommend


abstinence based recovery. I think some people can safely take drugs,


as long as it doesn't turn them into criminals, I did feel it is


any of my business. -- I don't feel. His parliament right to reach out


to these figures, or is it making a fool of itself? I think he


delivered an important message there, and a touch -- it is


probably a good thing. Do you people listen to Russell Brand any


more than Keith Vaz on drugs? don't think that Keith Vaz has 4.5


million twitter far worse. Following and listening are


different things. But we are assuming that if Bristol branch


does say things, people do pay attention, do we have evidence for


that -- Russell Brand. I do think making Parliament relevant to the


next generation... He was grandstanding. But I do think that


politicians are always seen as a money permitting things like drug


addiction for their own ends, and playing to their audiences, rather


than helping those who were suffering, so I think there are


gains on both sides. We will leave it there. Thank you very much, it


was good to see you both. It has been a busy week. We are going to


prepare for the weekend. Thanks to all our guests. If you want to see


the full list of candidates standing for the election of the


London Mayor, just got to the BBC website a. I will be back on BBC


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