01/05/2012 Daily Politics


01/05/2012

Jo Coburn is joined by former home secretary Charles Clarke to discuss the English local elections and the statement on Jeremy Hunt. Plus an interview with Boris Johnson.


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We We find News Corporation covered up a cover-up of its law breaking.

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Its most senior executives misled Parliament and the two men at the

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top, Rupert Murdoch and James Murdoch who were in charge of the

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Good afternoon. Welcome to the Daily Politics.

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In a scathing report into the News of the World hacking scandal, MPs

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accuse Rupert Murdoch of being not fit to run a major international

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corporation. The Culture Media and Sport Committee says the Head of

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News international acted in wilful blindness and criticised the

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company of huge failings of corporate governance. We will have

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the latest. I see a risk that City Hall will be recaptured by a bunch

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of semi reformed trot skiists and car hating, newt fancying, tax

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dodging banker dodging hypocrites. We will be talking to the man

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himself. Dragged to the Commons yesterday to

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defend Jeremy Hunt made Dave an angry. We will be asking if the

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Culture Secretary is is safe or not? Was he good or bad? 15 years

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after he came to power, your verdict on Tony Blair.

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He started off well and with good intentions, but ended up not very

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good at all. Well, all thea in the next -- that

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in the next hour. With us is Charles Clarke, he was in charge of

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the Department of Education. Welcome to the programme.

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Let's look at the report from the Culture Media and Sport Committee.

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Members of the committee read out a pre-prepared statement a few

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minutes ago. Here is what the chairman had to say.

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The committee went on to conclude, but only by a majority vote that

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whilst there was no definitive evidence to prove whether or not

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James Murdoch was aware of the For Neville e-mail or indeed other

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evidence which indicated that phone hacking was more widespread, the

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committee was astonished that he did not seek to see the evidence on

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which the decision to pay the settlement to the Gordon Taylor

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case was based. The committee also went on, again to conclude by a

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majority vote that corporately the News of the World and News

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International had misled the committee about the true extent and

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nature of the investigations that they claimed to have carried out in

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relation to phone hacking. And that they had failed to disclose

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documents which would have revealed the truth. As a result of these

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various attempts to mislead the committee, the report that we

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published in 2010 was not based on a fully accurate picture. Well,

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that was the Chairman of that committee and the BBC's deputy

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political editor, James Landale is here. It is a devastating report,

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particularly it seems having just seen the headlines for Rupert

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Murdoch himself, where they state that he is not a fit person to

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exercise the stewardship of an international company? The expect

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expectation would be that the focus would be on James Murdoch and his

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role in the whole affair and criticism of former News

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International executives and that criticism is there. The bombshell

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statement of opinion by the committee saying that Rupert

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Murdoch himself is not fit to run a company is out of the blue. And the

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political political significance of that is huge. Let me explain why -

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the committee was not unanimous on this. It was partisan. The Labour

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MPs voted for it. The Conservative MPs apart the chairman voted

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against it. The Liberal Democrat swung it in the right way by voting

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with the Labour MPs and in the statement that is the members of

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the committee have just made, those partisan differences have been in

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full show and I think the political risk and danger for the Government

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now is that you will have images of Conservative MPs saying, "We did

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not agree with the statement that Rupert Murdoch was not a fit and

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proper person to run a company." And that's a darning for -- danger

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for the Conservatives. This will go to a vote in the House of Commons

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whether or not to endorse this report. The four Tory members of

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this committee have not endorsed this this report.

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What about in terms of the Murdochs and their global empire. How big of

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a hit and how much of an impact will it have on that? Well, a huge

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reputational impact, the mother of Parliament asserting this. This

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will have headlines across the world. This will be hugely damaging

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for them in terms of the reputation, but what does it mean in the short-

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term? Ofcom are investigating whether or not Rupert Murdoch is a

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fit and proper person to hold all the shares in BSkyB. Ofcom said

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they have noted the report this morning. Let's wait and see what

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their judgement is. And Harriet Harman was the person

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who said that broadcasting licence should be taken away. Do you agree

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with that now we have had that report in in terms of how the

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committee felt? I agree with James about the political implications

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and I have felt for a long time that Rupert Murdoch was not a fit

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and proper person because of the way his papers were being run. But

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the formal definition, "Fit and proper person is one that is a

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legal definition and has to go through proper legal assessment. I

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haven't studied the full report of the committee, but I think the

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Ofcom process has to work its way through.

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Briefly before you go, James, you know, the report concludes that

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Rupert Murdoch turned a blind eye and exhibited wilful blindness

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about what was going on in his companies. That That goes far in

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saying, "They misled Parliament" but not quite in terms of the

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individuals, corporate misleading, but not Rupert and James misleading

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Parliament, is that right? There are definitions about how you

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mislead Parliament and various former News International

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executives have been accused of misleading Parliament over bits of

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evidence they gave. What the committee found it harder to do is

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pin it precisely on James Murdoch and say, "Did he actually mislead

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Parliament?" But corporately they conclude that yes, Parliament was

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not told everything that they knew as corporately was going on.

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James Landale, thank you very much. It is time to look at another of

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the candidates for London mayor and today, it is the turn of Boris

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Johnson. Here are the things he is promising in his manifesto. He says

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he will cut waste and City Hall. He pledges to create 200,000 jobs over

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four years and promises to have 1,000 more police on the beat.

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Boris Johnson claims he will reduce Tube delays by 30% by 2015 and says

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he will invested �221 million into transforming local high streets and

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supporting small businesses and Boris argues that his contacts will

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allow him to secure a better deal for London from Number Ten. Mr

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Johnson had an eventful campaign so Last night, we became the first TV

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crew allowed into the inner sanctum of Boris HQ

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Tonight, Boris Johnson is importing a campaigning technique from the

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United States that effectively allows him to have a Town Hall

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meeting by telephone with 50,000 Londoners all at the same time.

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If you would like to ask a question, press star three and we have 1500

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people queued up. Along with his campaign brain from Australia, he

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took calls for an hour. I am actually a daily cyclist. I

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love cycling. I am passionately believe in it. I want to see it

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expanded. All done in a style we have grown

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used to since he launched his bid for re-election.

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I see a risk that City Hall will be reformed by car hating newt

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fancying tax dodging banker bashing hypocrites and bendy bus fetishists.

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A row that culminated after that debate on a London radio station

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with Boris launching an ex- employeetive filled -- expleattive

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tirade in a lift. You have got to get this on the air.

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Stuff Donovan. (BLEEP) What has Boris got against us journalists?

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How much is a loaf of bread? It depends what you are buying, but

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I got one yesterday, �1.49. It sounds about right

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right. How much is a pint of beer? Whether he is on the phone, on the

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stump or on the TV, he has always Let's hope he gives me an easier

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ride then. He is campaigning in Bexley Bexleyheath and and joins me

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now. Can we get a reaction from you? We have had this devastating

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report from the Select Committee of MPs, the most devastating bit is

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saying that Rupert Murdoch is not a fit person to exercise the

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stewardship of a major international company, do you

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agree? Well, I I haven't had the benefit

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of seeing that, report, Jo, but if I digested your report correctly,

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it is a divided opinion. Let's study it.

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You don't back the report, even though it is divided, you don't

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back that headline that he is no longer a fit and proper person to

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run that company? Well, don't forget, I'm here out in

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Bexley where I'm running to be Mayor of London and getting my

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message out to the people of the city about what I can offer and the

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plans I have and it is not number one on the list of people's

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concerns here today. I can see a queue developing behind

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you. What about the queues at Heathrow. It seems there has been

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an emergency meeting, and what are you doing about it because the

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images look terrible? Well, as I've said to the Home Office and the UK

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BA this is something that does affect Britain's international

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image. We have got to make sure that we process passengers through

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immigration more speedily and we've got the Olympics coming up. I know

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that the Home Secretary takes this seriously and the UK BA will be

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getting on top of it, but it is vital that we do so. It is

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indispensable that we have the aviation capacity at Heathrow to

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deal with the economic growth that we all want to see and one the

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pitches I'm making to the people of London if I may try and move it on

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to the mayoral election is that I believe I am best placed to get the

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funding that we need for this city, to invest in creating 200,000 jobs

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which are funded in housing, transport, regeneration and also to

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keep that funding coming from Government. I'm here in Bexley

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where we have been able, go on... That is your pitch. Let me return

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because you said yourself what happens at Heathrow is very

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important for London and the Olympics. What does the Home Office

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need to do? They cut border staff, was that wrong?

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Well, I don't know the details of the operational management of the

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UK BA. Business over the last four years, the international business

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community and people in the City made the point to me that they want

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to see Heathrow putting on a better face to the world. I think Terminal

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5 has been a great success, but more work needs to be done and

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clearly, there is a problem that needs to be cracked at the moment.

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But, you know, if I may humbly suggest to you, I have got two days

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to go until a critical mayoral election and it is vital for this

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city and what I was going to say is I do think that I'm the right

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candidate to deliver the investment for the economic health of London.

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Here in Bexley and what I was going to say crime is down by 19%. That's

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an extraordinary thing to have done in tough times. We've got more

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police out on the street, about 1,000 more than there were when I

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was elected and what we're doing now, we're putting 2,000 into the

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safer neighbourhood teams to drive down crime.

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Let's talk about transport since we were talking about Heathrow. You

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promised that you would negotiate a no strike deal with the unions, but

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there have been more strikes. Why have you failed on that? Well,

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actually if you look at what has happened, we have taken some

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strikes though the numbers of union members taking part in the strikes

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has fallen. But still more strikes under you? What we had to do was in

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institute some quite difficult reforms of the Tube to take some

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cost out and move the system forward and my pledge to Londoners

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and therefore, there were strikes which I am afraid we had to tough

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out and get on with and we did go ahead with the reforms and my

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message to Londoners is we will continue with that programme of

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reform and improvement and investment.

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But no chance of a no deal strike? In the next four years, to

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modernise and automate the Tube, I think that's what Londoners want to

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see. I don't think they want to be left behind by Paris or Singapore

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and we can go forward with that in a way that I don't think other

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candidates could. Boris, do you accept that

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introducing driverless trains is going to lead to more strikes and

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strikes are not what Londoners want. You didn't get a no strike deal.

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You haven't talked to union leaders. There were 20 Tube strikes during

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your four years and 16 under Ken, do you think your problem is you

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don't negotiate successfully in order nor does Transport for London

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No, on the contrary. What we have had to do is institute some

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difficult reforms that were necessary that I'm afraid Ken

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Livingstone totally failed to grip. We have done that and we will go

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forward. I think actually you say there will be industrial problems

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as a result of this, I think that hard working members of London

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Underground staff look at these plans, they see the potential for

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investment in the Tube network and recognise that if you modernise,

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you expand the network, you get trains moving faster through the

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tunnels, you increase capacity and actually improve the service and

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you are able to employ more people. All right, let's talk... Common-

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sense people see the advantage of that. There may be some anti- union

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barons who resist it but I think they need to recognise the

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advantages of what we are proposing. What about the cost? What about the

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buss? Ken Livingstone promised to take the price of a single oyster

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bus journey back to 2010 prices. Are you worried about the costs?

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Yes. That's why we have not only kept every concession that

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currently exists, we are extending it now to apprentices, people

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who're in our expanding apprenticeship schemes and also

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maintaining the 24-hour freedom pass for everybody over 60. What

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I'm doing is getting Londoners off the age escalator that Labour put

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them on so that as soon as you turn 60, man or woman in this city, you

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will get a 24-hour freedom pass. Further more, we'll now negotiate

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with the Train Operating Companies so that the freedom pass, the 24-

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hour freedom pass works on the trains as well.

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Why have you introduced the most expensive bus in the world, the new

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Routemaster, costing �11 million? Well, that's I'm afraid complete

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nonsense. What is? The opposition know it's not true. Let me explain.

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Is it not the most expensive bus in the world? No. Almost? No, none of

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these new buses are, no. None of them cost any more than the current

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hybrid bus. Once you factor in the fuel efficiency, it saves about

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�8,000 a year, they come in cheaper. They are a wonderful machine. The

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house for Londoners is simple - do they want to go forward with a new

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bus that is incredibly fuel efficient that has far less

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emissions, that is clean, green, that has cutting edge British

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technology that's built in this country, delivers British jobs and

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the hop-on hop-off platform that was wrongly taken away or do they

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want a bendy bus blocking the traffic which lost every year

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almost �8 million in fare evasion and was known as the free bus. If

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they want to go back in that direction I would like to know. But

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that's not what they are Delling me. The Sunday Telegraph claims a Lord

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Ashcroft poll claims 4% of black voters identified were

:18:56.:19:00.

Conservatives. What is your message to black voters?

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My message is the same that I give to all Londoners. I believe there's

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a difference between me and the former Mayor, Ken Livingstone, and

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that is I'm a Mayor who unites or tries his absolute best to unite

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this City and bring people together. I don't look at Londoners as

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divided up into this or that section or group. I don't try to

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play one group off against another. I'm here to unite the city. There's

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a specific criticism that your manifesto fails to mention black

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voters other than in the context of crime. Do you accept that?

:19:32.:19:38.

No, that's not true. No. Jo, if you had taken the trouble... Well, I've

:19:38.:19:43.

got it here. You haven't got the whole thing. Hang on.

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Overrepresented both as perpetrators and victims of crime

:19:46.:19:50.

with a disproportionate number of black people affected by serious

:19:50.:19:55.

youth violence. 86% of gang members are of black Caribbean ethnic

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minority. That is painting them in a negative light. Do you accept

:19:58.:20:02.

that? No, there's plenty of other stuff in this manifesto, the full

:20:02.:20:06.

version of which is here now, which discusses what we are going to do

:20:06.:20:11.

for all communities in London. I really commend the whole document

:20:11.:20:19.

to you. By the way, just back on policing, I'm very proud to say

:20:19.:20:23.

that under me in this Mayorality, we have more black officers in the

:20:23.:20:26.

Met, we are going to go on with that programme and make it possible

:20:26.:20:31.

for people to enter later in their careers so that we have a police

:20:31.:20:36.

force, Police Service that better reflects London and therefore

:20:36.:20:39.

carries the trust of the overwhelming majority. Boris

:20:39.:20:43.

Johnson, is David Cameron a vote winner for you or a vote loser?

:20:43.:20:49.

I think people - I'm sure all sorts of people win me votes or lose me

:20:49.:20:52.

votes but... What about the Prime Minister, the leader of the

:20:52.:20:56.

Conservative Party, is he a vote winner or loser? Obviously a vote

:20:56.:21:01.

winner. This is something that is... Is he? This is something that will

:21:01.:21:05.

be decided on my programme for improving this City and taking

:21:05.:21:08.

London forward. Not the Conservative... When they look at

:21:08.:21:14.

what we've done and what we are offering in modernising our

:21:14.:21:19.

transport network, to investing 200,000 jobs, in delivering a 10%

:21:19.:21:24.

cut in council tax. Yes. But Boris... Council tax by the way

:21:24.:21:29.

which went up by �96 4 for a band B under Ken Livingstone. I think

:21:29.:21:33.

people at this election can see a very, very clear difference between

:21:33.:21:36.

our programme, my programme, what we are offering for Londoners over

:21:36.:21:41.

the next four years and the programme there. That is the choice,

:21:41.:21:45.

between going forward or going backwards. All right, but has the

:21:45.:21:52.

Conservative-led Government been a drag on your polling? The proof of

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that particular pudding will be in the eating in less than two days'

:21:56.:22:00.

time. I know that for everybody I talk to on the streets of London, I

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hope that people are listening to what we've got to say about taking

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our City forward, about building a great future for London through

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transport investment, housing and regeneration. People say, am I

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different from the Conservative Party, am I different from the

:22:16.:22:19.

Government, you know, to get to the heart of your question, and the

:22:19.:22:23.

answer is yes, in the sense that I will go into bat for London, I will

:22:23.:22:27.

go in to fight for London budgets. I don't care if plaster comes off

:22:27.:22:31.

the ceeling in the Treasury, provided we get the funding that we

:22:31.:22:37.

need -- ceiling. Only in the last couple of weeks, we got �...

:22:37.:22:40.

going to have to stop you... Another �90 million for policing

:22:40.:22:44.

and I'm going to fight for London. Thank you very much.

:22:44.:22:47.

Charles Clarke, there is this strange situation that Boris

:22:47.:22:51.

Johnson, who wants to be the next Mayor, and carry on his reign in

:22:51.:22:54.

London is more popular than the Conservative Party and Ken

:22:54.:22:58.

Livingstone, Labour's candidate is less popular. Did you think that it

:22:58.:23:01.

was the right decision to keep Ken Livingstone as the candidate?

:23:01.:23:04.

I've never rated Ken and I wouldn't have done it in those circumstances.

:23:04.:23:08.

You are right about the overall politics, Labour will do very well

:23:08.:23:12.

in London on Thursday in the Greater London elections and I hope

:23:12.:23:15.

will take control of the Greater London Assembly. No doubt Boris is

:23:15.:23:18.

running ahead of the Conservatives and Ken running behind Labour. That

:23:18.:23:22.

may narrow towards polling day, we'll see. It will be a close call.

:23:22.:23:26.

You must have been watching the campaigning? Yes. What did you

:23:26.:23:30.

think of Ken Livingstone's campaign? I'm not a fan of him...

:23:30.:23:34.

No, but? I think that... The polls aren't that far away though, are

:23:34.:23:37.

they? No, they are quite close. What Ken's great strength is and

:23:37.:23:42.

has always been, is transporting London from the conJess bion charge

:23:42.:23:46.

zones and the other issue, he's genuinely committed to improving

:23:46.:23:50.

transport and he has a much stronger record than Boris Johnson

:23:50.:23:53.

on that. On policing he's had a strong record when Mayor. I worked

:23:53.:23:57.

with him as Home Secretary to bring the neighbourhood policing into

:23:57.:24:01.

London. Boris Johnson has made it his business to smash up the

:24:01.:24:04.

Metropolitan Police by getting rid of its leadership which is

:24:04.:24:08.

scandalous. Unfortunately, the other things around Ken, other this

:24:08.:24:13.

than the two pluses, transport and policing, take attention away from

:24:13.:24:16.

his good points. Do you think another Labour candidate may have

:24:16.:24:20.

had a better chance of winning? Depends who it was. Tessa Jowell?

:24:20.:24:24.

Not talking about individual candidates and I don't have anybody

:24:24.:24:28.

in mind. If you think Ken Livingstone is the best candidate

:24:28.:24:32.

for Labour, no. Other people might have done better, but if you ask me

:24:32.:24:42.
:24:42.:24:47.

plashs you don't know, it depends how it will work out -- particulars.

:24:47.:24:49.

If you don't know your unity authority from your county council,

:24:49.:24:54.

or if your maths is a little Rusty and you are not up to speed on your

:24:54.:24:58.

wholes or halves or thirds, fear not, fresh from following Boris

:24:58.:25:02.

around London, we send Adam to the south coast.

:25:02.:25:06.

Meet Colin, street cleaning is one of the services provided by Gosport

:25:06.:25:10.

Borough Council. This year, half of their councillors are being elected.

:25:10.:25:16.

But the exciting sounding discovery centre around the corn iris run by

:25:16.:25:22.

a higher power, Hampshire County Council -- corner. Not until next

:25:22.:25:26.

year. Across the fairly windy harbour is Portsmouth which is a

:25:26.:25:29.

unitary authority which means there's only a single tier of local

:25:29.:25:33.

government. This week, they are electing a third of their

:25:33.:25:38.

councillors? Clear? It isn't on the Gosport ferry where hardly anyone

:25:38.:25:43.

seems to know their thirds from their halves from their wholes. Do

:25:43.:25:47.

you know how in councillors are being elected on this election?

:25:47.:25:52.

haven't got a clue. Do you know what proportion? No. About half

:25:52.:25:56.

probably. Correct answer! That's something thousand. The was that a

:25:56.:26:02.

guess though? Yes. Is your council a unitary authority or a district

:26:02.:26:07.

council? I believe it's a County Council. Not entirely 100% sure.

:26:08.:26:11.

don't know what decisions have to be made at county level and which

:26:11.:26:18.

are made at district council level and I guess some of those I would

:26:18.:26:21.

guess right and some would be wrong and I guess most people are like

:26:21.:26:27.

that. Why have we arrived at a system that's so complicated?

:26:27.:26:32.

are different needs in rural and urban areas. Secondly, if an urban

:26:32.:26:36.

and rural area changes, because things change and towns grow up.

:26:36.:26:40.

Throw politics into that and the desire to reform a system in your

:26:40.:26:43.

particular direction if you are in control nationally and you can see

:26:43.:26:46.

there will be regular reorganisation for Local Government.

:26:46.:26:49.

Next stop Portsmouth's famous Spinnaker tower, to find out which

:26:49.:26:53.

parties are on the up and which might be heading down. There are a

:26:53.:26:56.

number of ways of working that out. First, you could look at what

:26:56.:27:00.

happened last time these seats were contested back in 2008. Then, the

:27:00.:27:06.

Tories had a net gain of 194 councillors, Labour has a bad time

:27:06.:27:11.

with a net loss of 210 while the Liberal Democrats had a net gain of

:27:12.:27:15.

14. What about the number of councils the parties control

:27:15.:27:19.

outright? The authorities up for grabs this week, the Tories have 52.

:27:19.:27:23.

Labour have 38. The Liberal Democrats control seven. You could

:27:23.:27:27.

look at what the party's share of the vote would have been in the

:27:27.:27:32.

local elections had been national ones. In 2011, the Tories were on

:27:32.:27:37.

38%, Labour were on 37%, the Liberal Democrats were on 16% fpltz

:27:37.:27:41.

And, because there are so many facts and figures, it means the

:27:41.:27:44.

parties can use results from one part of the country to give a

:27:45.:27:48.

distorted view of how they've done overall in the elections across

:27:48.:27:51.

England. It's going to be a busy night! With

:27:51.:27:55.

us now is the Local Government expert Tony Travers from the London

:27:55.:28:00.

School of Economics. Take us through first of all the different

:28:00.:28:03.

types of council, you know, that people will be voting for,

:28:03.:28:06.

councillors that they'll be voting for, because not many people

:28:06.:28:09.

understand the differences? heard earlier about London where

:28:09.:28:13.

there's the Mayor and Assembly. In Scotland and Wales, all the

:28:13.:28:18.

authorities are up, all unitary authorities, and in the rest of

:28:18.:28:21.

England, we have a third of people voting in the big cities and some

:28:21.:28:25.

smaller towns and cities, then in some of the smaller districts,

:28:25.:28:30.

either all out or a third voting, there are some parts of the the

:28:30.:28:33.

country in England without elections and in Northern Ireland.

:28:33.:28:37.

For the whole of Scotland and Wales, large pars of urban England, people

:28:37.:28:42.

are voting. The last time the seats were up was in? 2008, except in

:28:42.:28:45.

Scotland where it's 2007. Let's look at the state of the different

:28:45.:28:50.

parties. How well do Labour need to do? There's been a lot of

:28:50.:28:53.

expectation management and they talk about 356. That doesn't sound

:28:53.:28:56.

like an awful lot to me in terms of gains? If you look at when the

:28:56.:29:01.

elections were last fought in 2008, Labour was in terrible trouble.

:29:01.:29:08.

They were the equivalent vote share of that day, it was 23-24%. One of

:29:08.:29:12.

their lowest? They are now up to 40. If they don't do as well in the

:29:12.:29:16.

votes as the polls, there's a swing against the Conservatives. The

:29:16.:29:20.

Liberal Democrats will do worse than that. If you add it together,

:29:20.:29:24.

Labour probably I think are going to do better than 300. They would

:29:24.:29:29.

say a lower number. 600 or 700 gains for Labour is somewhere in

:29:29.:29:34.

the range between an average and a good performance. A good

:29:34.:29:38.

performance would need to be up between 60 and 700? On the basis of

:29:38.:29:41.

the current polls and where we are starting from and the mess the

:29:41.:29:44.

Government's been in, add that together and I think that they'd

:29:44.:29:49.

want to be winning 60 or 700 seats. What about the Liberal Democrats?

:29:49.:29:52.

Last year all right not the same seats, but last year they had a

:29:52.:29:56.

very bad night in terms of local election results. Is it going to be

:29:56.:30:00.

as bad or is the bar so low it's got to come up? Compared with last

:30:01.:30:03.

year, it's almost certainly going to be better for the Liberal

:30:03.:30:08.

Democrats. There are fewer seats that are vulnerable this year and

:30:08.:30:11.

anyway, the Conservatives were in a rather weaker position this year

:30:12.:30:14.

than last. The Liberal Democrats probably no worse. Relatively they

:30:14.:30:17.

are a bit closer if not slightly better for the Liberal Democrats.

:30:18.:30:21.

Of course, the Liberal Democrats are still like everybody else going

:30:21.:30:25.

back to 2008 as a starting point, this is complicated, I'm sorry.

:30:25.:30:29.

But attend of it, the Liberal Democrats will not do as badly as

:30:29.:30:32.

they did last year even if they lose a few seats. Because the

:30:32.:30:35.

Conservative also take a bigger hit because they did surprisingly well

:30:35.:30:39.

last year? Yes, because of the dynamics of Conservative Liberal

:30:39.:30:43.

Democrat marginal seats and when the Liberals fall back, it helps

:30:43.:30:46.

the Conservatives do better. question that you are always asking

:30:46.:30:50.

in local elections but particularly perhaps in this sort of stage, we

:30:50.:30:53.

asked Boris Johnson the same question - how much do people vote

:30:53.:30:59.

on local issues? Does it vary across the UK or will the

:30:59.:31:04.

Conservatives on the doorstep find it difficult because of the hoo-hah

:31:04.:31:13.

It works like that, not only in Britain. It is worth remembering in

:31:13.:31:17.

a sense the further West you go and north you go in Britain, you get

:31:17.:31:23.

more and more independence and politics that is removed from the

:31:23.:31:27.

Conservative, Labour, Liberal Democrat struggle, but generally

:31:27.:31:30.

Conservative problems at the national level with affect the

:31:30.:31:33.

Conservatives in Plymouth o the Conservatives in Southampton.

:31:33.:31:37.

How well do you think Labour will do in the local elections across

:31:37.:31:41.

England? You said you think they will do well in the assembly

:31:41.:31:45.

elections in London and we don't know any of the results, but the

:31:45.:31:49.

mayoral contest is harder to predict? I don't put a

:31:49.:31:53.

quantification on seats, but Labour will do well in England. I think we

:31:53.:31:58.

will do well in Wales. What about Glasgow? I think we will

:31:58.:32:02.

have a a difficulty hanging on. Alex Salmond and the SNP are in a

:32:02.:32:07.

strong position in Scotland and we will be doing well to hold Glasgow.

:32:07.:32:12.

It will come down to the coverage, won't it, London and Glasgow, they

:32:12.:32:16.

could be the big headline stories and that will mitigate gains that

:32:16.:32:22.

Labour might make? It reminds me when Ken Baker was chairman of the

:32:22.:32:29.

Conservative Party, Labour did well during Mrs Thatcher's premiership.

:32:29.:32:32.

I think that is what the Conservatives are going to do in

:32:32.:32:37.

reverse, they will do badly and Labour will do well across the

:32:37.:32:45.

country, but the London mayor and what happens in Glasgow will be the

:32:45.:32:50.

big issues. Did you pay attention to council

:32:50.:32:55.

elections? Of course. Local elections and opinion polls and by-

:32:55.:32:59.

elections are generally speaking a referendum on the party in power as

:32:59.:33:03.

to what is going on. I say generally speaking because there

:33:03.:33:07.

are local factors and you have got to look at that in politics as

:33:08.:33:11.

opposed a general election which is a choice between two parties to

:33:11.:33:14.

form a Government. You have to look at it and you should look at it..

:33:14.:33:17.

Tony Travers, thank you. David Cameron was meant to spend

:33:17.:33:20.

yesterday afternoon in Milton Keynes campaigning for Thursday's

:33:20.:33:25.

local elections. Instead, Speaker Bercow dragged the Prime Minister

:33:26.:33:30.

to the Commons Chamber to answer questions about Jeremy Hunt, his

:33:30.:33:39.

Culture Secretary. It was a stormy In every respect with regard to the

:33:40.:33:43.

News Corporation bid, the Culture Secretary asked for independent

:33:43.:33:48.

advice and acted on it. He was not required to ask or or to follow

:33:48.:33:52.

such advice, but he did so. He acted fairly and impartially and in

:33:52.:33:56.

line with the advice of his Permanent Secretary. The Prime

:33:56.:34:00.

Minister is defending the indefensible and he knows it.

:34:00.:34:04.

Protecting the Culture Secretary's job while up and down the country,

:34:04.:34:08.

hundreds of thousands are losing theirs. And we all know why - the

:34:08.:34:12.

special adviser had to go to protect the Culture Secretary. The

:34:12.:34:16.

Culture Secretary has to stay to protect the Prime Minister. The

:34:16.:34:21.

Prime Minister has shown today he is incapable of doing his duty. Too

:34:21.:34:31.
:34:31.:34:31.

close to a powerful few. Out-of- touch with everyone else. I'm not

:34:31.:34:37.

belilg this issue. It is not as serious as the eurozone and the

:34:37.:34:43.

debt that we have to focus on. Let me say this, endlessly questioning

:34:43.:34:47.

the integrity of someone when you don't have the evidence is bad

:34:47.:34:51.

judgement, rotten politics and plain wrong. We have learned

:34:51.:34:55.

something about the Labour leader today and I think it is something

:34:55.:35:00.

he will regret. Why is the Secretary of State for

:35:00.:35:04.

culture getting better employment rights than the rest of the workers

:35:04.:35:11.

in Britain? Is it it possiblely he knows

:35:11.:35:15.

because he knows whenever the Culture Secretary is in the firing

:35:15.:35:19.

line that it prevents the bullets hitting him, the Prime Minister?

:35:19.:35:25.

Well, the honourable gentleman has the right at any time to take his

:35:25.:35:31.

pension and I advice him to do so. Ooo, you might say.

:35:31.:35:38.

You don't think he should have done... It is a trivial remark. He

:35:38.:35:43.

is rude. I am not defending him. He can defend himself. But to deal

:35:43.:35:46.

with Denis's point which was a serious point by that trivial

:35:47.:35:50.

little remark, take the tablets or whatever, these remarks come out, I

:35:50.:35:53.

think it was pathetic of the Prime Minister.

:35:53.:35:57.

Not prime ministerial? Well, he was angry, of course.

:35:57.:36:01.

There is no juchtion no justification at all.

:36:01.:36:05.

Haven't you felt like losing it when you are standing up? A big

:36:05.:36:10.

issue for Prime Ministers at Prime Minister's Questions, you get angry

:36:10.:36:14.

for things that are said in the chamber, but you have got to

:36:14.:36:18.

control yourself and if you don't, you're gone and David Cameron lost

:36:18.:36:20.

control of himself there. You think he did.

:36:20.:36:24.

Has in your mind, Jeremy Hunt, done wrong in terms of breaching the

:36:24.:36:28.

Ministerial Code? I believe so on the basis of what I have seen. The

:36:28.:36:34.

rule that I've always thought was essential, the special adviser

:36:34.:36:39.

speaks on behalf of the principal and it is in this case too and

:36:39.:36:43.

Jeremy Hunt should be taken responsibility rather thang asking

:36:43.:36:47.

a -- than asking a special adviser to walk the plank. The Ministerial

:36:47.:36:52.

Code is clear that the minister does take responsibility, are you

:36:52.:37:00.

saying how much advice that advisers work wheel to joule --

:37:00.:37:06.

cheek to joule with their advisers? Everybody who talks to a special

:37:06.:37:15.

add virer -- adviser believes they are talking on behalf of the

:37:15.:37:17.

minister. I am certain in the special adviser's communication,

:37:17.:37:25.

with all the other people, just like Adam verity for Liam Fox. The

:37:25.:37:29.

minister has to take responsibility. I don't understand why the Prime

:37:29.:37:34.

Minister has not referred this to the person who is supposed judge

:37:34.:37:38.

the Ministerial Code. Well, he said, in justification,

:37:38.:37:43.

that he might do that once Jeremy Hunt has given evidence to the

:37:43.:37:46.

Leveson Inquiry. Many people argued your point that he is not the

:37:46.:37:49.

independent adviser on the Ministerial Code and said so

:37:49.:37:55.

himself? What has the Leveson Inquiry got to do with any of this?

:37:55.:38:00.

Justice Leveson appears to be doing a good job, but it has nothing to

:38:00.:38:04.

do with the conduct of the minister and the conduct of the special add

:38:04.:38:07.

vieer. Should the Prime Minister have been hauled to the House when

:38:07.:38:10.

we have had a statement from Jeremy Hunt and the urgent question

:38:10.:38:14.

arguably didn't ask anything new and did we learn anything new?

:38:14.:38:19.

didn't learn much new. It used to be a convention if the Leader of

:38:19.:38:22.

the Opposition put down a question to the Prime Minister, that the

:38:22.:38:25.

Prime Minister would have to come. And that was an important

:38:25.:38:29.

convention over many years. It It doesn't happen very often?

:38:29.:38:37.

happens rarely and that's why why David Cameron said he thought Ed

:38:37.:38:41.

Miliband got it wrong. David Cameron's decision not to refer the

:38:41.:38:46.

case is something worthy of explaining to the House and Ed

:38:46.:38:50.

Miliband was right to bring him to the House and I am glad the Speaker

:38:50.:38:53.

agreed. So he was called to the House and

:38:53.:38:57.

we heard his angry tone. It is clear David Cameron wants to hold

:38:57.:39:00.

on to Jeremy Hunt and you will remember instances where Prime

:39:00.:39:04.

Ministers want to hold on to their ministers. He is clearly defending

:39:04.:39:11.

him. How risky do you think that Strategic Rail Authority Strategic

:39:11.:39:21.
:39:21.:39:22.

Rail Authority -- strategy is? That's the case of bringing an

:39:22.:39:27.

independent adjudicator. I think it does want to -- he does want to

:39:27.:39:31.

keep Jeremy Hunt. There is a Ministerial Code and it has to be

:39:31.:39:34.

acknowledged and the Prime Minister isn't acknowledging that and that's

:39:34.:39:39.

a risky course for the Prime Minister.

:39:40.:39:47.

We have the local elections and Jeremy Hunt won't give evidence to

:39:47.:39:52.

the Leveson Inquiry million mid-May, do you think the excitement might

:39:52.:39:57.

have dampdnd down -- dampened down and the media maybe off the the

:39:57.:40:02.

scent? The media may go off the scent, but the moment that Leveson

:40:02.:40:07.

comes around again, the media will be on the scent and it will

:40:07.:40:11.

continue the issue over a period of time than would be the case. It is

:40:11.:40:17.

political misjudged, but it is ethically misjunld. The --

:40:17.:40:21.

misjudged. The think about the Ministerial Code, it is supposed to

:40:21.:40:24.

hold ministers to code. We have established an independent process

:40:24.:40:28.

with a senior civil servant to adjudicate whether this is or is

:40:28.:40:33.

not the case. By not taking the opportunity to refer it there,

:40:33.:40:38.

David Cameron is bringing it all on his own shoulders and I think

:40:38.:40:43.

that's a foolish thing, indeed to It will go on inevitably as many of

:40:43.:40:48.

these stories do. As we have been discussing, MPs on the culture

:40:48.:40:54.

committee have been holding a press conference. At heart of the inquiry

:40:54.:40:58.

has been the question of what executives at Rupert Murdoch's News

:40:58.:41:01.

International knew about hacking and when the committee said that

:41:01.:41:05.

the newspaper and its parent company had shown huge failings of

:41:05.:41:09.

corporate governance. They said there was no definitive evidence

:41:09.:41:13.

that James Murdoch, who ran the UK newspaper division, had misled

:41:13.:41:17.

Parliament over what he knew and when, but the report said it was

:41:17.:41:20.

simply astonishing that he and father, Rupert Murdoch, had not

:41:20.:41:26.

realised the extent of hacking take place. James Murdoch was described

:41:26.:41:32.

as showing, "Wilful ignorance about the wrongdoing." The most most

:41:32.:41:35.

damning judgement was reserved for Rupert Murdoch in a series of

:41:35.:41:40.

decisions which split the committee along along party lines in comments

:41:40.:41:43.

disowned by the Conservative members, the report said that

:41:43.:41:47.

Rupert Murdoch was not a fit person to run a company like the

:41:47.:41:51.

broadcaster BSkyB. Some of the of the findings divided the committee.

:41:51.:41:56.

Let's hear the differing views Everybody in the world knows is who

:41:56.:42:00.

responsible for the wrongdoing at News Corp, Rupert Murdoch. More

:42:00.:42:06.

than any individual alive, he is to blame. Morally, the deeds are are

:42:06.:42:11.

his. Paid the piper and he called the tune. It is his company, his

:42:11.:42:19.

culture, his people, his business, his failures, his lies, his crimes,

:42:19.:42:24.

the price of profits and his power. No Conservative member on this

:42:24.:42:29.

committee with a vote was able to recommend the report itself to the

:42:29.:42:32.

House and and every one of us, while we shared different views

:42:32.:42:36.

about the culpability of News Corporation and the degree of

:42:36.:42:40.

culpability of James Murdoch in particular, none of us were able to

:42:40.:42:44.

support the report and we all voted against it. That will mean it will

:42:44.:42:47.

be correctly seen as a partisan report and we've lost a very great

:42:48.:42:53.

deal of its credibility which is an enormous shame. The issue on which

:42:53.:42:58.

no Conservative member felt they could support the report itself was

:42:58.:43:02.

the line put in the middle of the report that said that Mr Rupert

:43:02.:43:08.

Murdoch is not a fit person to run an international company.

:43:08.:43:11.

The Conservative member talking about the report.

:43:11.:43:15.

We are joined by Steve Hewlett and we maybe joined by committee

:43:15.:43:19.

members as soon as they come out of their press conference, but it is

:43:19.:43:23.

going on and it is taking longer than compted and it is -- expected

:43:23.:43:26.

and it is unlikely any of them will come out before it finishes because

:43:26.:43:31.

the report proved to be more devastating and scathing than

:43:31.:43:36.

journalists like myself predicted. Were you surprised? I was surprised

:43:36.:43:42.

how far it has gone. The focus is on corporate governance. What they

:43:42.:43:50.

said about Tom Crone and Colin Myler, effectively that they have

:43:50.:43:57.

lied. They said one thing in 2009... The opposite of that is true, as

:43:57.:44:01.

much as a year before that. Interestingly, they point the

:44:01.:44:06.

finger at Les Hinton. He is the person of whom Rupert Murdoch said,

:44:06.:44:11.

"I would trust him with my life. I worked with him for 52 years." He

:44:11.:44:21.
:44:21.:44:23.

goes back to the to the to the Adelaide paper that Rupert Murdoch

:44:24.:44:29.

started. Remember, he was taken out of News International which is why

:44:29.:44:33.

James Murdoch took over and went to run the Wall Street Journal. The

:44:33.:44:37.

evidence that, the suggestion there was a cover-up goes higher than it

:44:37.:44:39.

was before. It goes to the top if you are

:44:39.:44:42.

talking about the corporate governance and the words are

:44:42.:44:47.

damning. We will come to the fact that not all members of the

:44:47.:44:52.

parts of that report. But what happens now to the Murdoch global

:44:52.:44:56.

empire because however damning this report is, it is a Parliamentary

:44:56.:45:00.

Committee report and it is very important and devastating, but what

:45:00.:45:09.

impact will will it have on the Leave aside whatever action

:45:09.:45:14.

Parliament may decide to take ultimately about being misled and

:45:14.:45:19.

figged to. There'll be a vote in Parliament and whether or not

:45:19.:45:25.

people are called back -- fibbed to. The thing that is ticking in the

:45:25.:45:30.

background is a decision whether BSkyB is a fit company to hold a

:45:30.:45:35.

broadcasting licence. The reason BSkyB is controlled by News Corp

:45:35.:45:38.

who own 39% of it, if this was a question about an individual

:45:38.:45:43.

director sitting on the board who it transpired had lied or something,

:45:43.:45:46.

then the easiest answer to that is take that person off and put

:45:46.:45:50.

someone else on. If however what you are dealing with is a corporate

:45:50.:45:55.

culture company, it's not that easily fixed. Step back from the

:45:55.:45:58.

line that's divided them about whether Rupert Murdoch is a fit and

:45:58.:46:02.

proper person, the committee say it isn't, that's split on party

:46:02.:46:04.

political lines and the Tories said that the reason they didn't vote

:46:04.:46:09.

for the whole report was because of that one line. Step back from that

:46:09.:46:13.

line and there is plenty of stuff about wilful blindness, a cultural

:46:13.:46:16.

ignorance and the rest of it. it's unbelievable that they

:46:16.:46:19.

couldn't have known? essentially you have a company that

:46:19.:46:22.

when confronted with trouble the first instinct was to cover it up

:46:22.:46:25.

and that cover-up or that approach went on in the face of mounting

:46:25.:46:30.

evidence for a very long time. They say that rather than having an

:46:30.:46:33.

epiphany moment, they decided the game was up when they couldn't face

:46:33.:46:36.

the evidence. Why is that significant? Because if you are

:46:36.:46:40.

Ofcom and considering whether it's possible to regulate this company

:46:40.:46:44.

at all, if anything were to happen that was untoward, no suggestion

:46:44.:46:48.

there is by the way at Sky, a very well-run company, but if something

:46:49.:46:51.

were to come up, how can you regular gate a company when the

:46:51.:46:56.

starting point about the people you are talking to would be to lie,

:46:57.:47:02.

deceive and dissemble. Do you think they may be more minded, bearing in

:47:02.:47:07.

mind they are already investigating whether they are fit to hold a

:47:07.:47:11.

licence which the Deputy Leader said they are not? Where Ofcom were

:47:11.:47:14.

at I don't know, but if you take the report at face value and

:47:14.:47:18.

discount the line about Rupert Murdoch that's divided them, it's

:47:18.:47:22.

devastating. I think Steve's got it spot on, but I think there's an

:47:22.:47:28.

additional point. It's very clear that there was a culture of conduct

:47:28.:47:31.

in the News International papers was disassembly bling and dishonest,

:47:31.:47:35.

I've testified to that myself when I was involved in politics it was

:47:35.:47:40.

the case. The issue will be whether there has been a change over the

:47:40.:47:44.

last recent period as people have understood what's going on and

:47:44.:47:47.

whether that's a change. individuals involved have gone,

:47:47.:47:54.

haven't they? If you are talking about Tom Crone Les Hinton and

:47:54.:47:59.

Colin Myler. James Murdoch has been moved. In a sense would that be it?

:47:59.:48:04.

James Murdoch sits on the board of Sky and is responsible for the

:48:04.:48:09.

company's pay TV global strategy. What does it do to the reputation

:48:09.:48:13.

or reputations of Rupert and James Murdoch? Well, it's not great is

:48:13.:48:18.

it? To be accused by a committee - I mean some individuals have

:48:18.:48:22.

different views and some are well- known, but there's a lots of them.

:48:22.:48:27.

For the things they've agreed on to have happened in your company is

:48:27.:48:30.

devastating. Rupert Murdoch said last week of News Corp we are an

:48:30.:48:34.

ethical company only exist to do good. Hold that up against this.

:48:34.:48:38.

That's why I wonder whether it was wise to divide the committee by

:48:38.:48:43.

putting in a sentence that led to the tuition because the strength of

:48:43.:48:47.

what Steve's said is a unanimous Select Committee which would be in

:48:47.:48:50.

a stronger position. So are you saying that now actually this

:48:50.:48:53.

report, although scathing in its content is weaker politically

:48:53.:48:57.

because of that split, because of the four Conservatives are not

:48:57.:49:01.

going to agree to those key bits where Rupert Murdoch is not a fit

:49:02.:49:05.

person to exercise the stewardship of a company and in a way will then

:49:05.:49:11.

have less bite, if you like? 100%. It's always the case that the

:49:11.:49:17.

divided Select Committees are always weaker than individual ones.

:49:17.:49:22.

The whole of the debate will be about the question about whether

:49:22.:49:25.

Rupert Murdoch is a proper and fit person. Ofcom will have to make its

:49:25.:49:29.

view. I think that could slide attention away from the big body of

:49:29.:49:33.

issues that Steve's described which are in the agreed part of the

:49:33.:49:37.

report. It makes it possible to spint, doesn't it? Yes, and what do

:49:37.:49:41.

you think about that, how do you think they will present it -- spin

:49:41.:49:46.

it. They've got to be careful. They've issued a statement saying

:49:46.:49:50.

we are considering the report but apologies for anyone who's had

:49:50.:49:54.

their privacy invaded, deep apologies for wrongdoing which we

:49:54.:49:59.

acknowledge went on in the News of the World. So mea culpa again. If

:49:59.:50:03.

they come out really hard and attack it as politically motivated,

:50:03.:50:07.

even if you take that at face value, you are talking about someone like

:50:07.:50:11.

Tom Watson, who has an extreme view on this, but hang on a second, they

:50:11.:50:14.

put him under surveillance and followed him around. They went to

:50:14.:50:20.

war on this. There's another thing here which says the integrity and

:50:20.:50:26.

effectively of the Select Committee relies on the oral and written

:50:26.:50:29.

evidence. They demonstrated contempt in the most play tant

:50:29.:50:33.

fashion. This is like the old News International, -- blatant. These

:50:34.:50:38.

are the people walking the walk, you know. So they haven't left that

:50:38.:50:42.

culture behind in that sense? fairness they've done an awful lot

:50:42.:50:46.

to change... They closed the paper and moved people? They have

:50:46.:50:49.

compliance officers coming out of every available office now. So they

:50:49.:50:53.

have gone to town an trying to change this. To say that they are

:50:53.:50:56.

right on the edge here of a judgment being made about them by

:50:56.:50:59.

Ofcom which could be very damaging and here is another question to ask

:50:59.:51:04.

- is it conceivable that a News Corporation bid for the rest of

:51:04.:51:08.

BSkyB could be contemplated in any circumstances in the forthcoming

:51:08.:51:16.

period? Just very briefly before we move on and to look at Leveson. You

:51:16.:51:20.

could say we have heard the evidence, the Government in cahoots

:51:20.:51:23.

with sex abuse international and the Murdoch empire all the way

:51:23.:51:26.

through the last few decades, the music stopped, bad luck for the

:51:26.:51:32.

coalition? I think there's a degree of truth in that. There's a lot to

:51:32.:51:36.

be said about 24/7 media, the relative power of News

:51:36.:51:41.

International in relation to Labour and other Governments. I'm

:51:41.:51:44.

personally delighted that the music has stopped in this case. But then

:51:44.:51:48.

you need to say, what are you going to do about it and that's the point

:51:48.:51:50.

Steve raise and he's quite right. Thank you very much.

:51:50.:52:00.
:52:00.:52:04.

Can you remember when this Well, it happened 15 years ago

:52:04.:52:07.

today. Doesn't time fly in the fun world

:52:07.:52:09.

of politics?! Mr Blair went on to become the most

:52:09.:52:13.

successful Prime Minister in Labour history, but he was a controversial

:52:13.:52:20.

figure who still divides opinion. Is the moodbox.

:52:20.:52:27.

-- here is the moodbox. When Tony Blair was elected in 1997,

:52:27.:52:31.

the sight that greeted him here at Downing Street were crowds of

:52:31.:52:35.

supporters waving flags. He went on to win another two elections but he

:52:35.:52:38.

was a man who divided opinion, not least on the issue of Iraq. Now,

:52:38.:52:43.

today, I don't have any flags but I have some balls and our very own

:52:43.:52:50.

moodbox. The question I'm asking is simple - Tony Blair, good or bad?

:52:50.:52:54.

I think he's good because he keeps to his policies and does it well.

:52:54.:52:59.

He's very firm on what he says and no-one can change his opinion once

:52:59.:53:05.

it's said. OK so where do you want to put it? Go on. He started off as

:53:05.:53:10.

a very truthful man and somehow became corrupted. Why was he

:53:10.:53:13.

horrible? He ran away from the country, didn't want to be an MP

:53:13.:53:23.
:53:23.:53:27.

any more, did he? You put it in bad and I'll put it in good. We are off

:53:27.:53:37.
:53:37.:53:42.

Like all the rest of us, a bit good, a bit bad. Can I put two in?

:53:42.:53:45.

Fantastic. I think he should stand accountable for what he made our

:53:45.:53:49.

country do without our consent. Bad!

:53:49.:53:52.

Afghanistan, going to war, I thought it was great, I thought

:53:52.:53:56.

it's what he should have done. Iraq? Yeah. He was right to go to

:53:56.:54:06.
:54:06.:54:10.

Iraq? I do, yes. Hedging your bets? Pretty much even Stevens here,

:54:10.:54:14.

although the bads seem to be just about winning. They're clearly the

:54:14.:54:18.

man who won three elections in a row and divided the nation back

:54:18.:54:23.

then is still dividing the nation now.

:54:23.:54:28.

Tony Blair's speech writer now Times Columnist Phil Colins is with

:54:28.:54:31.

us now. How do you think history will judge Tony Blair?

:54:31.:54:36.

Very hard to say. In the classic clich, it's too early to tell.

:54:36.:54:40.

is it too early to tell? Yes, on the big things like Iraq, it's

:54:40.:54:44.

early to tell. There's an initial verdict entered which is not

:54:44.:54:48.

favourable, but then you need time to end see. On domestic politics, I

:54:48.:54:51.

think it's clearer. I think the Labour Government inherited a

:54:51.:54:55.

public realm that was very poorly invested in and they did a lot to

:54:55.:54:58.

change that. There was some improvements in the Public Services,

:54:58.:55:01.

not nearly as much as there should have been given the money that went

:55:01.:55:04.

in. There was a gradual improvement in those things, but I think in the

:55:05.:55:08.

fullness of time we'll see whether in the grand sweep of history what

:55:08.:55:11.

kind of a Government it was. much has been written about him,

:55:11.:55:14.

not least by himself in fact. In terms of legacy which Prime

:55:14.:55:20.

Ministers are always obsessed about, and Iraq is always the issue that

:55:21.:55:25.

stands out as how Tony Blair will be measured, but you mentioned the

:55:25.:55:29.

domestic scene. What is his legacy? If you count Northern Ireland as

:55:29.:55:33.

domestic politics, you would have to say Northern Ireland is the most

:55:33.:55:40.

shining example of that. That was a sore that festered for a long time

:55:40.:55:44.

and is immesurably better now as a result of the work of Tony Blair

:55:44.:55:49.

and successive Secretary of States. I think there's also, it's

:55:49.:55:51.

instructive that in the last election campaign there wasn't a

:55:51.:55:54.

single question in the TV debates about the National Health Service.

:55:54.:55:58.

That's testament to a huge improvement over 13 years so you

:55:58.:56:01.

would I v to say that there was improvements there and in education

:56:01.:56:05.

too. One of the least heralded things which Charles will know a

:56:05.:56:11.

great deal about, the falling crime of 35% over the period which is not

:56:11.:56:16.

all attributable to a Government but some of that is. What about, as

:56:16.:56:20.

a person, as a personality, because he's held up very often by those

:56:20.:56:24.

that study political history and politicians and their success in

:56:24.:56:29.

terms of his personality which for you as a speech writer arguably

:56:29.:56:34.

made your job a bit easier because he was seen as a good orator and

:56:34.:56:38.

has the charisma when speaking? made a lot easier. Partly the

:56:38.:56:42.

personality but also knowing what you want to say. Those are the two

:56:42.:56:45.

crucial components if you are trying to write for somebody. Hard

:56:45.:56:48.

to write a clear speech for somebody who doesn't know what they

:56:48.:56:52.

want to say in tend. Who could that be? All sorts of people. Not

:56:52.:56:56.

picking on anyone in particular, in fact it's very comon, because to be

:56:56.:57:00.

crystal clear on what you are trying to do is a rare thing, even

:57:00.:57:03.

in politics -- common. I have said that before about David Cameron but

:57:03.:57:07.

I wouldn't single him out, there are lots of people of whom that's

:57:07.:57:12.

true. Tony Blair was absolutely had a clear sense of where he was doing,

:57:12.:57:19.

which made writing the speech clearer. You could say 1997-2001

:57:19.:57:28.

high watermark for Labour. Is that right? Slightly strong until 2005

:57:28.:57:32.

when we were not sure what the future was. I agree with Phil about

:57:32.:57:37.

the core services, crime, education and health and so on. But what we

:57:37.:57:40.

desperately needed and previous Governments that have lasted a long

:57:40.:57:43.

time also need is a sense of where we are going after that. Do you

:57:43.:57:47.

think there is now? Has Ed Miliband got that? He's working on it. I

:57:47.:57:51.

don't think it's there yet. I'm a fan of Tony's and history will

:57:51.:57:56.

judge him well in many respects but one of my major criticisms would be

:57:56.:58:01.

that from about 2004-2005, I don't think there was that vision about

:58:01.:58:05.

where we were going to go. Gordon made it worse but he inherited the

:58:05.:58:09.

position that Tony set up. We ended up in 2010 with the main reason for

:58:09.:58:12.

voting Labour being we want the Conservatives and that simply is

:58:12.:58:15.

not enough, we have to say where we are going. That's the challenge for

:58:15.:58:19.

Labour in opposition now, Ed is working on it, I don't think it's

:58:19.:58:23.

there by a long way but we'll see. Tony Blair's best speech?

:58:23.:58:29.

The best speech the final one in 2006. The one with the great joke

:58:29.:58:34.

about not running off with the bloke next door? The great Les

:58:34.:58:37.

Dawson joke? Was that you who wrote that or Alastair Campbell?

:58:37.:58:41.

Dawson. It was a collective thing. It was very funny! That's all for

:58:42.:58:46.

today. Thanks to our guests, particularly to you, Charles Clarke,

:58:46.:58:50.

for the whole hour. The One o'clock news is starting on BBC One now and

:58:50.:58:55.

Jo Coburn presents the latest political news, interviews and debate, and is joined by Labour former home secretary Charles Clarke for the whole programme. There's debate about the English local elections, the statement on Jeremy Hunt and the Culture Media and Sport Select Committee publish their long awaited report on phone hacking. Plus an interview with Boris Johnson.


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