25/05/2012 Daily Politics


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Good afternoon and welcome to Daily Politics. The last one for a couple


of weeks as the Commons heads off for, yes, yet another holiday. Fill


your boots while you can, because today we are looking at Scotland,


where a campaign for yes to independence kicked off this


morning. It is promising not just politicians, but celebrities. Yes,


celebrities. Who do they think they are, This Week?


To Jeremy Hunt's conduct during the BSkyB bid is still under scrutiny.


We have the latest from the Leveson Inquiry.


Nick Clegg insists that people premiums and only his intervention


will revolutionise social mobility in this country. -- early years


intervention. Is he right? The Government is thinking again


about slapping VAT on static caravans. We think about nothing


else. We will bring you news of a quiet revolution in Yorkshire.


All that in the next hour. Public service television at its finest.


With no supplement on your licence fee! With us for the duration, he


is late, probably with a hangover, the founder of the West London Free


School, I can see him in the studio, so bring him in, sit him down and


sat him about for being so late. Why are you so late? Traffic.


Jubilee and Olympic preparations. The should have made allowance for


that. Go to the back. The Daily Telegraph's very own Mary Riddell


as well, perfectly on time, came by tube. No problem with her. Thank


you. Let's start with the Leveson Inquiry into the standards and


ethics of Her Majesty's Press. No wonder it is going on for so long!


This morning's papers make uncomfortable reading for Jeremy


Hunt. He argued that BSkyB should take full -- Rupert Murdoch should


take full control of BSkyB. But speaking on ITV, yes, sometimes you


get politics on ITV, he continued to be backed by David Cameron.


was not what he has said in the past but how he was going to do the


job. If we look at how we did the job, he looked for independent


advice, he took it and did it in a thoroughly proper way. This is like


a love letter coming to you from Jeremy Hunt about the Murdochs. The


point is that he was getting his quasi-judicial role. He was going


to decide. How could he be impartial when you knew that he was


such a fan? He did act impartially because he took independent advice


at every stage and he acted impartially. I had not wanted to


give anybody the job. I had wanted the existing Business Secretary,


Vince Cable, to do the job. That was the Prime Minister on ITV


earlier this morning. How does it work out that you fire Vince Cable


from this process because he is biased against Rupert Murdoch, and


you hired Mr Hunt, biased in favour of Rupert Murdoch? Well, that is


the million dollar question, isn't it? That is what the Prime Minister


has to answer. I think already the focus has moved slightly away from


Jeremy Hunt. It is fascinating, this email traffic, and the fact


that they were texting each other dozens of times a day. Not Jeremy


Hunt personally second but his special adviser and Fred Michel,


Murdoch's man. The real question for Cameron is how can you possibly


appoint somebody when it is absolutely clear from the memo that


was revealed yesterday, that he was not only supportive of Rupert


Murdoch and his bid, but absolutely Maasai and making his support.


There was no doubt whatsoever. Having fired Vince Cable for being


somewhat opinionated in the opposite direction, also, as far as


I understand it, Gus O'Donnell, who cleared Jeremy Hunt to take


charge... The Cabinet Secretary? Indeed. He has no knowledge of this


emerge. There are real questions of justice there. In the Prime


Minister's defence, who was he going to take the decision to? It


was the offers that Jeremy Hunt held which made in the appropriate


figure. Who else could it have been? Ken Clarke? It is not the


Pope, it is not the Queen. It is not the majesty of the offers that


is important. Why not the Pope? at the office. It is the individual


holding the post that has to decide. It is clear that he was not


impartial in this quasar judicial role. I agree that it was a problem


for Cameron because he had to give the job to somebody. But to go


right ahead with Jeremy Hunt, I think, well, as it is turning out...


I don't think Jeremy Hunt has necessarily acted in appropriately.


He was within his rights to express an opinion when it was not his task


to make a decision. He had been advised by officials not to. So he


was sailing close to the wind. kind of knew what Vince Cable


thought beforehand. And Jeremy Hunt. And most people have an opinion on


that. The difficulty that the Government faced was that they have


to task a senior politician with making this decision. They could


not give it to an official. So who do you task with it? The obvious


person is the Secretary of State for business, and if he rules


himself out by saying something stupid to a journalist, the most


obvious person is the Secretary of State for the Department for Media


and Sport. In 2003, a lot of things that Rupert Murdoch feared it did


not appear in that Act. And now the same thing is happening. They would


have got their way on BSkyB if the Milly Dowler story had not come out


at the last minute. I suspect that governments will be supping with a


long spoon when it comes to Murdoch land. I would have thought so. I


completely agree with you. Everybody got too close, well, most


people got too close to Murdoch. This was the atomic bomb of media


ownership as far as the take-over was concerned. It was the biggest


in British history. The entire media industry was very worried


about it, simply because it appeared to ride roughshod. We need


to move on, but young Adam Smith. Not the Economist from Scotland,


because he died a while ago. This young chap, he resigned. When you


listen to his testimony, yesterday afternoon and this morning to


lovers and, he is playing it so straight. It begs the question why


he resigned if everything he said is true. -- this morning to the


Leveson Inquiry. You get the impression that he was forced to


fall on his sword and savers of's political career. -- saved his


boss's political career. Now it is time for the daily quiz and I know


you love it. Our question is this. Toby Young, the late Toby Young,


recently challenged a leading politician to a drinking contest,


because he has got nothing else to do. And he lost! The journalist


losing to a politician! He was the politician? William Hague, John


Prescott, Nigel Farage, or toughest of the lot, Louise Mensch. My money


is on her! At the end of the show, he will fess up and tell us what a


big girl's blouse he really was. Earlier in the week, the Government


was forced to publish the Beecroft Report, which proposed


controversial changes to our employment laws, including allowing


what is called no fault dismissal as for underperforming workers.


Basically, if you don't like them, you can get rid of them. A group of


MPs called the Free Enterprise Group, the clue is in the name, are


publishing their own plan to reform Britain's labour markets. They see


this as essential to withstand the economic shock that Greece crashing


out of the euro will inevitably cause. They are calling it Plan E


for Euro-X it. Probably Plan E for emergency would make more sense. --


the euro exit. The plan is for people earning under �10,000 a year


would be tax-exempt. They think the minimum wage should be frozen for


three years. But they say that workers would receive a rise in


real incomes because they would not have to pay it national insurance.


Business would be encouraged to take on workers, and they would


like to see the fear factor removed from hiring people. Not the fear


factor from getting fired! And most controversially, companies with


fewer than 10 workers would be exempt from unfair dismissal laws.


At least for new employees. And they want to pat the kind of


payouts that you can get for unfair dismissal or discrimination at work


at around �50,000. -- cap the payouts. You get around �50,000 at


the moment, but if it is discrimination for race and gender


and things like that it can be much more, but that is unusual. They


discuss this with MP George Eustice, one of the co-authors of the report.


And from the TUC, head of a quality and Employment Rights, Sarah Veale.


Lay out your stall. Why do you think this needs to be done?


reality is, if you look at the eurozone at the moment, countries


in the eurozone so that they want to stay in the eurozone, but they


are not prepared to do what is required. Germany do not want to


write the big cheques that are required. Let's not go through the


eurozone. Let us seen Greece comes out. Why would this make a


difference to our ability to survive it? -- let's assume that


Greece come out. It will have an impact on our exports and on the


Government's strategy. You have to redouble your efforts to get growth


going in our economy. The real reason this economy is not growing,


I suggest, is not the lack of flexibility in the labour markets.


There may or may not be. But by international standards we are


pretty flexible. The reality is that there is no demand in the


economy and this would not create demand. Let him answer. If you look


at the last decade, it Government spending has gone up from 40% to


50% of GDP. The economic freedom indexes that are done


internationally, we have slipped down to 81, so a huge amount could


be done here. You cannot just borrow money to stimulate growth,


have to create the conditions for growth to happen. I think we should


purge these fair weather policies that have grown up over the last 10


years. There is a problem with the European labour market, including


Britain, and it is a long-term one and we have seen it over 30 years.


The more it has been regulated with rights and controls and so on, and


the more taxes that have been levied on it to pay for social


charges and the rest, the more long-term unemployment we have


created and the more youth unemployment. I don't think there


is any evidence that there is a causal link between regulation and


the success or otherwise of an economy. So why does the eurozone


have permanently high unemployment? All sorts of reasons that are not


related to the Beecroft Report. That is about protection for


employees. I am not talking about that. I am talking about over 30


years the European governments increasingly regulating the labour


markets and taxing it, and social charges in France are sometimes 60


or 70% of wages. You should not be surprised if people do not want to


Emperor people. In France or in the UK? There is not a particular


problem in France that does not occur in other countries. Each


country has separate labour laws, which impinge on employment rates


or not. In the UK there has been extraordinary yo-yo ring in terms


of up from the floor between governments of different political


persuasions. But there is no evidence to suggest a causal link


between employment regulation and demand of unemployment. There is


just their evidence. -- and the amount of unemployment. In Germany,


the consequence was that unemployment overall came down. In


particular, they are the only European country with no youth


unemployment problem. They have a very different economy. The thing I


would say about the labour relations in Germany, they have


something called co-determination. Employers determine working


conditions, broadly. Whatever they do on dismissal law is small. The


Beecroft Report proposal to do miss people at whim, -- to dismiss


people and when, is appalling. you in favour of that? I am in


favour of rules against discrimination but the concept of


unfair dismissal is unique to Britain. It is a problem and


employers do raise this as an issue if you talk to them. They have to


go to tribunals. What you really need is a grown-up conversation. If


a member of staff is falling behind... Are but it could be an


unequal conversation between the boss and the worker. There are sham


consultations for redundancy at the moment. They are not sham. They are


not. They are quite often sham. They encourage the conversations


that you are advocating. I don't agree. If you talk to employers,


they always cite this as an obstacle. Lots of them did,


actually. Lots of employers are perfectly happy with the employment


relations system. There are some highly successful employers in the


UK perfectly happy with a lightly You are claiming that this


regulation costs 100 billion a year. You made that up? I can't remember


where that figure came from. It is a big figure. It is a big figure,


but the burden of regulation is a huge problem. You can't borrow your


way out of beds. A business department did a survey of


businesses, and employment regulation came number six, below a


range of other issues. The working time directive alone cost us 3


billion a year. Only 97 billion to go! There are a lot more than 97


regulations. Commonsense dictates that if you remove some of the


obstacles that face employers, they are more likely to take on new


employees. That addresses your point about how to create demand in


the economy. It reduces the welfare bill and increases the amount of


people able to spend money. would not take people on if there


was not demand in the first place. If demand is not increasing, which


isn't, why hire anybody other than as a replacement? Plenty of


employers say they would be willing to take people on if there was less


regulation of the labour market. Unemployment is falling in America


because their labour market is much less regulated. In George's report,


in one respect, I agree with him. If Greece does leave the euro, and


it is still an if, the effects on Britain will be much more severe


than anyone has realised. But as to what you do to make this country's


economy stronger, it comes back to what Andrew was talking about,


which was demand and supply. There is little evidence that by getting


tougher on workers and cutting red tape, it will make much difference.


We have two models. One is some of the things you are talking about,


George, and the Beecroft report. The other report this week from the


IMF, which goes much more towards demand, would recommend more


quantitative easing and some tax cuts, but boosting demand at. It is


not that the whole of the Beecroft report is disreputable. I agree


that industrial tribunals need looking at. But the line that Sarah


talked about, which was redacted from the final version, the idea


that a few people will lose their jobs because their employers don't


like them, but that is a price worth paying, er that speaks of a


callousness that goes beyond economics.


The report also talks about setting up infrastructure laws. There is


evidence that if you invest... one has any idea what


infrastructure bombs means. If the euro does break up, you will have a


flight of the capital from the Eurozone to the UK. If you could


capture that in a special -- sensible way, you could put it into


infrastructure. * An back from the substance and tummy as and analyst,


is any of this going to happen? are making a clear argument that it


should. But how will it happen? Government has changed the


timescale through which people can take something to an industrial


tribunal. But if you are an employer and you can't make up your


mind after two years whether something is any good -- whether a


person is any good, maybe you shouldn't be an employer. But what


if somebody does well in one job but that is no -- Ben is moved to


another job, and they fail in that job? There are systems to deal with


that. One of the most compelling arguments For sacking people on


site is that if the Lib Dems throw any more spanners in the works when


it comes to these good measures, Cameron could say OK, Vince Cable,


on your bike. And it is really going to happen(!). Some report in


the Times today that if Greece does exit the euro, a lot of Tory


backbenchers will want and in or out referendum. Is that true?


Greece comes out of the euro, you will probably need a new treaty.


And would that trigger a referendum in the UK? My view is that we


should use our time in government to negotiate a new deal with the


European Union. Things are in such a state of flux that there might be


appetite for a sensible discussion about what the EU should look like,


and then you renegotiate and put that to the British people. Good


luck getting that past Nick Clegg. What do you make of Nigel Farage's


offer that when you have got a strong Euro-sceptic and a UKIP


candidate, he should run as a single candidate? They always had


this sort of talk when elections come. I was a UKIP candidate, and I


left because I want to get away from that. That is not what I


believe we should be doing. People are saying UKIP are strong. That is


why the Conservative Party has to articulate a clear vision about the


future of the European Union. it is not doing that? It is


starting to do that. Where is the evidence? The EU bill. We now have


a bill in the UK which would require a referendum if anything


changed. That is process, not substance. The David Cameron vetoed


the EU treaty. We are never sure that he did. He vetoed that treaty.


The treaty went ahead. As an inter- governmental treaty between those


in the Eurozone. David Cameron is between a rock and a hard place. He


is told he is lecturing when he tells them what they need to do,


and when he does not tell them, he is told he is aloof. We have to


move on. Now, a week from now the country


will be gearing up for a weekend of celebrations to mark the Queen's


Diamond Jubilee. Sadly, the powers that be reckon you would rather


watch that than another episode of the Daily Politics, so we will not


be on. No tears. But never one to miss a bandwagon, Adam has been


holding his own street party seven days early.


Welcome to a bargain-basement Daily Politics Jubilee street party. If


we were having one, this would be a good spot, because on the Sunday of


the Jubilee weekend, there will be a massive flotilla on the river and


then her Majesty will come for lunch in Westminster on Tuesday. We


have our guess from the all-party parliamentary group on the Jubilee,


and Adrian Evans, the pageant master for the Jubilee pageant.


Adrian, will be pageant be as good as this? Who have fully a bit


better and louder. It should be amazing. It should be one of those


events we will look back on in history and think it was an


extraordinary thing to have achieved. How big is this flotilla


going to be? There will be 1000 boats. They will pass from Putney


all the way through to the Thames barrier in the east. Give us an


idea of how big a logistical challenge it is? It has been


extraordinary. I have worked on this for two and a half years.


Early on, I discovered that the river goes up and down by seven


metres twice a day. It shifts backwards and forwards at a rapid


rate. The bridges are a different shape from one to another. Getting


all those boats to do what they are supposed to do has been a


logistical nightmare. We have not done something like that for a


while, but it has been a regular feature throughout history.


have to look back 150 years ago for the lord mayor's show, which was


played out on the Thames every year in November. But the great royal


pageants go back a few hundred years. That was when the Thames


itself was the grand boulevard, the place that if you want to make a


great impression, that was the place to do it. What is the All


Party Parliamentary Group doing? The exciting thing we did was, we


built a stained-glass window which will go up in Westminster Hall


opposite her Majesty's father's stained glass window, which has her


coat-of-arms and commemorates the Diamond Jubilee. I am excited to be


here and shake the hand of the man in charge of this pageant. It will


be wonderful, because we do these things better than any country.


Around the world, countries pay billions to create that sort of


iconic moment. We do it in an understated and elegant way. On the


third assumed -- 3rd June, we will deliver that. Will there be Jubilee


fever then, because the MPs will be on holiday? They will be in recess.


They are working hard. Of course! will be here. Others like my


children, who could not get tickets, will be somewhere along the river,


watching this fantastic pageant, with the royal family on the boats


themselves. There will be street parties all over every town and


village. It will be a wonderful celebration. The terrace over there


must be a good spot to watch it from. In it will be an


extraordinary place to see it. The boats are coming from all over the


UK. It really is a People's pageant. It is an accumulation of enthusiasm,


passion and interest on the water. I should say some campaigners


against the monarchy will be holding some protests during the


weekend, but I don't think their sandwiches will be as good.


What will you be doing for the Jubilee? I think I will have a hard


job persuading my children to turn out for the Diamond Jubilee,


because we had a bad experience in Dartmouth on Sunday at the Olympic


torch relay. My seven-year-old son was really excited about it. It was


just a parade of sponsors. There was one bus after another with


Samsung, Lloyds TSB. They tried to get the crowd to chant Coca-Cola.


The torch relay itself was an elderly blind Frenchman with two


human crutches, crawling along at a snail's pace, almost an aftermath -


- an afterthought to the main event, which was these buses throwing out


plastic tat. Chariots of fire, it wasn't. But her Majesty will not be


chanting Coca-Cola. She will go down the Thames on a barge. And I


am sure it will be more impressive. By the time they get around to the


proper ceremonial, whatever you think, the British do do that sort


of thing fantastically well. This whole idea of monarchy and how


people are going to celebrate it is interesting. I will not be out with


the bunting, but if you think that in 1946, George VI, the Queen's


father, apparently 3% thought he was doing a good job, the same as


Joseph Stalin in 1946. Whereas now, the monarchy was popular in the


'80s, but if you look at the Queen's approval rating, it is plus


78, as opposed to David Cameron's at -12 and Ed Miliband on minus 11


and Nick Clegg on minus 27, so she must be doing something right. It


is not a good time to be a Republican. It is not. I am not a


republican, I am a staunch monarchist, and I am sure the West


London Free School will be doing a lot to celebrate.


The Government is promising a decision later this summer whether


it will go ahead and impose VAT on static caravans. George Osborne


announced the measure in the Budget, but it has caused a near revolt in


Yorkshire where, not all people know this, almost all Britain's


static caravans are made. I knew it, because Alan Johnson told me. He is


an MP from there. The timing of the government's VAT


announcement could not have been worse for the owners of this


leisure park in east Yorkshire. After weathering floods in a


recession, they had just invested �5 million in new facilities,


including an indoor pool, spa, Jim and golf simulator. But then came


the news that all new holiday homes sold here will be hit by an average


of �6,000 in VAT costs. Somebody from London goes out and buys a


second home. They pay 1% stamp duty. Yet we are asking the hard-working


couples to now find 20% extra for a holiday home. 30,000 now becomes


36,000. We can't afford to absorb the VAT, so it has to go somewhere.


The National Caravan Council estimates that the decision to add


20% VAT on to the cost of static caravans will lead to more than


4000 job losses at holiday parks across the country. More than 1400


in manufacturing and 1500 at suppliers, adding up to more than


manufacturing workers in Beverly fear for their future. The company


has ridden out the recession well, and for the Government to levy a


20% increase on VAT, it is mind- blowing. The government are doing a


campaign on the TV at the moment for people to holiday in Britain,


so they should back the caravan industry. We are part of the


tourism industry. Politician has from all sides have united against


the so-called caravan Tax. A recent vote in the House of Commons saw


the biggest Tory rebellion since student tuition fees, but is the


Government in the mood to It is right that we tried to deal


with static caravans fairly and consistently with other products,


but we want to listen to the concerns about the impact, and we


want to listen to exactly how this would work and what the borderline


would be. They used to be a fantastic fishing industry in the


UK. Especially in Hull. Government decisions have killed it. It feels


like they are doing the same again with the caravan industry. I think


in five years' time, we will look back and so that we had a five-


month manufacturing industry. -- say that we had a thriving


manufacturing industry. One decision will kill it off.


Government insists that the proposals are fare, but thousands


have signed the cross-party petition calling for them to think


again. Within the last 24 hours, there has been a change in the mood


music on all of this. Yesterday in the Commons, the business Minister


Greg Barker suggested that it was quite possible that they would do


some kind of U-turn after rule. You get the impression that this is one


of the schemes that the Treasury has in its bottom drawer. They may


have tried to slip it through when Labour was in power but they had


better political and 10 I, and this time they did get it through.


of the things that would never have got past Gordon Brown. -- better


political antenna. There are difficulties in the North, at the


moment, but it is also a presentational disaster. The pasty


tax, the granny tax, all the rest of it. Some of these things have


some merit, not all of them. You could certainly make a very good


case for the granny tax. But they are sold as if George Osborne had


taxed bald nurse or hypoallergenic dogs. -- text being bald. He could


not have courted less popularity. Everybody loves caravans in Britain.


As long as they are not in front of you on the road! Yes! On that


excellent film, when you listen to these people in the North of


England, they are making things, working hard, in employment, making


things that people want to buy. And they find themselves on the wrong


end of Government. Something has gone wrong. It is catastrophic. I


blame the Lib Dems. We saw the Damian McBride block. -- blog. The


Government produced his wish-list of various taxes that he and Gordon


Brown used to batter way. But George Osborne announced quite late


in the day that they wanted to cut the top rate of tax. So Danny


Alexander and his team looked at what they could ask for in return.


Funny you should ask, we have got this list. That is what the Lib


Dems demanded as the price of the tax cut. You can tweet and let us


know if you are to blame, Lib Dems. The battle for hearts and minds in


Scotland gets under way today as those hoping for a yes vote in a


referendum on Scottish independence launched their campaign. There has


been a blizzard of rhetoric from both sides of the argument, but


will any economic facts be introduced before Scottish people


have to make up their minds, probably in the autumn of 2014? We


said they did to his natural habitat to find out. -- we sent


David. The Rob Roy, Scottish pub in the


heart of London. The gaffer Jones added is the unofficial embassy and


in a few years' time there could be a real one. -- do gaffer jokes that


it is the unofficial embassy. Should Scotland be part of the


United Kingdom? As a public service broadcaster, I would love to bring


you the full economic facts and figures about what that would mean


for the UK as a whole and for Scottish people. I would love to


but I cannot. And more worryingly, neither can anybody else. It is not


possible now to say whether in 10 years' time Scotland would be


better off as part of the union of separately. Not definitely better


of or worse-off. Incredibly uncertain. Not only that, but you


try finding figured that both sides of the debate actually agree on. I


have tried it and felt like I have had a night on the hard stuff. But


there is a desire to give Scottish people something definitive to go


on. Too much of the debate has been wrapped up in a certain and the


process of the referendum. -- in assertions. Lots of people want to


know what would actually happen. Here is the good news. The


Institute of Fiscal Studies are keen to undertake research that


they hope will provide some of the answers. The bad news is that even


their figures will depend on what happens to the black stuff. Not


that! The oil. If you look at the tax revenues including North Sea


oil, then their fiscal position is not very different to the rest of


the United Kingdom. If you ignore North Sea oil and then the Scottish


situation is worse than the rest of the UK, then oil plays a crucial


part in the figures. With oil, Scotland is at least as well off as


the rest of the UK from a budgetary point of view. So whose oil is it


Anyway? At the moment we don't even know that. And if it remains


disputed, who decides? If Scotland and England are going to continue


as autonomous countries, then they will be sovereigns, and you cannot


force sovereigns to solve the dispute. But they are under


obligation to resolve any disputes without the use of force. Hopefully


they would submit their dispute to the arbitration tribunals. They


would tackle the questions submitted to them. From state


practice, that can take between two-and-a-half and 10 years.


Internationally respected think- tank admit there are more questions


than answers. So will anything be clear ever? There are no definitive


answers on what Scotland might look like after independence. There


would be a long ago station about how you share National that, North


Sea oil, defence spending. There is not a single answer about which bit


of that is Scotland and which bit is for the rest of the UK. There is


no single answer and the question that will remain after independence,


after a vote on independence, is how that that association will come


out. The one thing that we do know that we know is that the biggest


decision that got and takes in centuries may well be made before


its people are in full possession of the economic facts. -- that


Scotland takes. From yes campaign, Blair Jenkins,


the former editor of BBC Scotland and STV. Have you started this


campaign so early because the boat is not until 2014 because you are


so far behind, 2-1, against independence? Hello. I think there


is a tremendous job to be done over the next two-and-a-half years to


allow people in Scotland to at all the questions they want to ask and


get all the answers to make is important decision. The great thing


that has happened today, and it has been an electrifying event, has


been a tremendous way to start the campaign. But you concede that 2 -1,


Scottish people are against what you want? I think if the opinion


polls are saying different things. There is a very large sector of the


population who have not made up their mind. I talk to people in all


walks of life in Scotland, business, sport and elsewhere. I think that


an awful lot of people are at the point where they are going to vote


for independence or are heading in that direction and are waiting to


be persuaded. I think the job for the campaign over the next couple


of years is to nudge the people in Scotland in the direction in which


they want to travel anywhere. They are on this journey and they want


to be nudged. If you cannot win the argument now, when can you? The


Tories are almost irrelevant in Scotland now and the Lib Dems are


in meltdown. Labour Party has been on the back that until very


recently. -- the back foot. There is an SNP landslide, the country is


in recession, and your country has a war chest of millions. If you


cannot win now, when can you? A think we are going to win. You are


not winning the argument at the moment. I think we are winning the


argument. One of the things that we can see right around the world now,


in this country and elsewhere, is that very often people are making


up their minds on big boat, presidential elections and things,


pretty late in the day. -- big votes. And we have seen some


results quite late in the campaign. I absolutely believe, and this is


my own experience and I have seen data to back this up, that there is


a large sector of the population in Scotland that has not made up their


minds, but they are willing to be persuaded. It is the wrong


perception to think that opinion in Scotland has calcified into those


in favour and those against. It certainly has not and there is


everything to play for. This team has just come onto the pitch today.


I am sure there is everything to play for, but the opinion polls


have been quite consistent. Often less than a third are in favour of


your side of the argument. There are also two other things that are


difficult for you. 30% of Scottish Nationalist voters are against


independence! They vote SNP but they are not in favour of


independence. And only 27% of women are in favour of independence. That


is a hill to climb. You are referring to today's opinion poll,


but there are different opinion polls and much depends on what is


being asked, as with all opinion polls. But the truth is, I mean,


you and I live and work in the political media bubble, that


village, and we follow these things very closely, but most folk are not


paying a great deal of attention to this at the moment. But they


certainly will become engaged in what is going to be a campaign, a


movement, over the next couple of years, the scale of which people


will never have seen on these islands. I know you do come here


sometimes, but just watch. And we will. Can you clarify one issue for


me? It is quite important for the future and defence of these islands,


which we are all part of, with an independent Scotland be part of


NATO? I am not going to give you an opinion on that. Why not, it is


quite important? As you know, I come from a broadcasting background


and I am not used to this sort of platform. It is the first time I


have ever expressed an opinion about anything. I understand but


the linchpin of our communal defence is the membership of NATO.


People are pledged to come to our aid should we be under attack. If


Scotland is independent, will we or will we not be part of NATO?


think that is a very valid question and it needs to be addressed over


the next two-and-a-half years. I think the weight of opinion that is


here today is behind the idea that whatever decision we are making,


about NATO, the currency, anything else, that the people best place to


take those decisions for Scotland of the people living in Scotland. I


think policy decisions, including important ones about NATO


membership, are for another day. Not today. They certainly need to


be dealt with between now and the day of the vote. I can give you a


personal view, and I am open to the argument. I do not have a fixed you


and I would like to hear both sides. Was it not a mistake to launch the


campaign in a cinema where the double bill is The Dictator and


Dark Shadows? You know Scotland well enough to know that cinemas


play an extraordinarily powerful role in Scottish life. We are in


Edinburgh, but Glasgow had at one time the highest number of cinemas


per head of anywhere in the world. It was just a joke! So numbers --


sinners have an important resonance. That was just a silly joke from me.


But we have to thank you for joining us.


Where are you on this? Better than Jaws! I think Alex Salmond will be


in trouble on this. You do? I think that tide and time have turned


against him, rather. He got one- third of the council vote when


Labour fully expected to lose Glasgow. Labour did well, and be


seen to be on their way back in the West. There is that, but it seems


to me so unclear. There is the NATO issue, but independence as it is


being talked about is not that difference to devo max. They will


get some more tax powers. I think general confidence in being a


nation will not be riding high on this. I think Scotland should be


able to raise its own taxes and pay its own bills, but I would like it


to become part of the union. Devo max is the best outcome but how do


we get there? The danger of including it in the ballot, if that


wins, that will empower people to demand a second referendum in five


or 10 years. I think we should make it straight yes or no, but if it is


no, at give them devo max anyway. Or give them a debate?


We have had my colt both -- we have had Michael Gove saying that


teaching is holding back poorer kids and many would like to see the


return of grammar schools, but Michael Gove has said this will not


be a magic bullet. The Deputy Minister Nick Clegg has also laid


out an entire social mobility strategy from the Government. His


recipe is a pupil premium, subsidised nursery care, and


demanding that universities give Mobility is about creating a truly


level playing field and a fair race. This is why the coalition


government is encouraging universities to recruit on the


basis of objective potential, on the basis of an ability to excel,


not purely on previous attainment. It may surprise the none Brits


among you to learn that in some quarters in the UK, the idea of


carefully taking into account the impact of background in assessing


university applications has been painted by some as a dangerous


piece of revolutionary socialism. But far from dumbing down, is Sir


about increasing opportunity to achieve excellence. Joining us now,


the Lib Dem MP Mike Crockatt. He joins us from Edinburgh. Our two


studio guests have strong interests in social mobility. When will we


know if anything of this is working? Of Illsley, it will take


some time, because the plan is to try to help to-year-olds, three-


year-old and four-year-olds. It has been shown that that is the best


place to invest money. It is too late later on to try and make the


difference, because children have already pulled ahead. We need to


invest the majority of the money available in two early years. And


that is what we are doing. Is it better or worse than it was,


compared with 30 years ago? I would say broadly, it is fairly similar.


All that has been done over the last 30 years has improved the lot


generally for all children across the spectrum. But the gap between


the richest and poorest has stayed pretty much the same. Toby Young,


this is like apple-pie and peace, everybody is in favour of it and


they talk endlessly about it. You sometimes wonder if the more people


talk about it, the less happens. It is a nebulous concept. Successive


governments have made doing something about social mobility a


priority, and yet it has continued to decline. In defence of the Lib


Dems, intervention in nursery, all the research evidence is that that


is how to deploy your resources most effectively if you want to do


something about social mobility. Better nursery care and be re-


education -- pre-school education. The pupil premium is a good idea,


but I would draw the line at insisting that our best


universities lower the standards for students from state schools. We


need to raise standards. I And yet evidence suggests that when bright


state schools kids get to our best universities, they end up with the


best degrees. The air is no reason why those same children should and


do just as well at secondary school so that they are able to compete


with the product of independent schools. Maybe those schools are


not conducive to go in to university. He will are looking at


a narrow band. I applaud what Nick Clegg has been trying to do. It has


been a big crusade for him. And I agree with Toby that it is all


about early-years. But in the end, it is all filtered through the top


few percentage of kids, the elite universities, Oxbridge. You will


always get a few bright children who can be helped to make their way


through, and that is important. But Ed Miliband made a decent speech on


social mobility this week. He is looking much lower down the line,


not just at university entrants, but looking at this huge


unemployment problem for kids who will not get an apprenticeship or


vocational qualifications in engineering and so on. They are


being downgraded rather than value. It is difficult to entrenched any


sort of parity. Mike, you have got the social mobility transparency


board, whatever that means. You have the social mobility and child


poverty Commission. You have the ministerial group on social


mobility. If government quangos were the answer, we would be the


most mobile country in the world. In the end, if you want to get


social mobility across the spectrum, don't you just have to see a


massive improvement in the quality of state education? Absolutely.


That is the bottom line. And that is what we are trying to do. We are


trying to make sure that children entering the education system are


already on a level playing field and do not have to catch up. The


evidence shows that they don't catch up. By the gap between the


private schools and state schools has never been wider. It is getting


worse. Broadly, it is staying the same. But the state schools are


getting better and the private schools are getting better, but the


gap remains the same. It is great to hear such support across the


board for what we are trying to do with the pupil premium. But there


is other stuff going on. There is �1 billion invested in the youth


contract, which is trying to deal with the issue of apprenticeships.


This morning, I hosted an event at Murrayfield stadium that had 100


people in business from across Edinburgh. I was trying to sell to


them the new contract, the Modern apprenticeship, business mentoring.


There is a lot of other stuff going on to make sure we help those


fallen behind to catch up. But the answer is undoubtedly to get in


early. There is only one place available at Balliol College,


Oxford. There are two candidates. One has five A * A-levels. He is


from Eton. The other has four * A levels. She is from Easterhouse


high. Who should get the place? one from Easterhouse high would not


have A-levels. But you get my point. I did A-levels, and I was educated


in Scotland. But leaving that aside, let's look at the potential of the


individual. Let's look at the individuals applying and see how


they sell themselves and what they can potentially achieve. You would


do it by an interview? You would automatic it in favour of the Old


Etonian. Not at all. We? Yes. I have two apprentices in London at


the moment. Quite purposefully, neither of them have come from a


private education background. They are both very capable and


interviewed very well. You're serious point is that nobody ever


talks about downward social mobility. It is a one-way street.


So your Eton candidate with the five A *, his parents are not


likely to relinquish this privilege. This is something Nick Clegg fell


foul of himself this week, and credit to him for doing so. He was


accused of all sorts of interference. We are running out of


time. Thanks for joining us. Now let's look back at the Week in


politics, a week when the sun came out over Big Ben and the red mist


descended in the chamber. The week started with Camp David.


That is David Cameron, who cheered on Chelsea during the G8 summit,


held at President Obama's woodland retreat. Then he was off to the


NATO summit in Chicago, where he had enough time for a walk in the


weeds with the mayor of the Windy City. But when Cameron got back to


Westminster, he was not his usually relaxed self when confronted with


Ed Balls. We have we would not have if we listened to the muttering


idiot sitting opposite. That's earned a ticking off from the


Speaker. But Vince Cable also got one for going to Germany instead of


his departmental Question Time in the Commons. It is undesirable for


the Secretary of State to be absent on these occasions. It must not


become regular practice. Finally, the Prince of darkness met the Lord


Justice of transparency. Mandy told the Leveson Inquiry he had never


leaked a story, ever. Honestly, never.


Honestly, he never did. No, if you think the tempers got


frayed in the House of Commons this week, take a look at these scenes


from the Ukrainian parliament. A debate about giving the Russian


language equal status in part of the country rather descended into


this. It got quite serious. Somehow, I don't think the Ukraine will be


giving these Russian granny's "douze points" in tomorrow night's


Eurovision Song Contest. Of course, in the Mother of parliaments, the


men in tights would have moved in and separated them quickly. Let's


come back to our own place. The Prime Minister was firstly accused


of relaxing and being too concerned with football, and then he became


angry day event could not control his temper. What is the truth? That


her as been the narrative around this event. He did not look as


though he had lost his temper. was riled. He was, but he often


gives as good as he gets across the dispatch box, and that was just an


example of that. His own side loved it. George Osborne was crying for


more. No under less, you also have to look at Ed Balls' face. Nobody


was happy at Ed Balls being called a muttering idiot. The reason for


this is the notion that David Cameron does lose his temper, and


he can't always control it. That is perceived as damaging by Labour, so


obviously, they try and get the rise out of him. I think all 10


people watching the Daily Politics when that was shown appreciate the


fact that David Cameron is a human being and sometimes loses his


temper. He is not preaching self- control. One of the criticisms on


Cameron on my side is that he does not get angry enough, he does not


hate your position as much as they hate him. So it was good to see a


bit of rage. He isn't there a great difference between Gen run --


genuine passion and anger and slagging off the other side?


Calling Ed Balls a muttering idiot is not quite of Ukrainian


proportions. But it is still public school playground knockabout at its


kindest. That is how it was perceived. Ed Balls himself is a


public schoolboy. In deed. But in the long run, the more he gets


riled up by Ed Balls, the more he will be determined to stop Ed Balls


succeeding him. Gladstone let off steam by felling trees. Winston


Churchill painted. Robert Walpole brewed his own beer. And our Prime


Minister does fruit ninja. Before we go, let's find out the answer to


our quiz. The question was which politician drag Toby Young under a


table. Can you remember who it was? I can. It was the great UKIP leader


himself, Nigel Farage. I had heard he was a legendary drinker, so


rather mischievously, at a book party, I said to him, how about a


drinking contest? Then he started lining up the vodka shots and


started back in the way. Within an hour or so, he had won. You drank


vodka shots from our? How many did you get through? Not as many as


Nigel. He was still standing and very much compos mentis at the end


of it. He thank you to both of you for being with me today and keeping


the company. That is it for today. We thank all our guests. The One


O'clock News is starting on BBC One now. I will be back on BBC One on


Sunday at 11 o'clock in the morning, with the Sunday Politics. Hope you


can join me then. But that is it for the Daily Politics. We are off


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