15/06/2012 Daily Politics


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Afternoon, folks. Welcome to the Daily Politics. As dark economic


clouds gather over Madrid, Rome and Athens, in good old Blighty, the


Chancellor decides it is time for some pre-emptive action. We can


deploy new firepower to defend our economy from the crisis on our


doorstep. We will assess just how close the eurozone is to the brink


and ask whether George and made in's plants can really save the day


at home. It's been another of those


difficult weeks for the coalition. Dave and Nick fall-out over Jeremy.


Given all of the time they spend arguing, how does the coalition


government actually work? It has been a star studded week at


the Leveson Inquiry. In case you missed them, we will have the best


bits from the big hitters. Could you stand up in front of your


workmates and say this? I was visited by an obsessive compulsive


disorder. Over the past 31 years, it has played a fairly significant


part in my life. We will talk to one of the MPs who were opened


their hearts on mental health in So, all of that is coming up in the


next hour. With us for the duration, Andrew Pierce of the Daily Mail and


political commentator Gaby Hinsliff. Welcome to you both.


Let's start once again with the euro crisis. Chancellor George


Osborne and Governor of the Bank of England Mervyn King last night


announced new liquidity and lending measures designed to protect


Britain from the DEC storm that is gathering across the Channel. The


Government assessment of economic prospects was especially gloomy.


The other effect of the crisis has been to create a large black cloud


of uncertainty hanging over not only the euro area but our economy


and, indeed, the world economy as a whole. Complete uncertainty means


that the risks that will yield returns in five years' time are


impossible to quantify. The black cloud has dampened spirits so that


businesses and households are battening down the hatches to


prepare for the storms ahead. The result is that lower spending leads


to lower incomes and a self- reinforcing weaker picture for


growth. There is none so cheery as a


central bank governor these days(!) We have been tottering on the brink


of the abyss for some time, the apocalypse just around the corner.


It never quite happens. The Chancellor and the Governor would


not be proposing �400 billion worth of extra liquidity for our banks if


they didn't feel that something horrible was about to happen. With


Greece's second election coming on Sunday and interest rates on ten-


year bonds hitting 10% in Spain, which is unsustainable. We are


joined by Allister Heath from City AM. They think something bad is


about to happen, don't they? Clearly something is very wrong in


the eurozone. First you have the Greek elections, if they vote for


and against a pro-austerity party, and we don't know, because there


are no polls, then we will leave the euro very quickly indeed. That


is a major event. A lot of people believe it will be a Lehman


Brothers style event, triggering intense disruption. The second


problem is Spain. Spain is spiralling out of control. Its bail


out failed miserably. In fact, it caused more problems than it solved,


interest rates have gone up. Although Greece is a small economy,


even if they do leave the eurozone as a result of the elections, or


other matters, the firewall that was meant to be in place to stop


the contagion spreading into Spain and Italy is not there, and they


are both incredibly vulnerable? Absolutely. That is why they tried


to bail-out Spain a week ago. To show they are strong, they have a


plan of action and a workable firewall. Within a few minutes, or


at least a few hours, the markets basically call their bluff. They


say this is not a proper firewall, you're making the situation worse.


What happens if Greece leaves the euro? Nobody has a clue. That is


why central bankers are preparing all sorts of measures to pump


liquidity into the system if things go wrong. We are all paying more


attention to what comes out of Berlin these days because of what


we have just been talking about. Has it not been remarkable this


week, the radio silence from Berlin? They are not really saying


anything. Absolutely. That suggests to me that they are starting to


lose patience with the whole system. Quite clearly, they did not want to


underwrite the entire risks of the eurozone. Something very


interesting has been happening. The interest-rate on German bonds has


actually started to go up. The reason for that is, yes, Germany is


a very strong economy. But even they cannot take on the entire debt


of all of the banks and all the countries of the eurozone. We are


running out of time here. This is economics. Economics is a


constraint. You cannot go any further, really. George Osborne has


now indicated twice, hinted, that Greece will probably have to leave


before the Germans will get around to sorting out the remains of the


eurozone. If it were to leave, it could have a sense that you lose


control over. Do you get the impression that in London, now, the


view is that Greece is going to go and, by the way, it should go?


think that is the consensus, generally speaking. A lot of multi-


national countries accept that. There were stories of a large


French company preparing to pull out of Greece. I think that is


definitely the most likely outcome. The problem is, how are they going


to react? What measures are the European authorities going to put


into place when Greece does leave? There were some people against the


whole formation of the eurozone. They were widely ridiculed by the


establishment commentators at the time. But even the critics never


thought that the eurozone would unravel in such a way that it


threatens everybody? Yes. The Cassandras are all saying, you did


not listen to us and we were right. They have every right to say that,


although they didn't necessarily foresee this kind of unravelling.


We never saw this scenario. People didn't see the crash coming and


didn't see that would lead to where we are now. Rather than scrapping


over who was right or wrong to start with, the worry now is that


the grown-ups are not in charge, even now. Reading that speech, the


Mansion House speech, you kind of feel like a passenger on a plane


weather cap hundred and is saying, the bad news is that we are going


to crash into the side of the mountain, but the good news is that


the sandwiches are on us. When 100 billion euros bail outs, as Spain


got, barely buys you 18 hours in the markets, you get the impression


that the European policy elite don't know what to do? It was a


sign that they were still desperate to try to preserve the idea that


the single currency can still work. The deal unravelled within hours.


It was on more generous terms to the Spanish deal, which could have


an impact on Sunday. Clearly, the financial package announced by the


Governor of the Bank of England was to pre-empt, I think, the collapse


of Greece in the eurozone, which I think cannot come quick enough.


Stick with us. In the face of this doom and gloom, what are Mervyn


King and George Osborne doing? Last night, they announced a new scheme


that has brought funding for lending. The Bank of England has


agreed with the Government to provide billions of pounds,


probably up to 80, of cheap credit to bags if they then lend to


companies, small businesses and so on to buy houses. It would increase


overall bank lending by about 5%. In addition, the Bank of England is


also starting, or enhancing, a bank liquidity scheme. This was already


put in place last year. It is entirely separate from the first


thing. It has a catchy title, extended collateral term repo


facility. What it really means is that it will make it easy and


cheaper for banks themselves to borrow at least �5 billion every


month to cover any shortfalls in the wholesale market between banks.


It gives them cash. At the weekend, George Osborne claimed that the


crisis was killing off the UK recovery. Last night he claimed


there was still action that he there was still action that he


could take. We are not powerless in the face of the eurozone debt storm.


Together, we can deploy new firepower to defend our economy


from the crisis on our doorstep. Funding for lending to the family


aspiring to own their own home and the business that wants to expand.


Liquidity for our high-street banks. So, will these latest measures work


when previous ones have not quite seemed to, given the way the


economy has flatlined in a double- dip recession? Joining me now is


the shadow Treasury minister Chris Leslie and, from Cambridge, the


Conservative MP Matthew Hancock. He used to be an adviser to the


Chancellor before he got demoted and became an MP. Allister Heath is


Batty Hancock, what makes you think that these measures will get some


growth into the economy when they had and �25 million of quantitative


easing, the interest rates, a 20 billion loan guarantee scheme


haven't? As you say, we have got very loose monetary policy, both


quantitative easing and low interest rates. But that is not


being passed on into the real economy. This morning I was talking


to stable lads in Newmarket, not particularly well paid, and they


were saying that their mortgage rates have gone up in recent months,


even though official rates have stayed flat. The proposal, which I


think was a very good and timely one yesterday, was to make sure


that there's very low official rates, that we have because up the


credibility we have as a government to clear our debts, that those are


passed on to people with mortgages and people that are running


businesses. Therefore, to support them. We have got this very heavily


indebted economy. Keeping rates down for people who have got those


debts is an important way of making sure people have money in their


pockets. If you're stable lads are complaining about the level of


interest rates for mortgages, are you arguing that as a result of its


measure mortgage rates are going to come down? Well, I hope that will


be one of the consequences. Really?! I think if a bank can


borrow more cheaply in the money markets, then they can pass on some


of that lower interest rate on to their customers. One of the things


we have discussed on this programme, Andrew, has been how mortgage rates


have been creeping up. I hope that this liquidity support will put a


stop to that. Also, I am sure it would put a stop to that if it


wasn't for the second reason, also. We know there is this great debt


storm in Europe, it appears to be coming to a head. I don't think


they can solve that without radical structural reform, which means they


are essentially have one economic policy across the eurozone. I think


the reason the Spanish bail out that you were talking about didn't


work was because if you throw money without a structural change to make


sure that they are going to live within their means as a currency,


they have got to do that and it is a huge change. We take it that


things are terrible in the eurozone, we are trying to work out if the


measures of your government are going to help us get through any


storm. Let me bring Chris Leslie in. Do you welcome these monetary


measures? Well, anything that provides some stimulus to the


economy, I think, has to be welcomed. We have sort of been here


before, as you were mentioning, as he went through the list of efforts


on the Monetary Policy side that the Governor of the Bank of England


has taken. The Governor of the Bank of England is, as some papers are


reporting, is blinking now. He is saying, gosh, we have got to do


something. The problem is that we have a Chancellor fixated on this


austerity ideology. It really betrays the fact that I do they


have fundamentally got wrong the analysis of why the economy is back


in recession, all this is some sort of political device to show they


have a different fiscal policy. But they really have to change course


now. The Chancellor in particular has to change course. You want them


to change course on fiscal policy? As a number of measures to


stimulate the economy. Since I have been through this endlessly with


Labour politicians, from Ed Balls down, you cannot tell us even the


size of the fiscal stimulus you would want. That is not fair, in a


sense. Well, tell us! If you want us to reel through Labour's 5 point


plant... No, what with the fiscal stimulus be? If you look at what


happened when VAT was first reduced by Alastair Darling, the Institute


of Fiscal Studies talked about the positive stimulus that provided at


that time. We believe that there is a case, not the only thing we


should do, but a temporary VAT cut would help rebuild confidence.


going to interrupt you because you're not answering my question. I


know what you're matches would be. What I am saying is, since you are


now saying this is not enough, we need to move on fiscal policy,


perfectly respectable position to take, I am asking you to tell us by


what volume would your fiscal policy be different from Mr


All we can do is learn from the past. You can't answer my question?


I'm trying to. We can't crystal- ball gazers and guess how many


millions. Why not? There was an appreciable stimulus effective in


at 2009. Looking at the bank bonus levy, helping small businesses,


youth unemployment. I will try one more time. I will give you the same


answer. Just give me a figure. If you were in power today, where you


are at the moment, how much extra would you borrow in this financial


year? We have put a figure on a reduction of 2.5% in VAT


temporarily. What is your overall borrowing figure? A 12 billion


pound cost. 12 billion pound more? You have to recognise, it you can't


deal with a fundamental failures in our economy, the recession, to


stimulate growth and job creation, all the talk about money or


loosening policy will not do it. Isn't the hard fact, Alastair, the


fact that the Alastair Darling fiscal policy being implemented by


the government, you could barely get a cigarette paper between them.


They are the same. I agree. One want to borrow 130 billion, the


others 140 bn. That's a small difference, not even 1%. It won't


have an effect on anything, so we need to think about, is there a


difference at policies? The Government is obsessed with


lowering the cost of credit. I'm not sure how much of a difference


it will make. We will end up cutting the cost of borrowing by


0.2% for people with mortgages and so on the Falls of how much of a


difference will that make? Do you believe Mr Hancock when he says


mortgage rates could come down? possibly by 0.2%. The problem is,


does the simple reason why the cost of mortgages and loans have gone up.


New regulations imposed by the Government, to force banks to hold


more liquid capital. In a recession, they push up the cost of credit and


reduce the availability. If you see mortgage rates coming down by 0.1%,


that's going to help them? course. If you put 100 pound in the


pocket every month of a stable lad, you would get more spending in the


economy. What is interesting is that... Where does �100 come from


if you cut mortgage rates by 0.1%? Alastair thinks it will be 0.1% but


I hope it will be more than bad. I was talking to a stable lad this


morning whose mortgage had gone up by 100 pound a month and I want to


stop that happening by making sure banks have got liquidity but in the


studio you have somebody saying the Government must cut faster and


somebody saying the Government must cut slower, so the Government is


probably in the right place. We couldn't do these things and get


the low interest rates passed through if we didn't have a


credible plan and be prepared to official rates at 7%, imagine


watching this programme with a mortgage, imagine what that would


mean? Matthews analysis is totally wrong. He's trying to claim the


Chancellor's fiscal strategy is the reason for all the good things we


could point 2. It's the factory have sovereignty, we were not in


the euro, which has given us some degree of opportunity because of


the funding costs and capital costs, but what is holding us back is the


tax rises and cuts the Chancellor made which took confident about,


reduced demand, long before we got into the eurozone crisis. They


weakened our defences when we need a strong economy. I'm going to


bring in Gavin here. The Government is clearly in difficulty. It's also


interesting are the Labour argument that we are in a crisis caused by


too much borrowing so we should borrow more. You almost have both


sides are doing now. The Chancellor said last night the answer to debt


is no more debt, and that's the basis of the austerity plan. It's


more of us about having mortgages, being able to borrow, which is fine


if you are borrowing for growth but I don't see there's going to be a


huge demand from companies wanting to expand now. This money is going


to be sought after by companies who fear they going to the wall and


maybe that's a good thing. I don't think we should pretend it's going


to stimulate growth. I just hope if this money comes, it goes from the


banks to the small businesses if they want to expand and cheaper


mortgages and does not get used by the banks to reduce the bankers


debts and pay bonuses. In effect, this is the Bank of England putting


money directly into the private sector. It's quite a dangerous move


because what's going to happen is the Bank of England will end up


with vast amounts of private sector debt on its balance sheet, so will


take on quite a lot of public and private sector debt, corporate debt,


mortgage debt, credit card debt and so on. It will do that with some


safeguards to make sure it doesn't have too much risk, but if the


economy tanks, and a lot of these loans go bad, the taxpayer would


indirectly pick up the money. There is a big risk here. There is a risk


the banks make riskier loans and are less prudent with their lending


because they know they could pass on this debt to the Bank of England.


I think there is a real risk here, and we have seen such a prime


lending in the past, and that's not a good idea, either. Matthew


Hancock, what evidence is there that small companies and households


on mass are desperate to borrow more? Many people I speak to are


paying off their debts, fed up with debt. They've had too much. They


are tightening their belts, as small companies and individuals.


It's easy for you to generalise. Some companies and households...


There are first-time buyers who want to get on the housing ladder


and buy houses. This business is expanding and find it difficult to


access credit, so in an economy, like this, some people are doing


what you said that others do want to expand. Its basic economics. If


you make the supply of credit easier, you will have a lower price


for the. The or a European banking crisis. The point that was made


which said it's very important this gets of banks' balance sheets and


into the real economy, that crucial, and that has got to be designed in


a way to make sure that it gets into the real economy. It's about


getting his official rates. Not just into the banks. It's the


astonishing lack of grip on economic history which for most


scary thing that from the Government. The reason is, if you


look of the 1930s, when they had these cuts in expenditure and


faster tax rises, as you know, in Japan, the balance sheet... In the


1930s, the economy grew very fast. It did. The British economy came


out of depression in the Thirties bought the it took a shorter time


For the Ed Balls told us this morning, in the 1930s, the Treasury


said we have to cut and that's why we stayed in depression. By the


mid- 1930s, the British economy was growing by 4%. We will trade blogs


online. There is a very strong rebound. Not now, though, is there?


People confuse US history where there was a depression. The OK we


will leave it there. Gentle man, thank you very much. Everybody else


go back to their day jobs. Well, the European economy might be


merrily trundling off to hell in a handcart, but at Westminster's


equivalent of the X Factor, the Leveson Inquiry, it's been an


exciting week, with a line up of political stars strutting their


stuff before the Inquiry's very own Simon Cowell, Robert Jay QC. So, in


case you missed them, here are the big hitters' best bits.


Were your aides involved in using the media to force Mr Blair's


resignation? I would hope not. they involved? I would hope not. I


have no evidence of that. In the dinner, it became apparent in


discussion that Mr Murdoch said that he really didn't like our


European policies. This was no surprise to me. He didn't like our


European policies and he wished me to change European policies. If we


couldn't change them, his papers could not and would not support the


Conservative government. As I recall, he used the word we weren't


referring to his newspapers. He didn't make the usual mob towards


editorial independence. There was a dinner with Rebekah Brooks. Just


the four of you? No, a large number of people were there. I was at the


very end of the table. By the children, so to speak. I only had a


very fleeting interchanges with Rupert Murdoch before the dinner


and I said goodbye at the end. I felt I was an observer more than


anything else. This idea that somehow the Conservative Party and


News International got together and said, you give us your support and


we will way through this merger, which, by the way, we didn't even


know about at that stage, it's nonsense. It was sent by Rebekah


Brooks to you, 4:45pm. I understand the issue with the Times newspaper.


Let's discuss over country supper soon. I'm rooting for you tomorrow.


Not just as a personal friend, but because professionally we are


definitely in this together. Speech of your life? Yes, he can. When you


are at your constituency at weekends, did you see her every


weekend or most weekends? 2008, 2009? Not every weekend. Most


weekends? Mrs Cameron keeps a better weekend Diary record than I


do. She reckons we probably didn't see them more than on average once


every six weeks. That is a better answer than the one I was able to


give you earlier. Did we learn anything this week? We learned what


we already knew. Gordon Brown won't admit to briefing his people. John


Major was quite a decent bloke but not really in control. The boat had


a grudge matches against the media and thought they had been badly


treated by the media so they turned up to put the boot in, fair enough.


I think Gordon Brown is trying to rewrite the narrative that it lost


the election because he was hopeless and very unpopular. He's


now trying to say it was because the Murdoch press had a vendetta


against him, and it simply not true. I would be recalling these


witnesses if I was Lord Everson, because her were glaring


differences. Rebekah Brooks says she got confirmation to run the


story about Gordon Brown's child. Gordon Brown said it didn't take


place, the phone call with Rupert Murdoch. One of them is lying.


David Cameron seem to be doing pretty well. He was handling it,


like an opening batsman. Pretty useless medium-paced bowling, I


would say. Then came at Rebekah Brooks and it fell apart. But it


was just embarrassing. The Prime Minister, he's on those terms with


the newspaper editor. And also, a newspaper chief-executive kowtows


to a Prime Minister like that. is the kind of relationship the


Murdoch people had built up with Tony Blair, his people in the late


1990s and the early part of the 21st century. Despite what Mr Brown


says, they continued with him. David Cameron said he wasn't going


to go that way. He ended up in many ways, even closer than they had


been. They didn't fly halfway around the world to Australia and


couldn't remember quite how that happened, actually. Presumably he


got on a plane. It was a private jet, as I recall. That's why he


conveniently can remember. He suffered amnesia 22 times. David


Cameron was not making headway in the polls, not convincing his own


party so decided to embrace the Murdoch family and he's now paying


the consequences because he got far too close. Lord Everson was


supposed that the press in the dock but I think he has put him in the


dock. Where does that leave the The Prime Minister made it clear


that he doesn't want such regulation. So what are they will


implement it or not, I don't know. Only the British could come up with


a system where the Prime Minister appoints someone to work out how to


regulate the press, and this guy then turns to the Prime Minister


and says, how would you like me to regulate the press? Incredible,


quite extraordinary. But I've never understood the point of the Leveson


Inquiry in the first place. There are criminal sanctions for


journalists that hack into phones, they have been used before and can


be used again. It's, if the over- the-top, nobody is under both...


The police investigation is going to settle this. Exactly, it should


have been left to the police. We knew there was good to be a


regulatory system anyway. There are still more hearings to go on. But


it is party conference time. Got you, there! Relax, you haven't


missed the Olympics. George Galloway's Respect party is so


unconventional that they hold their conference in July. Where better


than sunny Bradford, where Gorgeous George sensationally won the by-


election back in March? Is that trying for the start of something


big or just one of these many periodic flashes in the


parliamentary pan? Len Tingle has been to Bradford to find out.


the most sensational result in British by-election history, bar


none, represents the Bradford spring. But it has been a much


slower journey towards that Bradford spring. Within hours of


his by-election victory, George Galloway boasted that Respect


candidates would flood the upcoming local council elections, seizing


the balance of power from a Labour group just two short of a majority.


In the event, just 12 candidates came forward, did reasonably well,


winning five seats, one of them hitting the headlines by toppling


veteran Labour council leader from his seat. But it wasn't quite


enough to make a difference inside City Hall. As Respect grabbed the


headlines, Labour grabbed a few seats of their own, largely from


the Liberal Democrat and Conservatives in different parts of


the city. That left them with fortified councillors -- 45


councillors, exactly half of those on the authority. With three greens


supporting them, that gives them an automatic majority leaving


Respect's 5 council has not holding the balance of power but out in the


cold. It leaves them in the same position as a number of parties in


Bradford, just short of the Liberal Democrats. We will listen to their


point or Huw, but I will be concentrating on delivering for the


people of Bradford and delivering on the manifesto. It was a


disappointment that we didn't have more councillors. But I think what


we can do is ask the awkward questions, really raise the issues


that our constituents are saying to us. The awkward squad's success is


having an effect. This was Ed Miliband in Bradford just last


weekend, addressing Labour's regional spring conference. We lost


the by-election. We made gains overall in the council elections,


but it was a struggle for us. A struggle against Respect. We need


to learn the lessons of that. Tomorrow, George Galloway steps up


on the platform at his party conference. His message, as far as


he is concerned Respect's journey Now, it has been a difficult week


for the coalition with Nick Clegg refusing to back David Cameron or


his decision to spare Jeremy Hunt and investigation into whether he


breached the Ministerial Code. It is just another example of the


tensions that ebb and flow around the coalition as they head towards


the halfway point in the parliamentary term. So, what do we


know about how the coalition functions and how it will develop


as the next election is? We are joined by Peter Riddell, the man


behind the Institute for the Government's report into war of


this. We are almost at the mid-term. There are obviously tensions. We


are not used to coalitions in peace time in this country. Has it


worked? That is the key point. We are not used to them. A lot of


politicians, people in the media, commentators, they still there soon


we will be backed where majority. Most countries are soon that


coalitions are the norm. There was a lot of experience from overseas


and Scotland, which used to have coalitions, on how to work it. It


is quite normal, or it is normal for single-party governments to run


into trouble mid-term, but it is also normal for coalitions.


Coalitions have formal agreements. A lot of the boxes were ticked. Not


all, but most of them. How do you move onto an election when the


constituent parties are going to fight each other? What we are due


in our report, A Game of Two Hearts, is that you have to think about it


now. There is not the political will there to go into it as a


coalition, but the Government has to go on as problems emerge.


Although the coalition agreement has, in a sense, run out of steam,


in that a lot of the things they have agreed have either been done


or kicked into the long grass, there is not the political will


within the coalition to come up with a Mark two coalition agreement


to see them through to the next election? Not a big agreement. When


you say it has not been achieved, it has been achieved legislatively.


The key is implementation. They passed a reform bill, but we are a


long way from seeing Universal credit. The Health Bill has been


passed, a long wait to go until implementation. Even in that the


agreement, there is a lot of legislation still in the Queen's


speech. There is still a lot to be done. What I do argue is, at this


stage, you're not going to get wildly radical new areas emerging.


There is still a lot to do on implementation. Isn't there also


pressure from the Lib Dems and the Tory backbenchers that as the next


election approaches, far from having a marked tour agreement,


they should start to go their separate ways? We had an event with


Jack McConnell, First Minister of Scotland. He has an interesting


take on this. He said, yes, you're bound to have people fighting each


other. But you have got to balance that with what is necessary to make


government work. To produce a growth agenda, respond to difficult


events, that has got to be done. You recognise that you cannot do


really controversial things that will divide them. You can't to


another health plan. What you can do is get a little win for either


party. That is crucial. Recognise you are going to have more


differentiation, but try to have the internal self discipline. The


real problem is the big challenges like on spending. Can you take


difficult decisions that will last after the election? But that is one


thing they have stuck by. Although Nick Clegg may not want to support


Jeremy Hunt, there is then leaked half of the budget, all of the rest


of it, one thing in his coalition where it has been difficult to see


any unity has been on deficit reduction. You can argue that shows


the success of the coalition. That is the big thing. From the Lib Dem


point of view, they can say, we stuck to it, it was vitally


necessary... That might be the only thing they agree on. Look at Greece


and Spain, so on. We are probably going to have another spending


review before the election. The paid on public spending is far from


over. Has this coalition done better or worse than you would have


expected? Well, I take Peter's point. We are not used to coalition


and we didn't know what to expect. I actually thought it would only


last a year. Now I am convinced that there go the whole course.


Vince Cable talking about disengagement before the election,


maybe they will break up six months before. A lot of the troops low


Do so it would wind-up if he got Whether the Lib Dems de wave runner


six or nine months before the next election, we may have to get used


to coalitions. As the polls stand at the moment, looking at what


happens as elections approach, the most likely outcome is a hung


parliament? That would be extremely difficult for the Conservative


Party to swallow. The assumption was that we will put up with it,


everything has to be focused on winning a majority in 2015. Much of


the tension between Cameron and the troops comes from a feeling on the


right of the party that he doesn't really want an outright victory, it


quite suits him to be in coalition, and he will not be what is


necessary to secure an outright Conservative victory. At the moment,


we are a long way away, but at the moment the likely outcome is Labour


will be the largest party after the next election. They could form a


coalition with the Lib Dems. This is one of the reasons why people


did not like continental politics. No matter what the election result


is, the balance of power is always held by the same folk, even if they


do badly? This is produced by first past the post. It doesn't matter


what the system is. Will people take kindly to the Lib Dems, after


being in bed for five years with the Tories, saying, we got enough


of you, now we are getting a bed with Labour? If that is how the


electorate votes, we have to cope with that. It is what will happen


in closed rooms after the vote. the electorate did not produce a


majority government last time. This scenario is perfectly reasonable.


We have to make the best of it. Even if the Lib Dems lose 20 seats


at the next election, but Labour gets about 300, the Lib Dems will


still be in power? Not necessarily. It doesn't matter how the Lib Dems


do, they still end up with power? As Andrew was saying, what we might


see, a remote possibility, is a minority government... Up which is


what we thought was going to happen at the last election? If it did


happen, effectively, in 1974. That could happen again. We have learned


from this experience. We spent our lives with majority governments.


You've got to learn the lessons from abroad, you have to plan. The


social services have a plan, the politicians have a plan for


scenarios which may be unpalatable. But that is the card that the


Politicians get plenty of criticism. Not on this programme, obviously,


but I am told it does happen on others. There are occasions where


parliamentarians make headlines for all of the right reasons.


Yesterday's debate of mental health was such a case. In 1996, I


suffered quite a deep depression. It was related to work issues and


other things going on in my life. That is the first time I have ever


spoken to anybody about it. Like a lot of men, what do you do is try


to deal with it yourself. You do not talk to people. I just hope you


realise what I am saying is very difficult for me now. I thought


very long and hard. I didn't make the decision until I put my notes


down to do it. It is hard because you do not recognise, first of all,


that it creeps up on you very slowly. Also, in politics, we are


designed to think that somehow if you admit fault or fail to eat you


are going to be -- or failure, you're going to be looked upon in a


disparaging way in terms of the electorate and your peers. Whether


this naked admission means any future ministerial career is


blighted forever, I was a minister in the last government and I think


most people thought I did a reasonable job on both sides of a


house. I think we have got to talk about mental health in this place,


and people who have got an experience of it personally in this


house. I am delighted to say that I have been a practising fruitcake


for 31 years. It was 13 years ago, at St John's Wood tube station and


I remember it vividly, that I was visited by the obsessive compulsive


disorder. Over the past 31 years, it has played a fairly significant


part in my life. On occasions, it is manageable. On occasions, it


becomes quite difficult. It takes you to some quite dark places. But


I operate to the rule of four. I have to do everything even. I have


to wash my hands four times. I have to go in and out of a room four


times. My wife and children say I resemble an extra from Riverdance


aside bounce in and out of the run. Switching lights of four times. Woe


betide me if I switch off a lie to five times, then I have to do it


another three times. One in four people to experience mental illness


at some point in their lives. I also have experience of severe


depression, at the happiest time of mind -- my life, I experienced


postnatal depressing. I am sure many people in this House will know


exactly what it feels like to feel that your family were genuinely


better off without you. Two experienced the paralysis that can


come with severe depression. I have been pretty healthy for five years.


When you let your guard down, this aggressive friend comes and smacks


you ride in the face. I was on holiday and I took a beautiful


photograph of my son carrying a fishing rod. There was my beautiful


son, carrying a fishing rod. I was glowing with pride. Then the voice


starts, if you do not get rid of that photograph, your child will


dive. You fight those voices for a couple of hours. You know you


should not give in to them because they should not be there. And it


ain't going to happen. In the end, you're not going to risk it so you


give in to the voices and then you Charles Walker joins me now.


Welcome to the Daily Politics. Kevin Jones said he found it


difficult to do what he did in the Commons yesterday though he was


glad he did. I heard you say you didn't find it difficult. When I


decided to do it, I didn't find it difficult but liberating, to be


honest. It's a bit like Crocodile Dundee when I ask him, what do you


do when you have a problem? Well, we tell Wally and everybody tells


everybody else and is not a problem. It may go on being part of my life,


and I'm just very relieved. I'm the same person as I was yesterday. I'm


just more honest. What brought this about? How do these remarkable


speech is take place? I can only speak for myself. Since I answered


Parliament seven years ago, I have campaigned on mental health and


spoken about issues. I'm a chairman of the All Party Mental Health


Group, and we are changing the mood at the moment. The mood of the


country can change of course, and we have a very active all-party


group. There is a bill coming for the to end the discrimination


against MPs, serving on company boards, so the time is right. We


had a backbench debate yesterday and the time seemed right to give


up some momentum and both Kevin and I have received extraordinary


number of e-mails. Tell me about the response. Overwhelming. It has


been quite emotional, as well. People from all walks of life,


doing all sorts of jobs saying thank you for giving us a voice


because they feel frightened, excluded, ashamed. And we can't


have that any more. We can have the NHS doing great things but we have


to have society embracing these people. It couldn't have happened


20 years ago, could it? You had a very sympathetic press this morning


but I look back at some of the old Press, and bonkers Bruno locked up


a from of the Sun newspaper. In times gone by, the press would have


been more hostile. They would have been. We criticise other press a


lot. But let me say, the press are getting their act together on this.


In the last four years, the press have decided to approach this in a


responsible way and real improvements are being seen. We


could all do more but the press is now beginning to play its part.


Hard to see this taking place in a newspaper office. Yes, it would be


hard to admit to. I admire everybody for coming out with it in


public and I hope it's a sign that times are changing and I think it


started with Alastair Campbell talking about his depression.


Suddenly, a dam broke in a certain way, but there are still industries


in the City, for example, where it's very hard to admit to any kind


of mental frailty. I just hope people who suffer with the same


illnesses feel encouraged. I agree and it's fantastic that MPs


speaking out like that has put mental health at the centre of


debate. Normally, it never gets mentioned. I think it's great and I


congratulate you, Charles. Can I just say, very quickly, my mental


health problems have given me great personal strength and that's the


interesting part. A lot of people are doing extraordinary jobs in our


mental health problems but it made the more capable. We are going to


get behind Gavin Barwell's Bill, because that will give momentum


over the next year. I hope the collective front benchers of


recognise something important is happening here. Mental health has


not had people to speak out for it. When the cuts come, it always the


mental health services to get the biggest cuts. People 10 to make


less noise, but we are making noise now. It is new territory, like


jumping into a cold swimming pool. But I really hope that Kevin and I


are reaching out to one of the people out there and there could be


some hope about their bad things are going to get better. In five


years' time, things will be better for me than they are now in 10


years' time, much better and I think that would be a real


achievement. Some think politics could be proud of one at this time


we are struggling. Let's hope the media continues to grow. Thank you


for coming in and speaking to us today and for yesterday's


contribution in the Commons. Right, it's time now to look back at the


political week gone by in 60 It's been a bit of a 1 draw Week in


politics with plenty of PMT, pre- match tension, but no last minute


winner. Robert Jay, he faced a flat back four of George Osborne, David


Cameron, John Major and Gordon Brown. Nick Clegg refused to back


the coalition's Culture Secretary. Elsewhere, there will be a


referendum for Falkland Islanders on staying British, penguins will


not get a boat but here is a picture of them anyway. -- a vote.


More pain for Spain and a message for the Church of England on its


row over gay marriage. Once again, their talk about the things which


obsesses them, sex. Despite that, the Government is seldom on, as, we


hope, will England. -- sold on. a soldier on Nov.


As we've heard, the argument over gay marriage rages on, with the


Church of England warning that government promises to exempt


religious organisations from carrying out same-sex marriages


will not survive challenges in the European Courts. One supporter of a


change in the law is former Liberal Democrat MP Evan Harris who joins


us now. Welcome to the programme. One critic of the plans is our


guest Andrew Pierce. We just bought a people with incredible forward


planning. Andrew, you are gay. You wrote a piece in the Daily Mail are


doing against gay marriage. Why it wouldn't you just want a simple


quality? This is an argument about the word, marriage, because every


gay person I know Ynysybwl partnership regarded as a marriage,


and what we are going to see is an incredible battle with the Church


because the genie is out of the bottle. The Prime Minister's


parliamentary private secretary said a religious premises will just


have to accept that gay marriages can take place on their territory.


I don't think it is for politicians to tell the Church who they can and


can't marry on their premises. I don't agree with a Catholic


Church's teaching on homosexuality, of course I don't. Nor the Anglian


church who allows the because to be gay as long as they don't practise.


How the Archbishop of Canterbury and forces that, I'm yet to be told.


I think we're in a good position as gay men and women, with a civil


party should and heterosexual can't. What is your response? It and he


doesn't want to get married to his partner, then don't get married,


but you shouldn't be are doing, unless you have a bit more of an


argument against it, for that right to be available to other people.


Organisations that represent gay people including some that you


support, say there is a demand for gay people to have the same access


to civil marriage, as everybody else. And obviously, there are


positions against that for the not had a sexual positions, but


conservative positions. Many Conservatives oppose the idea


because there is a marriage is special and different from civil


partnerships and therefore should not be available to same-sex


couples. You can't have it both ways, Conservatives. You can't say


it is special and therefore should not be available and then say it's


the same as civil partnership and why can't you be happy? It's not


about being a Conservative but how I see it. I just always believed


when this will publish its legislation came around, when Jack


Straw said it's different marriage, marriage is a man and woman, Jack


Straw is not on the record changing his position of course,... Is that


your position? The Iping civil partnership is a fantastic


invention. It's not marriage. it's not. That's what you think the


don't close it down for everybody else for the stone wall were not


campaigning for this. It wasn't in the manifestos. It wasn't in the


Liberal Democrats gain manifesto. Liberal Democrats, I admit...


of the parties did. You did not put it in the manifesto puts up we put


the proposal to our conference in 20th September 10. Six months after


the election. We have led the way. Polls show that there is broad


support for this but the only argument Andrew made against the


proposition, and that is the ridiculous idea that religions


would be forced to do civil marriages. This is about civil


marriage. The Government are not proposing to allow an opt-in by


religious organisations who are happy to do it. No religious


organisation has been forced to do civil partnerships against its will


and they don't accept for a moment this self-serving argument you


mentioned that they will be forced by human rights. It absolutely


wrong. If the only argument they have, but they will be forced to in


a civil marriage. Crispin Blunt said this week that would has


premises will be required to do so. He says civil marriages. The if you


find people saying one thing is to back up Godwin, that's fine but if


What he is saying is that this only affects a civil marriages and the


Church is not forced to do do civil marriages so why would it be forced


to do gays civil marriages? There is a point, the there is an overlap


between the Church of England in particular and marriage because of


the links between the Church and State in this country but you can


separate but it it was needed without it impinging on


establishment or religious freedom, so I'm very keen on a religious


freedoms and if people don't want to do religious services, they


don't have to. It's different from the adoption argument you made.


you be the voice of reason? I think we should grow up and get over the


whole thing. I cannot understand the argument is undermines marriage


of. The churches are doing it. cannot understand the argument that


vicars may or may not personally wish to marry gay couples, fine of


four for that's not going to be necessary. I don't see why it has


to occupy the time and space it does. Do we have any evidence that


it of England and Catholic Church actually speak for their


congregations? Their congregations are dwindling, of course. Is it


right for the state to interfere? They are free to do their own thing


and should not have a veto on civil marriages. That's our businesses.


The Church of England doesn't allow its own clergy to be properly gay,


so how on earth, be involved in same-sex marriage? We have to leave


it there. Thank you. That's all for today. Thanks to our guests. The


One O'Clock News is starting over on BBC One now. I'll be back on BBC


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