07/09/2012 Daily Politics


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Afternoon, folks, welcome to the Daily Politics. The news from


across the Channel and sur le continent is the bazooka has


finally been found. Maybe not a big bazooka, but a bazooka nevertheless.


The European Central Bank has now fleshed out what it means by doing


"whatever it takes" to save the euro. But has it really got the


firepower to consign the eurocrisis to history? We'll hear from Our


Woman in the City. Barack Obama has made his pitch for


four more years in the White House. We'll be live at the Democratic


Convention in North Carolina with reaction to the President's speech.


As the dust settles, the wine bottles are binned and the tears


dry after this week's reshuffle, we'll look at the departments and


ministers to watch in the new Cabinet.


And after scenes like this, you'd be forgiven for thinking that


satire's dead. Not a bit of it. We're joined by one of the stars of


the Thick Of It as the expletive- not-deleted political comedy turns


its fire on the coalition All that in the next hour. With me


for the duration, Gaby Hinsliff - once upon a time, she worked for


the Observer but she's been given a new job over the summer holidays as


political editor of one of my favourite magazines for


intellectual insight, Grazia. So, congratulations, Gaby. I know you


are a keen reader. I publish it in Dubai. And also with me Danny


Finkelstein, he's a columnist for Times newspaper when he's not on


manoeuvres for George Osborne. I'm not sure what he's doing here today


and did which capacity, we will find out.


Let's start with something that hasn't changed over the summer and


will soon be longer running than The Mousetrap - the eurocrisis.


Before Europe's leaders headed for the Med in late July, the boss of


the ECB, Mario Draghi, vowed to do whatever it takes to save the euro.


That kept the markets purring through August. Yesterday, with the


pols back from their hols, the ECB said it would buy, in unlimited


amounts, the government debt of troubled countries like Spain and


Italy, as long as they ask for a bail-out and accepted the IMF-


monitored conditions that came with it. So, a game-changer or just


another can being kicked down the road? Earlier George Osborne, the


Chancellor, very popular at the Olympics, gave the news a thumbs-up


and even said it would help of folks here in Britain. It is a very


welcome announcement from the European Central Bank and what we


have been saying for two a year since we really want the


institutions of the euro to get behind their currency -- two years.


It is of huge interest to the people of Europe and the people of


the United Kingdom because one of the things that has hit the British


economy is the weakness of the euro. Now to find out how the financial


markets have responded to this latest rescue attempt, we're joined


by Louise Cooper of BGC Partners in Canary Wharf. Lilies, great to see


you again. Indeed it is. What a surprise, we are going to talk


about the euro. Am I right in thinking that in 2010-2011, the ECB


already amassed over 200 billion euros in sovereign bonds from


various troubled countries. That didn't seem to make any difference,


why will this? It has got a different name. That was called the


SNP and this is the o n t, so it must be a different beast. No, I


have been sarcastic! Just to get it clear, my understanding is that


even though the markets see it as a get out of jail card for a while,


this does not include any help for Greece, Portugal or Ireland,


because they themselves cannot access the bond markets. OK, what


this does, the financial markets have loved it since he said the


"Whatever it takes" speech, the bond markets and equity markets


have flurried, admittedly on low volume, but it has gone down well


and short-term borrowing costs for Spain and Italy, one, too, three-


year borrowing costs, have halved, they have fallen dramatically. It


sounds like Mario Draghi has come up with at least a step. However,


if you look at long-term borrowing tests -- borrowing costs for Spain


and Italy, they are at a high level. It helps in the near term but there


is still an awful lot that needs to be done. My understanding is that


Greece, Portugal and Ireland are excluded and even Spain and Italy


can only expect the ECB to come in and buy their bombs, it will be on


the secondary market, not directly -- bombs. It is only if they


formally ask for a bail-out and accept conditions that it will be


monitored by the IMF. Mario Draghi and the ECB learned their lesson


from Italy a year ago, when the ECB came in and bought Italian bonds on


the promise from Silvio Berlusconi that he would sort out Italy's


budget deficit. Well, he didn't, he got kicked out of office by Angela


Merkel and Nicolas Sarkozy and the ECB has learned its lesson. It will


only come into ridges country's -- a country's borrowing costs by


buying the short amount of their debt if those countries accept


essentially direction, fiscal direction and fiscal control, from


outside. The conditionality, as he calls it, is an absolute heart


limit for the ECB now. They have stated they have learned their


lesson. If you want the help of the ECB, you have to give up your


sovereignty of controlling your own finances, and that is very much on


the cards, and unfortunately, Spanish Prime Minister is not keen


on that, because it tends to be political suicide if you call in


the bail-out fund and say you cannot control your finances.


head of the Bundesbank who sits on the ECB council seems to be in a


minority of one but he says it looks too much like state financing


via the money presses. Yes, the Bundesbank is not happy about this.


The hard currency Germans are very unhappy, they don't see it as the


ECB sees it, as helping Baba pot they call it Monetary Policy


Commission, so if the ECB sets low interest rates then interest rates


should be low. The Bundesbank doesn't see it like that, they see


it as minor ties in government debt. We have already seen two Bundesbank


head to leave the ECB, it could well be we get a third. What is


interesting is that the ECB, under Mario Draghi, is almost sticking


two fingers up at the Bundesbank saying we have pandered to you,


done everything, but now we are in fundamental disagreement. The


European Central Bank is not going to be modelled on the Bundesbank of


old. We think the ECB should be modelled more like the Federal


Reserve in the States, that has indulged in massive amounts of


money printing and done all kind of things to backstop America's


banking industry. So this is a significant change, this is the


move from a band has backed European Central Bank to a Federal


Reserve European Central Bank. -- A Bundesbank. This is a significant


move that this is not the ECB of the past based on Germany. Stick


with us, I will bring their guests in. E7, why do I feel this is not


the end of the story -- Danny? Because they have borrowed too much


and this is an attempt to escape the consequences of it. It can't be


a long-term solution. If one country is going to stand for


another country's borrowing, that country will demand political


control of the first country. That political control will not be


seeded until they see the problem of the euro that they created is


that it required a political union that they don't want to rush into


being, they cannot solve the problem. Until individual countries


accept they have to get their borrowing down, they cannot solve


the problem. The financial markets are happy, we are right to be


pleased because it beats we don't have the immediate crisis in Europe


that has been holding us back to some extent, but it is not a long-


term solution. Gaby, from what lilies was saying, if -- lilies was


saying, the smaller countries are excluded because they cannot go to


the bond market, the once this is gear for his Spain and Italy, but


for Madrid and Rome, they will have to ask for a bail-out, that is huge.


It is a huge loss of face and in political terms, what is the point


of being a politician if you are giving away your day-to-day control


for someone else but this is not a new problem. IMF bail-outs carried


the exact same combination of carrot and stick and it is


unreasonable to expect Germany to stand behind the rest of Europe


without any control over what records countries might do. Just to


finish up, I think most people can see this is not a game the Changer,


it is maybe just kicking the can down the road -- a game changed.


While the markets have liked it so far, when they have seen the small


print and realise the hurdles that Rome and Madrid, the political


hurdles to trigger this bond bind, will the markets correct


themselves? It is all dependent on what the Spanish Prime Minister


does. If he continues to ignore the problem in Spain and does not ask


for help early, then things could get a beer. If he asks for help


early, which is politically very difficult -- things could get ugly,


if he does as they help early, which is politically difficult, the


contagion may not spread. We need to see Spain sorted out so we don't


worry about Italy. I fear because of the political situation at home,


the Spanish Prime Minister is going to wait until he is forced to ask


for help and ask for a bail-out, and that is when it gets horrid.


Thank you for that, don't go far away, because we will be back at


some stage in the weeks ahead. It has been eventful week in


Westminster, I have been told, with David Cameron's first and may be


only major Cabinet reshuffle, but what do the changes in personnel


mean for the direction of the Government and the development of


the policy in the months ahead? The Health and international


development bar -- department is now in the hands of Jeremy Hunt and


Justine Greening respectively and both of them have ring-fenced


budget. In fact the international budget is rising. But with


borrowing so high, could these budgets start to St -- shrink with


new Ministers in place? The Times has questioned whether the new


International Development Secretary wanted the job in the first place


and then questioned why the budget was so big and why it was rising.


She did that on the day of the reshuffle. Cutting aid would


certainly make her popular with Tory backbenchers. Other changes at


the Ministry of Justice, now being run by Chris Grayling, who performs


Ken Clarke and is likely to take a tougher line in many areas


including human rights and baby injecting new life into plans for a


UK Bill of Rights. The Lib Dems will have something to say about


that. Many Tories want a Bill of Rights, a British one, to replace


the Labour's Human Rights Act. They may also be interesting times at


the education department, with David Laws their operating as Nick


Clegg's eyes and ears in that department. It could be an


uncomfortable prospect for the Education Secretary Michael Gove.


Indeed, we are told he wasn't happy about it. Danny, give us your


overview. Everybody always tries to look at reshuffles as a move to the


left or right, but... We didn't mention that. I did notice that,


but Choi analysis was correct, you have to look at it department by


department to see what the impact will be. I think the most


significant, one publicly mentioned and less so, the move to the


Justice Department. The Prime Minister has been able to make a


speech on justice -- has not been able to make a speech on crime and


justice for two-and-a-half years, and he had to make a change there,


and the other one is in the week's office, he has a clear problem


managing the Conservative Party and moving Andrew Mitchell from


international development, where he was doing what the Prime Minister


wanted but in a less important strategic area, to the whips office,


might give him a better chance of managing the party if Andrew


Mitchell get that right. When I looked at this, Gaby, it wasn't a


government reshuffle, it was a Tory reshuffle. Not the Government. And


it seemed to me that in a number of areas, in the environment and


perhaps even in international aid, Heathrow, this was Mr Cameron now


getting rid of all of the baggage with which she came to power.


the baggage that he himself put their in many ways. We are told it


is a reshuffle for delivery, putting people in charge who can


push things through and there are two problems with that. They have


been some great new junior Ministers but in but in some


departments, health, there has been quite a change and massive teams


that will take speed to get up -- time to get up to speed. And you


have to watch the Out Door as well as the indoor. The appointments


have been well managed, the exit have been messy to say the least.


We have heard too much of people arguing with the Prime Minister for


comfort and also some people I suspect will not go quietly. It has


been quite remarkable and it may speak volumes for Mr Cameron's


stature amongst Tory backbenchers. We are told Caroline Spelman argued


with him when she was going to be fired, the brothers to as having a


glass of wine to calm his nerves. Baroness Warsi goes up in a huff to


Yorkshire and speaks to there, others were supposed to be in tears,


although that has been denied, and a number of people when he said he


wanted them to move, argued with him and Iain Duncan Smith said he


was not moving and others said they did not want to move. Could you


imagine that happening under It happens a lot when you move


people and you sack them, people get very upset. I don't know


whether this is par for the course. Tony Blair had several problems


with his cabinet reshuffles. People refusing to move. I don't remember


crying. It's not his fault, though. Don't you think it's strange?


not terribly authorityive. The weird thing is people half hanging


on, sort of attending cabinet and not really. The table looks like a


family Christmas lunch with all the spare chairs from the loft and


random people are hanging around. Far too many people for the food.


The Conservatives and even the liberals are meant to believe in


limited Government and that smaller Government is better Government,


that's their general approach. Why have we 32 people around the


cabinet table? I think actually the size of the cabinet and cabinet


meetings isn't tremendously important because that's cabinet -


it operates as a load of committees. The meeting of the cabinet was 25


and I attended several meetings of 25 people around the table.


symbolism isn't great. I am not sure that's quite the same point.


There may be other questions about whether the Government is limited.


I do happen to think it probably would have made sense to decide


some people were just out. But we have also just discussed the fact


you create political problems for yourself. Other people may be, and


I understand the symbolism, I am not overworried about large cabinet


meetings. I don't think it impedes Government very much. After his


stellar handling of BSkyB Mr Hunt goes to health. Will he be rumbled


at health. It's a good indication that at the end the Prime Minister


didn't think that was as politically damaging as he thought


it was at the time. In other words, that he realised that there was a


lot of media interest in this but less public interest. So he felt he


could keep Jeremy Hunt and even promote him. I think Jeremy Hunt is


a subtle and capable person and I think he will - I think he is one


of their better Ministers and I think the reason he's moved him to


health is because he thinks he would be good with professional


groups and that's where Andrew Lansley didn't work because


ultimately he produced reforms but couldn't take professional groups


with. Jeremy Hunt might be able to achieve success there. That's the


reason why he's moved him. Naturally speaking, people will


take a different view about BSkyB than me. That's why they'll take a


different view of him. Now that we have judges calling burglars


courageous, the Tory grass roots and back benches are going to be


expecting Mr Grayling to do something about things like that,


aren't they? I think he will get a very different tone from Chris


Grayling. You will get more tough talk. You will get more combative


approach to Europe particularly over human rights issue. People who


expect him to be a hang them and flog them Justice Secretary aren't


possibly going to be disappointed. He is against ID cards, database.


He is not easily caricatured. Completely right, because the right


of the Conservative Party moved a lot on civil liberties issues,


partly under David Davis influence over a long period and that means


they're not this traditional right- wing. Where he will move the party


in terms of preparing to do something on a Bill of Rights and


the European convention which is necessary. There's nothing he can


do about this, this side of the election. It's a manifesto issue.


You can't have a situation in which the Prime Minister can't speak on


the issue because his Justice Secretary is out of sync with his


Home Secretary. It's fascinating what's happened in stage two of the


coalition. You have a Mr Hancock and Mr Fallon put in as minders to


Vince Cable, and Mr Laws kind of put in as a minder to Mr Gove in


education for the Lib Dems. There's a certain degree of what used to be


called creative tension there, it has to be said. Whether that's


going to make those departments hard tore move because people will


be suspicious, clearly the feeling with Laws it's less a feeling that


Michael Gove is being watched, more a feeling he has someone who was in


cabinet as a Junior Minister and he is not going to be easily rolled


over David laws, in a way Sarah Teather perhaps was. He is now


apparently texting mate of Ed Miliband. What do we make of that.


The Liberal Democrats are going to leave their options open to have a


relationship with Labour after the next election. The Conservative


Party has to understand that. It has to understand what that means


in political terms, that it has to produce a stronger relationship


with the Liberal Democrats and it has to broaden itself otherwise


that's what will happen to it. It's got a warning there. Vince Cable is


within his rights to do that. Because of course the Liberal


Democrats and the the Conservatives don't agree with each other,


they're two vastly different parties. It's remarkable it's


happened so well. It's odd moving David Laws there. Michael Gove is


one of the most pro-coalition, oddly enough, of all the Members of


Parliament and I have seen him and David laws together and they have a


good relationship. I think it's a bit of a waste of David Laws really


putting him there. I am surprised... He is actually probably in favour


of free schools, as well. I am surprised they didn't put him in


justice. OK, that was our reshuffle. Let's move to the other side of the


Atlantic. It was the speech that wowed Democrats at their Convention


in North Carolina and made the most powerful case yet for the


President's re-election. But enough of Bill Clinton's barn-storming


oration on Wednesday, last night the current President accepted his


party's nomination with a speech that didn't scale the heights of


2008, but offered a more sober message to voters. Let's listen to


what he had to say. When you pick up that ballot to vote, you will


face the clearest choice of any time in a generation. Over the next


few years big decisions will be made in Washington on jobs, the


economy, taxes and deficits, energy, education, war and peace. Decisions


that will have a huge impact on our lives and on our children's lives


for decades to come. I never said this journey would be easy and I


won't promise that now. Yes, our path is harder, but at t leads to a


better place. Yes, our road is longer, but we travel it together.


We don't turn back. We leave no one behind. We pull each other up, we


draw strength from our victories and we learn from our mistakes. But


we keep our eyes fixed on that distant horizon, knowing the


providedance is with us and that we are surely blessed to be citizens


of the greatest nation on earth. Thank you. God bless you, and God


bless these United States. President Obama being crowned as


his party's natural nominee for the presidential election on November


6th. He is clearly one of the world's great orators. You saw some


of that magic there. But it doesn't quite get the heart


strings going, the way it did four years ago. Four years in power


changes your view. You are relying on hope all the time when you are


Obama. Look, the people have said the speech was a bit flat. I just


wish I could make speeches as flat as that. You know, if - I have


worked a lot on speeches and people can't do - the end of speeches very


well, he really nailed that. It was amazing. Let's first of all, a lot


of this is in our perceptions. Obama is still an amazing performer.


He has to cope with the reality of a very difficult situation. He is


in the same situation the Government is in here, he doesn't


have any money to play with. He has an extremely difficult message to


convey. America's also a long-term problem, can it maintain its place


in the world? It's not surprising people find there is a gap between


what they had hoped for and what America is able to deliver and he


suffered -- he suffers from that. I still think he is in a commanding


position. Favourite to win? remember in the last general


election the Conservatives were saying to me if we - to get a


majority everything has to go right. We have to win in all the different


battle ground ground constituencies. The same is now true of Mitt Romney.


Yes, he could win, but if you look at how he might go over the margin


in an electoral college system which is based on winning each


state, he has to win a marginal states to get past and to win them


all in order to win. I think that's unlikely to happen T might, he is


definitely in a position to win but I think he is very much the


underdog, Mitt Romney. Always when American elections come around in


the primary season and election in the the States, we are looking for


lessons in Britain, what things we would take and wouldn't take. I am


beginning to wonder if American politics are not so different now.


We have always overemphasised it. We are different electorates and


tend to assume there must be lessons for the Democrats for


Labour. The lesson is from combatant to incumbent. There is a


message for Cameron, if you hit 2015, not having achieved what you


said you were going to, you haven't dealt with the deficit, you are not


back to recovery you need a better message than bear with me. If there


is a lesson here for Labour, it would be that was a speech very


rich on values but you can't eat a value. It's possible that if


Americans what are really looking for is a President that creates


jobs, there was little in that speech about how it would happen


and more in the Mitt Romney speech about how that would happen.


Today's Republican party is different from today's British


Conservative Party that I suspect a lot of of Conservatives aren't too


bothered whether it's a Democrat in the White House or a Republican now,


is that true? I think it is true. Some people are. It would cause


quite a lot of trouble for the Conservative Party if Mitt Romney


were to win, because it - having a Republican foreign policy and


Republican economic policy would really destablise the coalition. I


suspect it's a headache they could do without. I don't think this


Government is going to get itself involved but in previous years


Conservative administrations have wanted the Republican candidate to


win, thought it would be easier to forge a relationship, I bet it


isn't true now. Interesting. They won't be going across to campaign?


You know, apart from anything else, President Obama is as Bill Clinton


was, nuralic about a British British contribution. Continuity.


You got that in 2008. There was more enthusiasm for Obama then.


shall see, we have to November 6th to find out. The campaign is


getting under way across the Atlantic. I am going across today


to see how it's going. We will report back. Now, these are


exciting times for the Greens. Not only did they elect their new


leader earlier this week but they also start their party conference


today with speeches from Natalie Bennett - she's the new leader in


question - and her predecessor Caroline Lucas. It's two leaders


for the price of one! As you can imagine, the excitement is at fever


pitch down in Bristol and our political correspondent Chris Mason


joins us from there now. Over to you, Chris.


Yes, hello, Andrew, from a sun- drenched Bristol. It's a different


feel a Green Party conference, this is the Green Party of England and


Wales meeting here for the next couple of days. There aren't the


big security men wearing that trademark severe expression. There


isn't the airport-style security. Instead, activists going around


with posters and bits of blue tack and shoving them up on the wall and


welcoming you in. I was even sitting in a room earlier trying to


get a signal on my computer right next to the Green Party leader, the


new leader, putting finishing touches to her speech. I don't


think we will get that access in a couple of weeks when the


Conservatives and Labour and Liberal Democrats get together.


Let's have a chat with Darren Johnson, veteran Green I think we


can call him. Thank you for your time, Darren. What's the big pitch


here? I get the sense we have seen the Tkpwroepb posters -- Green


posters and reference to the party but the tone seems to be about more


than just Green things? It is absolutely more than just the


environmental agenda and we really are on the up as a party,


particularly since Caroline Lucas made her massive breakthrough


parliament and and in the London elections we came in third, ahead


of the Liberal Democrats. We really are making that move now into the


mainstream. It is obviously more about the environment. We have


clear policies on creating a fairer Britain, we are looking at motions


this weekend on tackling long hours culture that we have in the


workplace, those things. A real concentration on a fairer, as well


as Greener Britain. You say you are progress but still the UK


Independence Party have Minister MEPs and around Europe your sister


parties, not just in Europe but broadly around the world, do better.


Where are you getting it wrong? found is when elections are held


under proportion al representation we are getting the same sort of


results as they do get in European parties. It has been more difficult


under first-past-the-post but we have made that breakthrough now.


Caroline Lucas getting elected to parliament was a massive


achievement and we do obviously want to see more Green MPs joining


her but we are also seeing more Green counsellors getting elected


in chambers, making a difference in their local communities. A quick


thought about the leadership. Your party for years and years had


principle speakers, no single solo leader, lots of speakers. You


stkeufped -- ditched that model because you felt you had to have a


figurehead and now you have your most prominent Green in Westminster


and a separate leader, is that a I think it is a good idea to spread


the word -- workload out. Caroline has issued responsibility as the


Green voice in Parliament and as a constituency MP in Brighton, so it


was right to bring new faces in and I think it is fantastic we will


have not only Caroline but Natalie as party leader, here I am sure


will be putting a very strong message across about a greener and


fairer future. Darren Johnson, a member of the London assembly for


the Green Party. We will get, as you say, two leader speeches for


the price of one. Caroline Lucas first and then Natalie Bennett a


little after that. Live coverage on the BBC News Channel. As with any


party conference, a diverse array of fringe events. We have spotted


something tomorrow night, Dragon sexing for beginners, 8pm in Room


15 if you are free. I am free, but you be careful, the


sun is shining and it will go to your head.


So, the Greens have got the conference season going and the TUC


are next up with their get-together over the weekend. One of the items


up for discussion will be the time trade union reps spend on union


business while working in the public sector. Today sees the close


of the Cabinet Office's consultation on the practice. This


is what's at stake. Union representatives in the civil


service are currently allowed paid time off work, known as facility


time, to conduct union business. The Government announced a


consultation into the practice last November, as the Cabinet office


claim it currently costs the taxpayer around �36 million a year.


Their figures show there are almost 7,000 trade union representatives


working across the Civil Service taking paid time off to work on


union activities. And they say approximately 250 of them spend


100% of their working week on union business. When he launched the


consultation, the Minister for the Cabinet Office, Francis Maude,


But the TUC disagree and say no consideration is being taken into


what benefits might be gained by the taxpayer and wider public from


supporting the work of trade union representatives. Well, we're joined


now by Paul Novak, head of operations and services at the TUC,


and by Matthew Sinclair, chief executive of the Taxpayers'


Alliance, who have been campaigning on this issue.


Campaigning to get rid of these full-time representatives. Paul, in


these tough times, can we really afford to have 6,800 trade union


representatives at a cost of 30 odd million pounds.? I would argue that


in these tough times, we can't afford to be without it., in the


Civil Service and across the public sector. It is important to note


that this facility time timings are not exclusive. Bizarre arrangements


that benefit staff, they benefit employers, -- these are. They help


work places run more smoothly and help improve productivity and


reduce absenteeism. How many trade union representatives get


substantial facility time in the private sector? It really depends


on the private sector employer. you go into a larger automotive


plant, a large distribution centre or a large unionised call centre,


you will often find full-time trade union representatives, there will


be thousands across the country is. And whether they are working full-


time or as part of their normal duties, it is a valuable service to


support those they work alongside and it is all done by voluntary


agreements between Pires, public or private sector, and unions and the


people they represent -- between employers. So it is part of the


modern relations than the private sector? Not really. Facility time


is massively concentrated in the public sector and there is a legal


right to some facility time, reasonable paid time for very


specific duties, and unpaid time for a wider range of activities,


but when you have staff working full-time, there is no judgment


being made over the extent to which the tasks they are doing of


reasonable, or to fit within the kind of duties where they should be


taking paid time, and that is particularly the case when, as many


public sector employers have told us in response to how much time


they are allocating, they do not even know how much time has been


given. It is public sector employers increasingly who do not


pick up the Bill, it is the taxpayer, and they are giving away


time to trade unions so that they have a massive activist based paid


for by the taxpayer, who has to pick up the Bill if the activist


base succeed. That is not the case, around a quarter of our


representatives in the public sector gets no time off paid at all


and carry out duties inerrant time. The TaxPayers' Alliance only ever


focuses on the cost of facility time, they never talk about the


benefits. We estimate for every �1 per taxpayer spends on facility


time, it generates a. -- positive return of between �3.90 pounds.


is saying we are quids in. Look at the private sector, far more


facility time, there are more strikes, better pay and better


pensions and the public sector, yet those workers are striking as much


as nine times as much per worker, so how are they building better


working... If more union staff were the answer to the public sector are


being a glorious Wonderland, but This is a politically driven


analysis. If it is the reality. is not rooted in the reality of


what happens in public and private sector workplaces. Three years ago,


the CBI have represented large employers up and down the country


and signed a joint statement with the TUC and the then Business


Secretary extolling the positive role that union representatives


made to work places up and down the country. If the TaxPayers' Alliance


spent some time in work players -- workplace is talking to employers


and people who make decisions about facility time, we have would have a


different answer. This is partly why the Tax Payers Alliance


campaign... Why do you want to happen? We think the unions should


pay for their own access. Time off when they needed but when they are


working for the union, they'd be paid by the union but we think at


least the existing rules should be properly enforced so a union has to


request time off and if it is for the right kind of duty, they get


the time off they should get, as opposed to this cosy Willis injured


when employers give us for -- give them full time or don't even


monitor it at all. That will be more burdensome and bureaucratic


and time-consuming for public sector employers and employees


alike. At the end of the day, I stress these are voluntary


agreements that benefits not just union members. I can understand


that when the private sector doesn't agree, it must clearly


think it's too its advantage, but there will be a suspicion that in


the public sector, those on the employees' side have no great


incentive but to say yes, if you want time off a... A lot of people


think it is a way of subsidising the unions. You have claimed on BT


use it -- or the TUC has claimed that the economy gets back between


�3.90 pounds that every �1 is spent -- �3 and �9. This was based on a


study by the Department of Business for five years ago. Another big


differences the reduced rate of employment tribunals. Unionised


workplaces have half of the applications to imply that


tribunals and -- employment tribunals, which are costly and


time-consuming and if the employee has a good relationship with the


employer, there is less likelihood that will happen and real savings


to be had. It is important to listen to employers rather than


people driven by politics. It is slightly different when the


employer is the Government or the Civil Service. Where are you on


this? It cannot be right with those statistics, otherwise everyone


would go into it and make a fortune. If all 6 million workers were on


full-time duties, you would have an argument, but it is they have


relatively small amount of people and the cost of facility time works


out as 25p per public sector worker per week. There was a moment when


people are -- advocated closed shops and sounded as lucid as Judea


and said it was a great benefit and now we all look back and think, did


we really agree on that? This is the same issue, just to find the


facts that Unison gives money to the Labour Party while taxpayers


are paying for the Unison representative in the workplace is


just ridiculous, and you will not win that argument. This is not


about money, �36 million is peanuts A do you think that unions perform


a useful function when they are not just a form in the employer of the


-- in the side of the employer? Which side of the debate you come


down on explains which side of this you stand on. The it is pretty


clear which side the TaxPayers' Alliance are run. Let me ask you


this. Do you think the Government is set to get you. You don't like


this government, you have been going on strike against this


government, and the unions have bankrolled the Labour Party, so is


this a form of coalition or Conservative government revenge?


There is a real danger that the consultation you refer to an ear


was strained red meat to Tory backbenchers and is not rooted in


reality -- throwing red meat. Of all of the economic problems this


country faces and public finances, trade union facilities are not...


If you have got ideology and the problem is... That people work for


a fair deal. I don't want to pay for them, even if it is a small


amount of money. I'd you expect in the Government, now it has this


report, because you have been instrumental in putting this on the


agenda, are you going to do something about this? They will do


something, the question is whether they will do enough. That is always


the question for. Who has been the biggest winner


this Olympic summer? Usain? Mo? Jess? Well, what about Boris? The


Mayor of London's profile has scaled new heights - literally -


while we've been away and he's making the most of it, clashing


with David Cameron on all sorts of things, from school playing fields


to the third runway at Heathrow. But do voters see him as Prime


Ministerial material? Adam has been to find out with the Daily Politics


mood box. Can people see this guy ever


becoming Prime Minister? We have brought the mood box and the balls


to north London, where Boris Johnson lives, to find out. First


of all, here is a reminder of what the Mayor of London has been up to


this summer. In the uncertainty, rule out the


third runway. We want to politicians Olympics.


Released the wings. Into position. -- release the rings. I think he's


a friendly man and a good I can't, so will I put that into yes? That


will be a yes. And he has fallen over. He has got that sort of


persona of a comedian rather than somebody to be taken seriously.


would remind me too much of the George W Bush days, really, of a


puppet been in charge. He has the brains, he is wildly popular, but


that sort of popularity can very easily go like that. He it is like


a young Boris Johnson and the current Boris Johnson.


He is a toff. A we have got a top as a Prime Minister. A but he is


more of a toff. Boris floods cycling, let's ask some cyclists?


Boris Johnson for Prime Minister? think the bikes is excellent and


wanting to encourage young people to get out and about, do more


sports, encourage schools not to sell off their land. I saw him


jogging along the canal. What sort of sign is that? He is not built


for jogging, is he? A I think he would be a wicket Prime Minister. -


- wicked Prime Minister. Boris, your neighbours in north London has


spoken and it is pretty close, but a small majority cannot see you


going into Number Ten Downing Street as Prime Minister. That is


the verdict of the mood box, are as we like to call it the arca


cintentia. Actually, Adam's Latin teacher has


been on the phone to say he got that wrong. In Ancient Rome people


used an "urna" to vote, not an "arca". So he should have said


"urna voci populi". He will now write that out of 100 times. Glad


to have got that cleared up. Boris is clearly a life-force in British


politics, a unique life-force, but is he too much of a buffoon to be


Prime Minister? I am sure the metaphor has occurred before but


that was literally a load of balls, and people don't know whether they


want Boris Johnson to be Prime Minister and it is impossible to


imagine what he would be like in that position, because that is so


different from what he is doing at the moment. I think he is a very


capable, intelligent person and I think he is also, ironically enough,


on the Tory Left, and... He is positioning himself on the right.


Not always, is that his position on the runways or school playing


fields? On taxes are education? think he also said to me was when


he was in Parliament and that is why he supported David Cameron in


the first place, for party leader, and Ken Clarke before him, because


that is where he comes from, so I think he is a politically very


interesting figure and I am very probe him, but I also personally


wonder whether been Prime Minister is something he would want all be


Are you in any doubt he wants it? am. To start off with I wonder


whether he can afford it. He would have to take a massive pay cut


which even as mayor not wishing to do in the past. If you were


ambitious, you would cut off your left arm to be Prime Minister.


suppose the cynic in me says when moment comes to it, all this will


go and he will probably seize on the chance, I guess, because people


do. I think there is a degree of uncertainty in him, I think it's


not just financial, I think I don't know how much he wants to do that


24-7 intense scrutiny thing and also I don't know how much he he


wants to be hated and that's what comes with being Prime Minister. At


the moment everybody loves Boris, who wouldn't want to be the heir


apparent forever? Everyone loves him and he is popular with everyone


else, all that drains once you are in Number 10. Look at what happens


to Nick Clegg to Clegg-mania and five minutes later you are one of


them and your popularity drains away. Boris likes to be liked.


watched them at the Olympics, one being cheered and one being booed.


The difference is one is doing something fantastically pop already


and one fantastically difficult. I agree with you, I think Boris would


find that rather difficult. He does find saying no to things quite


difficult. It's hard not to interpret a number of positions


he's taken as positioning himself to make a run at Downing Street?


He's certainly leaving the door open, shall we say. The meddling in


the reshuffle was amazing, that's the moment of a Prime Minister's


maximum authority, where you move your people, to have Boris Johnson


popping up... The Olympics have put lead in his pencil. He also says


what he thinks, which is part of his appeal actually. You think he


blurts these things out off the top of his head, you you don't think


it's calculated. How well do you know him. I have known him a long


time. Nobody gets to know him that well, actually. That's a good point.


But I think clearly he is an ambitious person and I am sure


there is an element of calculation but probably that's behind the


whole stance which is I am my own independent person, I am not going


to accept anything and there's also slightly more than competitive


relationship which goes back a long time with David. To that Slough


comprehensive they both went to. Exactly. We will leave that there.


Now, a programme focusing on the policy disasters, communication


cock-ups and ministerial mishaps of coalition Government returns to our


screens this week. No, I'm not talking about the Daily Politics


but the new series of political satire The Thick Of It. In a moment


we'll talk to one of the stars of the show, but first let's have a


look at him in action. Human snowman is coming in now.


Stewart! Great. If it isn't Raffles, the gentleman MP. Why are you two


coming in together. We were married in Vegas, didn't you know, we are


really happy. Meeting room now. Could you get someone to bring me


some chai. Today's headline in font 72, Emma and I broke the fast this


AM with the PM. It's a massive yes. Our playground initiative is going


to be the standard-bearer for the network nation. It's a double,


double win. Double win for both babies of the coalition. Terrific.


Shall we do a Mexican wave around the table?


And with us now is Vincent Franklin who plays PR guru Stewart Pearson


in the show. Now, you are Steve Hilton? Lots of people have


suggested I am Steve Hilton but I think I have spoken to enough


lawyers to know that I am a little bit - he wears a cross between a


short and trouser and we were filming outside Downing Street for


this series and it's fairly scary how many men are wearing those


ridiculous trousers and carrying a fold-up bicycle and go through


those gates. It should be banned. It should certainly be discouraged,


I am playing a character sort of like Steve, he is a contrast to


Malcolm Tucker, the sweary face of enforcement and I am the new face,


let's all imagine a better narrative but equally annoying, I


am afraid. I would wonder with this coalition, there's so much material,


where do you start? It's difficult, because you find you are trying to


produce satire and realise they're writing their own much better than


tkoubg it and to begin with it was tricky because the first year


everyone seemed happy. We had a few insiders who told us what was going


on and they were going it's a big love-in at the moment and luckily


after - it started to go wrong and we could write it. What's really


important is that it's not what we are doing is satire, but not sort


of topical comedy so we are not reliant on tying into specific


things happening in Government. It's much more about the stkaoeut


the stkaoeut gist. That's why we don't get relegated to Dave if you


were the news quiz programmes, jokes now on Dave are ten years out


of date we are not interested in. This I hope in 20 years time people


will go that's what it was like in the Earl lie years of the 21st


century. Meryl Streep went to watch Prime Ministers questions as part


of her preparation to play Margaret Thatcher. What did you do to


prepare? We had fantastic writers to begin with so we have a lot of


material. We have advisers to talk to us but always just about what we


are doing wrong. Usually saying there is not enough spwaering --


swearing, you need to swear more. I am doing a play at the moment in


The National, set in the Callaghan period, for that we have been


around the building and it's not the most helpful thing, it's


helpful to watch a couple of people drinking more than they should and


chatting and going they're actually human beings and the great thing


about The Thick of It you see a lot of flawed human beings trying to do


the right thing but usually in the wrong way. You are doing this play,


which is set in 74 onwards when there was no Government really in


charge and you are doing now The Thick of It and you are going to


become a world expert on coalition governments. I think I am a kind of


kiss of death, if I am in you know there's going to be a coalition. In


the 70s, not a coalition, a kind of pact. There was a pact. But not a


coalition. So there were no Liberals thankfully actually in a


Ministerial post so we don't have the problems that poor old Minister


in The Thick of It has of dealing with a Junior Minister from another


party. You use words which we as journalists then take on and put


into the political lexicon. Omni- shambles. You gave us that word,


there was another word we can't really use, beginning with cluster.


We are quietly disappointed with that really. Our idea is that The


Thick of It is supposed to be satire, not an instruction manual.


You are supposed to watch and go that's not the way to behave. We


are increasingly - two are to three days after we shoot something we


realise something more crazy has happened or something more


ridiculous has been said. One episode and on Twitter there were


serious commentators talking about it. It doesn't really mean anything.


You throw the bait in and people take it. Mrs Thatcher once said to


me that yes, Minister wasn't comedy, it was documentary. It was a really


insight into how British Government works. Can you say that of The


Thick of It? I worked... You have been on the inside. There's a lot.


I talked to him before they did the first one and when we had meetings


there was always someone hoovering, so you would have to do the


hoovering during the day, that was there in one of the early episodes.


During the 1997 general election we ended up with John Major's


Government being opposed bay man in a white suit, you can't make these


things up. Somehow they managed to do it. Often it's painfully close,


particularly when people are trying to come up with new ideas. Anybody


who's worked on a speech - my favourite was a policy on plastic


bags. That pleased the Daily Mail. People really do come up with


things like that. When you have no money to spend you have to find


ways - you shuffle your cabinet, which is a great word to be using


because it means something else in the outside world, I don't want to


worry you, but having a shuffle can mean something different or perhaps


similar. But then you get a situation where somebody who was


the Culture Secretary, who criticised - wanted the NHS section


removed from his opening ceremony, the ceremony happens, the Games are


a success, he is promoted to be Health Secretary in charge of all


those nurses and you go brilliant, there is an episode of The Thick of


It all just done, prime viced. Scripted for you already. I have to


say I am looking forward to the new series, I want to see how you


tackle the coalition. It's a coalition that's funny, it's -


there's that idea the comedy is always in the gaps. The difference


between what the thick of it does brilliantly, is those small


humiliations, those tiny aspects of protocol where you are kind of just


remorselessly left in this position of haouplg indignity which is what


coalition is all about. The Tory Minister is wonderful. You can just


see. Half a dozen real Ministers could fit the bill. People go is it


Ken Clarke. He suspect any one of those, but he is that. You are on


BBC2. We are indeed. On Saturday night after the Proms, I think.


Indeed. I know that because I have already set my recorder. 9 9.4 5.


Seven parts in this series. After that's that's finished you still


have time to go to The National and see This House. Running to December.


I will wave to from you the gallery, the cheap seats. Time for our


roundup of the last seven days of politics.


Here's Susana Mendonsa with the week in 60 seconds. Who is out and


who is still in. What job have you got? The faces and the speedy


departures told the story, we hear some of the losers even shed tears.


Have you got the Health Secretary job? Someone was happy. It's the


biggest privilege of my life. I am incredibly honoured. But the


musical chairs around this cabinet table sparked yet another row about


Heathrow. Elsewhere, the Chancellor took up the role of Paralympic


panto villain, booed at the Olympic Stadium, still smiling, George? You


got to be so macho if you are the Labour leader, or not. Apparently


he still has to bring in the coffee every morning. That's just how


assertive and Butch the leader of the opposition really is. Mine is


milk and three sugars, Ed. Axed Ministers are lining up for honours,


even ousted Lib Dems are getting knighthoods. Yes, Sir isn't a bad


consolation prize. Does nothing change in this


country? You hand out knighthoods to Ministers that you want rid of.


Nothing changes in reshuffles, you are always trying to find something.


It was probably not a good idea to have a separate honours list just


for sacked Ministers, it was bound to cause cause trouble. It's not


the biggest issue in the world but it's still probably not a good idea.


Didn't leave a good taste in the mouth. Not consistence with a


Government saying you shouldn't reward failure. And we are all in


this together. When is your knighthood coming? You think that's


a reward for failure as well? It's nice being a guest on this


programme! You may say that, I couldn't possibly comment.


Immediately prompted, that thought. We are going to save up nigh


knighthood, you can get them in the shops these days. We thank all our


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