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Afternoon, folks. Welcome to the second Daily Politics Liberal


Democrats Conference special. The full police transcript of gategate


is published in the Telegraph and the pressure on the chief whip


increases. Are wind farms worth the candle? The Chancellor is sceptical


as are other Conservative ministers. We'll be asking the Lib Dem Energy


Secretary whether his flagship green energy policy is imperilled.


Abu Hamza is finally to be extradited to the United States.


And it emerges this morning that the Queen voiced concern about why


the radical cleric couldn't be banged up. We'll be talking to a


Home Office minister Lib-Con or Lab-Lib, what flavour of coalition


do activists in Brighton want after the next election? Do you want to


do the balls this year? I will lend some money to your business bank.


All that in the next hour. And with us for the duration, Tim Razzall, a


Liberal Democrat peer and the party's former election supremo.


Welcome to the show. We will be bringing all of the developments


from the Conference in Brighton. But first let's return to Andrew


Mitchell and the ongoing row about whether he did or didn't call the


policemen in Downing Street plebs. Yes, you will recall that the chief


whip publicly apologised yesterday for the incident, in which he got


into a row with a policeman at the Downing Street gates. Well, the


Daily Telegraph has got its hands on the police log of the incident


and printed a full transcript in That was the account of the


policemen. Well, I'm joined now by our political correspondent. Is it


a full transcript? We do not have independent corroboration ourselves.


It looks like a narrative account of what took place. In terms of


whether it is the Bayton, it seems unlikely. In the original reporting


of this, Mr Mitchell is supposed to have used the words -- the word,


morons. Where does that come from? What is interesting is, how close


he got to getting it, getting arrested. They were pretty cross.


They had to warn him he could be arrested. That is when he pulled


down, went to the side gate and went through. It seems they were


concerned about what he might do next. He said you have not heard


the last of this. That is where they wrote an account and scented


up to their senior officers. -- that is why. Apparently he had had


a stressful day. What does it consist of? He describes it as a


long and frustrating day. Some suggestion that included a lunch at


a club just around the corner from our studios. It is a swanky Indian


restaurant. It is not cheap by any means. It is the main watering hole


and eating establishment for the denizens of Westminster. Apparently,


Downing Street said it was a lunch and not a long lunch. Read into


that what you will! Thank you very much for that. The story will not


die, will it? The British public must be losing the will to live. I


think Andrew Mitchell has made the classic error. It you make a


serious mistake, which it clearly was, you want to get a whole story


out, exactly what you did on day one. Profusely apologised to the


people involved, including the Prime Minister, and then the story


will die. It drags on and on. What did he say? Did he say it? Did he


lose - has never did he use the word, a moron? -- did he use the


word, moron? Joining us from Brighton now are two of Fleet


Street's finest - Alison Little of the Express and Steve Richards of


the Independent. We have seen this surrounding row. Where does the


story go from here, if anywhere? do not think Mr Mitchell is going


anywhere right now. We have a stalemate was up the full account


of the police blocked in the Daily Telegraph is compelling reading. It


is written in classic police speak. It confirms what the police were


saying about it. That is where we are stuck. I think this story will


run and run. People cannot escape it. There are reports a Labour MP


has written to the Commons Macro authorities. -- Commons authorities.


David Cameron is off to the States was that he will not be able to


escape it. He is on the Late Show in New York tomorrow night. I am


sure the Americans will be absolutely fascinated to hear his


definition of what is a pleb. And the Labour conference is coming up.


They will love it. It will go up on and on. I may be going out on a


limb but I do not think that David Letterman has heard of and to


Mitchell. The establishment is meaning to close this down. --


Andrew Mitchell. We have had the Cabinet Secretary calling the chief


of police in London saying, let's draw a line under this and move on.


Will that work? No. David Cameron has a real problem. He cannot sack


Mitchell on the evidence that is available so far and will be wrong


to do so. We have not got definitive proof of what was said.


However, he has now got the Chief Whip in charge of telling MPs not


to rock the boat in the Parliamentary Party when he himself


has rocked the boat. It is like a spin doctor when they become the


story. When the Chief Whip becomes a story, it is very difficult. In a


way he has the worst of all worlds. He would be wrong to get rid of him


at the moment but he has a damaged chief whip at a time when his


Parliamentary Party is restive. It is a story with consequences, as


well as legs. Let's come on to Vince Cable. He had his big speech


yesterday. All sort of analysis in the papers. Do we agree if, and I


emphasise that word, if there was a leadership challenge to Nick Clegg,


or his leadership was to be in jeopardy, is Vince Cable the clear


favourite to succeed him? I am just trying to think. Vince Cable has


the advantage of being one of the few politicians that members of the


public, they know who he is. They would easily identify him. He would


have to be in the front. They raise another man, about six feet away


from me, Mister Ed Davey, who is being talked about as another


possible challenger. When a leadership contest actually happens,


and a do not think we are near that yet, suddenly all the contenders...


I think Vince Cable is the clear favourite. What is happening now is


the opinion polls are always asking the Lib Dem rating if specifically


Vince Cable where to take over and no one else was up that will carry


on. Although there are no signs, as you pointed out of a challenge, if


the polls are as they are after the May elections, it would become a


very different. The Poles are suggesting that Vince Cable would


make a positive difference. It could become very potent indeed.


The latest show that voting road race. Another poll put it higher. -


- voting would raise. Thank you for joining us. Now, the Liberal


Democrats like to talk up their influence on government policy -


the pupil premium, changes to NHS reforms and helping to make the


Coalition live up to its claim to be the greenest government ever.


That is what Mr Cameron once claimed it would be. The chief


cheerleader for this policy is the Energy and Climate Change Secretary,


Ed Davey, who I will be speaking to in a moment. When he addressed


conference at the weekend, he re- affirmed his commitment to the


green economy but the Lib Dems suspect their Coalition partners


don't have their hearts in going green any more. Here is Jo. The


coalition used to be a big fan of windmills, part of its promise to


be the greenest government ever, and Lib Dem Energy Secretary Ed


Davey is still firmly behind tough emissions-cutting targets. But


George Osborne has taken the wind out of his sails by repeatedly


warning that too much environmental red tape risks putting our country


out of business, while a leaked letter suggests the Chancellor


favours generating electricity with gas instead of more expensive


nuclear or renewable fuels. And power suppliers have said that new


energy regulations are partly to blame for high average fuel bills,


which have risen from �522 back in 2004 to �1,252 this year. Ed Davey


also has a new Energy Minister, the Conservative John Hayes, who is a


known critic of wind power. And, at the weekend, Mr Davey suggested he


was fighting a battle with the TEA Party tendency in the coalition, in


reference to the right-wing As if by magic, Ed Davey joins me


from Brighton. Thank you for joining us. At the weekend, you


talked about the Tory TEA Party tendency, which did not want to


spend money on green power. Who were you thinking of? There are a


number of people on the Conservative backbenchers, who have


never believed that climate change is an issue. They have always


opposed the green agenda. I believe we need to stand up to that. The


Prime Minister made it very clear by making sure that when he was


opposition leader that the Conservative Party voted for the


climate change at an George Osborne campaign when he was running the


election campaign. We agreed this will be the greenest government


ever. I want to deliver on the Government's strategy. I do not


believe the noises off should be listened to. It is not just


Conservative backbenchers. John Hayes is part of the TEA Party


tendency when it comes to green issues, isn't it? He told BBC News


in 2009 that renewable energy needs to pass the Twin Towers of


environmental and economic sustainability and win power fails


on both accounts. -- wind power. He is part of your TEA Party, isn't


he? I worked with him when I was a minister in the Department for


business. We got on incredibly well. I am delighted he is a minister in


my department. We are working through a whole range of major


reform issues. When they study the evidence, I am sure they will see


that renewables can be very cost effective and critically important


for the carbonised in our economy and meeting Climate Change targets.


What you stand for and what you believe cannot be the same as Mr


Hayes saying, wind power fails on both accounts. You do not agree


with that. He said it. He said it in 2009. I'm sure that when he is


in the department he will look at the evidence. You mean he had not


looked before. I do not know whether he looked before. I have


noticed. When you are a minister, you look at the huge detail and


learnt a lot. The evidence is very clear. Onshore wind is the most


cost-effective but mass renewable technology we have today. Therefore,


the Treasury believes that. They understand if we are to take care


of consume energy bills and meet renewable energy targets, onshore


wind is a very said none of -- is sensible technology to invest in


there. There was a study, comparing it with other countries and their


renewable energy strategies. The conclusion says, by 2020, your


renewable policies will have added �28 per megawatt hour to business -


energy intensive business - compared to �15 in France and


Germany. You are making it more I have been working with the


Department of business because of France and Germany support their


energy intensive businesses in a way that we don't. We don't want to


make those businesses here uncompetitive. The real thing...


what is but answer? The real thing I am working with Vince Cable on is


this huge economic opportunity, the green growth opportunity. The


Chancellor has made clear it Infrastructure Investment it is a


key part of growth strategy. Over half, around a half of them are


National Infrastructure Plan is energy investment, or six times


more than water. Investment here is critical to the growth strategy,


and I believe it will deliver on the green agenda as well. We have a


situation where our economic needs and environmental needs are coming


together. The green sector is the fastest sector. More international


investment in renewables than any other sector last year. This is a


big British economic success story. For every job you think you are


creating largely by subsidies in the Green economy, we don't know


how many you are destroying in the non green economy. If British


electricity prices for business are going to be rising twice as fast as


France or Germany, you are going to put some of these businesses out of


business. We have lost the aluminium industry, what is next?


did not agree with your analysis. This is from the report. We are


determined to make sure that the energy bills of business and


consumers are affordable. I will be in that in this week ways to help


consumers with energy bills. The real problem is the rising price of


gas. Rising extremely in recent years, as your programme showed. It


has hit consumers. Gas is used for electricity generation. To make


sure we are less dependent on gas, less exposed to volatile fossil


fuel prices from a broad, we need to make sure we can produce cleaner


energy hear it in the UK to reduce out exposure to international


fossil fuel prices, meaning we are less dependent upon energy from the


other side of the world. That will improve affordability for


businesses, and energy security. It is a sensible approach. It means we


can have a diverse energy mix. Some say you should only do one


particular technology. I believe we need a basket approach to minimise


risk and cost for the British economy. There are reports at the


weekend, your secret plot to get the Lib Dem leadership. It is so


secret I have not heard about it! I am delighted to have yet another


opportunity to deny that story, it is complete nonsense. You have not


gone on a special new diet because you wait too many pies when you


were in the pie factory! The many years ago. I take that sort of


story with a picture of a salt -- pinch.


Maybe you should be standing for leadership, would you consider


being Liberal Democrat leader? have the best Liberal Democrat


leader we have ever had. I am immensely proud... Better than that


Lloyd George? He was a Liberal leader. Nick Clegg would measure up


well to Lloyd George, our most successful party leader for decades,


doing an incredibly difficult job, brilliantly. This leadership talk


the media love to focus on, it is not kicking off here in conference.


There is not a single MP you have found against Nick Clegg. We are a


united party. You should be asking the other parties how well they are


united. We will, that is our job. If Nick Clegg is doing such a


brilliant job, why do the polls show him as the least popular party


leader since Michael Foot? Nick Clegg and the Liberal Democrats are


not doing well in the polls. But some show he is doing better, you


tend not to report those. It is amazing how people can be selective


in the evidence they use. When I am in my constituency, talking to


people, they do need to understand why we have taken the measures we


have, while we had no choice but to make sure we had stable government


mess. When people hear that, they are very receptive to the overall


Liberal Democrat achievements. I do not deny we have to make the case,


but we are making the case in Brighton, Nick Clegg will do so in


his speech tomorrow. We are already taking two million of the lowest


paid out of tax, giving tax cuts, that is a strong message to go to


the election. Do you see his chances as leader


one day? What the two correspondent said


earlier is bright, two different scenarios, be fought under a bus,


if something terrible happened to my clerk. -- Nick Clegg. If we go


through it and ordered process, there will be all sorts of


candidates. Vince Cable is clearly the favourite.


He is the best known. In many ways, he is, when you look at the polls,


he is the only Liberal Democrat Member that the public recognise.


Mind you, they don't recognise Tory Cabinet members either. Apart from


Andrew Mitchell. That always depresses politicians that nobody


knows who you are. Now, our last guest Ed Davey,


revealed earlier this year that he worked in a factory as a teenager.


But what did it make? Was it: a) Pork barrels? B) Pork sausages? C)


Pork pies? D) Pork scratchings? At the end of the show, Tim Razzall


will attempt to give us the correct answer.


Now, it's taken more than eight years, cost the tax payer millions


of pounds, and even the Queen has expressed her concerns. But finally,


radical cleric Abu Hamza al-Masri is to be deported to the US. The


European Court of Human Rights has refused his final appeal, and that


of four other terrorist suspects. And the Home Office say he will now


be sent to the United States to face charges of setting up a


terrorist training camp there. I'm joined now by Home Office Minister


James Brokenshire. Abu Hamza was first arrested in made 2004. Why


has it taken eight years? There has been a very long process


attached to extradition, seeking to extradite a British citizen to


another country. All lines of Appeal have now been exhausted and


the decision by the European Court of Appeal has decided. We will move


rapidly towards his practical extradition and handing over to the


US authorities. How rapidly? next step is for the police and US


marshals to deal with the logistics on the transfer of these


individuals to the US authorities. By the end of the week? It is


working through the practical arrangements. We are working


closely, discussions this morning between officials, to see this does


happen, recognising this has gone on for a long time. You must be


able to say if it is within days or weeks? It will be a short matter of


weeks, we hope it will be sooner than that, in terms of sorting out


the practicalities, handing these individuals over to the US


authorities, to face serious terrorist allegations. The public


will also say, how much has it cost? There obviously is cost


attached to any legal process, running into hundreds of thousands


of Pounds, maybe even more than that. But the key points, we have


an arrangement with the US that it is reciprocal. They will meet the


cost of the extradition in respect of a case such as this. It must be


more than hundreds of thousands? can't give you a figure, but Click


it will be considerable. The arrangements we have, those costs


will be met by the US authorities. If an extradition request is given


to the UK, we consider that properly, there is a process. That


has been exhausted and we want to move on and see these people handed


to the US authorities. There is a campaign under way for private


prosecutions for those people to be tried here? The Director of Public


Prosecutions has looked at the evidence over an extended period.


Looking at the human rights issues, with reference to the European


Court. Our view is that the appeals have been exhausted. Ultimately,


decisions over prosecution and not made by me as a minister, but by


the Director of Public Prosecutions, and in this case, it has been


considered, appropriately, that extradition should be the right way


forward. We have heard campaigners, because the crimes were committed


here, running a jihadist website, that he should be tried here.


DPP has determined prosecution is not a probate in respect to these


cases. Is there a worried they might be able to? We believe this


matter has been looked at by the courts over such an extended pit


that now is the time to say we should move on with a magician and


these individuals should be handed over and face the serious terrorist


allegations levelled against them. What can you learn from the fact it


has taken eight years? The public are quite curious as to why these


extradition procedures take so long. Abu Hamza is high profile. This is


the sort of case the treaty was intended to cover. There is


controversy when it is being used for alleged financial crimes. This


applies within Europe, there are a lot of people, when there is an


attempt to extradite people to look, where a huge amount of time takes


place. Is it right? I do not think it is right, certainly not within


the European Union. Not only do we know that Andrew


Mitchell had lunch that day, we know what he had. Roasted fish with


spiced crab, chutney, �9.50. King prawns and Rice, �24. You get the


big stories! Absurd. Liberal Democrats are in government


for the first time since dinosaurs roamed the Earth. So, why the long


faces from some Lib Dem activists? Could it be that some aren't so


delighted about being in bed with the Conservatives? So, what if, as


Vince Cable suggested in his speech yesterday, we're heading for


another hung parliament after the next election? Who should Lib Dems


do a deal with? Labour or Conservative? We sent Adam out with


his mood box in Brighton. Today we are asking delegates who


they would like to share power with a If the next election results in a


hung Parliament? It has got to be Labour. Because we have already


been in coalition with the Tories and it is sensible to show we can


do both. Tories, because Labour screwed up the country so much last


time. We are good as we are. Certainly not the Tories. I guess I


will put it in Labour are being the least worst. Very optimistic!


not trust either of them as far as I can throw them, so I do not know.


Your ideal coalition arrangement? Greens. Wouldn't that be about 57


MPs? Challenging, why not? would you rather be in coalition


with at the next election if it is a hung Parliament? What message are


you sending? It is not about coalition but about being in power


It is going pretty slowly. Do you want to do the Paul's this year? I


will lend some money to your business bank will stop -- ate your


business bank. Is it tricky? Who is your preferred coalition partner?


Can I have two balls? Ministers are allowed to vote. I am scrupulously


impartial. Who is your preferred coalition partner next time around?


I am not doing it on camera. As a minister, you have to juggle many


balls. You might say, I could not possibly comment. I would rather


stick pins in my eyes then go with Labour. We do not have a preferred


coalition partner. That was absolutely exhausting. The majority


of them have gone in that direction - towards Labour. I just like to


get MPs to say balls. That is what it is all about. And our guest of


the day, Lord Razzall, is still with me. Adam was struggling with


his balls. What should the election strategy be for the Lib Dems in


2015? There are a number of things. We will stand as an independent


party. It will not be on the faces we will commit to be in coalition


with another party. -- on the basis. We will stand on the basis of the


list of things we want to achieve. -- a list of things. Do you agree


with the former director of strategy that list should represent


what he calls a brand of radical liberalism? Yes. Which is?


sorts of things. What sort of policy would you expect in that


list? We will have a huge element on the green agenda. There will be


quite a lot on the schools system. Backing free schools? Probably not


prominent. I think there will be huge stuff on the economy. There is


bound to be. We will not be out of the economic problems at the moment


by 2015. What would the radical liberalism side of that be? We will


be more Keynesian going into the election than the Tories. So you do


not agree with something more to the right. I am not sure that is


the sort of thing you take into a coalition discussion. Because it


would alienate potential Lib Dem voters on the left? You certainly


do not fight an election campaign on the basis you would bash public


sector workers. Nobody is going to advocate that. He was a close


former director of strategy. He did not run the elections. So, he is


wrong. The sort of thing he has been talking about - backing free


schools, taking on vested interests - that will not win it. That sounds


like Tony Blair. You think that will damage the Liberal Democrats?


It is a question of emphasis. Taking on vested interests, I


cannot quite see how that will play out in an election slogan. That is


a long-term issue, which people will address in government, if


there is a further coalition government. I do not think it is


positioning for the party. Where should the Liberal Democrats'


position themselves? If they go to some of the things that will appeal


to soft Tory voters, bearing in mind they will fight a lot of


marginals, they will risk losing those seats where they are in


marginal seats with Labour. As a party, we have lost those who vote


for us as a protest. We have lost them. The question is, can we


attract voters who did not vote for us because they thought it was a


wasted vote? That will be the real trick at the next election. To what


extent the protest vote can be replaced, by those who said they


would not vote for us because we had no chance. I think at this


stage, to end a half years and out, you never know with the polls. --


two and a half years. There is an internal documents, which was


prepared by Lib Dem people for the Office of Nick Clegg. It says, the


party has no branding strategy. Staff lack research literacy.


Campaigns are based on received wisdom, rather than any evidence


that current tactics are working. Is that true? I have not seen it.


What is your reaction? I do not agree. It says the Lib Dems were we


have no evidence our tactics are working. Do you? I think we are far


too way out of the election. We have the fixed-term parliament


there of the stock having gone into the first serious peacetime


coalition since the 1930s, you need five years to show coalition


government can work in this way. -- fixed term Parliament Bill. Beware


if you've got your money stashed away in Liechtenstein. It is a


little place between Switzerland and Austria will start --


Switzerland and Austria. The Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Danny


Alexander, has his eye on it. He's just been speaking to conference


and has promised a major crackdown on tax-dodgers which could raise �4


billion a year for the Treasury. Fellow plebs, Viscount Thurso, I


would like to talk to you. In fact, our conference slogan, fairer taxes


in tough times. Thanks to the Liberal Democrats, taxes of getting


fairer. Our tough budget negotiations mean that next year 24


million people will benefit from the largest ever increase in the


tax-free amount. From April, working people will have seen net


income tax bill fall by �550 and 2 million of the lowest earners will


have ceased to have paid any income tax at all. That is happening.


Thanks. That is happening thanks to the Liberal Democrats in a


coalition government. It would not be happening without you. Not


everything about the budget Bishop was perfect. -- the budget this


year. Junior church was getting married a few weeks after the


budget in Cornwall. -- Junior Church. I made sure her prospective


husband did not have a taste for pasties but I will still think of


that as four U-turns and a wedding! The income tax cut was by far the


most important measure in the budget. People in this country will


have �3 billion more of their own money to spend next year as a


result. A cleaner working full-time on the minimum wage will see their


tax bill Haft. That is thanks to the Liberal Democrats. -- reduced


by half. Very soon, no one will pay income tax at all until they're


earning more than �10,000. That is thanks to the Liberal Democrats. We


promised it in our manifesto. We campaign for it. We had the courage


to go into coalition to deliver it. At the next election, we will


promise to raise that figure yet further, to �12.5 million. You do


not pay more income tax until you are earning more than a full-time


salary on the minimum wage. In 2015, people will know that promise is


credible. That is because we have delivered in government, thanks to


the Liberal Democrats - truly a record of action and the promise of


more. Now, it's fair taxes matter because times are tough. The


spending power of most people's pay packets have fallen over the last


five years. For too many, the spectre of unemployment has become


a painful reality. For the country as a whole, the adjustment to the


level of government spending and taxation we can afford is painful


and difficult. When we came into office, we knew things were bad.


The truth is, we did not know how bad. The damage that the crisis has


done to our economy is even deeper than we first thought. The head


wins of high inflation and the eurozone are stronger than anyone


imagines. The mess Labour left worse than they would ever admit -


let alone apologise for. Now, having heard all of that, you might


think I am pessimistic. He could not be more wrong. We have a


government determined to do the right thing for the long term. Over


the last two years, we have laid strong foundations for a stronger


economy. I am fundamentally optimistic for the future. Because


there are brilliant businesses - talented and hard-working people in


every corner of this country - who make this one of the best places to


do business in the world. Like the members of the Bristol Junior


Chamber of Commerce, who I met with our brilliant mayoral candidate on


Thursday, enthusing about the opportunities for young people to


start their own businesses. Like the small manufacturing company I


visited in Cardiff with our inspiring election candidate. A


business that has grown and is providing much-needed jobs in the


local area, like the massive chemicals plant I visited in Redcar.


It is growing with the help of a Regional Growth Fund grant. These


people are the growth makers, the job makers. Our job is to help them.


Last year, at this conference, I announced the growing places and.


This is to fund local areas to unlock new jobs. I can tell you


that the fund has already helped fund around 170 projects,


supporting an estimated 178,000 jobs. Now, conference, the economy


has rightly been the central focus of this party conference. Yesterday


had an excellent debate on some of the further measures we would like


to cease -- like to see to support growth. Vince Cable gave a


brilliant speech, setting out the work his department is doing to


help clear up the mess left by Labour. I dare say the


congratulatory text message from Ed Miliband has been unavoidably


delayed. He has come out with a new economic theory this month. Pru


distribution. Apparently, it means, spending money you do not have


without knowing where that money is going to come from in future.


Conference, it is not in United, it is a bad old one. Labour spent 13


years trying it. -- not a new idea. Labour do not like us talking about


their record in office but the country can never be allowed to


forget their disastrous mistakes in banking, in regulation, in the


public finances - falsely promising the British people they could end


boom and bust. That was the chief secretary to the Treasury. He moved


on from the jokes which fell a little flat to more economic


substance. He was very proud of the efforts being done to track down


tax dodgers in Liechtenstein and he went and talked about how the


gunman was going to guarantee the building of the trains - the


coaches that will run on the CrossRail link. -- at the


We live in an age of apology, we have heard Nick Clegg, Andrew


Mitchell. Is it time for Labour to say sorry for piling up so much


debt while in government? We have apologised for not regulating the


bounce sufficiently. Here and around the world, we should have


demanded more. What about the debt? If you look at the financial crisis,


debt fell to 36% of GDP. The size of the economy rose. In the good


years, you are meant to build up a surplus. But between May 1997 and


January 2008, before the crash, your government increased debt from


�351 billion, to �512 billion, 45%. That doesn't enclose Network Rail


or PFIs. Would you like to apologise for racking up non-stop


debts, in years when you should have been running a surplus.


were running a surplus in that some of those years, particularly in the


early years of government. The in one year when you sold the airways.


What matters is the debt as a share of the economy. If you have been --


up an economy which is bigger, you can have a debt which is bigger. We


faced a situation where NHS waiting lists... I am simply saying you had


consistent growth for 10 years. we bought down the debt burden.


some stage you should have run a surplus so when the bad times came,


you wouldn't have ended up with �512 billion of debt. We had the


second lowest debt to GDP ratio in BGA it when the financial crisis


hit in 2007. We did reduce that debt burden in that period. But


when the financial crisis hit, we had to make a decision on whether


we would stick to spending plans. We did reduce the debt. You hear


from Brighton, talk about texting people who live in big homes --


taxing. Making the 10% highest income as paying more, all of that


must be music to your ears? have to judge politicians on what


they say, what they deliver. If we judge you on what you say... If you


look at the Liberal Democrats, what they are saying, it is all good


stuff. Let us give them the benefit of the doubt. They can't deliver it


with the Tories, but they could with you. Are you up for that?


for example, the Liberal Democrats had all voted against the increase


in tuition fees, or had all voted against the reduction in the top


rate of tax... We have said we're willing to work with anybody on


plans towards mansion tax, high- value properties. I understand that.


Your point is clearly right, to say we can't deliver them, we don't yet


know what we have to do. We have to persuade our coalition partners.


is unlikely the Tories will give you are a wealth tax. How do you


define a wealth tax? George Osborne has said it in principle he is in


favour of moving tax more towards wealth and income. Lots of


millionaires don't earn a million, it is because they have turned to


hundred �1,000 and grown it. -- earned �100,000. I suspect it in


the last tax year, budget, George Osborne came very close to


implementing a mansion tax. You are more likely to get all of that with


the Labour Party. More likely. Than you would with the Tories. That may


well be the case but we are not with the Labour Party and the


elections are not for 2 1/2 years. What will happen after the election


if there is a hung Parliament, I assumed we will do as we did this


time. Are you giving thought to having some kind of deal with the


Liberal Democrats? We are campaigning for a Labour victory at


the next election. We have another 2 1/2 years. It is about what


happens in between. If we can work with the Liberal Democrats or any


other power now on policies that will be fairer on families, a match


and tax, rather than a massive cut to tax credits. The Lib Dems have


to fight their corner. If they say they think people who are wealthier


should be taxed more, they should not have voted for that cut in a


top rate of tax. The Lib Dems in Scotland may be far from government,


but they are part of a coalition with the Tories and Labour, against


Scottish independence. However, their effectiveness in that


campaign has been somewhat blunted by disastrous results in the last


Holyrood parliamentary elections. They were reduced to a rump of just


five MSPs. The party north of the border blames its demise on the


other coalition, the one in Westminster. But how do the


north of the border? David Thompson reports.


A much designed to beat the drum for independence. Has the biggest


political decision Scotland will make in 300 years really capture


the public imagination? In terms of looking for signs on the ground,


there was a rally in Edinburgh on Saturday which attracted a crowd of


5,000 people. Not insubstantial but probably not as many as the


organisers were hoping for. One of the main players in the anti-


independence campaign are the Scottish Liberal Democrats. They


took a pasting at the last elections. What is frustrating for


the Liberal Democrats in Scotland is all of our good work in Scotland


focused on devolved issues in Scotland, are being overshadowed by


difficulties in London. The latest of which has been the apology by


Nick Clegg on tuition fees. That had a bad effect in Scotland. One


other reasons why I am no longer an MSP and we lost our mainland seats


in Scotland last year. Which is why people might think all that


independence might be a mistake for Scotland, it could work for the


Scottish Liberal Democrats. Scotland we have to make it clear


to the people in Scotland and south of the border that, in fact, we are


a distinct party. That means having English Liberal Democrats. At the


moment, in theory, we are a federal party. But there is no formal name


for the English Liberal Democrats. There is for the Welsh Liberal


Democrats. It is not true federalism. The independence


referendum itself is an issue. Paul's in Scotland always confirm


people in Scotland want a beefed up Liberal Democrat party. We have


been the prime movers for home rule. This is a real opportunity for the


Scottish Liberal Democrats to lead here, take the vanguard, for


increased powers for Scottish Parliament. But people would have


to start taking the Scottish Liberal Democrats seriously again


which brings us back to where we started. The Lib Dems have been


marginalised in the independence debate, because, it is clear


whenever they stick their heads above the parapet, Alex Salmond


reminds everyone of their association with the Conservatives.


A vote on independence is at least two years away. Whether Scottish


Liberal Democrats will be, who knows. Willie Rennie, the Leader of


the Scottish Liberal Democrats, joins us from conference.


Your party has taken a hammering in Scotland in recent elections. In


Scottish Parliament elections, your party's worst election performance.


What is your plan? The plan is to set out what we believe, standing


up for big liberal values in Scotland. That is why we stand up


on their tax, making sure we invest in colleges, housing, early


intervention. We have made progress on that already. Even though there


are only five of us in Scottish Parliament, we have managed to get


big concessions. Is the problem that you are not being heard,


people don't trust you, because of the activities of the coalition in


Westminster? Do you agree with that? Of course the coalition is an


issue but you are in politics to do the right thing, to get the economy


back on track, and bring fairness to the country. We are in step with


the majority of public opinion on more powers for the Scottish


Parliament, by far the most popular policy to have home rule for


Scotland. Raising more money to spend it on issues important for


Scotland. That is what we are in step with. Do you think that is


really going to win you back all of those seats you have lost. Five


MSPs. How far do you blame the activities of the coalition in


London? I tend not to blame anybody because we are one-party working


together in a partnership to deal with this economic crisis. I would


be no doubt in my duties if I thought I could distance myself


from that. -- neglecting. Your predecessor said for 12 years there


has been a Scottish solution, a different way, and we will build on


that. He distanced himself from Westminster, and it worked. He set


out his strategy. He was very good at advocating on some unique


policies, like releasing money for Scottish water to invest in capital


infrastructure. It was difficult. What you like about Nick Clegg?


think he is a man of great principle. All you had to do is


spend five minutes with him to see that he has a full grasp of British


politics. He doesn't shy away from difficult challenges. He is very


good at addressing them. How do sell Nick Clegg in Scotland?


bringing him up to Scotland more often, as we are doing, showing


that he really cares about issues like mental health, early


intervention, nursery education, the pupil premium, these are the


policies that showed the fairness side of the Liberal Democrats.


time to get the answer to the quiz. Ed Davey used to work in a factory,


but what did it make? Any idea, Tim? C) Pork pies. He also made


Scotch eggs. That's all for today. Thanks to all


our guests, especially Tim Razzall. The one o'clock news is starting


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