28/09/2012 Daily Politics


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Good afternoon and welcome to the Daily Politics.


Ed Balls says a Labour Government would review every single penny of


Government spending. Could a Chancellor Balls really find cuts


where Chancellor Osborne hasn't? Weak, that's the Public Accounts


Committee verdict on the Department for Work and Pensions procedures


after MPs examined allegations of fraud in government back to work


schemes. Committee chairwoman Margaret Hodge joins us.


And it's bail out fever in Europe with Spain on the brink and Greece


looking for more help from Brussels. We'll ask Greek born economist


Vicky Pryce what happens next. Remember this? At least I don't


have to worry about her running off with the bloke next door!


Unfortunately not all political jokes hit the spot like that one as


Danny Alexander found out this week. We'll talk to the man who wrote


Tony's joke about the golden rules of political gags. All that in the


next hour. I'm Carol ex-Walker and Owen Jones and columnist and


novelist Cristina Odone are here to keep me company throughout today's


show. Let's start with Ed Balls. The Shadow Chancellor has announced


that a Labour Government would review every penny of Government


expenditure should it win back power after the next Election


promising to be ruthless and disciplined as it conducted a zero-


based spending review. Well let's talk about that. Eoin, I will start


with you. What do you make of that? An incoming chancellor, he is not


going to start cutting, he will start from the bottom and go


through everything and every department? There is a problem.


Different departments actually use different accounting rules so what


is zero in one department doesn't mean the same in another department.


It would be interesting to see how he would get around this. Labour


haven't come up with an alternative alternative to what the


Conservatives are doing and austerity sucked growth out of the


economy and borrowing is surging as a result because tax receipts


declined as the economy contracts. Instead of challenges the austerity,


Labour aren't coming up with a coherent. They are coming up with


their own version of austerity. I don't think people could


distinguish that from what George Osborne is doing.


They haven't said if they are going to stick to the A Rule total.


Christine, what do you think? can't come up with an alternative


to something that's so unpopularment people are saying,


"Austerity measures from the coalition, unlivable with. We


cannot bear it. Let's look to Labour and nothing." Ed Balls is


trying to scramble up up something that makes sense. What are we going


to do for one year, we are going to be stalled whilst they review


positions of each department. We're supposed to be fixing this economy


now and I think a that one of the things that's really worries us is


is Ed Balls saying, "Give us sometime when we get in.". He is


saying he is going to go through it and unlike the present Government...


Or like his own previous Government when he was an architect of our


debts. He is going to have a look at what


is in the best long-term interests of the country and do things item


by item? He is going to get a grey beard before Balls fixes the


economic situation. If he thinks this is how we are going to do it.


The lack of coherence was emphasised when we heard in the


same day that we have Balls saying we are going back to zero. We have


Harriet Harman saying, "Oh, we are going to slow down talks." --


cuts." Joined up Government, my foot. That's when you think Labour


could be bold and come up with an alternative P. Spend loads more?


That's what Harriet Harman was suggesting? Billions is being


wasted on housing benefit. But that's lining the pockets of


private landlords and not going into the pockets of the tenants.


Labour could argue, let's bring down social housing which would


stimulate the economy and create jobs. Take tax credits, billions


spent on tax credits, but they are a subsidy for low pay. If we had a


living wage, that would bring down the welfare spending.


Briefly, Ed Balls is trying to send out a tough message at the start of


the Labour Party Conference. Is that going to set the right tone?


No. One of the funnyest things was the message that he sent out which


was picked up by the Telegraph today. He is posing in front of a


Winston Churchill photograph and a book by Martin Gilbert that's the


biography of the big Prime Minister and he is so obviously chomping at


the bit and trying to use this as a platform for his own political


destiny. You think Ed Balls is on the move.


That's a matter we will come back The Government says that private


companies and charities about �900 million a year to help get


unemployed people back into long- term jobs. But there have been


widespread allegations of fraud in these welfare-to-work schemes and


this morning a committee of MPs said ministers weren't doing enough


to tackle the problem. The MPs said the Department for Work and


Pensions had missed vital evidence about potential frauds, notably at


the private provider A4E. In February, A4E founder Emma Harrison,


who was also the Government's family champion, stood down amid


allegations of wrongdoing and the firm, which is the Government's


largest provider, is still the subject of a police investigation.


But it said a recent audit had found no evidence of fraud and


issued a statement saying that A4E is a very different company from


the one it was two years ago. The committee chairman and Labour MP,


Margaret Hodge, says that risks remain, adding that it is still


possible for providers to be paid for work they haven't done. But the


Work and Pensions Department said the cases of fraud referred to by


the committee took place under schemes set up by Labour. The


department said it had put in place the toughest anti-fraud measures


ever included in a back to work scheme. I'm joined by the Chair of


the Committee that produced the committee, the Labour MP, Margaret


Hodge. Thank you very much for joining us.


What do you think are the real problems here? The fraud has now


been identified and is being addressed? We accept that the fraud


we identified was on past schemes because we look at the past and not


the present and the future. As we looked at the current structure, it


is a better structure, but there are still problems. Let me give you


an example. Somebody wrote to me that they had been referred, again


to A4E and they found their own job before being referred to A4E. A4E


rang them up and they said, "I don't need your help." The company


said come in and sign and we will give you a �50 voucher and the


company company collects up to �2,000 for that person. I had


another case of another provider where a gentleman started his own


business, was referred to a company. The company said, "Come in, show us


your invoices and we will get you a grant for �2,000." He went in. Got


his invoices. They got paid for finding him work which they hadn't


done anything about, but he never got his grant. It didn't exist.


As you said, these are problems that happened in the past... No, no,


those are problems with the current scheme.


The Government says it checks 100% of cases where individuals are in


work. That's surely a big improvement on what was happening


under the Labour Government? We are talking about fraud and malprabg


and malpractice. It is a waste of public money. You don't pay a


company if they haven't done the work. The second thing is the


department asserts that it has got things right. Now this current


programme has been going since June June 2011, we are now 15 months on


and there is still not a statistic produced by the Government to


demonstrate whether or not they are meeting the objectives.


You would acknowledge they have tightened up their procedures and


their checks considerably since the days when the Labour Government was


using similar contracts? I think they have tightened up their


procedures and checks. I think there are still risks and I really


do believe that the fact that they are not producing statistics leaves


you with a worry and a concern that the programme is either not meeting


its objectives which is a �5 billion programme, to get over


three million people into work. Not meeting its objectives or there is


something wrong with it. I think there is a complacency in the


Department for Work and Pensions which you don't see in other


departments, you know... You know, in May of this year, Iain Duncan


Smith, the Work and Pensions Secretary, he wrote to 11 former


ministers including yourself saying thea wanted to -- that he wanted to


see the papers relating totalgations of fraud and those


haven't been released. That doesn't smack of complacency? There were


problems - my committee looks objectively at past expenditure and


we have been clear. I, I am the Labour chair of that chair...


have been asked to release those papers? Well, I have no problem and


I said so to my colleagues. That is an issue for my colleagues.


Then we should have the papers released, shouldn't we? The papers


are out there. I have given the papers. I a lot of papers passed to


me, a lot of evidence in brown envelopes, a lot of e-mails, all of


which I have passed to the department and work and pensions.


Their attitude was "it was all past schemes. "they said these were past


schemes. Everything is hunky-dory. I said it doesn't matter if they


are past schemes and there was fraud, they need to investigate


that properly. They are doing so and A4E has got a cloud over it.


And I must say in the context in the G4 S statement today I have a


real concern about how the department or Government decides


whether or not it is a fit and proper company which with it should


do business. I know you want to move on, but if you had a builder


in your home who did a shoddy job and we know A4E had one contract


taken away from them and they have police looking at another, Emma


Harrison paid herself an �8.6 million dividend in country year in


a company that gets its money out of public money. You wouldn't ask


that builder to... This is A4 E saying they have addressed the


problems and they are fit and proper contractors to carry out the


contracts. Are you saying they are not fit and proper? If that's


theication, why does the Government not let us see the statistics so


that we can judge on A4 E's performance whether or not they are


a fit and proper company. Cristina Odone, the Government is


reliant on the private contractors, do you think there is a whiter


problem here? Well, I think definitely whether it is a public


service that is being given out to a private contractor or to a


Government contractor, what we need is scrutiny, better scrutiny and


what Margaret Hodge's committee has shown is that the scrutiny over A4


E has been abysmal or at least not perfect and I think that what we


need to have is the great transparency that we have been


promised by the coalition from A to Z to focus on these private


contractors. One of the problems was that Emma Harrison and her


social enterprise was how we were sold it, looked so good. It was


part of wishful thinking. Big Society come through.


Is it a problem with this particular company or is there a


wider difficulty do you think in keeping tabs on the private


contractors? It is wider than that and New Labour and the


Conservatives have to come to terms with that record. It is not just


the case with A4 E, we have had two G4 S directors resigning today.


During the Olympics they were expected to provide security and


failed to do so, who had to step in? The State. And Philip Hammond,


a Conservative Cabinet Minister he said that questioned his belief


that the private sector automatically provided better value


for money and was more efficient than the public sector.


My fear is what we will end up with is taxpayers money, hard earned


taxpayers money, lining the pockets of private contractors who are


ripping us all off. Margaret, in your committee, you


have looked at a whole series of these different projects where the


Government has brought in private contractors. Is it a problem of the


contracts of a lack of oversight or the way the whole systems work?


There is a generic problem across Government particularly as they use


more private contractors to deliver public services and it is about


transparency. Too often both the contractor and the department hide


behind commercial confidentiality and won't tell you how they are


spending the money and either you build transparency into the


contract or allow Freedom of Information provisions to relate to


contracts that where it is the taxpayers money, delivering a


public service, I think that's hugely important and I also think,


and we are coming across it the Health Service and across PFI, that


the ability of Government to really strike a descent deal, a good deal


for the taxpayer, to have those commercial business skills which


will ensure that we get proper value and aren't ripped off, don't


In just under 30 days, there will be a new president of the United


States, or if you believe the polls, confirmation that the same one the


staying on for another four years. Next week, Mitt Romney has what


might be his last chance to turn the race around with the


presidential debate in Denver on Wednesday. Can he do it? We asked


the Huffington post's Ryan Grim for his take on the race. We are on the


rooftop of the Huffington post. Last Monday and, Mitt Romney


announced a major Reset of his stumbling campaign. Hours later we


are published footage of him in a secret fund raiser saying that 47 %


of the people are deadbeats. It reinforced the stereotype that


people already have of Romney. many Americans are struggling to


find work in the economy. To many of them are living pay cheque to


pay cheques. More Americans are living in poverty than when


President Obama took office. My plan will create 12 million new


jobs over the next four years. We shouldn't measure compassion by how


many people on welfare. We should measure compassion by how many


people are able to get off welfare and get a good paying job. I am


Mitt Romney and I approve this message. In order to re energise


his campaign, Mitt Romney came here to Capitol Hill, where he scooped


up Paul Ryan to be his number two. The picky made last August was


heralded by his Tea Party and grassroots Conservatives. They


found a way to bring their ideology into the campaign but it has not


happened. Take a look at what happened this week in Ohio. Mitt


Romney had this bizarre interaction with his own audience. Back is


quite a guy, isn't it, Paul Ryan, that is something. Wait a second,


Romney Ryan, Ann Romney Ryan, Ron the Ryan. A despite having run what


many people considered the worst presidential campaign they have


ever seen, Mitt Romney is still very much in this race and that is


for one reason. He has history on his side. Not since this man, FDR,


has a President been re-elected with an economy this hour and an


unemployment rate this high. Ronnie has a chance to change his


direction and he has signalled he is ready to go on the offensive. --


Ann Romney. The President has a tendency to say things which are


not tree and in attacking his opponents, I have looked at prior


debate and it is difficult to say I am are going to spend my time


correcting things which are not accurate or I might go and spend my


time talking that things I want to talk about? It will be hard to make


those charges stick because Ronnie has been accused of the same thing.


A welfare advert he has been running has been called false. Paul


Ryan during his convention speech made at least four major misleading


claims which were called out by the media. But we have a major money


advantage for Mitt Romney and a tumultuous Middle East. It is


possible that in January, he could be downsizing and moving into this


Lumb here. It makes our campaigns look rather


tame, doesn't it? Irwin, I am guessing you are not a huge fan of


Mitt Romney. If you were his chief spin doctor, you would be burying


your head in your hands. I would beam rocking in a foetal position


in a corner somewhere. Not since FDR has any President won re-


election with an unemployment rate above 8%. Unemployment is


stubbornly high in that country. Yesterday, GDP figures were slashed.


The economy is in a terrible state but in all the polls, Obama is


pulling ahead, particularly in the key battleground states like Ohio.


He has a very firm lead there. Unless there is a huge deal broker,


for example Israel attacks Iran, I cannot see how Mitt Romney has any


chance of winning an election he should have walked. Despite all


those problems, it is interesting that Mitt Romney is still there in


the race. People feel there is a huge amount to play for. It is


unbelievable. Especially when you watch him put his foot repeatedly


in his mouth. I think it is that old it is the economy, stupid. What


Obama has to fight is not a man but money. He has to fight the fact


that a lot of Americans feel poorer today than they did when he came in.


That is where the problem lies. there were such high expectations


on Obama. Do you think he is suffering the backlash from that?


have to say, as somebody who has lived in Washington DC, I never


thought it could happen, that somebody who was black could get in


as President. Obama for me, can stop right there. For me, he has


changed what America looks like. He has changed what America can say to


the world. The problem is, after that momentous, historic,


heartbreaking and thrilling moment, what has he done? It has not been


exactly the best confirmation of an intelligent, brilliant strategic


mind. If I was Mitt Romney's chief- of-staff, which thankfully I am not,


I would get him to do what Reagan did back in 1980 by repeatedly


hammer Jimmy Carter by saying to you feel better off than you did


four years ago? The case for most Americans is absolutely not. But we


have already had a classic Mitt Romney attacking 47 % of Americans


as scroungers, including many natural Republican voters, people


like military veterans and pensioners. It was the worst own


goal. You can see the 60 something year-old granny sitting in her


porch and Chicago and saying, I would have voted for year... Took


there was even a suggestion that some of these 47 % were people who


had been taken out of tax by a previous Republican tax changes.


is really ruining it. What he should stick to his economics. And


then he could stand a chance. are coming up to this first


presidential debate and as we know, very often these debates can be


turned one way or another by one chance comment, one chance remark.


A classic one-liner, absolutely. There was one in 1988. By eight do


not remember it because I was very young at the time. One Republican


vice-presidential candidate said he compared himself to JFK. Someone


else said he knew JFK and he was no JFK. That turned the debate around.


Mitt Romney does not have the affection of the conservative base.


That he Party's mantra is one half of America is subsidising the other


but they do not think he is one of theirs. The establishment think he


is incompetent. He does not have a strong base in the party. Thank you


both very much. It has been another turbulent week


in the eurozone with a nationwide strike in Greece descending into


riots, protesters throwing petrol bombs and rocks and dozens of


arrests being made. Yesterday, the Greek government made progress on


the basic outlines of a new 13 billion euros package of cuts and


tax increases. That has been overshadowed by a request from some


in the governing coalition fraud more help from Brussels to soften


the effect of cuts. Meanwhile, demonstrators have been out on the


streets of Spain this week with tens of thousands of protesting at


austerity measures. Nevertheless, the Spanish government yesterday


announced a new round of tax and cups - at tax cuts. Vicky Pryce,


who was born in Greece, is the author of a new book on the crisis.


She joins us now. We keep hearing that Greece is on the brink, that


it is seeking another bail out, that it has another round of cuts,


obviously people are feeling a great deal of pain, way do you


think Greece stands at the moment? The problem we have is Greece has


seen a reduction in its GDP for the last five years. The likelihood is


we will see a drop in output of -- in 2012 and 2013. If other


countries had a drop in GDP would have riots in the streets. There


has been a huge amount of pain. And major increase in unemployment,


there is now 27 % unemployment. Confusingly, we have now got a new


package of cuts, very unpopular, we thought there was a deal, arranged,


but it seems Greece is asking for more time? The government which has


now come to power which is a coalition government, which is made


up of Socialists and the centre right and also some centre-left as


well, it is a three-party coalition, came with a mandate to renegotiate


the deal because the latest package had caused so much concern. None of


this has come into Greece yet. We are talking about 110 to 130


billion euros, as part of a second package, which has meant mainly


recapitalising the banking sector, mainly there to increase liquidity


in the system and also to compensate all the banks which took


a haircut, if you like. They took a reduction. Very little is due to


come into the Greek economy itself, which means that people are


suffering, contractors are not being paid, it is not as if the


West, western Europe has been putting a lot of money into Greece,


very little of that has come. But the conditions attached to that


money are so tight and have required the Greeks to have come


with a further package of cuts which is the 11.6 billion there


have just agreed. So little more time for Greece to stagger on and


in the meantime, mounting concerns about Spain which has also had to


announce another round of cuts. How serious is the situation in Spain


now? Is it getting to the point that Greece is that? Greece needs


extra time to do it and what it really needs is to have a lot of


the debt renegotiated and frankly, written off. There is no way it can


carry on the way it is. It is very similar in Spain. It has the same


unemployment rate. It is a much larger economy sea can imagine how


many people are out of work, it is stupendous. The youth unemployment


rate is at 54 %. Spain has already extended its own timetable which


the markets have accepted. It is about to hear terrible things about


its banking sector. It will need to go for a proper bail out. The debt


in Spain is unsustainable in my view. Like Greece, it will have a


reduction in GDP this year, a reduction next year and the


austerity package just announced is adding more pain. It cut public


spending, raise taxes and cuts benefits which will affect the


population at large. So far, we have seen the leadership of Germany,


France and others in Europe have been that they have been so


concerned about a wider collapse of the European currency that they


have decided it is better to carry on doing whatever they need to to


try and keep these countries in the eurozone. Is that going to continue


or are we going to finally reach some crisis point. We seem to keep


approaching crisis point and then the crisis get staved off for a


little longer, more time is given. The problem is, they have not been


doing enough, and they have not been doing it fast enough. The way


they are operating, they are doing the opposite. Every time there is a


summit, a decision is made. It used to last few weeks. The markets have


stopped believing what comes out of those summits and what you hear


every now and then, a decision is made and then it gets reversed. It


is going on right this minute about how you refund capitalisation in


the backs. Do you think it is looking inevitable that Greece and


Spain might have to leave the euro? No. I think everyone will work hard


to ensure that certainly Spain and Greece and the other countries,


because if Greece believes the whole thing will fall apart. Italy


is in trouble. Mario Monti is talking about extending his stay as


Prime Minister so he can continue the reform process. I think the


Germans will have to fund it. Christina Odone, with this eurozone


crisis having an impact here, but we seem to be carrying on lurching


from one crisis point to the next, do you think the leaders in Europe


are right to try and keep this project on the rails at all costs?


I think the problem is, it is not just a global village, it is a


European village. Whatever happens to Greece, does have a huge impact


on the rest of us, so we are linked together and some of us may think a


country like Greece or Spain or Italy, is a bit of an albatross


around another country's neck but we are stuck together. The problem


is, the politics of any kind of stronger centralised discipline is


so unappealing, especially unappealing to northern Europe and


especially to Britain, because what we cannot bear is the thought of


more sovereignty going to some central anonymous, autonomous


institution that we have no power over, we have no say in, we are


just going to be quashed as citizens of a nation. And that, I


think, is what people are really There has been a lot of


surrendering of sovereignty which has has taken too much? Too much


some might say. Possibly, but some of the countries,


we want to talk about Spain and Italy and Greece, probably wanted


more of their sovereignty to go because they wanted to be run by


the technocrats in Brussels rather than their own politicians.


That's one of the of the problems. We are talking about Greece and


Italy and Spain, countries that have a low civic understanding of


what responsibility lies. Countries that are featured nationally as the


tax dodge U Owen? The Nobel prize winning


economist has it right. It compares it to a medieval witchdoctor as the


patient gets weaker, bleeds it more. What we are seeing in Greece is a


catastrophe. So they should be spending more?


What is happening is debt is surging in Greece. We have over


half of young people unemployed. We have a society basically being


dismantled because of austerity imposed by the German Government.


Not because of austerity. This is the key point. If you look at


Ireland, Ireland had a budget surplus before the crisis. All


countries regardless whether they had a surplus or deficit had been


hit by a financial crisis. Money borrowed in a bad way is not


good money. You are saying that part of the problems in places like


Greece and Spain is that the EU, the terms of the bail outs are so


so strict that it is making the problems worse. Do you think they


would be better off outside the euro? In the case of Greece, about


70% of the population want to stay within the euro, but that's giving


them little flexibility in dealing with the crisis. What needs to


happen is firstly, a lot of the debt needs to be written off. There


is no way it can be paid off and what we are seeing is the


dismantling of a society as a result of that, young people, no


future in that country, but the banks to be taken over and publicly


controlled and used to invest in the economy which at the moment I


mean are sustained by the taxpayer. Surely there is a point there in


these tight rules that are being imposed on countries like Greece


and Spain, are making it really very, very difficult indeed for


those economies to find anyway to recover? What you need is to change


the rules. Not necessarily to see the countries go. There is no doubt


that all of them reform, whether you look at Italy or Spain. You


actually have countries that don't do the right things if you like and


because the euro was a good thing for them in the short-term is, low


interest rates to finance the housing boom in Spain and the


French banks in Greece and they borrowed like there was no tomorrow.


But they weren't - but what happened since with with the crisis


that hit, there was nothing to fall back on because they hadn't


restructured and they had no way they could change their exchange


rate. We need to re-think this. OK, I am sure a lot more to come.


There is a big summit coming up before the end of the year.


Did you hear the one about the politician who died on stage? Well,


we don't mean literally. When Danny Alexander stood up in front of the


Lib Dem conference and told jokes you could have heard a pin drop. It


was a reminder that while political humour can have them rolling in the


aisles, it can have heading for the exits. We have come up with the


# I'm joker # Cherie, I mean...


APPLAUSE Well, at least I don't have to


worry about her running off with The Guardian Disclosed that the


speech had not been written by Gordon Brown at all.


LAUGHTER But by a 27-year-old choral singing


researcher name Ed Balls. There you have it, the final proof, Labour's


brand-new shining, modernist economist dream, but it wasn't


Brown's, it was Balls! APPLAUSE


I will not make agen issue of this campaign. I am not going to exploit


for political purposes my opponents youth and inexperience.


LAUGHTER You did wrack up more medals than


France, didn't you? Yes! And more med medals than


Germany and Australia and more medals my friends per head, more


medals per head than virtually every country on earth and yes, you


brought sport home to a city and a country where by and large it was


invented and codified. You brought athletics home, you brought home


rowing, you brought home cycling, you brought home judo, I am not


sure if judo was invented in London. Of course, not everything about the


Budget this year was perfect. LAUGHTER


Julia Church my brilliant special adviser was getting married a few


weeks after the Budget in Cornwall. I checked to make sure that her


future husband was not a caravan gelling churchgoer with a taste for


pasttries, but I will always think of that period of four U-turns and


a wedding. Thank you.


APPLAUSE Oh dear. Poor old Danny having to


laugh himself to break up the silence there. But we are joined by


the man who wrote Tony Blair's Gordon and Cherie joke, the former


speech writer and now Times columnist. Cherie had put her foot


in it and Tony Blair turned the corner there. Yes, the Gordon Brown


speech was over shadowed by something about Cherie Blair having


said something rude about him to a journalist and it ran, it was


running the next day and that's the key to why the joke worked. It is


because we conceded in that joke that she probably had said it. And


the joke had a real purpose. It wasn't just a joke, completely


separate from the speech, had a political impact because we were


saying, "Yeah, OK, three probably said it. But let's not worry about


it too much." The original joke is a Les Dawson gag. The original one


is where Les Dawson used to say, "My wife has just run off with the


guy next door, and do you know what? I'm really going to miss




In that circumstance, was it Tony Blair himself who decided we have


got to make a a joke out of this? And you were tasked with coming up


with it? There were more people involved and everybody knows the


best way of dealing with it is to have some lightness of touch. It


has - as you said, it has got to be funny. If a joke is really funny


you hide in the laughter the political point. If it is not funny,


you risk basically insulteding everybody, you risk Gordon Brown


being annoyed and risk drawing attention to the facts without


disolving it. It took a while to fin the right right form at.


And did Cherie see the joke? Yes. LAUGHTER


Eventually. A couple of seconds after the


laughter in the hall, everybody saw the joke! It is risque. If you do a


joke like that, there is a risk attached. As the Prime Minister


stood up to speak, it wasn't in the script, it was in his head and we


didn't know know until he said it, whether he was going to. He judged


the mood about whether to do the joke. Danny Alexander... You were


at the scene biting your nails wondering if it is going to happen?


Firstly, is he going to say it and is it going to come off? I never


thought it would come off as well as it did. What Danny Alexander


should have done with get out of it. I'm dying here. I have got to stop,


but he goes on and on and supplies his own laughter track at the end.


Is part of the problem the politician involved or the


solution? We saw Boris Johnson there who seems capable of opening


his mouth and saying just about anything and getting everyone on


his side and everyone laughing and Danny Alexander didn't have that


effect even at Lib Dem conference? Comedy has to be organic. It has


could come out of the thing that you are writing. You hate it when


they say before they go on, "Have you got any jokes?" They shouldn't


be separate. Boris does it naturally and his problem is the


opposite. He needs to be not so funny and for serious, but some


people can't do it. Occasionally you get somebody who is not funny,


to be funny. The classic case was Margaret Thatcher. The Lib Dems had


a new motive that looked like a dead parrot. They got her to do the


dead parrot sketch. She didn't know who Monty Python was and she


watched the video and before she went on the stage and she said,


"This Monty Python, is he one of us?". Oh, how wonderful.


It worked because the script was good.


They always say politics is show business for ugly people and


often... Like acting? When it comes to actsing, politicians not least


your own boss could be superb, but when it comes to humour, the


classic one was Sarah Tether last year, I urge your viewers to watch


it and she talked about going back to Strictly Come Dancing and says


George Osborne is going to be doing the line dancing and everything was


wrong, its timing, the way she delivered it. It was trending on


Twitter Within an hour and it was a car crash.


And yet politicians feel the need to turn to humour, to make


themselves appear human and normal and... It is playing to the gallery.


It is trying to appeal to the audience. It is trying to feel the


audience. It is trying to feed the audience, but it really, rarely


works and Boris, you are right, Philip. One of the weird things is


that when the politician is so effortlessly funny and so you know,


wonderful, all he has to do is touch the hair and everybody roars


with laughter. It does leave some of his audience wondering, "Is he


serious?" When push comes to shove, can he deliver? Well, he has been


re-elected to City Hall so it is obviously working.


It is not Number Ten. It is interesting to see what he


does at the the Tory party conference.


Do you think Ed Miliband should try more jokes next week?




Look at the look of horror on his speech when you said that!


No, I don't think he should. If - he is not an unfunny person


privately. It just depends. If it occurs naturally in the writing and


it is funny then yes, but it should be something he is comfortable with


that he has devised. He shouldn't bow to the pressure that I have got


to have two jokes and let's put put them in at the last minute. You


lose confidence when you tell a joke and it dies.


You may remember how a couple of weeks ago, we asked the


Conservative author Richard D North on to the Daily Politics to give us


his guide on how to be a right- winger. Well, we thought we would


ask Owen Jones for a guide for the left-winger. Have a look at this.


At five, pay your taxes. Don't do a Jimmy Carr.


At four, none of us have any control of our upbringing. We want


working people to have a a voice, but it doesn't mean hating people


for being born posh. At three, join a trade union and


never cross a picket line. It is the only means workers have to


fight for a fair share of the cake. It is a non mover at tworks don't


go all people's front. The real enemy is capitalism, not each


other! And at one, your goal is a society


run by working people for working people. Not Not in the interests of


That was almost a bit of Clause four at the end there. It is not


exactly the cool thing to be left wing at the moment. Do you think it


is time for the left wing to we exert itself and put pressure on Ed


Miliband and Ed Balls? I think most people outside off political life


do-nothing cod issues in terms of left and right, they think of


things in terms of issues which have to be addressed, whether they


solutions are convincing, coherent and resonate with their experiences.


We are four years now into an intractable economic crisis, where


people face the biggest squeeze in living standards since my ground


was born in the 1920s. It remains boom-time for those at the top. The


Sunday Times Rich List, the wealth went up by the 5th. I think there


is a growing appetite now when we have seen the failures of free-


market capitalism to say, there is a different way of running society


and I think people are more open now to talking about higher taxes


on the rich. Christina, does Owen Jones have a point? A lot of people


are struggling, do you think this could be an opportunity for the


left? And unfair society is a terrible thing. But I think what


Phil wrote this morning in his column was a bit of a challenge to,


which it is what does Labour stand for when there is no money? That is


the problem. When you said it Labour no longer is the coherent


opposition, what do they stand for? What are they going to do? Why


should I go and vote for them? Let's bring in Phil here. Do you


consider yourself a man of the left these days. It is not something


people often ask that yes, rather than right. I think what I to


disagree is the alternatives to captors and, what you will get is


responsible capitalism. You may or may not get it but that is the


frame of the argument. What you will get is a different form of


capitalism. What I do not get the sense of his public ownership of


the commanding heights of the economy and other things for stud


you do consider yourself a man of the left? Yes, I am a democratic


socialist and I want a society run by the working people. Are you in


1980 person Orin 1930 person? 2012 left winger. I do not want to


return to the old form of statism pioneered by Peter Mandelson's


grandfather, Herbert Morrison. I do not want the old-style British Rail.


I would have workers and passengers have been democratically


represented elect lives on the board. What role do we have as tax


payers bailing out the banks to running the Bank's? You have


written these five Rules. Phil Collins helped Tony Blair very much


to shift the Labour Party, do you have him as part of that cabal who


betrayed the left or do you think they help? I think it would be fair


to say we come from a slightly different tradition. Clause 4,


would you bring it back? necessarily in that form. I like


the idea of a society run by working people. I avoid the cries


of betrayal because the way I see that rightward shift is the rise of


the New Right in the 1980s. The form of globalisation with Hendon


Government's. But also, after the end of the Cold War, even if your


airport Stalinist totalitarianism, as I hope all people on the left


did, that was Banaz capitalism's final victory. We are still


suffering from the legacy. other thing about Old Labour, it


was phenomenally on successful -- New Labour. Well Tony Blair won


something. Exactly. The absurdity of the view that the Labour Party


can return to view it has -- doesn't extend to the market for


haircuts and core jets? What product markets are you extending


this into? I must just ask you, Christina, you used to work for the


New Statesman, weighed you consider yourself on this? I have become


more right-wing than Phil and right centre. What I cannot bear about


Owen's vision, I like you but I do not like your vision, what I do not


like his huge state quashing all individual initiative. The one


thing I still like about David Cameron is the Big Society, the one


that nobody liked. But what I loved was the thought of lots of people


really taking up and doing things and seeing their neighbourhood,


their locality as a great launch pad for all kinds of initiatives.


Your statism... Is it is not statism. You obviously feel very


passionate about this. Do you think it is possible that as you continue


in the years to come, you could perhaps move on a political journey


yourself? That you might be tempted by David Cameron's Big Society,


that you might, as you get older, as a lot of people have shifted


from the left to the right? It is thickly shade right-wing shift. But


no. I come from a very proud left- wing background. Four generations


of both sides my family have been committed to the trade union


movement. My great grandad was on the 1926 General Strike. My parents


were trade union activists and none of them shifted to the right. What


I am arguing for is a higher taxes on the rich, democratic control of


our banks, social ownership, not the old form of statism. We have


got lots of socialism in this country for the rich. Banks propped


up by the tax payer, landlords who are paid housing benefits for


example. I do not want to run the railways. Well I am not asking you


to. We are going to leave this discussion now. It has been a week


dominated by the Liberal Democrats hanging up by the beach in Brighton.


David Cameron was given a lesson in history on American TV. Here is


David Thomson with the 60 second round up.


Chief Whip Andrew Mitchell decided to get off his bike and perhaps his


high horse as he headed in to work on Monday. But after apologising he


was not keen to hang around for more questions from the plebs,


Surrey, hacks. Luckily, he could count on the support of his


coalition colleagues. A jokes about social class are not good for the


unity of the coalition. As Eimear pleb, I could not resist. Talking


of the Lib Dems, it was conference time in Brighton. Nick Clegg might


be expecting a bloodbath in the next election. I have seen


generations of liberals marching towards the sound of gunfire.


Hamza finally got his marching orders to the US but the BBC


blocked -- blotted its copybook with people in high places. David


Cameron went to American -- America and he should have paid more


attention to history lessons at Eton. Magna Carter? You are testing


may. Be it would be good if you knew this. The yes, it would be.


There was David Cameron in a spot of trouble but the trials of Andrew


Mitchell have dominated the headlines for a long time. We have


heard he has told his local newspaper that he believes the


whole row has been blown out of all proportion by the national media.


He says he has apologised and hopes he can draw a line under it. Do you


think he has a point? No, I thought he was disgusting and it was really


embarrassing! It made me cringe. Unbelievably, I think he will get


away with it. He is in the headlines now. In the headlines


after seven days, you should be dead. He should have just kept


Ashton. He will put himself back in the headlines if he speaks like


that. That attitude reinforced the Tory party as the party for the


rich. The focus in the coming week will be on the Labour Party. It is


a curious situation for Ed Miliband because he is ahead in the polls


but he is facing huge amount of criticism for a failure to show


sufficient leadership. What do you think he will do? It is a peculiar


conference. It is unique because of the length of the political cycle.


For the first time, we know we will have a five-year cycle. Normally,


this would be the firing gun for an election campaign. But it will not


now. Have a longer period. The first two conferences are kind of


get to know Ed Miliband, the next two will be moving to a general


election but this one is struggling for a purpose. He does not want to


reveal too much, too early because that is a mistake. But at the same


time, everybody on my side of the fence is there, but who are you,


what are you going to do? It is a difficult conference for him.


have heard a lot about a blank sheet of paper. There will be huge


amount of pressure on him to come out with some policies? There will


be, but I'm not sure he will be wise to yield to it. It is unfair


that say it is a blank sheet of paper because of what he has


written a some emerging themes which you may or may not like.


People were not aware of them to stop the actors always true because


people were not paying attention but they will. He will talk about


responsible capitalism. My own view is it will not be enough. You


cannot say the paper will be plant. Given the long election cycle, how


do you think he is doing. Do you think he is really poised to step


up a gear over the next couple of years and storm and the next


election? I think they have got trouble on policy because there is


not a sense of what the Labour Party really is because there is no


money to hand out. Having said that, Ed Miliband was underestimated when


he became leader. I never thought he was as bad as he was painted. I


think the surprise that some people have had that he has had some good


moments has been a surprise, just them changing their minds and


realising what was true all along, he is better than that. The


question is, will it be enough? were quite critical of his speech


last year which talked about predatory capitalism but some would


argue he is vindicated because Vince Cable has said this is


something we could work on. Do you think in hindsight you were too


harsh? No aye, in hindsight I was too generous. I'm sure some would


say that but it is a silly distinction. This distinction


between predator and producer for so vet immediately. Instantly,


Andrew Neil dismantled it as a distinction. It collapses.


Christina, how great is the pressure now? It is lack Mitt


Romney. I can see so many parallels. -- it is like Mitt Romney. This is


a guy with so much to gain. He is facing an opposition which is so


unpopular, which has not been able to make cuts, a kind of cohesive


national mission and what does he do? He stands there and loses all


kinds of credibility. I am afraid I am not owe an Ed Miliband fund or a


least not this Ed Miliband. thanks to my guests. We will have


to leave there now. 1 o'clock News is starting over on BBC One. Andrew


will be back on BBC One on Sunday with the Sunday Politics where he


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