Jo Coburn with the latest political news, including a preview of the Conservative Party Conference with Home Office minister James Brokenshire.
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Good afternoon and welcome to the Daily Politics. The party
conference bandwagon enters the home straight as the Conservatives
prepare for their little shindig in Birmingham next week. But can David
Cameron rally the troops like Ed Miliband did? He has a bus on his
hands. Behind in the polls and facing criticism from all sides
about his leadership. We will speak to one of his ministers.
The got a spare 10 billion euros? De EU has a past be run out of cash.
We will speak to the French MEP who thinks it is time to cough up.
Thousands of BBC employees as well as other public sector workers have
been helped to pay less tax. MPs issued a damning report.
And who is up, who is down? We will have a round-up of the last seven
All that in the next hour. With us is Rachel Sylvester from the Times
and Steve Richards on the Independent. Welcome to both of you.
Let's start with the news that tax arrangements for some public sector
workers have been criticised by MPs. A Public Accounts Committee report
says too many make their own arrangements to pay tax and
national insurance, which could allow them to pay less. The chair
of the committee, Margaret Hodge, says public sector workers have to
be whiter than white. If you work in the public service,
it is upon you to lead by example. Hard-working families up and down
the country are paying a lot in tax, and it is wrong that individuals
working in the public service, whose money comes from the tax
those families pay, are not paying their share.
Margaret Hodge. Rachel Sylvester, at what point does it become
immoral to try to reduce the amount of tax that you pay? It is not
illegal. The Times has had a huge reaction
to its campaign on tax avoidance. There is a difference between
something illegal and something immoral. There is a grey area, but
I think there are times when you are within the law that it is not
right. Interestingly, politicians have cottoned on to this. It is a
way in which the Tory party can be criticising wealthy billionaire's
who are avoiding tax, and their way of making themselves seem not just
on the side of the rich. Labour get to hit at them, too.
What about it being targeted at public sector workers or those who
work in the public sector? Somehow they should not be allowed to
reduce their tax rate, even within the law?
Margaret Hodge summed it up when she said that they are being paid
through the taxation system. Therefore they have a moral
obligation. I think others do as well, actually. I can't see the
case why some should pay 40% or whatever and others 21%. There is
no logical moral argument justifying it. Also, now, we need
the money. Where do you draw the line? You
agree with it in principle, saying it was a populist campaign. Where
do you draw the line on avoidance? How do you legislate for people not
to have accountants who can reduce tax?
There are mechanisms that are clearly aggressively designed to
avoid paying tax. It is not just using the system in a way that is
clearly fair and above board. It is aggressively going out and trying
to avoid paying tax. That is wrong. Let's move on to our quiz. Today is
the 50th anniversary of the release of the first James Bond film, Dr No.
The question for today is which Cabinet minister has a Bond poster
of themselves? David Cameron, William Hague, Theresa May, or Eric
Pickles? What a fine bunch! At the end of
the show, our guests will try to give us the right answer.
As David Cameron... Something for you to think about! As David
Cameron packs for Birmingham, he may think that the backdrop to the
conference is not all he would have hoped for. The blunder over the
West Coast rail franchise has revived claims that his government
is incompetent, perhaps it is still in the grip of the budget
omnishambles we started back in the sprint. It Miliband's pitch to
represent One Nation at his conference has caught some movement
in the polls, with 27% of people in one survey saying the Labour leader
would make the best Prime Minister. Only just behind Mr Cameron, who is
on 31%. And Mr Cameron has got friends like Boris Johnson
challenging the way he is leading the party. The London mayor has
accused the government of complacency over airport capacity
in the south-east of England. Liam Fox from the right of the party
says today that the Tories are being ban by a metropolitan elite.
Wonder who he could have in mind! Believes Mr Cameron with a tricky
balancing act. Does he defend the coalition or find some red meat for
the party faithful? Let's be to our political correspondent, Chris
Mason. Let's look at the slogan. Britain can deliver. Is it an
attempt to reclaim the One Nation idea from Ed Miliband?
To an extent. The banner has just been unveiled in the last hour or
so. The security sweep is under way before people start to arrive.
Britain can deliver - the response to all of the Labour stuff we had
earlier in the week. The emphasis is on a job that is continuing to
be done. That is the subtext of the slogan. The emphasis is that 25% of
the deficit has been paid down. There is big reform going on in
education in England, in the welfare state and the benefits
system, and there is more to achieve. They say, they will argue,
that the Conservatives can achieve it in coalition and even more
quickly if there was a Conservative majority government after 2015. The
party chairman started off a few days of banging the Conservative
trump. He has given an interview to the Evening Standard. He was asked,
will be Conservatives show mercy to the Lib Dems at the election?
Answer? Absolutely not. Lord Ashcroft, the former chairman,
has carried out some polling to find out why certain groups are not
voting Conservative. Interesting reading?
Very interesting. What he has done, and of course, any attempt to
conduct a poll and then trunk up segments of society into categories
and attach a label, that runs a risk of being lampooned as quiet
that people, it be like in the sitcoms. It is a thoughtful piece
of work, though. It also about suspicious strivers. It seems a bit
like the Labour idea of the squeeze to mid-off. He feared that the
Conservatives have alienated those people who fear that there are
those who are reliant on the state, who are helped by government, and
there are those at the top of the pecking order who are helped by the
state as well. But there are those suspicious drivers -- strivers who
have Conservative ideals but fear the state does not help them
sufficiently. He fears those people have peeled off in the direction of
Labour in the last couple of years. If the Conservatives can secure the
majority, they need to win them back before 2015.
With us now is the Conservative Home Office minister James
Brokenshire. Welcome back to the Daily Politics. We just discussed
the slogan. If you can't deliver the West Coast Mainline, the at
said the government has earned irritation for incompetence?
-- do you accept the government has earned a reputation for
incompetence? The mood of the conference will be
how we need to continue to deliver for Britain, supporting those
people who are striving in difficulty to ensure that we are
helping those in to work. Some things we have already done, like
cutting the deficit, the work programmes supporting 330,000
people into employment. It is that Focus that we will have during the
conference. But what will be at the forefront
will be the tax bill of a least �40 million because of this West Coast
Mainline fiasco. It is right Bedi Transport
Secretary is taking the steps in terms of the two reviews being
taken. -- it is right that the Transport Secretary. That is the
right thing for him to do. He is taking clear action in this regard.
Clearly, we need to sort the issue out.
As a Home Office minister, you must be pleased the focus is not on your
department for once. Are you relieved?
The Home Office is always an interesting place. But no, our
focus is on securing the public, making sure we have the police
doing the job we want them to do, free of the bureaucracy of the last
government. That is our focus, and clearly, the issues that the Home
Secretary and also the Justice Secretary will be taking forward,
they are how we can deliver the scent of safety. The Justice
Secretary has met an interesting comments about how we can get
community punishment. We will come onto that. Do the
comments attributed to be Andrew -- to Andromede due -- to be to do
Andrew Mitchell will be harmful? That was utterly wrong.
It was right for him not to go to the conference?
That is a matter for Andrew. He has made that decision. That is for him
to decide. We do respect our police at this time, when we have seen of
the real dangers that they can be involved in. I understand that.
That is why we want to support the police, ensuring that government
itself, central government, is His Boris Johnson...
I think people will vote for the Conservatives. They will understand
the power people will have over law and order on their streets.
Somebody else who talks about that in London is the mayor, Boris
Johnson. He is a friend of the government, or an enemy?
He is a fantastic advocate of the Conservative Party and of London. I
worked alongside him during the Olympics, as well as the Prime
Minister. It is a powerful show they can bring to the fore. I think
he will be a great advocate for the party. He is doing his bit for
London, in his way. It is right that he should do so.
But do you agree with his comments criticising the government over the
aviation capacity? He has criticised them a lot of what he
called a timetable for economic catastrophe, unless a deal with the
lack of capacity in the South East. I think we need to base this on the
evidence. That is what the government is doing, looking at the
various capacities. Is that helpful to the government?
Boris has got to do his job as Mayor of London, seeing what he
thinks is the right thing for him to be putting forward. That is his
own perspective. What we need to do is to look at the evidence. But
what the Government is intending to do. We need to get this decision
right, understanding what the aviation industry needs.
His Boris Johnson going to be a help or a hindrance at this
conference? I think he will be a hindrance. He
is going to show people an alternative. There is a tetchy mood
in the party because of the polls. People will have a different
analysis about the ratings, and Boris has his. The interesting
thing coming out of the Labour conference, when Ed Miliband to be
a One Nation label, is whether David Cameron can come back. --
went Ed Miliband took the One Nation label. You have got people
like Boris in the wings. If Cameron can put a stamp on the party, that
will put an end to it. A what does David Cameron need to
do, then? Dusty answer the question that has been outlined or does he
To be honest, he cannot do anything. Governments have set their course
by now. Budgets, Queen's speeches, autumn reports were the course is
set. As Rachel suggested, after an early flirtation with the centre
ground, one nation Toryism, whether you disagree with it or agree with
it, on the right, whether it is the economic policies or the public
service reforms. It has been closer to that part of the political
spectrum in recent years. I don't think a speech on Wednesday morning
will change very much. What do you say to that? I think we have the
opportunity which I think will be taken, to set out the tough
decisions we need to take to get the economy right. We have cut the
deficit by a quarter already. deficit that is going back up again.
We have created 1.2 million private sector jobs. Also things on welfare
reform as well. If you are in work, work will always pay. We have a
culture that is the hand of to assist people into work, rather
than the handout dependency culture we had under Labour. We have fancy
rhetoric from the Labour Party setting out some slogans, but very
light on substance. You will see in the coming week, a real substance
on what is happening. The back empty rhetoric has delivered its 14.
Lead for Labour and even more worrying, David Cameron's poll
ratings are starting to slide against Ed Miliband. Do you see Ed
Miliband as an s it? My focus is ensuring we get the country right.
We are going to underline the lack of vision, lack of focus and the
fact that the Labour leader has been looking to the past in terms
of trying to draw upon a previous Conservative Prime Minister. If he
wants to use Conservative slogans, it is up to him. But he is not
learning, accepting the mistakes the last Labour Government made. So
how can he offer the future? It is an important message to give on the
mistakes that were made, how we are dealing with those problems and
delivering for Britain. Thanks very much, have a good conference. Now,
have you got a spare ten billion euros? No? Well we might be asked
to help out a bit after a warning this week that the European Union
needs some extra cash to tide it over until Christmas. Alain
Lamassoure, the French MEP who chairs the European Parliament's
Budget Committee, says the EU is running out of money and needs an
extra ten billion euros to finance its projects up to the end of the
year. Monsieur Lamassoure joins us now from Paris.
Are you saying the EU's 10 billion euros overspends the this year? It
is an awful lot of money. It is an order of magnitude, the European
Commission will be able to precise the figure. The problem is, we lack
cash. As you know, in every Budget, we make this thing wishing between
money we have to commit ourselves to those services. It is commitment
appropriation. And when the services are delivered, we pay and
we need payments appropriations. We have had enough commitments, but
now when money is committed and the service delivered, we have to pay
and we lack the cash. People say you have not budgeted properly, you
have spent the money frivolously and now you are expecting nation-
states, who come a lot of them are struggling in recession, too strong
up the extra cash? responsibility for that is not the
European Parliament it is budget ministers. Every year when we
negotiate the amount and structure of the EU budget, the budget
ministers on one side and Parliament on the other side. We
discuss commitments. When you commit money, it is not an election
promise, it is a legal obligation. On commitments, ministers don't
care, they don't even discuss it. They are only interested on
payments. So they are generous on commitments, but they are very
Mauritius on payments. Now we are in this contradiction. If we have
to pay, it is not due to the extravagance of the Eurocrats, it
is due to the contradiction of budget ministers between what they
commit and what they don't want to pay. There is an argument that says
are you making a fuss about this now, highlighting this
contradiction, as you set out, in order to increase pressure on the
nation states to put up the EU budget beyond 2013? My arguments --
argument is to demonstrate, to oblige governments to avoid double
talk, to be candid and to say what they want really. Last June, there
was a European Council. As you know, the European summits is taking
unanimously. And they decided unanimously that 120 billion euros
more would be dedicated to sustain growth and competitiveness in the
European Union. And it was agreed by everybody, including the British
Prime Minister. And, a few weeks later when we start of fulfilling
this decision, we realise all finance ministers want to cut the
payments. Instead of increasing them. Things have to be clear. We,
as you mention, we are preparing for talks on the framework of the
EU budget for the next seven years. But things have to be clear. Who
wants to increase the EU budget? He wants to freeze or cut the EU
budget? But, when you decide to raise it, you have to pay. When you
commit you have to deliver. have made that clear, I will put
that to members of the European Parliament.
We can talk now to the UKIP MEP, Marta Andreasen, who's in our
Southampton studio. Hasn't he got a point? He says they want to do all
these things, he says they had committed the nations to these
things and now they don't want to pay up? This is the same Commission
that told us in February that they had a shortfall for 2011 of 11
billion euros. But in April, two months later they had a surplus for
2011 of 1.5 billion euros. This has no reliable information or evidence
they need the money. He talks about the commitments, but the
commitments that are recorded on the books of the Commission are not
legal commitments. It is a setting a part of some money for certain
projects. The initiative that comes from the Commission and from the
Parliament committees, it does not come actually from the member
states. I was voting for one day and a half for the Budget in 2013.
A lot of initiatives are put on by the political parties in the
Parliament without actually knowing if there is any need. Let me tell
you, cohesion funding requires Co financing by the member states.
Member states have no money to do this. How can they do this if they
need more money for cohesion funding now? There are two points
made by Alleyne. He said the projects need to be paid for and
there is a legal obligation, he says it is legally binding those
nation-states to have asked for those projects to be completed,
have now been completed and the payments must be there. Are you
saying, just because they have not got any money because of the
economic situation, they shouldn't be obliged to pay up? Or are you
saying they have got their sums wrong? I am saying the need to pay
is not there. The calculation of 10 billion came up after a meeting
with the budget commissioner. He came to support the need for 10
billion, just saying at the end of September 2012, 80% of the
commitments have been paid. Well as at the end of September 2011, only
3% of the commitment has been paid. He deals because of the rate of
payments is higher at the end of September, it is in need of cash.
This is the only evidence he provides. He does not list to us, a
list of legal commitments the countries are asking to pay but.
Thank you very much. Listening to both sides of the argument, how
much chance do you think David Cameron has in terms of arguing for
a freeze in terms of the EU budget? I have no idea. He won't win that
because he has no power to impose VAT on himself. They suppose he
would get some cosmetic victory in terms of Britain's contribution
because he needs to do that. What is interesting is, at the next
election, the three major party leaders will go into the election
offering a referendum on Europe. None of them will personally
believe it or want to hold it. don't think they personally won't
believe it, why not? The Lib Dems always said they would hold the
referendum. There is a risk now, been made that pledge years ago,
and the risk is now they would lose it. One of the other two will win
and will be obliged to hold this nightmarish thing. It David Cameron
is the Prime Minister, it will split his party. It Ed Miliband it
is the Prime Minister, he risks losing it. None of them will want
to hold the referendum but all three will go into the next
election offering it. The main threat to the main parties is UKIP.
This is the sort of argument they are continuing to present to the
British people, saying costs have been and are running out of control.
There will benefit from this row? It taps into the idea of out of
touch bureaucrats making decisions about our money. It is the small
person against the machine. And small parties like UKIP and the
Green Party can tap into because of the disillusionment with wider
politics. In the end, we have talked before about any deal that
could be done between UKIP and David Cameron. If the parties do a
further referendum, it will shoot their thought? He depends what the
referendum is. David Cameron will have to do what Harold Wilson did
in 1974 and renegotiate our terms of membership. And then say on the
basis of that we will offer a referendum. But also David Cameron
will have to campaign for staying in. He won't go into a referendum
campaign to take Britain out. he has resisted going for the
referendum in the first place because it puts him in a difficult
position. The North of England hasn't exactly
been a happy hunting ground for the Conservatives of late. They lost
more than 100 councillors in the last set of local elections and
there are 25 fewer MPs in the region now than there were at the
height of Thatcherism. As a consequence, a great deal of
thought and energy is being expended on how to restore the
party's fortunes in the region. But is the North a lost cause, or can
the Tories turn things round? David Thompson reports.
Tynemouth, a few miles outside Newcastle, the kind of place you
might end of it you have made it in the North East. Conservative, but
not necessarily with a big sea. If this street was a few hundred miles
to the south, chances are it would be in a safe Tory seat. Because it
is in the north, it isn't. It feels like it should have Conservative
written all over it, but yet places like this all over England, the
party is failing and struggling to get its message across. What would
it take to get you to vote Conservative? Nothing, I wouldn't
vote Conservative. Why not? It is how I had been brought up. Have you
ever thought about voting Conservative? Yes, it in the last
time when Margaret Thatcher was in. I voted Conservative last time
because I thought Labour had lost the plot. But now they have been in
power couple of years, I am not so certain. What we did get you to
vote Conservative? You have not got enough money in the world. A loaded
gun! Those attitudes are being felt on the ground. His place hasn't had
a Conservative MP since 1977. The local council does have a Tory
mayor, but the party has gone from having 31 councillors in 2010 to
just 12 now. And his former group leader, himself a casualty, reckons
this was created down south. Are very few people were affected
by the tax relief, but it played badly with the public. Conservative
voters decided to stay at home. They say 1,000 miles Jenny start of
a single step. Guy Opperman did not do that but he tried to work out
how to find friends for his party in the north.
I walked over 200 miles, from Sheffield to Scotland. The events
were in suburban places, and I was trying to listen to people, talk to
people and get a better understanding of the problems we
face and what we need to do to win in the north.
The problem is the communication of the message.
The policies we are coming up with, they are very good. They are
positive. But we have not been getting the message across, and we
have not been getting it across locally or nationally.
According to policy experts, like this one, the process could begin
with a single word - you know, the hardest one.
Tories have to say they understand why people haven't been voting Tory.
They have to say, look, sorry, now is it time to give us a second
chance. Now is the time to listen to the message. Especially if the
message is a blue-collar narrative about opportunity and job creation,
and about helping people who are affected by squeezing living
standards. Attitudes can take a long time to
turn around, especially in politics. But if the Conservatives want
another term in power, they need the North of England. Perhaps more
than the North needs them. Guy Opperman joins us. How long was
the walk? 275 miles, from just outside
Sheffield, through County Down, six days in my constituency, and over
the border into Scotland. Did it rain?
All the time! At it was interesting listening to people.
It was good to hear what people were saying. We talk about what we
were doing on immigration. People like that. They did not know that
is what they were -- we were doing. In my area, in the summer, we had a
local election. We increased our vote by 10%, and won a seat from
the Lib Dems. If you were talking to David
Cameron, what we do ask him to do to turn it around? What two or
three things would be done to get the votes.
It would not happen just like that. It would not be immediately. We
need to communicate the message, get out there, actually tell people
what we are doing. If you do that, and you explain the immigration cap,
explain what we are doing on benefits, those things resonate
with voters. What about things like petrol
prices? Ave is the sort of issues that would appeal to northern
voters? -- are these. The petrol price has been frozen 10
times. 10 times it went up under Labour. That is a stark message. We
make that point to Labour voters and they understand.
A do you think the leadership gets it, though?
I think they understand the north. Eric Pickles is from Bradford. You
can see the work we have done in Yorkshire. The Foreign Secretary is
from Yorkshire. It is not the case that they are not from the north.
We have got to start from the basis, when locally, which is what we are
doing in Northumberland and Yorkshire.
Is the North going the same way for the Tories as Scotland?
It was interesting to be at the Labour Party Conference. I did not
understand they have not got a single councillor in Scotland, for
example. There is a real danger, and it is interesting when you ask
if David Cameron gets the serious nature of it. Yes, he does. I spoke
to him in the leadership conference -- competition. He said he wanted
to make inroads in Scotland. Since then, as we were discussing earlier,
the policy direction he has taken has alienated too many of the
voters. What do you say to that? I disagree.
It must be about policy. Look at the caps on immigration and
benefits. They are robust conservative policies that are
popular. Look at successes like Yorkshire. We took a dozen seats at
the last election. Look at Bradford, with a 23% Kashmiri constituency,
and it was one away from Labour. We heard from some people that you
have not got enough money to make them vote Conservative. But there
is a problem with image. That is always going to be the case.
The North South divide is something that Ed Miliband is trying to make
something out of. Are the Tories on a hiding to
nothing? I think there is a perception of a
metropolitan elite in Number Ten. You have a big number of Old
Etonians, friends of Dave and George from Oxford in the machine
and in government. That does alienate people. The problem is,
that is compounded by things like cutting the top rate of tax. The
image problem that the Tories have has been exacerbated by decisions
they have made in power, which appeared to favour the rich over
the poor. That is a decision, not just an image.
When I was selected I was better known as a jockey than a politician.
It is true that you need to be more local and you need to work much
harder on the ground, and that message needs to get across. You
are a local represent the first and foremost. You're not a northerner.
How did you get elected? I was better known as a jockey than
a politician. That is how you made the connection?
I was also up there running a business.
But you are now representing a northern constituency. Has it open
your eyes to the real concerns? It has. Also, going on the walks.
22 days later we talking to people, chatting away, it was a good
process. -- literally talking to people.
Labour can't take anything for granted.
You are right about that. They saw Scotland as there has and took it
for granted. -- as theirs. In the current situation, no party can
take anything for granted. However, I think it is about image, of
course, but to do better policy, the recession, and we are still in
recession, is affecting the Northmoor.
That is simply not the case. But presumably it is countered by a
drop in the public sector. A Yes, but jobs are going up.
Apprentices are over 50%. These are good messages. What you have just
said is wrong. Well, thank you for coming in. I
hope you next walk is sunnier. you were a factor jockey, you have
lost it all! Thank you. This week, far from River -- living
up to its reputation, the Civil Service has looked like a Robin
Reliant. Civil servants have been getting it in the neck from
ministers accusing them of gross incompetence in the wake of the
West Coast Mainline fiasco. It is expected to cost the taxpayer �40
million at least. The new Transport Secretary has made it clear who he
Then, in a speech on Tuesday, the minister for the Cabinet Office,
Not all mandarins have taken this lying down. The former cabinet
secretary, Lord O'Donnell, warned I have been joined by Siobhan
Benita, the former London mayor candidate and former civil servant,
and Douglas Carswell, the Tory backbencher. Siobhan Benita, is it
unreasonable for ministers to assume that civil servants,
supposedly intelligent people, can get their sums right?
That is not unreasonable. What is unreasonable to blame them -- is to
blame them when things go wrong. Ministers are quick to take the
credit when things go well. We have had the Olympics, politicians from
all parties quick to associate themselves with that. You did not
see civil servants getting credit for those things. When something
goes wrong, this is a shared responsibility. You do have
ministers as well as civil servants being held to account.
Even though in this case, they are qualified civil servants looking at
technical spreadsheet and matters in terms of passenger numbers and
pressures that would have come up in the next few years to deal -- to
do with these franchises. I take your point that they should take
responsibility because they are accountable. It but -- but it can't
be a minister's fault, can it? A contract as they as this,
ministers would have known this comes under a lot of scrutiny. Sure,
the junior officials would have had to do their part in this. But it
would have had to go through the board, and the board is chaired by
the Secretary of State for Transport. You have an internal
audit process, which non executives chair. They have to have various
responsibilities. Douglas Carswell, do you think that
if Theresa Villiers and Justine Greening, if they were still in
post, would they have to resign? I don't think anybody thinks the
minister should look at the figures and be able to work out whether the
civil servants have factored in inflation. But there's a lot of
sense in what should Vaughan says. We should never have a situation
when SL7 can hide behind a mandarin. -- when a minister. What we needed
to make sure that civil servants and mandarins are accountable. I
have been in the House of Commons for five or six years, and I have
been shocked at how little accountability there is among the
white will mandarins. It is not just that they seem to be
incompetent at times with catastrophic effects of the tax
payer. The Civil Service is more of a self- service. They are
interested in of strutting policy. Let's get back to the calibre of
the civil servant. Who recruits them? Have cuts made a difference?
If you ask a civil servant for the answer is, surprise, surprise, they
are going to say, pay them more and train them more. Perhaps the
problem is in the fact that it does not matter how expendable are, if
the government is so big it is beyond any Western, the government
cannot get it right. -- any wisdom.
I would be surprised if any of those civil servants were not
bought in from the private sector. They have a revolving door. Do we
have the skilled staff that we need in the Civil Service? Shutters have
been put in place now which mean it is so difficult to sign of training
in the Civil Service. -- structures. Even if you want to grow skills, it
is hard to do that. We have a lot of civil servants were doing
complex jobs that, years ago, they did not do.
If in the private sector somebody made a decision costing millions of
pounds, there would be no attempt to excuse them. But civil servants
can't as easily make their case in the way that ministers do.
Maybe the way to answer this is to accept that the point -- doctrine
of accountability to Parliament is broken. We need Congressional
accountability. Visible seven needs to come before the committee and
explain themselves. -- the civil servant.
Are ministers without criticism here was -- criticism here?
We are getting into a war of attrition. It is damaging for the
way the country is run. If you listen to some ministers, they are
excoriating about the civil servants. It is like something out
of a TV show. They hate each other. We live in a democracy.
Why not make both ministers and mandarins accountable to the
people? Would that work, Steve?
I agree with that and the accountability of civil servants.
His analysis and his remedy, I agree with that. He is right. I
disagree with his broader analysis that this is about to much
government, in the sense that getting these franchises right is
almost impossible because if you say have been for five years, it is
too short term. In 15 years, it is impossible to predict. You cannot
assume the private sector is always Douglas cars will is and all that.
We decided to put him in the hot seat to ask him about his
specialist subject. Douglas cars will, Member of
Parliament Clacton. It is over, the Government way of doing things is
coming to an end. Bloated Government as outgrown its capacity,
outgrown the rest of us to be able to pay for it. It has outgrown
Democratic accountability. It is hard be surprising voters are
disillusioned. We are in debt and Miss governed. Should we disband?
No, the digital revolution comes a long. The digital revolution
creates a world of what you might call hyper personalisation. Think
of Twitter, your personalised news feed. Or your eye pad. Soon we will
seek the same level in public services. Instead of a National
Curriculum, what if every child had a personalised one. What it you had
a personalised health care plan stalled on your records.
Politicians will have less control over us. That is a thought to shoot
us up. I will ask for a score of that performance. -- cheers us up.
Are you being dramatic towards the end of politics as we know it,
surely it is about reinventing and rejuvenating us? Look at the banks.
We are in a recession. But the Government has shown cheap credit.
I think we are at the end of the road, and the digital revolution
will create change. It does not matter what the politicians want,
it is over. He is a brilliant politician. He is a brilliant
politician who is anti-politics. Who will pay for the personalised
budgets? It means the Government remains accountable for the money.
20 years ago, it we were sitting here in this studio and I tried to
explain the concept of Google, you could type anything you want your
first question would have been, who will pay for it? If I said they
private company would create millions in revenue by creating it
free, you would have lacked. Health care is going to be provided for
free? We will always need a taxpayer funded system will stop
that mean central Government should be involved. You can have
collectors and without the state. You can allocate resources paid for
by the state without officials doing the allocation. It is
possible for people to have a personalised health or education
budget by the Government is providing the resources, but you
and your doctor, parents are deciding about where it is being
spent. Would you like that situation? I think Douglas is on to
something where people want more individual services and want
greater control over their lives. But they what security and safety
at a time of recession. And they get that now? The NHS provides a
safety net. You know you can turn up with your child at 3am and you
get treated. You don't have to worry about the right budget a
credit card on your system. Under my system, the state would pay. But
instead of standing in line and waiting what the state did you, you
can decide what is right for you. There are catchment areas that
decide the education you get. Why not allow people have the decision?
What if I waste the money, what if I choose to spend thousands of
pounds on cosmetic surgery. state is still paying for that?
People's self Commission's social care without people spending it on
cigarettes and drink. At 3am, 300 people could choose the same A&E
clinic and find they are queuing through the night. I do not see how
your theory solves this problem. It you know there is a good hospital
near you, we all go there and we wait for months to see the people.
I don't see how this magically removes all the issues, the
problems we have with state owned delivery. Why is it when you queue
up as some think the Government provides, you are having to queue.
If you are a parent looking for a GP open on a Saturday, it is hard
to find it. You can go to the supermarket 20 var hours a day and
watch a film late into the evening. -- 24 hours a day. We need the same
choice and freedom over public services that things we enjoyed in
our own lives. Do you want people to make those decisions all of the
times in our busy lives and busy jobs. Do the research, find the
best doctor, but a school and everything? A few weeks ago I
bought it technically, a sophisticated electronic device. We
would have taken me weeks to research it. But I managed to buy
my mobile phone in a few minutes because thousands of other
Londoners had collectively allowed me to make an informed choice. If I
was making that choice in isolation, but through branding and the price
mechanism, I could make the choice right away. Soon collected
intelligence will allow us to make a decision about our whole lives.
Looking at their faces, you have a bit of convincing to do. Nine out
of 10 for the Mastermind performance. It's Friday, so it
must be time for our weekly roundup of who's up and who's down. Here's
Giles with the political Week in 60 Seconds.
A good week for Ed Miliband in what they called a barnstorming leader's
speech. One nation. A vision of one nation. One nation. What was it
about again? According to Ed Balls, the Conservatives are no match to
the Labour bandwagon. Let me pay tribute to our leader, the next
Prime Minister of Great Britain, Ed Miliband. Let staff take the strain.
Ministers have placed the blame on civil servants for the bidding
fiasco on the West Coast Main Line. Round one to Mitt Romney, here and
expected the out John President Obama. And Andrew Mitchell won't be
attending the Conservative Party conference in Birmingham next week.
Considering he is a Birmingham MP, you would have thought he could
have made it. And we've been joined by the
psychotherapist, Lucy Beresford, author of a book called "happy
relationships", to talk about the psychology of party conferences. As
a doormat, what is your view about party conferences and what they are
set up to do? It's is about tribal loyalty and group stroking. That
sounds worrying! It is incredibly confidence boosting, it makes
people feel heard and understood. It is a huge triumph. But it brings
out the worst in us, that sense of them and us. We become bright
fighters and everything we say is right, and everything everybody
else says is wrong. It is an unsavoury, moral superiority about
it. Does it last? So if they go away, everyone goes back to their
normal lives and everything is forgotten? It lasts until the next
one comes along and then it happens again. It is a bit like a family
wedding, we know it is staged, it has to look immaculate. But in the
corner, there is someone plastered and probably having a fight. If you
are lucky! How we do put re Ed Miliband in his role, his
paternalistic role? You do get the dimension to political conferences,
which is an Infanta lies since the audience are looking at mummy and
Daddy on the stage. That is the power we had given them. I felt
David Miliband... Ed Miliband. huge Freudian slip! Sibling rivalry.
Something in his narrative was possibly the Cinderella figure or
the ugly duckling who then becomes a swan. The potential was there was
something quite magical to happen. Did he turn into a swan? He did
have a breakthrough moment were people thought they could look
again at him. Then he has to deliver if he is a One nation
politician or whether it was rhetoric. I know you arguing these
conferences as something of the past, they are so stage-managed.
Are they on their way out in the form they are in at the moment?
they go on for too long. Basically, all that matters is the leader's
speech, perhaps a one or two of the set-piece events on the stage. The
fringe meetings are very dull. You could watch them from anywhere.
They don't need these few days. Be on the fact that a busy, but few
party members who can still afford to go get a buzz out of it. That
point is worth making. Talking about morale-boosting, it doesn't
make people feel good? In makes them feel good, feeling part of the
family. You have lots of nice things happening and mutual
stroking and attachment, but underneath there is this a motion
simmering. We will get to see that in every single political week.
it a case of people looking up to the politicians at these
conferences? Only the party faithful look up to them. We are
also in vandalised because we are happy to give the power to the
politicians, otherwise we would stand of this ourselves. It is a
danger of the politicians talking to their own tribe, when now unique
to win people over away from you tried. Just like Mick Ronnie, you
have to draw them into your party. Will they go on? This year seemed
worse than ever. It seemed an old- fashioned way of doing politics in
this age of Twitter and blog and everything. We may not have many to
look forward to and analyse if it goes on.
There's just time before we go to find out the answer to our quiz.
Today is the 50th anniversary of the release of the first Bond film,
Dr No. So the question was: Which Cabinet minister has a mocked-up
Bond poster of themselves? Is it: David Cameron, William Hague,
Theresa May, or Eric Pickles? I think it is David Cameron because
I know he is a James Bond fan. Steve? It cannot be William Hague,
he would have read Hansard as a teenager. I like Theresa May.