19/10/2012 Daily Politics


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Afternoon, folks. Welcome to the Daily Politics. Alex Salmond's not


for turning... Or is he? He never used to like NATO but this


afternoon he will urge his party to embrace the alliance. What's


prompted the SNP leader to change his mind? Surely he's not


schmoozing up to the electorate ahead of the 2014 referendum? We'll


be asking the man himself in just a few minutes time. EU leaders move


closer to a deal on banking union, though many major issues are


unresolved. We'll be asking what it means for our very own square mile.


The race to the White House takes on a strange and bizarre musical


twist. We'll be looking back at the campaign. And stay tuned for


Quentin Letts and a whip. W is for With us for the duration is Julia


Langdon and James Whale. Welcome back to you both. Let's talk about


MPs, their flats and a possible loophole in the expenses system.


Who would have thought that, a loophole? Do you ever get that


feeling of deja-vu all over again? Let's go to our political


correspondent. Give us an update. You are going to be shocked by this,


but some MPs have used words I couldn't repeat, about this


particular newspaper - the Daily Telegraph. It revealed this


particular story this morning. They blame the Telegraph. They say what


happened is we had all these revelations, day-in day-out by the


Telegraph about their expenses, and the system changed. One in which he


could claim as an MP for your mortgage interest payments to one


in which you can only claim for rent. The effect of that was if you


have bought a flat here in Westminster, somewhere out there in


the expense of lands behind it, you would no longer be able to afford


to live in it because you couldn't afford the mortgage interest


payments so you'd have to rent another one. I got told there is


one MP who when he gets up in the morning, opens his flat front door,


walks out of the flat he rented while looking at the one he owns,


or because of the IPSA rules, they say. Many in the public might feel


slightly less sympathetic about a system that allows eight MPs to


either rent from or rent to each other. Did they not think at some


stage they'd be rumbled? What is bizarre about this visit was always


inevitable they would be. All this information is in the public domain.


What the Telegraph reveals could have been found by anyone, but only


the Telegraph got there in time. You can look at the MPs' register


of interest. You can look at the IPSA files. The question is whether


we think that there is anything wrong in this situation and what


those MPs who owned flats under the old regime should not do. Frankly,


even if they sold them and got a little bit of equity and money


would arguably they got on the backs of the taxpayer, it still


wouldn't pay their Dalian day-out, week in week in expenses of living


in Westminster. The public have decided they don't like the idea of


MPs being able to run and owned the two houses on the public purse. MPs


are arguing the sort of story we are seeing today is just a


consequence of the way the rules have changed. Want people just be


amazed by this? Yes. Thinking about that, I start working at


Westminster 40 years ago when MPs used to rent flats and share with


each other in squalid places south of the river. You don't have to


live in Westminster. What of the public going to think of that?


There are some rather nice places south of the river. The there are


now. You brought up the tone of the area! They did. It's a scam that.


It just adds to the public repudiate, the culture that makes


people operate like that. We want a political system that we've got a


thin and we think they've got a moral sense of the proper thing to


do. Just when you thought they may be getting over the MPs' expenses,


and remember how would dominate the news but all things fade into the


background - bang, they're back on the front page of the same paper


that did all the revealing the first prize, the Telegraph. I don't


understand how they can afford on their salary, that they complain is


not enough, how they can afford to have a second home as well. You are


quite right, there are lots of lovely, Little, cheap hotels dotted


around. They don't have to have second homes, most of them, because


every weekend they have to go back to their constituency. It is an


necessary. They used to be an MP's widow who had a flat somewhere.


There were four or five Labour MPs who have a room in her flat. They


all slept together like in a dormitory. Do the News of the World


know about that? A everybody knew about it. It was very cheap. It was


cheap but there was a price to pay - you have to sleep with one eye


open! What about a dormitory? Westminster has loads of room.


don't want the dormitory. I don't, but they can stay there. Be is open


season on them again. Expect a few fireworks of the SNP conference in


Perth this afternoon when the party faithful debate a thorny issue.


NATO membership. The Scottish nationalists leader, Alex Salmond,


is expected to urge his party to reject its long-held antipathy to


the alliance. Of course he wants to do that, but it looks like he wants


to do that without fighting the horses. This is Ali the latest in a


series of policy U-turns. We will be talking to the SNP leader in a


moment. The Battle of Bannockburn was


fought when a Scottish army prevented an English army from


relieving the garrison of sterling. So, 700 years later, when they get


to vote on independence for Scotland, we thought we'd ask the


people of sterling now what they make of the question. Economic Lee


I think we can do it. Other countries the same size have done


it. The gas industry and what have you. I know that will last long,


maybe the next 30 years, but they are looking at nuclear stuff as


well. We've been part of Great Britain for so long, it would be a


massive change. It seems very complicated for something that


doesn't really need to be fixed. Nothing has really broken.


probably would be better for Scotland to be independent. There's


been a lot of ill-feeling as well. People have been saying a lot of


things on both sides of the border. Maybe we should break away. I don't


know, I haven't made my mind up. I will need to really consider it and


go into it in more depth. I've got two used to do it and I will do it


within that time. My heart and head is with the union. However, I get


sick and fed up of listening and reading about how England are


feeding us, how they are keeping us and how we would sink below the


depths of despair if we weren't part of the Union. We are getting


sick of this. And I listen to a lot of young people now and they are


saying the same. It's not going to make any difference. I just don't


see it making a difference. I really don't know. What do you


think? What? Whether you should have an independent Scotland or


stay part of the Union? No. A very good answer, you should become a


politician! The SNP leader Alex Salmond joins us now from his


conference in the beautiful city of Perth. Welcome to The Daily


Politics. I loved your vox pops in sterling. When this country was


under threat of extinction from the Soviet's nuclear arsenal, you


opposed NATO membership. Now there's no Soviet threat, you want


to join it - how does that work? There's a slight correction. I've


been in the SNP when we've been pro-NATO in the 1970s I was in the


SNP when the policy to the anti- Nato in the 1980s, and I was still


in the SNP 10 years ago, although not leader, when we change the


policy to be in favour of Partnership for Peace, which has a


NATO arranged organisation. The policy has gone into transition


over the years, but the one consistent thread in our policy


over all these years is our opposition to nuclear weapons in


Scotland, in particular to the Trident missile systems. That is


the consistent airier and the main string of SNP policy. So you want


to be part of an alliance which is nuclear based but you don't want to


have nuclear weapons - how does that work? I suppose that is the


same as 26 out of the 29 member countries of NATO at the present


moment. I'd rather be one of the 26 without possessing nuclear weapons


than one of the three who have nuclear powers. But you are happy


to live under a nuclear shield of Defence. To be fair to NATO, in its


strategic documents it points away from its wish to see a nuclear free


world. But I can't push away American nuclear weapons, I can't


do that. But I can do two things. I can get Trident out of Scotland


with independence. Secondly, we can agree with our friends and


neighbours, like Denmark and Norway, that Scotland's strategic position


makes it in their interest and our interest to be part of a mutual


defence organisation on a non- nuclear basis. You used to


denigrate NATO. You always be faced it with the adjective nuclear base.


You talk about the nuclear based NATO. You wanted to stand alongside


Austria, Finland, Sweden. You said it was an insult to these countries


the thing that Scotland couldn't stand alongside them. Now you want


to join NATO and it is still nuclear based. It would be an


insult to say you couldn't have the Partnership for Peace programme


supported by Sweden and Austria. Ireland, it is not any longer a


neutral country. But Partnership for Peace is also a NATO arranged


or maligned organisation. So we have to look at the practicality of


where we are now. That practical argument would be that we can see a


rude to the removal of nuclear weapons from Scotland without


corrupting the defence Co ordination of our friends and


allies in the Nordic countries. Isn't it refreshing to see such a


debate come to an annual conference of a political party - just like


old times! I couldn't possibly comment. It seems a little bit


strange that you want the protection of NATO's nuclear shield


but you are going to kick a key part of that shield out of Scotland.


I don't think that strange at all. I think the contribution that we in


Scotland can make to nuclear disarmament is the removal of


Trident missile systems from Scotland and the prevention of a


renewal of that Trident system. The UK at the present moment is


spending �2.5 billion a year on maintaining Trident and renewing


the next system. That is roughly �250 million as a Scottish


contribution. I think that is a phenomenal waste of money in the


world that it is, with the economy the way it is. I can think of many


things that can put better used to these funds, and wasting them on


unwanted nuclear weapons. Yes, but you are joining a nuclear based


alliance which you have long opposed. You are either opposed to


it or you are all over the shop on it. But you have had a long record


of being against it. Now you are for it. People will see it as just


the latest in a long line of cynical policy changes to make you


more palatable to mainstream Scottish opinion. I think the


consistent thread of Scottish opinion and SNP opinion and my


opinion has been our opposition to Trident missiles and nuclear


weapons in Scotland. Incidentally, when the Labour Party had a


position, as it did in the 1980s, of being against nuclear weapons,


they were still in favour of NATO. I can't remember that particular


argument, despite many arguments being thrown at them, that


particular argument I don't think was. So we consistent frame of


opposition to nuclear weapons in this country is a consistent policy.


We have to deal with the reality that we have friends and neighbours


who would like to see as co- ordinate our defence as part of the


NATO framework, and the reality that 26 out of the 29 member


countries do not possess nuclear weapons. Why should and Scotland be


one of these 26? When Labour had a policy it lost by a landslide,


which brings me back to the point... Which brings me back to the point


of how you have changed your policies. I know you are trying to


prevent me saying this. Say what ever you want. In both elections,


thank you, Andrew, in both elections when Labour had that


policy Bay won convincing victories in Scotland. Those were the days


when Labour was still a party in Scotland. If they ran a donkey in


the constituency base days, what would happen? Let's not go there.


Let's look at your party's policies. Not just in NATO. I remember the


days when the SNP was an overwhelmingly Republican Party.


Now you are cosying up to the Queen. You used to want a Scottish


currency then you wanted a euro currency. Now you want the pound.


You want independence for your country but your interest rates


would be set by the Bank of England. You even admitted to me when we met


in Aberdeen on camera that you'd even the date fiscal pact with


Was perversely, your memory is playing tricks on you! If --


firstly! Your having a referendum on a republic, Mr Salmond. Having a


referendum is different but the policy has always been to retain


first David King and now the Queen as head of state for an independent


Scotland. -- first to the king of. We argued we had a different policy


and I am saying after a long history of having a pro-monarchy


history, which I have embraced with great enthusiasm certainly, and


that is as it should be, because you will remember, as I do, that it


was... I know! I was there at the time! I am asking difficult


questions of the politicians of the day. Because Scotland and England


have 100 years of having the same monarch ambient different countries.


-- and being. As things change we think it sterling is the best


option and as far as the physical arrangement is concerned, as you


know, we contribute now 9.6% of the taxation and we get back 9.3% of


the expenditure of which means we have made 2.7 gap in terms of the


relative surplus that Scotland has, but there for we can invest more


and save and spend more and we could borrow less with a


combination of any of these three. There is good room for manoeuvre in


the condom per -- in the context for an independent Scotland.


certainly have plenty of room for manoeuvre! You seem to have plenty


of manoeuvres on policy. I run when you used to complain... -- I


remember. You used to wax lyrical about being shackled to sterling


with Scotland in Europe and having the euro currency. Now your policy


is to tie your Monetary Policy Committee or interest rates and


your fiscal policy to the most Euro-sceptic country in the


European Union. It sounds bizarre. Well, I think in terms of the


support for the euro that is a charter that have been levelled at


the Conservative Party... I am talking to you, Mr Salmond! There


is nothing unusual about that. The facts have changed substantially


and when the facts change, you change your mind and you do what is


right for the day, and what is right for the day now is to support


the optimal currency area. The point of fiscal freedom is we have


�500 per head for every man, a woman and child in Scotland and it


seems a substantial amount of freedom. When I have got you face-


to-face I will have a go at you on the 2.7 billion! We can have a


replay on! At the yes! I hope we will! Now you are cosying up to the


Queen and you have ditched your support for the euro and your


siding with NATO. You'll have a monetary policy controlled by


London. What other policies and principles will you ditch before


the referendum in 2014? That sounds like a question you put earlier and


I have just pointed out the support... I have been up since


6am! To look, you should do me the honour of listening to the answers.


I have taken away that aspect for you. Our policy in defence has been


out opposition to nuclear weapons. It seems very consistent. And the


other thing on economic policy is we will do what is in the best


interests of the Scottish people socially and economically, and


right now that is overwhelmingly for the people of Scotland to


become an independent country. wider most of the opinion polls


show that support for independence has fallen sharply this year? Is


that your fault? Let's see what the next two years brings us. Last time


I was told we were heading for... Last year was told we were heading


for electoral defeat and as you will remember, the result was a


convincing Dick -- victory for the SNP government. Something vital has


happened over the two years of this argument. For the first time this


week in Scottish history, we have agreed on a process and also


decision by both governments to abide by the result and respect the


result in the interest of the people of Scotland and the rest of


the United Kingdom. That is a fundamental step forward and sets


the framework for a great debate in Scotland over the next two years


and I think it would be a very unwise journalist to write of the


chances of Scotland deciding on independence. As your box pops in


Stirling indicated, there is everything to play for. I am still


if -- simply asking you wide support for the union has risen


since the start of your campaign. - - asking you why. If people vote


for union, will that be the end of your career? Will you head off for


simpler Klein's? I think we can rule out the House of Lords! I will


listen but I no John Prescott! I will listen to all sorts of Haider


the Tagore questions. -- I am no John Prescott. He -- hypothetical


questions. You cannot blame me for trying. If you're wanted me to ask


you this, which is, what first attracted you to the multi-


billionaire is Rupert Murdoch and Donald Trump?! It does you that


same question. -- I could ask you. Mr Murdoch has since spoken to me


for 20 years! He speaks to you all the time. -- has not spoken to me.


We looked at these things in the Leveson Inquiry and I think we came


out very well. I supported the idea of a golf course in the north-east


of Scotland because I thought it was a grand idea and has still do,


but I happen to it not think Mr Trump should try it -- be tried to


run Scottish energy policy. -- be trying to. Since you give him tea


and biscuits at Downing Street, and that Holyrood, you have never given


me tea and biscuits! I'm unwilling to making a pledge - come to my


house at my invitation of and I will give you tea and I will


present you with the arguments. invited me to the premiere of A


brave and I am still waiting for the ride. Another broken promise! -


- waiting for the invite. Thank you for joining us in the fair city of


Perth. Come back and see us soon. What do you make of that? Will, I


think you got him really riled, actually, because he is a slippery


character and he looked quite bothered. It is not the issue,


though, about NATO that if, in what I think is the unlikely


circumstance of an independent Scotland, they want to be in Europe


and a need membership of NATO. don't need to be a member of NATO.


A Ireland wasn't... I think the big difficulty would be this. If it is


a yes vote in 2014, the terms of the divorce will have to be


negotiated. The one Mr Salmond was saying that was the consistency was


that they want rid of the British nuclear deterrent at fast lane. --


at Faslane. Nobody knows where it will go. And the issue, then, will


be the divorce could then become a very acrimonious. But it will not


happen, will it? It is a complete and utter waste of money. It is a


deviation from what the politicians should be concentrating on, which


is getting the economy back on track. Yes, but hang on, the


Scottish Parliament has won a majority. The system was denied to


-- was designed to deny any body a majority. They are only living up


to their manifesto. Maybe we should have a referendum on whether we


want to keep an alliance on them in the United Kingdom. It is all so


wrong because it will lose so much money in the interim and then when


we realise we are all stronger together and apart, if that went


ahead, then Wales wants independence and what happens when


Northern Ireland wants independence, too? Wales does not want


independence, and actually, nor does Scotland. Well, we will find


out! It is the case for a referendum, isn't it! If it is


certainly true and it may be wrong, but the view in Westminster is to


get it down to one question of yes or no for independence was giving a


way everything else, including votes for 16 and 17-year-olds, and


we have another two years to talk about this. I can hardly wait! You


can watch the debate on NATO live on BBC Parliament at 3pm this


afternoon. It's diplomats in Brussels have


moved one step closer to the banking union. They have decided to


put the banks under the central bank's supervision. Where this


leaves Britain's financial sector is still very unclear and what that


ECB relationship will be with the existing European banking


authority... Are you following? Are you still with me? This covers all


27 members and that is up in the air as well. To accusations have


been defended that Britain is on its own. So what matters is, are we


getting a good deal for Britain, not what everybody is saying about


you. We were in there are mechanisms for the euro and we got


out of those. I think that was a very good outcome for Britain. It


was tough and difficult but we did it. Last year, always that we don't


want to see an increase in the European Budget and we got a real-


terms freeze. It was tough, difficult but good for Britain.


Here we want that safeguards and protections for the single market


to the banking union and you can see the language in there. Again,


tough, difficult, it means you are here until 3am but we got the


language in. And we are now joined by Iain Watson, who has just come


from the press conference where we saw the Prime Minister speaking. It


is very complicated so if we can just take it in a couple of stages.


They have agreed to go ahead with some kind of banking union but it


is not yet clear what the relationship with the banking union


for the eurozone will be to all the countries not in the eurozone. Is


that right? Yeah. I will take you through it and I will be as quick


as I can. As you know, the EU gutta Nobel Peace Prize recently but it


don't think it would be awarded individually to France and Germany.


To some extent, the tensions between them have dominated the


conference rather than Britain banging the table about any


particular issues. France wanted to establish quickly because what it


means that in effect is that the European Central Bank can directly


bailed out struggling banks anywhere across the eurozone. The


Germans were far more cautious and they wonder how much they election


next year will cost. On that we have a fudge. It will be introduced


in 2013 Potts agreed but not a strict timetable. It is likely to


be phased in. -- in 2013. It has been agreed. Outside of the


eurozone, but now is regulated in a different way. David Cameron said


he believed Britain's concerns were big -- were being taken on board


and he has had a final communique that he is happy with. In terms of


the detail, effectively what he wants his countries outside the


eurozone to big to get together and block anything that happens inside


it if it has unpredictable consequences or collateral damage


suffered by British banks and other financial institutions. And then a


really detailed discussion about whether you can have a blocking


minority or majority vote Maghreb. But he is confident that by


December Britain will get the safeguards it needs. And a


principle he is happy for the eurozone to go on and sort out what


he sees as their own mess. I'll be amazed if Britain got a clocking


metaphor of things only affecting the eurozone. But in the broader


picture, the political static coming out of Berlin, Paris and now


even Helsinki, you get the feeling that the members of the eurozone,


the core members are now reconciled to letting Britain drift away.


Maybe not completely but certainly not getting in the wake of what


they want to do. Is that the mood I think it is. The Finnish minister


yesterday was saying Britain was left on the shore as these ships


sailed away. They are very close to the Germans. They haven't said that


quite so bluntly but I think that is their position as well. They are


getting a bit fed up. Some diplomats who are dining in London


this week were talking about where Britain stands in terms of


negotiating with the European Union, was counter-productive and didn't


have enough influence here. David Cameron tried to counter that. But


he was saying on the really important issues for Britain,


including completing the single market and boosting jobs across the


Continent, Britain was at the centre at the argument rather the


in -- rather than the periphery. He's quite happy for the eurozone


to integrate more closely together because he thinks it will help them


sort out their mess, but he also thinks it will open negotiations


for a settlement with the other countries. His long coveted


approach to bring powers back from Brussels rather than send them to


Brussels will effectively have the door open to that by the


negotiations. That is his intention. He is pleased, he did not want to


leave the European Union, that was not on the agenda. Europe is a


problem for Mr Cameron. I don't see what his strategy is. I don't see


what he's doing all trying to do. don't think anyone in Britain,


British politics, except a very few people, recognise the extent to


which Britain is regarded as being a non player in Europe. That was my


reference to what was coming out of France. And Finland. They've all


been complaining for about... Since the euro has been in existence,


they have been complaining about the difficulties, the charv thrown


out by Britain when they are not playing the Eurogamer. To a certain


extent we have the advantage of not being in the euro and don't have


the financial responsibility, or as much of the financial


responsibility, with sorting out the problems of Greece, Portugal


and Spain. The bigger issue isn't that. The bigger issue is its


people in Europe, the leaders, are beginning to feel that we are


getting in the way, there's also a mood in Britain, right, we don't


want to be in the way, we'll just get out, there could be a head of


steam on both sides of the Channel to do something different, to


change the status quo. The that's why he said if he gets elected at


the next election he will give us a referendum. He's not said that. He


simply talked about fresh consent, which is a dog whistle word for


referendum but he's not said it. we were actually forced to think


about this, I think we would come down on the side of Europe. We


should be more of a play in Europe if we are going to be in it, or we


get out altogether. It's like we are sitting on the sidelines just


throwing things at them when they annoy us. To answer Andrew's


initial question, what his strategy is to counter UKIP. It poses this


enormous threat to the Conservative vote. Our the eve of the general


election... But we have to decide in or out, don't we? We shall see.


The 64 million dollar question in 18 games - at 18 days' time is it


Mitt Romney or Barack Obama? There's been another frenetic week


on the campaign trail. Time to take time out and have a bowl of chilli.


Here is Brian RIM from the Huffington post.


We are here at a Washington institution in the home. Two weeks


ago political observers said President Obama broughtup to his


debate against Romney. Checkout would even liberal NBC had to say


afterwards. What was he doing tonight? He went in there disarmed.


An hour and a half, I think I can get through this thing and I don't


even look at this guy. Romney was staring at Obama, addressing him


like the prey. He did it just right. I'm coming out an incumbent, I've


got to beat him. I'm going to beat him tonight and they don't care


what is DI, the Moderator, thinks he is. I'm going to ignore him.


Romney was winning. With Mitt Romney on the comeback trail, the


press -- pressure was on Obama this week. The first debates, Sleepy


Time or pretty talk Jones. What Governor Rumney said just isn't


true. It's alive! There are two people who eat a free here. Bill


Cosby and barrack -- Barack Obama. Regardless, for the next two years


the lines were around the block. That Obama, the one that buyers


people up, was back on Tuesday night. Have you look at your


pension? I don't look at my pension, it's not as big as your so it


doesn't take as long. Let me give you some advice. It was a combative


debate. Mitt Romney delivered a powerful argument that will


resonate with millions of people. can get this country on track again.


We don't have to settle for gasoline at four box. We don't have


to settle for an employment at a chronically high level. We don't


have to settle for 47 million people on food stamps. We don't


have to settle for 50 % of kids coming out of college not able to


get work. We don't have to settle for 23 million people struggling to


find a good job. If I become President I will get America


working again. This is where Barack Obama first -- enjoyed his first


half smoke about four years ago. Whether he gets his second one as


president depends on the election, three weeks from now. Both


candidates have given themselves decent shots to win, but it depends


on odours from states like Ohio. Here his Mitt Romney style and


Obviously the very high quality of debate in the presidential election


of 2012. When Mitt Romney said, we don't have to settle for $3 a


gallon for petrol. I would settle for that! We are joined by a state


the Hilliard from Republicans Abroad and Karin Robinson from


Democrats Abroad. Is this not still Mr Obama's election to lose? It is,


but he has to run on his record. He hasn't been able to put forward a


plan on how the next four years will be different from the last


four years. I think Mitt Romney, in the last debate and first aid,


showed he has command of the economy, that he can drive us


forward. The opinion polls show that. People had him winning on the


economy, health care, taxes. He's not ahead overall, is he? Its neck


and neck. It's within that margin of error. Isn't part of the problem


for people who was so enthusiastic about Mr Obama last time round,


that they don't really know what he would do with another oar macro


years? I think we've made a lot of progress over the past Ball years.


There's no doubt when the President came into office, the global


economy was in calamity. We had 31 straight months of job growth under


the Obama administration. The policies he has put in place a


working, they are moving us forward, we've a lot more to do.


Unfortunately, rather than moving forward, Mitt Romney's policies


would take us backwards. The things he wants to do would restore the


Bush era economic policies that got us into this economic situation in


the first place. We are bringing unemployment down, it's below 8%


for the first time in four years, we've seen consumer confidence


increase. But that's what you've done. Your attack on Romney is


interesting and I've heard that before, but what I asked you was -


what is he going to do in the next four years? There's a plan called


the American jobs at that the President put out a year ago that


has been blocked. It has a whole set of policies in place including


student loan reforms, particular economic incentives, tax cuts for


small businesses. He has been trying to get back through for over


a year. It's been blocked by Republicans in Congress. So we've


been trying to do things administratively where we can. We


very much hope that after the election when the President is an


overrated again on 20th January, that we will be able to move things


forward with a more corporate of Republican Party. Good luck with


that! His and Mr Romney's problem is that he is hugely dependent on


one part of the electorate - the white vote. He will get almost no


black coats and very few Hispanic votes. The last time Mr Bush in


2008, John McCain got less than 20 % of the Hispanic Ode and less than


10 % of the black wrote macro. He is the white man's candidate.


Romney is the candidate for the people. For the people who are


suffering due to economic policy. She says the policy or -- the


policies are working, they are not working. Our unemployment for 43


straight month was over 8%. The President said he was going to


bring it down to 6%, its at 7.8 %. He's increased the deficit, he's


increased the debt to record levels. Some Mitt Romney, while


traditionally the minorities Mike vote for the Democrats, I think you


will see a lot of them voting with their pop-up book when they go and


fill up their cars and its $5 a gallon. Do you want to bet on the


Hispanic vault? I think the majority will vote for the


Democrats, but look at the people in the party. You may not be able


to admit this but I know and most people know that when I speak to my


Democrat friends and activists in the United States, in their hearts


they are deeply disappointed by the first for Mark Rutte years of Mr


Obama. They had hoped for so much more. That's why there's a lack of


enthusiasm. I still think it's his to lose but there's a lack of


enthusiasm for him winning. In 2008, and I was one of those early


supporters. I was out there in 2007 really early on. In 2000 debate,


what we were trying to do was something historic. We were trying


to re-elect the first African American President, we were trying


to restore economic opportunity after eight years of what had been


a devastating Bush administration. It was a unique time in a -- in


American history. Obama has become the President, he has disappointed


some liberals. He has run to the centre on a lot of issues where


people like me, who might have been the early supporters out there,


would have liked him to be more progressive. He said, no, I need to


be right in the middle where the American people are. But if he was


right in the middle, there would be huge enthusiasm for re-electing him.


He came through with this super majority. He could have passed


anything he wanted to in those first two years and he focused on


health care reform, which was costly, took the time out of


Congress. Most people in Europe think it's about time America had


healthcare reform. Nobody disagrees about that. Mr Rumney says he's


going to repeal it. The cost of healthcare is to hide. It would be


nice if some people have it. 30 million people don't even have it.


Let's do what Mitt Romney did in Massachusetts and let the States do


that. Each state is so completely different. He has remained on that


in Massachusetts. He wants to implement that as a state decision,


not a federal decision. How would it be in Alabama if it was down to


the States? People can't afford it. It needs to be something that's


right for Alabama. An important point and health care. You said


you'd like to see the other states do what Massachusetts has done. If


Mitt Romney's policy was enacted, it would not be possible for even


Massachusetts to do what Massachusetts has done. It relies


on pockets of federal money that Mitt Romney is proposing to take


away. How many more days have Riggott, 18? Yes. Who is going to


win? Not to do you want to win, who you think is going to win? I think


it's too hard to call. I think Obama might, but the Midwest is


going to be... Keep your eye on Ohio, where Mitt Romney has only a


third of the people,. Obama was going to win. Come back and see us.


Whipping. I often mention that word. It's something you think they


belong on the racecourses or perhaps in the privacy of your own


home. But in Westminster, it's something MPs do all the time and


sometimes they are even caught doing it on camera. Here is Quentin


W is for working... And W is for whipping. Whips are government


ministers employed by the taxpayer to impose party discipline,


generally to make life miserable for MPs. The justification for


whips is that they help a democratically elected government


push through its policies but the madness is that we, the taxpayers,


or social and opposition whips. Some of them are on ministerial


salaries. It is a good old system! The initial persuasion of MPs is


done generally have a glass of whisky... -- over a glass of whisky.


Come and sit next to Daddy! Hello, again! Of the whisky didn't work,


there of various other sticks and carrots and the whips might employ.


It might involve putting an MP on a really boring committee or getting


on to the local activists and complaining about them. They hate


that! Or possibly a fact-finding trip abroad or the ultimate Lear -


a hint that may be a ministerial office might be in the offing. You


innocent openings may have heard the expression of "a three-line


whip". What does that mean? Every week, the whips issue is secular


and it details forthcoming government business. I have got a


copy here... The piece of paper has on it a list of debates and the


really important ones on which MPs are expected to vote are underlined.


Not once, not twice but three times. A three-line whip. The only times


the public a disease which is in action is that the announcement of


a Commons vote. Those people there, they are the whips, and if you


visit the Commons gallery you will see them sitting on the front bench


taking notes like of his spies. But otherwise there should we, discreet


creatures. Is it really right in this day and age that the public


purse is being used to reward Parliament's floggers and


thrashers? We are now joined by Labour MP,


Nick Brown, under Gordon Brown, so that was an easy gig! And no


problems there. What does it take to be a good which? You have to


have a decent working relationship with your party and with your


colleagues. So no problem, then! Rather a lot happened between Tony


Blair's Labour government and Gordon Brown! The most popular


thing I have ever said was that for those of you who think there is a


black book kept on your Mr Bean has, I promise you, there is no such


thing being kept. And I got a huge round of applause for this. And


then people said, he will be remembering it or it will be on the


computer. There was a black book at one stage? Well, I asked a civil


servant with there had been such a thing under the Tory regime. And


all their papers were kept in a cage at room out of our reach!


caged Room! Did you ever used the Doc Cox? No, no, it was just the


gentle art of persuasion. -- did you use the dark hearts? This isn't


pick-and-mix. They should just do as they're told? No, but remind


them that the manifesto on which they stood, which was Conservative,


and they would say, actually, I have different thoughts now and I


want to exert my independence. But politics is not pick and mix. It is


taking the party line and I think it is important people remember


that because otherwise you get anarchy. And what about rebellion?


The student fees was a big one and I was not a whit at that time. I


was a backbencher. What I thought would happen was that if we won


that vote and we were within five, if you remember, Tony Blair would


re-table it all because under your draws you are obliged to vote


Maghreb. There have been stories in the past that I vaguely remember of


physical violence been threatened by whips, of MPs being pushed up


against walls... That is a pretty silly thing to do if you think


about it! Did that happen? And not under my... Was not accusing you!


You are not he will be now. Would you rebel? Well, as I said earlier


on, I am not minded to rebel but you have to look at each issue and


the interest of your constituents. But what of your constituents


actually did not like what the party was doing? Are you more for


their constituents I got -- or the party? You have to remember I have


some 90,000 electorates and it is the third largest in the country.


There will be those on this side as well as the other. So I have to


look at all the arguments and consider them. A delegate does as


he or she is told whereas an MP as a representative analyses the views.


We have all bread the book! You have observed the whips. Tell us a


few stories. It is certainly true about people being threatened with


violence! There you go! Thank you! A tell us who! Calling their wives,


mistresses? I believe Spencer held somebody up against the wall in the


lobby! He you have to be careful now. It is the 20th century and


people have human rights! It is also true about the Black Book. I


know one former whip who certainly kept a black book on people. He was


At Number 12 Downing Street, on the skirting board, there is a false


door and it slides to one side, and inside there is a small, concealed


safe. Legend has it the black book was kept in there! And there was


also Maclean's brain, which contains much information! Hold on!


You mentioned you have got a constituency outside of London. You


are part of the modernising tendency of the Conservative Party.


How worried are you about the whole Andrew Mitchell affair and that it


is damaging your party? That if she was being carried on for the


interest of other parties. -- that issue is being carried on. The


officer concerned have accepted his apology and what's more, the top


officer of the Metropolitan Police has also accepted it. It is time to


move on. Have you told that to your colleagues? Because it is not just


Labour. Conservative MPs still speak to me about it and Cabinet


MPs as well. Your own side is deeply unhappy. There is also


something saying the majority of MPs are supportive of this. If he


said what he said to the policeman... What did he say?


did he actually say? Why doesn't he tell us? Are you are a former Chief


Whip and Andrew Mitchell is doing your job now. A different


government, obviously. How difficult would it be for him to


maintain party discipline? I think it would be very difficult indeed.


The problem with what he is supposed to have done, and I have


got no reason to doubt the police record with this, is that he gives


the impression that the Conservative leadership is just a


bunch of toffs. Why you have no reason to doubt a police record


after Hillsborough, the West Midlands crime squad, the Guildford


four? Why on earth should the police make something up? I am not


saying that but the idea that police records are the tablets of


stone... You have read Chris Hutchings Malan, Labour left-wing


MP for... In the Times this week. Why would the police could the


story to the press because they must have given it to the press?


Well, because the numbers are down on police and there are having the


Hillsborough inquiry... But they are passing tittle-tattle on to the


journalists. In fairness, as Andrew says, he is account of events, they


might be willing to weigh up the two. He says the officer has


accepted it and we must now move on but it is a bit rich from him.


think the critical issue is that an apology has been made and we need


to move on. The only thing I can say is that the other side hasn't


got anything else to say. In will rumble into next week as a debate


in Parliament. There is a debate next week. Yes. It needs to be


politics or the people. In the last quarter... I Love and the story,


the! Welfare reform is going through. They want to know what he


said. To put people out there on their jobs. They want jobs security,


food on the table and they want to know what the Government is doing


This country is as obsessed with class as it has ever been but now


we are being told, let's move on, you have had your fun, let's look


at jobs, energy prices. What do you say to that? I think you are right.


So let's get over that. Get him to say what he said and then everybody


can move on! If you think that the Government thinks people like us,


player buts and morons, ought to get on with it, how can you have


any confidence in them? But the problem for why this issue has


resonated so deeply and for so long is that it plays to the narrative


that the Government is run by a bunch of posh boys who are out of


touch and looked down their noses at the rest of us. That is the


problem, isn't it? There is a group of people out there who want to


portray that perception of the party, which is not true. Look at


my own background. I am the son of an immigrant carpenter... I am a


backbencher. So that his opposition in the Cabinet! The point is, you


can have whatever background you have so long as you try to better


at your fellow citizens. As David Cameron said... No, you have had


your say. We covered these soundbites live. We have a


government which is not in control of events. All these issues we


would like to be discussed are not being discussed. You, I don't know


why you are no longer a whip but you were a whip in the most


disruptive, rebellious Parliament we have had for many a long year!


Were have a coalition government. But Nick had a majority of 80.


have spoken to two of Margaret Thatcher's close it -- closest


advisers who said she would have had him out of the door in 24 hours.


That is it for today. The One o'clock News is starting over on


BBC One and I will be back on BBC One on Sunday with the Sunday


Politics. I will be joined by the Home Secretary, Theresa May, and we


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