06/11/2012 Daily Politics


06/11/2012

Jo Coburn with the latest political news and debate. With guest Chris Mullins, she looks at the US election and the halfway point of the British coalition.


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Transcript


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Good afternoon and welcome to the day Lee. Believe it or not, we are

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halfway through this Parliament. Doesn't time fly when you're having

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fun? Seems like a good day for a half-term report. We will be asking

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the all-important question, is a day radically reforming government

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or an omnishambles of a partnership? -- is it a radically

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reforming government? In America, will it be Obama or

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Romney? And Giles will be looking at the

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very expensive and entertaining campaign roller-coaster. Election

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day, election day! Up and at them! And do you have nightmares about

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All that in the next hour. With us for the whole programme, the former

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Labour MP Chris Mullin, who now writes to pass the time of day. He

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also acts, I bet you didn't know that! He will hit our screens

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tomorrow as a vicar in an adaptation of his first novel, A

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Very British Coup. Secret State starts on Channel 4 tomorrow, you

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will be able to see him in a dog- collar. Have you got a big part?

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Let us not exaggerate. I said to the directors, I'd like a little

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walk-on part, if you don't mind. I thought they might make me a

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backbench MP or minister, but instead they made me a vicar

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conducting a memorial service foreign debt Prime Minister. It was

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a speaking part when it started, I had three or four little rolls, my

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first one was to stand outside the church and welcome the mourners, my

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second was to greet the grieving widow, a very beautiful woman who I

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had to take by the hand and escort to the church door. That was

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reforms about 20 times from different angles. Then I made a

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short speech from the pulpit, after which the choir would strike up

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behind me. However, when I got to see the first episode, everything

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has gone except a few seconds of me standing, but you have to be very

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quick, standing at the church door. The choir has gone, everybody has

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gone. That is the television business! All on the cutting room

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floor, but I am there. We will keep our eyes peeled. It is aren't --

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based on my first novel A Very British Coup, actually it is

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inspired by rather than based on. Very loosely inspired. Can you

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recognise your book? Very loose the. I have been extremely likely --

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lucky that they bought the rights, it was filmed once in the 80s and

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they stuck more closely to it. They have changed the title. They rang

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me up, very embarrassed, and said, do you mind if we do not use the

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title? It is very good, though, very gritting, -- gripping, Charles

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Dance, Gina McKee, Gabriel Byrne, it is well worth watching. Is this

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the start of a new career for you? I think my acting career is over.

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Before it even began! Time for our daily quiz. The

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Which political figure is off to Which political figure is off to

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the jungle? Michael Heseltine, George Osborne, Nadine Dorries or

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Jacob Rees-Mogg? Chris will give us the answer later. Don't bother e-

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mailing us, we only give one mug away a week - that is austerity for

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you! You probably don't even know why

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today is so momentous. Tuesday the 6th November 2012 marks the exact

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halfway point of this Parliament. To mark this auspicious occasion

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the Government was meant to be producing its very own mid-term

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review, which it was going to publish around now. But like so

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much else in government it has been delayed. Never mind, we at the

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Daily Politics are here to help and have produced our very own mid-term

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report. The most important subject is the economy and tackling the

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deficit. Overall, the deficit has come down. Britain borrowed �126

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billion last year, but it was still �10 billion above the target the

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Government set when it came into tired -- into power.

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The Government has come up with radical ideas on free schools,

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academies and the curriculum. It wanted to be radical on health as

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well, but the Health and Social Care Bill ran into trouble. It was

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forced to hold a listening exercise to get it through Parliament.

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On welfare, the coalition has gone where previous governments have

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feared to tread. From 2013, it will introduce a cap on the total

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benefits a household can receive up around �500 a week, so it will not

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exceed the average household pay. The coalition needs to maintain

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discipline over Europe. There could still be a classroom dispute over

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boundary changes and, of course, they could do more on banking

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reform and reforming social care. Joining me now are Rachel Sylvester,

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political commentator for the Times, and Fraser Nelson, editor of the

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Spectator magazine. Fraser, what would you give the coalition out of

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10? Probably six-and-a-half. Five stars for education and welfare.

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The economy has not been very good, I'd probably give that one-and-a-

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half stars. And four unforced errors, you should take away stars

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for the needless mistakes which they seem to keep making. There is

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an idea of shambles which very cunningly Dist -- disguises a

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government which is not that bad. Rachel, how would you characterise

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the coalition? Two party's governing in the national interest

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or ruling in a constant state of omnishambles? As Fraser says, on

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education and welfare they have been good, but on fell -- on health

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reforms they have spectacularly failed to explain what they were

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doing, constitutional reform has been a constant ding-dong between

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the parties, and on the economy it is as if they have set the course

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but we don't know what the result will be, the examiners are still

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adjudicating the papers. In the next couple of years we will find

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out whether the question has been answered. You both mentioned they

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have been radical in certain areas, are on welfare and education.

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Fraser, looking at those two in isolation, has it been a radically

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reforming government? If it succeeds in welfare or education,

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that will be more than, in my view, Labour managed in 13 years. So you

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could say it was a success. But the new schools still are not keeping

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pace with the number of new pupils, so you will end up with even worse

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shortages than under Labour. In welfare they are continuing what

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Labour did really well, but a lot depends on the complete rewrite of

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the welfare system, the universal credits, which will take years to

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work out if it will succeed or not. The economy, Rachel Sylvester, is

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still the big challenge? Absolutely. There is a new spending round

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coming up which the parties will have to try to reach agreement on,

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which will be yet another flashpoint between the two parties.

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I think the big test is whether or not coalition can be made to work.

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Although at the top the two leaders want it to, the two parties at

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getting increasingly fractious, particularly on the conservative

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side. The classroom rubber throwing around and Ink spots are getting

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slightly out of control and immature. They have to decide

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whether they want to complete the exam or not. I love you analogies,

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you are doing very well! Fraser, on the workings of the coalition, the

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idea was the right thing for the right time, in austerity, but has

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it delivered stability in government or are we now seeing as

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relationships become more frayed that it has not worked as a

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concept? The fact that the coalition is still here after two-

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and-a-half years, I didn't think we would get to the halfway report

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stage. It has never been done before in peacetime British

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politics. It is an incredible achievement in the adversarial

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system, they have kept the class together, to use the analogy. But

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has it brought stability? It has not brought growth. That has been

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the biggest single disappointment of the Government, how little there

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has been in trying to fix the economy. Rachel, on the basis the

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coalition has lasted thus far, will it last until 2015? I don't think

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it is in the interests of either party forehead not too. This is the

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result the electorate delivered, it was not bat Clegg and Cameron

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wanted to get lovey-dovey and the Rose Garden, the electorate did not

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deliver an overall majority, so they had to make it work, they have

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to make it work until 2015. Thank you for your school mid-term report.

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With us now his former Lib Dem leader Ming Campbell and the former

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cabinet minister Cheryl Gillan. Is it working, Ming Campbell? Yes. As

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it has just been pointed out, many thought it would not work at all.

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We are halfway through, a lot of achievement, maybe lots of things

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we'd like to have done better, but if you compare the coalition

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Government's performance against the last two-and-a-half years of

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the Labour government, you'd be bound to give as much higher marks.

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They would argue there was more growth coming out of that last

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government ban over the last two- and-a-half years. But at what

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expense, at the expense of a deficit right out of control. The

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only reason we can talk about growth, infrastructure etc is

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because of the off-air -- austerity of the last two-and-a-half years.

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We have maintained confidence in the bond market, the Stock Exchange

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and the pound, everything which would have been subject to very

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heavy pressure if we went straight into some kind of growth scenario.

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George Osborne says he will miss some of the key targets. Do you

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think people feel better than a few years ago? What is interesting is

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there are still majority support for the economic policy. Of course

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some people have been hurt, it would be very foolish to argue

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anything other than that, but the point is we have restored stability.

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Looking around Europe, you can see some countries where they would

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give their right hand to have the kind of stability we have. Don't

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mention Europe, as far as the coalition is concerned! I voted for

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the Prime Minister against his own rebels! Funny, that. I am very

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happy to talk about Europe. Cheryl, you have sat around the Cabinet

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table, was there a perceptible shift in relations during those few

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years? The coalition operates on two levels, I would agree with

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Menzies Campbell, at Cabinet level it works extremely well. A right up

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until the time at which you left? Yes. I would argue it is working

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now as well. I think there is a responsible and mature attitude.

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Two parties came together in the interests of the country and they

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have tried to put together a blueprint for government which will

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not only heal the economy but will spread some fairness and

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responsibility and equality. I think lots of those goals have been

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achieved. However, just listening to the Commons, I think it is

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different for the pupils in the classroom. I think the prefects

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have one aspect of the coalition right, I think the pupils in the

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classroom are a bit fractious and therefore you see the turmoil among

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some backbenchers. Would you agree the leaders, David Cameron,

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particularly, in your case, have lost touch with grassroots and MPs?

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I think it is very important to keep in touch with the backbenchers,

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I probably was not as good as I ought to have been myself. I

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remember the Major government when I was a minister, we spent a lot of

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time talking to backbenchers. Every Secretary of State when I was first

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elected in 92 had groups of backbenchers in and was really

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across their subject and took us through each operation of each

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department of state. It works at the top is the basis of what Cheryl

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is saying, because there is a need for government to work, and perhaps

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for the Lib Dems it is their first time in government, but the parties

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have become disillusioned? I think in the second half of the coalition,

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the Liberal Democrats, and Menzies will know more about this than I,

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would like to put water between themselves and the Government. My

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feeling is that Nick Clegg will not make it as leader of the Liberal

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Democrats to the next election. I think he will stand down about the

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year beforehand. I think he will remain Deputy Prime Minister. I

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would be surprised if he even contest the seat for Parliament at

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the next election. The answer is no to all three of those. I talked to

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Nick Clegg from time to time, I see nothing but somebody determined to

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to see this through, just as the coalition must be determined to see

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through, particularly the economic programme. Because he is happy?

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Because it is his duty. Some politicians, and three, I think, in

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this studio, went into politics out of a sense of duty. Having been

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elected they felt compelled to continue to discharge their duty

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and responsibilities, that is how Nick Clegg sees it. Has he changed?

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You know him. It has been difficult for him at the beginning but also

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recently with constitutional reform, has he changed as a person and a

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leader? Is he more tough? He has been through fire and brimstone.

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Leadership is very difficult. And Minister of a coalition is even

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more difficult. And leader as the Deputy Prime Minister of a

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coalition government at a party who has not had any responsibilities

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for 80 years is very difficult. I think he is different. Is the

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relationship different with David Cameron? Probably less affectionate,

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because government is hard and there are difficult decisions to

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take. People disagree. People often say political parties are like

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coalitions, but coalitions are like political parties. There are

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:15:58.:15:59.

different strains and strands of I think Nick is looking more

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towards the position in his party. He asked to play towards the

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Liberal Democrats Gallery, and I think politicians must remember

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their party members and what they think. Having observed them, I

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think it is David Cameron who has grown. AC Moore sure footed nurse

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and it is David Cameron who has have to make some brave decisions

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in this coalition. Do you agree? he is as sure footed as that, why

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did he have so many difficulties this week over the issue of Europe?

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Certainly a lot of the people on the back benches on the

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conservative side seemed to believe it. As far as Nick Clegg is

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concerned, of course it has been a baptism but he has learned a

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tremendous amount and not only to manage his party but to manage his

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role in government. I should make clear I am not predicting he will

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stand down as deputy prime minister, but I think as leader of Lib Dems.

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I would agree that. I think the pact is between the men at the top

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and if Nick Clegg can't carry his party with him, I think he will

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stay there as Deputy Prime Minister but I do think the problems in

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Europe are inherent in our party. am they being dealt with properly?

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There is a long way to go. I was reliving Maastricht again and I

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would support the government because I don't want to see David

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Cameron with one hand tied behind his back but there are temptations.

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Labour attempted some of our less mature backbenchers and that caused

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the problem. I was reliving Mrs Thatcher saying no, no, no, and

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:18:04.:18:09.

that was the straw that finally broke the back. Cuckoo Europe is

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where we do need to do some work because the Conservative Party and

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the majority of our members want the deal with Europe renegotiated,

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and that is where I stand and my colleagues stand. It is the

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question of how we do it and how we forge the new relationship with

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Europe because we don't want to go further into a political union.

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but you don't achieve influence in Europe so long as you are semi-

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detached. One of the casualties of last week is that David Cameron

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formed an alliance with Germany, with France, Finland and the

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Netherlands, and as a result of the so-called mandate he has been given

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by his party, he will have to Renee gone that alliance which is deeply

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damaging in the short term and long term. The charges of incompetence

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has been levelled at the government. How do you change that perception?

:19:06.:19:13.

A just because the opposition says it, doesn't mean to say it is right,

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as Chris Mullin knows! How do you change that perception when there

:19:22.:19:28.

have been arguments about wind farms, on Trident, and on Europe.

:19:28.:19:34.

Wait a minute. When Tony Blair determined to make a decision on

:19:34.:19:41.

Trident, about 150 Labour MPs voted against him. When it came to Iraq,

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there were about 150 Labour MPs who voted against that. Are you saying

:19:47.:19:52.

you are unified on those issues? Some mistakes have been made, and

:19:52.:19:58.

admitting to them is first and foremost what should be done. All

:19:58.:20:02.

of those accidents make it more possible that we may face a Labour

:20:02.:20:09.

government and it is the last thing this country needs. The two

:20:09.:20:13.

consecutive substantial rises in the pension fund Labour's offer of

:20:13.:20:21.

25p to pensioners when Gordon Brown was Chancellor of the Exchequer.

:20:21.:20:25.

low blow there. In fact pensions did go up very substantially under

:20:25.:20:31.

the last government. On Europe, it is an altogether different league

:20:31.:20:36.

from some of the other difficulties we have mentioned. It is the kind

:20:36.:20:41.

of fault line that runs through the Tory party and it does threaten the

:20:41.:20:47.

coalition. It threatens their credibility with the electorate.

:20:47.:20:53.

have been told we have spent far too much time, but stay here.

:20:53.:20:57.

Coalition means tangling with a range of thorny issues, none more

:20:58.:21:01.

thorny than boundary issues and reducing the amount of MPs in the

:21:01.:21:07.

Commons. With opposition to the changes building, it was announced

:21:07.:21:13.

yesterday the Lords vote on the matter would be dropped. The

:21:13.:21:16.

Tories' Lord Strathclyde, the leader of the House of Lords, said

:21:16.:21:20.

senior members of the government needed to discuss the issues before

:21:20.:21:29.

Pearce could hold the vote. That is what he's had to say. All of those

:21:29.:21:32.

involved need time to reflect before this House is invited to

:21:32.:21:38.

make a decision on the amendments all its merits. It will not

:21:38.:21:41.

surprise the house that those involved include senior members of

:21:41.:21:46.

the government, and until their discussions are concluded the

:21:46.:21:51.

electoral administration bill will not proceed further in committee.

:21:51.:21:55.

This House should be considering the amendment itself and the issues

:21:55.:22:00.

raised by the amendment but it is not. Instead, in a move we believe

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to be unprecedented, the government has pulled the bill from the order

:22:06.:22:13.

paper. Why? We have heard no satisfactory explanation. I have

:22:13.:22:17.

heard the actual reason is that time could not be found for the

:22:17.:22:22.

Prime Minister and the Deputy Prime Minister to meet to consider the

:22:23.:22:27.

issues. My Lords, even if that is the case, it is not a sufficient

:22:27.:22:32.

explanation. Not sufficient for the workings of government, but

:22:32.:22:35.

absolutely not sufficient for the relationship between the executive

:22:35.:22:40.

and the legislature. Parliament is not applied in of government. In

:22:40.:22:44.

particular, Parliament is not the plaything of a political party in

:22:44.:22:52.

trouble. That was yesterday in the House of

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Lords. What is going on exactly? There is a Labour amendment which

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would have the effect of kicking the whole issue of boundary changes

:23:01.:23:09.

in to 2018. That is an amendment Liberal Democrats peers wish to

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support, and there is substantial crossbench support as well. The

:23:13.:23:18.

government is committed to - the Conservative Party of the

:23:18.:23:23.

government - is committed to boundary changes. After reforms by

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the Labour Party and Tory rebels, Nick Clegg said, OK, we will not

:23:29.:23:34.

vote for boundary changes. Another point, quite a few Conservative MPs

:23:34.:23:42.

are not keen, particularly the new intake who find themselves out.

:23:42.:23:51.

government can't keep delaying this Up hoping the government will

:23:51.:23:58.

deliver. Some seats have very few people. They can't because the

:23:58.:24:01.

Liberal Democrats and Labour will vote together to make sure it

:24:01.:24:06.

doesn't happen. I think negotiations are still going on.

:24:06.:24:11.

there any chance the Lib Dems could be talked around? I find it

:24:11.:24:13.

difficult to perceive any circumstances in which Nick Clegg

:24:13.:24:17.

would depart from what he said publicly. It is right there should

:24:17.:24:22.

be a conversation between the Prime Minister and the Deputy Prime

:24:22.:24:26.

Minister about any situation which arises. I am not privy to the

:24:26.:24:31.

inside workings of this but it would be difficult for Nick Clegg

:24:31.:24:35.

to change his position. I think we will see this pushed into long

:24:35.:24:39.

grass, but I don't think it has gone off the agenda for the Prime

:24:39.:24:44.

Minister, for the party, or the electorate. We need to reduce the

:24:44.:24:54.

size of the government, and did you meet the coalition agreement...

:24:54.:24:59.

Dems are... It is not going to happen? No, boundary changes Irish

:24:59.:25:05.

extremely destructive and they are trying to slide an extra one threw

:25:05.:25:11.

him five years rather than every 10 years. Will that be the end of the

:25:11.:25:17.

coalition? No, and it is not unknown for governments to

:25:17.:25:24.

manipulate boundary changes. It is not unusual for governments to do

:25:24.:25:32.

so. Thank you very much. If you are a keen scholar of Chris Mullin is'

:25:32.:25:36.

diaries and novels, perhaps you fancy a slice of it glamorous life

:25:36.:25:40.

of the MP, but how do you get on the ballot paper in the first

:25:40.:25:47.

place? Before you can be elected as an MP, you have to be selective as

:25:47.:25:52.

a PPC, a prospective parliamentary candidate. Becoming one of them is

:25:52.:25:56.

very difficult. For the Lib Dems and the Conservatives, you first

:25:56.:26:01.

have to get past a set of tests designed by this psychologist.

:26:01.:26:06.

might have for example a group exercise looking at how people

:26:06.:26:09.

interact, how they solve problems. There would be an interview which

:26:09.:26:19.

is looking at how you can provide evidence. One thing MPs have to do

:26:19.:26:23.

is prioritised and analyse information quickly so we looked at

:26:23.:26:29.

that. You might have an in-tray exercise, dilemmas, how you would

:26:29.:26:34.

solve problems. Past them and you are on to the approved candidate

:26:34.:26:43.

list. Labour miss out that step. Vanities roughly the same process -

:26:43.:26:48.

apply for a seat when it becomes vacant, hope they do not get rid of

:26:48.:26:55.

your application. Then repeat, often at different ends of the

:26:55.:27:00.

country, until you get selected. This man coaches Tory wannabes who

:27:00.:27:07.

want to get into Westminster. body knows everybody and your

:27:07.:27:11.

reputation starts from when you become an activist. Whatever you

:27:11.:27:18.

say in your answers, people will check. There was a lot of informal

:27:18.:27:23.

vetting that goes on. Good is quite a gruelling process, isn't it?

:27:23.:27:28.

is a tough process, ending with a tough job. At to address complaints

:27:28.:27:32.

that this is biased towards a certain kind of go-getter, Ed

:27:32.:27:36.

Miliband has launched a programme where people get training and

:27:37.:27:42.

coaching to help them through the process. To make it seem more

:27:43.:27:46.

transparent, the Tories experimented by selecting Sarah

:27:46.:27:52.

Wollaston as they can do to through an open primary where the public

:27:52.:27:57.

would vote as well. Before you say it isn't this a bit technical?

:27:57.:28:00.

Remember this, around half of constituencies are considered safe

:28:00.:28:03.

seats which means the local party members are not just selecting

:28:03.:28:07.

their candidate, they are really picking your MP.

:28:07.:28:14.

Chris Mullin, you have been there, done that, got the T-shirt. Is it

:28:14.:28:19.

more technical these days in terms of getting selected? He certainly

:28:19.:28:22.

seems like that from the description given there, but you

:28:22.:28:27.

can never stop parties doing what they want to do in the end.

:28:27.:28:31.

thought there was more direction now with a list candidates?

:28:31.:28:37.

there have always been attempt by the machine to impose. The Tories

:28:37.:28:42.

had there A-list, Labour has a certain Inside Track as anybody

:28:42.:28:47.

noticed. The have parachuted candidates in, haven't they? There

:28:47.:28:52.

have been cases when the Chancellor of the Exchequer have sat ringing

:28:52.:28:59.

round in order to get an individual selected. The thing that has

:28:59.:29:04.

happened is they are getting much younger than they were in my day.

:29:04.:29:10.

Is that a good thing? I personally don't think it is. My advice to

:29:10.:29:14.

people is to go out and do something useful in the world, and

:29:14.:29:18.

then you can make a greater contribution once you are elected.

:29:18.:29:23.

It may be the wrong advice because some of these guys get into

:29:23.:29:29.

Parliament in their late 20s, then they are the leader of their party

:29:29.:29:34.

by the time they are 38. In fact all three of the present party

:29:34.:29:38.

leaders were only in Parliament five years before they became the

:29:38.:29:43.

leaders of other parties. That is a phenomenal change. I have been

:29:43.:29:48.

looking back at the diaries of the Attlee government and the Macmillan

:29:48.:29:51.

government and they were so old and tired that they could not cope with

:29:51.:29:57.

the pressure of government. The Attlee government had been through

:29:57.:30:01.

the war and they were on their knees. Do you need to be young to

:30:01.:30:11.

Do you need to be done to deal with the pressures? I don't mind people

:30:11.:30:21.
:30:21.:30:23.

getting younger in general, but I think I'd world. How old were you

:30:23.:30:31.

when you were selected? I was 39, but I was 545 when I became a

:30:31.:30:38.

minister, which must have raised eyebrows. -- I was 54 off 55.

:30:38.:30:42.

there are lots more women. Especially on the Labour side, but

:30:42.:30:49.

not so much with the Tories. Cheryl Gillan told me she was only the 6th

:30:49.:30:55.

Tory woman to sit in the Cabinet in the history of the Tory party! Is

:30:55.:31:00.

that not astonishing? The Tories have a problem with women and the

:31:00.:31:04.

fact that the top public schools still dominate the selection

:31:04.:31:10.

process. All the parties have a problem with the fact they are all

:31:10.:31:14.

shrinking in size and less and less people are wanting to become an MP

:31:14.:31:20.

now, that is why they tried to hold open primaries, in the case of

:31:20.:31:24.

Sarah Wollaston, for example, but that is unusual. The Tories tried

:31:24.:31:31.

it in my end of the country and just the usual suspects showed up.

:31:31.:31:35.

It is decision time for America, will President Obama have another

:31:35.:31:39.

four years in the White House, or will the Republican challenger Mitt

:31:39.:31:44.

Romney win the day? On this side of the Atlantic, the elections can

:31:44.:31:48.

seem confusing - although swing states and electoral colleges. But

:31:48.:31:52.

fear not, here is Jeremy Vine with a helpful guide of how it works and

:31:52.:31:56.

what to look out for. Should we remind ourselves of a map

:31:56.:32:01.

as it was left in the 2008 elections? It looks a bit like a

:32:01.:32:06.

draw, there is almost as much red as blue. It was a very convincing

:32:06.:32:10.

victory for Barack Obama, and the reason is the electoral college

:32:10.:32:16.

vote system. I have put a bobble on each state showing the number of

:32:16.:32:20.

electoral college votes, California with 55 has the biggest, the

:32:20.:32:25.

Dakotas have relatively small, they are rural and lightly populated.

:32:25.:32:32.

Texas has 38, Florida has 29, you have to get above 270 when you add

:32:32.:32:37.

up the colleges. That is why they have been campaigning in states

:32:37.:32:42.

which are competitive with the electoral votes on offer. States

:32:42.:32:44.

like a Colorado, Virginia, North Carolina, Florida and Ohio.

:32:44.:32:50.

Everyone talks about what -- talks about Ohio, because it seems to

:32:50.:32:55.

predict the winner time after time after time. This is how the

:32:55.:32:59.

candidates have been dealing in Ohio. The one thing about this

:32:59.:33:04.

graph, we get to the third of October and what happens? Romney

:33:04.:33:08.

suddenly snaps into contention in the first debate, he has been close

:33:08.:33:13.

ever since. But looking at the graph, it looks like Obama takes

:33:13.:33:19.

Ohio, and you might say he looks good for a second term.

:33:19.:33:23.

Florida, Florida is fascinating with so many different voting

:33:23.:33:27.

groups and a real indicator of how the Democrats are advancing. They

:33:27.:33:33.

are really, really doing well with Latino voters, single women and

:33:33.:33:38.

college-educated voters. Look at this, you see the trajectory where

:33:38.:33:44.

Obama comes through, and there are lots of heavily Republican parts of

:33:44.:33:48.

Florida, by the way, but the urban parts tend to be democratic. But it

:33:48.:33:52.

is almost as if Romney suddenly connect with the debate and goes

:33:52.:33:58.

into the lead. Florida looks a better bet for the Republicans, but

:33:58.:34:03.

if you see the margin of victory from last time for Obama, Romney

:34:03.:34:07.

need to take Florida and Ohio and some others in order to overtake

:34:07.:34:11.

the Democrats. It really looks like quite a big task for the Republican

:34:11.:34:14.

challenger. Joining me from Washington to give

:34:14.:34:22.

us the latest is Kim Ghattas from the BBC. Is it too close to call?

:34:22.:34:28.

Yes, it is a dead heat, especially in national polls. But as Jeremy

:34:28.:34:34.

said, it is about the electoral colleges. But even in the key

:34:34.:34:37.

battleground states, sometimes in many of them, it is too close to be

:34:38.:34:42.

able to tell exactly which way things will go. The key

:34:42.:34:46.

battleground of judgment is one state that everybody will be

:34:46.:34:51.

watching. We will start however by watching Virginia. The polls their

:34:51.:34:55.

close and about 12 hours from now. Fairly soon after that we will be

:34:55.:35:01.

able to tell whether Obama or Romney have carried that state. If

:35:01.:35:06.

Obama does, it becomes a lot more difficult for Mr Romney to become

:35:06.:35:11.

the big day in this race, although not impossible. Them we will all be

:35:11.:35:15.

looking at Ohio, which is such a key battleground state. Mr Obama

:35:16.:35:21.

has a small but steady lead which he has had for a bit now. They have

:35:21.:35:25.

been campaigning like mad, I have just discussed with my guests how

:35:26.:35:29.

exhausting the process has been. They can't be many undecided voters

:35:29.:35:34.

left? You look at these men and they seemed so different, and two

:35:34.:35:40.

of the two different visions for America, are there still undecided

:35:40.:35:44.

voters? Yes, and they will possibly make up their mind at the last

:35:44.:35:48.

minute when they go into the polling stations. I already saw

:35:48.:35:54.

people lining up early this morning, polls are open in DEC and Maryland,

:35:54.:36:00.

they open at 7am in Virginia, but it has been a frenzied campaign up

:36:00.:36:03.

until the last minute to try to get every single one of those voters

:36:03.:36:07.

not only to make up their minds but to come out and vote, that is what

:36:07.:36:13.

it is really about. Mr Romney is leaving nothing to chance, he is

:36:13.:36:17.

still campaigning today, he will be going to Cleveland, Ohio, and

:36:17.:36:23.

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, unheard- of in some countries campaigning

:36:23.:36:27.

carrying on until election day. But nobody is leaving anything to

:36:27.:36:32.

chance. It has been exhausting for the two candidates. They looked

:36:32.:36:35.

quite haggard yesterday, very, very tired. They were starting to repeat

:36:35.:36:42.

the same speech over and over. You wonder whether it actually still

:36:42.:36:45.

makes a difference, but it is about getting the boat out. You don't

:36:45.:36:51.

look haggard, Kim Ghattas! Our election campaigns look pretty

:36:51.:36:55.

tame compared to those over the pond. We certainly don't spend as

:36:55.:36:58.

much. Giles has been holed up in the All Star Lanes Diner, someone

:36:59.:37:03.

has to do it, night and day for the last three months, analysing this

:37:03.:37:09.

one! Here are his findings. Eight presidential election seize

:37:09.:37:14.

billions spent on spin and razzmatazz. Balloons and hot air,

:37:14.:37:17.

whipping up enthusiasm and urging the UN decided to make up their

:37:17.:37:25.

minds. Are we fired up?! Are you ready to go?

:37:25.:37:28.

It is the Battle of two big beasts echoing worldwide, even in the

:37:28.:37:34.

wilds of Kenya. This is Obama, a large black bowl

:37:34.:37:39.

from the Kenyan town of Kakamega, and this is his opponent, called

:37:39.:37:44.

What else, Romney. A big beef with an American

:37:44.:37:47.

presidential election is if you want to flame will your opponent,

:37:47.:37:51.

you need an army of creative types with video skills who have seen

:37:51.:37:57.

every clip your opponent has ever screened. It is an ad war, Mad Men

:37:57.:38:01.

meets the West Wing, literally. There are plenty of steps we can

:38:01.:38:09.

take. Right now. Right now. Election day, election day, up and

:38:10.:38:16.

at them! I'm Barack Obama, and I approve this message. If you

:38:16.:38:23.

thought that was cheeky, you should shouldn't be with just anybody, it

:38:23.:38:28.

should be a great guy. It is supper uncool to be out and about and

:38:28.:38:35.

somebody saying, don't vote. That advert really -- really upset some

:38:35.:38:40.

of the electoral right. But Romney was accused of not liking a big

:38:40.:38:48.

yellow bird. Big Bird. It's me, Big Bird. Big, yellow, a menace to our

:38:48.:38:51.

economy. Mitt Romney knows it is not Wall Street you have to worry

:38:51.:38:58.

about, it is Sesame Street. some adverts have the thrum of

:38:58.:39:04.

manners. Knock on doors with me! Make phone calls with me! If you

:39:04.:39:09.

are willing to work with me. If you are willing to work harder. Then I

:39:09.:39:19.
:39:19.:39:21.

promise you. I promise a change For sheer scared the bejiminy out

:39:21.:39:28.

of any Catholic not daring to boot, this one takes some panel beating.

:39:28.:39:38.
:39:38.:39:47.

After that one, I half-expected orcs, a wizard and Gollum come out

:39:47.:39:51.

to discuss which one should rule their more. But Sauron had some

:39:51.:39:57.

style. # Mitt Romney style.

:39:57.:40:07.
:40:07.:40:11.

Well, dear! American election, I'm interested. Moments to make you

:40:11.:40:15.

laugh, cry, cry laughing, especially when you realise almost

:40:15.:40:20.

as many as can vote feel like this little girl, who absolutely can't,

:40:20.:40:28.

but he's very astute for a four year-old. I'm crying about Barack

:40:28.:40:33.

Obama and Mitt Romney. It will be over soon!

:40:33.:40:38.

Fancy reducing a four year-old to tears by the Campaign! Two American

:40:38.:40:42.

expats who have closely followed every twist and turn up with me,

:40:42.:40:47.

Stacey her large from Republicans Abroad and Karen Robinson from

:40:48.:40:52.

Democrats Abroad. Have you been reduced to tears? My voice has

:40:52.:40:58.

certainly been reduced. It has been a long slog. Why has it felt and

:40:58.:41:02.

been so long and exhausting? Or did we just forget what the last one

:41:02.:41:06.

was like? The last one was a very long campaign in 2008, on both

:41:06.:41:11.

sides we had really competitive primaries. We had a competitive

:41:11.:41:15.

Republican primary on this side, which went on. Mitt Romney must be

:41:15.:41:19.

on his knees by now. In terms of confidence in your man, how

:41:19.:41:24.

confident are you? Feeling pretty confident. I'm seeing the early

:41:24.:41:28.

voting figures, the numbers of Republicans voting early, and I

:41:28.:41:34.

think... What are those figures? significantly from last time, at

:41:34.:41:40.

25% in some crucial swing states, and Democrat numbers are down. But

:41:40.:41:43.

we can't underestimate the silent majority sitting at home and going

:41:43.:41:49.

out to vote. Are you worried? ecstatic about their early voting

:41:49.:41:53.

figures. Stacey is correct, the Republican figures are up from last

:41:54.:42:00.

time, so full credit from -- to Romney. McCain had a poor record.

:42:00.:42:03.

But Democrats are massively outnumber Republicans in terms of

:42:03.:42:08.

early boat numbers, particularly in the critical states like Ohio and

:42:08.:42:13.

Iowa. But they are significantly down from last time. The numbers

:42:13.:42:16.

are down across the board, but if you look at the total number of

:42:16.:42:21.

votes cast by Democrats early, compared to by republicans, we are

:42:21.:42:27.

still in a lead and we are picking up a significant lead in the

:42:27.:42:30.

National Popular polls. For a little while it was neck-and-neck.

:42:30.:42:35.

Just over the last couple of days we have seen movements of about two

:42:35.:42:41.

points in the direction of the President. It depends on the poll.

:42:41.:42:46.

The Gallup poll had Romney winning. I think with the Poles being as

:42:46.:42:50.

tight as they are in the swing states and nationally, it plays in

:42:50.:42:56.

the favour of the opponent -- I think with the polls being as tight.

:42:56.:42:59.

What is the point in the last few days of saying the same thing again

:42:59.:43:03.

and again and again? It is motivating people to get out and

:43:03.:43:07.

vote, and reminding them that you cannot make any of these changes we

:43:07.:43:11.

have been talking about without casting a ballot. It is getting

:43:11.:43:16.

people out there, motivating. We have seen that in those key swing

:43:16.:43:22.

states, Ohio, Florida, Iowa, the Romney campaign team has been in

:43:22.:43:27.

touch with more people than the Democrats. That is what happened in

:43:27.:43:34.

2000 and in 2004, when Bush won Ohio. I think it has been negative,

:43:34.:43:39.

that is how it has been betrayed over a year, would you agree?

:43:39.:43:45.

think the President has still run a positive campaign... Really?!

:43:45.:43:48.

People know who the president is and what he stands for, it was very

:43:48.:43:52.

important that we make very clear - - that they make very clear what

:43:52.:43:57.

Mitt Romney stands for, he has not made it clear. He has been quite

:43:57.:44:03.

Jupiter to us. I couldn't disagree more. -- he has been quite

:44:03.:44:11.

duplicitous. We like deja .com! The President has run extremely

:44:11.:44:16.

negative campaign. The fact he has been trying to attack Mitt Romney

:44:16.:44:20.

shows he has not had the record he is able to run and, he has gone out

:44:20.:44:25.

to say these are the improvements we made, this is how it will be

:44:25.:44:31.

better in four years. Let me pick up on that, personally I am

:44:31.:44:37.

incredibly proud of the President's record. We have moved forward, the

:44:37.:44:41.

economy is improving, we have had 32 statements of economic growth,

:44:41.:44:45.

the economy is picking up, we have seen passage of major healthcare

:44:45.:44:50.

reform, which has been an ambition of Americans for a long time. If

:44:50.:44:53.

you were running purely on his record I think there would be an

:44:53.:44:59.

enormous reason to be very excited. We have one in six Americans in

:44:59.:45:04.

poverty, median incomes down by $4,000 a year and we have 47... For

:45:04.:45:14.
:45:14.:45:16.

every one person with the job, 15 Do you think Romney has come from

:45:16.:45:26.
:45:26.:45:27.

behind to possibly snatch this election question cooker cooker has

:45:27.:45:36.

had to change his views. I worked on Mitt Romney in Massachusetts and

:45:36.:45:46.
:45:46.:45:47.

there are things you do have to be where it is a federal system and

:45:47.:45:53.

Mitt Romney is talking about giving the States the ability to manage

:45:53.:45:56.

these programmes and put them in place and that is the clear

:45:56.:46:00.

difference. That is pragmatic politics, playing to a different

:46:00.:46:07.

audience. When Stacey talks about Mitt Romney wanting to take away

:46:07.:46:10.

the federal health care so that it can be delivered on a state basis,

:46:10.:46:16.

what he means is that if elected he is promising that on day one he

:46:16.:46:20.

will immediately remove health care from millions of Americans who

:46:20.:46:28.

already have read, including people in Massachusetts who are currently

:46:28.:46:33.

benefiting from Mitt Romney's health care plan. If he became

:46:33.:46:37.

President, do you think he would not do a lot of the things he has

:46:37.:46:42.

said on this campaign, on Medicare and the foreign policy? I think he

:46:42.:46:48.

would, and you have to look at the wider race. As nice as it is to win

:46:48.:46:54.

the presidential race, it is more important to win the house. It is

:46:54.:47:01.

an important point. If Obama wins, will he be allowed to govern? The

:47:01.:47:05.

Republicans said last time his Kabul we will make sure he can't

:47:05.:47:11.

govern. A if he comes in, he has to be willing to compromise. He has

:47:11.:47:17.

been given partisan proposals and he has not taking anything up. He

:47:17.:47:22.

has not shown the ability to compromise. How does he break the

:47:22.:47:27.

deadlock? That is an excellent question, and looking at Congress,

:47:27.:47:31.

going into this election Democrats were convinced we would lose the

:47:31.:47:36.

Senate. The Republicans put up a lot of extreme unpopular candidates

:47:36.:47:41.

and it now looks like we will be gaining seats in the Senate. The

:47:41.:47:46.

Republicans are moving backwards. am so sorry - I have to finish, but

:47:46.:47:52.

you are coming back. David Dimbleby will be in Washington to host the

:47:52.:47:57.

US Election Special on BBC One at 11:35pm tonight and Stacey and

:47:57.:48:00.

Karen will be back with us this time tomorrow to discuss the

:48:00.:48:08.

results. To be continued. It is a dream to work on a programme like

:48:08.:48:15.

this, but believe it or not, some people find our guests a bit scary.

:48:15.:48:19.

A survey like this has found that George Osborne tops a list of

:48:20.:48:24.

celebrities people have nightmares about. He was not the only

:48:24.:48:28.

politician named. In a moment we will discuss whether being the

:48:28.:48:33.

stuff of nightmares is better than being ignored by the electorate,

:48:33.:48:37.

but first they met see who else is in the fight Club. There is some

:48:37.:48:47.
:48:47.:49:14.

flash photography coming up. -- # The monster mash # It's a

:49:14.:49:24.
:49:24.:49:25.

After that scary lot, let's seek the safety of Quentin Letts. Have

:49:25.:49:31.

you ever had nightmares about a politician? Two nights ago, Tony

:49:31.:49:37.

Blair. I was walking on May Hill in Gloucestershire, and suddenly Tony

:49:37.:49:42.

Blair arrived and started hitting golf balls at me. What does that

:49:42.:49:49.

mean? If I have not got a clue. What about you - ever had

:49:49.:49:53.

nightmares about a politician? not that I can recall. Quentin once

:49:53.:49:57.

described me as a deck chair that looked like it had been left out

:49:57.:50:04.

all night, which I thought was quite good. They used to be a

:50:04.:50:09.

forceful Tory old battle axe, and Keith Joseph always looked like the

:50:09.:50:14.

kind of man who might prole up on you in your bad moments. There

:50:14.:50:20.

don't appear on the list. George Osborne, Gordon Brown, Katie Price,

:50:20.:50:25.

Ann Widdecombe, Alex Ferguson, Wayne Rooney, Marilyn Manson, and

:50:25.:50:32.

Ed Balls. Of them, who do you think is the most nightmarish? It is the

:50:32.:50:36.

ones who have been Chancellor, dipping their hands into your

:50:36.:50:44.

wallet. None of the women on the list? And Widdecombe in her home

:50:44.:50:47.

Office days may have put the frighteners on a few people.

:50:47.:50:52.

Price, she is the glamour model, isn't she? Are you sure this is

:50:52.:50:55.

nightmares or a different kind of dream?

:50:55.:51:02.

We don't want to know about those dreams! We have one person saying I

:51:02.:51:06.

have nightmares every night about Gordon Brown, but the one about

:51:06.:51:11.

George Bush in hell is worse. George Osborne reminds me of the

:51:11.:51:15.

joker from that man. That is your theory, the Chancellor's. Then we

:51:15.:51:24.

have got Beverley, who says George Osborne, Eric Pickles... Jacob

:51:24.:51:30.

Rees-Mogg... I could go on, but starting to feel ill. Michael

:51:30.:51:37.

Howard, by far the scariest. these all Labour contributors you

:51:37.:51:43.

have on Twitter? They do sound like they have an agenda. You are right.

:51:43.:51:53.
:51:53.:51:53.

What about some more Labour ones? It does come down to the thing that

:51:53.:51:58.

in dreams, a lot of people dream about the Queen, being naked at

:51:58.:52:05.

Buckingham Palace. Also in a crowd, isn't that a common thing? He does

:52:05.:52:09.

show you politicians do have an influence over one's psyche and it

:52:09.:52:14.

is troubling. Isn't it better to be in someone's nightmare than

:52:14.:52:19.

ignored? That's is the worst thing, popping out press releases and

:52:19.:52:25.

nobody even notices. Yes, but there must, point that which being in

:52:25.:52:28.

people's nightmares would prevent you from being an attractive

:52:28.:52:38.
:52:38.:52:41.

proposition. Now, hold those thoughts for a moment. We will find

:52:41.:52:46.

out the answer to the quiz. The question was, which political

:52:46.:52:53.

figure is often the jungle? Michael Heseltine, George Osborne, Nadine

:52:53.:52:59.

Dorries, or Jacob Rees-Mogg? suspect the correct answer is

:52:59.:53:03.

Nadine Dorries. I would have thought there will be a few people

:53:03.:53:09.

in her own party hoping she will not return. I think this is a pity.

:53:09.:53:14.

My natural reaction is that she is terrific box office for sketch

:53:14.:53:18.

writers. She brings a refreshing approach to the Commons. You will

:53:18.:53:24.

miss her. Yes, but there is a broader point that we want

:53:24.:53:30.

politicians who are exciting, but bring the voice of the constituency.

:53:30.:53:35.

I think she is a gift to sketch writers, I don't dispute that for a

:53:35.:53:41.

moment. She is different. I feel she will reduce herself. Why has

:53:41.:53:47.

she gone to join this list of celebrities in Australia? What

:53:47.:53:51.

about her constituents? Sarah Wollaston said she should resign.

:53:51.:53:56.

She is a colleague, not a constituent. She is saying that she

:53:56.:54:02.

should resign. There is that view. I wish she would reconsider event

:54:02.:54:06.

at this late minute because she will diminish her currency as a

:54:06.:54:10.

politician and that is a pity because she has a lot to contribute.

:54:10.:54:16.

I have heard she said she is going out there to speak politics to an

:54:16.:54:21.

audience that would have not otherwise heard it. Constituents

:54:21.:54:28.

are holding an emergency meeting tonight following reports their

:54:28.:54:31.

politician is going on to I'm A Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here!.

:54:31.:54:36.

be a parliamentarian is actually a really important thing in our

:54:36.:54:40.

society and to be a celebrity is a less important thing. The traffic

:54:40.:54:46.

is the wrong way here, and she is underselling herself. A bit of

:54:46.:54:51.

dignity is required. I agree with Quentin, having held some minority

:54:51.:54:56.

positions myself in my own party, that just as she speaks up in

:54:56.:55:03.

public out of line with the whip, that is in her favour, but doing

:55:03.:55:06.

this defeat of an elective or sensitive and I would have thought

:55:06.:55:11.

the constituency may have something to say about that. On that note,

:55:12.:55:16.

thank you for coming on to the programme. Now to a story that has

:55:16.:55:20.

dominated headlines recently. The Home Secretary Theresa May has been

:55:20.:55:25.

making a statement in the Commons outlining the details of a new

:55:25.:55:30.

investigation into child abuse scandal in North Wales here is what

:55:30.:55:40.
:55:40.:55:53.

she had cooker at least has invited Keith Bristow, the director general

:55:53.:55:58.

of the crime agency to assess the allegations recently received to

:55:58.:56:00.

review the historic police investigations and investigate any

:56:00.:56:05.

fresh allegations reported to the police into the alleged historic

:56:05.:56:09.

abuse in North Wales care homes. will lead a team of officers from

:56:09.:56:16.

the organised crime agency, other investigative assets as necessary,

:56:16.:56:19.

and the child exploitation and Online Protection Centre who will

:56:19.:56:25.

act as the single point of contact for fresh referrals relating to

:56:25.:56:29.

historic abuse in North Wales care homes. A deputy political editor

:56:29.:56:34.

was listening to the statement and he joins me now. The government has

:56:34.:56:42.

for a pretty swiftly upon it is a would be fines have been around for

:56:42.:56:44.

some time, but clearly the government feels the need to move

:56:44.:56:53.

swiftly on this. They are all aware of the way the BBC responded to

:56:53.:57:01.

allocate cooker and that is why Theresa May spent a large part of

:57:01.:57:06.

last night making this investigation become a reality. We

:57:06.:57:13.

are talking about the allegations relating to North Wales, just

:57:13.:57:17.

topping up it and the investigation in those days. What was interesting

:57:17.:57:23.

was not just Yvette Cooper for the Labour Party but also Tim Lawton

:57:23.:57:26.

the Conservative saying there are too many investigations here now.

:57:26.:57:30.

We need to have won over arching investigation that looks at Jimmy

:57:30.:57:37.

Savile, the police, and Paul the other investigations. Is there

:57:37.:57:41.

cross party support for that the you? Because otherwise there is

:57:41.:57:46.

just too much going on, too many people involved in too many

:57:46.:57:52.

investigations? No, the government view is to let the investigations

:57:53.:57:58.

do their work. They don't rule out a single inquiry once the other

:57:58.:58:02.

inquiries have done their work. you checks showed that the

:58:02.:58:12.
:58:12.:58:16.

government can do anything else but to launch an inquiry, even, they're

:58:16.:58:19.

doing the right thing, but I do think we should be very careful

:58:19.:58:29.
:58:29.:58:29.

cooking cuckoo Cox. We are talking about allegations which occurred a

:58:30.:58:39.
:58:40.:58:40.

very long time ago. At on that note, thank you for bringing the latest.

:58:40.:58:45.

Jo Coburn with the latest political news, interviews and debate. With guests including Chris Mullins and Cheryl Gillan, she looks at the US election and the halfway point of the British coalition.


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