08/11/2012 Daily Politics


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Afternoon, folks. Welcome to the Daily Politics. Radical changes


afoot to our armed forces. The government wants to double the size


of the part-time Territorial Army. Army reservists will also get a new


name. The Defence Secretary says it is a fresh start. We will be asking


him if it's defence on the cheap. Out with the old and in with the


new. China gets a new President. John Simpson will be live from


Beijing. Should we regulate the press or not? One Fleet Street hack


tells us why it should be left alone. And would you eat pickled


kangaroo? No? We're not talking about I'm a Celebrity. We'll be


discussing the art of ambassadorial You have got a thing about


kangaroos! You're on about them yesterday. It stops today. No need


to go there. On behalf of the BBC, Irish like to apologise. All that


in the next hour. And with us for the duration we've bagged Sir Socks.


Yes, the former Ambassador to Washington Christopher Meyer is


with us. Welcome to the Daily Politics. Great pleasure. Now,


first today, let's talk about the day after the night before, if you


get my drift - the US elections. Because President Obama has rather


a lot in his in-tray, not least the small matter of a fiscal cliff


hanging over him. Scary! The liberal left in America are


claiming this was a watershed election. There is a new democratic


majority that is likely to be there for a long time and it is the


triumph of social liberalism. True? Up to a point. It does show that


the Republicans need to do something about the way in which


they garner votes if they will ever win another presidential election.


For the moments, the Democrats have a coalition of minorities. That has


enabled them to prevail this time around for a bar rubble President,


who was weakened by what has happened over the last four years.


-- a far honourable president. Whether they will draw the right


conclusions remains to be seen. A lot of them will take down and make


it worse. Is there not the possibility of a continuing civil


war with the TEA Party and the establishment? I have seen some


Republicans - reminiscent of Labour in the 1980s - saying they have


lost because they did not have a conservative enough candidate. That


was until they had Michael Foot. Then they said, we lost because we


were not left-wing enough. Mitt Romney was not Conservative. He was


a moderate, they thought. Something may concentrate their minds and let


commonsense break through. A President does not have to be re-


elected Again. He is liberated. The mid-term elections are coming in


2014. If he can pin it on these hardline republicans but it is they


who are blocking legislation and tax of, and getting the deficit


down, then they will suffer in the mid- terms. -- and tax reform.


understand it, if they cannot come to an agreement on tax and spend,


taxes go up automatically and spending is cut automatically. It


could take about 5% at of the American GDP. -- out off. In


Washington, they often go to these fiscal cliffs. Do they ever jump


over a? A cannot remember a time when they have gone over. -- I


cannot. My guess is that if they get to the end of the Year and have


not done the deal, somehow or other they will shut down time until they


do the deal. I would be really surprised if they went over the


edge. It would be catastrophic and ruin what is left of the reputation


of Congress. They are down in their approval ratings. Either they do it


by 1st January or they will suspend it until late thrash it out.


Whether they will want to do a compromise or not. Let me bring you


on to something... We will discuss China later in the programme. Yet


we suggest, we could already be seeing the beginnings of Mr Obama


becoming a Pacific President in the first term and even more of that in


the second term. He has no ethnic ties to Europe. His home state is


Hawaii. He was brought up part of the time in Indonesia. He is trying


to do a deal with Australia. We know he has no love for Europe or


the United Kingdom and maybe even regards us as a backwater. I am not


sure he has a love for any foreign country. I have never seen a burst


of enthusiasm when he has met anyone from anywhere in the world.


Gordon Brown had to meet him in the kitchen. What about the idea that


America is being drawn inexorably to the Pacific? They have had


fleets out there for years. As China becomes more powerful, they


will pay more attention to that. It does not mean they are banned in


Europe as they embrace the Pacific. Other than trade come up what do


they want from Europe? -- other than trade, what do they want?


are very scared. The eurozone crisis really concentrates people's


minds in Washington. The anaemic recovery in the United States could


be thrown off course by anything, including Europeans who do not get


that acts together. Europe has not disappeared from out of sight and


out of mind. If we're talking 25 years ago, not as important. NATO


is still in Afghanistan and we are still quite important in the United


States. -- have to the United States. Now you've probably seen


lots in the news recently about ash trees and the disease that's


spreading through them. The Government is due to publish an


action plan tomorrow on how best to deal with the spread of so called


ash dieback disease. However, ministers admit we could lose a


significant number of trees. But why should we care about ash trees?


And what will be the environmental and commercial impact of the


disease? There are approximately 80 million ash trees across the UK and


they are very important for wildlife. Ash trees support insects


like the lesser stag beetle, hole- nesting birds including owls and


woodpeckers. And they are an important habitat for flora such as


bluebells and ramsoms. Dieback has been confirmed at 115 sites - woods


in Norfolk, Kent, Suffolk and Essex are among the worst affected.


Nearly 100,000 saplings have been destroyed in recent weeks, while


the import and movement of trees has been banned leaving nursery


stock virtually worthless. Joining me now from Nottingham is Austin


Brady from the Woodland Trust. Isn't this the end of the ash tree


in the UK? It could be. That is why we have been working really hard


with the Forestry Commission and others to get a handle on how far


the disease has spread and how much of a foothold it has got. If we are


saying 115 sides, it is it possible to stop the spread? It is very


unlikely we can stop it spreading. We need to focus on a clear action


plan as to how we will respond, not just to this disease but other


threats which are lurking on the borders. The ash tree is part of


the very fabric of the British countryside. It makes our country


what it is. We are passionate about protecting ancient woods and trees.


The ash tree is really important to that. We're trying to do what we


can to tackle the problem. What is the commercial impact of this


disease? There is a commercial impact on people who manage


woodland. Also an impact on people who supplied trees to the trade. It


is about getting the supply chain smartened up. Do you think


politicians are giving adequate protection to the countryside?


There has maybe being a reliance on systems which are not fit for


purpose. We need to move forward with solid actions. We have a


project on the side -- on the starting blocks. We need the


Government to close the funding back to put their money alongside


ours to get the project running next week and not next year. With


me now is Mary Creagh, who is the Shadow Environment Secretary, and


the Conservative MP, George Freeman, whose mid-Norfolk constituency is


one the worst affected areas. Has the Government done a good job in


responding to the crisis? Secretary of State has taken a very


strong grip. COBRA has been meeting. Yesterday there was a major


national and international summit of leaders. There has been a


nationwide survey of the disease. The truth is, this has been brewing


for some time. There are questions to be asked about how we did not


spot it coming earlier. It is about looking for it and making Britain


secured. When you say the Government is on top of it, they


did not respond to the crisis early enough to stop the first confirmed


case in Buckinghamshire was back in March. This has been happening over


the last decade. There are questions for all parties in


government about how we make sure that biosecurity in Britain, in the


context of global trade, is looked after. We still have trees coming


in from China with soil on the routes. We need to take it as a


wake-up call. Is it fair to say the Government was asleep on the job in


response to this crisis? disease was found in March.


Ministers were informed in April. Why did they not tell the public


and would growers over the summer? We know this fungus fruits between


June and October. The biggest fruiting time has happened. It


likes wet conditions. The Government is doing a four des


survey it over the last four days, desperately trying to survey an


area the size of Wales. They're totally on the back foot. If the


public had known earlier, we could have been out and about and the


much further forward with the disease. What has happened in the


last seven months? A lot has happened. The best option is not to


spread panic. The best advice is to leave the trees standing. We have


carried out a nationwide survey of this disease across the whole of


the United Kingdom. This government has not been sitting on its hands.


It is about making sure that this country becomes again the safe


haven in terms of biosecurity. In Australia, they spray you before


you get out of a plane. We need to make sure this country is once


again a fortress in Europe. Nothing has been done on that scale. It was


not done under Labour. The Labour government was told of the threat


of the disease from ash trees and it was ignored. The letter went to


Forestry Commission officials. The best advice was that the fungus was


already widespread in the UK and could not be banned under the EU or


World Trade Association rules. It was only discovered in February,


2010. The issue is that the Forestry Commission budget has been


capped to 36 million and 500 staff have already gone. Do we have the


boots on the ground to tackle this? How many people in the department


are experts in dealing with this? am not in DEFRA so I could not tell


you. Just one person is left in DEFRA, who is a plant specialist


and expert, who is able to do this sort of thing. You have seen from


the speed and significant of response Houses see the Government


has taken it and scientists have taken it. -- how seriously the


Government. Will many go into them compensate people question we need


to take the very best scientific advice. Should there be


compensation. That are worthless? This is not the time for that. --


this disease has spread at 30 kilometres an hour. How do we


protect the British trees, British growers and the British forestry


industry and take this opportunity to reinforce British biosecurity?


We do not want this to happen with other species? Should there be


compensation? That is further down the line. We are back to the


arguments about the science. Should the Government have told people.


People planted stuff over the spring and summer and have been


planting seeds. Those seeds are worthless. That would have reduced


the number of saplings that were planted and, actually, I would have


meant that nurseries would not have been ruined from a business


perspective. This is not the time at which people are importing trees.


The best advice is to keep the mature trees there. When the


industry flat this with the last government, it carried on importing.


There are issues about how we handle these diseases and make sure


that Britain is a strong global Congratulations to endured a


crewman on his November moustache. Now, the Chinese President has


opened the Communist Party congress that begins a once-in-a-decade


power transfer in the country. I'm joined from Beijing by the BBC's


World Affairs Editor John Simpson. There is always a periodic changing


of the Guardian Beijing. Tell us the significance of this one.


Andrew, the way it works, each time a new leadership comes clanking in,


they have all got the Grecian 2000, they all look identical, but each


time there is a new leadership, it seems to be that much more, I hate


to use the word liberal, because they are not very liberal, but a


little less controlling, a little less kind of delving into the


details of people's private lives. That's the way that China has been.


As it has grown richer, it has become more difficult really, to


keep the lid on people. The lid is still there but it's not quite a


jammed on as much as it used to be. And I'm assuming the new leadership


will just be part of that process. They won't be terribly exciting


people although, as it happens, Xi Jinping, the new leader, who will


be President early next year, is quite interesting. His wife is a


folk singer, a crossover folks go, -- Stokes singer, and that gives it


a certain interest. -- folk singer. He himself is probably a little bit


less appetite than his predecessor have been. But not much more than


that. The Chinese economy has been slowing down. Still growing hugely


compared to western levels of growth, but slowing down by its own


standards. Is that causing fear in the ruling elite? They have a pact


with the public in China that we will give you the growth but you


let us run the place. If they don't give them the growth, what happens?


Absolutely, absolutely. The starkest thing I have heard since I


have been here, I was talking to somebody pretty well plugged in, a


Chinese figure, and he told me that he had been talking to a couple of


senior party people who said the other day to him they wondered


whether the Chinese Communist Party would still be around to celebrate


its centenary. The centenary comes in only nine years' time, before


the term of this ten-year regime. So you can see, within the system,


there is a lot of anxieties and they can see it clearly more than


anybody else can, and they know there are so much anger about


corruption in society, generally, so much anger about the way some


parts of the economy are run and the only way out of that is simply


to dole out banknotes and say to people, look, you are three times


richer than 10 years ago, what is the fuss about? Whether that will


continue in the next 10 years is very doubtful and that's why they


are nervous. A re-elected President in the United States. Now a new


President in China. Are we getting to the stage in the 21st century


with the new President in China is as important as the President in


Washington? Well, I think if you had to kind of sum up the likely


influences on the lives of ordinary people in Britain, say, of the two


things, I don't think you would find their lives were much affected


as to whether it was Mitt Romney or Barack Obama. The difference


between them is fairly, fairly slight, but here, if things go


wrong in China, it will affect everybody in Britain. In one way or


another, it's going to damage us. And, of course, conversely, if they


can pull a rabbit out of the hat, sorted out, I find it impossible to


think they can, but if they did, indeed, our lives would be made


easier. I'm not talking about political power or influence, but


just in terms of the actual effect on your pocket and my pocket. I


think China gets the vote. Very interesting. Thank you for


interesting live from Beijing. So has Chinese Presidential handover


gripped the streets of London? Here's our Adam.


Welcome to Chinatown in London. There are millions of people who


know their Xi Jinpings from their Hu Jintaos. Let's find out. Have


you been following the leadership challenge in China? No. To think we


should be following it? The as much as the Americans, sure. You know


who won the American election, don't you? Yes. I don't know the


Chinese one, and that's deplorable, isn't it? They want to bring


Chinese into St -- industry into Europe through Ireland. I think


they're quite powerful. Do you know how big the Chinese economy is?


Pretty big. I was after a number. don't know. 3.5 trillion pounds.


That is pretty big. Can you tell us anything about who is going to be


the new President? Barack Obama. China! Your home country.


Jinping. They may be changing the number on the committee from nine


to seven. Good knowledge. I excite about the new Chinese President?


Yes. Xi Jinping. What kind of guy is he? A normal Chinese guy.


pronunciation is not very good. you pronounced it very good.


was our new Chinese Correspondent. We have now sent Adam on a very


slow boat to China! Let's speak to somebody who knows what they're


talking about on this matter. And joining us now is the Australian MP


Michael Danby, who is the chairman of his country's Foreign Affairs,


Defence and Trade Committee. China is looming ever larger in


Australia's foreign policy. Thank you for joining us. Will we notice


consequences as a result of this change of leadership?


immediately but Xi Jinping is the representative of the princeling


inspection, a bit more confident with power than the previous


bureaucrats previously. Explain what you mean by princelings?


sons and daughters of the Communist aristocracy. They were originally


taken over China in 1949. The do We have any idea what this new leader


wants to do? Do we have a sense of where he wants to take the country?


Become more repressive? I think the Chinese leadership are very wise.


Whatever form they come in. They know China is a trading country.


They had taken 300 million people out of poverty by doing a lot of


international trade and no one can afford to get involved in the


conflict in a very profound sense. You must never do to them what


happened to Japan in the late 1930s, keeping energy back from them etc.


Provoking them. But they are very aware that they need trade with the


West. They are aware they need to work with the Americans. The


Americans owe them a lot of money, but the Chinese don't want to press


it too hard because they still want to sell things. If you own the Bank


of pound, they've got you but if you owe the bank a million pounds,


then they owe you. China are looming ever-larger in Australian


foreign policy and pushing you closer to the Americans. Ironic,


isn't it? The South East Asian countries feel that, too. The


Chinese have been unsubtle in their aggressive rhetoric, haven't done


so much about it recently with the South China Seas, so, ironically,


that Philippines kicked out the Americans 10 years ago and are now


asking them to come back and re- establish naval facilities there.


It's a part of the world which, although historically for colonial


reasons, we have the knowledge. But it's a part of the world where


neither Britain nor continental Europe brings any assets or


advantages to the Americans or the Australians. You bring assets of


advantage to the Chinese. Germans in particular, the UK less


so, are very big trading partners with the People's Republic of China.


We actually have quite a significant role collectively and


individually to play with a Chinese and, given that, there is a


significance to us from the point of view of the Americans and


neighbours to China. The thing I find interesting about China, it's


in a classic situation you always find in Russia, economic


development has gone way ahead of political development so how do you


bring the two things into Cink without the top blowing off too


. They don't have an answer to that any more than we do. Let me go back


to Australia. In northern Australia at the moment, there are US forces


training. It's not an official base, I don't think. It's not like


American bases in the UK, or Britain has bases in Cyprus but, it


is training nonetheless. Is there a consensus in Australia over this or


is it a matter of argument that an alliance with America is the best


safety from an aggressive China? Barack Obama made the announcement


in Canberra. It has bipartisan support and actually it was like


witnessing the Munro document being and unseat for the first time. I


think the Americans are pretty ensconced in the world.


Particularly in our area of the world and we should be happy with


that. The real danger not just for Europe, Australia, his American


withdrawal. After their experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan, an


American withdrawal from the world would be the worst thing. Is there


a fear of China in Australia? lots of people at business


relationships. We can do both democracy at the same time,


maintain friendships with all of the advanced countries of east Asia,


Europe, USA, democratic countries but still have a good commercial


relationships. They want our steel, iron ore, energy, Cole. It's a


third cheaper than it perhaps be transported from Brazil. But also


makes you are rich target as well. Australian defence spending is


still pretty robust and like in Europe and I assume you're not


spending all this money to defend yourself from New Zealand? Probably


true but wise caution into the future would mean, according to an


hour passed Defence white paper, we will have links with British crews


by the way or not being employed here at the moment, and we will be


buying quite a few of those American Joint Strike fighters like


Britain will be. Was Australia happy with the Chinese and Japanese


war games in the South China Seas? No, we are pretty unhappy with it.


Japan and America had war games? The Japanese American war games in


the eerie with these two little bits of rock are in dispute.


underneath those lie very rich oil resources. China is energy


dependent and that's why they are very sensitive, along with a long


history of, remembering 55 Days at Peking, the famous film. Charlton


Heston. Western colonialism us. We have to be careful we don't do that.


How long before American and Australian forces are involved in


war games? We played together all the time. We are serving with you


in Afghanistan, we lost 40 people. I meant Australian and American war


games in the Pacific region. They happen all the time. Northern


Australia, East and Australia. Thank you for being here. Good to


Last week we got Charlotte Harris has dug she discussed her fell with


Neil Wallace. He is deputy editor of the News of the World and it got


a bit heated. Are you planning to actually screen as partial and


distorted a piece like that about the case against statutory


regulation? Are you going to broadcast a distorted partisan


piece like we have just seen? did not think he had got the


concept of that. To help him understand, he is his take on how


he thinks the pressured operate. Britain has enjoyed press freedom


for 317 years. It was finally won from that lot in 6095. Many have


literally died to protect it ever since. Why are so many people


wanting to give it away? What is press freedom? Not the right to


hack phones, a black medical records and wrongly rep -- wreck


reputations. The UK already has laws against bad - a libel laws,


privacy laws and criminal laws. -- against that. Press freedom it is


the right to publicly demand answers to inconvenient questions


that those in power do not want aired. That is why an unsavoury


alliance of celebrities, politicians and lawyers are trying


to con you into giving it up. They call for legally controlled


statutory regulation of the media while claiming that some have the


press can still remain independent. -- somehow. It is simply a life.


The word state control and free press cannot live in the same


sentence. If it happened, politicians would get depressed


they want and not the press they deserved. Oppress they can control.


In Greece, the journalist was arrested. -- a press they can


control. In France, successive presidents were able to use tax


pair managed to pay for mistresses and secret children pulled up here


we have ongoing for NP expenses scandals. -- secret children.


Statutory regulation is the thin end of the wedge. When in place,


politicians will be freed to amend, change, tweak, clarify, fix the


press laws to silence the questions they do not want to answer. A free


press does make mistakes. It gets things wrong, including behaviour.


That can hurt. The alternative is worse. To paraphrase, democracy is


the worst form of government, until you consider the others. It is the


same as self-regulation and press freedom. Let them steal it at your


peril. We're also joined by Sir Christopher Meyer. And so has


Charlotte Harris. How do you answer the complaint that if we go to


statutory regulation, which or newspapers will be enforced to


subscribe to by law, you have state licensing of publishing? Quite


easily. The way the argument has been framed has been very


convenient. That is not simply a situation where you have a free


press versus state regulation. That is not state regulation. It is an


independent regulator. The only part of government control in


theirs is that the Government comes in and recognises the authority of


the body. On one hand, you have a self-serving job for boys - self


regulation - which is the same as it was before off. You will need a


state licence to publish. All you need is the Government having the


same enabling factor as it has Ofcom, the ASA and the judiciary.


If I am a newspaper publisher and I say, I do not want to be part of


this operation but it is the law of the land, I cannot publish that


newspaper, correct? Not necessarily. It means you are in a position


where you have to sign up to this. If you do not want to sign up to it,


then you are in a position where you are not covered. If you look at


the different models... Of the different incentives. Am I still


allowed to publish? Everyone is allowed to publish. Whether or not


you are in a position... Wine with newspapers signed up if they do not


have to? They would have to sign up. If they do not sign up, you cannot


publish was up it depends on the model. We do not know. -- you


cannot publish. You are making it overly simplistic. No one is


suggesting that. I want to start a newspaper tomorrow. I would be


economically mad to do so but supposing I am. I do not want


anything to do with your state regulation. I am an anarchist


publisher. Am I still allowed to publish the newspaper if I do not


join? There is no suggestion you would not be allowed to publish.


You would also have to be accountable. The Irish model is a


model where I understand a lot of people are looking at. The air is a


lot of thinking to be done on this. There are lots of models. -- ed


there is a lot of thinking. We in the publishing media has had


decades to put our houses in order. We have had decades to put it right


and decades of abuse. It has culminated in the hacking business


at News International. There is no escape for us. We should have put


our own house in order years ago. You even had the editor of the


daily Melk in charge of standards. I am actually quite happy for


Charlotte to continue talking. -- the Daily Mail. The answer is, you


are right, you were a journalist. Journalists get things wrong.


Getting things wrong is simply part of what happens in life. The


hacking was covered by the criminal law. We have a libel laws and


privacy laws. We have something like 40 odd statutes that can


impinge upon newspapers. I will help you with that frog in your


throat by interrupting you. You cannot say that we, as an industry,


have put our house in order. Sorry, I'm just trying to clear my throat.


No one is suggesting the status quo. You look at what the industry has


done. They have recognised a problem and come up with a series


of proposals that, actually, if the statutory regulation lobby would


actually part that their obsession with getting the Government to


control this, they would find a lot of this applies to what we are


talking about. Black and Hunt in that proposal, it really is the


problem and not the solution. are referring to Lord Black...


black and Lord Hunt. It is a non statutory regulation. The answer to


that is you cannot have industry figures deciding who their chairmen


will be from a self regulatory point of view because you will not


have independence. Your figures do not suggest that the stop if you


read the proposals, they do not suggest that at all. -- suggest


that. It is very clear there are no Sevinc editors. There are former


industry figures. -- serving editors. The majority are late


editors. The main editor is a non industry figure. He is chosen in


the same way as a senior NGO figure is chosen - independently. All of


these things are answered. You have an obsession with getting the state


to regulate. To end 317 years of press freedom and it is madness. It


is your proposal. If you really cared about free press, or what I


would like to note is, at what point would you say there should be


some cap on media ownership? Why are you not talking about


plurality? That is a different issue. I'm not sure it is. It is


interesting that you want to broaden it into that. You seem to


be on a campaign against the media. Why was the PCC useless? Can I


bring the wisdom of Solomon into this. It was not useless and that


that it was not was be tested by the thousands of people who came


every year to get remedies. It did not stop his colleagues in the


tabloids to -- behaving disgracefully. I'm talking bag


relentless intrusion into people's lives that went unregulated by the


PP -- the PCC. What did you do about it? A hell of a lot about it.


All you have to do is read the witness statements, put him by


their former director of the PCC, Stephen Abel. -- put in by the


former director. My point is very brief. If I was chairman, there is


a bunch of stuff I would do to strengthen it. A new statute is not


the answer. All the statues have been spelled out already. A statute


would not have dealt with phone hacking. Above all, what it will


not do is, it is all very well in bringing in the traditional media


into the system that you have for the internet publishers and fair.


That is what it does not deal with. I need to come to you for equal


time. It is not statutory regulation will start I am trying


to give you time to get your case across. -- statutory regulation.


What is the answer about the rules to want to be followed are not


covered by the new media? It is important that we worked towards


global understanding. You asked me to answer at it and this is what I


am saying. Of course there will be a problem in terms off what we have


in eight global communication environment. It does not mean what


you say is right. We will just continue to let people's lives be


intruded. The people who are the winners here, with the PCC plus,


are the industry. Actually not all journalists, who I think would like


to be free from the proprietors. It is not statutory regulations. You


have already said to me and accuse me of having an attack on the media


industry. -- accused me. It is not what we are looking for in terms of


a statutory underpinning. It is about freedom and transparency so


we can live in a democracy and not be in a position where you framed


the argument as statute against Free Press. No one is saying that.


We should have a third round. Spinach and mushroom tart, followed


by English venison, and then a traditional German cake for pudding.


That was the menu for David Cameron's little supper with


Chancellor Angela Merkel last night. The State Dinner is often a vital


opportunity to negotiate seemingly unpalatable matters, from one


nation to another. In this case, ultimatums over just who exactly is


going to pick up the EU tab. As we can see, from last night's Downing


Street shindig, it wasn't guaranteed to cure Mrs Merkel's


indigestion. Experience tells me that if someone confronts you with


an ultimatum, he may be confronted with another one. If you have 27th


interests in the European Union that we want to reconcile, it is


not a great idea to start with an adulteration. -- ultimatum. The


need to find a common foundation. The more we have the less able we


will be to find agreement. There were not share in this discussion.


-- I will not share. Oh, to be a fly on the wall at that dinner


party! Christopher Meyer has had a ringside seat at many of these


events. And, in researching his new book on the subject, Matthew Parris


has heard more anecdotes about them than you've had. Well, small, round,


ambassadorial chocolates. Anyway, before we discuss the matter, we've


Which UK delicacy, served at the British embassy in Paris, failed to


win over the French? Spotted dick. Toad in the hole. Jelly. Bubble and


squeek. Do have a guess. Which would fail to win over the French?


I would say all of them up. Spotted dick. No, you are both wrong. It


actually jelly. The lady ambassador could never get the consistency


right. Not that she made it, anyway. OK, number two. According to Chris


Patten, what did the Chinese serve at a dinner for the World Wildlife


Fund? Oh dear. Grilled marmoset. Bears' paws. Stewed dolphin. Puffin.


I can't imagine any of those went down well at literally. I will go


for bear's paws. Well done, it is that. Can you imagine the reaction?


Maybe they didn't recognise them. Maybe this one will suit you more.


How many bottles are kept in the Government's special wine cellar


near Whitehall? 10,000. 40,000. 400,000. Not known. 400,000. 40,000


for that not as many as you would think. A-night! Concentrate, please.


What present did John Major receive from the President of Turkmenistan?


200 large yellow water melons. A pregnant camel. A race-horse. A


dancing bear. A racehorse. watermelons were there to pay the


railway guards who had brought the racecourse -- racecourse to Moscow.


Yes, they had to use that to get their fair back. -- race course.


The sad thing is there were armed bandits who stole many of the


watermelons. They tried to steal the horse, so they stole the


watermelons instead. What was John Major's reaction? Absolutely


furious. What can you do in these situations? His reaction to getting


the horse? He was delighted. Astonished. The President gave him


a carpet with his own face embroidered on to it. So John Major


told me you knew where to wipe your feet and then he was presented with


a picture of a horse and realised he was going to get an actual horse.


It sounds like Harry Potter. lives in north Wales. As David


Cameron been riding? What about your favoured ambassadorial dinner?


My favourite was one I went to Paris with Geoffrey Howe and he was


entertained by the French minister, who was a gourmet of the most


exquisite kind, wonderful food was supplied and superb wine. We would


eat in a chateau outside Barrett -- Paris and then fly back to London.


And then Geoffrey would say, what did we discuss? And none of us


could remember. What happens if you're a fussy eater? If you had to


deal with these situations? I once had an ambassador whose wife, she


didn't like what she was drinking and eating, and would put it on my


plate and switch glasses. The food? Yes. What is your favourite


anecdote? Ambassador wides will conduct proxy wars on behalf of


their husbands and was almost wives until recently, very few female


ambassadors, and there was a dinner by the French ambassador and there


was a diplomatic war going on but in Britain and France and the


British ambassador said to her French hostess, marvellous dinner,


my dear, such a shame about the souffle. And the two women never


spoke after that and neither did the husbands. In terms of the


business done at these dinners, Angela Merkel and David Cameron may


or may not have taught at great depth about the Budget but they are


important, aren't they? Yes, you can do serious business if you have


an interpreter. You can quickly stuff through down your throat so


you don't have to speak to the opposite number, spitting on them


up. That's the problem you have in the USA way you speak the same


language and have to read and speak at the same time. With the Germans,


there is a respectable time to eat and get your point over. In terms


of leaders you have dealt with and entertained, who is good around the


dinner table in terms of talking politics? You have really floored


me with that one. Does it make a difference, Christopher, if a


minister is particularly good, sociable, hospitable? Does it alter


the flow of international relations or not? It is the icing on the cake.


The only thing which makes it float is that you have a convergence of


hard interests. Soft sentiment and soft food won't do it but it's a


kind of lubricant. You obviously enjoyed quite a few. He would give


us beautiful wine. I dunno how many points we gave away to the French


in the politics as a result of the excellent support. Thank you very


much indeed. Now how do you keep an effective military force at a time


when the Army is having its strength cut by 20,000 to just


82,000 regulars? Well, the Defence Secretary Philip Hammond has this


morning set out plans to boost the role of reservists in future


deployments. He wants to double the size of the Territorial Army from


15,000 to 30,000. And he says the changes would mark a radical shift


in the way the TA helps deliver the nation's security. Here's what he


had to say earlier. Under our proposals with a balanced defence


budget and an additional �1.8 billion of investment, about


reserve forces of the future will be better trained, better-equipped,


and better resourced than ever before. Collectively, they will


take on greater responsibility and benefit from greater reward and


greater respect. In the years to come, we will have Army, Navy and


Royal Marines and the Royal Box Hilary if force sitting at the very


heart of the defence of our nation. Reserve forces of which we can be


proud, supported by employers to whom it we will owe a deep debt a


national gratitude. And from the commons to our studio. The Defence


Secretary, Phillip Hammond is with us now. And John Cridland, the


Director General of the Confederation of British Industry


is also here. Welcome to both of you. You're having to boost the


role of army reservists as a result of cuts to the armed forces.


have to reduce the size of the regular army as part of the process


of dealing with this fitted billion pounds black hole that we inherited


in the defence budget. We've had to go up some capabilities we would


have preferred to have kept, accept smaller armed forces to protect the


equipment budget, so those armed forces will be properly equipped,


protected for the job that we want them to do. And by increasing the


reserves, that's the way we buy back capability we otherwise might


have lost from having smaller numbers of forces. You do need that


capability clearly and will fuel the accusation you're doing it on


the cheap. It's an assertion, state and, at the heart of what we're


doing. The reserves will no longer be something peripheral, but at the


very heart of the armed forces, essential to its functioning and


integrated with it in a way that emphasises that essential role.


will fuel the accusation you're doing it on the tube, they are not


going to be there in the same capacity in terms of the amount of


time they can commit, so how much training will be available to these


people when they are sent off to Afghanistan for example? First of


all they will do basic training and once they had done that in the army


reserves, they will need to do 40 days a year of continuing training


but anybody who will be deployed into an operation will be called up


months in advance of their deployment and given mission


specific training. I want to correct something else, an


impression that this is somehow doing the army on the cheap. All of


our English-speaking allies, the Americans, Australians, Canadians,


have a much larger proportion of reserve forces in their total force


mix than we do. The Americans in Afghanistan have a larger


percentage of national guardsmen in the deployed force than we do


Territorial Army soldiers, so we are moving back to something more


like the norm across our major allies and something more like our


historic position where, if you go back to 20 years, we had 72,000


Territorial Army soldiers. There will be a knock-on effect for


employers if you're asking people to increase the time they're going


to have to give to be called up, it will have a knock-on effect on


employers. Are you happy about the fact the Government would increase


the number of days for reservists? I think this is the right thing for


the Government to do. Is it good for business? It's a huge change


which will require a change in partnership between the MoD and the


business community. We shouldn't think this is tweaking the numbers


on the existing relationship which exists between some employers and


the MoD. This will then be many more employers begin to release


people more regularly for longer periods. But that's a huge pressure.


How is it double? It used to working years gone by and it works


in America and other countries. For small employers, it will be the


equivalent of managing maternity leave, sufficient notice, adequate


cover, consequences when people come back. We know how challenging


employers find covering maternity cover, although they fully support


women having a year off. Can you see a small empire faced with a


reserve has come in for a job saying, I'm going daft hat and you


will lead and 40 days of, and then not being taken on on that basis.


If we get it wrong, that's where we will end up. What do we need to do


to get it right? Compensation for employers? I'm suggesting a public


and private agreement, to model this with employers are equal


partners at the table. If they are listened to and can help to design


a model, it will require a relationship with government.


you have come out with these proposals but how much consultation


have you done with business? already have consultation, a


partnership or talent, with a number of significant employers


working with us around support for the reserves, but I published today


are consultation, the beginning of a process, not the end. The number


of days that employers would be expected to release reservists for


training is 16 days in the year. Two full weeks and the rest of it


is done at weekends and evenings. The Federation of Small businesses


said compensation would be imperative. We haven't ruled out


the possibility of financial support for small employers. There


is a model the Australians used which gives financial incentives to


small employers. The current situation already provides


financial support for employers when reservists are called up and


an important part of the package we have announced today is about


giving employers more certainty so they will know. How much notice


will they have? We are going to define the period of call-up for


army reservists as a six-month period of deployment once in every


five years, and it could be up to one year, including pre- deployment


training and recuperation. But the employer will know in advance when


that period is going to occur. And the focus, again, on the mutual


benefits of military training, vocational skills people will


acquire and working with employers to make sure we extract the maximum


mutual benefit from this arrangement. The thank you both


very much. We have to leave it there. The One O'Clock News is


starting over on BBC One now. I am back tonight for This Week on BBC


One with Piers Morgan, Simon Schama, Denise Welch, Sarah Smith, Michael


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