13/11/2012 Daily Politics


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Afternoon. Welcome to the Daily Politics. Abu Qatada or is released


from Long Marton jail after winning his case against deportation. Home


Secretary says she will appeal again. A long will this continue?


Women are being held back in the workplace by clapped-out rules,


says the Deputy Prime Minister as he announces that fathers will be


able to share parental leave. Starbucks executives tell MPs how


their UK businesses are struggling to make an meets foot -- to make


ends meet. And why cigarette papers could hold


the key to a peaceful future in Afghanistan.


Some people are gloomy about the prospect for political settlement


in 2014 when the troops leave but I am more optimistic for more Afghans


centric reasons. All that coming up in the next hour. And stepping up


to join us, crossbench peer and former head of the British Army,


General Richard Dannatt. Welcome back to the programme. Good to be


here. Starting with inflation, the UK's consumer price index rose


sharply to 2.7% in it sober up from 2.2% in the month before. -- in


October. That is a bigger league fan and economists expected. -- a


bigger leap than. It is worth putting these figures into context.


One year ago, CPI was running at 5%. Clearly, from where we were, we are


in a better position. It is disappointing to see inflation


rising. As the ONS has said, two factors led to this. Food costs in


particular, relating to the harvest, which was poor because of the


weather, and secondly tuition fees, which has been greater than


expected on the impact -- in terms of the impact on inflation. We are


joined by Stephanie Flanders. The Government is saying there is a


one-off jump because tuition fees are included in the index but as I


understand it, energy prices coming through for the winter are not


included. It is true it is part of the utility price rises, and that


is included in this number, which is one reason why it has risen.


There is an extra 0.3% Tchoutou that the increase in tuition fees.


There is also some food price inflation coming into the shops,


which we have seen influence the prices. There is no guarantee that


inflation will go back down again and there is expectation in the


City that the Monetary Policy Committee is going to have to put


up with inflation bouncing around a bit and maybe even going higher


than this in the next few months. They had hoped that it would be


heading firmly back to 2%. If the downward trend has come to a halt,


and this may not be a halt, what is the implication for government


economic policy? It means that the Bank of England may have less room


than we might have hoped to do more to stimulate the recovery. I know


that people were thinking that the last quarter may not show laughing


like the growth that we had seen in the last three months and that


there is the risk that the recovery might grind to a halt. The Monetary


Policy Committee may feel it has less room to do anything about that,


and in fact the monastery Policy Committee knew about this figure


last week when they met and this may be one reason why they did not


create more money through quantitative easing, to support the


recovery. It does not necessarily mean that we will stay at this


higher level. Most people expect inflation to be coming down. We are


not seeing domestic price pressure. University fees, food price


inflation, energy price inflation, but we're not seeing wages picking


up, and that may mean that they can keep interest rates very low but it


does limit their room for manoeuvre. Thank you very much. General, you


have a degree in economic history and do you care to comment? I think


what Stephanie said his right. Her last comment is very interesting. I


think the Bank will have less and room to manoeuvre because the


quantitative easing has had an effect on inflation. One thinks


that inflation rising is a bad thing but I think a bit of


inflation is important. Also, we should see interest rates coming up


which is good for savers, but not borrowers. It is time for our quiz.


As we know, Nadine Dorries is taking part in ITV's I'm a


Celebrity. Last night, she took part in the first bush tucker trial.


That is the name of the game. The public have voted for her to do


tonight's trial as well. But which of these people have said they have


voted for her to stay there and added that they have her voting No.


On speed dial? Was a David Cameron, George Osborne -- was it David


Cameron, George Osborne, Eric Pickles always mention? At the end


of the show, we will have the opportunity to give you the correct


answer. If you don't know, we will tell you


and give you her speed dial number as well. Within the last hour, Abu


Qatada has been released from jail. There he is, pulling out in a taxi.


I wonder if the taxi driver knew who he was picking up. He has been


held there for deportation. He was supposed to be going to Jordan.


They have spent years trying to get in there but yesterday, the Special


Immigration Appeals Commission ruled that he could not be deported


to Jordan after all. Indeed, he would have to be released. Theresa


May has said she will appeal the decision but success is not


guaranteed. It could take months or years of further work, especially


for lawyers. Abu Qatada first arrived in Britain


from Jordan in 1993. In 1999, he was convicted in his absence on


terror charges in Jordan. After a series of arrests by UK police, the


Government first began deportation proceedings in 2005. But in 2008, a


court of Appeal ruled that sending him to Jordan would breach his


human rights because a court case would rely on evidence which had


been obtained through torture. In 2009, five law lords ruled that he


could be deported after all falling assurances from Jordan that he


would receive a fair trial. In 2012, the European Court of Human Rights


block that and despite further attempt by the Home Secretary to


overcome the problems, the British Special Immigration Appeals


Commission has now ruled that he should be released again. He will


be under a curfew for 16 hours a day and will be under restrictions


on whom he meets. Some estimates put the cost also their rooms at �5


million a year. -- the cost of surveillance. Theresa May says she


will make a further appeal to try to get deportation back on track.


We are joined by Chris Bryant and by Geoffrey Robinson, human-rights


lawyer. Chris Bryant, the last government could not get rid of the


sky and this government cannot. Will we ever get rid of him? --


read of this guy. I also. Part of the problem is that when James


Brokenshire was sent out to Jordan, he did not end up with a strong


enough set of reassurances and Theresa May's own visit did not


have enough on top of that. When she decided not to appeal the


decision, earlier this year, effectively as the court said this


week, the threshold for deportation rose. She has got quite a lot of


egg on her face. It is right to appeal. Is there something you want


to make party points over? Pupil failed to do it. It may be wrong to


send him back but that is a different issue. I do not think it


is wrong. I am not disputing that. I'm saying that this government


tenure Government have failed. Right -- rather than making party


points, maybe you should sit down and make a general policy.


offered to come to some kind of agreed position. But the difficulty


is we have the law and we have to meet the law. The thing the


Government did not do, when the writing was on the wall, and it was


very clear, we had to get absolutely solid, cast-iron


assurances from the Jordanians and that did not happen. But Geoffrey


Robertson, the Jordanians do not necessarily have to get that. They


are sovereign power and we seem to be getting into the situation where


we are now trying to write to the Jordanian criminal code. Well,


Theresa May has egg on her face because she told parliament she has


succeeded. Clearly, when cross- examination came in court, it


turned out she had failed. I think there is an argument that Abu


Qatada or has, a loathsome view -- there is an argument that he has a


lows than view and should not have been given asylum. That is


something to look at. There have been mistakes made by the


government along the way but ultimately, I think we can see Abu


Qatada getting out of his taxi today and feel a certain pride that


in very few other countries with this happen. We have independent


judges who, no matter how hysterical the Government is, no


matter how 99% of the public wanted to go, we to uphold the rule sloth.


This is what makes Great Britain great. -- the rule of law. I was


with you until you said you wanted me to be proud that he was getting


out in a taxi. It is not just that he has lows some views, lot of


people have laws and views. That is not the issue. Quite a few of them


come through the studio! Some of them are even presenters!


It is not about whether you like or dislike someone's used, it is about


whether their views are dangerous. Everybody has agreed that the way


this man has conducted and propounded his views is dangerous


to national security. The question is, we do not seem to have any


means of being able to bring a prosecution. The Jordanians want to


be helpful, and they have changed elements of the constitution but I


do not think of... Are you proud to be British when you see him getting


into the taxi? I think he is making an ass of us. I think two things,


if he has done things that we think are wrong, we should consider


charging him but that is unlikely to happen. Apparently the evidence


is not admissible. I think we should challenge of the apparently.


I think the other thing that is important, Jordan we have very good


relationships with and we are friends with them. We can trust


them and I think we should keep the dialogue going and suggest that


they might look closely at whether they will make a definitive


statement about not including evidence obtained under torture.


That may come at the appeal stage. As I understand it, one of the


original concerns was that he might be in danger. The Jordanians said


they looked at that, and to Theresa May thought they had got that


sorted, but the appeals court did not think it was cast-iron. Three


judges heard the evidence of an they cross examined it and they


decided that the evidence against him was very thin and that all it


was came from people who had been tortured. On that basis, Jordan had


not gone far enough. What should you do? It should go further to


exclude a law -- it pass a law to exclude evidence obtained during


torture and then Theresa May can try again. This is where I want to


make a very slightly partisan comment. Theresa May could have


known that in 2000 than 10 when she started making statements to the


House of Commons about it. -- in 2010. It was absolutely clear that


that would be necessary and we set it in Parliament. I do not think


she comes out of this well because I think she went there and sent to


junior minister. They came away with what they thought were easy


assurances but there should have banned the deal harder. Can I come


back your point? Many people do not understand why we have not been


able to bring charges to him. Because we have no evidence.


evidence is incredibly thin and the only evidence is obtained from


people who have been tortured. There is no way around that? Judges


are not Newsnight journalists, they do not make allegations without


evidence. That is where Newsnight went wrong. We are in the business


of prosecuting people on evidence that will stand up in court. And if


that is the case, there are takes the issue back to the Jordanians.


At the gig goes back into their court. Will they or will they not,


and I hope that they will consider it, change the law in a small way.


But this is the bit that... That is still in Theresa May's court. She


has to appease the courts and she needs to be very clear. First of


all, I think she needs to appeal. Or if there was judicial evidence...


A do-nothing she will succeed on appeal. There is a wider points to


get involved in, why should we have given him asylum in the first place


when he holds views that are fundamentally and violently anti-


democratic and racist? That is because of the reading of the


refugee Convention but in my view, we are not obliged, as some think,


to give people who are violent racists and sexists refuge here on


a permanent basis. We can give them temporary refuge if they are about


It is about time you had a policy. Let me just bring you back, that is


an interesting context, let me try to tell you something you may be do


not know. King Abdullah is coming to London next week. I know that


because I was invited, I did not know until I was invited to a


lecture at the Policy Exchange, just round the corner next week. So


what should the British government say to the king now that he is


here? What should we try to require of them, keeping in mind that he


may say, look, we are a sovereign nation, we have done what we have


got to do? To be honest, thus far, they have proved themselves to be


as helpful as one could want, and what I do not understand is why the


Home Secretary did not come back with the goods, basically, because


I understand... She has got a chance this week. Yes, indeed.


think they should be lifted away from party politics. We all want to


see the back of Abu Qatada. We are a good friend of King Abdullah, we


need to say, if that is what you can you have signed the torture


Convention... Widened to go as far as that convention allows and have


pale against the reception of evidence obtained by torture? --


why don't you go? And if the king is watching, we would like to


invite him to reply! He wants to know what the next director-general


is up to. I met him at a gym in Paris once. The next director-


general? The King of Jordan, you are obsessed with the BBC! I wanted


to point out this was a BBC Three programme until you mentioned it! -


- BBC-3. You are going to leave us now, but we thank you for joining


as, we are keeping you here, willingly, I hope. Geoffrey


Robertson, you are staying with us because one of the biggest


challenges facing President Obama is what to do about Iran. Tensions


have been running high over Tehran's nuclear programme, and


during the presidential elections Barack Obama said that negotiations


could not go on forever, adding that the clock is ticking.


Yesterday Iranian media reported that the regime has launched a


military drills across half the country. A spokesman said the


exercise would send out a strong warning to those who threaten Iran.


Their real military capabilities are disputed, and the accuracy of


these pictures cannot be confirmed, but it is clear that despite


sanctions, Tehran continues to develop its nuclear programme, and


Western nations believe it is aimed at developing weapons. Geoffrey


Robertson is still with us, and he argues that by spring of next year


President Obama will be under huge pressure to back an Israeli attack


on Iran and Britain will have to decide whether to support it. Is


there any doubt that Iran is trying to make a bomb? I don't think so. I


think the evidence is overwhelming that they have been trying to make


a bomb, frankly, since the Shah! He decided that they would ultimately


make a bomb, the Ayatollah when he got in said, no, this is a Western


weapon, so it is in for. But then Iraq started to use chemical


weapons on the Iranians, and they changed their mind. In 1985-86,


they hired this Pakistani bomb maker, and they have been trying,


edging their way towards a nuclear weapon, and they are probably


within one year. Netanyahu, who is likely to be re-elected in January,


and that is half the problem, thinks they should be attacked by


the spring or early summer. He has been threatening that for some time,


and we know that relations publicly between the Israeli premier and


President Obama are not, perhaps, what they might be. President Obama


certainly talked tough during the election, obviously he had to equal


Mitt Romney, but is there any appetite in America for any sort of


military action? The Jewish lobby have a great deal of influence.


President Obama said at the United Nations that there was a coalition,


he actually used the word coalition, and that is a signal for Britain, a


coalition that would stop Iran getting a nuclear weapon. Now, that


means that he will be brought in, I would have thought, to an attack,


and we will have the old Iraq debate about the legality at the


United Nations some time next year. It will be a re-run of Iraq, and


there is no doubt that under international law there is nothing


to stop Iran going nuclear. This is the problem. The Non-Proliferation


Treaty has broken down, North Korea has 12 nuclear weapons, Pakistan


has 110, and the Islamic extremists attacked an airbase and almost got


one. We are in a new area, we are out of the Cold War, we are out of


mutually assured destruction, and we are in a new area where nukes


are proliferating and something is going to go wrong unless we stop


them. Is it the right thing for America and President Obama to


threaten attacking the military and nuclear capability in Iran, or is


that not going to make the Iranians feel even more, you know, indignant


about what they are doing, and they will just pursue it anyway? I think


the Americans are right not to take the military option off the table,


but it is the one you do not want to use. Sanctions would appear to


be working rather more effectively and diplomatic dialogue, more so


than people previously thought. The worst case situation, and it is


interesting that the Iranians have put his propaganda film at, they


are trying to show their military capability is strong. Question, do


the Americans, the Israelis have the military capability


significantly to degrade their nuclear weapons capability?


Israelis do not on their own, do they? Who knows? But the wider


point is that we do not want to bomb Iran to stop them having a


bomb, and then wind up with a bomb Iran that has a bomb. Much better


to learn to live with and Iran with a bomb over time. Sanctions are not


working. They are making the public and the regime even more determined,


that is the evidence in my book. Diplomacy is not working. The


European Union people are being just simply strung along by the


Iranians. The problem with bombing which no-one realises, everyone


thinks it is going to be 10 people dead, but it is not. There are


5,000 people working at Natanz, 371 tons of uranium hex of chloride in


the places that are going to be bombed. Let that go up, let the


wind blow it across the city, and you have tens of thousands of


people who will die. Is Britain going to sign up for that? Very


briefly, then, if Britain is forced to take tides, whose side should


they back? Neither side, I do not think Britain should allow Diego


Garcia to be used, which it may well be forced up the island in


Indian Ocean. We should not allow up our facilities to be used. We


should be neutral, because it would be an unlawful attack. Geoffrey


Robertson, thank you very much. Can you sign the book and leave a copy


behind? Yes, of course! Not often you get something out of a lawyer,


is it? I definitely want it for free! It is not often that


multinational coffee chains inspire sympathy with us on the Daily


Politics, but one firm, I have got it here, told MPs yesterday that it


is struggling to make ends meet here in the UK and not doing nearly


as well as some of its competitors. I will not tell you which one it is,


but it has got bucks in its name. If not in its profit line,


according to the company, boom- boom! They are one of three


companies to appear before the Commons Public Accounts Committee,


where MPs were curious to know why they paid so little tax in the UK.


Let's see how well or badly they If you make losses in the UK, which


is what you are filing, over 15 years, what on earth are you doing


doing business here? We know that we must be in the UK to be a


successful global company. But you are losing money here! Why don't


you focus on the US, where you are making money? We have had


tremendous optimism... 15 years, you have given the UK business 15


years, you are still making losses, and yet you are carrying on, if it


is true. I assure you it is true, it is very unfortunate, we are not


pleased about the financial importance. Everything we have said


is historically true. It does not ring true. It is hard to believe,


when I rushed down Victoria Street, and a double Paranal Karthi leaves


you in such a bad way, for 14 years. -- .. Paranal Kotri. You have paid


1.6 million in corporation tax, you are either running the business


very badly, or there is a third of going on. This is the most


competitive market that we operate in. There is outstanding


competition, consumers have much choice, more choice for consumption


of coffee per capita than anywhere else in the world. Your entire


economic activity is here in the UK. I pay in pounds, it never comes off


my bank account in euros. Your entire activity is here, yet you


pay no tax year, and that really riles us. It riles us. Can I


clarify that? We do pay corporation tax... Tiny in relation to your


turnover. Tiny! The other thing I would also highlight is that we


have paid in excess of 100 million in payroll taxes in the last five


years, we have paid tens of millions in business rates in the


past five years... I have heard this argument already, so let me


kill it, because it makes me cross. So does every other business.


you to adopt a more robust business model where you work, God forbid,


making a profit... We are making a profit. A real profit, rather than


just part of a tax avoidance scheme. I have to say, we are paying the


tax we are required to under the law. We are not avoiding tax.


are avoiding tax! Would you leave, and if you left, if you had to pay


higher tax and make decent profits, where would you go? The issue of


your understanding is about, you know, if Google was a British


business, founded in Cambridge, we would be in a very different place


here, because the profitability would rightly suit with where the


technology and innovation happens. But Google is a US business, and


the activity that happens in the UK, even if you describe it as sales


activity, which is not exactly what we do, we could still get that


activity from the open market at the costs we are paying to the UK


With me now, the Conservative MP Charley Hull thick, a former tax by,


and Kevin White, managing partner of deVere Group, a financial


advisory firm. -- Kevin L Beck, a former tax lawyer. Let us assume,


and we have no grounds for saying otherwise, that they are behaving


entirely legally, doing their tax returns with in the law. I put it


to you that companies with combined revenues of �3 billion only paying


corporation tax of �30 million, there is something wrong with the


system. Yeah, what they are doing is entirely legal. We have


established that. I think that the tax that they are paying is not an


awful lot, but they are within their rights to do it. That is not


what I am asking you. I am saying to you, if the system is taxing


revenues of 3 billion and ends up getting tax revenues of only 30


million, there is something wrong with the tax system. It is a lower


rate of tax than I pay, and people on average income paid, that almost


everyone in the country. I agree, things need to be changed, and that


is the overall factor. What should be changed? You have got three


issues, a local issue, which is a UK tax issue, then the European and


global. Been global multinationals, do you go down the route of


escalating it to the G20,... OECD countries. Or do you look at


it in the UK? I think a possible solution is a turnover tax. You


cannot mitigate turnover, otherwise you are reducing sales, and you


cannot do that. A small proportion of turnover in each country would,


I think, be fair, transparent and ultimately where we want to get to.


Why do you think that our tax system, meant to be one of the most


sophisticated in the Western world, put it this way, when our viewers,


all of us are paying a lot of tax as individuals, a lot of people


have been tracked into the 40% band, people pay 20%, quite low down the


income scale, why is it that these companies making so much money pays


Two things have happened, the rise of the internet age, with companies


like Amazon trading from Luxembourg even though they are fulfilling in


the UK. The first thing we need to do is update tax presents. We need


to have laws that say the presence of Amazon is in the UK and they


should pay tax in the UK. Presumably they do have the


infrastructure. They must exist somewhere!


The manner was the former MD of Amazon UK is on the BBC executive


board. -- the man who was. If they had a UK MD, then they are in


Britain. Exactly right. If you buy a book from Amazon, they will say


you were buying it in Luxembourg and they fulfil from the UK. It is


a Royal Mail stamp that goes on it and it comes to you. It is counter-


intuitive that they should be able to say they are not here. What


constitutes having a presence in Luxembourg to justify that that is


where their tax and not here? their argument is that that is


where the place of sale takes place. That is what is wrong. It could be


a filing cabinet in Luxembourg. pretty much. Could that be done


easily? They are currently doing it. They are not working out of the


current laws. What I meant was, could the law be changed in what


our MP calls attacks presence to make them legally present for tax


purposes in Britain? I think the war can change. The politician and


the MPs have the power to do so and I think this is deflected from the


fact that they are abroad. The fact is, the reason why the companies


are able to do this is because over the years politicians of both


parties have made the tax code so complicated that you hire expensive


accountants and you can find 101 ways of not paying. That right. If


you knock out transfer pricing mark ups and deductions, you could


actually have a really low rate of tax, simple and strong. And that is


what I am advocating. And that would put you out of the job.


think it would. But there is more to financial planning than this.


Where are you on this, General? thing for us this veritable law and


the letters bowl-off. It is perfectly possible that these big


companies, that it can be predicted how much business they do and the


mechanism can be calculated. That is logical. The law must be


adjusted. Let's take Starbucks, it is on the report to be taxable


profit once in 15 years. -- it has only reported a taxable profit once


in 15 years. I am assuming that everyone watching this programme


thinks that is not credible. Credible, no. Legal, yes. But is it


that a right. That is what needs to change. Can we do it on a


unilateral basis? You mention that it has to be changed in three


places. If we do it alone, will that not just our businesses?


Starbucks cannot go elsewhere, or it can if it wants to, there are


plenty of other coffee shops. We could have a look at the entire


corporation tax regime and ask ourselves, can we have a simpler


tax system? But your government, you went for tax simplification.


You promised it but in fact you have added several hundred more


pages to the Tax Guide that you inherited from Gordon Brown. There


is the question of counting pages. The more important question,


retinues. From 1997 until 2010, income tax revenues went up by 80%.


Corporation tax went up by 6%. What is happening has been happening for


one time and is a systemic issue that we need to call to account.


there any evidence the Government is going to do that? Will we see


any action in the autumn statement? I am campaigning on it. It is going


to take time and there is no quick fix. It will take years but people


need to be patient. This government has the ability to make a


difference. More years of tax free coffee profits. Hopefully not too


many. Briefly, will we see action in the United States? I hope we


will see moves in the right direction. The Deputy Prime


Minister is a man who takes being a father of three seriously. He has


reported to do the school run on a regular basis and cabinet meetings


had been rearranged around parenting. This morning, he


announced he is going to allow dads to share more parental leave with


their partner after the birth of their child. Where say we're going


to consult with businesses and make sure that mums and dads give the


right notice to employers. -- we are saying we're going to consult.


My view is that given that women are so important to our economic


success as a country, and it is often them who are bosses and have


particular expertise, giving them the flexibility to come back to


work earlier or to come back to work for a certain period of time


to complete a particular task, that would help employers rather than


hinder their own. We are joined by the Employment Relations Minister,


Jo Swinson. And Liz Gardiner, who works for the charity Working


Charities. What is your take on what has been announced? It is a


good news story on the flexible working reforms, which has a great


business success and good news for families. The right to request it,


not get it. There was nothing for business to fear. We hope that will


start to change workplace cultures. I think it is a good sign that the


Government has listened to concerns and has come up with a greater plan.


I do not understand, I thought that businesses already have to consider,


even on a voluntary basis, they had to look at requests for flexible


working. The federation for Small businesses says, of why do we have


to have this imposed upon business? The current right to request is


available to parents of certain ages. Extending that actually helps


to change the culture about the workplace, to be more in tune with


the 21st century at people can work remotely. Our present culture


Hearts back to the last century. This makes it easier. Any employee


that makes the request, that needs to be considered by the employer.


It could mean a practice that the mother who has just had a child


takes the first four months on -- months off, and then the father


takes a four months and then the mother has another month off. Do


you accept that that is hard? they want to chair -- to share the


lead -- share believe, they cannot do it concurrently at the moment.


They cannot do that at the moment. Also, they cannot break into


different walks. If mum goes back to work, she will lose the rest of


her return to league -- maternity leave, even if the employer wanted


to come back. Employers will have to agree the pattern if they want


to do it that way. But to give more choice to mums and dads to find a


solution that works. Having a child is difficult and stressful enough


without all of this additional stress. Does it go far enough?


Would you like to see the right to refuse taken away from firms?


think the benefit of the right to refuse is that it is a reasonable


right. It has been causing a quiet revolution in the workplace. What


is the evidence, and I keep seeing that it makes for a happier


workplace, but more productive as well. What is the evidence to


support that he Mac the House a strong business case. It leads to


reduce absenteeism and sickness. And reduce stress. We have done


some research that says there is positive correlation between people


flexible working and their performance, in the quality and


quantity of the work they produce. But there was a plan to give


fathers six weeks' paid paternity leave. How long has that been


shelved for? In the challenging economic circumstances, would


recognise that would mean an extension to the total time that


parents could take off and we thought that doing that did not


make most sense. That said, with the ability to share, fathers will


be able to have extra time off if that is what the family things


works for them. The shared parental leave is due to come in in 2015 and


once that is in place, the Government is tempted to review


that with the Topshop and extending the daddy month to have more


paternity only. But interesting that you think it is not right for


the time now. Is it even right to put any extra burden on business at


a time when the Government desperately wants businesses to


take on more people? That is why we are not extending the total time


that a couple can have out of the workplace. While employers


employing dance might have an issue, the correlation of that is that mum


is coming back to work sooner. There is an economic benefit. At


the end of the day, we will not get out of the recession that we're in


if we are not using all the talent in the workforce at the moment, too


many women do not have enough choice about their role in the


workplace. This flexibility will help that. Will it help business be


more productive? It is interesting to see where the evidence lies upon


the face of it, a would have thought that small businesses feel


quite challenged. If you only have a dozen employees, that could make


it quite difficult to get the company going. After all, the


bottom line is getting the economy going again and getting the country


back into a stronger position. And perhaps when we have done that we


can then enjoy some more or three arrangements to look after children.


That is what the Federation of Small Businesses has said. Let us


be clear, we cannot suddenly stop having 80 child because we are in a


recession. We need to find a way... Of the request was there for people


with children. In terms of requests, that is just be reasonable. In


terms of parental leave, there is no additional time off out of the


workplace, it is just about allowing mums and dads to choose


how to split it. It is not an extra burden but in fact it could help


businesses. There is more flexibility. If a mother wants to


come back and help or a Pacific -- on a specific client, that


flexibility is not currently there. Difficult to manage for a small


company or a medium-sized company. There will be very few families


that we're asking to take it -- that are taking a job and are they


coming and going. I think it is an option but what is the alternative?


This is the 21st century and the United maternity discrimination


happening in the workplace is also costing the UK a huge amount of my.


What is the alternative to match I think it is a perfectly reasonable


way to go forward but I think what has been announced allows the


request to be placed. If it was more than that and there


was pressure to employers to allow more time off, I think that would


be the wrong place to be. But I think it is something that we can


enjoy more was economy has got better. The idea it is, does that


make companies more efficient. It is a moot point.


British troops have been in Afghanistan for over 10 years. They


are due to leave in 2014 along with the American troops. But the truth


is, when the Americans leave, we have no choice whether to leave for


not. A lot of people are pessimistic about what will happen


in Afghanistan after words but rather than predicting a Taliban


takeover, the director of the Royal United Services Institute,


Professor Michael clerk, he has higher hopes for the country's


future. In Afghanistan into this no one, in


the early part of the war, Afghan forces would often confronted other


as if they were about to fight. And the night before, people would pass


from one line to another with cigarette papers. Along the


cigarette papers were written little messages. In the morning,


the battle would not take place and some of the forces we eventuate.


Some of the sources -- some of the forces would disappear. The


cigarette papers say the battle. We might do better to remember this


when we get close to the deadline of military withdrawal. People are


starting to get nervous. Of course, Taliban leaders and Afghan warlords


were never going to a conference room in Geneva and the glossy it


for months on end about the fine details of a political settlement.


But as we get closer to 2014, they might well start going backwards


and forwards with political cigarette papers and that the 11th


hour, produce a political settlement on the future role


Afghanistan. Why do I think this? For one thing, Taliban commanders


to matter have will be fighting for 20 years. They have got a personal


battle almost -- battle honours are now they want a political pay-off.


They know that the Afghans will not thank them for plunging the company


into civil war and they have learned that they are pretty


unpopular. Lots of them fear that Taliban. They do not support them


even in the heartland of the South. Although they were never going to


run to negotiate with Hamid Karzai, they believe that they will they


cannot control the country they have earned the right to some


decisive say. Go into a room. It will probably go down to the wire


in 2014 and that will make us feel uncomfortable but we should not


mistake Afghan posturing for a lack of political nous. They understand


the value of cigarette papers. I have a pretty good idea if they


know when to start passing them Michael Clark joins us now, as does


Paul Flynn, and Richard Dannatt is still with us. What would success


in Afghanistan actually look like, bearing in mind many feel that the


current policy is failing? I think success now looks like some Afghan


negotiated future after 2014, so that whatever happens next is in


the hands of the Afghans themselves. It is not a future in which the


Taliban will not play a part, but it should be a future in which


there is no room for Al-Qaeda war- related groups anywhere in


Afghanistan. If there were a single attack on the West that seemed to


originate from an Al-Qaeda Group in the areas of Afghanistan, that


would look like strategic failure. Could you give any reassurance that


would not happen at the moment? If the original aim was to certainly


damage the Al-Qaeda network, if not destroy it altogether, and remove


the Taliban from power, have we achieved that? Well, yes, Al-Qaeda


is not in Afghanistan, the Taliban are not in any governmental sense,


but they will move back in in some way. Remember, the Taliban have no


love lost for Al-Qaeda. All of the indications are that the Taliban


know that they do not want to get involved with Al-Qaeda, those guys


are trouble. There is a fair chance that in thinking through a


political settlement, they will want to reassure the West that Al-


Qaeda have no place in Afghanistan. Present at like that, the Taliban's


options will be more limited as we approach 2014, that we will have


gained some success. There is a dose of reality in this, because


the wind that doesn't send so many young soldiers to die, and it was


repeated many times in the Commons, is that our people are going to


Afghanistan to protect us from a Taliban terrorist threat. This is


an untrue, it has always been a lie, and we know that Al-Qaeda were a


spent force many years ago. But we see ourselves in a very dangerous


situation, and more civilians died in August that almost any month


previously, 374. We had the attack on Camp Bastion, �200 million of


damage done to aeroplanes, and we have seen this awful phenomenon of


our soldiers not being killed in battle, being murdered by the


people who we are arming, financing and training, and I think this is


an optimistic view but realistic. The Taliban will be in control in


the 2015-16 in parts of Afghanistan. We went there, part of the reason


was to get rid of them, but we will have failed on so many counts.


is where the trust has gone, those attacks of Taliban dressed as


policemen or infiltrating into Afghan forces, that is what has


made people's faith of any success being impossible. Let us deal with


that narrowly. That is a tactical matter, albeit one with strategic


consequences. There I was the Taliban leadership, I would be


doing something pretty similar. Originally they took us on with


direct fire weapons, we killed a lot of them. They switched to IEDs,


very effective. We have been able to mitigate that affect, so they


have switched to another point of weakness, because we know our exit


strategy is for their security forces to take responsibility for


the country, so they have begun to erode the trust of us and of them.


It is a clever tactic, but it does not change the Big Issue, which is


the strategic issue that Michael Clark is talking about, that the


settlement was always going to be political. What we have done, just


to finish this point, and it has cost us 437 British lives since


2006 in the main, of course it has swept Al-Qaeda out of the country,


but it has given the Afghans a chance of a better future. That is


all we could have done. If they take their chance, that is great.


Every time an army exits, more people die when they pull out, and


the longer we stay there, the more British soldiers will have been


sacrificed. That is a sweeping generalisation, I do not accept


that. The Canadians and the Netherlands have pulled out with


their heads held high after making great sacrifices. We should be


doing the same. There is no purpose Dame there when we know that our


soldiers are exposed to greater danger than ever before. -- no


purpose staying there. If you say a political settlement is possible


and will come in those last few months before exit in 2014, why not


do it sooner? We cannot guarantee it will come, but the Taliban, we


know from contacts with their leaders and representatives, and a


number of us have tried to develop those contacts through friends and


friends of friends, we know they are looking towards the future. We


know that they do not believe they can control the country the way


they used to before 2001, but they believe the have their right to


save. They have taken a few things on board. They have produced an


education policy earlier this year. You can believe it or not, but the


fact is that the Taliban are relatively realistic, and they do


not want to plunge Afghanistan into another 20 years of civil war. We


may or may not be able to work with that, and it will be a rough ride,


because we do not have any direct negotiating credit with them.


got his information from informal talks. The distracted diplomacy,


you talk to people who talk to people, you create interesting


distractions. -- it is tack true -- it is track two diplomacy. There


will be a political outcome, whether it is a settlement or not,


and it will be very Afghan. We are probably not going to be part of


that. Wouldn't you take any of that as having some sort of optimism?


The Taliban are running courts, collecting taxes. They know we are


going, they are preparing for us to go, but the truth is that we tried


to bury the awful reality that is there. I cannot read out in


parliament the names of the dead, I did in the past but it is forbidden


now. The bodies of the soldiers that comeback on no longer seen on


television, they are taken around the backstreets, and we tried to


deny the truth that we are sending young men to die, to serve a


politician's mistake. They are acting as human shields for


politicians' reputations, and we would like to believe they could be


a neat end to the war, this is a grand strategy, and it will all end


up happily ever after. It is not. It is going to be an awful mess.


would be tragic if there is civil war at the end, if at the end what


has happened is that allied forces have ended up training pub a whole


generation of Afghans who then end up fighting in a civil war. They


will not give their loyalty to an election rigging President. They


will not give their loyalty to us, to foreigners. They will go back to


their tribal loyalties, as Pascoes and Uzbeks. It is a pretty bleak


assessment. It is true. I think Michael's argument is a very fair


one, that they will be a political settlement. We might not like it,


but the Afghans are people at the end of the day. Do they want


another 25 years of civil war? History does prove otherwise.


will be a settlement made by political cigarette papers, they


will do a typically Afghan deal. went in there to clear Afghanistan,


438 British soldiers have died, and people will save for what if the


Taliban are controlling it? Thank you all very much.


News from Southwark Crown Court that discussion is taking place


where a jury has found former Labour MP Margaret Moran guilty of


fiddling expenses claims when she was an MP. Now, localism is one of


the coalition's buzzwords with Conservatives and Lib Dems


embracing it enthusiastically, and there is even a Localism Bill aimed


at enshrining new powers for local communities and law. Now the


Government's commitment to localism is being questioned. The growth and


infrastructure bill is up for discussion in the Commons today. It


aims to stimulate growth by giving more power to central government


over planning decisions. Who would have thought it? Actor and


presenter Griff Rhys Jones is also the president of Civic Voice, and


he has been touring Yorkshire over the past few days, getting to local


-- trying to get local people more involved in planning decisions. He


is concerned the new legislation makes it more difficult. He joins


us now from Leeds. Good to see you again. What are you doing in


Yorkshire? I am going around meeting various civic societies and


sort of encouraging people. I see. I hope you are succeeding! What do


you make of this? On the one hand the government says it wants more


localism, and on the other hand it says if we are going to get the


economy going, we have got to centralise things a bit. I think it


is rather disturbing, because there is no doubt that one can welcome


localism, one can welcome Mayo planning and a lot of things that


are going in to allow citizens, ordinary people to be more involved


in the planning decisions and to try to sort of put a wedge between


what seems to the local authorities and the centralised government and


big business tending to want to carve up city centres. And I think


what has been missed out of that, clearly, is a local boys, people


who live there. Sussex societies, they have a role to play. -- civic


societies. What seems to have happened is that somewhere along


the line, members of the Treasury and members of the Cabinet have


said, no, no, we have to have building and development willy-


nilly to get ourselves out of this economic downturn at the moment,


and so by giving them this power, you are encouraging them to stop


things happening. Eric Pickles has introduced a growth and


infrastructure bill which appears to ride roughshod over all those


intentions. Isn't it the fact of central government in Britain for


many years now that all governments are in favour of localism until the


locals do something that government does not like? Well, this Bill


seems to be enshrined in short term emergency measures, which might be


necessary to help us out of what is undoubtedly one of the series of


depressions that all capitalist societies go through and will at


one point we will see the light on the other side of the hill, but


while things are very low, it is apt to enshrine legislation which


will affect us for the next 30 years, until somebody changes it,


which seems to require that the Secretary of State can allow any of


his friends, anybody he wants, any political sponsors, to go ahead.


What is really worrying about his infrastructure built is that they


used to be referrals to the Secretary of State if you were


worried about power stations or schools or roads, but now it


absolutely says quite clearly business developments should also


have the right to appeal to the Secretary of State. Where does the


limit come? A very interesting tension, Griff Rhys Jones, thank


you for joining us, come back to see us when you get back to London,


good to have you on the programme. There is just time to get the


answer to the quiz. Remember that? We asked you which of these people


voted for Nadine Dorries to stay in the Australian jungle? They added


that they have no voting No. On speed dial! David Cameron, George


Osborne, Eric Pickles will Louise Mensch? I think it is Louise Mensch.


It is not, actually, it is Eric Pickles, who said he would be


phoning in every night to make sure she stays in the jungle. That is it


for today. Thank you to our guests, particularly Lord Dannatt. The One


O'Clock News is starting on BBC One. Parliament is in recess, no


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