20/11/2012 Daily Politics


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Afternoon, folks - welcome to The Daily Politics. Do you want to pay


less for your energy? The Government wants you to, and this


afternoon the Energy Secretary, Ed Davey, will unveil proposals which


he hopes will simplify the system and reduce the complexity and price


of energy deals. Countryside calling - if you can


get a signal. We'll be quizzing the Environment Secretary, Owen


Paterson, on rural concerns. How happy are you? The Government's


first ever survey about Britain's well-being has been published, and


believe it or not, we're a pretty cheeful lot.


And from happiness to the bustle of Westminster. Yes, our


parliamentarians are a busy lot - but would they ever job share?


Believe it or not, one MP thinks it's exactly what they should be


All that in the next hour. And with us for the duration today is the


former editor of Country Life magazine Clive Aslet. Welcome to


the programme. Now first this morning, let's talk about the


Tories' new communications guru, the Australian strategist who


helped Boris win office for a second term, Lynton Crosby. Because


the former deputy chairman of the Conservative Party Lord Ashcroft


has this morning being offering Mr Crosby some advice. Our political


correspondent Carole Walker has more details. Carole - what advice


has Lord Ashcroft offered? Well, we need to remember first of all, Jo,


that Lord Ashcroft starts this advice by pointing out that he


argued against having Lynton Crosby brought in to Conservative Central


Office. Lord Ashcroft is concerned too much on the core vote. Lord


Ashcroft is saying that it is very important pour the party to reach


out, not just to consolidate, not to rely on Ed Miliband winning it


for the Tories, not to write off the Liberal Democrats. And he goes


on also to give some rather pointed advice at the end. You will


remember that once the adviser becomes the story, he says, that is


not a good thing. That is a reference to the fact that Lynton


Crosby has already appeared on the front page of the Mail on Sunday,


with allegations that he swore about Muslims during the election


campaign for Boris Johnson, something which Mr Crosby says he


does not recall. But he is a controversial figure, and Lord


Ashcroft is clearly not entirely enthusiastic about his return to


the Conservative fold. Do you think this advice will actually be taken?


It is interesting. I think Lynton Crosby brings a particular skill,


let's say, to election campaigns. He was in charge in 2005, when


Michael Howard was the Tory leader, when he was accused of dog whistle


politics, talking a lot about immigration, in the thought that


this might play on people's fears. At the time he said it was an


important issue, but I think Lynton Crosby will bring something of a


focus to the Conservative Party campaign, but he is somebody who is


known for his focus on some call Conservative principles. There will


be others around him who will be arguing that the party needs to do


much more to open up, to modernise, to reach out. And I think that is


are likely to be a point of tension come the next general election


campaign, especially as we do not yet know exactly how it is going to


work out between him, George Osborne, who is in overall control,


Grant Shapps, the party chairman, and several other senior characters


who will be involved in this campaign. With us now is Tim


Montgomerie, the editor of Conservative Home. Do you welcome


this? I do, very much. This is a man with a lot of experience in


Australia and London, a man who knows how campaigns are run. There


are a lot of journalists who run campaigns, but Lynton Crosby's


opinion is that those are not the ideal people to run campaigns. He


chooses two or three big themes and makes sure the party focuses on


them, which is usually the secret of winning elections. What about


Number Ten Downing Street, is everybody behind this the Pope went


-- this appointment? I did not know, but I think this is something David


Cameron and George Osborne have wanted for quite some time. It was


George Osborne initially who suggested that Lynton Crosby should


go and help Boris Johnson, when he was first running for the Mayor of


London. There is an important point made by Lord Ashcroft, which is


that surely, to win the next election, you have got to look


beyond the call vote. That is Lynton Crosby's talent, but is it


going to limit the success of the Tory party if he does not look


beyond that? People have misunderstood a lot of his


qualities. Yes, Lynton Crosby has certain views, which might be more


on the traditional side of politics, but that is not his main quality.


What he has been recruited for is to run a campaign, to focus on the


things that matter, to be disciplined. I do not think the


Tories will suddenly revert to the kind of campaign that Michael


Howard had in 2005. Actually, Lynton Crosby had quite little to


do with that, he joined it just nine months before the election.


All the campaign themes had largely been decided by Michael Howard.


What Lynton Crosby will do will be to do a better job of making sure


that the David Cameron message, which is not going to be


revolutionised, is properly communicated to voters. This is


incredibly good news for the Conservative Party. What about Lord


Ashcroft, is he still a powerful figure? Absolutely. I have to say


that partly because he is my proprietor. But one huge advantage


which Michael Ashcroft brings is that he is a seasoned campaigner,


but he also conducts some of the biggest opinion polls in British


politics. He is more knowledgeable about what the average British


voter is thinking than most people. When he says something, it is not


just one businessman thinking aloud, it is very much grounded in an


awful lot of market research. there could be some tension between


the two men, and one thing Lord Ashcroft said was that he wanted to


avoid a repeat of 2010, when the campaign was run by a range of


people. You will still have Grant Shapps, George Osborne, Lord


Ashcroft, Lynton Crosby... He says, there are as many ex-Lib Dem voters


who might vote Tory as there are Tories who might switch to UKIP -


do you agree with that? Yes, that is what the market research says.


Surely disillusioned Lib Dem voters would be voting Labour? A lot of


the opinion polling suggests that there are a lot of voters waiting


to see whether the economic medicine but dish government is


dispensing will work. -- that this government is dispensing. We have a


character of the person inclined to vote Lib Dem, but the trick for


this government is, if it succeeds economically, which will be Lord


Ashcroft's main message, the competent delivery of economic


progress, then we can begin to get voters from all of the main parties.


Do you think the Government and the Conservatives particularly have


focused too much on deficit reduction, and that beyond that,


has not really spelt out clearly enough to voters what a


Conservative-led government will do? This is one of the difficulties


of coalition. In terms of the core vote, you might think it was rather


a good idea. Certainly, we might be seeing that one of the big ideas of


the last election is now rather unravelling, the idea of the ablest


candidates. -- A-list candidates. Even though the idea was to make


the party look a bit more like the country at large. Yes, but I think


it has left some people wondering who they are. I think that list has


been mixed. Many of the most talented new members of the intake


are the kind of people but give me hope in the future of the


Conservative Party. They are incredibly talented. Perhaps the


media have spotlighted some of the most controversial figures. But the


talent is there for the future. The combination of David Cameron


pushing more diversity and the membership pushing back a little


bit, and insisting that only the cream of that list should be


selected, has produced one of the most exciting Tory intakes in a


generation. Do you agree with Lord Ashcroft that Ed Miliband could be


as much of an electoral liability as Gordon Brown? That is difficult


to say at this moment. One thing the Conservative strategists need


to be careful about is not to demonise Ed Miliband. That is what


Barack Obama did to Mitt Romney, and it is the reason why Mitt


Romney won the first presidential debate, and made the race closer


than it might have been, because he showed up and -- at that debate and


was not the caricature he had been made out to be. If Ed Miliband


turns up at that first debate and confounds how the Conservatives


have presented him, that is dangerous. Michael Ashcroft's


General point that we have to win the next general election with a


positive case has to be right. what about when he says, the Tories


need to keep the loyalists, win back the detractors and win over


those who are only considering the party, well, that is everybody. It


does not take an electoral genius to work that out. The difference is


that Lord Ashcroft has found out exactly what those different groups


are thinking. That is where the genius, if you like, comes in. But


I don't think anybody is alert any illusions. To win the next election,


it is going to take almost a miracle, because they could not win


the last one under almost perfect electoral conditions. It will need


all of the best brains in the party to work together. When you say, you


rather welcome the idea of concentrating on the core vote,


what are some of the things you would like to see? What would you


say to David Cameron and George Osborne? I think voters would like


to hear a very robust stance on Europe, I think they would be


worried by the noises which have been coming out about planning, for


example, which is something which is close to people's hearts. It is


not necessarily to do with is a lot of money, but I think it would


worry a lot of people. I think there is a feeling that it is very


difficult for people who have worked hard and put their children


through private school, for example, to get them into university. People


would feel this is discriminating against the very people the Tories


should be standing up for. wanted to ask another question --


you wanted me to ask another question, didn't you? But I am not


going to. Last month,. Stood up at PMQs and pledged to do something


about energy pricing. His announcement knocked rather a lot


of people, including his own Energy Secretary, for six. The saga was


completely -- was quickly dubbed combi-shambles. Last year the Prime


Minister promised faithfully that he would take action to help people


reduce their energy bills - can he tell the country how it is going?


We have encouraged people to switch, which is one of the best ways to


get your bills down, and like animals, which I am sure he will


welcome, that we will be legislating so that energy


companies have to give the lowest tariff to their customers,


something Labour did not do in 13 years, even though the leader of


the Labour Party actually could have done, because he had the job.


So, how are the Department of Energy and the regular going to


deliver on this pledge? The Lib Dem Energy Secretary will use an


appearance before the Commons Select Committee to lay out his


thinking on reforming tariff structures this afternoon. Instead


of hundreds of different tariffs currently offered by energy


suppliers, each company is expected to be allowed only four. Customers


will be expected to be put on the cheapest rate for them. This,


believes the Government, will meet the Prime Minister's pledge for


them to have to give the lowest tariff. But will this put a hold to


rising energy prices, or which just remove competition, and mean some


people on the best deals end up paying more? I am joined now by the


Shadow Energy Secretary, Caroline Flint, as well as by Richard Lloyd.


Richard, this is what you have been waiting for - are you pleased? It


is part of what we have been waiting for, and it would be good


news for most consumers, who currently sit on terrible, old,


outdated, expensive tariffs, and are not moving around in the market.


One in 10 people say they find the energy market clear enough to


navigate around, but for the vast majority of people, who do not


switch, sitting on expensive and outdated tariffs, being put by


default on the best tariff would be good news. The question is, will


that tariff Beechy, will it be affordable, will it be fair? Most


consumers think what is going on in the energy market is completely


under transparent. Are the generators selling power to the


retailers at a price which has been rigged? They will have to do a lot


more. How do you understand it is going to work? One envisages the


idea that we are all on the lowest across, pretty well all on the same


tariff - how can you guarantee that we will be paying less, if I am


already on a pretty good deal, because I have been online and done


my research? For people like you, there may be no gain. But for most


people, who currently sit on these high-cost, and competitive tariffs,


the impact on the new, default tariff, should save them some money


in the short term. But they will stay with the same supplier. What


this will not guarantee is that they can get the best deal in the


market. The Government need to make it easier for people to switch from


one supplier to another, to put competitive pressure on the


suppliers. That will keep the default price down. In theory, it


should work, but the backdrop is one of rising wholesale energy


costs, with government policy costs adding to bills, so the general


trend will probably still be prices going up. Caroline Flint, the


Government have pulled this off, The proposals, which there should


be four tariffs. If you're buying gas, you have four tariffs,


variable, fixed rate and maybe a green one as well and you can


choose what else you want to do. The truth is with each of those


there is one price. You can be on the cheapest but not the best deal.


We've been saying, before we even get to the price setting at tariff


stage, we have to make sure the market is competitive so we are


sure that the tariffs we're being asked to choose are the fairest


ones. What with last week and the all the talk and debate about how


wholesale prices were allegedly being rigged, there's a concern


about whether we're getting the best deal. This doesn't take us


further forward because the Government has nothing to say about


the energy market. It's a bit unfair to say it's not taking us


forward. This is the start. This will simplify the tariff system.


You welcome that obviously. Ofgem's proposals are one that's we support


to simplify it. When David Cameron said we're going to force the


energy companies to put people on the cheapest tariff. The truth is


that's the one that is online. We know many older people aren't


online because they can't engage with that technology. Is that true,


Caroline is saying that you may get the cheapest tariff but not the


best deal. Surely the cheapest is the best deal. It depends on


whether you want to fix your tariff or go with a standard variable rate.


It will be like the mortgage market. The simplicity and the ability for


consumers to shop around that will keep prices in check. It remains to


be seen whether the Government is going to go far enough to make it


easy for customers to tell, at a glance, what is the cheapest price


between suppliers as well as being put on the default cheapest tariff


with the existing supplier. could have done this when you were


in power. Ed Miliband could have done this. It is possible. At the


time when David Cameron stood up in the Commons, we all thought, he's


misspoken, but he's proved actually, to some extent, that you can


achieve this. You can simplify the tariffs and perhaps get the price


down for a lot more people. Labour didn't do that. Actually he hasn't,


from what I understand, achieved what he said in the House of


Commons, a few weeks ago. Basically, simplyifying the tariffs, everybody


agrees with. That at the points in which the tariffs are set, if we're


not convinced it's done in the most competitive way, then even though


you may choose a tariff - let's be clear about this, within the


tariffs there will only be one choice - it is the cheapest, but


it's the only tariff. That's the trick that Cameron is trying to put


across today. It doesn't assure the public that the way the market


works and we did go into the last general election, saying the market


needed reforming. What's your response to today's announce snplt


I think the energy crisis has been predicted for such a long time,


it's a shame we're in this position and it's taken so long to sort it


out. As a consumer, simplicity will be a very good thing because it is


baffling. The proposals seem to have come from Ofgem. They have


brought the idea forward. You want to abolish Ofgem. Part of the


proposal they put forward and other things they've done in the last


year is catching up on the job they should have done some years ago. We


do not believe, looking at last week for example, they were on the


case in terms of concerns about the way wholesale prices were being


fixed. It's also why we believe, actually, we should have a new


regulator with the powers that when wholesale prices fall that is


forced on the energy companies to pass on to bill payers. Do you


agree? Whatever the regulate oris called, whatever it is about, it


should be a consumer champion, in a market where we're completely


outpowered by the energy giants. Has jom receive -- Ofgem failed in


that? We're not pleased they've done everything they can for the


consumer. They're starting to flex some muscle. Whatever it's called,


it needs to be a pro-consumer watchdog on the side of the koust


mer facing up to these energy giants. You'll have to sack


hundreds of energy experts pay them off and they'll get rehired under a


new regulator, why not just reform? I think everyone we agree that the


esteem of this sector that it's very important to us as consumers


but the economy as well has never been as such a low ebb. We think


there has to be radical change, including an Energy Bill that


introduces more competition, but also a tough new Energywatch dog


that can command the confidence of the public and if that means change,


that means change and we need to do that. More competition, more


companies, mortarives, we go round in a circle to a SIStive that will


be complicated. -- system that is complicated. We're acknowledging


that the liberalised market isn't working, not working in the


interest of consumers. I think the watchdog that scrutinises the way


these rules are put into place and enforces them will need to be very,


very tough on suppliers that have a track record of doing their best to


confuse consumers, avoid them getting on the best price. How this


is done is as important as the announcement We have six companies


that dominate 99% of the market. None of the others can get in in


the way it's structured at the moment. They generate energy, sell


it to themselves and then on to us. You didn't get anywhere with it


either. We went into the last election saying that had to change


and we needed a different pool. There was a popular survey, three


quarters said they believed, 74% of people thought energy companies


should be stripped of the power to set prices entirely are Ofgem


taking on the responsibility instead. Would you agree to that?


Yes, I suppose that would be a very good idea if it reflected the


wholesale price. I would like to know that the cost of the renewable


obligations which are put on. People get very upset about the


cost of renewables. We've talked endlessly about that being more


transparent. Are you expecting an announcement on that as well?


They're all over the shop on renewables with the Energy Minister


anti-renewables and the Secretary of State in favour of them.


terms of the bills, people don't know, do they? People don't. I


think it's true that the suppliers should be forced to do much more to


complain what is driving costs here. As Caroline said we've had


speculation that it's been a rigged market. There's a lot of Government


policy that's passed through to our bills. People don't know about that.


There are two things that need to happen - one, the suppliers need to


tell us in plain English, what we're paying for. Secondly, we need


some confidence that the price we're paying is fair. That's why


we've been saying to Number Ten, look, don't just move on how many


tariffs are available, but you have to reassure consumers that the


default price you're paying will be fair. That means you have to have


an urgent review of what ends up in our bill. Thank you.


To the countryside, ah, idyllic and wonderful. Or is it? Adam went to


find out. About a fifth of the UK lives in


areas like this, the village of Marnhull in rural Dorset. Most


places in this part of the world have got some kind of link with


Thomas Hardy. This place has got a really good one, because it's where


Tess of the D'Urbervilles was born and bred. Let's go and find out


what issues affect modern life in the countryside. They didn't dot


milking like this in Tess's day. At Home Farm the big worry is the


price of a pint. The price of this per litre would be 86p. The price


of this is �1. This is very readily falling out of the sky at the


moment and this takes a huge amount of production. The supermarkets


obviously can use this as a loss leader. I think people perhaps


don't understand quite the amount of work and effort that goes into


producing milk. Back down in the village, I've found another problem,


hello? Hello? Yes, that's right, the mobile phone signal here is


absolutely rubbish. And that's priority number one for this Dorset


resident, who's the new head of the Countryside Alliance. I used to be


a soldier. I say half joking, you get a better signal in Helmand.


That is really now unacceptable as is the lack of provision for rural


broad band. The Government has a good rural Broadband going, but it


needs speeding up and refining. Rural Broadband is key to rural


business in the way that rural businesses work. The internet gives


you so many opportunities that we haven't had before. One business


here that doesn't need the internet is the Robin Hill Stores, run by


husband and wife team Bob and Sue. So, what's on the minds of their


regulars? It's the bus services, they're cutting them completely to


certain areas, ie Salisbury, Dorchester and Yeovil. A lot of


people rely on the bus services for a day out. While Sue is concerned


about the dwindling number of Post Office services, they're asked to


provide. For us, personally, that means that comes off our bottom


line. We're paid on a commission basis. So the Government taking all


these services or potentially taking the service as way from us


means a cut in pay. That makes it difficult to sustain our store.


Although there's one thing that several shoppers told me they were


buying into - David Cameron's idea of the Big Society. People are


willing to help themselves because it's not anonymous. We all know


each other. We are small rb -- a small enough community that we can


do things for each other. Often people lay blame when there's a lot


they can do themselves. No amount of community spirit can solve the


other problem gripping the village, sky high petrol prices. Marnhull


might seem fairly well to do and the street names aren't run of the


mill, but the issues you find here, you'll find nearly ever where in


the countryside. And with us now is the Secretary of


State for the environment and rural affairs Owen Paterson. Welcome to


the Daily Politics. Is the countryside neglected? Absolutely


not. For the first time in years, we've got ministers looking after


the countryside, who all come from the countryside and really


understand it. It will take time, but we've set up a lot of


arrangements so we can work closely with the countryside. One of the


first things I did was launch a big paiper in Cumbria making a complete


commitment that Government policy would be countryside proofed, so


countryside policies come through us to people who really understand


it. I was born in the countryside. I've lived there all my life. I've


represented north Shropshire for 15 years. Big statement. Big promise,


are you convinced? We heard the problems, lack of Broadband,


stopping rural business, lack of affordable housing. Well, it's


great that Mr Paterson is so committed, but I think it's coming


from a history which has not been so countryside friendly perhaps. A


lot of people in the countryside for the reasons that you said feel


rather neglected. I think it's not just ministers, though ministers


have not always had such understanding, it's civil servants


who tend to come from the south- east and think it's a nuisance.


What is the raw deal about, what are they most upset about? There's


a combination of things which aren't necessarily in the control


of the Government, for example, high fuel prices make a very


significant difference in the countryside because there's not


much alternative. There are things which can be done, badgers is on


hold. We mustn't talk about it I understand. Course you can, talk


about whatever you like. But milk prices and for example, the state


of trees, that is very tragic and people feel those things very


strongly. Do you think the Government responded adequately or


was it not a priority? I think they have responded quite well recently,


but I think that the issue is that for example, when the Forestry


Commission was under discussion a year ago, it wasn't very well


handled. The -- they did the wrong thing. It wouldn't have mattered if


the forest had been sold because the own irship isn't the issue.


It's whether -- ownership isn't the issue. It's whether you have access.


Those people should have been looking after the trees and these


problems. That's the accusation that you've taken away the


expertise from within DEFRA itself and that has contributed to the


problem with ash die back. We put more money back into research on


trees, but... I've only been there for two months. I know. If you look


at the last few years, the trend has been the other way. Do you


accept that? I've said publicically and I'll say it again, we have to


completely change our attitude to trees in the forestry. We have to


renew our whole policy because we know there are a number of very


dangerous tree diseases out there. There's the larch tree disease and


in the chestnuts. The Americans lots billions of chestnut trees.


I'm not sure we can treat plant and tree products as a free, tradable


commodity any more. We send seedlings to Holland and bring them


back and plapbtd them here. I'm prepared for a radical look at how


we handle our forestry and tree environment and the trade in those


materials, which up to now, have been free. To go back to the point


about people in the countryside and feeling that they have perhaps been


neglected in the past. Government do things about the lack of


Broadband, the lack of public Having represented a rural area for


15 years, one of the biggest problems I had was getting across


to her but ministers, and civil servants... I would entirely agree


with somebody who was on that kick just then - our rural broadband is


absolutely fundamental. Improving that catapults every kind of rural


activity, on a level playing field with people in the cities. It is


not just businesses, it is about delivering health services, and


also elderly people, who can be isolated. The first week I got in I


went to Cumbria to launch a major initiative on broadband. We are


spending half a billion pounds on broadband. The other comment,


regarding the mobile phones, it does help to have a minister like


me who is completely exasperated by the dire quality of our mobile


phone networks. I have had meetings with Maria Miller and Eric Pickles,


we are quite determined to get this right. We are working extremely


hard on it. But it does help to have ministers who have a gut


feeling for this, who know how exasperated people are in the


countryside. One thing about housing is the possible need to


have big estates and high rise blocks, what about that in the


countryside? I think actually in the countryside, it is often a case


of quite small units, which can be difficult to get through planning.


Quite often, once they have got through planning, the need has


actually gone away, because people have moved. So, I think small is


beautiful in the countryside, in terms of affordable housing. I


think that is what is needed, rather than big estates. What do


you think about the framework on planning from the Government?


don't think it will make much difference to the issue I have just


been speaking about, but I think it will make a big difference to the


big infrastructure projects, which are not what people want.


planning, we have allowed local people to come forward with local


plans. I am clear, we cannot freeze the countryside, there has to be


development. That affects our youngest people, just getting on


the jobs ladder, who need affordable housing. I think we have


done a great thing for the countryside, allowing development


which is in tune with locals people's views and needs. Except,


of course, there will be a case where central government can say,


certain authorities are blocking plans, and you will be able to ride


roughshod over those authorities. No, because the concept gives real


power to local councillors. It comes up from the bottom. We have


seen it already, it is working. of your targets was the radical


reform of the agricultural policy in Europe - how can you hope to get


that, including the fisheries policies? It is just not going to


happen, Tony Blair tried it, how are you going to succeed? It is a


long shot, because I am one of 27, which is one of the problems. You


mentioned the fisheries policy - I came up with a fisheries policy


when I was in opposition, to establish national local control.


We have a coalition policy of reform of the CAP. The minister in


charge has gone a long way, on one of the most contentious issues,


which is the problem of discards, good, healthy fish being thrown


away. Richard has done a fantastic job in our negotiations. It is


complicated, it has been to the council, and it is now going to the


European Parliament. We are looking to get a ban, which would be really


good.. But you have set yourself that the eurozone could effectively


create that inner core, then Britain would be permanently on the


outside, permanently out voted on these issues. Well, actually, if


you look at what Richard has done on the CAP, by working with like-


minded allies, major progress has been made. It does not go as far as


some of us would like, but it is a stark. Has the government policy on


onshore wind farms changed? I do not to energy policy. You do in


terms of the impact on the rural economy - has it changed? No. John


Hayes has been clear that he is going to deliver a certain amount


of policy for wind farms. I have been clear that there are


appropriate places for certain kinds of energy and inappropriate


places. It is horses for courses. In my part of the world, it is a


stupid place to build wind farms, because of the trees. If there is


no wind in your constituency, why are EDF in talks with Shropshire


council over the possible placing of eight turbines? And you should


see the number of letters I am getting at the moment opposing the


establishment of even pipelines linking up possible wind farms


which may be built in Wales. It is all hypothetical. People get


absolutely incandescent about wind turbines, it is almost the thing


which people feel most passionate about. But the windy places tend to


be on the top of hills, and they tend to be the most beautiful parts


of the countryside. I think what John Hayes said was that there was


enough capacity to meet the target which has been set, but he has also


quite rightly picked up. Made by Clive Aslet that building turbines


in inappropriate places causes massive opposition, because these


turbines do not generate much power. Wide end did Peter Lilley saying a


secret report that he believed the Chancellor privately regretted all


of the green commitments which had been made? -- why then? I cannot


speak for what Peter Lilley said. I was hopefully last week, supporting


British food. All I can say is, I do not to energy policy... But you


to do the impact of it on the rural economy. Yes, and there have been


quite clear that it is horses for courses. Some form of hydro power


may be appropriate, as long as it works with the grain of nature and


does not destroy fish stocks. But in inland counties, it is


impossible to exaggerate the anger that there is at inappropriate


installations of turbines, where there is not enough wind to justify


it. Should the subsidies continue for onshore wind? I am not keen on


subsidising anything. If these technologies are able to, they


should stand on their own. I do the impact on the rural economy and


environment. I think it is incredible that the renewable


obligations mean that we import woodchip and logs with Bach on in


order to put them into biomass power stations. What has been done


to inspect that material to make sure it is not carrying treat


diseases, I wonder? This was highlighted by Defra last year.


set up this task force shortly after I came into a look at how we


handle all plant and tree materials. I think part of his investigation


will be looking at biomass. I am looking at a major and radical


change at the way we handle all plant and tree products. Thank you


very much for coming onto the programme. Well, according to the


Government's first report on the quality of our lives, which


incidentally is out today, people in rural areas shouldn't be


whinging at all. The report found that the lives of people in rural


Britain was significantly better than those who live in urban areas.


Women tend to be happier than men. And people over 60 also tend to be


happier. Oh, and if you live in the Outer Hebridies, Orkney or Shetland,


you've apparently got life taped. Anyway, the man charged with


overseeing the report is the former Cabinet Secretary Gus, now Lord,


O'Donnell. I spoke to him earlier this morning and I began by asking


him how happiness was measured. Well, happiness is something


subjective, it is how you feel. We asked people how they were feeling,


but it is not the only aspect of wellbeing. It is one aspect. We


also want to measure people's life- expectancy, their health, aspects


of basically whether they are having a good lie for not.


obvious response is, in these straitened times, is this not just


a waste of money? For somebody to say, if you have a job, you will be


happier than if you are unemployed? Yes, but we measure success by the


change in GDP - how stupid is that? Actually, in this downturn, GDP has


fallen quite a lot, but employment has stayed quite high, so the


impact on wellbeing is not as much as if you just looked at the GDP


numbers. How can the Government make us feel happier, what policies


can they passed? First of all, it can understand what it is that


makes people feel better. In a sense, this is feeding back, we


need to understand what it is that the public are unhappy about, what


is really bad for their lives. For example, we know from all this


research that commuting is something that people really


dislike. There are things we can do about trying to emphasise and


improve the quality of commuting. There are things like in macro


policy thinking about different kinds of policies - how do you pick


that one which keeps most people in jobs? Does this not also sound a


bit statist? Do people want the Government to decide about their


well-being? It is definitely not that. We are giving you the power.


So far, the Government has been saying, here are the services we


are going to deliver to you. But actually, we want to find out from


you what really makes a difference. For example, in health services, we


know that car parking charges really matter to people in


hospitals. So, not just improving the quality of the Health Service,


but all the ancillary things around it. You could argue that George


Osborne's economic policy has been designed to satisfy the credit


rating agencies - do you think that used to narrow? Well, the policy I


hope is not being designed about credit rating agencies. That is


what we hear from the Government all the time, that it is about


having good credit, keeping interests -- interest rates low.


Well, the credit rating agencies have not exactly got a fantastic


record in this process, so I do not agree with that. We saw America had


its credit rating dropped and its interest rates did not move at all.


It is absolutely right that we try our best to maintain a good credit


rating, but it is not the goal of policy. That should be trying to


maximise will be in, it should have -- it should be about a recovery


which is employment which, which gets us back on track and learnt


the lessons of the financial crisis. The Civil Service will not be


feeling very happy at the moment, with 1,000 jobs going in the


Department of education - what would you say to them but that this


process has been going on, the Civil Service has been at the


forefront of contributing to the deficit reduction process. This has


been tough. We do have the smallest Civil Service since the Second


World War and the numbers are going down, as we improve efficiency.


remaining ones are aware that they did not cause this problem, but


they are playing their part to contribute towards it. I think


they're doing a fantastic job. If you think of the fact that there


was a lot less money, and they are improving services, what I would


say to them is, this is a time when you have got the opportunity to


innovate. Yes, there is no money, so we need to work incredibly hard,


innovatively, with new ideas, to make sure that people who really


depend on public services are not adversely affected by deficit-


reduction. Do you agree, then, that the civil service is being


undervalued? Massively undervalued. I am just about to go off to


Singapore. I wish that our civil servants were paid in the same way


that they are in Singapore, which is closer to market rates.


Certainly I think our civil servants are undervalued. But when


times are tight, a pink sepals servants know that we need to play


our part. We are all in this together. -- I think that civil


servants know that... But it is not just about jobs being lost, it is


about rhetoric coming from government, saying that the Civil


Service needs to harness the buccaneering spirit of war, the


enemies of enterprise speech, characterising the Civil Service as


a block on progress - are they being demonised? What I would say


is, and the challenge I put back to the Prime Minister when he used


that phrase was to say, OK, let's do this, so I set up something


called I would take challenge, asking all businesses to tell us


what red tape they wanted us to get rid of, and we will now push goes


through, and we will see who of the block to this. Hopefully a lot will


come from this. If it doesn't, it is either because businesses have


not told us what is wrong, or it has been decided but the chicken


that these are not the things to do. -- it has been decided politically


that these are not the right things to do. I think David Cameron is


trying to say, look, the past is not necessarily a good guide to the


future. We need to be innovative, we need to take risks, we need a


culture which says, if something goes wrong, that is fine. In the


private sector, you try 10 projects, if six of them succeed, you are


doing well. In the Civil Service, if we have four failures, we would


have four hearings before the Public Accounts Committee. How many


times have we talk about the Olympics and the success of the


Olympics, and gone back to analyse the lessons of success as opposed


to the lessons of failure?. Should the Cabinet Secretary be defending


the civil-service more edge that he has a very difficult job. There is


no-one better than me to say that because I was in it for six years.


But you were not pleased about the enemies of enterprise speech, were


you? No, I was not because I did not think it was true. Where things


are true, and where the Civil Service can be faulted, is where in


the past we have stuck with, this is the way we have always done it,


it is the safe way of doing things. What I am trying to do, and my


successors, is to change that mindset, to say, actually,


innovation is fine, we will accept your failure, and let's hope the


whole system will get into that mood of celebrating success and


learning from failure. Are you a I am. I have complete control over


the allocation of my time at the moment. I spend a lot of time on


exercise, outside. We know that matters a lot. Better than working


in Government? I can come on the TV and say what I really think, which


was a freedom I didn't have before. Yes, and is that liberating? It is,


yes. I'm enjoying it. You see, the joys of being able to come on the


Daily Politics. You've got that pleasure, of course, we have the


pleasure of you. Do you think these things are worthwhile, a well being


commission, a report into trying to allow Government to find out what


makes people happy? As soon as you put something like well being into


a report it looks ridiculous. It's easy to make fun of it. It's an


idea that is rather good that David Cameron has come up with. But


perhaps not as well communicated as it might have been rather like the


Big Society. It's particularly important now, at a time when a lot


of people feel trapped in a somewhat negative economic


environment that we look at the things which actually do make


people happy. Are you happy? happy. But I think that people are


temperamentally happy or not. is the problem with the survey,


you're either suss peptible to it or not. That's true. But it's


interesting that people are on the whole happier in the countryside.


They have less money on the whole. They have a lot of things they have


to deal with. They feel part of a community and that's very important


to people and also, the fact that, the point that Gus O'Donnell made


that if you have control over your time, that's also very helpful.


These things don't necessarily cost very much or may not be to do with


money at all. Exactly what he said. Now here's a thought - should MPs


job share? One MP think it's would be a rather good idea and is


suggesting it to the House of Commons as I speak. Gyles spent the


morning getting to the bottom of it. We live in a modern world. Plenty


of people work parttime, but would it work for MPs? Well, there is a


rule going through -- before MPs. There is a suggestion it might


happen, at least a sensible debate about it. With me are two MPs,


tpwhun favour and one, I think it's fair to say, who isn't. Meg, why is


this not a daft idea? In other parts of any business people can


choose to job share. You get two for the price of one, two people


committed to working how to make that job work well together and


balancing it with the rest of their lives. I am assuming you would have


to be honest enough to say to the electorate, you would have to be


elected as a job share, not oh, I fancy taking Time Out and bringing


someone else in. Absolutely. Because of the nature of the job,


you stand for election as a job share, complaining how you would


share it, would you split it by days of the week, by topics and ho


-- how to handle votes on difficult issues. In parts of the country I


think the electorate would go for it. You once described this as


bonkers. Why? Is this April fool's days? This is a crack pot idea.


This is further demeaning Parliament. The job doesn't lend


itself to job share. In a time when we're looking to have less elected


Parliamentarians to have double the number by job sharing is crazy.


Madness. You know it wouldn't be double because only a few would go


for it. Do your staff know what's in your in tray, do your staff know


what you're covering, why couldn't someone else know as well? At a


time when we have less people voting than ever, to put two people


forward and to say for a five-year period you're going to job share,


how would you decide who would do what part of the job? I mean I want


to see us woking longer hours at Westminster not less hours. I think


the trend, enough is enough and to job share is the end. It's a


peculiar idea in that you could think the same way about certain


issues. On most issues people vote on the whip. In seven years in


Parliament, there have been three, four occasions when there have been


free votes on difficult issues, you would have to explain how you would


decide thatened you get only one vote. You talk about doubling the


numbers and cost, but you'd have two people sharing one office and


one set of resources. There wouldn't be additional cost. What


if one of you misbehaved? I think you'd have to again have a way of


dealing with. It you would have to - I think two rational, sensible,


professional people could sort it out. Job shares head of planning in


a London borough. These are difficult jobs. You're shaking your


head. We've all got big egos and for two people over five years not


to change and not to fall out, this would be like a reality TV show.


One of your colleagues stepped downforceing a by-election recently


because they wanted to spend more time with their family. I'm not


going to comment on a former colleague. They said they felt the


pressure of family. Oh, for goodness sake. I think, you say for


goodness sake, I had a flood of e- mails from women saying, you know


if we want more real people in Parliament who understand and


juggle real life, let's face it when we are in Westminster -


isn't that sort of job. It could be. It's demeaning it. You are going to


carry this on for a while. Just, do you think it could happen? It could.


The option needs to be open. It would be a great thing. Prove it.


I've got a bit of online research to do any way. Hand back to the


studio. From college gene, from Gyles on his mobile and from David,


back to you in the studio. OMG, she made it look too easy. I


might be out of a job. Well done. Why couldn't there be a job share


at Westminster? MPs should be able to manage that? It's difficult


having a coalition between two parties and the idea of mini


coalitions beggars belief. Why? There are so many other jobs that


you could job share. Once you get over the initial how would it work,


why wouldn't it agree? You would have to have complete agreement on


every subject, which isn't possible. Because of the character of MPs


people wouldn't agree. Yes. would need continuity. They would


vote on the same issues at different times and they could vote


different ways. No hands up for job sharing. Not for me. That hasn't


passed in the studio. Now according to the Government's happiness


survey, which we were talking about, money hasn't necessarily -- doesn't


necessarily make you happy. With more of the super rich coming to


live in the UK, you might have to watch out for a miserable mogul


coming to live near you. The Mayor of London says we should welcome


the rich and powerful with open arms, arguing that the more open


our society to they and powerful the more dynamic and prosperous our


economy will become, which was a major theme in his speech to the


CBI yesterday. You should never underestimate the protean ability


to find markets around the world. I never tire of telling you, you


export bicycles to Holland, mosquito repellant to Brazil, TV


antennas to Korea, tea to China, rice to India, Piers Morgan to


America... LAUGHTER


Not just cake to France, but I discovered the other day, we sell


lavender perfume and lavender oil grown from south London lavender to


France. Parfum deBromley. If we can sell that, my friends, we can sell


anything, can't we? That is the achievement and the result of the


imagination of British business. Ever since London was founded in


48AD by a bunch of pushy Italian immigrants, London has benefited


from the consciousness that we are a great global city and we will win,


if we think global and open ourselves to the worldment Boris


Johnson, never knowingly understated. Joining us now is a


person who co-incidentally has written about -- a book about


autocrats. Cysta Freeland. How did such a small group of people take


such a large part of the pie? one hand globalisation, the


technology revolution, this really profound change is making it


possible for people to earn bigger fortunes than ever before and to


earn them very, very quickly. At the same time, we're seeing mill


low class hollowed out. That's the big economic shift that we're


seeing and all trying to come to terms with. What's caused that? I


suppose generally there was a feeling that the middle class


extended post-war, slowly but surely, more people became better


off. You're now talking about the very, very top 0.1% talking off


from the rest. Shooting off even as we're seeing median wages in --


wages stagnate. Economists talk about this, British economists talk


about the rise of the lovely and the Laosy jobs. It's this two-speed


world. It really is. I think it's very intuitive. On the one hand


globalisation. If you're running a business, producing something that


is able to really take off, you can sell to the whole world instead of


just to your country. We heard Boris Johnson talking about parfum


de Bromley. Can you sell into a global market. If you're a winner


in a field, that's great. Then the technology revolution, exact lit


same thing, that first of all, for superstars like Lady GaGa she can


sing to a global audience and not just a local one. If you were


running, think about Facebook, one of the huge companies of our time,


do you know how many people work there? No. Fewer than 5,000.


Because technology has made that happen. It's a technology company


and worth billions. You mentioned Lady GaGa and Facebook, Google, who


else are we talking about? Who is a Plutocrat? The technology guys,


finance, absolutely, and then the emerging markets, ultra-well airs,


the -- Ultra-billionaires. He would say come on in. Is it the case that


these Plutocrats pay lower tax than their cleaners. That was the


rhetoric used by British politicians. It's a bit of rhetoric


that you are hearing around the world. Wairn Buffet has been


talking about his secretary pays taxes at a higher rate than he does


and Mitt Romney had to disclose his tax returns, 14% effective tax rate.


That's remarkable. In your view of the world and all the Plutocrats


you know, do you think it's true this argument that money trickles


down from the top that the reason we must welcome the uberrich is


that they'll spend money and we'll benefit? Is that true? I think we


will benefit but it's causing social afrpbgs at the same time. I


wrote a book called the Edwardian country house. That's when the idea


of the Plutocrat really first arose. I'm amazed that the world is


reverting to what it was at the beginning of the Twentieth Century.


Do you welcome it? No, I think these extremes of wealth are very


disconcerting and it's not the British way. When I left university


people had a spectrum of jobs they might choose and everybody would


roughly live the same sort of life. That's no longer the case. It


affects the choice my children make, for example. There are jobs up


there and others down there. Can I jump in? Of course. The Edwardian


comparison is fascinating and right on. What's so interesting is this


has happened to us before. It happened in the 19th century when


you had the Industrial Revolution, very similar actually, you know,


huge turbulent economic change, some people doing extremely well.


Some people did really badly. Whu think about it, it required this


tremendous social and political accommodation. Two world wars, a


Great Depression, Communist Revolutions in Russia and in China.


It's a very big thing. And in response, we invented what is


effectively modern society, right, the Wem fair state didn't exist


before that. -- welfare. The conclusion of my book is really to


point out to all of us, we are living in a similarly turbulent


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