20/12/2012 Daily Politics


20/12/2012

Andrew Neil and Jo Coburn are joined by the former education secretary Lord Baker to discuss the latest political news.


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Transcript


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Afternoon, folks. Welcome to the Daily Politics. Another arrest in

:00:40.:00:42.

the Andrew Mitchell case with what was Plebgate now turning into

:00:42.:00:46.

Plodgate. What will this row do to relations between a Conservative-

:00:46.:00:50.

led government and the Police? The government introduces a bill to cap

:00:50.:00:54.

benefit increases to 1%. A sensible and fair economy or an attack on

:00:54.:00:59.

the poor? A technical education as highly regarded as the best

:00:59.:01:03.

academic institutions? We ask if University technical colleges are

:01:03.:01:08.

the answer. And, 'tis the season to be jolly! What do MPs' Christmas

:01:08.:01:18.
:01:18.:01:20.

All that in the next hour. With us for the duration Conservative peer,

:01:20.:01:24.

Ken Baker. He used to be Education Secretary. And Home Secretary too.

:01:24.:01:28.

We'll be serving up a feast of politics for him to get his teeth

:01:28.:01:31.

into. Let's start with the ongoing controversy surrounding the role of

:01:31.:01:37.

the police in the resignation of former Chief Whip Andrew Mitchell.

:01:37.:01:40.

It's emerged over the last few days that a man purporting to be member

:01:40.:01:43.

of the public who emailed their eyewitness account of the incident

:01:43.:01:46.

at the Downing Street gates was actually a serving police officer

:01:46.:01:49.

who did not in fact witness the events. A police officer was

:01:49.:01:53.

arrested at the weekend. And this morning, a second man who does not

:01:54.:02:00.

work for the police was arrested. The Police Federation, the union

:02:00.:02:03.

that represents rank and file officers, made a lot of running on

:02:03.:02:08.

this story back October. We could hardly keep them off the air waves

:02:08.:02:13.

them. But have refused our repeated requests for an interview. But we

:02:13.:02:20.

do have with us a former Home Secretary. I said at the start,

:02:20.:02:26.

this Pleb-gate is now turning into Plod-gate. It is clear certain

:02:26.:02:31.

police and the Police Federation are moving into the frame? This is

:02:31.:02:36.

a very serious crisis. The police have had a bad year. Hillsborough,

:02:36.:02:40.

therefore supplied evidence. In Rotherham, we didn't follow up on a

:02:40.:02:44.

young girls being turned into prostitutes and in the Leverson

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Inquiry,. And now it there is Plod- gate for that this is serious

:02:51.:02:54.

because if the public don't trust the police, you have a serious

:02:54.:02:58.

problem in society. Now we have a serving police officer making up

:02:58.:03:05.

complete fiction in an e-mail in which the Prime Minister almost

:03:05.:03:08.

fired Andrew Mitchell. He did believe him and has been proved to

:03:08.:03:12.

be right so far, so it's a big problem for the police and the

:03:12.:03:18.

Police Federation. They politicise the police. The police must be

:03:18.:03:21.

above politics in our country but the Police Federation decided to

:03:21.:03:27.

become a lobbying, extremely aggressively, determined to get a

:03:27.:03:31.

Cabinet minister. Because they were very opposed to what the Home

:03:31.:03:36.

Secretary was doing, looking into their pay, pensions. Therefore,

:03:36.:03:41.

they became political agencies. I'm not in the least bit surprised

:03:41.:03:46.

they're not take your calls to come on. They are in real trouble.

:03:46.:03:51.

police officer who was barely literate when you read the e-mail.

:03:51.:03:55.

He doesn't know the difference between digest it and disgusted.

:03:55.:04:02.

The one thing the police must not do is falsify evidence. They do.

:04:02.:04:10.

They did in the case of Mendez, the man who was shot, the case of the

:04:10.:04:14.

man who was struck down at the G20 demonstrations. They falsified

:04:14.:04:21.

evidence there. And now, at least, an investigation is to be done into

:04:21.:04:25.

whether evidence in that the log, and we know from this e-mail has

:04:25.:04:31.

been falsified, too. The question therefore comes To my mind, can the

:04:31.:04:35.

Metropolitan Police be trusted to investigate itself? At this stage,

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we have to do it and the commissioner has to do it. I gather

:04:41.:04:43.

there are 30 police officers investigating this so it's a

:04:43.:04:47.

thorough inquiry. He has got to find out and report very quickly on

:04:47.:04:53.

this, because this could run away, the situation. What has happened in

:04:53.:04:58.

the last two months in this country, this been a concerted attack by the

:04:58.:05:05.

Police Federation to destroy a Tory Cabinet minister, Alastair McAlpine.

:05:05.:05:11.

A lot of it based on false evidence. It was going for it. Yes, the

:05:11.:05:16.

moment, we can trust the commissioner to do this.

:05:16.:05:19.

commander, the head of the most important police force and the

:05:19.:05:24.

country, has said he's taken a strong public stance backing of the

:05:24.:05:30.

police who were at the gate that night, and whose log provided the

:05:30.:05:34.

supposedly damning evidence over which there are, as we did on this

:05:34.:05:39.

programme yesterday, real questions about what Mr Mitchell said.

:05:39.:05:43.

Incredibly real questions over what there was anybody on the other side

:05:43.:05:49.

of the gate. He has backed them to the hilt. Most people watching this

:05:49.:05:54.

will wonder how he can investigate something where his public position

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is so unsafe? He could find out who those two policemen had contact

:06:00.:06:04.

with through their mobile phones immediately after the event. Who

:06:04.:06:09.

did they speak to? The Police Federation? Is someone their

:06:09.:06:14.

guiding some of this? How did get to the newspapers? Obviously, it

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was sold to the Sun newspaper for nothing. There was a rumour

:06:19.:06:23.

whirling around last night, when the original story went to the Sun

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newspaper, it did not contain any of the words which, in the end,

:06:28.:06:33.

became so toxic. Let's see it that comes out in the inquiry because,

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if it did, it's very damning. It's a much bigger problem actually.

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You've got to re-establish trust in the police. If the country doesn't,

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then it's your close to lawlessness and anarchy. It's an essential

:06:46.:06:51.

thing. Chief constables across the country and the Home Secretary and

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everybody has got to restore confidence in the police. The

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police must show that themselves. Very interesting coming from a

:06:58.:07:03.

former Home Secretary. Now, how much should benefits rise by every

:07:03.:07:07.

year? Welfare benefits? By the rate of inflation or in line with

:07:07.:07:11.

earnings? Or by less than both? Well, at the Autumn Statement, the

:07:12.:07:14.

Chancellor announced a cap of 1% on increases in most benefits, which

:07:15.:07:20.

is less than both. Today the government introduces a bill to

:07:20.:07:25.

make that law. Here's Jo with more. Social security benefits and tax

:07:25.:07:28.

credits usually go up automatically every year by the rate of inflation,

:07:28.:07:35.

so next spring would have seen them But in his autumn statement earlier

:07:35.:07:37.

this month, George Osborne said that most payments would increase

:07:37.:07:42.

by the lower amount of 1% for the next three years. This real-terms

:07:42.:07:44.

cut will affect those receiving working-age benefits including the

:07:44.:07:46.

main elements of jobseeker's allowance, housing benefit and

:07:46.:07:53.

elements of working tax credit. The Chancellor says it's necessary

:07:53.:07:57.

because benefits have risen more quickly than wages. And he says the

:07:57.:08:01.

move will help build a welfare system that is fair to the working

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the Treasury, reaching �3.1 billion in 2017-18. Labour will oppose the

:08:11.:08:13.

move, which they call a tax on strivers because it affects many

:08:14.:08:18.

people who work and receive benefits. It's not clear whether

:08:18.:08:21.

the public agree, with one poll today showing a substantial

:08:21.:08:24.

majority in favour, and the other showing the public more evenly

:08:24.:08:30.

split. But it's clear it will be one of the big political dividing

:08:30.:08:36.

With us now is Harriet Baldwin. A Parliamentary Private Secretary in

:08:36.:08:39.

the Department of Work and Pensions. And Labour's Shadow employment

:08:39.:08:49.
:08:49.:08:50.

minister, Stephen Timms. Welcome to you both. The bill's a wording says

:08:50.:08:53.

it will make provisions relating to the out rating of certain social

:08:54.:08:57.

security benefits and tax credits. Should it not really be called

:08:57.:09:02.

George Osborne to welfare trap for the Labour Party? I think that

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would be a very good name for it because I want to reassure a lot of

:09:06.:09:11.

your viewers today, a lot of pensioners watching, that their

:09:11.:09:17.

pensions next year will go up more than inflation, 2.5%, on top of a

:09:17.:09:22.

5% increase last year. Also, for those on incapacity benefit, the

:09:23.:09:27.

employment support allowance, that will also go up by 2.2% in line

:09:27.:09:34.

with inflation, as well disability living allowances. Out-of-work

:09:34.:09:39.

benefits will go up by 1%. We don't know if inflation will be 2.2%. It

:09:39.:09:43.

could be more or less for pensioners. Let me sideline that

:09:43.:09:49.

for a moment. Are you sure that your benefit measures are really

:09:49.:09:54.

that popular? There is a poll in the Independent today showing 49%

:09:54.:09:59.

agree with the CAP and 42% disagree. There's not much of the difference.

:09:59.:10:03.

I think these are difficult decisions in an environment where

:10:03.:10:07.

you highlight the fact that people who are in work are seeing their

:10:07.:10:11.

wages go up at a slower rate than inflation, so what we're trying to

:10:11.:10:14.

do is think about the fairness in terms of those out of work on

:10:14.:10:19.

benefit, and those in work who, over the last five years, have seen

:10:19.:10:25.

their income to rise 10%, whereas those out of work have seen this,

:10:25.:10:32.

by 20%. We were very generous last time around. Now you are taking it

:10:32.:10:36.

back. Increasing it at a faster rate. The Chancellor was very

:10:36.:10:41.

generous to those who get the child tax credit on the lowest incomes,

:10:41.:10:46.

which went up 11% in his first Budget. We are trying to be really

:10:46.:10:49.

fair in terms of that relationship between those in work and out of

:10:49.:10:54.

work. The case is this. We understand a lot of the people on

:10:54.:10:59.

these welfare benefits are actually working. They are not the figure

:10:59.:11:04.

behind a curtain, the Chancellor is fond of talking about. 60% are

:11:04.:11:10.

working. Exactly. If you were in the public sector, your pay goes up

:11:11.:11:15.

by 1% after having been frozen for a while, but you are working, so

:11:15.:11:20.

why should those on benefits be getting more than that? We have

:11:20.:11:25.

supported that 1% cap, but what we have said is it should be done in a

:11:25.:11:28.

fair way, so those who are the highest paid get less than 1%

:11:28.:11:36.

increase, those lower get more than 1%. 1% does not affect those on

:11:36.:11:41.

very low public sector work. That's right. Our concern is that this was

:11:41.:11:45.

presented as something that only hits people out of work but it

:11:45.:11:49.

doesn't. The majority are in work. And the terrible thing I think

:11:49.:11:53.

about this is that, at the moment this is being done, April next year,

:11:53.:11:58.

the Government will increase, a big tax handout to the very highest

:11:58.:12:03.

paid, earning more than �150,000 a year. If you earn more than �1

:12:04.:12:08.

billion, you will get a tax cut next April have over �100,000

:12:08.:12:12.

course up can I make an important point here because under his

:12:12.:12:18.

Government, if you are under �6,000 a year, you pay income tax under

:12:18.:12:21.

Gordon Brown. We have raised that will the we have frozen council tax,

:12:21.:12:26.

the television licence, and we're trying to control the bills that

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families have to pay for from their income. How can they afford these

:12:31.:12:35.

play-offs at the BBC if you have frozen the licence fees? It's not

:12:35.:12:44.

fair. -- pay-offs. Let me get back to the serious point. We accept

:12:44.:12:48.

that a lot of people in work will be limited to the 1% but because of

:12:48.:12:52.

the rise in the personal allowance, there's now a substantial chunk of

:12:52.:12:58.

income in the first part of your income, approaching �10,000, is tax

:12:58.:13:05.

free, and that's a big help to those on the low incomes.

:13:05.:13:10.

greatly outweighs increase from the increase... They are losing out. By

:13:10.:13:15.

a large amount. For those on the lowest wages, that's what we're

:13:15.:13:19.

talking about, starting out in work, trying to move up the working

:13:19.:13:24.

ladder, where we really want to reward aspiration, taking on

:13:24.:13:27.

additional work, we want to make sure that those decisions are

:13:27.:13:31.

rewarded whereas, under the Labour government, effectively you were

:13:31.:13:35.

taxed at a very low income and then had to wait for Gordon Brown to

:13:35.:13:39.

give the money back to you. You became more and more dependent on

:13:39.:13:47.

the state. The net effect on an average family, the which has two

:13:47.:13:56.

children, about �534 worse off by the combination. A little bit extra

:13:56.:14:00.

through the increase in a tax allowance, a substantial reduction

:14:00.:14:04.

in their income through the reduced uprating of working tax credits,

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and its people in work affected by this. Does that calculation include

:14:09.:14:18.

assumptions about indirect taxes? No. Purely the impact of direct.

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It's a different matter, so, in the end, you're helping them there,

:14:24.:14:28.

limiting here, he says the overall impact is some body on average

:14:28.:14:34.

earnings is substantially worse off. Particularly if they have children.

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100 per defy pounds a year for the average person better off and

:14:39.:14:45.

children -- �125 a year for the better of person. Effectively,

:14:45.:14:50.

Stephen has voted for someone like myself to keep my child benefit for

:14:50.:14:56.

I have not seen the Treasury figure in the statement. The Treasury is

:14:56.:15:05.

saying the average family is 125p better off. Where does it say this?

:15:05.:15:10.

I'm just wondering. I know where your figure comes from. I got my

:15:10.:15:14.

figures from the Treasury and I can find out the source for you. It's

:15:14.:15:18.

such a big difference. philosophical difference, there is

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a difference here. We want people who want to move into work, who

:15:23.:15:28.

aspire to earn more, move up the working ladder, with the universal

:15:28.:15:35.

credit next year, taking out that 16 hours, where people got trapped,

:15:35.:15:39.

to really help people move up the innings spectrum whereas the Labour

:15:39.:15:43.

approach was much more to tax you at a lower level of income, and

:15:43.:15:53.

give you some of your money back in We have exactly the combination of

:15:53.:15:56.

policies we had in the 1980s which led to the highest rate of child

:15:56.:16:01.

poverty in Europe. A cut in the highest rate of income tax and a

:16:01.:16:04.

restriction on the uprating of benefits for up the highest rate of

:16:04.:16:08.

tax will be higher than it was under 10 years of Labour. Exactly.

:16:09.:16:15.

It has come down at a time when the Exchequer is in great difficulty.

:16:15.:16:21.

Off they has issued a document over how much these tax rates Ghana.

:16:21.:16:29.

President Hollande. Negative so Lyn Byl -- 7 billion. A negative effect.

:16:29.:16:36.

We don't know. I predict you again, even at 45p, which is high by

:16:36.:16:40.

international standards, it will be higher than every year of a Labour

:16:40.:16:44.

government. We are now in a time of austerity when the Exchequer is

:16:44.:16:48.

taking money away from that families, mainly low-income

:16:48.:16:52.

families, this is not a time to be giving money to the highest paid.

:16:52.:16:59.

You can have the final word on this side. I want to know why Stephen

:16:59.:17:04.

has objected to me losing my child benefit, why he has objected to a

:17:04.:17:07.

cap on the overall benefits that equate it with the average working

:17:07.:17:11.

family in terms of what they can take home. Let me leave these

:17:11.:17:16.

questions hanging. Ken Baker has been very patient. It is a good

:17:16.:17:21.

debate. Stephen, you have a real problem in your party. In office

:17:21.:17:25.

Ulex three things run out of control. Public expenditure in

:17:25.:17:29.

relation to welfare payments. You've got to get away from a

:17:29.:17:33.

society that is so dependent on welfare and that is the thrust of

:17:33.:17:39.

what Iain Duncan Smith is doing. Increasing the level of tax... It

:17:39.:17:44.

is now �10,000 where you don't pay tax. What you are saying is that if

:17:44.:17:48.

there was a Labour government, we will not do much about welfare. We

:17:48.:17:53.

believe welfare should be paid to come what may. It is a critical

:17:53.:17:59.

test. Her I will give Stephen Timms the final word. The problem the

:17:59.:18:03.

Conservative Party has is its central economic policy has not

:18:03.:18:07.

worked. We were told of this policy was implemented we would have

:18:07.:18:10.

steady growth and falling unemployment, but unemployment is

:18:10.:18:15.

high and it is projected to go up next year. That is why these cuts

:18:15.:18:18.

have to be made and working families are paying the price.

:18:18.:18:28.
:18:28.:18:31.

have record numbers of work. It is a for! -- a fall. One of the few

:18:31.:18:34.

success stories in economic policies from this government has

:18:34.:18:40.

been the fall in unemployment. Much to the surprise of most of the

:18:40.:18:50.
:18:50.:18:51.

Economist. The OBR said it would go up to 8.3%. I thought it would be

:18:51.:18:58.

3% by next December. A very fair point. They should suspend all

:18:58.:19:01.

economic forecasts. How can you judge how the economy will grow?

:19:02.:19:09.

You can't! The thank you, Merry Christmas.

:19:09.:19:14.

We will be talking about this in the new year, that's my prediction!

:19:14.:19:17.

Speak to employers in manufacturing and engineering firms and they'll

:19:17.:19:20.

often tell you that young people don't leave school with the skills

:19:20.:19:22.

needed for the world of work. Well, university technical colleges,

:19:22.:19:27.

which are popping up around the country, seek to address that.

:19:27.:19:29.

They're supposed to combine practical learning alongside core

:19:29.:19:32.

GCSE and A levels and the Government's already pledged to

:19:32.:19:36.

open at least 24 of them by 2014. They were the brain child of our

:19:36.:19:39.

very own guest of the day, Lord Baker, but how do they operate? We

:19:39.:19:42.

sent Susana Mendonsa to take a look at one.

:19:42.:19:47.

It might look like a factory but this is actually a classroom in a

:19:47.:19:50.

new university technical college in Birmingham. The people operating

:19:50.:19:56.

this machine are teenagers. Fees 14 year-olds are lose -- using the

:19:56.:20:00.

core engineering skills that would only be taught at apprentices

:20:00.:20:05.

usually. That focus on technical education would better prepare

:20:05.:20:10.

young people for the world of work. That starts with the hours, 8:30am

:20:10.:20:14.

to 5:30pm, which 16 year-olds a share and it would have only got

:20:14.:20:20.

used. They are long. It took me a while to get used to. I could get

:20:20.:20:24.

used to it and getting used to it is really good because it prepares

:20:24.:20:28.

you for work. I show letter of school because she thought she

:20:28.:20:33.

would do better here. Most grammar schools have higher expectations,

:20:33.:20:36.

everybody is expected to be on the same level. When you come to a

:20:36.:20:39.

place with different people, you get more of the chance to stand out

:20:39.:20:43.

for things you are good at so you get her acknowledged more.

:20:43.:20:47.

another classroom, another technical skill. They are making

:20:47.:20:52.

prototypes of electronic devices like cameras. This is one of the

:20:52.:20:56.

new wave of university technical colleges the Government is backing.

:20:56.:21:01.

UCTs like this one came to-14 to 19 and euros they specialise in things

:21:01.:21:05.

like engineering. They are also sponsored by the employers or

:21:05.:21:10.

universities. The principal say they fill a gap. It is important to

:21:10.:21:13.

have a balance in this country. They are not for everybody. Not

:21:14.:21:18.

everybody wants to do engineering and science. Where students do one

:21:18.:21:25.

that focus can that specialisation, UCTs are well placed to provide

:21:25.:21:29.

excellent. Outside the classrooms that some of the young people are

:21:29.:21:39.

also been employed as in princesses. Kaka -- apprentices. While we are

:21:39.:21:44.

here we get the practical side of it. At university, we get Feighery.

:21:44.:21:48.

It balances. You know what you were doing on the theory side and the

:21:48.:21:52.

practical side. The managing director support more technical

:21:52.:21:57.

education, but says UCTs don't get done enough to get young people

:21:57.:22:02.

into the right mindset. challenge is to make kids are aware

:22:02.:22:07.

that this is work, you are not going to school any more, it is not

:22:07.:22:12.

looking up at a teacher and looking at your laptop. It is about work.

:22:12.:22:17.

Understand what work is all about. Getting out of bed at a reasonable

:22:17.:22:21.

time, being responsible, bringing something to the job you do.

:22:21.:22:24.

Producing young people with the skills needed for modern businesses

:22:24.:22:30.

is one of the aims. Teaching unions have warned that separating

:22:30.:22:32.

technical dedication from mainstream schools could create a

:22:32.:22:38.

two level system. -- technical education.

:22:38.:22:40.

Joining us now is the Shadow Schools Minister, Kevin Brennan,

:22:40.:22:43.

and Andrew Robinson, who runs an engineering firm near Bedford. Tell

:22:43.:22:49.

us what your business does. We may control systems for people like

:22:49.:22:54.

Jaguar Land Rover, British Aerospace. We make their kit work.

:22:54.:22:58.

We need technically interested children to join us after they've

:22:58.:23:01.

left school and help our company grow because the skill shortage we

:23:02.:23:09.

are suffering from his holding our business back. For you, University

:23:09.:23:13.

technical colleges, I would think, are a great thing? We would hope so.

:23:13.:23:18.

We are not very aware of them even though we have promoted ourselves

:23:18.:23:21.

and tried to get involved with many different aspects of what is going

:23:21.:23:27.

on recently. Engaging with them we find very hard. White was backed I

:23:27.:23:33.

don't know. One of the problems poor visibility. In preparation for

:23:33.:23:38.

today I looked up UTC and the first reference was on page 3. What I

:23:38.:23:42.

thought there was quite surprising. Are you losing business as a result

:23:42.:23:47.

of the skills shortage? This year alone we've lost over �10 million

:23:47.:23:52.

worth of business because we haven't got enough qualified,

:23:52.:23:56.

experienced, engaging, enthusiastic engineers to help us. Her that is a

:23:56.:24:00.

disaster! At it is awful. That doesn't just apply to our business,

:24:00.:24:07.

that is throughout... Whether it is customers or my peers, they have a

:24:07.:24:15.

similar problem. It is a serious charge. By 2020 we will be short

:24:15.:24:19.

for 1,000 qualified engineers and a million technicians. If we're going

:24:19.:24:24.

to have nuclear power stations, faster broadband and other things...

:24:24.:24:26.

In the other thing to do is bringing them in from other

:24:27.:24:32.

countries. Why can't we grow them here? Because for the last 50 years

:24:32.:24:36.

we haven't had good technical schools. They were closed because

:24:36.:24:46.
:24:46.:24:49.

of snobbery. We made it. Five years ago, we started this concept. They

:24:49.:24:56.

are 14-18. By then youngsters know what they want to do. At 16, when

:24:56.:25:01.

you ask them at 16, they are not used to working day. Ours is a

:25:01.:25:06.

working day. They have to turn up. 4-2 days a week they are doing

:25:06.:25:09.

practical things with their hands, the other three days they are doing

:25:09.:25:14.

maths, English and science. Because those are melded the will -- melded

:25:14.:25:19.

into the specialism, they improve. These are successful and the one

:25:19.:25:23.

that has been going for two years in Staffordshire, we had 16-year-

:25:23.:25:29.

old and 18 year-olds this year. Every youngster but that you CT got

:25:29.:25:32.

a job or an apprenticeship in college or university. Would you

:25:32.:25:38.

like to see them rolled out in a bigger way? In terms of the model

:25:38.:25:43.

that has been set up by Ken Baker, these are something the Labour

:25:43.:25:47.

party would support? Absolutely. Kane came up with the idea five

:25:47.:25:53.

years ago and we supported the setting up of the first of these

:25:53.:25:56.

university technical colleges and Ken has got a great body of people

:25:56.:25:59.

together to work on them. The curriculum it is exactly what

:25:59.:26:04.

Andrew is talking about. It is getting young people more used to

:26:04.:26:10.

practical and vocational and technical skills. Still losing all

:26:10.:26:14.

that business because not enough people are coming through. Indeed.

:26:14.:26:18.

We've said we absolutely have to focus on this and we didn't do

:26:19.:26:25.

enough in government to focus on those youngsters who will get a

:26:25.:26:28.

technical or vocational qualification. What is great about

:26:28.:26:33.

these is it leaves the route open because they do call education as

:26:33.:26:37.

well. It doesn't close off any opportunities to them, but it does

:26:37.:26:42.

give them a kind of experience that will make them ready to work in

:26:42.:26:47.

industry. The criticism is that they are still not heard -- high-

:26:47.:26:50.

profile enough or they are not engaging with employers. That may

:26:50.:26:55.

come in time. Do you accept the charge that successive governments

:26:55.:27:00.

have been snobs when it comes to these things? We are now paying the

:27:00.:27:07.

price. For the last 150 years we've been in a mess. There was a report

:27:07.:27:14.

in 1924. What do we want students to be? Students -- schools must

:27:14.:27:21.

produce students that are literate, but the duck of the 20 new ones we

:27:21.:27:24.

are looking at at the moment, they are supported by 250 different

:27:24.:27:32.

companies. I am going to get Tandy involved in the one near

:27:32.:27:40.

Bedfordshire. -- Andy. He will get a call from me. There will be

:27:40.:27:48.

tomorrow. Should be more money and focus be put into these sorts of

:27:48.:27:53.

colleges so that there isn't a risk of the two A-level system? All of

:27:53.:27:57.

the praise on the top universities, perhaps that sort of attention

:27:57.:28:04.

should be making these colleges elite? I think so. There will be a

:28:04.:28:08.

whole range of different schools out there and you will not be able

:28:08.:28:11.

to have a UTC rolled out immediately in every part of the

:28:11.:28:16.

country, but we need to focus on this kind of approach. Why not?

:28:16.:28:26.

eventually that may be the case. It takes time. We are extremely

:28:26.:28:29.

supportive of this approach. One of the great things about it is they

:28:29.:28:34.

have a working day. At the end of the day, the young people have

:28:34.:28:43.

completed their work in school. need to get the schools to want

:28:43.:28:47.

their children to leave school and getting to engineering. That is the

:28:47.:28:53.

problem we have. When children at a younger they are into Lago and

:28:53.:28:57.

computers, they like creating things, but by the time they leave

:28:57.:29:04.

school it has gone. He they would all rather do media studies! Do you

:29:04.:29:07.

think it has been drilled out of them?

:29:07.:29:15.

I get involved with people on the automotive Council. We have

:29:15.:29:19.

conversations where we talk about getting the education establishment

:29:19.:29:24.

to encourage people to do it. People are concentrating on

:29:24.:29:31.

business. We need to integrate the whole thing together. You'll be

:29:31.:29:35.

glad to know it there's one in media city dealing with the

:29:36.:29:42.

technology to make this programme go out. Very positive. Behind you

:29:42.:29:47.

there has about six or seven Engineers. We have to train more

:29:47.:29:54.

people and I'm very glad it is part of this. A we need the Government

:29:54.:30:04.
:30:04.:30:12.

to focus more on this. On what 300 Just a little smile on the crews's

:30:12.:30:17.

faces. I've never seen them so happy. It will take us weeks to be

:30:17.:30:27.

to them back into shape! Anyway, after yesterday's critical reports

:30:27.:30:30.

into the BBC's handling of the Savile and McAlpine stories on

:30:30.:30:32.

Newsnight more condemnation of the corporation this morning. The

:30:32.:30:34.

Public Accounts committee has published a scathing report

:30:34.:30:37.

criticising the �450,000 pay off for George Entwistle, who was

:30:37.:30:41.

Director General for just 54 days. It also criticised excessive

:30:41.:30:47.

severance payments made to ten other senior managers. And to

:30:47.:30:52.

Caroline Thomson, who stepped down with over �600,000 in her handbag.

:30:52.:30:56.

A big handbag. A lot of licence fees went into that. Here's

:30:56.:31:01.

Margaret Hodge, who chairs the committee. I think the BBC

:31:01.:31:05.

displayed a cavalier attitude to the way it uses tax payers money

:31:05.:31:09.

through the licence fee. This is our money, and this man had been in

:31:09.:31:17.

the job for 54 days, and he walked away with �450,000 and a package of

:31:17.:31:22.

benefits including a year's access to private health care, money for

:31:22.:31:26.

his lawyers and four p are to deal with all hostility he was facing

:31:26.:31:31.

from the media. Nobody else would get that. We still don't know what

:31:31.:31:35.

his pension is, but we have a final salary pay scheme at the BBC, and

:31:35.:31:41.

if his pension is based on that, that he only learnt before 54 days,

:31:41.:31:45.

that's not right, and I think the BBC management it doesn't get to

:31:45.:31:50.

what the public think. That was Margaret Hodge. Let me welcome

:31:50.:31:55.

viewers from Scotland to join us from first Minister's questions.

:31:55.:31:59.

You are now with the Daily Politics, discussing the BBC after the news

:31:59.:32:05.

which came out yesterday. We heard from Margaret Hodge, the head of

:32:05.:32:09.

the Public Accounts Committee who has attacked the number of pay-offs

:32:09.:32:12.

and the size of them that the BBC and the trust have been making.

:32:12.:32:15.

We're joined now by the Chairman of the Culture Media and Sport

:32:15.:32:18.

Committee, John Whittingdale. And Ken Baker is still with us, who

:32:18.:32:27.

takes a big interest in this, as a former Home Secretary would. What

:32:27.:32:32.

do you make of the Public Accounts Committee report? I entirely agree

:32:32.:32:35.

with it. My committee expressed concern about the size of the pay-

:32:35.:32:42.

off to George Entwistle, and Chris Patten and it indeed the came

:32:42.:32:45.

before us and I think they are right to highlight, not just the

:32:45.:32:50.

single payment to George Entwhistle but it appears to have been a

:32:50.:32:53.

culture, whenever anybody left the BBC, they went with a huge amount

:32:53.:32:57.

of cash but this is a time when resources are under pressure and

:32:57.:33:02.

they are having to make cuts to things like BBC local radio. It all

:33:02.:33:05.

in these easy to spend other people's money, the licence fee

:33:05.:33:10.

money. What do you say in response to the chairman of the BBC trust,

:33:10.:33:15.

Chris Patten, who was on the radio this morning saying, well, if they

:33:15.:33:23.

had fired him, George Entwhistle, he could have gone for constructive

:33:23.:33:27.

dismissal and it would have cost the BBC a lot more. Firstly, it

:33:27.:33:32.

raises questions over the contracts at the BBC. They need to look at

:33:32.:33:37.

that in future but, I think Chris Patten made similar remarks before

:33:37.:33:41.

my committee that this was the legal advice, but they should have

:33:41.:33:46.

challenged that because the public expectation was some body who

:33:46.:33:49.

failed in his job should not be able to walk away with that kind of

:33:49.:33:56.

money. And Caroline Thompson? that case, she left with even more

:33:56.:34:02.

money. We are told her position was got rid of and her duties were

:34:02.:34:06.

taken on by the chief financial officer. Again, it's an

:34:06.:34:10.

extraordinary amount of money for somebody to go away with for the

:34:10.:34:15.

the BBC are claiming poverty are the moment. Don't we know it. Did

:34:15.:34:21.

you see us at the party conferences? No, exactly. I expect

:34:21.:34:28.

you would not have been paid as much as Caroline Thompson. There is

:34:28.:34:36.

a difficulty here. For the sake of this discussion, most licence pay

:34:36.:34:40.

users will side with you and there will be fury about this. There is a

:34:40.:34:44.

problem, though, which is what can you do about it because at the

:34:44.:34:51.

moment, the moment Parliament tries to do anything about it, you are

:34:51.:34:55.

interfering in the independence of the BBC. It's up to the BBC to

:34:55.:34:58.

tackle this problem which was highlighted again by Nick Pollard

:34:58.:35:02.

in his report revealing things which were not a great surprise.

:35:02.:35:06.

There's too many people, it's not clear what they are actually doing,

:35:06.:35:11.

and there needs to be a much clearer line of responsibility and

:35:11.:35:15.

fewer tears of management. The new manager will have to get on with

:35:15.:35:22.

that quickly. This also the structure and whether that's it for

:35:22.:35:29.

parliament and whether the trust is working as it should. The BBC trust

:35:29.:35:33.

was a construct created for Michael Grade of. He then decided to go to

:35:34.:35:40.

ITV instead and left us with this strange hybrid organisation. The

:35:40.:35:43.

BBC having its own board with non- execs author and the BBC trust on

:35:43.:35:50.

top of that. We will enter another round of charter renewal, I suspect.

:35:50.:35:55.

What should be done? Actually, I was the opposition spokesman at the

:35:55.:35:59.

time and was critical of the formation of the BBC trust because

:35:59.:36:04.

it's trying to do two conflicting roles, regulating and championing.

:36:04.:36:07.

What I think should happen, the BBC should be externally regulated like

:36:07.:36:12.

the other broadcasters, Ofcom, and there should be clipped corporate

:36:12.:36:15.

structure were the chairmen, chief executive, and non-executive

:36:15.:36:21.

directors like Channel 4 and others. The trust would go. You have been

:36:21.:36:25.

round this course many times. agree with what he has been saying.

:36:25.:36:30.

His committee has become very influential. One of the great hopes

:36:30.:36:36.

for the BBC, Tony Hall, the new director-general. I was responsible

:36:37.:36:40.

for the BBC and he was in charge of the news for that I think he

:36:40.:36:45.

handled it very well indeed. The Conservative Party other day was

:36:45.:36:51.

absolutely loathed, even more than today. And he handled it very well

:36:51.:36:55.

indeed and he will be a big plus. When it comes to the management of

:36:55.:37:00.

the BBC, I would introduce that no one should have more than six

:37:00.:37:04.

months notice of a contract for the immediately, limit the chances are

:37:04.:37:09.

big payouts for that there should be no payments like those ones for

:37:09.:37:12.

public relations. It's quite remarkable. When somebody leaves,

:37:12.:37:18.

it I was in business, you try to make it easy for them, you say you

:37:18.:37:21.

want a happy lever, so you become generous with other people's money

:37:21.:37:27.

and that's not fair in these cases. I think the Pollard report was

:37:27.:37:32.

accurate and the fact nobody has been sacked at the BBC, you are a

:37:32.:37:39.

member of a cosy club. The BBC is a cosy club. I haven't got a pension.

:37:39.:37:47.

You might be different. There will be no pay-off when I go. Excellent.

:37:47.:37:51.

That's an example which should be followed. It will be zero. That's

:37:51.:38:00.

very good. Why doesn't has become the standard for everybody? Apart

:38:00.:38:04.

from the two BBC managers which were told they were incompetent,

:38:04.:38:11.

they were not sacked, but given other jobs, presumably on existing

:38:11.:38:15.

salaries and those jobs have not been specified at the BBC. They

:38:15.:38:20.

have no respect for authority. Everybody will know does two are

:38:20.:38:23.

clean to their jobs by their fingernails. Their authority and

:38:23.:38:28.

respect will go. I agree and that's something I raised and I'm told by

:38:28.:38:31.

the BBC disciplinary measures have been taken against a number of

:38:31.:38:37.

individuals. Who? They haven't stated but I'm sure we can make a

:38:37.:38:43.

fair guess. They haven't been able to say it publicly. But I hope

:38:43.:38:47.

further assurance of that kind will be given because the public will

:38:47.:38:51.

expect measures to be taken a gives people who have failed. More BBC

:38:51.:38:55.

execs come before your committee in the new year, do you think? It I

:38:55.:39:00.

think we will want to look at the way in which the BBC runs.

:39:00.:39:05.

consider the way changes should be made. We've got a lot on it would

:39:05.:39:09.

be Leverson Inquiry as well. It's a busy time for my committee. It's

:39:10.:39:14.

something we will want to look at. It's still a great institution, in

:39:14.:39:18.

spite of all these difficulties. What we are going through his

:39:18.:39:21.

management who could not deliver the high profile case and they

:39:21.:39:25.

panicked. They could not deal with it themselves and there was bad

:39:25.:39:29.

management course of it's still one the greatest broadcasters in the

:39:29.:39:33.

world. That's a good note to end on. Let's quit while we are ahead.

:39:33.:39:37.

Merry Christmas to you. Now, how would you like a day named after

:39:37.:39:43.

you? Yes, hold your horses! Our guest of the day's managed it.

:39:43.:39:46.

Baker Days. That's a day off school for the kids. A childcare headache

:39:46.:39:49.

for parents and the teachers? Well, they are working hard brushing up

:39:49.:39:52.

on their teaching skills of course. Lord Baker's time as education

:39:52.:39:54.

secretary was also, of course, marked by teachers' strikes. Here's

:39:54.:40:04.
:40:04.:40:08.

How does Kenneth Baker a boy had a dilemma that impelled his

:40:08.:40:13.

predecessor? -- avoid the dilemma that impaled his predecessor? Today

:40:14.:40:17.

was designed as a show of strength as one union leader put it, a

:40:17.:40:20.

demonstration that the teachers were prepared to put their money

:40:20.:40:30.
:40:30.:40:43.

Appropriately, the first of Mrs Thatcher's Cabinet onto the streets

:40:43.:40:47.

this election was the Education Secretary. His critics were waiting.

:40:47.:40:57.
:40:57.:41:10.

There is a great deal of support And we're joined now by Kevin

:41:10.:41:14.

Courtney of the National Union of Teachers. Just before I come to you,

:41:14.:41:18.

Kenneth Baker, Michael Gove has written to every head teacher it

:41:18.:41:22.

demented take robust action against teachers involved in industrial

:41:22.:41:26.

action and dock their pay. Do you agree with that? I believe teachers

:41:26.:41:34.

should strike. The strike in 1986 had been going on for 18 months. No

:41:35.:41:40.

one could settle it. It was my first priority. I settled it by

:41:40.:41:47.

doing something quite dramatic. I took away, by law, all knitters

:41:47.:41:51.

fishing rights from teachers' unions and introduced a committee

:41:51.:41:55.

which would determine teachers' pay which did a much better deal.

:41:55.:41:59.

review body. It was much better than its predecessor, a much better

:41:59.:42:06.

deal for teachers, who came out of negotiating procedures. That's a

:42:06.:42:10.

different approach Michael Gove is perceiving. Do you think his

:42:10.:42:13.

approach will work? I think he selling to a conflict with the

:42:13.:42:18.

unions over this but is taking a very tough line and I support him.

:42:19.:42:24.

What do you say to that? We are not striking at the moment, but it's

:42:24.:42:29.

not disrupting any education. It's improving education Bilal and

:42:29.:42:32.

teachers to focus on teaching and learning instead a bureaucratic

:42:32.:42:38.

nonsense. You operating a work to rule, aren't you? We don't call it

:42:38.:42:43.

that. For example, we are not saying don't to a football club on

:42:43.:42:48.

a Saturday, music after school, we're not saying those things. What

:42:48.:42:52.

we are saying is, in system of professional standing. If your head

:42:52.:42:57.

teacher says to you says you have to hand in a week's planning on a

:42:57.:43:00.

Sunday afternoon when you know it's not the right way to plan the

:43:00.:43:04.

lessons, don't do it. The how does this end? We look at the way

:43:05.:43:08.

Michael Gove is dealing with it and he has made this threat, if you

:43:08.:43:13.

like, and you are responding in the way you have just outlined. You

:43:13.:43:18.

can't go on like that indefinitely? In many schools, you can't see it

:43:18.:43:22.

happening because head teachers are happy with it. In many schools, you

:43:22.:43:27.

can't see it but we think Michael Gove wants to excavate the so, in

:43:27.:43:30.

the Sunday Times last week, he said is on a war footing, with teaching

:43:30.:43:35.

unions. We think it's with teachers in practice, and he wants to tear

:43:35.:43:43.

up the entire pay framework created through Lord Baker's dealings. He

:43:43.:43:46.

wants to have paid determined at the level of the school for that we

:43:46.:43:53.

think it's a huge craziness. Why? In every one of those 26,000

:43:53.:43:57.

schools, head teachers, governors and teachers are thinking about

:43:57.:44:01.

paying teachers instead of think about learning and teaching.

:44:01.:44:04.

There's a central issue here whether there should be national

:44:04.:44:10.

pay bargaining in the whole of the country or regional pay. I have

:44:10.:44:15.

come to believe regional pay would be reasonable. In the private

:44:15.:44:19.

sector there is certainly regional pay, no doubt about that. People in

:44:19.:44:22.

the north-east and north-west get low wages than in the south and

:44:22.:44:29.

south-east, which is a cauldron of activity. Deprived areas getting

:44:29.:44:35.

low wages, a race to the bottom? that is the line-up Michael Gove is

:44:35.:44:39.

moving towards full that what do you think of the idea schools will

:44:39.:44:45.

themselves, within pay banding, negotiate and dictate teachers pay?

:44:45.:44:49.

One of the most significant changes I made was to give to school

:44:49.:44:52.

control of their budgets, delegating budgets, and some people

:44:52.:44:56.

tell be they would not be able to control them. They controlled them

:44:56.:45:02.

perfectly well. They should be able to determine their pay as well.

:45:02.:45:05.

What's wrong with that in individual schools? I take your

:45:05.:45:10.

point they could be too much focus on deciding teachers' pay but head

:45:10.:45:13.

teachers could conclude that they know their staff, they know who is

:45:13.:45:17.

stronger, and who is less able to deal with a heavy workload and pay

:45:17.:45:27.

We don't want the focus for head teachers to be on that. Think about

:45:27.:45:32.

it from the point of view of one of the teachers. The responses we are

:45:32.:45:35.

getting at NUT headquarters is a real hostility for this for several

:45:35.:45:41.

reasons. How will you know whether your head teacher's decision is

:45:41.:45:45.

based on your competence or on the school's financial position? If it

:45:45.:45:49.

is because of the school's financial position, if your face

:45:49.:45:54.

doesn't fit, where do you were Peel? If you're in a big

:45:54.:45:59.

Association, you can appeal over the head teacher's head. There is

:45:59.:46:03.

no independent appeal body. There is some evidence that black

:46:03.:46:07.

teachers find it harder to cross the performance threshold. We think

:46:07.:46:11.

there is already evidence of headteachers making wrong decisions

:46:11.:46:16.

and has no appeal mechanism. We are taking away a teacher's career

:46:16.:46:20.

structure. At the moment you move up based on part on years of

:46:20.:46:25.

service and on the head teacher's assessment, but with these

:46:25.:46:29.

proposals you lose any security you have any move to another school.

:46:29.:46:35.

Our members don't like that. Let's go back to the approach. You talked

:46:35.:46:39.

about how you dealt with that strike. His Michael Gove's approach

:46:39.:46:44.

working? Talking about a war footing. Is that going to resolve

:46:44.:46:49.

it? What I was surprised to hear from the union was that the action

:46:49.:46:55.

taken in schools doesn't seem to be visible anywhere. Members are

:46:55.:47:00.

taking action, but it is not affecting Saturday football and the

:47:00.:47:05.

other things. Why are you doing it then? It is having no effect on

:47:05.:47:12.

education so what are you doing it for? I don't understand that.

:47:12.:47:16.

didn't answer my question about Michael Gove's approach. But we

:47:16.:47:22.

have to finish there. He played for time!

:47:22.:47:26.

Could a gas rig be coming to a field near you? Last week, the

:47:26.:47:28.

Government gave the go-ahead to the controversial technique of

:47:28.:47:31.

extracting gas from rock known as fracking. It was halted after earth

:47:31.:47:33.

tremors near Blackpool were blamed on drilling in the area.

:47:33.:47:35.

Communities affected have been campaigning against any further

:47:35.:47:38.

drilling, but what if there were financial incentives for local

:47:38.:47:43.

people to support fracking? That was an idea taken up by Lancaster

:47:43.:47:45.

and Fleetwood MP, Eric Ollerenshaw, in a Westminster Hall debate

:47:46.:47:55.
:47:56.:47:59.

yesterday. He will join us in a moment, but

:47:59.:48:05.

first let speak to Helen Rimsha of Friends of the Earth. Are there any

:48:05.:48:10.

conditions under which you would support fracking? No. Looking at

:48:10.:48:15.

the community benefits is the wrong place. We need to look at this in

:48:15.:48:20.

the wider context in the future of the energy policy. We need to move

:48:20.:48:25.

away from fossil fuels. We need to reduce reliance on glass -- gas and

:48:25.:48:30.

move towards renewable energy. There are potential impacts for the

:48:30.:48:35.

environment in Lancashire. There are risks of water and air

:48:35.:48:44.

pollution and this region of Lancashire has important... We are

:48:44.:48:48.

taking a huge risk. We will be dependent on gas for quite some

:48:49.:48:58.

time. It is becoming -- it is coming from Norway and other areas.

:48:58.:49:02.

Given that we are going to use gas for the foreseeable future, it

:49:02.:49:07.

would be sensible to have some home-grown gas. Another thing the

:49:07.:49:11.

Committee on Climate Change said last week is that a UK share of gas

:49:11.:49:15.

will have no big impact, it will not be a game changed on energy

:49:15.:49:19.

prices. We have rising energy prices because the price of global

:49:19.:49:24.

gases going up. We need to reduce the reliance on gas and develop

:49:24.:49:28.

clean energy sources. That would not only cut carbon emissions, but

:49:28.:49:32.

create thousands of new jobs, particularly in places like

:49:32.:49:38.

Lancashire. 9,000 people are already employed in the renewable

:49:38.:49:45.

energy sector. What do you say? agree with the date -- great deal

:49:45.:49:50.

of what she says. We are long way off this. We're just resuming one

:49:50.:49:56.

Test site. If it is going to happen, Lancashire need to pay back. Surely

:49:56.:49:59.

Lancashire would get a payback. You would be the crucible of the

:49:59.:50:04.

activity. We are just very generous people in Lancashire! But we are

:50:04.:50:08.

not Texas. In Lancashire at the moment before these wells go ahead,

:50:08.:50:13.

the company will get the profits and if Starbucks don't do the

:50:13.:50:18.

drilling, the Chancellor will get his taxation. The mineral rights

:50:18.:50:23.

belong to the Duchy so we will get precious little. Have you been to

:50:23.:50:27.

Aberdeen? Yes. Have you seen what Coyle has done for Aberdeen? Why

:50:27.:50:31.

can't it do the same for Blackpool? That is drilling under the sea and

:50:31.:50:37.

coming in. In Lancashire, you are talking about 800 wells across

:50:37.:50:42.

rural Lancashire. Why don't you go along with her? Why bother if you

:50:42.:50:46.

are so miserable. We are not miserable people, but we are trying

:50:46.:50:51.

to put a marker in the shale about what should happen if this proves

:50:51.:50:54.

to be the bonanza the national press claim it might be.

:50:54.:50:58.

national press know very little about it. I was brought up in

:50:58.:51:06.

Lancashire. You can tell that from my accent! They are canny people. I

:51:06.:51:11.

am strongly in favour of a fracking, it will transform the British

:51:11.:51:16.

economy. To turn your back on fracking means that you might as

:51:16.:51:22.

well... It is samba -- as important as North Sea oil. America but --

:51:22.:51:27.

America will be self-sufficient with energy into of three years.

:51:27.:51:33.

The industries in America which had become uncompetitive are being re

:51:33.:51:38.

created. We have a huge opportunity. Although Greenpeace are full of

:51:38.:51:44.

nice people, if you had been around in the 18th century, you would have

:51:44.:51:49.

said don't dig coal mines. You have to recognise that this is

:51:49.:51:57.

transformation of. On your question of whether Lancashire should get a

:51:57.:52:01.

benefit, with nuclear power stations the villages around it got

:52:01.:52:11.
:52:11.:52:11.

free energy. In the United States, shale Gas has cut the price of gas

:52:11.:52:16.

by a third. There are hundreds of thousands of jobs created as new

:52:16.:52:26.
:52:26.:52:27.

industries relocate back to America. They call it a homecoming in the US.

:52:28.:52:31.

You are Friends of the Earth... Ken Baker caught you Greenpeace! I do

:52:31.:52:38.

apologise. Why should Britain lose out on this if that is the

:52:38.:52:45.

prospect? A lot of energy analysts agree it is a different scenario in

:52:45.:52:50.

the UK. It will be more expensive and more difficult to extract. It

:52:50.:52:57.

is a different environment, it is more densely populated. We don't

:52:57.:53:01.

need to extract this resource, it is not worth the risk. You would be

:53:01.:53:05.

against it anyway. You are against fracking in the US. Her absolutely

:53:05.:53:10.

because of the climate change impact. It is quite amazing that

:53:10.:53:14.

the Secretary of State gave the go- ahead to fracking without even

:53:14.:53:20.

having conducting the environmental assessment. How come, even though

:53:20.:53:25.

the US economy has been growing, unlike the European economies, how

:53:25.:53:29.

come US carbon emissions are down substantially since they moved to

:53:29.:53:33.

shale gas? Europe, which hasn't been growing, his way over its

:53:33.:53:38.

carbon targets. We still need to move away from fossil fuels. That

:53:38.:53:42.

is the answer to my question. are many reasons why the US

:53:42.:53:49.

economy... It is a lesser carbon fuel than coal. Unconventional Gas

:53:49.:53:53.

has a higher carbon impact than conventional gas. We can't afford

:53:53.:53:59.

to extract this gas. It is clear from the science that we can't

:53:59.:54:03.

afford to burn this gas and we don't need to. We have fast

:54:03.:54:10.

renewable resources. We could meet our electricity needs by six times

:54:10.:54:17.

over with windfarms. P it was under question I asked. We will leave it

:54:17.:54:26.

there. Has the postman been yet? Because

:54:26.:54:29.

it's that time of year when the post can bring you something a

:54:29.:54:32.

little more welcome than the usual bills and junk mail. Here in

:54:32.:54:35.

Westminster, ears are straining to hear the thud of Christmas cards on

:54:35.:54:40.

the mat in the hope that there will be a card from Dave or Ed or even

:54:40.:54:43.

Nick. In a moment, we'll be discussing what it all means with

:54:43.:54:45.

political commentator Simon Hoggart. But first, here's a selection of

:54:45.:54:55.
:54:55.:54:55.

Apology for the loss of subtitles for 49 seconds

:54:55.:55:45.

Don't know how that last picture got in there. I'm not sure I like

:55:45.:55:52.

myself with a beard. It is like an estate agent's Christmas night out!

:55:52.:55:57.

That is a complement! We're joined now by Simon Hoggart from the

:55:57.:56:02.

Guardian. Have you had yours from Dave, Ed and Nick? I must have

:56:02.:56:07.

dropped off the list. That is terrible. An amazing one from Keith

:56:07.:56:13.

Vaz. A cartoon that shows Keith in the middle of the Olympics Opening

:56:13.:56:21.

Ceremony with the cream parachuting down -- at the Queen. Are they the

:56:21.:56:27.

bane of a politician's life, having to sign all of those cards? It is a

:56:27.:56:31.

way to keep in touch with your constituents. Be it has now become

:56:31.:56:37.

very expensive to do. It is 50p per card. Not if you e-mail it.

:56:37.:56:41.

they are not really. They are boring. E-mailed Christmas cards

:56:41.:56:47.

are not the same. They don't have the same glow about them. Do they

:56:48.:56:53.

filly with joy? Politicians always do things for reason and on their

:56:53.:56:59.

Christmas cards, what of the messages? It is all on the cover.

:56:59.:57:06.

Let's have a look at David Cameron's Christmas card. That has

:57:06.:57:13.

got a lot of messages. You've got Kate Nisbet, a military hero and an

:57:13.:57:17.

Olympic torch carrier. You've got Dave and Sam. They have not brought

:57:17.:57:22.

their children out this time. have before. Tony Blair always used

:57:22.:57:28.

to bring out his children. Gordon Brown never did. The message is the

:57:28.:57:34.

Olympics, our brave or roads -- heroes and summer. Let's have a

:57:34.:57:40.

look at Ed Miliband's. Him with his family. A slightly different

:57:40.:57:50.

message. That's as I'm a human being -- and that says. What is

:57:50.:57:55.

puzzling is his wife, a highly intelligent woman, they've chosen a

:57:55.:58:02.

picture which makes her look like the joker in Batman. Sign an! --

:58:02.:58:09.

Simon. Do you think it is unwise to put your family on? I think so.

:58:09.:58:15.

Christmas is a Christian festival. This has become common fodder for

:58:15.:58:21.

politicians, they send out hundreds of them. Show us your card. This is

:58:21.:58:29.

a cartoonist. He low Ruth Margaret Thatcher and Tony Blair even more.

:58:29.:58:39.
:58:39.:58:39.

-- Pirlo moved Margaret Thatcher. At Cap we have run out of time. I

:58:39.:58:48.

will be back with this week at 11:50pm tonight. Our I will be

:58:48.:58:51.

joined by Michael Portillo, Alan Johnson, Sir Ming Campbell, Mary

:58:51.:58:53.

Ann Sieghart, Nick Watt, Kevin Maguire, Quentin Letts, John

:58:53.:58:55.

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