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Afternoon. Welcome to the final Daily Politics of 2012. Guess what?
It's a Christmas special. From pasties to plebs, to penitent
politicians, we will be looking at the main party's years and having a
run-down of the top little moments of the last 12 months. Have our
politicians been behaving this year or are they just a bunch of
Scrooges? We will be choosing our candidates for a first ever Daily
Politics quiz -- Daily Politics Christmas awards. What other
strange happenings at been taking place? Some of Westminster's finest
minds take part in our very own Christmas quiz.
All that coming up. With us for the first half of this Christmas
special, I am delighted to say and joint in Santa's grotto, otherwise
known as the press gallery bar, where we found a trio of Fleet
Street elves to help their review the year. Phil -- Philip Collins of
the Times, he wants an editor for Christmas. James Forsyth works for
the Spectator, and take the halls with boughs of Polly Toynbee from
the Guardian. A -- deck the halls. It has been a momentous year in
Westminster so what better way to celebrate than the inaugural Daily
Politics awards. I think we should call them the Andrews.
Our first category... There is a whole band just behind
you that does that. Parliamentary moment of the year, Phil Collins?
thing we cannot let you pass without mentioning the Leveson
Inquiry. I think my parliamentary moment of the year was Nick Clegg,
the Deputy Prime Minister, making a separate statement on Leveson to
the Prime Minister. Two things about this, firstly to have a
liberal making the case for statutory regulation of the press
was a strange interpretation of liberalism. Secondly, it laid bare
a big cleavage in the coalition, one of the Rhine stories of the
year. And thirdly, the substantial question itself, the problem that
is left in the Prime Minister's inbox about what will happen when
the press comes back. A free press does not mean a press that is free
to bully innocent people or free to abuse grieving families. What I
want now is for us to strike a better balance between these two
liberal principles. So that our media can scrutinise the powers-
that-be, but cannot destroy innocent lives. So that the
journalists in the press gallery can hold us, the politicians, to
account, but we can look up to the individuals and families in the
public gallery, knowing they have the right protections and place.
Phil Collins' parliamentary moment. Mr Clegg making his own statement.
What was your parliamentary moment, James? I think it was the defeat of
Lords reform, when it became clear that Tory MPs were not going to let
Nick chair -- Nick Clegg's cherished project pass. There will
that it was clear that was going to happen, Malcolm Rifkind made a
speech savaging the idea and mocking Nick Clegg in personal
terms. Let's hear it. I have not voted against my party for a very
long time. I last did so in the 1970s. I do not know what effect it
will have this time on my ministerial future. All I can say
is the last time I did it, in the 1970s, two years later, Margaret
Thatcher appointed me to her government. So be of good heart,
bought as you believe, and that means 40 against his bill and
voting against the programmed motion. -- voting against it this
bill. An unlikely rebel. Was not a tactical mistake? They lost
boundary reform as a result? It was a calamity. Did they really care
that much about Lords reform? Compared to losing the next
election as a result? I do not know what to call them? A kind of great,
tribal, few will fit that they would not put up with this. --
feudal. You're right, it was an honest moment, a moment without
political calculation, in which Tory backbenchers just would not
have that. They want to the House of Lords and the hereditaries and
all that stuff and nonsense and they got it. They did not realise
that the Liberal Democrats could not keep losing these
constitutional things without some kind of retaliation. They were not
convinced that the Liberal Democrats would strike back on
boundaries, and they were determined to do that. The mountain
that the Tories have to climb to get an overall majority is high
enough with a boundary reforms. It is kind of Mission: Impossible
without them. It will be very difficult. It is hard to see how
they can pull it off. I can see how they will take some Lib Dem seats
where tactical voting on wines and they can put pressure on the Lib
Dem vote, but in the Labour seats, it will be different. Particularly
with UKIP and the Lib Dem vote crumbling. The Tory vote is at the
margins to UKIP. Whereas the good news? It is the most presidential
campaign in a long time from the Tories. I said to a Conservative
minister this morning, what is your message? Fought Cameron? He said
that the Lib Dems were saying you are voting for the Conservative
Party, we're going to say that you are voting for David Cameron.
also say, don't fought back in the people who got you into this mess.
-- Don't vote back in. parliamentary moment of the year
to? Ed Balls recently got tripped up in the Spending Review. And we
will come to that. But he is very good in Parliament. He is very
pugilistic, tough as nails. He gave a very good response in the Budget
speech, and I think he is pretty good in that bullying Forum. This
is where he was on form. Back to March, his response to the Budget,
not the response to the Budget, the Leader of the Opposition does that.
This is Ed Balls in the Budget debate. You call this a Robin Hood
Budget? But they have got this the wrong way round. Because Robin Hood
took from the rich to give to the poor and this Budget takes from law
and middle income families to give to the rich. Don't Basie? The
Chancellor is not Robin Hood, he is the Sheriff of Nottingham. -- don't
they see. As for jobs and growth, he could not give a Friar Tuck, Mr
Deputy Speaker. Acini spatial expression from the Chancellor! --
that a nice facial expression. When Ed Balls is on form, he is
remarkable. Because of memories Easter as with previous
associations of the final Labour years, and being a compadre of Mr
Brown, is he still in negative in the eyes of voters? I think
Labour's position on the economy is very soft. There is that problem.
At this stage in the parliament, with gross as -- with growth as
elusive as it is, for later to not be out of sight on the economy is
worrying from their point of view. When it comes to it, the Tories
will throw mud about economic record of the previous government.
It is not so much Ed Balls' association with Mr Brown, it is
his association with what happened. It is their Achilles heel. He was
Ed Miliband's third-choice. It is possible that he might be the best
opposition Treasury Persian up until closer to the election and he
might even go back, perhaps, to Alastair Darling four of the
military action. He is a good oppositional fighter, he is the
best person they have got for the Stuffer. He revels in it. -- for
this stuff. He is so quiet in the Brown Europe -- he is so mired in
the Gordon Brown era, that it might be a worry. By 2014, he will be
able to say he is the man who saved the financial union... Alastair
Darling. He was responsible, for Labour, undermined by irresponsible
Labour. If he comes back, it will be difficult for David Cameron to
deal with. We know that Tories admire Alastair Darling, privately,
and if he says the union as well in the referendum, and Ed Miliband
says, all right, this is the guide to make Chancellor... Also,
Alastair Darling handed over growth which George Osborne simply put a
stop to with his first Spending Review. It will be hard to persuade
people that he left a golden legacy. But he had a good financial crisis.
He did. It is never going to happen in a million years. It is not going
to happen. You're not going to remove Ed Balls from that position.
Go back to your previous discussion about how hard tears for the Tories
to get a majority. Labour think they are in for a good shout of
getting into Downing Street and there is no way you will shift Ed
Balls from the threshold. Don't underestimate Beth Miliband's
toughness. I think he will do whatever it takes. -- Ed Miliband.
If it seems a weakness, and it may well be that Ed Balls will come out
with a convincing economic strategy. He cannot do that right now because
we do not know the situation. If he does that, he might set himself,
but to... At the cost of ensuring that his government will be carnage.
If interestingly, if you think you're not going to win the
election, you will do what irritates. But we will write it
down. If we are right, we will remind everybody and did not, we
will let it disappear into the mists of the BBC archives. Or words
to your next award, the star man or woman around David Cameron's
Cabinet minister of the year. James? Michael Gove. You look at
him, he is the most dynamic reformer and the Government, he has
achieved the most so far and I think the interesting thing, there
appears to be a consensus emerging around his reforms. I do not think
Labour will on pick them. I agree. I chose him as well. Two for Mr go
for. I think he had a plan and what a rethink about his plan, he came
into office with a plan which she was able to articulate and then
enact. Contrast that with the health service, which were plans
land upon us from on high and were a terrible mess. Michael Gove is
exemplary and he set about doing what he wants to do. He built a
strong consensus before he came to office. A hat-trick? I think he is
pretty good because he is about the -- this is about the only area in
which they're not in deep trouble. It is the or make him vulnerable
area. Who is your choice? Are I have chosen the Iain Duncan-Smith.
Were we are right now, it is the one popular policy, welfare reform.
I choose it because he is the epitome of everything that is going
to go wrong with this government. He is unctuous and sanctimonious
and he is an appalling -- she is making appalling squeeze on the
poorest and the weakness. -- the weakest. How does this qualify him
to be Minister of the year? Because it is working now but I do not
think it will work for much longer. The polls are changing and by the
time we get to next April, when the benefit cuts really had the
disabled, when people's mobility scooters will be repossessed, about
90,000 of them, it will make lovely pictures. You think that will
happen? It may be that they will do you turn up the last moment. -- do
a U-turn at the last moment. As things are, two-thirds of disabled
children will lose Disability Living Allowance. Children who or
carers for sick parents are going to lose about �58 a week. It is a
cruelty unimaginable and people have not yet got it but I think
they will then. Coming onto the politics of this, you have chosen
Iain Duncan-Smith and Michael Gove. Education and welfare reform were
the two areas where the Conservatives came to power with a
pretty good idea of what they wanted to do. You can agree a
disagree but they knew what they wanted to do. Two areas that are
quite difficult for Labour at the moment. Is that correct? I think so.
On education, Labour does not know what it thinks and has been silent
for a long time. Because Michael Gove is carrying on some of the
Labour policies. Labour does not really have a position on schools.
One welfare, they are in more trouble. MP after MP in 2010 found
people telling them that Labour was associated with welfare. They have
been spooked by this. They have made a few remarks about changing
the welfare state back towards one of contribution, which does not go
anywhere. They are in a tricky position on welfare. They do not
want to talk about scroungers and become hard, although it is
tempting, but it leaves you in a difficult place. I think they have
a hope, -- they have to hope that the effects of austerity are so
severe that that dominates the argument. One of the interesting
things, if you look at the strategy, public attitudes have hardened. We
are in a striking situation. Normally, in austerity periods,
people are more sympathetic. would not rely too much on that
survey. It is six months out of date. It is not like ordinary
opinion polls, it is 18 months out of date. There is something
striking that people in a recession are normally more sympathetic.
is reflecting the end of the Labour era. People felt they were too
generous. It is not telling us what they're thinking now. There were
some polls this week that were conflicting. Some of them were nip
and tuck. One of them were showing that the Conservatives was begun
this issue. The Ipsos MORI poll showed a significant change. I
think it is hard to tell but my guess is that after next April,
when we get poll tax tight council tax, people having to pay council
tax for the first time, Baylis at the door, and a lot of savage
things happening, I think you may evil see -- you may even see the
Daily Mail report poorly about this. The it is interesting to see Ian
Duncan-Smith talking about this. He Iain Duncan Smith claimed to have
an epiphany about poverty, so he should resign. He has used this
language of more than anyone else. He said to the Sunday Times, I will
tell them, you are a sky over. He is part of it. But in your view, is
it a winner for the Tories? I think it is. It is hard to persuade the
public... It is Labour against the Tories and the Liberal Democrats.
Her it is difficult for Labour to win the argument. The Tories will
just say, you are for a limited welfare. It will be interesting to
see the debate. It will be a defining issue of 2013. It has been
fermenting this year. But next year, we will see how it plays out.
Time for our next award. Who has We are talking opposition
politician of the year. Who do you choose? The obvious choice is Ed
Miliband, because politics is so dominated by the leaders now. But I
will go for someone unusual. Going back to the discussion about those
who grew up in the shadow of Gordon Brown, one of the tasks of that
generation of politicians is to try and release themselves from the
shadow of Blair or Brown. A lot of the shadow front bench grew up as
advisers to the previous generation. Douglas Alexander had done very
little political personality, because he was so much in the
shadow of his boss that when he took on the welfare brief earlier
and then recently, with respect to the Arab Spring, there were signs
of an emergent political personality in him. They are
appealing and attractive. He is in the toughest job in a position
apart from the leader -- the toughest job in opposition, which
is shadow Home Secretary. He has had a good year. She is in him is a
problem, because we could not find a clip that illustrated what you
were talking about! So I will let that hang in the air. A Nigel
Farage is my choice. He is running against not just the coalition, but
their entire political class and the media. If you look at the
recent polling, it is difficult to analyse the UKIP phenomenon. What
appeals to their voters is what we think of as gaffes. But they like
the fact that he says the unsayable. And not just on Europe. It is
grammar schools, gay marriage, law and order. Let's hear Mr Farage.
With Greece teetering on the edge of euro with Straw, the real
elephant in the room had is that once Chris leaves, the European
Central Bank is bust. It is gone. It has EUR444 billion worth of
exposure to the bailed out countries, and to rectify that, you
will need to have a cash from Ireland, Portugal, Greece and Italy.
You couldn't make it up. It is utter failure. This ship, the Euro
Titanic, has now hit the iceberg and sadly, there simply are not
enough lifeboats. In an age of homogenised politicians, he is
different, isn't he? Were all, there is always room for a
theatrical performer. He is a great show off. I don't know if he
believes in anything, but he has a lot of fun. And at a time when
people are feeling very anti- Westminster politics, he will get a
lot of support. He is good at what he does. I think it is worthless
politics. If it were to become a big party, I would be quite scared.
But the significance of UKIP is not that it is becoming a big party
like a right-wing kind of SDP, it's dangerous simply that in those
seats where Labour is a good second to the Tories, they will take away
enough Tory votes to make that a potential Labour seat. That is
precisely the significance of UKIP and why the Tories are the are
scared. But I tend to agree with Polly. Nigel Farage has the air of
the 18th hole about him. A few GNPs later, he stands up to make a
speech about Greece leaving Europe. When you get to the serious
politics of a general election, the ebb and flow will be exactly as it
always is. Consider the 2014 European elections. You could not
rule him out coming first. The Lib Dems would become headless chickens
if they come 4th or 5th, and Mr Cameron has a real problem. It is
almost certain that they will push the Lib Dems into third. What
effect do us that have? Mr Cameron will need to set out his lines so
that he can't be moved from it early on. He will be one to watch
the 2013, or whatever you think of him. He is certainly a minor
political phenomenon that is My person is Ed Miliband. If you
think how written-off he was when he took over by a whisker, people
said this was curtains for Labour. This is the year he has come into
his own. He has found his feet in the Commons and he is absolutely
Cameron's match. Sometimes one wins, sometimes the other. When he gets
under Cameron's skin, Cameron goes red with rage. He has had a few
good jokes and he seems comfortable for the first time. I have heard
everything when the boy from the Bullingdon Club lectures people on
bullying. Absolutely extraordinary. Have you read a restaurant
recently? -- have you wreck to a restaurant recently? Now, we cover
Prime Minister's Questions every week on the Daily Politics. All
independent commentators would admit that he has got better as the
year has gone on. He is much more confident now. He often it is a
match and sometimes wins against Mr Cameron. But is he with the public
yet? He needs to get with the West minster political class before he
can get with the public. Until that conference speech this year,
everything -- every time he did anything, it had to cut through
this coverage about whether they picked the correct Miliband. That
has now gone. He has moved on to a different plane. He is now
guaranteed to lead Labour into the next election. The public might
warm to him in time. He is one of the nicest people in politics.
agree that the conference speech was a watershed moment. Firstly, it
did what most speeches can't do, which was that it took him from
being not a credible figure to being a credible figure in the
course of an hour. Very few conference speeches ever achieve
that. But he managed to talk for an hour without once mentioning the
deficit, and I don't think he can do that for the next two years.
That will still be the critical question. There is no doubt he is
better than people thought, but that was because people thought he
was a four out of ten politician, and he has proved to be six or
seven. Let's move on on the one to watch. Who are the up and coming
people in Parliament? There was an impressive intake of MPs in 2010 on
both sides of the house. It was only Lib Dems that were not renewed
her. Phil, who is the one to watch on the back benches? There were
quite a lot I could have chosen. I have chosen Tristram Hunt because
that New Labour will finally be complete when the party is led by
somebody called Tristram. remember what Mr Blair said of Mr
Mandelson, and that never came about. They are taking it to a new
level. Tristram is very intelligent. In politics now, it helps if you
come from the wrong side of the tracks, which is to say if you are
a working-class Tory leader, that helps. If you are in middle-class
Labour leader, that helps. You want to pull people over to your party
who are not natural supporters. will he stay the course? He has a
lot of other worlds going on. He is a serious historian. Being called
Tristram, it is only a matter of time before he is head of BBC drama.
I am anointing him on this show to encourage him to carry on. Your
choice of the one to watch? Stella Creasy, a tremendously
energetic local campaigner, vociferous. She has done what
backbenchers should do, which eschews an issue which is a
winnable and she has won it. She chose the monstrous debts that
people build up with pay-day loan companies and said we have to have
a cap on the amount of interest rates that people should pay. And
she has won the argument. She has been impressive when we have had
her on the programme. James? List Trust, the new education minister.
She is not only doing the curriculum reforms, but the child
care changes that will be announced in the mid-term review will make
childcare cheaper. If it makes it tax-deductible, that could help
mothers get back to work. The EU see her as a rising Tory? She is on
the right of the Tory party. She is on the free-market wing, but she is
also a woman and a working mother, so she does not look like the
classic stereotype of a Tory politician, a white male public-
school boy. A but there will be one hell of a row when she tells
childminders that they can look after five toddlers are on their
own. A candlelit in France. -- they can do it in France. We have to
leave it there. We will go downmarket now, bring out the
journalists and bring in some politicians. Merry Christmas to all
of you. So, a pressie for Lizzie.
"plebgate" turns to Plodgate, and some festive career advice for the
Shadow Chancellor. Here is David Thomson to explain all in our final
60 seconds of 2012. Not a radical reshuffle, just the
Queen visiting Cabinet as part of the Diamond Jubilee celebrations.
Her Majesty got a 60 place mats and a caravan parked it as a gift.
Better than socks. Form a chief whip Andrew Mitchell
also got an early Christmas present through CCTV footage which appeared
to class -- cast doubt on the police version of "plebgate".
The BBC was given a caning by the inquiry into the dropped Newsnight
Jimmy Savile investigation. No sackings, but senior management
does need to be looked at. Meanwhile, the Prime Minister could
not resist a jibe at the risk of tormentor in chief Ed Balls.
Shadow Chancellor does a brilliant job playing Santa at the Christmas
party every year. He does an excellent job, why not give
everyone an early Christmas present. Make the arrangement permanent and
give him the sack! Cha! Marie Christmas and hopefully, a not too
austere new year. So, we saw the final Prime
Minister's Questions of the year, with the traditional exchange of
terrible Christmas puns. Yesterday was the last sitting day in the
House of Commons before MPs pack up for 2012, and there were yet more
awful seasonal jokes. Even worse than BBC One on a Thursday night.
Here is the Shadow Leader of the house, Angela Eagle. I was looking
for gifts for the Cabinet. Given the miraculous resurrection of
those -- his ministerial career, the Government Chief Whip might
like a copy of the ex-Australian prime minister John Howard's
autobiography, Lazarus rises. We would be grateful if the Chancellor
would spend this Christmas reading macro-economics for beginners.
Given every announcement from the Department of Education inevitably
finds its way into the media before the Education Secretary has had a
chance to make a statement to this house, he would benefit from a copy
of How Parliament works. A very excellent book. And Mr Speaker, you
might enjoy a manual written for classroom teachers are entitled
Managing very challenging behaviour. I can hardly contain myself. Anyway,
you'll tide is a time of traditions, chestnuts roasting on the open fire,
the family gathered around the tree, one of them probably climbing a bit,
snowball fights. This is cliched nonsense, but one annual treat
surpasses all the others for providing joy and merriment. I
speak of the Daily Politics Christmas quiz. And who better to
join us and the Prancer, Dancer, Vixen, and Blitzen of the political
world? I will let you decide who is who. Kwasi Kwarteng of the
Conservatives, Simon Hughes of the Liberal Democrats, Labour's Lisa
Nandy and Paul Nuttall, deputy leader of UKIP. As is customary, we
have given you special Christmas Number one. I am sorry. No.
We're all in this together. wonder if that is. No. 3.
nation. Benjamin Disraeli! Baffling! B do that again.
Baffling. It is your leader. It has been a topsy-turvy 12 months for
her David Cameron and Nick Clegg. Let's have a fresher memories. --
Apology for the loss of subtitles for 51 seconds
Two arrogant posh boys who show no remorse, no contrition and no
passion -- compassion to want to understand the lives of others.
When is the last time you bought a pasty in Greggs the baker? Look, I
can remember the last time I bought Whatever moral authority this bill
had, it has now lost. Liberal Democrats, the front bench and
backbench, will vote against the Occasionally he would sign him
off... "LOL, lots of love." until I told him it meant laugh out loud,
and then he did not sign them like The ball moves back to the
It was a plan made with the best of attentions but we should not have
made a promise we could not deliver. This is the country that invented
the computer, defeated the Nazis, started to the internet, fought off
every invader for 1000 years. If we even persuaded the Queen to jump
out of a helicopter to make the That was nice, wasn't it? The
coalition's year. Let's find out how Polish as Our Parliament -- are
at variance are. We are a political show. Which of these is the odd one
out? Remember, this is a question about the coalition. I'll give you
a clue. Each of these images represent a politician. Which is
It's actually quite difficult. If I did not have the answer, I would
not have had a clue. You were hovering. Anyone? Were your role in
this together. What is the answer. I will go for the lot boat. Why?
Because the other three are politicians. Balls, and Brown.
about David Laws? The law book is David Laws. Do I get. For that.
We are talking about Jeremy Browne. -- do I get. For that. I will have
a go. David Laws is in the House of Commons.... I would not have got it.
The bone is Peter Bone, the balls is Nick Boles and the log book is
David Laws. Peter Bone is the only one of these four who is not a
coalition minister. -- coalition enthusiast. Have you got that?
not very topical. Peter Bone is always topical! The only one who is
not a minister. Since you've got no points, I'm going to run a club
from Parliament. Jeremy Paxman never does this on University
Challenge. I want to tell -- I want you to tell me what word sums up
what happens after this club. nation, together the British people
will share in the effort and share in the rewards. This country
borrowed its way into trouble and we are going to earn our way out. I
commend this to the House. Omnishambles! B the correct answer.
She got in there before anyone else. It was an omnishambles. It would
not have been very loyal for us to answer that one. It tended to
dominate politics. The Budget began to unravel. It wasn't the best
presented Budget in the history of the world. There were a lot of
things that seemed to hit the collision on the bottom. I thought
the opposition statement was not criticised for at least been clear
and straightforward. The was a fiddle. Half of the figures were
not in it. It will never catch on. The surprise was the lead singer of
the tax threshold again. Until the Budget, given the state of the
recession and that the economy was not growing and living standards
were being squeezed, your party was doing quite well in the polls. It
was a turning-point. There is no doubt that if you look at any polls
from the last election, the budget was a clear inflection point.
it was frustrating because the news of the Budget was lifting loads of
people out of tax and millions having tax reduced, and that was
lost. But your side had looked that stuff in advance. I do not know
about making it in advance, but I understand that in the end what was
reported was little stuff that had not been heard before. If there is
another year like 2013, the position of Lib Dems will be pretty
difficult. I think you have heard me say this before. It is
repetitious but I am a sports fan and I believe in judging the score
at the end of the game, not at the beginning of the second half. We
are have been in it -- we were in it for five years and that was the
deal. We knew it would be a serious job to get the country together.
Governments are always less popular in the middle of the term and I
expect by the end, if we see unemployment drop and business
creation grow, growth starts to happen, we will see a different
picture. There is not much sign of growth. But it is beginning.
said this week that there was chatter about Nick Clegg's
leadership. One of your colleagues dismissed that. Is there or is
there not to chatter? I was asked the question by the interviewer,
"Is their chatter about his leadership?" I said there is not
chatter, there is, as always about any leader when things are going
through difficulties, a little of chatter -- a little bit of chatter
but not lots of chatter. A little bit? Are we talking about this
March or this much? It is in the public domain. Nick Clegg led us
into government and we are in government for the first time since
the war. People have to hold their nerve. I heard some chatter there.
Oh, no, you didn't. When you start talking to the Lib Dems? We have
always talked to the Lib Dems. I do not think that politics is as
partisan as you think. Simon and I have worked together run things and
Kwasi Kwarteng and I have not but I'm sure we will then the future.
The point is, we do not want to win an election in coalition. We want
to win outright. Understand. want to get back the things that
have been taken away from people over the last couple of years.
Nigel Farage said on this programme that he could not work with David
Cameron but he could with Michael Gove. How do you feel about that?
think I said it on this programme first. Grown-up politicians and
grown-up political parties speak. I made clear that we would struggle
to deal with David Cameron because particularly on the European issue,
he has given us guarantees, a referendum before had he cannot be
trusted. He has called us racists and Louise. Frankly, that is
offensive. What did he get drunk? think he got it all wrong. -- what
did he get wrong. He has a look back at Labour's problems this year.
We oppose the cuts now but it would be irresponsible, three years from
a general election, for us to start making specific promises about what
It is a matter of considerable personal shame what happened a
couple of weeks ago. I hereby declare that George Galloway is
Even people within Downing Street are calling it an omnishambles
budget. Given credit, he made history this week, with his very
own words in the Oxford English One nation, a country where
everyone has a stake. One nation, a country where prosperity is fairly
shared. One nation were we have a shared destiny, a sense of shared
endeavour and a common life that we lead together. This government has
shown that cutting too far and too fast, self defeating austerity is
not the answer. The road to Downing Street runs through Corby. He does
not listen, he is out of touch and last Thursday, the people of Corby
spoke for the country. Last Thursday, the people Humberside
spoke for the whole nation. nearly got it. It would have been
nice but it's not so. The people Ed Balls as Santa. That was
Labour's year. Which of the following is the odd one out? Each
of these images represent a of these images represent a
politician. Mr Bean... 8 powdered French aristocrat from 7090. --
1790. Wallace from Wallace and Gromit and Harry Flashman. Which is
Press your buzzer. I would go for the French aristocrat. Who does the
aristocrat represent? Oliver Well, Mr Bean is obviously Gordon
Brown, as he was called that by Mr Cable. George Osborne is the
powdered aristocrat, so described by the Spectator. David Cameron is,
according to everybody, Flashman. And Wallace, you must get, at is Ed
Miliband. Which is the odd one out? Why isn't the French aristocrat the
odd one out? The others are leaders. Did you come up with these
questions? Next year, could we get somebody who knows what they are
talking about? The answer is obviously Wallace, because Mr
Miliband was the only one who said he liked the character he was being
named after. Does Cameron not like Flashman? I don't think so. And Mr
Osborne does not like being a pampered aristocrat, and Mr Cable
did not -- Mr Brown did not like being called Mr Bean by Mr Cable.
That worked very well. Are we going to have another question? Here is
another kick of George Osborne in action in the Commons. What
happened next? The public know there are no miracle cures, just be
hard work of dealing with our deficit and ensuring that Britain
wins the global race. That work is under way. The deficit is down.
Borrowing is down. Jobs are being created. It is a hard road, but we
are making progress. Everything we do, we are helping those who want
to work hard and get on. Thank you. What happened next? I will take a
guess. We went back into a recession? No., we went over to Ed
Balls, who completely fluffed his response. But close. Was that a
defining moment for Ed Balls, when he had such a poor response to the
Autumn Statement? It clearly did not work in the Commons. He then
went home and saw clips on the TV which were better. And some of the
arguments were perfectly reasonable. So it is interesting how the
political theatre can determine things. The commentators said it
was a poor performance. He was expecting the borrowing figure to
go up, and it didn't, and that was what through him. Because the
Chancellor massaged the figures. Whatever reason, he got it wrong.
It was a slow-motion car crash. actually, it has been good for Ed
Balls in a way, firstly because it was so unusual. He is normally one
of the strongest performers. But secondly, when he came out later
and said, I was wrong-footed by the figures, but I also had a stammer
and sometimes it gets the better of me, you saw a more human side to
him. We see it in private, but people do not often see it in
public. Britain slipped back into recession this year. It missed its
debt target. Austerity was extended to 2018. There have been all these
budget U-turns, and yet you could not really argue that people are
flocking to Labour because of its economic message. People are
definitely turning to Labour. We started the year level-pegging in
the polls. We finished 11 points ahead in the latest opinion poll.
It has been a good year for Labour. There is no argument about that.
But it has not... Nobody claimed it was a great year for the coalition.
Mike point to you is that there seems to be little attraction for
Labour's economic message. It has not been a good year for the people
we represent. Then you would think they would be rushing to you.
there is a sense of hopelessness and despair, partly caused by this
coalition's message that there are no other choices. Labour has to win
the argument not so much on the economy, although that is important,
but there are also different choices that can be made in a time
of austerity. The last time the Tories were in power, the mid-term
was 1990. What was Labour's lead in the polls then? I don't know.
were 24% ahead. And you then went on to lose the next election.
of the frustrating things is that this year, there have been some
good signs. Unemployment has gone down and new job creation has gone
up. But that has not percolated through to the general mood yet,
even though the individuals affected clearly have noticed.
commentators continue to assume that UKIP is getting the votes of
disillusioned Tories. Do you have evidence that you are also getting
the votes from people who are not buying into the Miliband and Ed
Balls Labour Party? The problem with Ed Balls is a bigger problem,
not just how he fluffed his lines. This guy was the bag-carrier for
Gordon Brown. I think they think people have short term and Nishi
and forget how they wrecked the economy. What is the answer to my
question? We took part in two by- elections in Labour areas, and we
have got votes from both Conservative areas and Labour areas.
Finally, one of -- what have the other parties been up to during the
Your MP, George Galloway! This is the Bradford Spring. Delegates, it
is game on for Scotland. It is time to me to become the first ever ex-
leader of the Green Party and to welcome onto the stage our new
leader, Natalie Bennett. It is an honour to stand here today and a
dress you in my first leader's speech to our annual conference.
the Tories still exist in the North of England? They seem to be almost
disappearing. If UKIP don't stand against us at the next election, we
would give a firm undertaking to have an in-out referendum after
that election. It is not going to happen. UKIP are a different party
with a different manifesto. We will not be bought off by anybody.
more could you want? That was how 2012 treated that lot. What was the
answer to this question. Which of the following is the odd one out?
Nigel Farage, Leanne Wood, Alex Salmond and Caroline Lucas? And
each of the others are leaders of their political party, and the
others have stood down. Correct! Let's move on. What happened next
when I asked Nigel Farage about you could expenses?
Take your deputy, Paul Nuttall. He is becoming a bit of a named. You
are no longer a one-man band. He has declared nothing from January
to July 2011. Surely that is not acceptable. He has to get his house
in order. Will you have a word with him? Are certainly well. I accept
that I am a few months late getting my stuff up, but I will do it.
did he have a word with you? affairs were up the following day.
Before you saw the programme. was just a bit of an administrative
cock-up on my part. You can go on my website and see it. We get
allowances rather than expenses. We don't have to declare anything, but
we do. The British MEPs will be more transparent than anybody else
in Europe. Not just in UKIP, but across the board, because of what
happened with the expenses scandal. And not just that, we play by the
rules. Chris Davies in our group has always been big on making sure
the European Parliament has a better job on transparency. For the
sake of this discussion, let's assume that you are the third party
of 2012. I am not accepting that! You know that. There is no evidence
space for that. We are the first party, presumably. What is on your
wish-list for 2013? To fight every county council election in 2013 and
then carry on growing membership and go on to win the European
elections in 2014. You are hoping to win the European elections in
2014. And by that, you mean getting the highest share of the vote.
sending the most MEPs of any British political party back to the
European Parliament and sending a message to the establishment that
UKIP has arrived. That is not totally inconceivable. If you look
at the last European election, UKIP did well. They came second. So to
come first is not the most extraordinary thing to happen. I
think it will be difficult. The Conservatives will be putting out a
list of very good candidates and will hope to do well. We will fight
you for every vote. The only reason we did not win it in 2009 is
because Cameron said, I will give you a cast-iron guarantee to give
you a referendum on Lisbon and then dropped it as soon as the European
election was over. If they come first, and the Lib Dems, a very
poor 4th or even 5th, it will be headless chicken time for both your
parties. The coalition would go into meltdown. You will be talking
of a new leader, and you will be wondering what kind of referendum
you can promise. For we don't know what will happen, there is a long
way to go. But European referendums have always been an opportunity for
public protest in my book. They should not be, but that is what did
they have been. It will not have anything to do with who runs
anything. But it could have an impact. Of course it could, and the
European issues are big issues which we have to address. And we
will in the months ahead. Let me give you the scores. Conservatives,
zero. Liberal Democrats, zero. Labour, one. UKIP, one. Sums up the
year. A new coalition in the making! A marriage made in heaven.
Thanks very much. That is it for the year. If the Mayans are right,