21/12/2012 Daily Politics


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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,


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